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Feminism for dummies

(116 Posts)
Nigglenaggle Mon 26-Nov-12 21:46:00

Hi. I have never really read much about feminism, but I always thought, in its essence, it was about bringing equality for men and women. however reading threads in this section has lead me to believe in fact that is not the case. In fact I've come to wonder if that is even a large part of it. Please explain to me, in plain English, what feminism is. An overview of the different schools of thought within it would be welcome, however please stick to simple terms, for a simple girl grin

Nigglenaggle Tue 27-Nov-12 21:26:29

OK thanks all some food for thought for me here, will read the links when I get chance. Thanks to all those who kept it civil, this was my hope for this thread! Feminism probably is as I thought it was, but I guess I disagree with some over its interpretation. I guess also I have been thinking that equality is sort of redundant because we have it (and who isnt against domestic violence and female genital mutilation?), but have been forgetting that we are talking globally, and certainly in lots of places outside the uk this is not at all true. So all in all I have some thinking material and that is never a bad thing smile

AbigailAdams Tue 27-Nov-12 21:32:32

Oh yeah sure we have equality.

Really, read the Equality Illusion.

Oldladypillow Tue 27-Nov-12 21:34:37

What was supermann saying I'm intrigued?

ashesgirl Tue 27-Nov-12 21:46:37

Well, yes many people are against domestic violence and FGM.

But they are still MASSIVE problems so clearly there's a lot more work to be done.

If two women a week are killed by their partner, we're a long way from being able to say we've tackled the domestic violence issue... or that equality is redundant.

ashesgirl Tue 27-Nov-12 21:47:34

And that's two women a week in this country killed by their male partners.

Nigglenaggle Tue 27-Nov-12 22:06:01

FGM luckily not a big problem in the UK. Worldwide, I am maybe with you. I don't see domestic violence as a problem of abuse by men against women, so much as a problem of wankers against the weak. I guess that is where I haven't been understanding feminism.

I promise to look it up Abi. May take a while as have a squawking DC (he's a male too :P). I feel I have equality. But I work in a massively female dominated industry so maybe I have a slightly skewed perspective. Until recently, the female only right to maternity leave has been a massive issue for us, but now that this has been altered (and there's room for improvement, but it's tweaking) then I believe we have it. We already have equal pay and other rights (which are exercised in my profession) and this has just equalised the way we are seen as employment prospects. There is tweaking to be done for men too, in their rights to access to their children. There was recently a case where a father, whose partner died in childbirth, had to apply in court for access to his own child - there was no arguement between him and the mother or suggestion of ill-doing on his part, and he was named as the father in the maternity notes, but he still had to prove it. That's worse than any inequality we still face as women (in the UK). But others have said that feminism is about equal rights for all, so perhaps it is just ill named and abused as a concept.

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 22:13:09

"DV is wankers against the weak"

You really think that ?

ashesgirl Tue 27-Nov-12 22:19:00

But domestic violence IS a problem of abuse by men towards women.

The British Crime Survey found that there were an estimated 12.9 million incidents of domestic violence acts (that constituted non-sexual threats or force) against women and 2.5 million against men in England and Wales in the year preceding interview (Walby & Allen, 2004) Taken from Women's Aid.

Is there not a discrepancy there between the genders?

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 22:20:35

Domestic violence is massively gendered, and the vast majority of women who experience it are not "weak"

summerflower Tue 27-Nov-12 22:22:06

>>I guess that is where I haven't been understanding feminism. <<

Something like that.

Re the rape point, which I didn't get a chance to come back to, thank you to those who posted to namechangeguy's question, as I would not have had the heart to. Namechangeguy, thank you for your sensitivity on the matter.

ashesgirl Tue 27-Nov-12 22:22:08

In fact, the 'weak' issue is a prevailing myth about DV.

Nigglenaggle Tue 27-Nov-12 22:30:50

'Weak' wasn't an insult. Possibly a poor choice of phrase (tact has never been my strong point). I think what I meant to say was that the primary characteristic of the offenders is not their gender, but the fact that they are ..... <struggles for a word that is not offensive in some way> not nice people. Same as Myra Hindley wasn't. Or Hitler. Gender is not the problem but... nastiness... again I struggle to express myself. Be patient please.

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 22:32:31

You are talking about a perpetrator there...but you described someone on the receiving end of DV as "weak". It's there, in black and white.

Nigglenaggle Tue 27-Nov-12 22:34:47

I don't know how I could have explained better above that I meant not to offend..... what would you have me do?

ashesgirl Tue 27-Nov-12 22:38:21

But DV is such a widespread problem, it can't just be down to nasty personalities.

And if that was the case, why would be there so many more nasty inherent personality traits men than women?

Everything I've read suggests it's frequently cultural attitudes towards women that lie behind abuse.

Obviously not always - men can be abused too. But the stats show DV is much more likely to men abusing women.

ashesgirl Tue 27-Nov-12 22:38:45

inherent personality traits IN men, I meant to say

Nigglenaggle Tue 27-Nov-12 22:40:05

What do you think is the answer then ashes? I don't see what in our culture could be encouraging it.

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 22:40:13

I would have you educate yourself. If you think it's ok to come on a Feminism topic and make pronouncements like the victims of DV are "weak" I suggest you do some reading, or at the very least don't act surprised when people rightly pull you up on it.

ashesgirl Tue 27-Nov-12 22:40:18

I think what you're trying to say, Niggle, is that it's bullies acting out.

(But I do reckon a lot of people believe subconsciously that victims of DV are weak and that's why they are abused. It's a pretty common belief.)

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 22:42:32

One thing that encourages DV in our society is when people who haven't experienced it make sweeping statements that are ill-informed.

Nigglenaggle Tue 27-Nov-12 22:44:23

I think you're a bit over touchy dude. Read what I said again but maybe have a whisky first. And read the title post and you'll see education is the name of the game.

It was just a poor choice of wording ashes - what you said as your first line is what I meant. I know but one 'victim' of domestic violence and I thought she was one of the strongest women I have met.

Trills Tue 27-Nov-12 22:47:59

Feminism for dummies (IMO)

Do you think that people should be equally valued and respected and given equal opportunities, regardless of their sex/gender?

Do you think that this is not currently the case?

Would you like it to be the case?

Congratulations, you are a feminist. Now go find out more about how and why this is not the case (even in places where you thought everything was fine), and how you can encourage it to become the case.

AnyFuckingDude Tue 27-Nov-12 22:48:20

No, I am not touchy. You are making offensive statements and then telling me to chill out about it with a whisky. It's just as well there are lots of people who refuse to chill out about gendered violence against women, or certainly a lot of women's lives would be a lot less comfortable right now. Although there is still a huge amount of work to be done...your pronouncements being case in point.

ashesgirl Tue 27-Nov-12 22:51:53

Lots of things in our culture could encourage it.

Have you seen some forms of pornography? Hugely abusive and demeaning to women. I'm actually not against porn full-stop but I am against the types which say 'Find a slut in your area' or 'Barely legal and abused'

Some men (not all) are brought up to believe that women should be in a secondary supporting role. Have you seen the relationships board here? It's quite worrying how some women don't have proper access to an income, are expected to do all the domestic stuff. If women don't conform or start to challenge, it can sometimes end up in abuse.

Music can be another area of misogyny. I can try and dig out some examples.

What I'm saying is that misogyny is largely culturally-based.

Trills Tue 27-Nov-12 22:52:25

Make that especially in scenarios where you thought everything was fine. It is not as fine as you think. Being a feminist tends to require that you face up to things that you'd rather not have to think about, just because you've never experienced them (or you'v not been paying attention when you did experience them).

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