Discussing feminism with women today

(129 Posts)
ContentedLittleMummy Tue 30-Jul-13 18:54:24

A post was opened about feminism on a forum I'm on. I'm a feminist, leaning more towards rad feminism but not buying into all their ideology. I don't believe men can be feminists, I think they can sympathise with the movement, as I can say against race rights, but they haven't truly experienced being a woman in a partiarchal society.

I got called names and a "man hater" and all sorts of horrible things, and I wondering if my beliefs are really out there and a bit insane?! I'm married to a man with two sons, and I don't "hate men" and I know that's a lazy thing to call a feminist but it's really got me down.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 30-Jul-13 18:59:04

>wondering if my beliefs are really out there and a bit insane?!

nah, its more likely that you ran into a bunch who enjoy being nasty to anyone who identifies as being a feminist. (BTW - your NN doesn't sound very rad fem, I was expecting this to be rather a different sort of post!grin)

ContentedLittleMummy Tue 30-Jul-13 19:07:25

They said they were feminists and that it was all about "equality" and the fact I was refusing to make it about men meant I didn't want equality?! I asked if they'd read Caitlin Moran's definition of a feminist; then they went into a mob mode and said I was slating women for not being fluent in "feminist" literature. I feel bad that they got the wrong end of the stick, but also that they don't seem to know what they're talking about. What's an NN?

GrimmaTheNome Tue 30-Jul-13 19:13:52

NN == Nickname smile

I've never read Caitlin's definition of feminism.... please do tell! smile

I'm not fluent in feminist literature but I'm always happy to learn.

ContentedLittleMummy Tue 30-Jul-13 19:17:10

Oh, it's along the lines of "put your hands down your pants, if there's a vagina and you want to be in control of it then you're a feminist". This clearly outlaws men. Ah my NN is because my babies were whispers Gina Ford babies (her book is Contented Little Baby!)

SconeRhymesWithGone Tue 30-Jul-13 20:04:12

Wasn't Moran speaking to women when she said that?

I am a feminist (and a woman). Men can be feminists, too. I married one and I raised one. But they do have to understand that being a feminist does not erase their male privilege, and they must be willing to be educated and led by women in their feminism.

But I don't think you should be attacked for a different view. I know radical feminists who believe that men can only be allies, but not feminists (or at least not radical ones). I recognize that it is a valid point of view, even though I disagree with it.

ImNotBloody14 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:14:15

Outlaws men? Men are illegal? confused

ContentedLittleMummy Tue 30-Jul-13 20:14:36

I think that men can be "pro feminists" but not feminists mainly because they're not women and therefore can't understand the struggle from a womans' perspective. I read it online quoted, but can't say where it was originally from, but I know it was in one of her books too.

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:16:44

Does it really matter if they want the same outcome?

ContentedLittleMummy Tue 30-Jul-13 20:17:41

It matters to me, because I don't need a man to fight my battle to be truthful. Can't anything just be womens'?

ImNotBloody14 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:21:49

Being a feminist isnt about experiencing the struggle women go through.

ImNotBloody14 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:22:20

I think you seem a bit confused about the definition of a feminist tbh.

ImNotBloody14 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:22:44

And what is this about outlawing men? confused

ContentedLittleMummy Tue 30-Jul-13 20:24:53

Sorry for using the wrong terminology.

I'm confused? How so? I believe in removing the patriarchy and I don't believe in needing a mans' (generally speaking) help to do it. What do you think feminism is?

ImNotBloody14 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:30:06

Its not about needing a man's help - its about people wanting the same thing and lots of the people that want that are men.

Backonthefence Tue 30-Jul-13 20:31:11

How are you going to remove the patriarchy without men?

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:31:37

I believe that people of different races should be treated equally. I've not experienced racism but I think it's wrong.

I believe people who are disabled shouldn't face discrimination. I've not experienced that but I think it's wrong.

I believe trans people should not face discrimination. I have experienced that and value the support of people who are not trans but support trans rights.

ContentedLittleMummy Tue 30-Jul-13 20:33:08

Kim it's exactly that, they can empathise but haven't first handedly experienced.

Maybe I'm more rad fem than I thought.

ContentedLittleMummy Tue 30-Jul-13 20:33:54

handed* sorry

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:38:09

But can they say they are a feminist?

What do you think a feminist is and a feminist wants?

How does that differ from someone who supports trans / race equality / disabled rights?

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:40:19

You said "if you want to be in charge of your vagina, that makes you a feminist"

Which is a good quote.

But it does not say "Only a person with a vagina can be a feminist".

ContentedLittleMummy Tue 30-Jul-13 20:41:05

I think a woman (born a woman) wanting to get rid of the patriarchal system because it effects her makes her a feminist. I don't think men are targeted by the patriarchal system, unless I'm reading into it all wrong

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:44:45

You're saying what that a woman can be a feminist.

But you're not defining what a feminist is. Just who can be one.


What do you think a feminist wants? Is it "for women to be in control of their vaginas"? If so, surely that can include men who want that as well?

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:45:41

And the patriarchy (or the system) affects men as well.

ContentedLittleMummy Tue 30-Jul-13 20:47:39

A feminist is a woman who wants to remove the patriarchy and what it stands for. A feminist wants equality for women, to end exploitation and misogyny; a feminist is someone who can see through her eyes how women are treated differently, being that she's experienced it, and wants to get rid of that treatment/stigma

I think patriarchy does men a disservice too. I think men can be feminists.

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:51:41

So what would you call someone who reads, hears and is very aware of discrimination, who wants to remove the patriarchy, exploitation and misogyny?

And does it matter if they call themselves a feminist?

If they want the same outcome but haven't experienced it?

Is it worth arguing about labels? Should they be part of the cause or should they do nothing and sit back and ignore what goes on?

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 30-Jul-13 20:55:46

I totally get what you mean. IMO men can have feminist views, and support feminism. This might actually make them less likely to want to overtly label themselves as feminists because they would have humility about it. Men's most helpful role is not to go round saying "I'm a feminist, aren't I brilliant?" but instead to do the difficult drudge work of standing up for women and against sexism amongst other men.

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:58:14

"but instead to do the difficult drudge work of standing up for women and against sexism amongst other men."

Not just amongst men.

jellycake Tue 30-Jul-13 20:58:56

I don't think it matters what you call yourself as long as we stick up for ourselves and our rights. I love Caitlin Moran's definition of feminism
“But, of course, you might be asking yourself, 'Am I a feminist? I might not be. I don't know! I still don't know what it is! I'm too knackered and confused to work it out. That curtain pole really still isn't up! I don't have time to work out if I am a women's libber! There seems to be a lot to it. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?'
I understand.
So here is the quick way of working out if you're a feminist. Put your hand in your pants.

a) Do you have a vagina? and
b) Do you want to be in charge of it?

If you said 'yes' to both, then congratulations! You're a feminist.”
― Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

and also her way of deciding whether something is sexist.
“You can tell whether some misogynistic societal pressure is being exerted on women by calmly enquiring, ‘And are the men doing this, as well?’ If they aren’t, chances are you’re dealing with what we strident feminists refer to as ‘some total fucking bullshit’.”
― Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

ThisIsMySpareName Tue 30-Jul-13 21:11:21

I don't need a man to fight my battle
I believe in removing the patriarchy

You can't have one without the other. Patriarchy is a social construct - it can't be seen, it can't be 'overthrown' as it isn't 'real' in the same way a government is for example.

It can't even be properly defined as the things that are contained within the construct continuously change as equalities are lost and gained. It exists only as a way of describing a range of things (behaviours, laws etc) that make up our culture and society.

The only way to 'remove the patriarchy' is to change behaviours, culture and expectations to the extent where the construct no longer makes sense and a new one has be created that does.

This is a gradual process, but in order for it to be successful you need to reach a critical tipping point where the majority of society 'agree' that the previous construct is no longer relevant.

If you want to reach that majority you very much do need enlightened men to fight the battle because an unfortunate and ironic consequence of patriarchy is that some men will only listen to other men and not women.

Therefore unless the number of women in the population start to considerably outnumber men so that the critical mass of opinion can be reached without them, then yes, you do actually need men to 'remove' the patriarchy.

In my opinion anyway wink

ImNotBloody14 Tue 30-Jul-13 21:14:28

I agree thisis

MadBannersAndCopPorn Tue 30-Jul-13 21:16:25

I'll always remember going on the women's day march in london about 8 or 9 years ago. There were men there, supporting the women, there were boys there, with their mothers.
Some of the participants of the march were violently pushing men and boys out of the crowds telling them to fuck off and they didn't belong etc
Their excuse for doing it was that some women had been abused by men and didn't want them 'taking over' their march...
Really sad- I never went again

If anyone wants to support a cause, they should be able to regardless of their race, hair colour, sex etc.
Surely people would want as many people as possible to support the cause? People feel more involved when they have a name, a place, a purpose. So if a man supports feminist issues and calls himself a feminist what's the problem?

I think men can see the effects by the patriarchal society too. I am anti-racism, anti-disabilism, anti-discrimination in general etc; but I have come across xenophobia (and anti-immigrants -I don't mean anti immigration by this-), sexism and misogyny, and racism, and that is therefore what I can talk about with personal experience, but I can acknowledge I am lucky not to be subject to other forms of discrimination and hate, and try and make sure no one has to experience it.

I think men can see and acknowledge the effects of patriarchy. I anti-capital punishment and so on, but have never felt the effects of it, and I can still fight for it and support activists, just as men can. Being a feminist is support feminism, and men can do that as can women. It's about the person, not the gender.

Great post thisis

SconeRhymesWithGone Tue 30-Jul-13 21:49:05

Yes, indeed, thisis

BasilBabyEater Tue 30-Jul-13 22:19:18

MadBanners, do you think men should always be allowed to march with women?

On every occasion?

Does anyone remember the New Cross fire? It was about 30 years ago, 13 black teenagers got burned to death. There was a huge march down the Old Kent Rd to parliament and black people asked white people to stay away because they wanted it to be a black march.

Does anyone think white people should have said: "well I support anti-racism and I think black people should be equal to white people so i'm coming on your march whether you want me to or not"?

The reason traditionally oppressed groups want to organise together without the traditional oppressor groups being there, is because they can talk more freely and their voices don't get drowned out by the ones which are disproportionately heard anyway. It's really important for marginalised groups to have their own space, free from the socially and cultural dominant group, so they can work out their ideas without being rail-roaded back into the norm by people who haven't lived their experience so are more accepting of the parameters of the norm and less willing or able to step outside them. And since these people are used to being listened to and expect to be listened to, and since the marginalised people are used to listening to them and expect to listen to them, even when they consciously know that this happens their conditioning is so strong that it happens even when everyone there is aware of it and doesn't want it to happen. This means that the development of consciousness can be very effectively curtailed just by inviting along a well-wisher and fellow-traveller from the dominant group.

Which is why it is legitimate to have women-only events.

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 22:34:33

Do you think men should march with women on women's rights marches - unless they have been specifically asked not to?

Should straight people attend gay pride events and march with gay people - unless they have been specifically asked not to?

BasilBabyEater Tue 30-Jul-13 22:42:20

When they're specifically asked not to, they should respect the boundaries of the people who are asking them and keep away.

Of course people should show solidarity with marginalised groups, but the culturally and socially dominant group is obviously not the one which should decide the best way of them showing solidarity. Any political movement has to be led by the people whose interests it is campaigning for. So if those people ask them to march with them, then they should march with them and if they ask them not to, they should not.

It's not complicated.

Rache101 Tue 30-Jul-13 22:45:59

This is like saying only gays can support gay marriage or only black people can support civil rots. You are very misguided and confused

CiscoKid Tue 30-Jul-13 22:46:24

I am a man. I have taken an interest in feminism in the past few years, driven partly by selfish motives - I have a teenage daughter. I wanted to understand some of the obstacles that she will face in life. I have a son too, but I have a better understanding of how society will treat him.

I see posts like those from Basil and the OP, and I get where they are coming from. They want to do it on their own - it's women's fight, not men's. Fair enough. I can respect that, and if women feel that men should stay away from marches, or meetings, then we should stay away. Stand back, wish them well, and let them get on with it. Don't interfere, don't obstruct.

BasilBabyEater Tue 30-Jul-13 23:02:13

No Rache, I am not confused, you are.

What don't you understand about my assertion that marginalised groups should be the ones to decide how fellow-travellers from the oppressor groups can best support them?

Also Cisco Kid I don't want you to misrepresent my views. I didn't say I want to do it on my own. I'm in favour of men participating in feminist actions, just not the ones where women want to do it as women only and not in leadership roles. Just as I think disabled campaigners should be the ones who lead disability rights campaigns, BME people should lead anti-racism campaigns, gay people should lead gay rights campaigns etc. And those of us who support them, should take our cue from them as to when and how to organise alongside and with them and when to stand back and let them do their thang without us bringing the usual POV to the party, when they ask us to.

I really don't get why that's so difficult for people to accept.

scallopsrgreat Tue 30-Jul-13 23:04:51

I don't think the OP is saying that men can't support feminism. In fact she says they can be pro feminist. That sounds pretty supportive to me Rache101. Perhaps she isn't that confused.

I find these discussions really interesting. Women bending over backwards to include men. Just what we are conditioned to do. Can you really not see, on a march about violence towards women, that men might not be welcome, even should not be welcome?

Agree with BBE completely. So important for the oppressed group to be able to organise, discuss and lead.

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 23:08:34

basil I don't think anyone is saying women should not take the lead.

BasilBabyEater Tue 30-Jul-13 23:16:13

People are saying they're unreasonable, misguided etc., to want to sometimes organise without men though.

They aren't saying that about BME groups, disabled groups etc.

But maybe they think those groups would be unreasonable to want to organise together without the dominant group present.

I think we need to remember that "leadership" is often automatically ceded to the person from the dominant group. That's why leadership and permanent involvement are interlinked.

MadBannersAndCopPorn Tue 30-Jul-13 23:16:52

I think people should be able to stand up for what they believe in, especially when it comes to rights.

The march I was referring to was taking place on one of the busiest streets in London, there was a barrier for the march to take part behind so that the general public didn't get swept in.

Men who were standing watching the women march were being abused by the women within the barriers and pushed, sworn at etc
Women who had young sons with them were being physically pushed out of the march.
The women in the group felt they had the right to abuse people without reason or back up, just because they were women. That just seems like the coin being completely flipped and women thinking they're more important than men, giving them the right to abuse them.

The way women are treated in society will not change unless the majority want the change to happen, that means men too. They are the cause of the 'problem' so must be part of the solution.
^this was pretty said much more eloquently somewhere upthread...

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 23:17:47

Who said it was unreasonable to organise without men?

Is that the comment where men were pushed off the march?

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 23:19:04

I think you reading a lot more into what people are saying than what people think basil.

BasilBabyEater Tue 30-Jul-13 23:20:41

Sorry, that's not clear is it.

What I mean is, it's much harder for people from the marginalised group to take the lead, when the dominant group is present.

By definition, you are limiting the leadership potential of the marginalised group whenever you admit the dominant group.

Which is why you sometimes need to say, this is going to be a dominant-group-free event.

Because if you never have those events, then almost inevitably, leadership will be ceded to the dominant group.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 30-Jul-13 23:22:30

Having come back to this ...sounds like mostly singing from the same hymn sheet, just not always in unison. Hope the OP found this more constructive than what she encountered elsewhere.

Good post BBE.

BasilBabyEater Tue 30-Jul-13 23:22:47

So MadBanners, do you think white people should have gate-crashed that black-only march through New Cross 30 years ago?

In the name of standing up for what is right?

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 23:25:08

If they were asked to stay away, then no they shouldn't.

Was it right that the women on that march treated the men and boys so horribly?

GrimmaTheNome Tue 30-Jul-13 23:27:12

>So MadBanners, do you think white people should have gate-crashed that black-only march through New Cross 30 years ago?

isn't that rather different though - it sounded like the march she mentioned was not explicitly women-only - men and boys had come to support their partner/mother, they weren't gate-crashing they'd been invited.

If they'd been explicitly asked not to come, that would be different (though even then, surely this could have been explained politely)

MadBannersAndCopPorn Tue 30-Jul-13 23:28:19

I didn't say it was unreasonable to organise without men...

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 23:29:59

I don't think anyone said it was unreasonable to organise without men or have women only events and meetings.

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 23:33:38

I might also be wrong here but if a man turned up at a feminist meeting and tried to take charge, I think he might get short shrift from the feminists there due to the nature of the women.

But I could be wrong on that. Maybe some men try and do that - but I'd be surprised if they got away with it.

BasilBabyEater Tue 30-Jul-13 23:34:21

If the march was not designated women-only then obviously their behaviour was unreasonable as well as unpleasant.

But really, so what?

What do you want to do about the fact that some women somewhere were nasty twenty years ago? Ban all woman marches? Or what?

What sort of politics is this?

MadBannersAndCopPorn Tue 30-Jul-13 23:36:08

They weren't gatecrashing they were either just there, in the street going about their Sunday in London or walking on the pavement alongside the march (in the road, separated off) Some were following the route of the march, some were supporting partners.
They were hounded by angry women who had tarred all men with the same brush to the extent that they were pushing women out of the march who were carrying young sons.

I believe women and any other oppressed group should be allowed to organise events highlighting their issues but there has to be a limit and common sense and abusing the general public/ children for just being there is beyond the limit.

BasilBabyEater Tue 30-Jul-13 23:37:42

Kim, it's not as obvious as a man turning up and throwing his weight around.

That's not how it happens. I've no doubt that most members of culturally dominant groups have no intention of throwing their weight around and genuninely turn up with a view to being supportive.

Leadership gets ceded to them almost by default, because that's what conditioning does.

But I've said all this already and as it's a work night, I'm not going to go through it all again as I've got to go to bed.

Good night.

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 23:38:12

basil You seem to be over reacting to a comment.

MadBannersAndCopPorn Tue 30-Jul-13 23:39:15

The point is Basil that men should be able to stand aside whilst women protest and support them if they choose without being abused, that is all.

Men who support feminist issues should be able to call themselves feminists if they want to (it's only a name)

CiscoKid Tue 30-Jul-13 23:44:33

What sort of politics is this? Perfectly normal, I think. By women, for women in this case, but so what? When women have power, when they are dominant in a situation, why should we expect them to behave like saints? They are passionate and driven. Some are aggressive, some are not. Some use physical force, some do not.

If the whole point of feminism is that women and men are equal, and deserve equal rights, then that is because we are pretty much the same under the skin. All human, with the same drives, actions and reactions. And if we are the same, we will behave in the same way, good or bad.

scallopsrgreat Wed 31-Jul-13 00:16:12

kim147 did you mean to be so dismissive there? Women are forever being told they are "overreacting". It is pretty derogatory and a silencing tactic.

But Feminist isn't just a name. Words just aren't words. They have meanings. Feminism is a political movement with women at its heart. That matters.

I've been on women only marches with my son and with other boys and never seen behaviour like that MadBanners. I think you were pretty unlucky sad. People do behave badly. As Basil says, not sure what we are supposed to do about it or how we are responsible for that. We aren't advocating it.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 31-Jul-13 00:22:44

My husband is a Feminist. He has embraced Feminism along with me. As I learned about it, so did he...we have two daughters and he is passionate about stopping pornography from damaging women and men further.

He does more than 50% of the housework and we both work...my job involves longer hours so he does the school run. When he encounters casual sexism he always challenges is and he teaches our daughters about strong women from the past. He's a beautiful man and he IS a Feminist.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 31-Jul-13 00:23:58

Feminists can't exclude men because they are part of the fight. They need to be educated along with other women and they can and do make change happen on a daily basis.

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 04:00:23

scallops So if you think someone is over reacting to what someone is saying, aren't you allowed to say it without being accused of silencing?

Madbanners made a comment and I think basil has really over reacted and seen stuff in the comment that is not there. So I'm helping to defend someone and being supportive of someone else.

The fact that basil is female does not mean I can't say I think she's over reacting, does it? Or am I not allowed to say what I think confused

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 04:08:21

And I think:

"What do you want to do about the fact that some women somewhere were nasty twenty years ago? Ban all woman marches? Or what?

What sort of politics is this?"

Is over-reacting to a statement. Taking something and then extrapolating that someone thinks a poster wants a ban on all woman marches.

Just because someone is a feminist does not mean they can over react and see stuff that's not there, does it?

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 04:18:48

And if I was being dismissive, I wouldn't have bothered listening and responding to her arguments.

Which I did. And Basil didn't respond to some of the things I was saying.

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 04:25:36

I was thinking about words.

I can't think of a single word like feminism for other "movements".

You can have a trans-activist. But I can't think of a word like "transism".

If someone said they were a trans activist, I would assume they were trans.

Same for gay rights. Is there a word "gayism" - no. And again, I would assume a gay activist was someone who was gay.

Similiarly for other movements like disabled rights and rights for ethnic minorities.

It's interesting that you have an immediately identifiable word like feminist and feminism.

Just thinking out loud - as you do at 4 in the morning grin

And like any movement, the oppressed group will and should always be at the heart. And I think most people would agree with that.

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 04:37:45

And if you look on AIBU, you'll see plenty of people telling others they're overreacting and being a little PFB about stuff. Or seeing stuff that's not there. Or going OTT in their reaction.

What's the difference?

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 04:55:06

Is it because I'm trans so I'm not allowed to say such things - but a woman can?

<Now I think I'm over reacting but I've been awake for 2 hours so I'm probably tired and a little sensitive grin >

Beachcomber Wed 31-Jul-13 06:07:38

I completely agree with what Basil said and expressed so well. And I think the accusations of 'confusion' and 'overreacting' are personal and rude and also typical of what is said to women to get us to Stop Saying Things.

As to whether a man can be a feminist - I don't know, but I have yet to come across a man who has been able to throw off the conditioning of patriarchy to the extent that he is aware of each and every aspect of his male privilege and who is able to really understand female oppression from a female perspective.

Most of the thinking, pro feminism men I have come across are aware of that and accept it and try hard to really think about the fact that being in the dominant group means they have to be very careful of how they approach feminism.

I have come across a lot of men who think they are doing the above but really really aren't. A lot of men are defensive and dismissive of what feminists say whilst claiming to support the movement.

There are also a lot of men who seem to find it hard to embrace the idea that women know more about female oppression than they do - social conditioning is hard to throw off. I have seen that quite a lot on here actually.

Beachcomber Wed 31-Jul-13 06:12:47

And I am very surprised to hear of a women's march where male children were pushed/their mothers pushed around. In my 20 years of active feminism I have never come across such a thing. I think the poster who experienced that was extremely unlucky and I hope the organisers of the march were informed.

FloraFox Wed 31-Jul-13 06:35:00

ContentedLittleMummy I don't think that your views are insane or man-hating. I get very tired of the man-hating accusation and agree that it is very lazy.

I think there is a place for men in feminist activism but there is also a place for women only spaces and women only activism. I agree with what Basil and Beach have said.

Not every meeting or every piece of activism should have to accommodate or educate men, Neo, even if this is a worthy goal overall. There is a tendency for men to pop up demanding to be educated or to have his "valid viewpoint" discussed or debated which can be hugely distracting in feminist activism.

I also hate tone policing of women. Just because some women may have been obnoxious on some march somewhere sometime does not mean that feminists want to be more than equal to men. I am so tired of that argument. When women are even remotely close to being treated equally to men in our society I might be concerned about whether they might be more than equal.

Beachcomber Wed 31-Jul-13 06:53:07

I read an analysis of privilege recently that went something like;

"privilege is thinking that you always have the right to be included"

And that simple sentence really made me think. It made me think a lot about the flip side too which is that oppression teaches you that you are excluded and that that is the way things should be. I don't think there are many men who quite grasp how included they are and how excluded women are - it is woven into the fabric of our society and is so present that it has become invisible.

I have often heard men say that they don't see a systematic hatred of women in society, or that they don't feel privileged, which seems to me to again practically be a definition of privilege - to have the luxury of being unaware of it and blind to the hatred of women that is so glaringly obvious to women with our second class status and our constant juggling of submission, for the sake of safety, and resistance, in the fight for freedom.

Chubfuddler Wed 31-Jul-13 06:56:05

Very well put florafox

Chubfuddler Wed 31-Jul-13 06:57:40

And beachcomber.

And so many others. When feminists fight amongst themselves we unwittingly do the patriachy's work.

Beachcomber Wed 31-Jul-13 06:58:16

Yes, ITA with FloraFox and your last sentence can't be said enough.

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 08:44:10

So when someone says to someone

"So you want to see all women only marches banned" when she has commented on seeing men being pushed out of the way, you're not allowed to think she's taking an argument to an extreme endpoint?

There's a way of arguing a point where you take what someone says, twist it and take it to an endpoint that is an extreme conclusion.

That's what I think was being done. And I said that I thought that was an over reaction. It's not a way of telling someone to shut up. It's saying you think that they are seeing things that haven't been said.

I see you haven't engaged with that. So it feels like I'm being dismissed and told to shut the fuck up.

And I bet if a woman had said that, you would not have accused her of dismissing an argument.

Double standards or what.

Chubfuddler Wed 31-Jul-13 08:55:35

I think if you actually read the post in which basil said "what do you want to do, ban all-women marches?" Properly you will see it was deliberate hyperbole. Because somehow we always end up with what about the menz. Do some men got heckled by some women on a march. Not great but really, not that big a deal. I'm not sure why one march, twenty years ago during which a few men got heckled is considered so significant.

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 08:59:20

I did actually read it - and I read the comment "what do you want to do, ban all women's marches" as an attack on what madbanners and could not understand the comment.

But I obviously did not read it properly. Thanks for putting me right and telling me what I should have thought.

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 09:05:08

I'm just pissed off because I've been accused of dismissing someone when I just felt her comment was uncalled for.

Chubfuddler Wed 31-Jul-13 09:09:17

Here. Have the thread. I can't be bothered to engage with someone who is so persistently chippy and prone to misinterpretation and then ironically accuses others of taking exception to her and telling her what to think.

Beachcomber Wed 31-Jul-13 09:18:36

"So you want to see all women only marches banned"

Basil didn't say that.

She said "What do you want to do about the fact that some women somewhere were nasty twenty years ago? Ban all woman marches? Or what?"

It was quite obviously a rhetorical question born out of the frustration women have of constantly being told we want to be more than equal despite us quite obviously being way way off being even close to equality and or liberation. (Which FloraFox said so well)

In addition, feminists often get told about instances of some random women/feminists behaving badly as though that is some sort of argument against the existence/methods of a movement which involves millions of women over hundreds of years in a struggle for basic human rights. And that is frustrating (understatement) too.

And when women react to this frustration with plain words and directness we are often told we are overreacting/hysterical/emotional/need to calm down/can't take a joke/insert sexist stereotyping of women's righteous anger here....

And whether it be a man or a woman who does it, many of us point that out.

NicholasTeakozy Wed 31-Jul-13 09:21:05

Fantastic thread, there's much food for thought here. I'm not a feminist, but (I think) I have feminist leanings and definitely support womens' rights as a more equal society benefits us all. I have daughters who describe themselves as feminists, and I couldn't be happier about that if I tried. DD2 is particularly strident and very successful at pointing out and rebutting double standards in her male friends' opinions. I usually leave her to it until she's won her argument then just chip in with a "well said" and leave it at that.

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 09:25:40

Maybe it was rhetorical. It just didn't seem like that when I read it.
That's one if the things with online talk - you can't sense the tone.

It's being accused of dismissing someone which really upset me because I would never do that.

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 09:29:37

"In addition, feminists often get told about instances of some random women/feminists behaving badly as though that is some sort of argument against the existence/methods of a movement which involves millions of women over hundreds of years in a struggle for basic human rights. And that is frustrating (understatement) too."

Now that's an interesting argument - it's not only feminists who get that treatment when some random activists behave badly, is it?

<But that's another thread>

MargeSimpsonz Wed 31-Jul-13 09:38:48

I like Caitlin Moran and always read her column and find her funny, but being in control of my vagina is not difficult. I can control that. WHat I want is that childcare is not just a woman's problem, that women don't bear the brunt of the sacrifices for parenting, that women are paid equally, that unskilled female jobs are valued more, that being a postman is not paid twice as much as being a carer........ I don't know what I am. A feminist I think. Women still get the shitty end of the stick if they're uneducated and/or they split up from father of their children.

Ime though a lot of successful and educated women find discussions about feminism a bit embarrassing or superfluous. My friends are all more successful than I am and issues that affect other poorer women don't touch them. They deny the need for feminism, they think that because they, a privileged, educated, white woman from a healthy loving family background (with a decent supportive husband) don't need feminism that it is not needed confused . It's exasperating. I wonder if their cleaners and childminders agree.

Beachcomber Wed 31-Jul-13 09:52:57

You are right Kim, of course it doesn't only happen to women. I do think feminists/women are held to particularly high (and double) standards with regards to how we behave and express ourselves in male supremacist society however.

A woman doesn't have to do very much to be accused of being an extremist/man hater/oppressor or as bad as/wanting to rule the world. The simple acts of wanting to march together or meet together are classic examples of this.

Women writing books or Saying Things is often compared to centuries of male violence against women and subjugation of women as though these things are in any way comparable in terms of oppression and access to power.

CiscoKid Wed 31-Jul-13 10:08:58

One interesting aspect of the OP is that it was other women that the OP herself got into a slanging match with, and other self-identified feminists at that. Not handmaidens, not surrendered wives. It appears to have ended with one side using insults that we would normally expect from the Daily Mail and their ilk.

Is feminism more susceptible than other political movements to infighting and ultimately defeating itself? I suspect not - politics arouses passions - but there is a lot of scrapping and infighting on here too. Is MN typical of other FWR forums?

Chubfuddler Wed 31-Jul-13 10:12:23

Just because the respondents to the op were posting on a feminism board it doesn't mean they were women or feminists.

scallopsrgreat Wed 31-Jul-13 10:14:27

I can't think of a single word like feminism for other "movements". Socialism; Marxism; PRism (PR Movement wink). Feminism was originally called Women's Rights. That makes it pretty clear what the movement is about.

but I have yet to come across a man who has been able to throw off the conditioning of patriarchy to the extent that he is aware of each and every aspect of his male privilege and who is able to really understand female oppression from a female perspective. << This

kim, personally, I don't like any woman's views described as "overreacting" because, as others have said, accusing women of overreaction has traditionally been a way that men have eradicated women's concerns about important things such as division of labour, prioritising their needs, sexual harrassment/assault etc etc. Generally women underreact to situations, not overreact. Look at the twitter rape threats and harrassment going on now. Caroline Criado-Perez and Stella Creasey have been accused of overreacting and much more, purely because they are pointing out abuse and not wanting to have to put up with it. Cries of "block them" have been raining in and that is basically accusing them of overreacting because all they should have done is ignore the abuse.

I only picked it up here because this is a thread in feminism and I felt it needed highlighting from a feminist perspective. Alternative reasoning can be used other than saying a woman is overreacting if you think that their argument doesn't hold validity.

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 10:17:40

I know from my perspective on other "activist" boards, there's loads of infighting about what people think, differences of opinion and shouting down of other people -even though the ultimate goal is the same.

I see it all the time on certain boards - especially FB sites.

It's like the Judean people's front.

And the end goal seems further away..

CiscoKid Wed 31-Jul-13 10:24:54

Chubfuddrer said 'Just because the respondents to the op were posting on a feminism board it doesn't mean they were women or feminists.'

The OP's post at 19:07 says they identified themselves as feminists. Hence my phrase 'self-identified feminists'. And the title of this thread is 'Discussing feminism with women'. So I put 2 and 2 together....

Beachcomber Wed 31-Jul-13 10:33:50

How do you know it was a 'slanging match' CiscoKid? ContentedLittleMummy said she was called names and accused of not wanting true equality because she doesn't think men need to be included in everything that concerns female oppression. She seems also to have come up against a fairly common accusation against feminists of doing too much book reading and thinking that makes her a smarty pants and others thickos.

You know ContentedLittleMummy, when I first read your OP, my first thought was 'join the club sister' smile

When women express opinions that question the status quo we often get called names, come under attack, etc. And yes, often from other women - in feminism, women behaving like this is analysed as internalized sexism.

It is good for women to hold robust discussions about women's politics and oppression, it is fine to disagree and to say so in plain words. There is a lot to discuss and much of it very painful. It hurts to examine and analyse male supremacist society, as a woman. And so, lots of women shy away from that because they need the protection of cognitive dissonance in order to survive and lead a woman's life with a relative degree of peace. So when another woman comes along and rocks the boat and Says Stuff about women's low status and the institutionalised pervasive misogyny of the world, some women react to that with anger and 'blame the messenger' type behaviour.

Raising one's feminist conciousness is a painful process. Resisting the raising of one's feminist consciousness hurts too.

CiscoKid Wed 31-Jul-13 10:38:38

The following bits of the OP made me think it was a slanging match - I got called names and a "man hater" and all sorts of horrible things... and ... but it's really got me down. That does not sound like a satisfying, robust exchange of ideas to me. I could be wrong though.

Beachcomber Wed 31-Jul-13 10:45:09

Also, I don't know about others on this thread, but I know it really hurts when I come up against internalized sexism (my own or that of others), plain old sexism is easier to identify and call out and you sort of expect it. But internalized sexism can feel like a betrayal - even when you understand the political analysis behind it. And it hurts to see how successfully manipulated and controlled women as a group are. In my experience internalized sexism is the reason behind much of the in-fighting that goes on between women. And that hurts too.

(Plus internalized sexism is inevitably used as a "women do it too" stick to beat us with.)

Chubfuddler Wed 31-Jul-13 10:46:49

No it doesn't sound like a slanging match either. It sounds like op tried to have a discussion and was attacked.

Beachcomber Wed 31-Jul-13 10:51:01

I wasn't suggesting that it was a satisfying robust exchange of ideas. To my mind, a slanging match would involve two sides calling each other names/attacking each other personally.

I didn't get that impression from ContendedLittleMummy. The impression I got was that she was called names and a bit ganged up on.

I took issue with you calling it a slanging match because it came across as dismissive and misrepresentative of the complex and political dynamic that was being described. (i.e. feminist views interfaced with internalized sexism.)

CiscoKid Wed 31-Jul-13 10:54:30

Slanging match was the wrong phrase. Reading it again, it does sound like the name-calling was one-way.

scallopsrgreat Wed 31-Jul-13 10:58:06

I also feel that the whole "in-fighting" argument is designed to keep women down. Women are pitted against other women. It is a deliberate tactic of an oppressive group to ensure that those they oppress argue amongst themselves. In addition it is also used as a weapon to deny equality "How can you expect equality when you can't even agree amongst yourselves". Which is of course a ridiculous argument but is used frequently in various guises on here.

GoshAnneGorilla Wed 31-Jul-13 11:03:42

The word that comes to mind when I think of men and feminism is "ally", a word that is used for those who are supportive in other social justice movements, even if they are not actually a member, e.g someone who is an ally with the gay rights movement, isn't gay, but supports the aims of the gay rights movement.

Men absolutely should stand with us and oppose sexism and misogyny. I would be great if in many fights we have men could say, "I don't think this is acceptable either".

But as allies they are there to help, not to lead, not to direct, not to expect any cookies.

ouryve Wed 31-Jul-13 11:09:50

At the risk of sounding incredibly naive, here, CLM, you say that you don't want men to fight your battles, but don't you think that feminism is utterly pointless unless men turn around and say "actually, you have a valid point there"?

It's all very well railing against an abstract idea of a patriarchy, but unless the men who are part of that patriarchy turn around and say "yes, you're right, it's wrong" then nothing is ever going to be achieved.

scallopsrgreat Wed 31-Jul-13 11:14:10

Do you think men agreeing with us is them fighting our battles, ouryve?

FreyaSnow Wed 31-Jul-13 11:36:21

I think that anybody can be a feminist. I also don't think you have to be gay to be a gay rights activist and so on. But I also agree with Basil that women have a right to organise their own events, marches and groups. That doesn't make the whole of feminism or women's culture women only.

ouryve Wed 31-Jul-13 11:59:47

CLM seemed to suggest it, scallops.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 31-Jul-13 12:43:11

Is feminism more susceptible than other political movements to infighting and defeating itself?

No, I wouldn't say so. I think if OP posted that she thought airline CEOs couldn't be in the Green Party on a thread about environmentalism , there would have been some robust disagreement too. The question of "are there characteristics that exclude a certain group from a political movement?" will always be a controversial one. (see champagne socialism)

Beachcomber Wed 31-Jul-13 12:47:43

Very much in agreement with what you said scallopsrgreat in your post of Wed 31-Jul-13 10:58:06.

Same goes for your post just after GoshAnneGorilla.

LeBFG Wed 31-Jul-13 12:50:28

THis discussion reminds me of the battle of that other well-known rights leader, Martin Luther King. He faced the same problems and questions within the civil rights movement - defining goals and achievements - leading people collectively towards a seismic change. A lot can be learnt from him and that movement I should think. How do we mobilise people with different interests? What tactics do we employ to get there?

It's pretty lazy to say that men and women are in every way exactly the same (apart from the penis) as some sort of justification for vile behaviour. Aren't we all woking on our mutual empathy? Men empathising with women and the problems they encounter - without that I'm not sure what's left. Just war I suppose.

scallopsrgreat Wed 31-Jul-13 14:12:25

Well as the OP says in her opening paragraph "I think they can sympathise with the movement" and then in about her fifth post she reiterates that she feels men can empathise with women, I don't think she is saying that men agreeing with us is fighting our battles, ouryve.

FloraFox Wed 31-Jul-13 16:44:46

I don't think in-flighting in feminism is worse than in other groups that are aiming for political change. Cohesion is much easier to achieve in groups broadly supporting the status quo because they generally want things to stay the same. Where any group is advocating for change, whether it is feminists, US civil rights movement, lefties, environmentalist, whatever, there will always be differences of opinion over what the precise perfect outcome will be. There are also sometimes more fundamental differences in analysis which can be hard to overcome even though there is a shared desire for a broad outcome. Add in passion and things will inevitably become quite heated.

Even the Tories have a hard time with cohesion when it comes to change. In-fighting among the Tories over Europe has been enormously damaging to that party.

I agree with GoshAnneGorilla about the role of men in feminism.

GiantHaystacks Wed 31-Jul-13 21:54:53

It's interesting that this thread is about discussing feminism with women today but has turned into a thread about men and what they want. It just goes to show why some women want to exclude men from feminism - because if you don't men and all their priorities suck up all the air.

MiniTheMinx Wed 31-Jul-13 22:25:24

I think men can be supportive but to push their way in and claim "I'm a feminist, so listen up Galz" just perpetuates the status quo, where men feel they have a right to speak and women have an obligation to listen. I can hardly turn up at a gathering of black women and say "listen up, I'm a black women" I can still support their cause but I will have to listen carefully if I am to understand the specific problems they face.

I do think though that feminism in its present form, divorced from other struggles is not going to achieve its aims. But neither will any other single issue cause. As someone said upthread, there are many women who have economic class privilege who don't see any need for feminism, just as there are many working class men harmed by capitalism and patriarchy who also don't see a need for feminism. Gondaleeza Rice is a privileged black woman, does she worry much about the subjugation of other black women? What is really needed is an acknowledgement that 90% of us work and are exploited, 10% grow very fat from that. Within the 90% there are a huge array of people, men and women, old, young, white, black, gay, straight, enlightened men, and misogynist men and women who have internalised sexism, unless we have economic equality there will always be a women somewhere of some race that will be exploited & subjugated by someone including other women with whom she will never have equality.

Just as in fighting within feminism itself benefits patriarchy, infighting between the liberal inspired multitude of single issue activism and political allegiances benefits patriarchy and capitalism, so we have little hope of achieving our aims. Unless we listen to each other and find some way of working together, instead of seeing partial gains to women as loss of privilege to men, or RadFems feeling threatened by transwomen.

But do we need men to call themselves feminists? no. We need them to listen & understand or better still allow women the space within society and within all activism to be equal, not just feminism. For that to happen men need to take a step back and make the space for women to be heard.........everywhere, in every struggle, in every home and workplace. (if only !) & until that happens who can blame women for wanting feminist space to be women only.

Boosterseat Wed 31-Jul-13 23:17:03

As someone said upthread, there are many women who have economic class privilege who don't see any need for feminism, just as there are many working class men harmed by capitalism and patriarchy who also don't see a need for feminism.

This has been the reason for most of my most pointless exercises in discussing Feminism. Mainly with other women.

My Husband on the other hand is from a working class background supportive and sometimes insightful about being a feminist and we are pro-active with DS about feminism.

I don't see feminism as movement about gender, more about enlightenment.

There have been some excellent posts here. TIMSN nailed it for me.
Thank you mumsnet for more feminist brain food.

WhentheRed Wed 31-Jul-13 23:35:21

Feminism means different things to different people. It is a broad movement and people will disagree about the goals and who gets to do what. Other equality-seeking or progressive movements are the same. I don't think feminism is in any worse shape than the others.

I am in the "men can be allies" camp but it is important to me that in the exercise of gaining equality women have and exercise the right to self-determination. It also doesn't mean total exclusion of men from all discussion/involvement. It isn't an all or nothing.

I agree with the OP that resorting to calling women "man-haters" when they want to meet or discuss issues without men is both lazy and ignorant.

FreyaSnow Wed 31-Jul-13 23:47:11

I agree with WTR. I also think feminism can mean different things to different people. The important thing is that it brings an approach that makes people think about, however specific the situation, how there will often be differences between what is happening with men and women, and that should be considered when thinking about how to proceed. I don't feel it necessary for everyone to be in agreement. Somebody who doesn't feel they can contribute to one area of activism may be able to make a big difference to society elsewhere.

Dervel Thu 01-Aug-13 05:22:29

As a man I don't think you're a man hater at all OP, but then again I don't think I'm a feminist either. I am always more than a little mystified why some men feel the need to identify as feminists. I am not entirely sure I really know what feminism is myself, and I’m not looking to have it explained I can study on my own time, and don’t need to take up valuable thread space on it.

I want to live in a society that is as free and as rich in opportunity for as many people as possible. By free I mean as free do to what you want, as long as it infringes on nobody else's freedom. By opportunity I mean as much opportunity as you are willing to work at to achieve. This is probably impossible, but really what other choice do we have.

Right, now having gotten the absolutely-stunningly-obvious-standard-every-bloke-in-a-feminist-thread-sort-of-thing stuff out of the way I just want to say that I’m sure feminism gets a lot wrong. I’m convinced it barks up an entire forest of wrong trees. If this thread is anything to go by it sounds like it has an identity crisis on the scale of a schizophrenic with MPD suffering from amnesia. Not and I cannot stress this strongly enough, because of anything to do with women. Merely because human beings are involved, and as far as constructing societies go we seem singularly ill equipped to do anything the sensible way, and when we come across societies that seem to have cracked it (say the Native Americans or Aborigines) we try to annihilate them. Now that I can think can safely say brings us around to masculism or patriarchy or as I like to call it moronism.

Whatever feminism gets wrong patriarchs would take the forest of wrong trees and napalm the whole thing to the ground, rendering the possibility of ever finding the right tree moot. It takes any degree of identity crisis or deviation from the norm and sticks it in a Victorian insane asylum to hide it away, and if that wasn’t bad enough passes enough electricity through it’s brain it becomes insensate and unable to put up any resistance at all. If I have learned anything about feminism at all is that women have as much right to get it as gloriously wrong and screwed up as men have, and honestly if somebody doesn’t do something it may all go belly up anyway. Now if as a movement you want me as a chap to sod off and find a different wrong tree to bark up that’s fine, I can take my healthy (and cherished) feminine side and bark away with myself and the other guys who prefer being barking to burning, and we’ll just do our best to try and stop the other fools from burning us all to the ground in our own way.

I may not “get” feminism, but you don’t have to be a woman to see we’re screwing something up somewhere as a species.

dadsmatter Thu 01-Aug-13 14:48:47

As a mother and grandmother of boys and girls, and also a retired equality rep. I would like to know what radical feminist want these days?. Its obvious to me it isnt equality it has to be supremacy. I am concerned about how men and boys are being discriminated against, and how mothers of boys are not reacting to the injustice they suffer.One example of this, I picked up on the Throat Cancer Forum. they are lobbying for boys to receive the HPV vaccination. Girls receive the vaccine at 13 it prevents several types of cancer. Boys suffer from exactly the same cancers and could benefit in the same way as girls.The US Canada and Austrailia are vaccinating boys with excellent results, it has a knock on effect of protecting girls.In Wales we have Nurses calling for a mens health stratergy because we are failing our men and boys. 3 out 4 people who commit suicide are men. I am sure you equality feminist would like to take this on board. You all must have fathers brothers sons who you love. Dont let the" Women are Victims" could never be perpetrators, rant of the rads fool you. Women can make choices these days and they are very much supported by trade unions and laws that have been put in place to protect. I believe the gender pendulum has swung too far. Lets start by teaching our children mutual respect.

scallopsrgreat Thu 01-Aug-13 15:31:10

How are boys/men being discriminated against?

Why do you think the pendulum has swung the other way when women have virtually all the wealth and political power is still with men? When violence against women is still so high (or is it women's choices that make that so?)

Who has said anything about women never being perpetrators? But violence is gendered. It is mainly perpetrated by men and women are more likely to be victims than perpetrators.

Not sure why boys not getting the HPV vaccination or high rates of male suicide is feminism's fault? Or why that is an indicator that "the gender pendulum has swung too far"?

"Lets start by teaching our children mutual respect." Let's indeed!

Beachcomber Thu 01-Aug-13 15:34:27

I don't think witholding HPV vaccines from boys is in the Radical Feminist World Take Over Manifesto.

scallopsrgreat Thu 01-Aug-13 15:49:17

There's a Radical Feminist World Take Over Manifesto? <faints>

Those wimmin hey! What are they like? Why are their priorities just not men?

Beachcomber Thu 01-Aug-13 15:57:53

Yes, scallopsrgreat it mostly outlines a policy of Writing Books and Reading Books and Meeting With Other Women and Saying Things. All of which threaten the very fabric of society and are equivalent to centuries of male violence against women doncha know...

Those wimmin hey! What are they like? Why are their priorities just not men?

Too right. Who do they think they are? Don't they know their place?!

vesuvia Thu 01-Aug-13 16:45:48

dadsmatter wrote - "the Throat Cancer Forum. they are lobbying for boys to receive the HPV vaccination. Girls receive the vaccine at 13 it prevents several types of cancer. Boys suffer from exactly the same cancers and could benefit in the same way as girls."

For boys to receive the HPV vaccine seems like a good thing, but I don't think the situation is as you describe it.

I've read that HPV causes cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, oropharynx and anus. Girls have more of those body parts than boys, so it does not seem biologically possible that boys "suffer from exactly the same cancers and could benefit in the same way as girls". Therefore, perhaps the immunisation programmes are influenced by the children's anatomy as well as the biology of the virus, because the risk for girls is greater than for boys.

Figures I've seen for the breakdown of cancer from HPV are:

Female 93%
Male 7%

86% is cervical cancer (i.e. female only)
2% is vaginal cancer (i.e. female only)
3% is penile cancer (i.e. male only)
4% is mouth and throat cancers
5% is anal cancer

I found the following question and answer on HPV vaccine section of the NHS Scotland Immunisation web page www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/hpv.aspx :

"Why aren't boys being given the HPV immunisation?

The main priority is to protect girls against cervical cancer. Immunising girls against the two main types HPV which are the most common causes of cervical cancer. This will raise everybody’s level of protection, girls as well as boys, because there will be fewer HPV viruses circulating."

CaptChaos Thu 01-Aug-13 16:48:15

I hope boys get the HPV vaccine as well, although I take issue with your assertion that men get the same cancers as women, not come across too many men with a cervix.

Women may be perpetrators, but the over-whelming majority of perpetrators are men, whether their violence is toward other men or toward women. Female perpetrators of violence are equally as bad as male ones, how's that for equality for you?

3 out of 4 people who complete suicide are men, care to hazard a guess at the numbers of women who attempt it? Or would that disparity not suit your agenda?

Let's start by teaching mutual respect? Absolutely!

Does all this mean I can't be a feminist now? Damn it! I was just getting into it as well, although, I never got a copy of the Take Over Manifesto either.

Chubfuddler Thu 01-Aug-13 16:53:56

"Boys suffer from exactly the same cancers"

I would be very surprised if that were so.

scallopsrgreat Thu 01-Aug-13 16:58:29

Thanks vesuvia, that's really interesting. I certainly didn't know that.

I find it really hmm that protecting girls is considered discriminating against boys.

Beachcomber Thu 01-Aug-13 17:37:29

See, this is the problem with the concept of equality WRT to sex based oppression.

Equality is a really flawed and limited concept when applied to women and men and the dismantling of male supremacy. I might start a thread on it.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 01-Aug-13 17:47:54

>"Why aren't boys being given the HPV immunisation?

One thing to add to what vesuvia wrote; its probably to do with risk/benefit balance being entirely different. Vaccinations usually come with a small risk. In the case of girls, the benefits outweigh the risks. From those stats, probably the same doesn't apply to boys. There was a thread on HPV with parents of girls saying that boys should be vaccinated - and parents of boys rejecting the idea!

FreyaSnow Thu 01-Aug-13 17:59:22

I would not claim to be any kind of expert on mental health, and I think the topic of men and women and mental health deserves a thread in its own right. That said, I would suggest it is the case that preventing deaths due to mental health issues requires interventions at earlier points in the person's life.

There are behaviours that are far more likely to lead to death that women more frequently carry out than men. People with anorexia nervosa are more likely to die from their illness than people with any other sort of mental health disorder. If people exhibit symptoms of anorexia, people around them and mental health services are likely to intervene and think some of that person's choices should be decided with others or sometimes solely by others.

Two issues that are not in themselves mental health issues, 'self harm by ingestion' and 'problematic drug use' are not in themselves cause to section somebody, but they can lead to intervention and being sectioned if there are other accompanying health problems like depression.

Taking harmful substances is usually referred to as 'self harm' if the person is a woman and chooses substances associated with women (over the counter or prescription medications that contain cocaine, sedatives etc, hosuehold cleaning products). It is commonly seen by the public as a 'cry for help' and by professionals as a 'coping mechanism.' This remains the case even when the woman claims it is for adrenalin rush, physiological impact etc. There will usually be attempts by others to control or end their behaviour, and to tie it into mental health issues and get the person mental help.

Taking of harmful substances is usually referred to as 'problematic drug use' if the person is a man and chooses substances associated with men (heroin, cocaine, household DIY products like glue). It is commonly seen by the public as 'risk taking' or 'addiction' and by professionals as a 'coping mechanism.' There is much effort put in to viewing this as a 'choice,' a matter of personal freedom and money is put into providing safety advice around continued drug use, safer drug replacements and needle exchanges for those that inject. People with a dual diagnosis of problematic drug use and mental health problems often fall into a gap with a paucity of provision for people with both.

I would suggest this is a problem that exists across all gendered behavioural issues. If a women does something that is dangerous to themselves or others, it is seen as a cry for help or an inability to manage their lives. People, including the state, feel they can and should intervene in a paternal way with that person. If men does something that is dangerous to themselves or others, it is often seen as masculine risk taking or assertive behaviour that other people should not intervene with as it is a matter of personal freedom, until the point they die or end up in prison (90% of prisoners have a mental health issue).

I do not see feminism as being the cause of allowing men greater freedom to engage in behaviour or ways of thinking that increase their likelihood of destroying their lives or increase their risk of death from mental health issues. Quite the opposite in fact. But it would require a massive change in how we view the autonomy of men and women and the the problems of hyper-masculinity and femininity to change that situation, not just some tinkering with relative proportions of mental health funding given to issues that have an impact on men and women.

I do not mean this to be a polemic. I am sure there are many other factors at play.

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