Can Someone Explain Feminism to me.

(201 Posts)
StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 14:16:05

Because I think although it means equality (does it??) the fact the word starts with FEM is not a neutral word.

If it was 'peopleism' I think that would make more sense to me.

There isn't a 'maleism' is there?
Or is that because they don't need it?

I'm not very intellectual and that sounds like a silly question but do you get me?

I have tried to look it up on the internet but it all gets a bit complicated.

MiniTheMinx Wed 16-Jan-13 14:47:45

It might be best understood if you think about how you would answer these sorts of questions. smile

Are you a women?
Do you think men and women are equal?
Do you think we are actually equal within society now?
In what way might women face difficulties in education, health, wealth distribution, at work, in social situations and in their home lives?
In what way does biological differences and motherhood make women's lives better or easier or more challenging and difficult?

AbigailAdams Wed 16-Jan-13 14:48:07

OK I am going to take this at face value. Feminism is a political movement that fights to free women from the oppression of men.

The problem is that different people will apply different definitions.

The simple base definition is "wanting equality for the sexes, specifically the women as they are traditionally the oppressed sex".

So in general "maleism" isn't needed, there are obviously specific areas where men are less equal than women, but they are the minority.

But you will find that some people will add extra definitions to feminism.

I do tend to agree with you on preferring a more gender neutral term, but I think feminism is encompassed by a more general term, rather than being standalone.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:00:27

There isn't a 'maleism' is there? Or is that because they don't need it?

We live in a patriarchy so yes maleism is already in action. Men don't need quotas because they are already more likely to be picked for advancement in work etc.

It's a bit like the civil rights movement in the states. Would you say "why wasn't there a movement to push the white agenda in the 60s?" No because the whole society was the white movement.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:01:55

OK I am going to take this at face value please do.
I regret asking this in a way, it sounds stupid.
But the wikipedia page for example, is 10 miles long (in my head).

Also

wanting equality for the sexes, specifically the women as they are traditionally the oppressed sex

Maybe I am not so stupid. This is what I thought.

But I was confused by the fact the word feminism is not neutral.

I think you need to look at when and why it started. That's why it isn't gender neutral. When it started women were third class citizens. With rich men and poor men and class one and two. They were seen as being there solely to provide children/sex/housework.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:04:52

I've also shyed away from calling myself a feminist as in theory, well I'm a married women and I took my husbands name.

(and also because I wasn't sure what it meant I couldnt exactly use it for myself!!!)

I didnt like the one I was born with so to change it was a nice thing for me but it's not to carry on his name as we are not having children.

So there are so many things I could see that pointed towards what feminism meant that I didnt like the sound of.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:05:31

Actually it stresses me out that we are never allowed to push our own agenda because men are so scared we may get one up on them. Well men are already one up on us or more. They try and hold us back by saying we can't get too far because that wouldn't be fair, whilst simultaneously already being ahead of us. And not giving a shit about that. But yes, I have heard lots of people mentioning peoplism or a variation (equalism usually I think) things like that..and it just winds me up a bit. If people think peopleism is so great then why don't men start doing that now?

It never seems to get any play until women start throwing around feminism,

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:07:09

I will say I never really considered my position on this til I joined mumsnet.
Reading this bvoard has been quite an eye opener, even though some of the technical terms went right over my head

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:08:40

So there are so many things I could see that pointed towards what feminism meant that I didnt like the sound of.

I bet their are 50 times more that you do liek the sound of though.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:12:51

awesome things feminism has done for you

Getting victims of sexual abuse to be treated as victims, not equally (or more) to blame for their attack.

Getting your daughters and your sons to have equal access to education

Making it illegal for you and your work mate doing the same job to be paid more as a matter of course because he is the "breadwinner" (obviously we haven't totally closed the over all pay gap, but feminism is working on it)

Voting rights

Working against casual sex and sexual harassment in the workplace

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:12:59

Possibly...

Okay so try me, I read on some literature somewhere, real feminists didnt shave their legs.

I am sorry to be so laughably simplistic ... But no I didnt like the sound of it.

I can't think of one thing I dont have already that I would swap for the the idea of not shaving my legs.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:13:54

*casual sexism!

Don't think feminism is anti casual sex per se grin

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:15:00

Okay heres one thing I am grateful for that I have a choice on whether to have children or not.

I choose not to. Why should that be a womans job?! Well, I know birthing them is but why should it be my only life choice.

Hmm... maybe i can get on board with this

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:16:04

Well if you spend approximately ten minutes on the FWR forum you will see many of us do shave our legs and why we do.

Feminism wants you to be aware of why you shave your legs and give you the option of not shaving your legs.

start here

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:17:27

Feminism wants you to be aware of why you shave your legs and give you the option of not shaving your legs.

Interesting.

I think the main thing I see here is choice.
I guess a few years ago we didnt have as many and now due to feminism we do.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:19:42

Yeah that's about it.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:20:23

By the way on the shaving my legs note a few weeks ago I had a cold and couldnt be bothered. Partly also the weather gave me sensitive skin so for a week I didnt shave.

I did ask DH if I felt wierd and he said 'sexy and smooth'
With a weeks growth.

Although he said he would think it weird if I left my armpits very hairy.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:21:50

Anyway thanks Fem I gewt it now.

Why does all the stuff on the net make it sound so complicated.

Is there certain 'camps' and there's a bit of feminist one uomanship going on?
Like the 'shave legs' or not camp?

Again, simplistic.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:22:07

Feminism helps the men too. It means being macho isn't seen as the only option for them, it means flexible working hours so they can actually see their children, it means that we see most men as more than just rape monsters who can't help themselves when they see a short skirt.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:24:39

some do, some don't. only shitty people one up each other. Feminism has some shitty people like any group and like any group (with few exceptions) the shitty people are in the minority.

MMMarmite Wed 16-Jan-13 15:29:21

There are thousands of different types of feminists, which may be part of why you're confused. But every feminist I've actually talked to thinks that you can shave your legs and be a feminist.

seeker Wed 16-Jan-13 15:30:21

Feminism is a way of thinking that encourages you to think about how any choice or decision you make will impact on other women.

That's why it's about more than just women being able to make choices, although that's part of it. Just because a woman makes a choice doesn't make it a feminist choice.

AnyFucker Wed 16-Jan-13 15:33:10

I married a man, I took his name, I work PT so my H is the main breadwinner. I shave my armpits and legs, I wear make up and paint my nails when I am not working and I feel like it. I like nice clothes (to a degree). I get satisfaction out of cleaning a kitchen.

I am a feminist.

mindosa Wed 16-Jan-13 15:34:11

For me, feminism is equality for the sexes.

I think the most idiotic thing any woman can say is that she is not a feminist. Discrimination still exists and equal pay for equal work was only made lay in the US 5 years ago via the Lily Ledbetter act.

It isnt anti male or anti femininity and you can work at home and still be a feminist.

AnyFucker Wed 16-Jan-13 15:34:17

There is a woman saying on another thread that porn use by men is A-ok because she does it too.

That isn't feminism.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:37:36

think about how any choice or decision you make will impact on other women

I have been doing this lately.

It's MN fault. I've re thought loads of things about my outlook and changed lots of things due to having questioned my motives for certain things.

Why now?

Well partly because I've recently identified as Child Free and with that comes certain thoughts and feelings internally, as well as how others seem to view the term.

Then feminism came into it as I've been recently looking at other issues that come up out of the prescribed 'life script'.

I've been asking recently
WHO AM I

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:42:41

I think the child free life style is definitely one helped by feminism, which is odd because I have seen some rampant misogyny on some child free sites. They take the child free idea and turn it on it's head so it is very anti woman (mother) which I don't like. So keep that in mind if you are looking for others in your situation.But women deciding for themselves what to do with their life and body is the heart of the feminism movement.

BiscuitMillionaire Wed 16-Jan-13 15:45:11

I like Caitlin Moran's definition in How to be a Woman. Sorry for the inexact paraphrase, but something like:

Check your pants.
1. Do you have a vagina?
2. Do you want to be in charge of it?
If your answer to both questions is yes, congratulations, you're a feminist.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:46:11

They take the child free idea and turn it on it's head so it is very anti woman (mother) which I don't like

Yes and seeing as I have a very nice Mother I don't like this either.

I was a bit afraid of saying CF as you get lumped with the exremists.
Maybe a bit like I've assumed about feminism wink!

So keep that in mind if you are looking for others in your situation
In a way I don't need supporting on that score, I'm quite comfortable in my position on that score, so I don't need do do mothers or indeed fathers down, personally.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:47:50

And to be clear it's child free mainly because childless assumes I am less of something or that something is missing.

Which I am not.

Your not missing something you've never had, nor require or want

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:50:11

Not support as such, but sometimes it's nice to have friends who haven't got to make babysitting arrangements!

Sorry if you thought I was lumping you in with that, just warning you of the possibility of it if you are trying to get in to feminism.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:51:41

Your not missing something you've never had, nor require or want

yep, language is important. Another important point made by feminism.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:54:17

That's okay. I would not be so stupid as to come to Mumsnet and be horrible about parents ;) and I see your point about it not being conducive to feminism. I wasnt thginking you were lumping, more worried I would come across wrong over CF and what it means to me.

In fact I came and stay due to the massive wealth of information here due to the fact it's frequented by lots and lots of women.
(That's not to say I don't see the men post as well!!)

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:55:06

Not support as such, but sometimes it's nice to have friends who haven't got to make babysitting arrangements!

oh and also won't try and make you feel like you are "missing out" as some people with children do. Some people can't understand that some people really have no interest in having kids. I always assumed I would be child free then one day it was like a switch flipped, but before that I had no interest. So I understand how it feels to be told you will want babies etc..which is patronizing and annoying, I did change my mind but I suspect most people won't change their mind.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:56:32

Mumsnet is great, I actually tend to ignore the child/baby stuff unless I have a question myself and stick to FWR and bunfights in AIBU

duchesse Wed 16-Jan-13 15:58:18

I think the issues that stem from the very word feminism often stem from male attempts to belittle the movement in the 1970s. That's when the dungareed short haired hairy lesbian stuff all started- ie if you are "feminine" care about your appearance etc then you are not a feminist. What started as a backlash against a perceived loss of a perceived power became a stereotyped endorsed by women as well.

I like Caitlin Moran's definition as well- it doesn't force any woman down a particular behaviour path or have any inbuilt expectations. It doesn't exclude anyone for any spurious reason. It's the most empowering definition I've heard.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 16:02:42

I do get hassle over my choice at times.
EG if I am tired, and say so to a certain friend, well it's not as bad as the tiredness induced by being up all night with a baby.
Gosh, I'm in no doubt of that! But why it has to trump how tired I am I will never know.

Just an example, and by a very dramatict RL friend anyway wink

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 16:12:33

Something else that very much interests me actually is hair length.

tI cut my hair short age 13 and only gone back to a bob for a few months.
I then shaved my hair and now keep it about 2-3 inches long in a bit of a messy long fringe thing.
So for the most part of the last 16 years I have had very short hair.

About a year ago I was out for a meal with a group of people who work for one of my customers.
Sitting right opposite me, I don't joke, one of them said they would dump a girl at the point she cut her hair short and would not accept anything shorter than shuolders.

One of the others said 'what even penelope cruz' to which he said he would defo dump her if she cut her hair short.

He was a customer so I had to hold back but I've always been baffled by the the long or short hair thing.

Why do most women have long hair?
I always fancied men who had long hair! Which is I guess circumstantial. But still.

I recently said to someone it would be fun to shave my hair right off to see what I looked like.
His reply was 'what would your husband think'

Why does that matter!

!!!! I mean, please.

Maybe I am more of a feminist than I thought.

mindosa Wed 16-Jan-13 16:18:11

I am not sure why long hair is considered more attractive, maybe because men perceive women to be more femine with long hair - I dunno.
That customer sounds like a fool.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 16:18:33

You should have said something! grin

I am sure penelope would have been devastated and then wink

Passive aggressiveness is your friend in those situations where you can't actually call someone a cunt but need to put them in their place grin

Gosh, I'm in no doubt of that! But why it has to trump how tired I am I will never know.

There is a really funny website that people send in screen shots of fb threads that have been mum jacked for lack of a better word. Can't think what it is called. But someone will say something like "been cleaning all day, place was a tip" and then someone will pop on to say you haven't got a clue until you have kids etc..

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 16:19:10

I always wondered what my bald head looked like hmm

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 16:27:13

I know I couldnt beleive he did it with me sitting there and to be frank he was pig ugly so maybe he was pretending to be picky to explain the lack of a queue of women. grin

So why are women more feminine with long hair?

I'd love to know.
My short hair never stopped me getting snogs and dates.

AnyFucker Wed 16-Jan-13 16:32:45

I have had short hair for many years. At the moment it is shorter than ever.

One of my exes hated short hair on women as it wasn't "feminine", so I made him help me cut my hair into a bob. grin

MiniTheMinx Wed 16-Jan-13 16:38:40

Your hair sounds cool ! I wish I had the confidence to cut mine off that short. As it is it's fairly long. Although I don't "do" beauty stuff, never shave legs or wear heels. I think for me, I quite like my hair long because I can hide. My father always said he'd be angry if i cut my hair confused but DP wouldn't care I'm sure.

Xenia Wed 16-Jan-13 16:42:33

The word might be deficient but the concept is equality for men and women at work, under the law and in the home.

It is what gave me the capacity to earn 10x my children's father and for him to do all the washing. It is what ensures men have as much right to be home with children as their wives. It is ensuring you do not get lumbered with more than your fair share of dull stuff at home.

It means not having your clitoris cut off as is the case for still 80% of girls in some countries. It means women having the vote in Saudi and being allowed to drive (not that they are). It means men ought to have their chidlren half the time after divorce and they are denied that often.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 16:45:43
AnyFucker Wed 16-Jan-13 16:48:55

here is me my hair

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 16:50:36

yay! That used to be me, and a bit shorter too lol.

I love short hair. If I was the ruler all women would have short and all men long.
I do love a surf dude style cut :-)

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 17:03:56

So why are women more feminine with long hair?

I think long hair is seen as a younger woman's hair style, and many women tend to go shorter as they go older. So I think it is down to women being forced to look young no matter their age.

MiniTheMinx Wed 16-Jan-13 17:10:30

This best resembles mine, lasthairmodels.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Jessica+Biel+Long+Hairstyles+Retro+Hairstyle+aKjonjz3Ti5l.jpg although mine isn't quite as shiny. I don't do conditioner and fancy shampoo either grin although I don't look like Jessica.

I think also that women sometimes feel pressured to cut their hair shorter at a certain age.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 17:33:05

the age thing and the feminine thing i think are 2 separate issues.
I think it starts with the long hair, then melts into 'women are less desirable' with age so does it matter if their hair is longer?
IYSWIM

Sunnywithshowers Wed 16-Jan-13 17:51:33

Hi OP

There's a whole debate about what makes a woman 'feminine' - did you see the huge make up thread in AIBU?

I'm childless / childfree too and hate being 'mommyjacked' too - you might this website

smile

seeker Wed 16-Jan-13 18:13:59

I am considerably older than most people on here- I was a 70s feminist, and I remember when there was a concerted effort to denigrate "women's libbers" back then. The ammunition used was exactly the same as the that used today -hairy legged and man hating. I don't think we are accused of wearing dungarees much now- so I suppose that's progress!

I do have to say if I could go back and tell my 1974 self that we would still be fighting the same battles in 2013, I wouldn't believe myself!

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 18:15:29

OM - the one about the people who got shot then the post saying Ethan was having a nap.
That's some mummyjacking.

I did see the make up thread. (i wear it everyday and cant not. SHHHHH)

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 18:19:40

Well Fact Of The Day is:

I am a feminist.

TerrariaMum Wed 16-Jan-13 18:30:03

Good for you StickEmUp. If I understand correctly, the shaving legs thing is as follows: If you want to shave your legs, you should be able to, but you shouldn't HAVE to.

seeker question that I have been confused about for a while: what if you are married and hairy legged because your DH prefers you in your mammalian state? That is, he loves all of the you he married and doesn't wish you to alter yourself for him because you are gorgeous just as you are. What would backlashers say to that?

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 18:42:59

Haha didnt mean to harp on about the shaving of legs it was just one things that occured to me.
It all makes sense now.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 18:50:37

sunny That's the site I was on about!

Sunnywithshowers Wed 16-Jan-13 19:28:35

Hi feministefatale I meant to namecheck you earlier - I knew what you meant straight away. It's one of my favourite sites. smile

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 19:35:40

it's hilarious, haven't been on it for a while though, so that's my afternoon sorted grin

Sunnywithshowers Wed 16-Jan-13 20:22:45

Yay Stickemup by the way smile

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 20:30:34

I wondered if you both ran off without me grin

And thanks. Just look at the wikipedia page shock ... it's got stages of feminism, etc etc blah blah and I didn't get it.

I think the 'do I want control over my vagina' one was quite funny.

marriedinwhite Wed 16-Jan-13 20:48:06

I have no idea.

I think I'm feminine, I like makeup, I like clothes, I like my hair to look nice, I shave my legs, I shave my armpits. I like our home, I love cooking, I adore the dc, I look after my dh and support him and didn't hesitate to take hiss name and say I would obey (why would anyone marry a man they thought would ever asks them to do something unreasonable) and do more at home than he does - but he works much longer hours outside the home.

I worked from 21-35 7-7 on a male dominated trading floor in a man's world and never felt the brush of sexual discrimination. I had a very successful career and could have paid off the mortgage on a small house in sw London by the time I was 34.

I supported DH in the early years of his career - gave up work to look after dc because my money allowed it at the time and to support dh to carve his niche. Had 8 glorious years at home.

Went back to work in 2003 and reinvented myself - started at the bottom, part-time at first and then full and then took prof quals and an mba.

Still do the majority of home stuff with a lot of paid help; children are growing and almost independent; am very glad I have a life outside the home and could totally maintain myself if dh wasn't there. Love the independence of my own money and spending what I like when I like.

My sils call themselves feminist; neither has had a professional job, neither cares about their appearance, neither has much choice, neither has any money, neither is particularly happy and neither have husbands they can depend on but both criticise and both are more than pleased to take a handout from dh. Not the sort of independence I would call feminist.

I don't know - at 52 - I really don't understand what it is or whether I am one or whether I want to be one.

I know I can be independent, I know I can be professionally successful, I know I'm a good mother and a good wife and a good home-maker. I know I have always been able to lay my hands of a few grand and I know I have always been happy and have answered to no-one I have wished not to answer to.

I don't know if I'm a feminist or not but I know I am happy and I know DH is happy.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 21:06:46

say I would obey (why would anyone marry a man they thought would ever asks them to do something unreasonable)

I don't expect to have to "obey" anyone. If I want to do something and feel it is reasonable, I haven't got to be told to do it.

Why do your sil's appearance have anything to do with feminism, or their jobs? Or husbands? hmm I saw your views on women in the makeup thread, they didn't strike me as feminist. I am very glad you have done well for yourself and haven't delt with sexism first hand. You have been lucky or more likely, socialized to not notice it.

HighBrows Wed 16-Jan-13 21:09:10

Seeker this made me fill up I do have to say if I could go back and tell my 1974 self that we would still be fighting the same battles in 2013, I wouldn't believe myself!

It's sad but true.

HighBrows Wed 16-Jan-13 21:10:06

Seeker I meant to bold you name not strike it out!

blush

HighBrows Wed 16-Jan-13 21:16:34

martiedinwhite I'm very surprised by your post especially on this board.

I think mightn't notice sexism, being treated unfairly etc. I'm truly shocked at the obey bit too.

married What definition of "Obey" are you going by? Because as far as I'm concerned "obey" means to do whatever you are told, no matter what. Reasonable requests or not, doesn't mean you should have to do it. Surely "obey" means that if you DH wants to do something reasonable that you just don't feel like doing then, then you have to do it?

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 21:32:25

I love my reason for taking my DH name ... I hated my original and loved his.
That's it and on a feminist score I'm not sure where it stands.

I knew it was my choice though and feel as I am child free and I know there will be no hassle with 'passing the name on' so that doesn't matter.

his siblings have had boys, they can have the glory or carrying the name on,

AnyFucker Wed 16-Jan-13 21:36:28

MIW, let me help you out here

I don't know if you abide by "labels" as such especially as you don't seem too fussed about having one and that is fair enough, but almost every post of yours I have seen informs me that you don't hold feminist viewpoints. This one here is no exception.

HTH

seeker Wed 16-Jan-13 22:39:21

StickaEmUp- I think the issue I have had with this is I have often heard women say what you said, but I have never heard a man say it. and I have never heard a woman say "I loved my name and hated his, so he took mine"

Just seems odd that it's only women who ever have embarrassing, ugly, hard to spell names..........!

seeker Wed 16-Jan-13 22:40:23

Oh, and as a rule of thumb, any woman who says "obey" in her wedding ceremony is not a feminist.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 22:51:40

Well theres about 4 other people in the country whose not related to me with m ugly horrible name lol. So i really cant confirm or deny grin
BUt your right.

MMMarmite Wed 16-Jan-13 22:55:27

"StickaEmUp- I think the issue I have had with this is I have often heard women say what you said, but I have never heard a man say it. and I have never heard a woman say "I loved my name and hated his, so he took mine"

I asked my brother about this, he said he'd read an article analysing which names are correlated to success in life (those near the start of the alphabet and those having positive connotations apparently), so he's gonna base his decision on that!

AnyFucker Wed 16-Jan-13 22:56:51

I had an ugly maiden name ("maiden" ...how quaint hmm ). Really ugly. I got the piss taken out of me at school for years

It's the sort of name that will always attract negative attention and hilarity. I would have married anyone to get rid of it (just jokin' DH...)

AnyFucker Wed 16-Jan-13 23:47:31

I must have been sent to Coventry. I keep killing threads.

Sunnywithshowers Thu 17-Jan-13 01:16:56

When I married my XH we went double barrelled. I divorced him because he was abusive and reclaimed my own name. I've married again and have kept my name. It's mine, it's unusual and (most importantly) I like it.

I think that having the choice matters - compulsion to change your name is one thing, deciding to change another entirely.

And as for obeying... ha de har har to that one. I am married to a man who I love and respect, and who loves and respects me. Neither obeys the other.

sashh Thu 17-Jan-13 03:30:07

The simplest explanation I came across was this

Stick your hand into your pants. Do you have a vigina? Do you think you have the right to control your vigina?

If you answer yes to both you are a feminist.

I loved my name and hated his, so he took mine my parents local paper had a short piece about a groom taking the bride's name about 20 years ago.

Quick google and:

times247.com/articles/groom-takes-wife-s-surname-via-new-france-law

www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/fashion/weddings/shayne-adler-michael-sirlag-weddings.html?_r=0

www.fifetoday.co.uk/news/local-headlines/groom-takes-bride-s-name-1-148844

StickEmUp Thu 17-Jan-13 09:24:02

Using the 'if you have a vagina and want to control it= feminist'

I take it a man can't be a feminist?

I'm pretty sure after a discussion last night DH is into equal rights for women etc but ... yes he is a man.

"Using the 'if you have a vagina and want to control it= feminist'

I take it a man can't be a feminist?"

That's why I have a problem with that definition, but then some do believe that men can't be feminists.

As for taking the husband's name, I know that if we split up (looking increasingly more likely) that I'll want to keep my married name rather than go back to my maiden name. I just like the name more.

MiniTheMinx Thu 17-Jan-13 09:37:46

I think men can be supportive. Not sure whether I accept men calling themselves feminist. For me it would seem that within society where men already have privilege that they might also want to take up a similar position within feminism.

MiniTheMinx Thu 17-Jan-13 09:41:08

I'm not married, never had any desire what so ever to tie the knot. Been with DP for 16 years and we have 2Ds. I like my name, maybe I was just lucky. Although I do have my father's name, not sure if that is better or worse because it just feeds into that patriarchal practice of passing on the father's name. Dp wanted to get married, he wouldn't take my name, he's happy with his also. Kids have both our names.

BertieBotts Thu 17-Jan-13 09:54:53

Some people prefer the term pro-feminist for men, or feminist-supportive.

FWIW

I am not very girly. I don't shave my legs, I don't often shave my armpits, unless (sorry if TMI) sweat is getting trapped in the hair and causing a smell, or if it's summer and I want to wear short sleeved tops - so I suppose, I do care if people notice. However it's become so normal for me not to shave my armpits now that I sometimes forget and wear short sleeved tops with little bushes grin

I don't wear make up and I generally keep my hair very short. It's long at the moment, only because I can barely find the time to go and get it cut, and I can't find a salon which doesn't immediately make a face when I say I want my hair cut short hmm unless they charge over £40 for a haircut which I just can't afford.

For me this is not a feminist statement per se, more laziness. But also I suppose rooted in an "If men don't have to do this, why should I?" kind of viewpoint.

I find with many men they think they are feminist, they even come across as feminist, believe in equal rights, would never think less of a woman because she is a woman etc, but they still have underlying sexism there which they probably won't notice, and worse - you won't notice until you get into feminism and then it will annoy the crap out of you grin

This is a stupid example but my boss is one of these men, he treats the men and women at work exactly the same, doesn't make sexist comments, etc etc. But when we all went on a night out and I accidentally let out a burp because I was a bit drunk, he looked disgusted whereas he would have laughed if a man had done it. So there you go - underlying belief shows itself there. I get cross with DP when I notice him doing it and he gets totally bemused etc! And yet he's definitely in agreement with me about most things feminist.

BertieBotts Thu 17-Jan-13 09:55:54

Oh and I'm getting married next year and am planning to take DP's name. DP, me and DS all have different surnames currently, that's fun!

StickEmUp Thu 17-Jan-13 10:19:30

he looked disgusted whereas he would have laughed if a man had done it.

This is what pisses me off in life. I think it's hilarious I have some very feminist views on things but was pout off by not being allowed to shave my legs grin

Well we live and learn, don't we.

MMMarmite Thu 17-Jan-13 10:23:45

Don't worry, we don't line people up in shorts for their feminist leg inspection :D

Hullygully Thu 17-Jan-13 10:26:18

It's about being really dainty and wearing pantyhose

MMMarmite I've got brilliant images in my head, someone walking up and down a line of women with a measuring tape, saying "you leg hair is too short, it's below regulation length!"

MMMarmite Thu 17-Jan-13 11:04:33

grin MurderOfGoths

StickEmUp Thu 17-Jan-13 11:10:21

pantyhose I'm only young what even is that grin

slug Thu 17-Jan-13 11:27:00
StickEmUp Thu 17-Jan-13 12:48:28

Thanks slug I am indeed very interested.

The Every Day Sexism was quite horrific.
I thought it would be passing statements, almost laughable things, but men shouting cunt at a women in the street.

I'm probably shocked as I am lucky that's not happened to me.

Actually, a man came up to me out clubbing one day, I thought he was going to ask me out but instead he said I was too skinny and that I looked discusting.

feministefatale Thu 17-Jan-13 15:48:38

I think a better definition would be do you think every woman should have control over her own vagina.

I know plenty of women who think they know fine for themselves but also feel they can make decisions for other women and their vaginas.

I have met one self proclaimed male feminist and I would call him a feminist. Have known a few men who definitely have feminist ideas but wouldn't call themselves feminist. Dh wouldn't call him self a feminist but he definitely believe in feminism, although he still doesn't get what it's like to deal with sexism which can wind me up sometimes.

It's not his fault though. He's English, He's a white male in his 30's. I am sure he has never been discriminated against in any real way. He just doesn't understand.

Anniegetyourgun Thu 17-Jan-13 15:49:48

Panty hose is American for tights.

I was happy to take XH's name on marriage as I was still young enough to believe that if my mother did it it was the right thing to do, kind of; anyway I prefer his surname, and would keep it even if I married again, probably (not that I have any intention of doing so unless the prospective groom is very, very rich!). I did not promise to "obey". Which is just as well, because XH is an idiot, and I had to do an awful lot of not obeying just to keep the family's heads above water. He hated me having my hair cut too, though I never did it short short. (He also said once "Married women don't go out with their friends", but later denied he had said or ever would say such a thing. Probably because of the extremely short shrift he got when he did say it.)

The question earlier, about whether you are a feminist if you don't shave your legs because your husband prefers you not to, doesn't seem to have been answered. It seems pretty obvious to me that if you're quite happy to go along with what your partner prefers then there is no problem. It only hits the feminism buffer if you want to shave your legs but are denied the choice due to his preference. They are your legs, after all.

Those short haired women in the links look absolutely stunning, don't they, and totally feminine.

marriedinwhite Thu 17-Jan-13 19:39:44

My grandfather took my grandmother's name in 1934.

He was Russian; she was English. It was considered more appropriate.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 17-Jan-13 22:58:35

Wow, AF, if your maiden name got lots of negative attention such that you preferred to adopt the married surname of Fucker, well, the mind boggles wink

I kept my birth surname and rarely wear make up. I shave my legs and worry about my cellulite. I acknowledge all my choices and I know which are feminist and which aren't - and if I'm not sure, I ask myself if a man would worry about it, or I ask on here and try not to feel defensive if my judgement was wrong smile.

Welcome to being a feminist, StickEmUp. It rocks.

AnyFucker Thu 17-Jan-13 23:06:17

Heh. It really was that bad.

It was my father's name. All the more reason to get it the fuck away from me.

Xenia Fri 18-Jan-13 08:29:59

And l;et us not forget it can also be fun to out earn men. I earned 10x my children's father. I am not saying that is the only way to be a feminist but it can help too. Avoiding dull caring roles and being allowed without being called male to want power, money and success. Reclaiming those values and aims as being legitimate aims for all people rather than just some nasty dirty thing men have whilst women are God like madonnas at home content only with a duster in their hands.

MiniTheMinx Fri 18-Jan-13 09:09:50

Do you even like men Xenia? you seem so grasping and power hungry, where does the fear of failure and fear of destitution come from? Capitalism maybe?

Someone must do the caring, the best way to ensure everyone does their bit is to ensure that no one has economic or social power over others.

Xenia Fri 18-Jan-13 09:20:58

Very interesting reply to mine. Why should it be implied women don't like men if they want power and success? Do analyse that. We don't say to men - don't you even like women - if a man were to say he wanted power and money. So it feels very very sexist to me to be told that because I might be ambitious that means I hate men. It seems strange to imply that.

Why should all women have to want to like caring? It is just as sexist to say only women care as only men rise to the top and want power. Load sof women hate caring and are happy to leave clearing up sick to those men adn women who apparently adore it and would rather be successful. Feminism does not mean women have to be one type of woman only, a Florence nightingale but never the UK's leading surgeon.

Amazingly and sorry to break it to you but you can like men a lot and still rise to the top and earn lots of money. incredibly you find power successful women with large families and marriages - Valerie Grove wrote a great book about them about 20 years ago which is still in Amazon - they criteria were successful (eg female judget etc), 4+ children and married.

duchesse Fri 18-Jan-13 09:37:00

I agree with Xenia. Being as good as or better than some men does not = hating men. We MUST stop thinking like that or we're always be relegated to second-best roles.

Best person for the job should be the guiding principle. Just wish I'd "met" Xenia 30 years ago. Probably too late now for me. Not too late for my daughters though.

Nicola80 Fri 18-Jan-13 09:52:53

I would read "How to be a woman" by Caitlin Moran, she basically believes that if you are a woman, then you are a feminist! Simple really. A good read too, mostly autobiographical and very funny.

duchesse Fri 18-Jan-13 09:53:11

There is absolutely no reason why there shouldn't be 50/50 representation in all the top jobs, yet where are the FTSE100 female CEOs? Where are all the MPs? etc etc If we start off feeling we aren't worthy of those top jobs then we simply won't get them in the first place- we're just compounding inherent sexism. I'm thankful to say that my daughters have been exposed to very little subtle undermining in childhood and now in their teens don't feel there's anything they can't do. The crunch time will come if/when they have children. How to manage that is the crucial bit imo.

Xenia Fri 18-Jan-13 09:58:02

(sorry about my typos... trying to work at the same time... earning a crust (which annoyed someone elsewhere the other day... so I had to change it to earning gold bars)...)

Caitlin Moran is doing a lot of good. I noticed one of my daughters reading her book - has good appeal to younger women. There has been a dearth of cool "in" feminist writings in the last 20 years. There was absolutely masses when I was a teenager.

I do accept many women want to ensure capitalism goes and we all work in communist groupings being nice to each other and paying cleaners the same as those doing other work but that does not have to equal feminism. We are all not the same said including men on this. Most men want a fair relationship with someone they love who fulfils her potential and plenty of men are very proud of their wives who do very well at work in my experience. They don't sit there with deflated penises crying into their pillows because their wife earns more than they do - not real, good, normal men who are just people like us. Obviously we hope most people manage to avoid marrying sexist pigs or those with such a fragile ego who cannot cope with an equal partner who does well.

Okay.. back to work ...

duchesse Fri 18-Jan-13 10:00:14

Easier and more practical to store gold bars than crusts. Fewer rat problems for a start... And take up less room/value.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 18-Jan-13 11:03:10

Duchesse that is the key I think - equal treatment/opportunity pre children is much more common now. It's post children when things can change. It's not surprising - in a lot of "career" jobs, unless you w

Xenia Fri 18-Jan-13 11:11:51

That's true. I think one reason I did well was because I was so sure I would not tolerate inequality at home probably because I spent my teens reading feminist books and also because my mother, her mother, her mother all worked - even my female relatives in the 1920s worked so there was a line of very strong women who were not taken advantage of at home on both sides of the family.

I'm about to do a £2k job which might be almost my most profitable thing but I'll have to distract myself from the internet and looking at the snow to get it done by lunch time and stop answering the phone to people who want a bit of me for nothing. I am sure my children will achieve fair relationships whatever the gender of that child because of their family example.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 18-Jan-13 11:13:38

Duchesse that is the key I think - equal treatment/opportunity pre children is much more common now. It's post children when things can change. It's not surprising - in a lot of "career" jobs, unless you work for yourself, there is still a culture of working long hours, being 110% committed etc. ANY external commitment, be it caring responsibilities or a place in your county show jumping team, can impinge on that and with (generalisation) a bunch of senior men who have SAHWs and therefore never considered how such responsibilities might impinge, there remains a pressure on people to keep working that way. And until just as many men as women request flexible working etc, then it will overall be seen as a women's issue - "how can we help working mothers?" etc.

Interestingly it's been said on here that it's easier to get flexible conditions when you are more senior - unfortunately that may not coincide with biology for women.

Mini, I've never read Xenia's posts as disliking men - I think that she would almost like men to put in 80% of child-related flexible working requests and women 20% (or whatever a straight reverse of the current split would be) until such time as the overall balance is 50:50 and child care stops being a "women's issue". Whilst I don't think that will happen, I have some sympathy with it as a thought experiment.

(apologies Xenia if I've misinterpreted)

feministefatale Fri 18-Jan-13 14:11:09

I would 100% not be a man who thought it was fun to constantly remind everyone he made 10x more than me or who thought it was "fun" to keep all low paying low status jobs or women. TBH, you sounds exactly like the men feminism sets out to deal with.

feministefatale Fri 18-Jan-13 14:13:57

*I would 100% not be with a man

feministefatale Fri 18-Jan-13 14:15:48

I don't want to be some dick head in a ruling matriarchy, I just want equality with no second class citizens

seeker Fri 18-Jan-13 14:22:33

I just think it's important to remember that Xenia's success is built on the backs of poorly paid women doing the grunt work in her family. She criticises women who choose to look after their own children, and despises women who look after other people's children for money. I do wonder who she thinks should look after them!

Xenia Fri 18-Jan-13 14:57:53

I have never said I despised anyone. By all means argue with me but to suggest I despite people is just not how I am. I have had good people of all genders working for me in all kinds of capacities and I hope I am good to and respect everyone.

If you are looking for candidates to wash children's clothes out when soaked in sick start with your husbands.

I don't go round telling people who much I earn. However it is very important that high paid women do show people you can earn £1k a day or more a a woman h ave a lovely family life and be happy as they get so few examples of that. I would never say it to show off but I would emphasise it to encourage the others so that when their husbands say stay home and wash my socks they can say if you want a sock washer here's the sink and I will see you tonight.

I really think it muddies the waters when feminists suggest feminism equals socialism and that we seek a world where veryone is paid the same and women are admired because they want to spend their time cleaning the house. The objective truth is that domestic work is dull dull dull and you're a mug if you take too much of it on and indeed part of the patriarchy in kow towing to the tradition that says women earn nothing and only serve.

I have no problems with people having different income levels in society however and that is where socialist feminists and feminists like I am part company. However we can all share a common goal of ensuring men do more cleaning at home and women get to the top of companies.

MiniTheMinx Fri 18-Jan-13 14:58:49

Xenia is typical of a middle class liberal who's feminism went out of fashion with shoulder pads.

seeker Fri 18-Jan-13 15:14:37

There is no way anyone can earn 1K a day whatever gender they are without somebody to do the domestic maintainance. It is disingenuous to suggest that is not the case. And it is very disingenuous of you to suggest that you do not dispise who do this work, whether paid or unpaid. I am not going to search back through your posts to find examples- we all know they are there, though!

WilsonFrickett Fri 18-Jan-13 16:40:16

seeker that's just not true. It is probably true of people who have children to take care of but a childfree person can earn 1k a day and wash their own socks. Easily.

MiniTheMinx Fri 18-Jan-13 17:16:35

If a family could live on one full time wage then mothers and fathers could share the burden to caring by working fewer hours.

MiniTheMinx Fri 18-Jan-13 17:17:00

* of caring

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 18-Jan-13 17:23:15

Seeker, probably not 1k every day, no. But most people I know who earn 1k+ a day don't work full time and sell their services on a day rate to vari

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 18-Jan-13 17:23:49

Seeker, probably not those who earn 1k every day, no. But most people I know who earn 1k+ a day don't work full time and sell their services on a day rate to various people.

WilsonFrickett Fri 18-Jan-13 18:36:07

I would also agree with Xenia's point (sorry having terrible trouble with my broadband today and a larger post disappeared) that feminist choice does of course extend to women who want to earn 1k and more a day. That's an equally valid choice as a couple living on one income or for both to work part-time to share earning and childcare. Or for someone to choose to be a lone parent and raise a child themself. Or to be childfree. It's all good.

But being a woman in the boardroom isn't intrinsically rewarding in itself IMO. It's the socking great salary that comes with it that's rewarding.

marriedinwhite Fri 18-Jan-13 18:51:46

My DH recently quoted 60K for a fortnight for work he didn't want to do - the client bit his hand off - he doesn't get that every week but it probably averages out to more than 2k a working day.

I don't think he could have got there without me wink. Makes sick cleaning very worthwhile - and that's not something I have ever been graceless enough to delegate if I have been on the premises.

Still don't know if I'm a feminist; perhaps I'm just a pragmatist. Do know that I tend to do what I want most of the time and that every penny of my earned money is pin money blush. Quite proud I go out and earn it though.

MiniTheMinx Fri 18-Jan-13 19:50:29

Why are people so keen to disclose their income, it's so naff. I would rather boil my head confused

AnyFucker Fri 18-Jan-13 19:53:00

It's very common, isn't it ?

Myself, every second I am typing on MN, I am losing 50k

MiniTheMinx Fri 18-Jan-13 20:00:14

I have money coming in even though I'm time wasting grin you should really consider talking to Xenia AnyFucker she'd soon have you earning a grand a minute and delegating the shit jobs to lesser mortals wink

feministefatale Fri 18-Jan-13 20:04:51

Even xenia wouldn't delegate mumsnetting.

feministefatale Fri 18-Jan-13 20:05:40

Although I like the idea of her checking with her interns if they have seen to the AIBU section yet and posted any pram tips.

marriedinwhite Fri 18-Jan-13 20:30:40

Yeah, that was a bit crap but at least I shave my legs grin.

AnyFucker Fri 18-Jan-13 20:33:17

"Pin money" is for 1950's housewives. There is nothing to be boastful about in that.

marriedinwhite Fri 18-Jan-13 20:43:19

Depends on the "pin money" I suppose. Oh dear - no offence meant.

MiniTheMinx Fri 18-Jan-13 20:59:19

As long as it's just your legs and nothing else marriedinwhite

sashh Sat 19-Jan-13 10:14:24

I take it a man can't be a feminist? No but they can be a feminist ally.

They are different but important roles. Think of South Africa with apartheid. A white person could never be black and fully experience the restrictions an accident of birth such as skin colour had (?has).

But a white person could fight for the end of apartheid, recognise that it was wrong and do all they could to change things.

Xenia Sat 19-Jan-13 11:35:14

We want to reverse things though so it is more likely Mrs marriedinw is the one earning £2k a day and her husband sits at home pleased because she got there because he did a lot of sick cleaning athome. Or at the least that as many men and women are home sick cleaning. That will be an achievement of feminism -0 not encourage to women at home to think earning nothing and cleaning up is some kind of desirable feminist nirvana when it's just a male con women are conditioned to accept so they are sort of hypnotised into thinking wow this is lovely legitimate work that I am home and get to do this noble work of serving men and high paid other work is not for me because I am female or because it would breach my socialist principles.

marriedinwhite Sat 19-Jan-13 13:17:27

But I chose to stay at home Xenia. My capital, earned by me, meant I could make that choice.

I made that choice in part because my mother put her career before me and made it clear that being a mother and a wife was less important than her child. I wanted my DC to have eVerything I didn't and that meant: love, time and attention as well as material comforts.

I have a second career - I don't need megabucks or to bring in any additional money and that isn't why I work. Ultimately I have loving committed paartner, two well balanced teenagers, a nice if modest lifestyle compared to our means and a career that I love.

I didn't think of dH as the hunter or warrior and me as the little intellectually challenged wifey making sacrifices. I thought we needed to work as a partnership doing what we are passionate about. I think the overall package we have created is worth far mor than the sums of any of the component parts. Together we have it all and have worked at it and suppported each other. Can't you see that's what makes a marriage work and optimises happiness for all.

I think I have achieved far more things feminists aspire to than many feminists. First career - six figure salary, non exec on nHs trust board, second career with prof quals and MBA, and actually healthy second salary albeit less than I could achieve in the city or in a corporate but I like being local and I like putting something back.

MiniTheMinx Sat 19-Jan-13 15:44:25

Xenia, your such a scream smile socialist are always telling women to get back to the kitchen????? what ever gave you that idea? DP spends far more time cleaning up and "sick cleaning" (what ever that is?, he must do sick cleaning because I don't even know what it is grin) From a personal perspective, I earn money even when I am sitting here talking to you!

I have just finished reading this, http://www.tu.ac.th/org/grad/master/pdf/paper/fulltext_The_Feminist__standpoint_Developing_the_Ground_for_a_specifically_feminist_historica__materialism_Nancy_Hartsock[1].pdf

Feminists have swung in two distinct directions, neither of which when considered in isolation account for women's oppression. You can not use either a reductionist theory of biology or socialisation to make sense of women's subjugation, women's history of their lived experiences. Xenia, perhaps it will help you to understand Marxist/socialist feminism better wink if you read that great paper by Hartsock. Until such time we morph into a male/female hybrid or find ways of reproducing the species that doesn't require women to carry babies then it will remain a fact of women's lives that they carry, feed and nurture children. In fact just recently Germain Greer seems to be getting her head around it. Rather than twittering on about male violence and gender she recently lectured on how natural it is for women to nurture children. I can find it and post a link if you are interested.

WilsonFrickett Sat 19-Jan-13 17:42:03

Don't think anyone would argue that its not natural for some women to nurture children. But it doesn't apply to all women, the op on this thread for eg is child free by choice. Many of us believe it's also natural for men to nurture children too.

MiniTheMinx Sat 19-Jan-13 18:36:59

Depends what is meant by nurture.

WilsonFrickett Sat 19-Jan-13 18:48:05

So what do you/Greer mean by nurture mini?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 19-Jan-13 19:25:57

Ooh, I was just coming to ask what nurture meant too.

MiniTheMinx Sat 19-Jan-13 19:35:06

www.youtube.com/watch?v=SI7Le8rShHY Greer's Mercier lecture

She suggests that women and men communicate differently with children. She proposes that women nurture children's learning and thinking whereas men see & use communication differently. Our native language is often referred to "mother tongue" She also discusses the psychological theory of men's jealousy towards children and that the western world is anti-children. Men teach children to conform, women teach children to learn. More women primary teachers, men choose to push for leadership roles, men want power women want to teach (nurture learning)

Historically women always worked but child care was not separated from the world of work because there was less distinction btw public and private spheres. Cottage industry-feudal system-ancient tribal. Under capitalism of course there is a greater divide btw production and reproduction because of the mode of production and the fact that we "go to work", we are paid to create surplus and this can only be done (well) if we apply ourselves to the task without distraction. Under alternative economies where the divide btw public/private life is not necessary, then women may have more equality with men because they "produce value" based upon all their activities. If you look at the middle ages, male children would start to come under the care of men in the family at around 8-12 years when they would start to learn trades. Child hood is getting longer under capitalism and women still provide most of the emotional labour in child rearing if not all of the practical. More often than not men "baby sit" we like to think we are making strides when in actual fact nothing has really changed, only the value we place on production in relation to reproduction has shifted.

Xenia Sat 19-Jan-13 22:03:53

Those who suggest men and women are totally different when babies come just have an agenda to chain women to sinks and let men have all the good bits of life. They are like Satan in the garden of Eden in a sense - tempting yhou by saying you are female, you are fit only to clean and care, leave to men all that work and fund earning stuff, you are female so all your life shall ye take on dross unpaid stuff.

MiniTheMinx Sat 19-Jan-13 22:08:19

You really are very dull because you keep saying the same thing wink maybe a squirt of fairy in the water would give you a little sparkle.

WilsonFrickett Sat 19-Jan-13 23:18:17

If you look at the middle ages, male children would start to come under the care of men in the family at around 8-12 years when they would start to learn trades.

Yeah and girls would come under the care of their mother in laws at the same time because they'd be married. And very many of the boys would be indentured to other males, not necessarily of their own families. Both sexes became economically active at that point, boys to a trade, girls to a marriage. That's not really a sign of an extended nurturing network.

marriedinwhite Sun 20-Jan-13 09:15:08

Xenia - I always loved work and always have thrived at work - in a way I certainly didn't at school. But I love other things too - I love sunshine, cooking, beautiful paintings, our DC, our home, my DH and all is irritating quirks. There's a lot more to every human as well as every woman than success that can be measured only by their earning power.

There seems something about you that wants just to dominate men and railroad over women you feel are lower down the chain than you. That seems rather sad at best and possibly something you might need some help with.

MiniTheMinx Sun 20-Jan-13 10:01:08

I think it is a different form of nurturing, sure. I have been reading a bit about Psychoanalytic theory because many socialist feminist have been incorporating this into their work in trying to understand oppression. Ideas such as how the odepius complex works to separate boys from nature, in the way that boys strive towards the abstract masculinity and try to distance themselves from the world of women and mother. It's fascinating because in the middle ages this process was acted out in concrete ways whereas now boy's development is the emotional labour of women. Sexism and misogyny is on the rise if anything. Just batting about some ideas smile

Marriedinwhite Most feminists are concerned with how class,working class women provide 2/3rd of the worlds food and wealth and yet hold the least personal wealth and social power. Xenia is interested in class only in relation to the availability of cheap female labour to do shit jobs for her. Her wealth is built on the backs of working class women.

marriedinwhite Sun 20-Jan-13 10:27:17

minitheminx I am not well read about this topic but surely that applies to two thirds of workig class men. Where I live and work - south london - where there is a predominance of single parent families where women are in charge of the received income (albeit) small and certainly in charge of child rearing, it is women who are in a position to provide the greatest influence. What we have to do as a society is to better educate them for the benefit of future generations andensure the cycle of entitlement is broken. In the bottom third it seems to me that the benefit system has empoweredwomen to breed and go it alone whilst taking away the importance of strong family units working together.

I don't think there is an issue with wealthier families contracting out jobs they cannot do. For example I do not clean and my DH does not decorate but the issue is whether the workers others employ are treated fairly and decently rather than in an exploitative manner. Humans are not fundamentally equal and to make them all the same and homogenous went hideously wrong in1930s Europe. What society has to do is address equlity of opportunity and treat all of its members with respect and value everyone for what they have to offer and support those who cannot offer anything.

What winds me up about those who call themselves feminists is the tendency to look down on or take the mick out of ordinary women in the haha she's a beautician (actually a small business woman) or the haha she's taking the kids to Benidorm sort of way.

marriedinwhite Sun 20-Jan-13 10:44:46

Actually mini you have crstallised why am not and never will be a feminist in spite of being successful, economically active and economically effective. I am conservative with a small and a capital c and I don't give a monkey's elbow about class and social orders. Always been too busy achieving to erect perceived barriers to stop me from doing so. In other words my glass is and has always been half full. The only thing that stops a woman achieving is herself - a woman. If more women did than complained about what stopped them doing there would be far more equality.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 20-Jan-13 10:54:10

Glad your position on feminism has been cleared up for you, married.

WilsonFrickett Sun 20-Jan-13 11:42:25

Although we did tell you that upthread married wink

mini the point about boys separation being a concrete thing in the Middle Ages is fascinating, as society still conspires to separate boys emotionally from women, doesn't it - 'grow up, man up' sort of thing. Endlessly interesting how humans choose to repeat patterns, even unhealthy ones.

dybil Sun 20-Jan-13 12:59:18

Without wanting to hijack the thread, and speaking as a person who has a penis, I'd be interested on further discussion on men's role in feminism.

I have to admit, I find it a little objectionable that some would say that I cannot be a feminist, as I have the wrong genitalia.

Perhaps I misunderstand what feminism is (i'm not the most clued-up), but if it's the belief that having rigidly-defined gender-roles is artificial and discriminatory and that people should not be valued based on their sex, then I wonder whether 'having a vagina' should be a pre-requisite for being a feminist?

I do understand the political reasons for women being the voices of feminism in our society at present, but my personal view is that, when it ceases to matter what gender feminism (or any other 'ism') advocates are, at that moment we will know it has succeeded.

MiniTheMinx Sun 20-Jan-13 13:29:24

The position for working class men under advanced capitalism is indeed dire too married

What I find interesting is that the ideologies we use to make sense of society are the ideas of the ruling class, it comes at us in the form of media, the state, the church, political ideologies and even in all education establishments. The fact that the Camerons of this world feel they are entitled to rule will be as a result of very complex ideology, the same can be seen in reverse. The working classes are "trained" rather than educated and they are trained using the same ideology to accept as "natural" their position within society as lower. We accept the natural order has stemming from human beings nature. Which I think is wrong. If you start to see the contradiction within something like capitalism itself you then look to see what other contradictions there are in our social totality. And they are there.

Your example of working class women and their "entitlement" it right but it is the contradiction within the economic base and the ideology we use to make sense of this that creates the situation. Bourgeois obsession with private property and marriage (conservative world view as only one dimensional) means that working class women are under pressure to conform to family ideals but at the same time the means by which family ideals can be realised come under attack, the working class family is rapidly disintegrating under advanced capitalism. Why? I would argue that working class women HAVE ALWAYS been the prostitutes that maintain the middle class wives position of virtue. Without the whore you can't have the maddonna. Working class women know that the working class male can no longer keep the wolf from the door and the coat on her back, he fails to protect her from the power of the capitalist male. Without the low waged workers you can not have the bourgeois. Man's obsession with wealth and private property (which is male centric) is creating a duality that then needs a narrative to explain this, to rationalise it and tell people it is only due to human nature. We are so far removed from human, that isn't to say that we always have been! If you look at hunter gatherer tribes you find that without the division of public/private life, without private property relations women have more social power because what they produce be it children or cooking pots and tools is valued.

WilsonFrickett yes they do, dads and football, rights of passage like first trip to RLDistricts and Stag dos, bias in education, media messages, older men give younger men social cues etc. What strikes me is that even though women make strides in the work place we take several back when it comes to casual sexism, DV, porn industry........We are not really getting anywhere.

It makes me think of that saying "we think, therefore we are" I would turn that on it's head and say "we are, therefore we think" Dialectical materialism explains where thinking originates and it isn't out of thin air, if we change paradigms and ignore base structure like economics we achieve nothing.

Sorry for the essay smile

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 20-Jan-13 13:37:04

Dybil, some feminists think men can be feminists, others prefer feminist ally or supporter. There was an analogy upthread about white people who were anti-apartheid and their position in the movement vs those disadvantaged directly by apartheid.

For me, if you support feminist goals and take actions to do so, I don't mind what you call yourself.

dybil Sun 20-Jan-13 14:06:00

TheDoctrineofSnatch - I believe your sentiments match my own.

I actually don't feel comfortable calling myself a 'feminist ally' or 'supporter' because a movement which excluded me from being a 'full member' based on my gender would not be a movement I (fully) agreed with!

marriedinwhite Sun 20-Jan-13 14:17:48

But margaret thatcher was lower middle class. My Dh's parents were both from working class backgrounds. DH went to an Oxbridge uni, entered an upper middle class profession and reached the top of it. Ambition and work drives all people forward regardless of background although I think this is less true than 30 years ago; esp since the abolition of most grammar schools which deleted hope for bright working class youngsters.

DH's sisters who regard themselves as feminists and who attended RG uni's have gone backwwards socially. Not because they are women or were lower middle class but because they were and remain lazy. They expect everything on a plate and make no effort.

MiniTheMinx Sun 20-Jan-13 14:27:50

Thatcher worked against her own class interests and pulled up the ladder behind her. having made her way in the world in a time of social mobility she then set about dismantling the state & institutions that conveyed that opportunity to her. The women is a boil on the bum of humanity. We had a large state keynesian demand economy 1945-79 and we had social mobility, then enter thatcher and her neo-lib heros and what follows is a cynical and well thought out attack upon the working classes. (and before you ask, I'm not working class under sociologists measures, under marxian theory I am not either!) you CAN NOT just have a world view based on personal experience and contend that you are right. Only a theoretical and historical approach comes anywhere near to understanding the society in which we live. Anecdotal evidence is a waste of head space grin that is why some radfem blogs and campaigns around gay marriage, gay albino single parent goats with red jackets and blue hair brigades all go wrong, we can all say "hey I'm not one of those" so I'll just be in opposition to that. That actually is another well thought out agenda of the ruling elite......divide and conquer.

marriedinwhite Sun 20-Jan-13 14:45:13

Utter tosh. Anyone prepared to work and aspire to better can improve themselves - it helps if they aren't too chippy and do it with a smile. Nobody is trying to keep people down; they do it admirably for themselves. Further using david Cameron is an anecdote isn't it? Also the post war nationalisedd inustries were becoming a bureaucratised piss take funded by the taxpayer. Top rates of tax in the UK were 95 per cent and brains and investment were draining out in the mid 70's. The then Labour chancellor had to go to the iMF with a begging bowl because those policies had bankrupted the UK.

seeker Sun 20-Jan-13 14:56:13

"Utter tosh. Anyone prepared to work and aspire to better can improve themselves"

This is true. However. Some people's lives are improved already. And some races, classes and genders have to work twice as hard and aspire twice as much as others.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 20-Jan-13 14:59:20

But Dybil, how many political movements does one ever completely agree with? I might be a green party supporter without agreeing with them on everything.

However you describe yourself, I hope that you act to support feminism when appropriate, just as I would continue to recycle and turn off lights even if I thought the green party were wrong on other matters.

"Nobody is trying to keep people down; they do it admirably for themselves."

So you think it is solely a lack of effort that holds some people back?

Xenia Sun 20-Jan-13 15:09:28

I really think that when feminism gets drawn into right and left wing view points it just gets caught in a mess and doesn't make progress and people start disagreeing amongst themselves.

We share common cause - that we want men and women treated equally. The fact I am content that a society where some are rich and poor is absolutely fine and how we are made and others don't does not detract from that common cause. However I will never support the sanctification of housework and caring as some wonderful role to which we should have our daughters aspire. It is dull as ditchwater so most of us want as much sharing of it as possible whether that is with a man or our children or people we pay to do it.

I have always thought men can be feminists and I know many of them and I as much lobby for fathers' rights on divorce as for women's rights to run BP, the Bank of England, the BBC, the army and women's rights to not do more at home than men do.

I don't think it helps feminists to argue about the politics of left or right and I think it hinders it when people say - ah making women want to earn good salaries in jobs previously reserved to men is just a sell out to capitalism. It is like white working class men blaming lack of jobs on the fact women stole them from them. Not a good argument.

MiniTheMinx Sun 20-Jan-13 15:16:21

Married, you are a great study in how much the ruling elite's message infects thinking. It leaves little room for people to question things. Do you think I agree with the IMF? also I would point out that we were not bankrupt in 1979. The debt to GDP ratio came down like a brick 1945-1979 The debt to GDP ratio is what actually counts. The IMF is a baking cartel serving the interests of international bankers.....the elites. The IMF, the Fed and the WTO are a tripartate of organisations that are controlled by wealthy interests. Of course they want to impoverish the state, the fact that the state overlooks this is proof that the state is a sham and a front for the interests of the elite. It wasn't always this way, well at least it wasn't until maggie rode up and started to do the work of the bankers. Everytime we print money we owe money, a corresponding amount of debt is created WHY? bankers leverage (or should that be haemorrhage) and lend money they don't have to make interest. They then come to the state with a begging bowl. The state borrows money to give to the banks, they borrow or print money and then they owe the banks the money plus interest. Its a flaming racket and if people got their heads around it then we would have mass insubordination. Not only would the sick, disabled, working poor and unemployed be campaigning but the middle class tax payer would be wanting their money back from Goldman Sachs and co. Not only are they stealing your husbands tax but they are telling you that they are not.....it's the poor that pick your pockets. You haven't the faintest idea about economics because the ruling elite want to keep it that way

dybil Sun 20-Jan-13 15:19:32

TheDoctrineOfSnatch - I again agree with you, the point you make is the reason why I included "(fully)" in my previous message. The issue is not one which I find so objectionable that it would cause me to stop supporting the core tenants of feminism.

But I hope I've explained why I do not like the label a "Feminist Supporter" and do not feel it is a helpful one. To my mind (which I again stress is not the most educated on the topic), feminism should be about tearing down gender-barriers and should not, therefore, erect its own!

Xenia Sun 20-Jan-13 15:24:03

I am not sure there is a ruling elite. Any women with brains and sense can get herself on a high income and have a lovely life. Life with low incomes is not that easy. That is all there is to it. It is not some conspiracy. It is how we were built - the fittest survive and do best and most of us also care for those whom we love but there will always be those moving up the greasy pole and those moving down,.

The main thing is not to live in impoverishment whilst cuddling your sisters and going woe is me but to get yourself as a woman up that pole and have fun up there... although now I'm having visions of lap dancing on a pole so perhaps the greasy pole was not the right image... laughing as I type.

Agree with dybil. I know loads of feminist men and of course they can be feminists. Lots of men want to do more at home or work part time for example and they do not all find it easy to persuade their other half because she might be very sexist and assume she has the right and not her husband to stay home with the babies etc. It works both ways.

marriedinwhite Sun 20-Jan-13 15:33:11

minnietheminx I may in your opinion not have the faintest idea about economics however I am not so stupid that you have to embolden or shout the partS of your post youthink are the most important. That does not enhance your argument and neither does it make you appear ladylike.

I am the last person standing that yoou need to lecture aabout my husband's taxes. You have no idea how ironic that comment is. ROFL

kim147 Sun 20-Jan-13 15:42:33

"That does not enhance your argument and neither does it make you appear ladylike."

That might not go down well smile

kim147 Sun 20-Jan-13 15:44:03

"Any women with brains and sense can get herself on a high income and have a lovely life. Life with low incomes is not that easy. "

Who'd want a high income if it means you sacrifice your home life? There is a middle ground between high and low.

seeker Sun 20-Jan-13 15:45:26

Interesting that you choose to attack the delivery rather than addressing the message!

Also interesting that Xenia once again taking it as a truth universally acknowledged that bringing up children is as dull as ditchwater and should be delegated to a poor person as soon as possible. What she suggests one does about their accents I have no idea!

Xenia Sun 20-Jan-13 16:38:45

I think the left/right debate is just a side show in feminism. We all agree on the main issues - far too many men do very very little at home and that has a massive impact on women's ability to do the work outside the home which they choose to do and far too many women give up good careers sacrificed on the altar of a male career and thus never really get on and their lives are worse for it.

marriedinwhite Sun 20-Jan-13 16:44:25

There's no point addresssing the message. The writer will never agree with me, just as Xenia and I will never agree that a woman does not have to be in the workplace drawing down megabucks to make a valuable contribution to society, and I don't have the breadth of reading about the topic to retort in the same way that the OP does. I just have my own experiences what I know of those around me and a lifetime of reading the news and living my life. And I live it too close to those minnietheminx nakedly despises and without going away and reading a hundred research manuals I can only respond with my conscience.

MiniTheMinx Sun 20-Jan-13 16:50:34

Me ladylike, have you never read the beano? grin
Do women have to be ladylike and not have an opinion? Why did I bold certain points married, why do you think? because I really get the impression that you focus on only one issue in any given post, why do you do that?, why do you then attack the delivery as unladylike and not come back with a well thought out response?

Why is it ironic to say your husband pays high taxes, or does he use PricewaterhouseCoopers to fiddle his taxes or is he phillip green? neither? well he should, the government use PwC to advise them knowing full well that the likes of Costa also use them to try and avoid paying tax. Maybe you should demand that Goldman sachs et al hand back your money and stop indebting this nation up to the eye balls rather than blindly attacking people who need benefits or health care or whatever other state funded "luxury" you dislike.

Xenia, isn't sure that their was wealthy people or that there are organisations like the fed, BoE, IMF and the WTO, has never heard of MPs taking bribes, Bilderburg meetings and considered who pays for all the elctoral running in the USA? or why the banks lend money to all sides and then get behind the state to wage war, doesn't understand where the Tory party gets it's funding or why Saddam H was backed initially by the CIA? honestly we are all equal because xenia says we are? honestly it's all so twee.

"neither does it make you appear ladylike"

<does double take>

Did you really just try to insult someone on the feminism boards by telling them they aren't ladylike? Really?

"Any women with brains and sense can get herself on a high income"

It's not just about brains and sense, and I think you know that.

MiniTheMinx Sun 20-Jan-13 16:56:07

You live too close to people I despise? don't be so silly, go back and read my posts. I must live with people I despise too smile you don't have to be a donkey to give money to a donkey sanctuary, or be a starving third world child to understand what is wrong with poverty. I'm neither a donkey or a starving child, just for the record!

marriedinwhite Sun 20-Jan-13 17:59:42

I believe in equality of opportunity for all. I believe men and women are equal. I am not a feminist.

Actually very happy to be a sensible, grounded, middle aged, middle class, woman who doesn't whinge or moan.

I might not be as well read as you but do you really think I was referring to my husband paying high taxes. Do you really think it's all done by PwC? Oh the naivety smile. There is also a huge difference between avoidance and evasion.

kim147 Sun 20-Jan-13 18:02:25

"Actually very happy to be a sensible, grounded, middle aged, middle class, woman who doesn't whinge or moan"

You sound very ladylike smile

StickEmUp Sun 20-Jan-13 18:06:06

Bleeding heck what happened to me fred?
Ha!

stickemup It seems that not only do you get told about feminism but also about how to appear ladylike wink

StickEmUp Sun 20-Jan-13 18:17:07

I'll never be a lady id have to stop shaving my head.
I oly shave the sides, am i a half lady? wink

See this is why i started the thread.
After my last post i barely understand what anyone has said.

Let me see

It seems like married in white knows less that me ... 'Im not a feminist?'

I think i thought i couldnt name myslf one unless i stopped shaving my legs.

Xenia Sun 20-Jan-13 18:24:58

My point was you do not need to be born with blue or lizard blood or be a mason or whatever as a woman to do well. Plenty of working class women on mumsnet enjoy good careers and do well./ We re very lucky women and men fought hard on these issues. 100 years ago I think or just about many professions were closed by law to women.

I am not just writing about middle class women and even working class women who pass exams well and do well.

Feminism is about making sure Jane who works in Tesco with a husband who drives a taxi cab does not end up doing all the cleaning at home because in her working class tradition or hindu or Muslim or whatever sexist set up you want to pick even if she works as hard out of the hosue as her husband she does far more cleaning and childcare than the God like man with whom she lives who never lifts a finger. That is feminism. It is about strong women not being walked all over by men at home and that applies whatever your race, cultural tradition or class. It is not just about women who choose to work as hard as I do and earn what I do.

The left/right politics issue just distracts from the main issue which is the basic stuff like is it unfair? It can be unfair the other way round. I have spoken to a good few men who work very hard, wife never lifts a finger, he gets home at 6 and then spend 4 hours of childcare and cleaning and she does nothing much at home either and yet on divorce he is treated like someone who never saw his children and gets them for 10 hours every fortnight. Mind you more fool him for enjoying a housewife I suppose as men pay the price for that on divorce.

MiniTheMinx Sun 20-Jan-13 19:05:16

Xenia, we will never agree partly because you use your own life experience to justify your political view. I don't. I'm not subordinated to you by class and obv I am not subordinate to you by sex. I really get the impression that you ascribe to the liberal feminist agenda of maintaining class hierarchy in society because it benefits you.

Interesting read here www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/socialistvoice/womenPR34.html would really appreciate constructive opinion on it, interested to see whether you can actually take on board any other opinion and actually comment or whether you will continue to keep playing the "look at me so superior" argument.

"As capitalism heads toward mounting unemployment and broader social crisis, the prospect for women is much grimmer than described so far. By now the family wage can no longer be said to exist, not even for the middle class: compare the 60 percent of wives in the U.S. labor force in 1985 with the 25 percent in 1950. As well, while capitalism may conveniently claim to be sending women back to the home, layers of working-class women in this category really suffer from disguised unemployment: the lack of a real family wage means that they still need work and therefore are part of the reserve army of labor.

The number of involuntary part-time workers increased by 60 percent between 1979 and 1985. As union-scale industrial jobs held mainly by men diminished, women entered the labor force to fill part-time and low-wage service jobs. (While women are 45 percent of the labor force, they are 64 percent of minimum-wage earners.) For this reason women account for 63 percent of the increase in the U.S. workforce in the past decade. Nevertheless, the increasing proportion of female labor will inevitably be used by capitalism as a convenient excuse for the disappearance of the decent jobs that many male workers enjoyed in the past.

The social wage must also be reduced much more drastically because capitalism’s need for austerity is growing. We have seen wholesale cuts in health care, housing, education and all public services. If the system can keep mothers believing in their responsibility for the health and welfare of husbands and children (while it is the father’s job to bring home the bacon), it will create an important counter to the persistent notion that it is society’s duty to supply such services.

Today the female-headed single-parent household is the most rapidly growing family form, not only in the U.S. but worldwide. The number of single mothers in the U.S. doubled from 1960 to 1985, when one out of every four mothers in the work force headed her own family. The breakup of the nuclear family under capitalism has meant smaller family units and more responsibility on the woman’s shoulders"

dybil Sun 20-Jan-13 19:12:07

marriedinwhite - why is it that you say you're not a feminist?

You believe in equality between the sexes... which is in essence what being a feminist is.

Is it just that you don't like to identify with it because you feel the label has some sort of negative connotation?

www.ic.sunysb.edu/Clubs/fmla/yesyouare.html

marriedinwhite Sun 20-Jan-13 19:40:58

Yep. And Xenia this is one thread where we have both participated and I think we could have a glass of wine and a good laugh putting aside our different opinions. grin.

AnyFucker Sun 20-Jan-13 19:44:05

xenia I really enjoy your posts when you apply your ideology outside of your rarified situation that is out of reach for many women

#keepin' it real

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 20-Jan-13 19:52:12

Hmm.

Do you just have to believE that men and women are equal to be a feminist or does it need to go a bit further than that?

I think Trills's definition is along the lines of, "Do you believe that men and women should be equal? Do you think they are at the moment? Do you want that to change?" which has more to it than the "Have a vagina? Want to be in control of it?" definition.

If one's starting premise, as married's is, is that the only thing that stops a woman achieving is herself, then one would seem to believe that equality is already established and now it is individuals not acting on it.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 20-Jan-13 19:54:19

...that is the only problem.

MiniTheMinx Sun 20-Jan-13 20:13:08

So taking Married's position in relation to women, "men and women have equality" it's up to women to act on it means that the same could be said of class and race. Of course we are led to think this way, we as individuals are totally responsible, sink or swim. That is neo-liberal ideology. Many people think this way because it stops people asking questions and demanding equality. It's all very well in relation to middle class women to point out they have opportunities, "so take them and stop winging" but what of women in India, Africa, Indonesia? and working class women here that get sucked into prostitution & sex work. Working class women can not delegate cleaning and in Xenia speak "shit jobs" they can't afford to. The shit jobs could be broadened to include dull filing, dull nursery care, dull office or factory work, dull waitressing and all for NMW. The life of middle class women is and has always been made that little bit easier by delegating "shit work" to working class women.

AnyFucker Sun 20-Jan-13 20:23:26

well, yes

MIW's philosophy is a victim-blaming one

you are not the CEO of a large multinational ? Shame on you...it's your own fault

MiniTheMinx Sun 20-Jan-13 20:28:59

Beaten by your husband.......well that would be your fault.

WilsonFrickett Mon 21-Jan-13 00:29:44

Is it not one of the main points of feminism that we look beyond our own noses? Married and Xenia both have lovely lives that thry've worked hard for - so have I for that matter - but in engaging with feminism I'm trying to look beyond my own experience. That's why mini's posts are so interesting, even though I have to think hard and squint my eyes a bit when I'm reading them - she's trying to apply broader theories than 'it worked for me.'

And married please dont describe Thatcher as lower-middle class like she was some wee workie who pulled herself up by her own bootstraps and overcame all those difficulties to become this amazing role model to us all. Talk about pulling the ladder up behind you, she invented the concept. And to Scots she's posh. We don't have the middle class like the English do.

Xenia Mon 21-Jan-13 09:37:34

The left do not allow for personal responsibility and sit around waiting for the state to help them once they've engendered their revolution. The right say the Lord helps those who help themselves.

Most of us are somewhere in the middle - yes we need laws which say you cannot discriminate on grounds of sex but we also need more women saying once they get to know the new boyfriend - oy mate, just because I have breasts doesn't mean I cook and wash your shirts. Here's the washing basket. I'll be back in 60 minutes. Make sure you iron too... That can be done in poor homes, working class homes, Indian, African and all kinds of homes and it can start at home.
We can talk about working class women realising they can do well at school and have good careers and that is very important. However just as important is that day by day micro stuff which says if he has 4 hours to watch football then you get 4 hours off when you can leave the house on Saturdays and he not only minds the children but does cleaning at the same time to do your thing.

So what makes some women accept unfairness at home and others not? Presumably their upbringing. Make sure you don't show your children a pattern of sexism at home.

MiniTheMinx Mon 21-Jan-13 11:40:46

Xenia, Did you learn by rote at school? please answer, simple question. Did you attend state or private?

Ok lets try this a different way, historically (ie factually) class status depended upon men. The conditions of women's lives have been determined by the fact that men have economic control via the traditional nuclear family that came out of _man's need to compete with other men for resources_ , only women could provide heirs only women could provide the extra hands needed to work the land.

Historically (as in constantly changing over time) the accumulation of private property confers social status, Yes or no? Social status confers power. (wow how does that happen?) This is a hierarchy, this social structure locks women into a position dependant upon wealth and property for social power. Even if you believe that patriarchy theory explains women's subordination then you have to understand how women's position has changed over time (according to method of production ie tribal, middle ages, feudal, capitalist) women's subordination occurred by historical process in relation to production and it will continue to change in the same historical way and it will therefore be dictated not by Xenia but by changing the method of production. The value of reproduction is related to method of production and changes over time. Capitalists require specific skills set that they believe are "more natural" to women, empathy, manual dexterity, ability to cope with monotony, boredom thresholds, part time workers, flexible working patterns, non manual-labour, more caring, nursing, teaching roles, sw roles etc,.....so guess what......reproduction is not valued in relation to production. YOU are actually feeding into this problem because you are measuring a persons value not on their nature, not on their character but in monetary terms. Women have always been rated in this way which is why women are subordinated.

It really is that simple. And for an intelligent women like you to fail to grasp such simple theory and logic points to the fact that YOU benefit from the system, which is why YOU defend it.

Xenia Mon 21-Jan-13 17:46:08

We simply disagree. I think capitalism is wonderful. You don't but we probably both agree women are total mugs if they accept sexism at home and that if they can do well and have equal rights to men at work they tend to have better lives and that a heap of things done to women on this planet from FMG to the not even having the vote in Saudi is pretty rotten for women. I am sure we can agree on that.

What was the simple question? Private school. My great grandfather mined for coal I suspect in the same mine as the Duchess of Cambridge's mother's relatives at the same time in the same area. We are lucky in the UK to have relatively easy social mobility as we tend not to have the Indian caste system and the like. So I can move up, others move down and it's all good fun.

Women are no more locked into their social status than men are. We can work hard and earn a lot and fo well or we can take stupid choices of careers or mess up our exam results and have a low income for life and as we are women we have the second option to make money which is sex and marrying. Men don't have both options on the whole. Now we can earn a lot through our own efforts plus through marriage women are actually earning more than men adn then under 40 more are millionaires as either they made that money or they got it from a man. As men tend just to have the one option - to earn it there are fewer of those who are millionaires in the UK under 40 so all is well for women and we are lucky to live in this time. Obviously if women want to live in socialist communes with no money or be contemplative nuns or move to Cuba or North Korea those are options too.

feministefatale Mon 21-Jan-13 19:16:57

Xenia, Whites in the UK make about 43p an hour more on average than minorities. DO you think that's because they simply haven't worked hard enough?

MiniTheMinx Mon 21-Jan-13 20:04:22

I agree, everything is set up to favour the few feministefatale

Xenia, The reason I ask is because education on the surface of it would seem to have no sex and class bias but several sociologists have studied this area. Althusser en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Althussersaid that capitalist production relied upon class and sex bias. "labour power must be produced in a form where differentiation exists according to definition of skill and this provision is met through idealogical process" The most obvious way this happens is through the system of state/private. State education is the vehicle by which labour is reproduced (along with family) whilst the private sector is concerned with educating people to lead. Very often what is found is that the state school teaches skills and attitudes best suited to the demands of stultifying and boring repetitious work. Students are not encouraged to question, to teach people to think leads to social unrest!

Being "ruled over" becomes as natural for the working class as "right to rule" is for the upper class. feministefatale stat is a perfect example, because where bright working class boys from minorities have been taken out of the state system and put into private they then make better progress. And it isn't just the teaching it's the ideology and the culture.

feministefatale Mon 21-Jan-13 20:26:24

mini no need to explain. Xenia has herself on many occasion explained that the children of the well to do are better off than the poor. It's her reason for why parents shouldn't stay home with their children. They should be out earning more and sending them to better schools.

She just forgets that when people imply that if you haven't got the money and the schooling it's a bit more difficult to leave your place.

Xenia Tue 22-Jan-13 16:08:22

It's that moral duty to ensure your child is favoured over others, to ensure you feed it well and read to it rather than neglecting it and doing better instead for your neighbour's child. it is how we are made - to seek to ensure our children do well i.e. better than those of others. It's why parents leave inner London 9when it's schools were at their worst) and move to suburbs with leafy comps.

I don't think you c an generalise to say state schools breed the workers. Plenty of them send children to Oxbridge who will h ire cleaners and nannies and plumbers to do work for them.

If white males only earn 43p per hour more than non whites that suggests there is very little discrimination. There are many more Jews and non whites (including blacks and asians) amongst lawyers for example than reflects not positive discrimination in their favour but cultural preference in their various cultures for that career.

Women are also not very good at asking for more pay (except for me) and that is another reason some of them over age 27 are paid less and the main reason is often that they accept sexist men at home and stupidly let themselves be saddled with childcare and domestic stuff men have the wit to avoid. If the left on the thread want revolution let it start at a very micro level of ensuring this coming weekend no woman does more than a man in terms of cleaning and childcare and that they each have as much spare time as the other. It is a day to day thing, feminism can be, about who cleans the loo etc etc. It is about transferring responsibility at home for tasks in a fair way, not just to be nagged to do them but to say okay I'm the man so I do 100% of the washing and you do the cooking or he takes to school and she collects. These fairness things can be organised whether you both are unemployed or both on the board at Tesco.

MmBovary Sat 26-Jan-13 09:29:45

OP, feminism is very difficult to define, you are right. But calling it "peopleism" doesn't addresss the problem.

You have to start by understanding or seeing the problem first: that women, not just now, but throughout history and all over the world has been treated as inferior to men and therefore not given the same opportunities in terms of personal development, education, work and professional lives.

In some countries of the world, mainly Western nations, most women have achieved a high degree of opportunity and independence from the patriarchal structure, always working within it, as there isn't yet another choice, but they have access now to education and the professions.

However, the hurdles they have to overcome to be respected and to be promoted and recognised for their capacities and skills are tremendous.

They also face inequality inside the house when they get married and have children as it is very commonly expected for them to carry out most childcare and domestic duties.

So, yes, we have achieved a high degree of equality overall, but there is still a lot to be done for women and men to be exactly at the same level in the workplace, at home, and in society as a whole.

Feminism is not about being the "same" as men, as it is sometimes assumed. As the words "equal" and "same" are usually confused. Nobody is the same to anybody, not even two men are the same to each other. It is about being equal when it comes to opportunities for personal development and expression, that is, equal opportunities and expectations in education, the job market, and at home, and the wider society. I can't see how "peopleism" would address a problem that is very clearly a gender problem.

That's why I think feminism is important and should be kept alive.

Men nowadays have a lot of challenges too, and I wouldn't understimate their plight either, but because they tend to be the ones in positions of economic and political power the world over, I can't see why we need a movement to catapult them to that.

SerenityX Fri 01-Feb-13 09:27:05

My best friend and I both describe ourselves as feminists.

She does not have children, by choice. She does not believe in marriage. She has long term boyfriends - serial monogamy. She hates organized religions. She is gorgeous and dresses beautifully in silk dresses. She has a high flier job and earns a decent salary in IT at the boardroom level. (smashed some glass ceilings on the way). She hates sports and the whole macho culture that goes with who is the fastest, strongest, toughest and the narcissists it produces - who will do anything to get there. (thinking of her latest Lance Amstrong rant)

She is appalled by rape and that in the military it gets hidden and pushed aside as occupational hazard. She hates religion for teaching women they must obey men. She finds it offensive people bring their kids to restaurants. She thinks it is terrible that we seem to be a more child - centric society than we were 20 years ago.

Sustainability is an issue - she puts it down to humans becoming too successful for their own good and not thinking we are superior to all other animals. This is a bad thing!

She supports gays and mavericks - people who think different. She champions creativity and the arts & sciences. She hates my dress sense and dresses uniquely but beautifully. Edgy i think! She shuns anything "about fitting in" and the whole cupcake culture as she calls it. You won't catch her reading 50 Shades of Grey.

She is the most amazing and dynamic woman I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. So strong, spirited and completely independent. She is always out, traveling or doing something fun, She is never tired - she admits she sleeps 10 hours a day. She looks 10-15 years younger than she is.

What is amazing is that my life and beliefs are so VERY...VERY...VERY different to hers and thank goodness feminism has given US THe POWER TO CHOOSE! We have another friend who's 16 year old daughter (to her mothers slight horror) is saying she wants to grow up like X.... She is already saying she never wants to get married or have kids.... She does not like kids and is not afraid to say it! At 16 how strong is that?

Without this thing called Feminism women would be shunned and considered evil for not liking kids. Why should we all like kids? Should every woman have kids?

It is quite funny to think that she has lost friends over this as people assume she is weird to question things.

Whenever I hear some politico preaching about family values I think pass the sick bucket. Surely we are in the days of free choice now and can choose the lifestyle we want and not judge others.

I can still uphold feminist values and wear Boden while baking cupcakes if I want. Putting people (women) into boxes is the problem.

My pet hate was the Boots Christmas commercial Here come the girls! Sexism in advertising like the Diet Coke make my skin crawl. Lynx is another brand I refuse to have in this house. It is more difficult with sexism when raising boys. As there are few gender neutral products aimed at them. I notice how assumptions about young men are so ingrained. People on meeting my son will ask him what his favourite football team without even asking if he is into football. Just assumed!

The challenge for me as a feminist is how I raise my son.

Thoughts? I am sure there is plenty of controversy in this post so fire away.

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