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To ask if you feel feminism doesn't include you?

(538 Posts)
FlyingElbows Mon 22-Feb-16 08:26:54

I was brought up by a mother who, like so many others, found feminism in the late 70s / early 80s. She spent most of my life telling me that I could do anything but I was essentially too stupid to form my own thoughts and opinions and needed "feminists" to think for me. Throughout my adult life I have met women who proclaim to be "feminist" but hold what I have found to be questionable views about who "feminism" should be open to. So, do you feel feminism wants you or are you too stupid, too lacking in academic prowess, too working class, too blonde, too keen on glittery things, too married, too a sahm, too anything at all to be good enough? Just wondering because I have had enough of other women telling me what to think and I'm wondering if it's just me?

BertrandRussell Mon 22-Feb-16 08:30:12

What does being a feminist mean to you?

AttitcusFinchIsMyFather Mon 22-Feb-16 08:31:35

Feminism should be for anyone who believes there should be equality for both sexes.

Katenka Mon 22-Feb-16 08:31:52

I think some feminist don't include me in their ideal of feminism.

I have come across people who think I can't be a feminist because I took dhs name (as though I should be attached to my dads name) shave my fanjo etc.

These people look at one part of someone's life and judge. These people also don't get the irony of telling women they should have to live a certain way to feminist.

But they are few and at between. I am a feminist it's not for anyone else to tell me I am or I am not.

Katenka Mon 22-Feb-16 08:33:18

The person I have met most like this is a sahm and 'hates' wohm. She uses the word 'hate'.

Personally I feel hating women for making a choice is very I feminist. But it's up to her what she calls herself.

AttitcusFinchIsMyFather Mon 22-Feb-16 08:35:24

But surely a feminist is just someone who wants equality? That's it, in it's purest form. I would hope everyone is a feminist!

MaryRobinson Mon 22-Feb-16 08:36:03

I don't think feminists tell me what to think, partly because there is no monolithic Feminism anyway. I do think feminists have made me think a lot more, and to sharpen my thinking.

Among my friends, those who have hypercritical mothers would share your view... Although as we progress through our forties most can see that "the problem" is their mother, rather than "other women"

TheXxed Mon 22-Feb-16 08:37:58

Your mum told you that you need feminist to think for you. Did that really happen. hmm

Oysterbabe Mon 22-Feb-16 08:38:02

Most people who say they aren't a feminist don't really understand what it is.

NNalreadyinuse Mon 22-Feb-16 08:39:49

Given that feminist just means that you want equality between the sexes, I don't see how anyone can be excluded from that. Mind you, I was brought up to not worry overmuch about other people's opinions of me so the politics infighting of what defines a feminist tends to wash over me.

I am perplexed by people who clearly believe in equality and then say 'I am not a feminist'. What is that all about? What do they believe a feminist actually is?

AttitcusFinchIsMyFather Mon 22-Feb-16 08:40:48

What do people think a feminist is then?

AttitcusFinchIsMyFather Mon 22-Feb-16 08:41:43

Cross post with NN there :D

U2HasTheEdge Mon 22-Feb-16 08:42:12

I am a feminist because I believe women should have the same choices and legal protection as men. For me it is that simple.

I have had a few people telling me I'm not a good feminist because I changed my name on marriage but I don't worry about them. The fact is I had the choice not to change my name but I chose to do so. It was my choice and that is what feminism is about, being able to make your own choices.

MagratsFlyawayHair Mon 22-Feb-16 08:42:13

I finally realised why the word feminist makes me balk. If it's about equality why does it focus on the female.

The description of what feminism seeks is incongruous with its title.

BertrandRussell Mon 22-Feb-16 08:42:33

There is actually more to feminism then simply wanting equality between the sexes.

Wanting simple equality is "equalism". Feminism is more complicated and nuanced than that.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 22-Feb-16 08:42:58

Being a feminist does not automatically prevent someone from being a dick.

Personally I find feminist thought useful for navigating what it means to be female-bodied in this culture. Not sufficient, perhaps, but absolutely necessary. I'm not so keen on the very victimy narrative you hear from some quarters, or the 'intersectional' thing which I think is mostly just licence to be woolly, but the history of feminism is important and I find it personally valuable.

Polgara25 Mon 22-Feb-16 08:43:27

I'm a feminist, but I generally stay away from the feminism area on this forum. It seems to get mired in semantics and pointless theoretical, academic navel-gazing.

That and the obsession with trans issues....

witsender Mon 22-Feb-16 08:43:38

I've never considered it. I believe in, and want equality. I am a feminist. As are most people I know. It is for all as far as I'm concerned.

AStreetcarNamedBob Mon 22-Feb-16 08:43:55


But why would you take your father in laws name over your fathers? You can't describe the name as your husbands name if you're describing yours as your dads?

Either our names are our own (that's what I believe) or they belong to our fathers in which case DH doesn't own his name, his father does.

Owllady Mon 22-Feb-16 08:44:47

My wc Mum wasn't a feminist. She was abused by my Father, so I don't know if it was conditioned (likely) rather than her beliefs. She got into politics though at a party level, when we were early teams and it seemed to give her the confidence to get rid of him. She chucked him out, got a job (something she wasn't allowed to do) and learnt to drive. She still has some pretty odd ideas about men's and women's work and roles though and she's only 60.

Although I'm in a traditional role in our relationship atm, I still consider myself to be a feminist and I don't understand younger women not believing in it. Without feminism we wouldn't be able to vote, work, drive, have choices, rape and beating your wife would be legal. How can you not believe in it? It doesn't make sense. I'm safe and happy and I make my own choices, I consider myself lucky that that is my right as a woman.

MagratsFlyawayHair Mon 22-Feb-16 08:47:30

Fair enough Bertrand.

I feel like I want all the same things but I always get irritated by everything having to be labelled. Sadly it's a necessary thing so that the important things can all be talked about under the same banner.

goodnightdarthvader1 Mon 22-Feb-16 08:55:57

This is no different to proclaiming oneself, say, Christian.

Some Christians do their best to live kindly and nicely and do good in the world. Some Christians take their religion to the Nth degree and proclaim hate for gay people and followers of other religions.

Some feminist views will align with yours. I believe in equality for women. Some feminists believe men are completely unnecessary and should be removed from society.

There's no need to for the big angsty "what does feminism mean to meeeee" debate. Some people will think the way you do, some won't. You can still call yourself a feminist, because you are one. Anti-feminists try to divide / disempower feminism by saying all feminists are hairy-handed dyke men-haters. Don't buy into that argument or perpetrate it.

cogitosum Mon 22-Feb-16 09:03:08

I find this podcast great. It's about feminism but the guilty part makes it really relatable and realistic in terms of everyday life. It's also really funny!
(Note im not in any way connected to it, just went to watch one and am now hooked)

PiperChapstick Mon 22-Feb-16 09:05:24

It's probably just you. Feminism has improved and empowered me and true feminism respects any women's choices - be it to be a SAHM, married, single etc. Real feminism doesn't set out hard and fast expectations

bluespiral Mon 22-Feb-16 09:06:35

I've never thought about whether feminism "wants me". I choose feminism.

I've been a SAHM, I now work PT for significantly less money than I did pre DD and I took DH's name upon marriage. None of that changes the fact that I see sexism and a gender divide everywhere and just hope for equality one day.

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