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Lurkers ahoy! Friendly thread to dip your toe in the murky seas of feminism

(242 Posts)
cailindana Fri 31-Oct-14 08:17:00

A thread specifically for those who feel a bit out of their depth.

Ask questions, make comments.

All queries taken seriously. No sarcasm, no putdowns.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ApocalypseNowt Fri 31-Oct-14 10:27:15

I do lurk quite a bit on FWR but don't often contribute.

Imho that thread in aibu has probably put even more people off coming in here. I do hope it's not the case as i have learnt a lot and the more people that come in whatever their views may be is surely a good thing and will provide more interesting debate.

Anyway I only really got interested in feminism when (simultaneously) i was the victim of some severe and shocking sexist behaviour at work and i had my DD.

Anyhoo, hello and thank you for this nice friendly thread!

<sits back down>

MardyBra Fri 31-Oct-14 10:37:31


I lurk more I than I post in FWR, but tbh I do that on most of the MN boards these days. (Have been here a long time so it can all get a bit cyclical). I don't feel intimidated here but I remember feeling nervous of posting way back when I joined so I can understand why some posters are nervous.

I looked at the other thread and felt sad that it was all going a bit tits up, as I do think FWR is a welcoming place. I particularly like the positive threads like feministy things

Just wanted to say thanks for starting this thread cailin

Smudged99 Fri 31-Oct-14 10:39:16

I've been lurking here for a few months now, but I'm still at the realising how misogynistic the world is and don't feel ready to comment yet.

I look at all of my past relationships and just feel so bloody cross about it all.

QisforQcumber Fri 31-Oct-14 10:42:29

This thread looks like it was made for me. I'm Q and I'm in my very late twenties and whilst I'm sure I have always identified as feminist its only been in the last 2 years or so I have really embraced my feminism and I have been confident enough to state happily "I am a feminist and I don't care for your casual misogyny".

OK, so I've read The Female Eunuch and Wifework. Both made me laugh and cry in equal measure confused. I'm looking for new reading material to enhance my knowledge of feminist theory.

CrumpleHornedSnorkack Fri 31-Oct-14 10:47:51

I lurk a lot more than I post but I am very interested in feminism and do read these boards daily. I certainly did not identify with the comments on the AIBU thread.

I know I should post more but you know when you get a text and you think through what you will reply and then hours later realise you haven't replied? I do that a lot here!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

UnwittingAccomplice Fri 31-Oct-14 10:58:08

I have a question. On "that thread" the problem of FWR being ranty kept coming up.

I am very cross about the fact that the world discriminates against me due to my lack of willy. Surely being ranty is a very sensible response? I don't recall any social change movement in history being about nice chitchat and cups of tea?

It feels like the accusations I get at work about being "too emotional" when actually I just give a shit and am passionate about something.

Do we have to be "nice"?

QisforQcumber Fri 31-Oct-14 10:59:29

Thank you Buffy and the kindle edition is only £2.56! Bargain Braaaiiiinnn food.

DownByTheRiverside Fri 31-Oct-14 11:07:20

I think it's fine to be ranty passionately vocal about the injustices and inequalities in a system, and to flag up and highlight issues that some might prefer went unnoticed. I'm an environmentalist, campaigner for children's rights and also involved with inclusion in schools.
It's when the polemic is directed, or perceived to be directed at an individual rather than the system that many become defensive and aggressive in return. If women think they are being attacked and accused on a board, why would they continue to post there? Even if they were mistaken in how they felt and the ranty poster had no idea of how they were being received?
Bit like the fury that parents are capable of when they feel that teachers are criticising their parenting.

UnwittingAccomplice Fri 31-Oct-14 11:12:05

Absolutely agree River. Personal attacks aren't necessary.

But some people do have a bit of a tendency all over MN to think things are personally directed at them when it's really not personal.

I don't know what the answer is, I know we all have our own sensitivities and I guess FWR touches on more than most other boards since we're mostly women and all of us know some men.

LittleBlueHermit Fri 31-Oct-14 11:14:17

I love the rantiness on FWR! Its so refreshing. The rest of the time we're supposed to sit back and shut up and be nice and cater to everyone else's needs first. FWR feels like an emotional safety valve, even though I'm primarily a lurker.

prettygirlincrimsonrose Fri 31-Oct-14 11:18:52

QisforQcumber I've been reading some bell hooks recently (Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center) which is written accessibly but I've found challenges some of my assumptions and is generally really interesting. In light of other threads about FWR, I think this quote is quite apt:

'If women always seek to avoid confrontation, to always be "safe", we may never experience any revolutionary change, any transformation, individually or collectively.'

Maki79 Fri 31-Oct-14 11:19:14

Any more suggestions about simple feminism reads would be fab!

I read the book Singled Out by Virginia Nicholson which I found really interesting as a non-fiction book setting some historical context to feminism.

Amethyst24 Fri 31-Oct-14 11:22:06

Hello. Serial lurker and occasional poster here. I tend to join in more on threads about minge waxing my areas of expertise, but I've been reading loads and my consciousness is being raised like a bastard.

LittleBlueHermit Fri 31-Oct-14 11:22:06

I think people do have a tendency to take these issues very personally. On the Ms/Mrs and name changing threads in particular, posters seemed to feel personally attacked if anyone suggested that choices like theirs were influenced by patriarchy, or helped perpetuate it. It actually reminded me of breastfeeding discussions, where some women seem to feel its a personal attack on their choices if the benefits of breastfeeding are mentioned.

Can we blame the patriarchy? smile The issues women have trouble not taking personally seem to be the same one's that society uses to judge our worth and identity (marriage, motherhood, etc.)

DownByTheRiverside Fri 31-Oct-14 11:23:05

'But some people do have a bit of a tendency all over MN to think things are personally directed at them when it's really not personal.'

I forget who came up with PARD, but that's the sort of thing I enjoy. Polite doesn't have to mean obsequious, or passive aggressive or toning down the debates. To me it means attacking the argument rather than the poster, and backing up your points with evidence rather than anecdotes and dogma based on faith rather than facts.
There are a number of fantastic posters on FWR that do this extremely well, and Stewie was another past contributer who was worth the reading. She's one of the few feminists that I follow online still.
But for many in both camps, debate is a tricky beast that tips into defensiveness and an unwillingness to listen to the arguments, even if all you are doing is looking to refute them.

QisforQcumber Fri 31-Oct-14 11:23:09

I like that prettygirl, it reminds me of a life quote I also like "No pressure, no diamonds". Without a group of us applying pressure, there will be no change.

I'm also pretty sure Gillian Michaels says something similar in the 30DS but I'm breathing so heavily I cant hear her!

Squtternutbaush Fri 31-Oct-14 11:24:29

Can I join in?

I will start by saying that I'm totally new to this whole concept, I've never "felt" like I've been affected by misogyny and my family are very much the "get up and get on with it types" so its not something I've ever really thought about but reading through some of the threads around MN (I've been here 6 years) I started to realise that actually I have been subjected to behaviours that I wouldn't if I had been born with my reproductive organs on the outside and regardless how minor they may seem it shouldn't be happening in this era!

I have an 8 year old DS and a 20 month old daughter and I want both of them to grow up in a world where they can reach their full potential and be who/what/wherever they want to be so I feel that its my responsibility to teach them all that they should know about how to achieve this.

Can anyone help me out a bit as a complete newbie with any useful starting points, perhaps some books for myself to get a bit more clued up?

Finally may I ask a quick question? I have ventured over to this board once (i didn't realise it was in this section) on a conversation about Domestic Violence awareness, I posted about my male cousin who had been the victim of a catalogue of abuse by his female partner and added some links of male support sites that he found useful in the end but basically ripped to shreds for "harping on about the menz" and "not focussing on the real problem".

Now from my very limited knowledge of feminism i thought it was about equal rights women which would then corelate to people in general being treated with the same empathy, compassion and respect regardless of gender but it seemed like I had done something wrong by mentioning that men can be affected too, is this considered a misogynistic view?

Gimmesomemore Fri 31-Oct-14 11:25:17

Ok, I'd like to know a bit on feminism and Breastfeeding.

I'm a peer supporter, and have to bite my tongue frequently when I hear women say they are Breastfeeding as they've been told they should be, by their partners. Or the opposite where it's all going well and they're being told they shouldn't be. As their sex life is suffering.

I guess I dislike all the responsibility landing on the mothers shoulders.

Squtternutbaush Fri 31-Oct-14 11:25:48

Sorry that was really long and I'm not great at explaining things blush

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KateeGee Fri 31-Oct-14 11:49:14


I lurk on FWR all the time (though most of my MN activity is mostly lurking, to be fair, I am not a prolific member). I have posted under a different name for various lighthearted things and a few not very serious AIBU threads, and in Relationships under this name, but I think I have only posted once or twice, and then it was a short contribution. I haven't really engaged with the discussions, though it is probably my second most read section after Relationships (I don't tend to bother with AIBU these days).

I absolutely consider myself to be a feminist and agree with the vast, vast majority of things the feminists of this board argue. I think people saying it's cliquey, too snobby and intellectual etc are being unfair, I don't get that impression at all. I have learned a lot from these boards - if I see something I don't know about I don't feel all stupid and like I am being excluded from a gang, I go and teach myself about it and read more if I am interested. For example, I had no idea what TERF meant until a couple of months ago, now I do.

I have also found that reading a lot here, even if I don't engage with other posters, has really helped me to cement and articulate the way I feel about feminist issues. Before I would get really offended by things, the non-feminist would be amused by this and only see it as ammunition to wind me up more, and I would end up just exploding with rage but feeling unable to channel it. Now I know a bit more about theory, different issues going on all over the world etc, I feel more confident in arguing my point. I am still inwardly angry at people who try to justify misogyny to me but I now feel a bit more equipped to handle it in a way that won't make me feel insane, and this board has been a big big contributor to me getting to this stage.

However, I do kind of get what people are saying about feeling that they are always jumped on for toeing the party line (even if I think it isn't usually true).

There was a thread a couple of days ago that mentioned X Factor dancers. I love dance with a massive passion (though only as a hobby, I am a thousand country miles away from a pro), and I have taken classes taught by quite a few dancers who have been on X Factor, in pop videos etc, so I have seen the way they work first hand. I wanted to put my thoughts across but I didn't feel like I could - I logged in, started typing, but then abandoned it because it felt futile. I was never going to convince the naysayers. Anyone that put a counter argument across was told they were wrong - the female dancers served no purpose other than decoration. One person they may have worked hard but there are thousands of dancers who probably worked hard and didn't get as far because they aren't attractive or rich like the ones that do make it - I thought this was really unfair - I've not known many dancers who come from an over-priviliged background, and it is a notoriously badly paid profession so they really have to be quite dedicated and determined to get to where they are. And yes they are attractive but a lot of it is costume and make-up - they are not otherworld beauties like a supermodel, and the fit body comes with the territory - they have good bodies because of the job, not the other way round. The clothes - yes some outfits are skimpy but so are some men's ones (I don't watch X Factor much, but on Strictly a lot of the male pros are topless for titillation - it's a bit of entertainment and fun, and it looks good). Dancers are supposed to be visually appealing, it's a performing art. Don't get me wrong, things like the Blurred Lines video are quite horrible, but not every single skimpy outfit has to be seen as objectification. Also (and I am sure there are many people who can pick this apart as a poor argument, but anyway), girlbands have male dancers who are topless, who they have on leashes in their videos etc...

I totally get that historically, it has been much worse for women, that culture is infested with misogyny and stuff, but sometimes I just want to enjoy watching a dancer, male or female, do their thing without feeling like a bad feminist because of it. And I think it's really unfair that if someone comes along and says "hang on, those dancers are really hard working professionals who have trained for decades and have immense skill", the response is "I don't care, they are essentially lowering them self to nothing more than a Christmas bauble and they are being exploited". So I do think some posters can be a bit dismissive of alternative points of view, and that can feel quite patronising.

I also don't feel too keen on posting because a lot of the goady people really wind me up and I think I would find it too upsetting to try and argue back with them. Though I admire those who do have the patience to do it.

This hasn't been the most coherent argument I have ever put together, maybe that bit I said earlier about being able to articulate my thoughts was wrong. I really like this board, but I can see why the people who don't enjoy it feel that way.

KateeGee Fri 31-Oct-14 11:55:00

but I've been reading loads and my consciousness is being raised like a bastard.

Haha Amethyst basically said how I feel in one line.

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