Are we going backwards again?(17 Posts)
I think maybe it goes in cycles. There is a lot of interest in feminism at the moment, lots more visible things like marches than there were ten years ago - so there's also more backlash.
That's only part of it, though, there is a lot of complacency, but I don't think we should forget the positive stuff.
In a more superficial sense, I look at bands like Salt n Pepa and Bananarama and think that they would never get to be famous now.
The physical ideal of what a famous woman should look like seems to have grown ever more constrictive.
When I hear a colleague whose mother is younger than me remarking that "because she can't get her own man she's got to slag off mine" about a friend of her's, I wonder if we're going backwards.
When I was young in the eighties, it was taken for granted that "getting a man" should not be the goal of any of us girls. Anyone educated expressing sentiments like that, would have been doing it ironically. This particular young woman has 2 degrees.
My 13yo dd1 is probably the most feminist person I know, I think she would say the same about me too She did have a phase when she was younger where she picked up the stereotypes and wholeheartedly believed them, but I educated her out of it
or she realised it was a load of rubbish by herself as she grew up There are some quite strongly feminist girls in the classes I teach as well, they seem to quite happily tell other people how stupid they are when they come out with something sexist.
On the other hand, there are things that pupils at school take for granted, like girls all MUST shave their legs and pluck their eyebrows and wear make-up and care about their appearance in a way that boys just aren't expected to do (I have posted before about the OUTRAGE when I mentioned that it's not compulsory and I don't shave my legs). Only boys are allowed to plan on being a farmer, the girls are encouraged to marry a farmer if they want to continue in the farming community. Most of the pupils I teach have a sahm, or their mum has a pt job that fits around school hours, while the majority of the dads work ft.
We certainly still have a way to go, but I'm not sure we're going backwards.
One thing that gives me a bit of hope is that we do seem to be seeing some resurgence of interest in feminism among young women. look at the Object campaign, the fact we are talking about page 3 again. A friend of mine's 14 year old daughter has started a feminist blog. there are signs that the young are less complacent than they were say 5 years ago.
The whole ''feminism is no longer needed/has gone too far'' crap that people spout drives me nuts. A quick glance at any news page shows that it hasn't gone far enough.
I loved Delusions of Gender.
It's possible that not everyone loves me so much since I read it. I may have mentioned it quite a few times to people, not to mention sending them copies.
But that's all part of battling on and boring them to death, and if it weren't that, I'd be boring them about something else. It's a special talent I have.
I blame the pseudo-brain-science as well. This justification of gender stereotyping is not helping, apart from everything else.
I think it says in Delusions of gender that even if in your home you set a good example children would still see what happens in other households and other places and think "but is that what a normal daddy/mummy would do". The answer is to battle on and bore everyone to death with if you have to!
Bling I hear you - its just laughed off!
I feel my blood pressure rising because these same people are bringing up daughters! Do they not want equal opportunities for them?
I've even been told all sorts of crap from "you love pink so you cant be a feminist" through to "But you have a son why do you care?"
I think people think "feminism has been won" because some of the legislation has changed - there are no longer marriage bars, there's theoretically been equality of pay for 40 years (excuse me while I laugh hollowly at that one), it's normal for girls to go to university and so on.
But there's all the split of toys into strong boy/girl stereotypes, and the comments in the playground and schools and so on, which are harder to fight, because a one-off comment is almost nothing, but they all go to cement the views of stereotypes and show how entrenched some of the ideas are. And quite often if you challenge it, people think you're making a fuss about nothing, you're unnecessarily sensitive and so on.
I know, it's depressing isn't it? I agree that a large part of the problem is the huge number of people who say, "feminism won the battle. Those of you still going on about it are being a bit silly." And these same people just take as a given that women are more "nurturing", that women should change their names, that men are naturally more inclined to "big" jobs and that women don't really like to wrok the same hours.
It is simply infuriating. Amanda, I so hear you re feeling like the only one still banging on about this. And I'm so tired of not getting any response when either DH or I post feminist related things on FB or Twitter except from one or two friends (inevitably, just to rub salt into the cliche wound, it's the childless women / gay women who do respond). I suspect that our FB friends think either that we are obsessed or that we are boring.
Try bringing up this stuff at a dinner party or a bbq. Cue lots of jokes about yes yes, men should learn to have babies and only then will feminists like me be happy blah blah blah.
Honestly, it's exhausting.
Yes, sometimes we do. I think the sad thing is that a lot of women I talk to in RL seem to think that the battle has been won and we're all equal now. Particularly now I've moved from my little patch of `London to a rather middle class bit of the South West for some reason.
I think the belief that the fight is over, coupled with the rise of genetic determinism has been pretty awful. I sometimes feel I'm the only one keeping up the fight.
^Told me her teacher had used the analogy of
"Most of you will be cleverer than your MUMS after the sats As it will be many years since they went to school^
I'd be tempted to ask the school if this really happened, and if it turns out it did, I'd be complaining very strongly.
But more generally - yes, we do seem to be going backwards sometimes.
Unfortunately, I have found my DS sees the stereotyping at other peoples homes/on tv/movies/books etc.
DS knows at 8 DH and I are fairly progressive, its disappointing that it isn't the norm but remain hopeful that if we continue to function as we are that DS will take his lead from us as he gets older.
Its a real pain in the ass that they pick this crap up from out of nowhere but as long as we try to counter the negative with a shed load of positive I live in hope some of it will stick!
In the last week my 11 yr old dd said she though drs were men and nurses were women.
Told me her teacher had used the analogy of
"Most of you will be cleverer than your MUMS after the sats As it will be many years since they went to school
Then today I was doing a bit of hand washing (we are camping) and a guy wa also doing his next to me.
A little girl of about 9 asked " how come you are doing the washing and not Claire?"
It seems the next generation simply aren't getting the message.
Dd was soley raised by me untill aged five.
I have always worked in a professional role, set good examples and since dh came along at aged five she has not been exposed to gender stereotypes.
We share childcare and housework and have independent lives.
What can you do?
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