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Feminism for Dummies.

(210 Posts)
Ilovemyself Mon 20-May-13 20:45:45

Ok. Here goes.

Apologies if I have offended anyone with my posts since I started using the site. I certainly didn't mean to.

I am all for equality, be it based on sex, race, sexuality, or whatever subculture you area member of.

I have been surprised at the level of vitriol aimed at me because of my (rather poorly worded )comments.

I understand that in every fight for equality there will be those for who the fight is an ever consuming thing. And there will also be those who have been down trodden for so long they will snap at the slightest thing against them. And that there will be those who feel that because they have been oppressed for so long it is their right to be in a dominant position.

For those that want to tip the balance in the opposite direction, I will always disagree. Equality is what we should aim for in all walks of life. These are those who I referred to when I said taking things too far - for promoting something other than equality.

But for the other groups, should I walk on eggshells for fear of offending them, or should say my piece, apologise if I offend, and carry on.

Or am I completely wrong in viewing feminism as a fight for equality when it is actually a fight for women to be in a dominant position over men.

I hope I get some answers here - I certainly don't want a repeat of the last 24 hours. Thanks all.

FloraFox Mon 20-May-13 22:07:43

Can I suggest that you read a little about feminism and perhaps lurk for a bit before coming on with "you lot do/believe/want x, y, z" type statements? There's another thread discussing feminist books but there's also lots of unbiased information on the internet (if you avoid the Daily Mail and MRA type sites).

PlentyOfPubeGardens Mon 20-May-13 22:24:46

I hope I get some answers here - I certainly don't want a repeat of the last 24 hours. Thanks all.

Well that's a shame because you've just done the exact same thing you've been doing for the last 24 hours. Someone once wrote a famous quote about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

It was me who suggested you start a newbies thread but this is not exactly what I had in mind hmm

Do you really not understand how rude you are being?

You have come blundering onto a feminist forum and wagged a finger at us, warned us against 'taking it too far', warned us that there are women here who want to 'take over the world' and then, to add insult to injury, told us off for swearing. (I was going to post that on the other thread but it does as well here.)

I find it hard to believe that you are genuinely interested in feminism but just for the lurkers who might click on your somewhat less than honest thread title, here's a good place to start.

WilsonFrickett Mon 20-May-13 22:40:48

Or... You could try listening? Which is kind of the opposite of what you are doing. Can you not see that coming into a feminist space and basically telling everyone what they're doing wrong is going to be seen as patronising at best and infuriating at worst?

BasilBabyEater Mon 20-May-13 22:49:07

I haven't got a clue who you are so have no idea what has happened over the last 24 hours.

But if you claim that feminists want to "tip the balance (of abuse of power) in the opposite direction" then tbh I immediately switch off because I find people who have that view of feminism are generally just hostile to women and that's why they don't like feminism.

But fwiw, i don't want equality with men or dominance over men - I want liberation from patriarchy.


Ilovemyself Mon 20-May-13 23:25:49

Perhaps I am just useless at explaining what I mean. I have not warned anyone about anything. Yes, I am a man that has wandered into a female dominated world. Perhaps someone could actually help.

And about " telling people off for swearing" - isn't common courtesy something that is not a feminist thing, it is something we should all aspire to.

I just get the feeling that people want to read something in this to argue with. My comment about tipping the balance would be the same if we were talking about any other equality rights issue. It's about equality.

I have asked a serious question. Should I walk on eggshells for fear of offending people. Surely that is not what people fighting for equal rights would want if they want us all to be equal.

I have not said that feminism is anti men, I have said that I feel that those that are anti men are a step to far. Again, how can that be equal?

And am I being overly simplistic to think that true equality would render a patriarchal system useless anyway?

I will start listening when someone tells me what it is with my questions that they think is wrong, offensive, or rude. Until then my questions wil be asked in various ways but will probably sound the same.

I guess some of you just think I am here trolling - I am far from that. I know only too well what prejudices there are out there for various groups. I stumbled here with interest and I will try and find answers to the questions I have

FloraFox Tue 21-May-13 00:21:14

You've expressed surprise at the way you were treated on the other thread. People here have pointed out why your posts were and are inflammatory and pointed you to some useful information which answers the questions you've asked. You've said you're not listening and you plan to carry on as you were.

Righto. biscuit

HullMum Tue 21-May-13 00:24:00

well "equality" would mean women suddenly declaring a matriarchy and shitting on men for a few thousand years. That would be making things equal.

Women are supposed to shut up and let things keep working as they have been while men tell us we can't go past "equal". How come? do you think being a woman is a bad thing in this society? If so do you challenge every bit of casual sexism you hear? Protest, demonstrate petition?

Or do you only take to writing when you think a woman might be getting above herself and wanting more than equal?

If you are really interested in feminism, you'd read before assuming you have something valid to explain to the women involved.

WhentheRed Tue 21-May-13 00:47:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Italiangreyhound Tue 21-May-13 02:08:45


I really like the way you express feminism "I don't want equality with men or dominance over men - I want liberation from patriarchy." I had never thought of it that way, (slaps forehead with hand and makes Homer Simpson 'Doh' sound). I would always think in terms of equality, but it is refreshing (for *me) to think of what is stopping equality rather than a constant 'striving' to get it. I mean I already feel equal, but 'life' isn't treating me equally!

Can I ask, how do you view women who are caught up in patriarchy and seem to want it to continue? (feel free to slip me a link because I have not tried to define my feminism in a long time and it is helpful to be able to really explain what I mean). Thanks.

Ilovemyself Tue 21-May-13 03:58:21

Thank you whenthered. At last someone who talks sensibly and not like I am a blithering idiot.

What I seem to be struggling with understanding is how equality for all would not free you from patriachy? I am obviously missing a point here. Iif someone could answer that it would help a lot.

And Hullmum, I think every person, female or male, black or white, old or young has an equal place in life. Obviously either you are deliberately trying to gain a reaction or you really are looking for things to go the other way. If you want matriarchy to be declared and women "shit on men for a few thousand years" I just hope you are not white because by your theory all white people should be put into slavery for a few hundred years to make up for our past.

And I am reading. But you are judging on a couple of poorly worded posts. Of course I am defensive. I am in in a world here where I obviously don't understand everything, and seem to have am over simplistic view on things. If you were more like whenthered I would possibly have a better understanding already. You are obviously very bitter-what have I done personally to harm you? Nothing.

It is far easier to understand a subject by talking to those who have a true understanding of the subject rather than just read and possibly misunderstand.

I don't "only take to writing when a woman is getting above herself". I would be the same with a man, or someone with religious beliefs, or someone of a different colourvthat thought they were better than me just because of their sex, belief or colour.

Thanks again whenthered. It is good that someone has taken their time to help.

arsenaltilidie Tue 21-May-13 04:35:17

OP I sort of understand your point, that this place seems hostile if you don't go or disagree with the general consensus, but that's what happens in most forums anyway.
This forum isn't meant to promote (best foot forward) feminism, but to discuss/debate matters that people are very passionate about.

By "Best foot forward" I mean you'll find some people on here dislike men but you will not find such in "official" feminist publications.

I would say this area is MORE of a rant page 'look what I found..' and people discuss the issue THAT an area to educate yourself on feminism.

arsenaltilidie Tue 21-May-13 04:37:19


To add, don't ever feel the need to walk on egg shells.

Throughgrittedteeth Tue 21-May-13 05:50:08

I thought this was a new campaign. You know; Feminism for Dummies - be free from the shackles of your child's mouth.
Stand up and fight against unnecessary comfort feeding!
Fight the patriarchy! wink

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 21-May-13 06:37:42

Hi there mr arsenal

Once again, if you look across mumsnet, threads of the "all men are crap" variety tend to have a lot of posters saying, "no, though the person you are discussing might well be." There's usually several FWR regulars amongst those posters.

OP, on the thread you complain of, I think only one post was deleted as a personal attack. Swearing is an integral part of mumsnet across the boards and a FFS or whatever is par for the course. If you would rather swearing wasn't allowed, I think there are some forums where it's banned.

BasilBabyEater Tue 21-May-13 07:31:35

"And am I being overly simplistic to think that true equality would render a patriarchal system useless anyway?"

I think your concepts are arse about elbow. True equality cannot happen in a patriarchal system, that's why feminists want to get rid of patriarchy. Equality will come when patriarchy no longer exists, until that time all that women can achieve is a grudging toleration of our presence in a man-made world, on terms set by men.

BasilBabyEater Tue 21-May-13 07:35:10

"Can I ask, how do you view women who are caught up in patriarchy and seem to want it to continue?"

I view them as deluded. grin

No, not really, I understand the need to rationalise and make sense of the world and believe that the world is essentially a good, manageable place which just needs a few tweaks here or there to make it a fairer place.
If you view the changes needed to the way all societies are run as so basic and radical as radical feminists do, then the task of making society decent becomes much vaster and much less within grasp and that's bloody depressing.

I can see why women want to hang on to the idea that our liberation can be achieved in a much easier way than a root and branch revolution. But I don't think it can. Any progress we make within a patriarchy is only ever temporary, just as any progress made by any marginalised groups within any oppressive system, is temporary - the ruling class is still there waiting to take back what they conceded when it was tactically necessary for them to maintain their position. Hence the destruction of the welfare state now the capitalists can afford it, hence the backlash against women's rights as soon as men realise they've lost a bit of privilege and are in danger of losing more.

The idea that once you've gained rights, you can just sit there and trust that they'll be your's forever within the system that took those rights from you in the first place, is so wrong-headed and naieve IMO - just look at the restriction of abortion rights taking place in the USA as men fight back against Roe vs. Wade, just look at the re-casting of sexual liberation as women being fuck-toys, just look at the increasing policing of women's bodies in pregnancy - the way oppressive classes will claw back the concessions they give when the time is right, is hydra-headed and never-ending and that's why a few tweaks within the system here and there, is just not a long-term solution. The system that produced the injustice in the first place, can't provide the solution to the injustice IMO.

StickEmUpPunk Tue 21-May-13 07:58:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Italiangreyhound Tue 21-May-13 08:21:07

Thanks Basil.

Sausageeggbacon Tue 21-May-13 09:25:08

I want liberation from patriarchy interesting as it depends on your view of the patriarchy. Most feminists just view it as men whereas I view it as a class issue first and foremost. The patriarchy are so happy that men's rights and feminism are at each others throats because those who are really privileged both male and female just carry on because no one is challenging them. And we now know how people in power that are making their friends rich whilst turning people against those that are most vulnerable.

So let people fight over rights while the really privilege gets stronger and more entrenched. As many people point out many men suffer under the patriarchy but rather than talk and reach compromise on both sides we see entrenched views that will block any changes to help those least privileged.

WilsonFrickett Tue 21-May-13 10:15:57

Can I ask, how do you view women who are caught up in patriarchy and seem to want it to continue?

I've been challenged on this before on MN but I also believe that you just cannot take a Western-centric view of feminism. In our country it's not impossible to not be that hassled about the patriarchy. We have legal rights. Many young women don't see the need for feminism (until they have children usually, but that's a different thread). I absolutely see that a wee tweak here and a wee change there could make 'equalism under the patriarchy' seem like an achievable objective.

But that would be false, because it would be achieving equality under someone else's terms, which can never be true equality (see the 'same but different arguments about gay marriage). It would also deny they experiences of millions and millions of women who are completely and utterly fucked by patriarchy. Women who don't get to go to school. Who don't get to own property. Who don't get to leave the house unless they're accompanied by a man. Who have their sexual organs cut out.

And that is why feminism has to be a bigger movement than 'I'm alright Jill and if we just sort out the number of women in boardrooms we'll all just trip along nicely together.' Because these women can't wait.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 21-May-13 11:17:54

Great post Wilson.

Ilovemyself Tue 21-May-13 12:19:24

Hi WilsonFrickett.

Thanks. I see the difference between western culture and the rest of the world in as much as some countries are just unbelievable.

But with regards to the equality on someone else's terms I am struggling to understand. Perhaps I have a rather idealised view of equality, but I see being equal as meaning we are all the same. If we are all the same, does the means of getting to that point matter ( as long as no one is harmed along the way of course)

Is it possible to tackle the equality issue as a sort the whole world in one go thing, or is it only achievable one country at a time? I agree that it is wrong for the women subject to the oppression given to them in some counties ( I guess India springs to mind as it is the news so much lately)to have to wait, but their problems seem so much harder than here in the UK it is a much tougher cookie to handle.

And yes, perhaps as I have not been in the position of women here in the
UK I can not truly understand what they have been through. But I can't change that, I can only try to,learn more.

And sausageeggbacon, I had not thought about patriarchy being a class thing, just a sex thing. That brings a whole new dimension.

Thanks all

WilsonFrickett Tue 21-May-13 12:30:28

Well OK, let's take the example of gay marriage.

Some people say: well, gay people have civil partnerships now, that's equal isn't it? After all, marriage is for a man and a woman to procreate children, so I don't think that's something that they would even want. In my eyes civil partnerships are equal to marriage, just different.

But civil partnerships and marriage are not the same thing, culturally or legally. So just because someone thinks they are the same, doesn't make it so - that's viewing equality through a lens of privilege.

So with the patriarchy, which (massively simplifying here) sees every 'gain' for women as a 'loss' for men - that's no basis for equality, is it? I don't want to share white male privilege - I want it to not exist. Therefore I don't want equality on existing terms, ie equality within the patriarchy.

WilsonFrickett Tue 21-May-13 12:33:04

And to re-iterate, the patriarchy is bad for men too! All sexism diminishes men and boys. On your other thread, you are talking about your domestic set-up (sorry, I know it is bad form on MN to carry info from one thread to another) - what you need to dig really deep and see is that the patriarchy has influenced your choices. You say your wife has 'always wanted' to be a SAHM - you could have 'always wanted' to be a SAHD too, but it is not an option young men are ever able to explore in our current culture.

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