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It would be nice if feminism was easy and unchallenging - I don't think it can be though. What do you reckon?

(50 Posts)
Beachcomber Sat 16-Jul-11 16:01:15

Hi sisters. I haven't been on MN much recently so it appears I missed some threads on the main board in which some posters who post in the feminist section were commented on in a personal way. I have caught up with those threads and also understand that dittany, one of the posters concerned, is taking a break from MN as a result. I don't know if Sakura or any of the other posters concerned also feel this way - I certainly hope not.

Anyway, as someone who was part of the feminist section when it first started, when it was just a few threads and a few posters, not like now we we are big and busy! I wanted to say something about all this.

First of all, I would like to be clear that this is NOT a thread in which to resurrect what went on in the other threads. It is not a thread to go over what was said or not said by so and so. The reason that it is not that sort of thread is because that would only drag the whole thing on again and would no doubt cause hurt and distress to the posters concerned. I also have no interest in this thread being a dig at anyone who has said anything about feminists, the feminist section or any posters on it in the last while on MN.

If this thread turns into any of those things, I will report it and get it pulled.

Now, I know this is a public forum and people can post what they like, when they like, and who the hell am I to be telling anyone what to do, right?

Well, I'm no one, so of course I can't tell anybody what to do, but I can politely ask them. I am asking just one simple thing - if you agree with the premise of this post then add a comment and stand up and be counted.

OK, thank you for reading so far - now for the proper content of this OP!

It is my opinion, that feminism is challenging. Feminism is challenging because it picks apart the status quo and finds it wanting. Feminism is challenging because it takes us out of our comfort zone and encourages us to examine our world, our lives and ourselves in a different manner to that to which we are used. Feminism challenges us because feminist analysis is unpopular and denigrated within the status quo - and that makes feminists unpopular and denigrated too. Feminism is a challenge because it messes with our heads and makes us think about difficult and often distressing issues.

Feminism is essentially a grass roots political movement - and it is a movement which has different schools of thought within it. A lot of the energy in the movement comes from people who are willing to stand up and be counted and point out the patriarchal bullshit that we are all taught to normalize, accept and internalize. Feminism has always had some strong voices in it, women who push boundaries and take no prisoners - often those have been radical voices, but not always. Without such voices we wouldn't be where we are now and we wouldn't keep moving forward.

If you agree, to some extent, with the above, then thank you for saying so.

Can I politely and respectfully request that if you don't agree you could perhaps express those sentiments elsewhere? Thanks in advance for your respect and understanding.

annonforthis Sat 16-Jul-11 16:06:31

yep-i agree with everything that you have said!

Beachcomber Sat 16-Jul-11 16:07:53

Thank you for commenting annon.

annonforthis Sat 16-Jul-11 16:11:34

youre welcome Beachcomber.
you have just said things that i have been desperatly trying to say!

Beachcomber Sat 16-Jul-11 16:13:41

Well thanks for getting things off to a good start!

Prolesworth Sat 16-Jul-11 16:19:29

Message withdrawn

Thistledew Sat 16-Jul-11 16:22:27

Perhaps people get so upset with feminists who ask for big changes simply because they are women asking for big changes.

I think that part of how women are expected to behave is to be conciliatory, to mollify and compromise.

It therefore makes people doubly anxious when women are asking for a change in how we are treated, and also doing it in a way that is not seen as typically 'feminine'.

Jazzicatz Sat 16-Jul-11 16:26:19

I agree and feel it is so important that this topic remains. I research and teach in this area, but also have a very personal interest in feminism. This topic has really helped me think through and challenge many of my ideas and thoughts. I would be deeply saddened if this topic was pulled as I think it really is necessary

CrapolaDeVille Sat 16-Jul-11 16:30:27

I agree.

LRDTheFeministNutcase Sat 16-Jul-11 16:43:43

I don't entirely agree (and I'm not going anywhere): I think feminism is often easy, and the natural response of anyone not an idiot or a misogynist. I think being a feminist is challenging but feminism itself is not. People make a big noise about how challenging feminism is - I think they're just trying to push us to the sides and pretend we're extremists when we're just stating the bloody obvious..

garlicbutter Sat 16-Jul-11 19:46:14

I've always found being a woman challenging. This is probably because my values & expectations have always been un-patriarchal. (Some of them were sadly warped in the personal sphere, but not globally.) I used to say I couldn't get along with "girly women", which looked odd because I'm averagely "girly". After a while I realised I meant women who reject feminism.

So what LRD just said.

TrillianAstra Sat 16-Jul-11 19:50:42

If you start a thread saying "if you don't agree with me don't post" then won't it be a pretty boring thread just full of people saying "I agree with the OP"?

HerBeX Sat 16-Jul-11 20:16:00

I agree wiht the OP but I agree with LRD as well

<agreement overload>

<agreeable look>

TillyIpswitch Sat 16-Jul-11 20:20:54

What's wrong with having a 'boring' thread every now and then? grin It's not like there aren't puh-lenty of other threads to get combative on.

Great post - I love your, 'it is my opinion...' paragraph, Beachcomber

Beachcomber Sat 16-Jul-11 22:07:30

Thank you everyone for your posts.

Prolesworth - hello, as usual, I have been enjoying/agreeing with your posts of late and I am appreciative of your presence here. Cheers!

Thistledew, I think you are right - people are uncomfortable with women asking for change. Not our place and all that - all the more reason to do it, it would seem.

Jazzicatz - this topic has brought loads to me too and long may it continue....

CPD - thanks for posting.

LRD - I hear ya. ISWYM about feminism not being a challenge but being a feminist as being challenging. My own thoughts are that being a feminist is to be constantly challenged, and that feminism (for me) constantly asks me to challenge myself and my preconceptions. Many aspects of feminism are, as you say, just stating the bleedin' obvious - I think this is where we run into cognitive dissonance, double think, etc however and then things can get messy. Just my opinion though.

GB - thanks for commenting.

TrillianAstra - I completely get your point. I knew this thread was going to be boring for lots of people. It isn't meant to be a debate but more of a support thread. I'm just trying to be very very nonconfrontational about it. I may, at a later date start a similar thread that is intended to be a debate but will probably turn into a bunfight. Given recent goingons on MN though, I don't want to do that at the moment. I'm feeling a bit sad and introspectial - humour me if you will.

HexBex - if I agree with you too will we actually, like, implode in a vortex of feminist agreement?!!

Tilly - thank you and especially thanks for supporting the boringness and being nice about my ramblings.

LRDTheFeministNutcase Sat 16-Jul-11 22:16:23

I completely agree beach - my post was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I thought it was important to do a wee 'feminism is not weird' speech as it's so annoying the number of people who act as if feminism is some kind of strange extreme movement.

Thanks for starting this thread, btw. smile

Beachcomber Sat 16-Jul-11 22:38:26

I get you LRD.

You're welcome for the thread. I did wonder when I hit the 'post thread' button if it was a good idea, but hopefully it will be very boring with some people agreeing with each other/disagreeing in a mild manner.

Yama Sat 16-Jul-11 22:53:04

I find feminism challenging. I found it easy as a child, teenager and young woman. However, looking back I was merely adopting a male approach to life. Feminism in my mid 30's makes me think a lot. I find my self deconstructing my view of the world and then realising as LRD says that it should be obvious.

One of my seniors at work said to me at a recent night out that I better be careful or people would start to think I was "one of those".

My dh and I strategise about how to bring up the dc to that they are not disadvantaged by the way things are. I guess I am the theorist and he the practical feminist.

Anyway, I agree with you Beachcomber. I find that although the feminism boards are a challenge, they are a worthy challenge.

Beachcomber Sat 16-Jul-11 22:57:34

I like your phrase 'worthy challenge' yama.

I found feminism easier before I became a mother and actually had to come face to face with the idea that the world was not organised for me, at all, in any way. I just had to get on with that and was expected to not be pissed off about it.

vesuvia Sat 16-Jul-11 22:58:14

Beachcomber, I agree with your OP.

Beachcomber Sat 16-Jul-11 22:59:47

Hello and thanks, vesuvia. smile

Yama Sat 16-Jul-11 23:00:39

Why thank you Beachcomber. smile

Beachcomber Sat 16-Jul-11 23:05:59

You're welcome yama.

I'm off to bed now, will try to look in tomorrow. Please keep it nice folks.

snowmama Sat 16-Jul-11 23:44:05

Liking this thread, nothing useful to add beyond motherhood made feminism easier and clearer to me.

sunshineandbooks Sat 16-Jul-11 23:53:34

I agree beachcomber. Isn't this lovely! grin <passes round the pipe of peace>

Personally, I have to say feminism is REALLY REALLY challenging - not to grasp as a concept, and not to start trying to live by. The challenge is to try to remain a human being rather than some incredibly angry whirlwind of fury once you start seeing discrimination at work in almost everything. Fortunately, I've got past that stage now.

I think. wink

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