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to not understand the words "I'm not a feminist"?

(415 Posts)
bushymcbush Sun 14-Oct-12 22:51:17

I've seen this countless times on MN and I really don't get it.

Actually I've heard it quite a few times in RL too.

So, to those of you who are so keen to communicate your non-feminist standing, could you please explain to me which part of 'total equality between the sexes' you disagree with?

Alternatively, you could (gently) explain to me which part of that generic description of feminism I seem to have misunderstood?

RubyFakeNails Mon 15-Oct-12 00:37:10

Well a highlight of my feminism experience on mn was being told that I was directly responsible for the recent rape of a 3 year old girl. That was by a member of the mn feminist 'royalty'.

I don't think its fair to say I wimped out because of a few post on the internet. I think a more accurate description is that certain posters on mn, have feminism as their cause (and good for them), this means they are very educated and knowledgeable on the subject, they're up with whatever current core feminist thinking is. Other posters may not have it as their cause but they are educated on the subject. Then there are posters like me, I felt I was a feminist based on what my mother had told me and I had learnt at school, which was the simple definitions about equality and equal opportunities.

I felt I had lived a feminist life based on the definitions I had been given; I was educated, worked, had my own business, employed other women, voted, had freedom of choice, was not oppressed by wages or my boyfriend/husband, didn't find having children detrimental to my career etc. I cam on mn and encountered groups of posters who were talking about certain texts, the issue of the patriarchy, being told that I was oppressed I just wasn't aware of it, being told that no I was brainwashed into making certain choices, I was an abuse and rape apologist etc etc. It made me aware that there was this whole culture around feminism and a group of ardent feminists which had views I completely disagreed with so I disassociated myself.

I just live my life and make decisions based on if they seem right and fair, not so they align with an agenda I need to maintain in order to be a feminist.

NellyJob Mon 15-Oct-12 00:37:26

that is so true bushymcbush

WorraLiberty Mon 15-Oct-12 00:39:46

Yes bushy that's exactly what I was saying.

Not sure if you read me correctly...if you did you'd know I'm Irish Catholic.

But what I'm saying is, many people are proud to shout about who they are and what they believe in...until a small hardcore group of twats come along and embarrass them into silence because they don't want to be publicly associated with those people.

Fair enough a strong person wouldn't let the minority cloud their beliefs but not everyone is strong enough to fight against the idiots who (ironically) believe in the same cause that they do.

I suppose 'slowly slowly catchy monkey' springs to mind rather than an iron fist.

bushymcbush Mon 15-Oct-12 00:40:05

Crackcrack, I agree that marriedinwhite's post is very odd. A bit boasty. And she clearly doesn't like her SILs much.

bushymcbush Mon 15-Oct-12 00:45:11

Worra you said you were the daughter of Irish Catholic parents. You still could be Muslim now!

NellyJob Mon 15-Oct-12 00:47:51

Marriedinwhite forgets that without feminism she would be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. In Zone 2 or not.

bushymcbush Mon 15-Oct-12 00:52:04

I think it's done feminism a massive disservice for the majority to leave it to the rads. No wonder it has such a bad reputation.

I live in a part of the UK where there are a lot of Muslims. Many are my colleagues and associates. I don't think of extremists when I see Muslims. I just see people. If they all denied their Muslim identity, and I only knew of Muslims what I hear in the news about Abu Hamza and Al Q'aida and the Taliban, I would have a very skewed idea of what the Muslim faith was all about.

ilovesooty Mon 15-Oct-12 01:22:41

OK: marriedinwhite might not be keen on her SIL's but I don't see what's "woman hating" or "bizarre" about what she wrote.

catwomanlikesmeatballs Mon 15-Oct-12 02:55:40

I always thought myself a feminist, that was when I thought feminism was about equality, I was raised to be equal to men, the feminism that I see spouted on various websites including mumsnet is the opposite of that.

I don't hate men, I don't believe that women are always the victims, I don't accept that adult women are incapable of taking responsibility for their decisions, I realise that just as some men are bad, so too are some women...I know that a female accountant is not in an inferior position to a male minimum wage worker due to her sex.....

I'm sick of accusations of 'victim blaming'. Everything is victim blaming according to feminists; posters warning women about drink spiking, police releasing 'safety tips' to reduce vulnerability to crime, telling your daughter to get a taxi instead of walking home alone drunk at three in the morning, advising her to stay with her friends on a night out and not to go off with any strangers.... Feminists can't cope with the thought that some violent people are women, if you distinguish between a female thug who likes fighting with everybody including their partner and some poor, terrorised woman who is trapped in a terrifying relationship with a violent bastard then you are a victim blamer who is saying that female violent thug deserves it, we're supposed to pretend that both situations are the same when in reality the only commonality between the two women is the fact they both have vaginas.

Feminists make feminism unattractive because they view everything as male aggressor vs female victim, most people judge what they see in the world around them as right/wrong, good/bad...sex doesn't determine that.

catgirl1976 Mon 15-Oct-12 06:03:25

I don't need a label to believe in total equality. If I had to pick one I'd probably go for equalist too.

I am the main breadwinner in our house with a high level job in a male dominated industry, have worked hard to bring in better career prospects for women in our company, mentor young women at work, have brought in lots of "women friendly" policies at work like improved maternity pay, flexible working, pay transparency and equality etc, challenge sexism at every turn, am educated, a mother, financially independent, used to work in helping women with children from non traditional backgrounds access higher education and have provided counseling to women who have experienced sexual assaults and domestic violence. I believe women should have equality financially, politically and socially.

But I shave my fanjo so apparantly I can't be a feminist, which is a shame as I think I would make a good one.

Still if it involves telling other women their choices are a) not valid and b) not actually thier choices as they have been brain washed and are incapable of independent thought, I'll give it a miss.

JollyJackOLantern Mon 15-Oct-12 06:09:25

My stance on feminism is not based on the fact that the stereotypical view of feminists is unattractive.

Although I believe in equality and agree with the dictionary definition of feminism, I do not want people to think that I associate myself with some of the views held by some feminists.

1. I absolutely disagree with women only lists for parliament
2. I do not think that abortion, breastfeeding are feminist issues as they are not applicable to men therefore the sexes can't possibly be treated equally
3. I do not feel any affinity for other women just because they are women. And I don't have any desire to idolise successful business women just because they're women

There are lots more, but it's too early to marshal my thoughts terribly coherently. I did post on the other thread a few times, probably under a different name though.

Fairylea Mon 15-Oct-12 06:14:33

I hate radical feminism.

It seems it's choice they want
.. as long as that choice isn't shaving your body hair or watching porn (even as a woman watching porn, not that I do but if people want to that's fine).

Basically there is an element of everything we find acceptable being so because men have made it that way and I simply don't agree... otherwise you are effectively saying the decades of women before us have made no difference whatsoever to our choices and views. If that makes sense.

And yes I will keep shaving all my body hair because in relationship or not, I like it. That's my choice and not because I'm forced or pressured into it.

SeveredEdMcDunnough Mon 15-Oct-12 06:16:20

Well what a blooming patronising OP.

But ignoring that, I'll try to answer. I won't call myself a feminist as in practise, it doesn't seem to equate to what you describe.

I grew up when being a feminist meant reading Spare Rib and blaming men for almost everything. Or that is what it seemed to mean. I tried it; I was very young, I ended up realising that men were just people, and there were good elements and bad among them. But before that I managed to fall out with a lot of decent people just because they were male.

It was a poor influence the way it was demonstrated to me. That's not to say my experience was right, or usual. but it left me with a very bad taste in my mouth.

And now when I see people on MN trying to link everything that's wrong in the world with one issue - namely the patriarchy - it just makes me sad and a bit fed up. That's not the ONLY THING.

Not everyone does it. But some people seem to take great satisfaction in finding yet another reason why being a bloke is a bad thing, or something to be resented.

There is so much anger towards men in general and that is unnecessary.
I totally, absolutely agree with equality but that doesn't mean I want to focus on the problem of sexism to the exclusion of all the other problems there are. I think it gets things out of balance sometimes - by glorifying females and demonising males, we are missing an awful lot.

Again - not all feminists operate in this way. It just seems rather common practise.

Yes there is inequality still. There always will be while men and women are fundamentally different. We have to work with it though. Take the best of both.

I think if you concentrate solely on this issue it's like making a roast dinner with really exquisite stuffing, and because you spent so much time on the stuffing, the meat, potatoes and everything else are a bit rubbish.

It's all about balance I think.

HecateLarpo Mon 15-Oct-12 06:18:38

I did not believe myself to be a feminist. i can't speak for anyone else, but the reason I didn't is because I didn't understand what feminism actually is.

I bought in to the propaganda about it that is designed to silence women, keep us 'in our place' and stop us from fighting for true equality.

It is actually down to MN feminists that I have changed my view. I have been challenged, argued with and explained to (and challenged a bit more grin ) and now I can't believe I ever used to say "I'm not a feminist, I believe in equality for all people" as though feminism is about preventing that or something!

I didn't understand where we actually are now as women, it is quite hidden in this country. The greatest thing the patriarchy has ever accomplished is convincing women that they have equality and are empowered. It is only when I have come to really challenge myself and look that I can name example after example after example of how that is not true.

HecateLarpo Mon 15-Oct-12 06:22:43

Oh, and I'll give a quick visual example.

GQ men of the year

GQ woman of the year

spot the difference...

SeveredEdMcDunnough Mon 15-Oct-12 06:24:04

That's true Hecate - I don't seek to propagate the myth that women are yet equal, in this society (or any other I can think of).

I don't believe we have it as good in many ways. That's not the point though, to me. Yes that is a problem that exists. And I will try to fight it.

But I don't think that makes me a feminist. just the same as someone overly concerned with the rights of men isn't truly fighting for equality - but defending masculinity in every situation - I don't see the need to promote being female, to set it up as something perhaps more worthy than being male, more amazing than just being a person of one sex or the other.

I think very very often feminism promotes being female and that to me doesn't feel right. I think it's vastly counterproductive.

If it were not, then every single woman here would claim to be, and aspire to be called, a feminist.

Many of us do not wish to have any association with that word - and that to me indicates something is wrong with the way it comes across. Could be afundamental issuewith the term or it could be misperception but after months or years of the FWR topic on here, nothing has changed, huge numbers of people still don't want to be associated with it.

SeveredEdMcDunnough Mon 15-Oct-12 06:25:24

To sum that up - I don't necessarily think feminism (depending on definition) is wrong;

I think it is GETTING it wrong.

Timetoask Mon 15-Oct-12 06:29:56

I do believe that women and men are equally important and should have equal opportunity to achieve what they want to achieve but I also believe they are different and have different needs and different skills.

Spot on.
Women and men are different, we should accept and celebrate the differences whilst also encouraging young girls and women to be the best they can possibly be, to be independent but at the same time to acknowledge the importance of the man in the family.

Some of the threads on here, in my opinion, send a message about men being second class citizens that the world could do without. As the mother of boys I find it deeply sad.

WofflingOn Mon 15-Oct-12 06:34:10

But why would the Woman of the Year accept that photoshoot that made her look like a classy piece of Amsterdam window dressing?
Why didn't she say 'No. I'll keep my clothes on, thanks' ?
More depressing that the WOTY was another singer/songwriter when there are so many more interesting women out there, making a difference and being successful who don't fit the stereotype of MTV sex.
But I could be mistaken, is she renown for anything other than being pretty and a singer?

HecateLarpo Mon 15-Oct-12 06:36:40

I know exactly what you're saying, but I see it differently.

I am going to use something totally different in order to try to say what I mean. It is different, but there is a point to the following grin

My sons have autism. they need full time support. Is it promoting disability to give them 1:1 support and to fight for the hours on their statement and to pour resources into them. Or is it recognising that they aren't on a par with neurotypical children, that they are starting way behind them and in order to bring them forward so they have a hope of being at the same point, they need fighting for and they need to be given advantages. Equality is not about treating everyone the same, it is about treating everyone how they need to be treated in order to level the playing field. This may mean that you pursue equality by making an inequality.

Now, I know that there are many many differences and I am not telling that in order to liken disability to feminism, but rather to find a way that I can explain what I mean - that when you are not starting from the same point you need more in order to get you to the same place as the people who started way ahead of you are. Otherwise, you'll never stand a chance of getting anywhere close to where they are.

Fairylea Mon 15-Oct-12 06:38:48

But GQ is aimed at men is it not ?

So of course the woman is going to be sexualised. It's marketing to the target audience.

The same way that loose women have a half naked man spinning a wheel for one of their segments.

HecateLarpo Mon 15-Oct-12 06:41:30

And that's part of the problem, woffling. A society that convinces women that their worth is their tits and arse. that what matters about a woman is how she looks. Her desireability.

You see it all the time. The music videos with the fully clothed men and the near naked women. The older male presenters valued for their experience paired with the young and pretty female presenters valued for their looks.

Yes, in an ideal world, women would say "WHAT? You want me to do WHAT? Oh no. I am worth more than that." but we're all part of the society that's giving us these messages and I don't think any of us are unaffected by that.

catgirl1976 Mon 15-Oct-12 06:45:44


Kalisi Mon 15-Oct-12 06:46:06

I'm not a feminist because I can't be bothered. I'm the reason it's all gone to shit blush

Fairylea Mon 15-Oct-12 06:47:07

But to be really difficult you could turn it on its head and say well maybe women would rather see other women as sexual sometimes rather than men... if a man drops his trousers it's funny, if a woman does its sexy. Maybe women are just sexier... maybe thats real feminism - being able to use our sexuality.. or choose not to, you only have to look at things like dragons den, the Olympics and the whole host of other women in the media to know it's not all about looks.

But if I watch a music video then personally I have no problem with seeing a few women dancing in bikinis while the man has his clothes on.

I do feel music videos are becoming more racy and should probably have certificates and watershed times on them but that's not a feminist issue... no more than an 18 film for example.

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