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What do you think are they universal constants of Feminism?

(49 Posts)
Trills Sun 12-Jun-11 19:22:39

What is the thing that, if you don't believe it, you are not a feminist? Whereas everything else is debateable.

I am not exactly educated in feminism so this is mostly out of my head, but I would say that the key points are:
1 - The belief that everyone should be treated, valued, and respected equaly, and given equal opportunities in life, regardless of their gender
2 - The understanding that this is currently not the case

I can't think of anything else that is a must.

What do you think? Do you disagree with my "core values"? Would you add in anything else as an absolute?

Trills Sun 12-Jun-11 19:24:39

*the, not they, in title, obviously

sparky246 Sun 12-Jun-11 19:38:31

good topic Trills.
yep-i agree with you
a definate MUST also is[i feel]as above and regardless of theyre class.
i think that this can be forgotton[either way]

Trills Sun 12-Jun-11 19:43:40

Is class a feminist issue?

I could have added sexuality as well, but as class and sexuality apply just as much to men as women I feel they are (while important issues) not specifically feminist issues.

darleneoconnor Sun 12-Jun-11 19:59:11

There were the 7 demands of the 1970's women's liberation movement- most feminists will support these but not all.

Here they are:

Equal pay for equal work
Equal education and job oportunities
Free contraception
Free 24-hour community-controlled childcare
Legal and financial independence for women
An end to discrimination against lesbians
Freedom for all women from intimidation by the threat or use of male violence. An end to the laws, assumptions and institutions which perpetuate male dominance and men's agression towards women

I also think all feminists agree that women shoud be paid the same as a man doing the same job, should be allowed to study the same subjects at school and uni, and that domestic violence is never justified.

sparky246 Sun 12-Jun-11 20:40:25

[is class a feminist issue?]
well-yes i think it is[said kindly]Trills.
the patriarchy pits us against each other.
we[im on about me and people i know]are illetirate/lazy/feckless no good oiks
according to others and need theyre help.
according to[some of]us-they are do gooding bastards who are up theyre own arses.
they dont want us-we dont want them.
but wait-hang on-we are all just human beings-some of us got oppitunitys some of us didnt.thats all it is.
we all come here with nothing and go out with nothing.
the patriarchy is fucking us over badly-whoever we are.
the patriarchy are having a field day with us all.
so yes i think it is a feminist issue.
<putting my hands up to being semi illettirrette>

darleneoconnor Sun 12-Jun-11 20:49:01

There are right wing feminists, though.

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 12-Jun-11 20:53:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AyeRobot Sun 12-Jun-11 20:58:23

I don't know anymore. Or if I ever did.

AyeRobot Sun 12-Jun-11 21:01:49

Sorry, I'll try and be a bit more constructive.

I agree with your OP. I am just a bit jaded that there are so many self-identified feminists who agree with your Point 1 but not with your Point 2. I come a bit unstuck in terms of making more suggestions when there don't seem to be many that even agree with your OP.

darleneoconnor Sun 12-Jun-11 21:19:39

SGM- but I know of self-identifying feminists who are at least a bit homophobic and who dont approve of multiple sexual partners. I also know of lesbian feminists who couldn't give a flying f* about heterosexual issues such as 'date' rape, domestic violence etc.

vesuvia Sun 12-Jun-11 21:34:03

Trills, I'd agree with your two points being the minimum for feminism.

If someone does not agree with your point 2 (equality does not currently exist) then that implies that the person believes that equality had been achieved. A feminist is not someone who rubber stamps the current status quo and says "our work is done". That's the patriarchy's job. As feminism is not about women having more rights than men, I don't see how that person would feel any need to be interested in feminism, unless it was to sabotage progress for women.

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 12-Jun-11 22:52:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

garlicbutter Sun 12-Jun-11 23:26:14

I think Trills's Point#2 is the one that makes you a feminist - if you believe Point#1 already is the case, you see no need to fight.

You said pretty much the same, vesuvia.

I also think class, race & sexual orientation need to be included because, otherwise, Point#1 can't happen.

As a bare minimum, though, you could just say "A feminist believes women and men are not treated equally, and should be."

Or you could say "I don't know what a feminist is; I only know that's what people call me when I don't act like a doormat or a whore."

<that's a misquote, but I can't remember who from>

garlicbutter Sun 12-Jun-11 23:28:25

I also think class, race, age & sexual orientation need to be included

darleneoconnor Mon 13-Jun-11 09:41:40

Rebecca West

Trills Mon 13-Jun-11 10:23:51

Who or what is Rebecca West?

Trills Mon 13-Jun-11 10:24:29

Thos eof you who have added race/class/age - is this because you think these issues affect women more than men, or simply because we are fighting for equality so we should fight for all equality?

sunshineandbooks Mon 13-Jun-11 10:30:57

Trills I think it's because it is sometimes easy to forget that some of the solutions some middle class feminists will come up can seem totally out of touch with the lives of some working class women or those on benefits. (I am interpreting class to mean income here.)

For example, when you are struggling to afford to feed your children or yourselves, talking about making the main earner (usually the man) take more responsibility at home (taking a pay cut) in order to allow the woman greater economic independence, usually in a lower paid job (and often a dead end one), is just economically nonsensical.

sunshineandbooks Mon 13-Jun-11 10:32:09

Sorry, not really answering the question there "Trills*. The point I was trying to make is that I think socio-economic class does indeed affect the way you understand feminism and what tenets of it you adopt personally.

garlicbutter Mon 13-Jun-11 11:58:59

Trills - my misquote! Thanks, Darlene smile

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.

I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.

garlicbutter Mon 13-Jun-11 12:06:57

If you describe feminism's orbit as equality between women and men - without encompassing class, age, disability, etc - then you'll have to qualify your feminism as 'gender equality between peers (who are equal in all things but gender)'. This inevitably leads to dozens of different 'feminisms'; one for each social rank.

Thus, you still haven't defined feminism. It has to include all ranks, abilities, ages, etc, in order to keep the message pure.

Might look paradoxical, but isn't. Perhaps someone can do it better.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 13-Jun-11 12:15:50

I think I would add a point 3 as well. So:

1) The belief that men and women should be treated equally
2) The realisation that this is not yet the case
3) The desire/intention to do something about it

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 13-Jun-11 12:59:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sparky246 Mon 13-Jun-11 19:10:16

yep-i agree with SGM.

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