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I don't know why I bother.....anyone else the same?

(221 Posts)
mcmooncup Fri 08-Mar-13 10:58:30

I use Facebook. Put up funny posts, pictures...bla bla bla.

Everytime I post something I usually get about 30-40 likes.

Yet EVERYTIME I post something vaguely feminist. Blank. Zero. Occasional like.

I find it so depressing. Today I have posted about International Women's Day and linked to the letter in the Guardian.

How do we break down this wall of silence?

Why do people not want to be associated with 'ranty feminists'?

Our communication seems to be very isolating, even though it's not meant to be.

Qu's I ask myself....

Why can people not see what I can see?
Is the harm done to them so 'normal' that they can't see it?
Are they scared of being ostracised into this rad fem group if they speak out?
Are they afraid of losing their families/jobs/attractiveness to males?

I just wondered if we could have a discussion and try and learn what is it that non feminists hear when they hear a feminist talking. It might help us improve our communication.

mcmooncup Wed 13-Mar-13 23:38:59

There is lots of research on DV perpetrators and opinion on this research varies wildly.

It is absolutely not a given that people who have experienced abuse as a child/been brought up in an abusive environment will abuse, however there is possibly some correlation (not necessarily causal link)

However, really this is a red herring - violence is used as an acceptable method of control in our culture, period. It is acceptable to smack children to control them, we use violent methods to maintain our territory as a country (war).......our entire culture is built on violent firstly it is no surprise that violence is prevalent.

If we also look at how boys are expected to be violent from a very young age then this is seriously worrying. I don't buy the "born that way" male violence. I have 2 boys and both of them at varying times have been pressured to be "violent" (i.e. have a fight) in the playground to prove some sort of strength. They were scary and stressful experiences to have to prove some masculine prowess. For this reason, I hate the masculine stereotype obviously - the boys don't cry, the naughty boy, the hit back, the don't show weakness. It's drilled into boys very early on. And I think is absolutely a source of stress for many boys.

That digresses slightly however it sets the context of how men are expected to deal with conflict - through violence and not showing weakness.

Add into the mix our female stereotype - the sexual object, the weaker sex, the sex who provides domestic service, the less economically viable sex, the inferior sex, then I see a toxic mix starting to develop.

I think many/some abusive men have attachment issues also - an abandonment, or destructive parent issue - and this creates a man who has not been taught to regulate emotion, a man who has been taught to deal with negative emotion with aggression, a man who has been taught that women are inferior, a man who is desperate for love but doesn't know how to love properly and is frightened of losing any love they come close to, and this is then set in a culture with very little recourse for acting out their violence - it is excused in many many areas - and also they are then having relationships with women who have been brought up in this culture where they expect this to happen because they have internalised their sex object/inferior role,and off we go.

This is my take. It encompasses a lot of projection, along with a lot of observation, and by reading a lot of research. It is just my opinion.

namechangeguy Wed 13-Mar-13 14:00:28

Mcmooncup, what about looking at the root causes? Someone in another thread intimated that a high percentage of false-rape accusers were suffering with mental health problems. Is there any research on DV abusers? How many were brought up in similar environments? My gut feel, absolutely not back by research, is that most were, they see it as the norm,and that is is an awful vicious cycle. Same goes for the victims - if you see your mum beaten, you see it as somehow 'normal'. My question is, how do we break the cycle?

For starters, I would suggest that in the UK we should focus on abusive relationships at school, in PHSE. Give people the knowledge to realise that this is not normal. Does anyone know whether this is addressed already?

mabongwen Wed 13-Mar-13 13:47:41

I feel that I don't need to repeat my stance on DV again ladies. I understand your opinion and your point of view and I respect it. I feel we are now just arguing the same point. Its a difference of opinion that is all.

lessthanaballpark why have you assumed that I am a white person? But to answer your question it would not matter to me what race anyone was, if said person of any race was showing hatred or discrimination towards a person of a different race, for me that is racism, and should be stood up against. Now with sexism if they were being obviously sexist then yes I would speak up.

mcmooncup Wed 13-Mar-13 12:22:44

We challenge sexism in every situation it rears it's head. All of us, men included.
We show and focus on the benefits of a society without sexism - how it benefits everyone.
We address the fears associated with change....on how men think they have something to lose. When really there are only a very very few at the top who may lose anything.

namechangeguy Wed 13-Mar-13 09:49:37

So what do we do about DV? How do we fix the problem?

AbigailAdams Wed 13-Mar-13 09:44:09

It isn't just the gendered nature of DV (or all violence for that matter) which makes it a feminist issue, it is the systems and pressures in place within society that allows it to continue and makes it far more difficult for women to leave. I am talking about marriage as an institution, religion, victim-blaming, disbelief when the woman speaks out. Just look at the initial reactions to the Jimmy Savile allegations and there are some on this board who are very suspicious of the allegations against Lord Rennard and we don't even know these men. Think how some people react when you accuse the "nice guy" in the office of DV or the focus on false rape allegations. Women are threatened with having their children taken away rather than the man removed from the house. Women are having to uproot themselves and their children to go into hiding to get away from these men. How mad is that?

In addition male violence is at the root of women's oppression, just like white violence is at the root of racial oppression. Men (as a class) are not being oppressed by women who are violent towards them. Individuals maybe but not widespread. From Lundy Bancroft (as he knows far more about abuse than we will probably ever know and is more eloquent than me!):

"There certainly are some women who treat their male partners badly, berating them, calling them names, attempting to control them. The negative impact on these men’s lives can be considerable. But do we see men whose self-esteem is gradually destroyed through this process? Do we see men whose progress in school or in their careers grinds to a halt because of the constant criticism and undermining? Where are the men whose partners are forcing them to have unwanted sex? Where are the men who are fleeing to shelters in fear for their lives? How about the ones who try to get to a phone to call for help, but the women block their way or cut the line? The reason we don’t generally see these men is simple: They’re rare.

I don’t question how embarrassing it would be for a man to come forward and admit that a woman is abusing him. But don’t underestimate how humiliated a woman feels when she reveals abuse; women crave dignity just as much as men do. If shame stopped people from coming forward, no one would tell.

Even if abused men didn’t want to come forward, they would have been discovered by now. Neighbors don’t turn a deaf ear to abuse the way they might have ten or twenty years ago. Now, when people hear screaming, objects smashing against walls, loud slaps landing on skin, they call the police. Among my physically abusive clients, nearly one-third have been arrested as a result of a call to the police that came from someone other than the abused woman. If there were millions of cowed, trembling men out there, the police would be finding them. Abusive men commonly like to play the role of victim, and most men who claim to be “battered men” are actually the perpetrators of violence, not the victims."

This is from a man who deals with thousands of abusers and their victims. Domestic violence/abuse against women is systematic and systemic and that is why it is a feminist issue.

Lessthanaballpark Wed 13-Mar-13 07:20:03

"I'm in a "mixed" race marriage and am the first person to object and become VERYoutspoken about racism, but not for feminism,"

What about sexism? Would you speak out if you heard someone saying sexist? I know I would find it far easier to call someone out on their racism than I would on their sexism for fear of looking humourless. Not because racism doesn't exist but it is far less socially acceptable than sexism and that is a reason why feminism is still needed.

If you found out that whites were violent to blacks at a much higher rate than vice versa would you see this as a racist issue or just part of a natural order?

To fail to recognise the gendered nature of DV, rape etc makes it harder to do something about because you are not allowing yourself to analyse the causes.

I understand that men feel uncomfortable I really do because I feel the same when I think of what white people have done but I don't know any other way of calling a spade a spade.

FloraFox Wed 13-Mar-13 01:56:59

Also, mab thanks for spending the time to put your views across.

FloraFox Wed 13-Mar-13 01:56:18

I've been reading this thread with a lot of interest. I think a lot of women are feminists but maybe don't like the connotations that go along with the label. mabongwen it's your right to identify as you wish but I haven't seen anything anti-feminist in anything you've posted smile In my view, if you're not against us you're with us (sorry if you don't want to be!)

Also, Doctrine's example of white people in SA is a good one. Not all white people took an active part in supporting apartheid but all of them benefitted from the system created by apartheid.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 13-Mar-13 01:31:15

I think vesuvia is right, and I think there is no sense in worrying - some peolpe will always feel that feminism (or any other ideology) is not for them, not because of content but because of how that ideology seems to them. And with feminism, it's just natural that people will not like challenges to the status quo.

Thanks for the kind words, mab. smile

mabongwen Wed 13-Mar-13 01:25:32

vesuvia Then it would appear you are between a rock and a hard place, through no fault of your own. You are damned if you do and damned if you don't sad

vesuvia Wed 13-Mar-13 01:23:35

mabongwen wrote - "there are more non-feminists than there are feminists, and surprisingly a lot of women and men against feminists and when they have something to latch on to like "you are generalising" they hold on to it with every might and each time you say "men......." they will scream "you are generalising"

Yes, I've seen it happen often.

Unfortunately, I think that if every feminist used "some men" rather than "men" in every relevant sentence, the anti-feminists would just criticise and undermine feminists in another way.

mabongwen Wed 13-Mar-13 01:09:54

LRD Wow, I'm not sure what to say, I completely and utterly agree with you. I have no retort really.

I wish we could do away with labels and concentrate on the root problem.

I was just trying to explain why maybe a wider audience had issue with the label "men" more than me personally, I'm sorry again if I wasn't very clear.

mabongwen Wed 13-Mar-13 01:05:23

vesuvia I completely agree with you, you shouldn't have to change anything or the way you write. It's just in today's world, it does not take much to cause misunderstanding. Unfortunately for feminists, there are more non-feminists than there are feminists, and surprisingly a lot of women and men against feminists and when they have something to latch on to like "you are generalising" they hold on to it with every might and each time you say "men......." they will scream "you are generalising" and thus follows the argument.

I know it's not fair that feminist would have to use "some men" but perhaps just to improve PR for a wee while, to improve the communication of the message it might help.

I know it's a sad state of affairs when the entire world can't see that you are not generalising, but that's the world we live in sad

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 13-Mar-13 01:04:22

I've been reading this with a lot of interest, it's a fascinating discussion.

I think there is a huge issue in putting labels on people. Comparing people to books, or to a genre or books, as you're doing mab, seems to me something that just doesn't work. People aren't like that. You can't make the comparison - because people change all the time. There's no point in talking about 'men' and 'some men' - that is a way of looking at things that ends up playing up to the surface sexism we all see. The issue (IMO) isn't how many men do x, y or z. It certainly isn't how many men we could label as bad, anti-feminist men. The issue is, why do some people act like this, and why does society accept it?

Instead of running around labelling the perpetrators as we discover them (though this can be a powerful activity), we need to go deeper, and we need to stop what's happening to women before misogynists make themselves obvious.

My experience of men I know well is that they don't mind it when feminists talk about the inequality of the sexes, just as straight people I know don't mind being cited as examples of those who're privileged as a result of their sexuality. We can't keep worrying about how labels might offend a group of people who're already very lucky, and we can't keep pretending that group don't have the power to change their own public image. They do have that power, and if they cared, they'd get behind us.

vesuvia Wed 13-Mar-13 00:56:24

mabongwen wrote - "Just because you see it or perceive it to be one thing, does not mean everyone does."

That's true. I think if we mean "some", it is usually helpful to use "some", but it is not compulsory (yet). There are anti-feminists out there who seem to think it should be compulsory for feminists (only).

That brings us back to my earlier point. Feminists should only have to say "some" men when everyone else is forced to say "some xxxxxxxx" if that's what they really mean, whether it's about books or something in a newspaper headline. Otherwise, non-feminists will unfairly hold feminists to standards of language that are stricter than non-feminists currently use, e.g. bookshops who are not actually selling all books, lazy newspaper headline writers who write ambiguous newspaper headlines etc.

I want feminists to be treated as fairly as non-feminists are treated. The rules of language should not be stricter just because a feminist is speaking or writing.

mabongwen Wed 13-Mar-13 00:51:06

The Doctrine At first glance and honestly yes I would think all white people, I know its a flaw but it's me. Upon reading the article I would then base my judgment on the information obtained.

I don't see feminism as a problem or think you are all ugly spinsters with hairy legs, but like you said it's a totally WRONG interpretation of you, and I think social media and ridicule from sexist men in power is the reason "feminists" have been labelled this way.

It's of my opinion that they are afraid, they ridicule what they don't know and try and quash it. I am not a strong enough woman to be a feminists, its my own fault, no backbone, worried of social perception (and I know I shouldn't be sad) and so forth. I do admire you ladies for what you do and strive for, I really do.

I'm in a "mixed" race marriage and am the first person to object and become VERYoutspoken about racism, but not for feminism, and I am disappointed in myself about that. sad

runningforthebusinheels Wed 13-Mar-13 00:46:08

I agree, doctrine.

This real-life newspaper headline doesn't make the distinction either.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 13-Mar-13 00:40:06

Mabongwen, "does men equal all men or some men" point does come up sometimes. Quite a lot of posters on here do say "some men" and if not, when in a hurry or whatever, we tend to mean "some" and usually read it that way.

If you read somewhere that "white people discriminated against black in South Africa during apartheid", would you take the writer's point of view as applying to all white people and all black people in South Africa?

Thanks for explaining your points so clearly, it really helps understanding.

mabongwen Wed 13-Mar-13 00:33:24

mnmooncup It's ok, I understand what you are saying.

Look all, I really don't want a argument. I answered why I was not a feminist and didn't share feminists posts "because of a difference of opinion on a issue" and one I respect everyones opinion on no matter how much they differ.

Then I attempted and failed, to address the communication problem question. by trying to say that others believe by saying "men" they assume you are generalising. I know your not and you know you are not, but that dosn't mean everyone knows you are not.

I'm making no sense again aren't I? confused sorry

mabongwen Wed 13-Mar-13 00:26:28

vesuvia But other's don't see it this way. They see it a a generalisation, and it's why it can sometimes cause problems. If a paper had a headline

Men killed animals in 1941

Some people would read it and think, "all men killed animals in 1941!" I know I would, untill I looked in to it further, but there lies the problem. Some people won't look in to it further and would walk away thinking all men killed animals in 1941.

So now to be more clear the headline would have to read

Farming men killed animals in 1941

Just because you see it or perceive it to be one thing, does not mean everyone does. And when talking about a group of people, in today's world it's better to be specific rather than non-committal.

mcmooncup Wed 13-Mar-13 00:22:37

God and also - by saying there is a wider context, it is not meant to devalue your individual experience in any way either.

mcmooncup Wed 13-Mar-13 00:20:17

Just quickly. In no way was I blaming you for staying in an abusive relationship - quite the opposite - I was trying (and failing) to point out how the current patriarchal system does exactly what you describe and keeps women unnecessarily and dangerously in abusive relationships. There is a much wider context to what happened to you with that 'man'.

runningforthebusinheels Wed 13-Mar-13 00:18:04

vesuvia wasn't equating men with books hmm

It was a point to illustrate some, all etc.

mabongwen Wed 13-Mar-13 00:16:55

Ok, ill see if I make any more sense this way, Don't hold your breath lol

I would say I do think it is a bit of a cop out to say "ah well men are violent, we are animals", we are not animals, we are humans, we have consciousness and we are able to decide things for ourselves. *Why do most men chose not to be violent?*

For me this boils down to the nature Vs nurture debate. Most men are taught not to be, some men witness violence as a child (look at the Bandura Ross and Ross experiment using a BoBo doll) Children who witnessed violence re-enacted it on the bobodoll, using the same words and phrases as the adult role model. This would support the nature side, saying men are either reared to not be violent towards others, where some and they are a minority are reared in a hostile violent enviroment, possibly having a affect on the later in life.

I would also be interested in why you stayed in a relationship which was clearly abusive after the first incident? This is extremely common place and perhaps demonstrates an internalised boundary system of what is acceptable from a male to female. Would you have accepted hair pulling or wrist grabbing from a female flat mate? What is your script for life? You have indicated that you believe that men are "more violent"...........what does this do to expectations? To your boundaries?

Because I was afraid, he kept giving me false promises "I won't do it again" "I didn't mean it" "I am so sorry" DV occurs over months, and because you love that person you are willing to take the apology and believe they are not going to do it again, and even when they do the groveling apology keeps you there. I had no where to go to begin with, I had fallen out with my mother, I felt a failure like it was my fault, that I should have changed, that I was doing something to provoke him. I blamed myself for it at the time sad I wouldn't have accepted it off another female or even another male, but because I honestly believed I loved that man I could forgive him each time. For me I have always found men to be more violent, witnessing punch ups by young men, and if you look at any major conflict we have had it was led by men. Men have a primal urge to fight, I can't explain it I can just see it. It's a personal perspective of mine. My boundries now are very different to what they were, my husband would not dare raise a hand to me. He would walk away from the situation than stand and fight.

I will also maintain my view - dv is a gendered crime. Men simply aren't the victims of domestic violence in the way women are. There may be a tiny number who are, but if you talk to anybody in a casualty department for example, domestic violence is a gendered issue and women are the victims. Also some male victims of DV are victims of their male partners. People always imagine that male victims of DV must be victims of women, but generally it is not.

And you are completely entitled to this view, and I respect you for it. Just because mine differs for me I don't think yours means any less to you or is incorrect. It's an opinion and I respect it.

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