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AIBU to wonder why any woman would identify herself as [2]

(1008 Posts)
garlicnutter Mon 04-Jul-11 15:37:45

... not a feminist?

Since I killed the old one.

garlicnutter Mon 04-Jul-11 15:38:52

First thread

Empusa Mon 04-Jul-11 15:39:57

How on earth did you get that last post in? I got the "this post is full" mesaage after my post.

Anyway, just to reiterate.

No one (as far as I could see) on the last thread said they were against feminism or wanted feminism to go away. Neither did they say they did not appreciate the difference feminism had made.

What they did say was that they did not identify themselves as feminists for a variety of reasons.

TrillianAstra Mon 04-Jul-11 15:40:28

Have you got the title wrong?

Or is this an opposite thread?

TrillianAstra Mon 04-Jul-11 15:40:58

I thought the last thread was AIBU to wonder why any woman would identify herself as not feminist.

Wasn't it?

garlicnutter Mon 04-Jul-11 15:42:37

I HAVE GOT THE TITLE WRONG!

I missed out "not".

I'm so sorry blush

As you were ...

HowlingBitch Mon 04-Jul-11 15:43:58

Oh my grin grin grin

lenak Mon 04-Jul-11 15:44:56

""I also disagree strongly with some of the more radical feminist views."

LIKE WHAT? PLEASE SOMEBODY TELL ME!!!!!!!!!!"

As Seeker was questioning that quote from me, i thought I'd better reply (actually this is my second attempt at replying - the first one went 'poo' when MN logged me out - I've made sure to type the second on in Word first, in case it happens again)

I don’t agree with the way that radical feminists view the Patriarchy as the root of all evil and believe that the focus should be on overthrowing it as the only way to achieve equality of the sexes.

It is a very black and white view of what patriarchy is, as well as making it sound tangible, like some sort of terrifying deity rather than the social construct which it is. Patriarchy is actually much more nuanced and is compiled from the biological, instinctual, social and cultural. In order to understand the issues and effect change you have to separate the biological and instinctual which we can do little about if the human race is to survive from the social and cultural which can be changed. It doesn’t matter that we have sentience and intelligence, we are still subject to natural laws in many many ways. This idea that inequality comes from standardised gender roles perpetrated by the patriarchy and it would all be OK if only we could get rid of them is a nonsense because at least some of the standardised gender roles are down to biological necessity.

I’ve heard a lot from radical feminism about how the patriarchy should be overthrown, but nothing about what it should be replaced with. Like it or not, we are part of nature and therefore subject to survival of the fittest which means that something / someone will always be dominant. There can’t just be nothing. If the patriarchy were overthrown, something would take it’s place – as Aristotle said “Nature abhors a vacuum”. What would that be – matriarchy, class, intelligence? Nothing seems to be forthcoming from the RadFem camp on that and it is highly likely that any alternative would have it’s own set of losers / oppressed people. If the patriarchy were overthrown it would not result in equality, hugs, kisses and fluffy bunnies, it would be bloody, messy and have no guarantee that those who are oppressed now would not be oppressed under the new system, it would just be a different group of oppressors.

For these reasons, I think RadFems are very much in danger of throwing the baby out with bath water, so to speak.

I also strongly disagree with the RadFem perspective that they way to equality is through revolution and militancy. This may still be a requirement in some developing and middle eastern countries – although I think they have more fundamental human rights issues that need to be addressed before they start thinking about overthrowing the patriarchy. In western societies where women already have a foot in the door when it comes to political and societal power – we need to be using that along with discussion, negotiation, campaigning and education to right inequality wrongs and further gender equality. Rather than trying to radically re-order society from a militant view point we should be changing things from the inside out.

On a micro level, I disagree with some of the RadFem view points around rape and prostitution – again, these are areas which are no where near as black and white as some RadFems would like to believe (e.g. the Bristol Palin thread). I have also heard the viewpoint from some RadFems both on MN and elsewhere that inequalities suffered by men either directly or as a result of gains made by women are unimportant because men have had the upper hand for so long.

This is why I prefer equalism because it specifically states that the fight for equality should not be about making changes to account for past wrongs.

Thankfully, radical feminism is not a dominant ideology – even though it sometimes seems like it on MN because it is the RadFems who shout the loudest.

It is telling that this thread has become such an interesting debate, generally without resorting to insults, huffs and recriminations about other people’s viewpoint, that apart from the few hours it spent in the feminism section, the MN RadFems (or at least those that I perceive to be RadFems from their posts) are conspicuous by their absence. There is no way this debate would have continued in such a reasoned way, if the thread had not been moved back out of the section. It certainly wouldn't have made 1000+ posts

Maybe if the liberal feminists and the equalists could all work together where their philosophies, ideologies and wants converge, with a understanding respectfulness of our differences we could get to a state of gender equality much quicker, without resorting to hand wringing about why women who want equality can’t just tow the party line and call themselves feminists and without wasting time and energy in having to battle the extremists on either side.

Hullygully Mon 04-Jul-11 15:47:06

fantastic title garlic

lenak Mon 04-Jul-11 15:52:13

ElephantsAndMiasmas

Things are changing but not fast enough, and crucially they are changing BECAUSE of feminism, if feminists hung up their metaphorical dungarees and went home you would see the rights of women roll back before your very eyes.

No - things are changing because of people who want to see gender equality, be they feminists, egalitarians / equalists or just concerned citizens who are not happy with the way things are.

I do not doubt that the feminist movement has been dominant in securing these changes, but I do not think that it solely down to feminism that these changes have come about.

I think change would come about an awful lot quicker if some of the more militant feminists would stop belittling those that disagree with some aspects of their thinking.

garlicnutter said:

The original Four Demands of feminism were:

(1) Equal pay for equal work
(2) Equal education and equal opportunities
(3) Free contraception and abortion on demand
(4) Free 24 hour nurseries

Well I disagree with two of those - I am pro-choice, but with some limits and while I think childcare should be more affordable, I certainly do not agree with Free 24 hour nurseries.

Guess that confirms I'm definitely not a feminist!

garlicnutter Mon 04-Jul-11 15:53:02

Oh, don't Hully blush

I'd used up all my typing skills on a longish post about where we are in respect of the first 'Four Demands'. But I think others have already done a better job of summarising the issue(s).

TrillianAstra Mon 04-Jul-11 15:55:59

(this thread looks like hard work)

I'll report my handy quiz and be on my way.

How to tell if you are a feminist (according only to my own personaly definition of course)

1 - Do you think that people should be treated, valued & respected equally, no matter what their gender?
Yes - go to 2
No - You are a sexist
2 - Do you believe that this is currently not the case?
Yes - go to 3
No - take a look around, things are not as equal as they seem - if still in doubt read The Equality Illusion - then answer yes and go to 3
3 - Would you like it to be the case?
Yes - Congratulations, you are a feminist
No - Er, what? You think people should be equal but you don't want them to be? Huh?

garlicnutter Mon 04-Jul-11 15:56:12

lenak, love your posts.
I wrote in my thread-killer that I'd like to see childcare made easier through changes to working practices. I think the 24-hour care demand has been much reworked since the 1970s, although its principle - that women should not be automatically tied to the home by having children - is now widely accepted.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 04-Jul-11 15:58:49

garlicnutter... No offence but I'm kind of reluctant to post on this issue here; it's very likely to be disparaged discussed on the feminist board and that kind of defeats the purpose of why the first thread was moved from here to there and back again. I don't feel comfortable with that.

TheAtomicBum Mon 04-Jul-11 15:59:35

Oh, hello again.

Garlic, what's the illuision?

I agree with points 1 & 2, obviously. 24 hour childcare: I would agree for the purpose of shiftwork, but if it's wanted for recreation, it should not be provuided freely.

As for the control of cotraception. Contraception, yes. Abortion? I'm not 100% sure, but I don't have an answer or a conclusion. Should the other parent have a say or not? Technically, it would be moral, since it is his child too. BUT I've known of times when it was necessary. I knew someone who was in an abusive relationship and left him when she found out she was pregnent. When he found out, she terminated so that she didn't have any ties to him. I don't think that was wrong.

TrillianAstra Mon 04-Jul-11 16:01:01

The demand for free childcare does sound as if the 1970s feminists still considered childcare to be a woman's responsibility, and the only way to make things equal is not to get men to join in but to outsource.

Carminagetsprimal Mon 04-Jul-11 16:05:40

I've finally found my spiritual home -

nenevomito Mon 04-Jul-11 16:12:20

lenak thought your post of 15:44:56 was very good. Especially this bit - Patriarchy is actually much more nuanced and is compiled from the biological, instinctual, social and cultural. In order to understand the issues and effect change you have to separate the biological and instinctual which we can do little about if the human race is to survive from the social and cultural which can be changed.

Agree completely. Being treated equally - equal pay, equal education, equal rights can co-exist happily with biological differences.

Trillian I take your point about free childcare, but it would be a 'nice to have' while waiting for the cultural change that would accept more freely that women can go out to work while men stay at home. Even my DH who lives happily with the fact that I earn three times what he does, will not become a SAHD as he feels that his identity is still tied in to what he does for a living and he doesn't identify with that of a stay at home parent. I would like to think that in a couple of generations time, there would be an equal number of men and women at toddler groups - its certainly not going to happen in my life time.

lenak Mon 04-Jul-11 16:17:40

Thanks garlic - interestingly, I have posted much the same viewpoints on the feminism boards in the past. I think my post was up for about 3 minutes before I got called an Anti-Feminist wink.

I do agree with the sentiment that women should not be automatically tied to the home by having children. I myself could never be a SAHM - I would go stir crazy. DH on the other hand would absolutely love to be a SAHD if we could afford it - he is much more the natural parent.

However, and this is where I have a problem with what Catitainahatita was defining as feminism - that the issues are looked at from a female perspective and that male issues should be left to male rights groups.

It's all very well arguing that women should not be expected to be the primary carers of children by virtue of biology and that they should have equal rights with men to return to work / have careers and that they should not be punished for having children. However, you will only achieve this if, at the same time you argue on behalf of those men who would choose to stay at home while the female went to work and who are currently treated with suspicion and derision.

It is no good saying that the fight for the men's rights in this should be left to mens rights groups because the two are inextricably linked and by doing so you are only damaging your own cause.

I also think that more account needs to be taken of women actually making the choice to stay at home and raise their children due to biological and natural instinct. Not every women who chooses to give up a glittering or even bog standard career to raise a child is doing so out of societal pressure, guilt or sexism - it is sometimes a simple, natural choice.

The two need to be separated in order to accurately work out just how far left there is to go in achieving work place / child rearing equality and unfortunately that is virtually impossible - at least at the present time.

HRHMJOFMAGICJAMALAND Mon 04-Jul-11 16:17:47

Message withdrawn

Carminagetsprimal Mon 04-Jul-11 16:21:34

Lenak; fantastic posts.

lenak Mon 04-Jul-11 16:25:18

"Even my DH who lives happily with the fact that I earn three times what he does, will not become a SAHD as he feels that his identity is still tied in to what he does for a living and he doesn't identify with that of a stay at home parent."

See this fascinates me from a psychological perspective - I'd love to study whether the men who can't associate with being stay at home parents / primary carers do so due to cultural and societal expectations or because of some natural instinct (like most other animals). I suspect a combination of both.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 04-Jul-11 16:40:59

Love the quiz, Trills.

"This is why I prefer equalism because it specifically states that the fight for equality should not be about making changes to account for past wrongs."

Does it? What is this equalism? Is it an actual thing? This is a genuine question as I've only ever heard people talking about "equalism" as "an imaginary thing people should be interested in rather than feminism". Sort of whatever the nice version of a straw man is - oh no, I'm not going to get involved in this actual political movement, instead I prefer this fictional movement that demands nothing. Are there equalist groups, equalist writers, events etc?

TheAtomicBum Mon 04-Jul-11 16:43:26

I've wondered the very same things, Lenak.

I've asked myself if I could. I could do it, but it would be difficult. I think because of a mix of:

1) Desire to provide. Hunter gathering, perhaps?
2) Society says if I don't work, I'm a lazy bastad.

It makes you wonder if the chivalrous need to look after women is because of some societal ideas about women being weaker or if it is a natural protective instinct.

I wonder if we can completely overcome our animal instincts.

TrillianAstra Mon 04-Jul-11 16:43:27

It is no good saying that the fight for the men's rights in this should be left to mens rights groups because the two are inextricably linked and by doing so you are only damaging your own cause.

Definitely.

Feminism is (IMO) the fight for equality and that means people being treated equally whatever their gender. Anything that puts people down or disparages their choices because of their gender is therefore anti-feminist, even if it is men that are the victims.

I think of challenging threads that say things like "Why are men so rubbish?" as doing my feminist duty smile

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