Feminism makes me sad(39 Posts)
No you are not alone.
The anger is rotten, but it is also good. Anger is an appropriate response to the way women have been treated.
I think what I find harder is the lack of anger other people experience. As though I, my female friends, my sister and my precious DD don't matter.
I also hard done by when I see how much racism is considered wrong, when feminism is just dismissed.
What helps me is to remember that there are always going to be good and bad people in the world, and that the good men I know may have done wrong because of the how they were brought up, just as I accepted shit because of the way I was brought up. What matters is that they are willing to accept they have done wrong and try to change their attitude. My DH has done this and I admire him massively for it.
Definitely not alone, although I don't think it's feminism that's making you sad, it's the misogyny and inequality, as well as the rape culture, that's doing that. Feminism might have opened your eyes to it all - but it's not the problem.
I identify with the anger you feel OP. There is so much misogyny around and at times it feels never ending and overwhelming. Feminism is the shining light for me when I wonder what the point is. Its an alternative to the thoughtless misogyny that so many people spout, it reminds me that not everyone is a rape-myth-spouting, gender stereotyping, victim blaming muppet.I can't imagine how sad the world would be without it
I often feel the same. I think having a daughter also brought things more sharply into focus for me.
The anger is good. But for all things seem to be slipping backwards (particularly in the US) we can at least remember that things are better than they were - and they will get better, as long as we keep fighting for it.
A colleague was telling me that when he first started work, in a bank, two employees needed to have keys to the safe (as you needed two keys to open it in the morning). It went without question that he and the only other male employee had to be the keyholders, despite the fact he was about 20 at the time (and gay, which I think would have blown the mind of most of his co-workers had they realised). None of the women, however senior or experienced could be trusted with this.
It's breathtaking to imagine a time when that was the accepted culture of this country. This would have been in the 80s, I think.
We shall overcome. But it will be some day!
There's actually something called feminist depression or feminist burnout. Once you see the sexism, you can't unsee it. Yet sexism is so pervasive in our lives so it's a pretty depressing state of affairs
I can very much relate to the feminist depression or burnout. When I first 'discovered' feminism, I spent a lot of time reading up on it, debating on here, looking at blogs etc. Then felt rubbish about it and gave it a rest. Now I have found a happy medium I guess.
I beat myself up over the fact that although I've been a feminist since I read Naomi Wolf's Beauty Myth over 20 years ago, I am a typical example of a "Do as I say, not as I do" feminist. I stayed at home with the children because DH earned massively more than me, and now that I'm trying to work full time on my PhD, I still take most of the responsibility for running the household. Despite finding it deeply unfair I can't seem to change it. So yes, being a feminist has probably made me more discontent/unhappy with myself, my life and the way society is structured than I would have been had I not been a feminist. Still, we battle on...
God yes op I can empathise with that. When you're eyes are open you can't stop seeing the shit. It is very hard work and very depressing. And conflicting. Like reading the amazingly well written blog post 'I'd hear three rape jokes a day' (its stickied above) - my first thought was what an amazing, bright, articulate young woman, the second third and fourth were FFS, can't believe things are so bad, what should I do about DS, how can I do more for the young girls I know.
It's a bit mis, isn't it?
Creeping - I can see where you're coming from on that. I think the problem is that we feel we ought to be able to change an entire social order, that if we can't we're not 'strong' enough, that we should have made different choices...But the point that feminism makes is that it is not our fault that we are in this situation. It is not our fault that the professions we choose to enter turn out to be low-paid, low-status and insecure (or become so when women enter them. ) It is not our fault that we do not have the time or energy to devote to earning as much money as our partners. And there are deep structural reasons why the caring responsibilities we have reduce our 'success' in the working world.
I think we grew up being sold a myth about success, freedom of choice and work ethic. I certainly did. Work hard and you can change the world. Aim high and reach the stars. If you fail, you're the failure. I'm not buying that, and neither should you. I am quite frankly fed up with being told the world is my oyster, and then being expected to open said oyster with my fingernails.
Thanks wol, you're absolutely right of course. I know it, but I don't always feel it, if you see what I mean. I've been a feminist since before I met my DH, before I had children, before I started working. I started my career and relationship with my eyes open, and still I end up a typical woman.
It's good that someone tells me it's okay that my life is what it is not just because I made certain choices. There is a lot more involved. I wasn't able or willing to totally change my DH's dreams, or change the companies he worked for. I shouldn't beat myself up for that, I suppose...
Thanks for making me feel a slightly better feminist than a failed one !
At least I have never ironed his shirts! I stuck my ground on that one!
I've always been a feminist, but I've only started to occasionally be miserable because of it since I had a son. When I only had daughters, it was sort of "hand in hand at the barricades" if you see what I mean. I knew what to teach them and show them and tell them. Bringing up a boy in a patriarchal misogynist society seems to me much harder. I want him to be proud and happy to be a man- but it's hard to know how to help him grow into the kind of man he could be proud and happy to be. If you see what I mean.....
Creeping, you're better than me then, I martyr myself at the ironing board weekly. However, my husband thinks he's better than me at housework (in all fairness, that doesn't take much ) and I am quite happy to let him demonstrate the point on a regular basis.
Which is why I'm on here at the moment.
It may be one of the answers to the OP's question then: How do you combat it?
I don't iron his shirts.
Not ironing his shirts makes me feel slightly better about the world as it is!
Martorana - I have 2 sons and no daughters and I know what you mean - it doesn't help that my DH and MIL are both of the "men should be MEN" school of thought (although I'm working on DH and mostly get through to him). DS1 is only just 6, and it's the little things like:
• "don't cry, be a big brave boy, not a girly wuss" - stamped on that one.
• "he doesn't want to do dancing, he's a boy!" Er yes he does, and has done for 3 years now, and enjoys it very much thanks.
• "that's a girls' toy!" (about a cooker, and a doll's pushchair) Is it? why? Do you not cook? Oh yes you do! Do you not push the boys in their pushchair? Oh yes you do! Are you embarrassed to be seen pushing them in their pushchair? Then why the fuck is it a problem if DS wants one? (I admit I had fun with that one. The look of confused realisation on his face was priceless)
I don't iron DH's shirts either. I do the laundry because I'm a control freak and I like my clothes to come out the same colour they went in; but his shirts all get hung on hangers and then he can decide when he comes to wear them if they need ironing, and do them himself.
The uproar I encountered on AIBU when I said I don't wash DH's clothes! (never mind ironing them; I iron nothing).
The change in DH's attitude, and to an extent DMIL's attitude due to my
bolshy argumentativeness careful instruction has been heartening. I think DH is actually a lot happier having been freed from his male stereotype. I also talk to my younger sister a lot about feminism and she is very perceptive and receptive. I feel I am passing on wisdom (gleaned largely from mumsnet) and she shows me how things are in the younger generation (she is 7 years younger).
Another with 2 DDs and a DS here. Thankfully DH is a good role model for a feminist man (he watched Monsters Inc with the kids today and his first comment was 'OMG, it was like the 1950s with all the men going off to work and the little women being in the background'. Once you see it you can't unsee it).
I agree OP there are deeply misigynistic undertones permeating every aspect of society. I live in Ireland where the control of pregnant women by men from a lack of the availability of abortion to the absolute dominance of men in obstetrics and gynaecology is beyond depressing. Do you know it is not even the men who depress me most. I have found some women to be a far bigger obstacle to progress than men because often they are a bit like your former self they see the world through their own positive experience and forget that other women might actually want to be free to make different choices. Culture can be such an insidious thing and it is notoriously difficult to change and basically that is what is needed.
Oh but lego, you have to remember that Number 1 is a female! I do see what you're saying but I think it's a touch unfair.
lego, I somehow hadn't realised that about Monsters Inc. Bugger.
Joyful I know what you mean. What is known cannot be un-known.
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