What made you a feminist?

(105 Posts)
SugarMousePink Fri 19-Mar-10 07:18:06

Tried to start this thread last night but MN was so busy it kept timing out!!

I thought it would be interesting because I'm a nosy old bag to find out how people have become/are becoming feminists.

So - spill the beans! Were you raised as a feminist? Did it develop later in life? Or do you just like dungarees? grin

I have found this thread really thought provoking and I could write pages and pages on the reasons I am who I am and that I probably always have been a feminist (in hiding). The fact is that I only started to identify myself as a feminist when my child was born 1.5 years ago, I want a more tolerant open-minded equal world for him to grow up in.

SplitHeadGirl Sun 10-Mar-13 18:54:20

For me it was as simple as having my daughter. I just stopped seeing things the same way. I had my son and realised that feminism is important for him too...and now I have another little girl on the way. I can NEVER understand how people with children are not feminists.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 10-Mar-13 11:02:18

The behaviour of men.

BumgrapesofWrath Sun 10-Mar-13 00:30:01

Watching my mother being walked all over by my father, and her accepting it, did it for me at a very early age.

BettyBlueBlue Sun 10-Mar-13 00:19:37

I think I had "very feminist" ideas from an early age. I wasn't brought up in a feminist household but my mum is a very intelligent woman, who got divorced soon after having me, and didn't comply with the typical female stereotype.

I remember going to visit my cousins, in a family where the girls had to make the beds and set the table because they were girls while the boys could just play outside because they were boys, and thinking "Gosh, that's so wrong!".

I met my step mum in my early twenties in Spain and she's a real feminist. I think talking to her helped me structure and shape thoughts that I had in me since I was a child.

Then I became a mother, and that made me realise that gender is still a huge issue in society, and how empowered - or disempowered - you will be within that society highly depends on whether you were born a man or a woman.

I'd call myself a feminist any time, but I'm aware that a lot of people/women are not comfortable with the label, so I'm sort of quiet about it. I know that most of my friends share my views, they just don't like calling themselves feminists.

badguider Thu 07-Mar-13 17:44:43

I was raised in a very equal household in a 1970s gender-neutral way (dungarees and lego) and excelled at maths and physics which I was encouraged to do at school because it was the late 80s and early 90s by the time I went to uni to study those subjects and people were quite into encouraging women into STEM subjects.
I never felt disadvantaged by my sex so never felt the need to devote much time to 'feminism' as a cause.

I realise now that I subconsciously spent time in company and situations where I was treated equally - I did martial arts at uni which were very mixed sex sports clubs, and I spent time with environmental activists and geographers in pubs where everybody of both sexes wore jeans and grubby jumpers rather than clubs where people dressed up to their gender roles smile

As I got older I gradually realised that there are many many women who do not have the priviledges I have had of being able to surround myself with likeminded people and also that there are situations in society where you have to interact with sexism and deal with it rather than always being able to build a bubble round yourself.

Deliaskis Thu 07-Mar-13 17:32:53

I have never identified myself as a feminist, at all, didn't really get it, for a variety of reasons (mostly positive ones, like good role models and strong academic presence etc. which meant I never saw being a woman as an 'issue' for me growing up or in early adulthood), then I had a baby, and started to become a bit incensed at the presumption that goes with that role, which made me start to re-think my take on being a woman in general as well as being a mother.

Coming on here has made for thoroughly thought-provoking reading and is helping me shape how I feel.

Still wrestling with personal anxieties about appearance (I'm more Miranda Hart than...well...any of the other midwives no CTM), and searching for the elusive middle ground on that.

So I guess I'm a fledgling feminist, still figuring it out, hoping that I find a place for me to just be me, and that I can have my thoughts straightened out in time to pass the good stuff onto my daughter.

Dx

eavesdropping Thu 07-Mar-13 12:06:02

what seeker said grin

I think for me, it was my mother's influence. She is a feminist and growing up, I took on her views on various things such as Page 3. I remember first hearing the term "glass ceiling" from my mum at quite a young age. I come from the kind of family that has "proper" discussions about politics, current affairs etc., so feminism was just one more thing we would talk about.

It has surprised me in recent years to discover that not all women would call themselves a feminist. To me it seems such a basic and ingrained thing to be if you're female.

seeker Wed 06-Mar-13 13:44:26

I was born a woman and I have a brain- therefore I am a feminist.

WoTmania Wed 06-Mar-13 13:41:30

I think I've always been a feminist but didn't realise until I became a SAHM and saw the difference in the way I was treated and society's expectations of me in that role.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 06-Mar-13 12:53:27

DD2 still has to ask why women's football gets no TV time and why they have to play pricy netball.

I assume you mean prissy? Does she think that because it's predominantly played by women? i.e. because it's a woman's sport it can't be as good as a "men's" one?

Sunnywithshowers Wed 06-Mar-13 12:49:40

I can't remember a 'eureka' moment as such. I've become more of a feminist the older I become.

I made a complaint at work about a man having a semi-naked woman as his screensaver - that was the late 90's.

BrendaW I agree with Hazlett that women shouldn't hold themselves back - they should be whatever they want to be. And how many misandrists do you actually know?

toothfairymummy Wed 06-Mar-13 01:31:43

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Buffy85 Wed 06-Mar-13 01:27:14

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JaneyH14 Wed 06-Mar-13 01:24:56

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Hazlett Wed 06-Mar-13 01:22:04

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BrendaWendy Wed 06-Mar-13 01:21:46

Startail, I think maybe you overestimated being cleverer than all of the boys you knew, since you don't know the difference between were and we're.

BrendaWendy Wed 06-Mar-13 01:16:45

Whilst I am a proud feminist, I feel misandrists who want to be more than equal give us a bad name. The very women who marched and protested who inspired me as a child would be ashamed of these 'feminists'.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 06-Mar-13 00:51:13

Personal safety issues in my teens.

Mumsnet in my thirties grin

Hazlett Wed 06-Mar-13 00:43:18

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Buffy85 Wed 06-Mar-13 00:40:34

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Startail Wed 06-Mar-13 00:23:20

I was born one.

I was cleverer than any boy I met up to the age of 18, so I expected to be respected as such.

Resented massively having to wear a skirt and not do wood work.
And felt equal pay etc. we're total no brainers.

Never thought that 35 years or more later that I would still have to call myself a feminist.

Skirts and high heels being thought of as necessary for apart work wear. Far worse gender segregation of toys and clothes for children. I never wore pink and rode a orange off road bike.

Still awful unfairnesses in parental leave and the assumption mother will pick up all the child related stuff.

DD2 still has to ask why women's football gets no TV time and why they have to play pricy netball.

The Internet has made porn and sexual bullying worse.

Religions seem to remain or become more institutionally sexist.

There are still too few women in politics and business.

If you had asked me at 5 or 15 is I was a feminist I would have said yes.

I'm sorry to say I will still have to be one until the day I die.

KRITIQ Wed 06-Mar-13 00:10:14

Ah, didn't realise this was a zombie thread. Anyhow, hey, check out the link! smile

KRITIQ Wed 06-Mar-13 00:07:08

I watched part 1 and 2 of Makers: Women Who Made America and remembered with fondness how and why I identified as a feminist when I was about 16.

I was one before that, but only really picked up on the term when I read some literature from the ERA YES campaign in what was sadly, shortly before the Equal Rights Amendment failed to pass the Illinois General Assembly and never became part of the US Constitution. Things started to lurch back to the right around that time generally. The programme reminded me of how the gains for women's rights started getting clawed back, bit by bit, but my 16 year old self would have never imagined, for example, that abortion rights would feature so prominently in the presidential election last year. Gah.

Anyhow, the programme might not make that much sense to those who didn't live in America at the time, but probably still worth a look to compare and contrast how the movement evolved here and there. Lovely to cheer Shirley Chisolm and boo Phyllis Shafley (who's still alive and still an arse, damn it!)

MarinaHantzis Tue 05-Mar-13 23:53:56

My dad left when I was a baby and my mum brought me up alone while working 3 jobs.

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