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Can I have an easy to grasp introduction to feminism please?

(76 Posts)
Squtternutbaush Mon 03-Nov-14 12:21:08

Have wanted to venture over here for a while but somehow end up sticking my foot in it so starting afresh.

I'm not too clued up on the whole concept of feminism but would like to be so is there a basic introductory book that's worth reading or is it just a case of speaking and figuring out your own ideals?

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 03-Nov-14 12:22:39

The Equality Illusion by Kat Banyard is really good.

FloraFox Mon 03-Nov-14 13:01:06

I find the wikipedia pages on feminism fairly good for a general overview.

This is a bit over broad but it might be useful to direct your reading towards the type of feminism you're interested in. There's a risk of reading up on one school of thought that you don't agree with and being put off feminism altogether.

Good luck.

YonicScrewdriver Mon 03-Nov-14 13:09:50


Caitlin Moran's How to be a Woman is a good memoir from a feminist perspective, rather than an overview of feminism. Equality Illusion I would second.

PuffinsAreFicticious Mon 03-Nov-14 13:21:47


Along with suggestions above, please, feel free to ask questions. We are despite everything a friendly bunch and a couple if the women here are really knowledgable.

Squtternutbaush Mon 03-Nov-14 13:25:56

Thanks I'll have a look at those this evening when I get a chance.

Its strange how everyone has a part to play in promoting feminism and we will all benefit yet myself and many others aren't even fully aware of what it entails and the full meaning, seems almost ignorant now as I read some of these posts/threads.

mumwithanipad Mon 03-Nov-14 13:37:25

I found a podcast called Im A Terrible Feminist. I've listened to the first few episodes and it has been clear and easy to understand so far.

Facebook page..

FloraFox Mon 03-Nov-14 13:41:41

squtternutbausch I don't think the complexities of feminism are well represented in the mainstream press so it's hard to know the full meaning unless you go looking for it. I think it's one of the reasons people get put off feminism because they disagree with part of it. It's especially difficult as some feminist theories lead to opposite conclusions especially around things like prostitution and pornography.

Squtternutbaush Mon 03-Nov-14 13:55:34

Completely agree Flora, I currently have a thread running abouty disagreeing with a term I've seen used but one poster put her thoughts on its meaning very clearly and it kind of pinged into place in my head and I realised I'd misunderstood the whole thing blush

One of my main misinterpretations seems to have been that feminism is wholly about equality for people "now" but as I've read through what posters had to say I realised that actually its about women fighting to be "lifted" to the level of men for equality rather than settling for the status quo for everyone as it is.

I hope that made some sense, I'm useless with words!

FloraFox Mon 03-Nov-14 14:32:52

Some feminists describe it as liberation from patriarchy rather than equality. Equality sounds very straightforward but sometimes there can be a veneer of formal equality that can make it difficult to see the underlying inequalities. Many people genuinely believe that because there is sex discrimination legislation and there are no laws against women (e.g.) becoming prime minister, that women currently have equality of opportunity to become prime minister. They don't look at how the world is designed to fit men and how this impacts on women (i.e. if you live your life "like a man" you can succeed). Some feminists also say they don't want equality with men's lives as they currently are but want all lives to be free from patriarchy.

Sorry, hope that's not to rambly.

FloraFox Mon 03-Nov-14 14:33:55

Meant to add these. I do love a picture.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EElisavetaofBelsornia Mon 03-Nov-14 22:24:24

Thank you for starting this Squtternut. I'm like you, starting on my feminist journey and will keep you company. I found those Wiki links really interesting, I'm a socialist and liberal apparently. Well now I am. I suspect I may evolve.

BertieBotts Mon 03-Nov-14 22:28:33

There used to be a great "feminist lite" thread which was for supposedly stupid questions, with the whole idea being that no question was a stupid question and that nobody was allowed to answer rudely, but you could just ignore or pass over any questions that enraged you too much to answer. It would be nice if this stayed as the same kind of thing smile

LittleBlueHermit Tue 04-Nov-14 01:04:11

Buffy I got 10 for conservative as well. Maybe its because I disagreed with the idea that more women in business and politics would make everything more peaceful and friendly.

carriewintermeadow Tue 04-Nov-14 01:56:37

I too am totally ignorant about this and would like to understand more. I'll read through the links provided and do the test and then come back ..

OliviaBlue Tue 04-Nov-14 02:18:29

Men are okay - just don't let them control you.

They mostly won't attempt to, but a lot of feminist will lead you to believe that.

View yourself as a woman and what you are capable of outside of male gender norms. But also don't project onto men - they usually don't even realize what they're supposedly doing.

FloraFox Tue 04-Nov-14 02:20:13

How insightful.

OliviaBlue Tue 04-Nov-14 02:34:24

And true.

Hazchem Tue 04-Nov-14 02:58:34

One thing that has helped me understand feminism is the quote from Rebecca West "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people." Sometimes I think on that and what it means in a particular situation and it can help me sort of unpick what is going on.

KeatsiePie Tue 04-Nov-14 03:24:40

Olivia yes, men are fine (I am not being snotty). Sure, in an average day, probably not very many men will come up and try to control you.

However, feminism is not about whether lots of individual men are all right to be around, or not all right to be around. Sexism is institutionalized. There is absolutely no way that a woman in today's society can escape having her opportunities or her safety or her autonomy curtailed by sexism. (Btw. men cannot escape its effects either, and it does affect men badly too.)

For example, just as racism still has a strong negative effect on who ascends to positions of power and authority and who does not, so does sexism.

So the issue is not whether the men you or I encounter are all right to be around. The issue is that our society is built on systematized inequality, so no matter how much you get along with every man you meet, or how nice and non-oppressive they are, you still do not have as much freedom or safety or power or opportunity as they do. You just don't, and you never will.

Hi Squtter thanks

Agree Hazchem I have always loved that Rebecca West quote too.

OliviaBlue Tue 04-Nov-14 03:26:35

Or, women and men are people. To be treated equally. What dislike about feminism is the anti-male vibe many different approaches take.

KeatsiePie Tue 04-Nov-14 03:35:59

But of course they are. I totally agree. Feminism, in its original conception, at its base, is the idea that men and women should be treated equally.

The problem is that our society wasn't set up that way and doesn't run that way. So if we want men and women to be treated equally, we have to change some structures. The only ways to do that are to push women up (work for them to have equal opportunities, safety, autonomy) or drag men down (take away their safety, autonomy, opportunities).

I really do not believe most feminists want men to suffer, individually or as a group -- to be afraid, to work hard but not be rewarded, to have their achievements belittled. Feminism is not about taking things away. It is about sharing things equally.

I think what happens, though, is that b/c there is a lot of resistance to this premise that we should all share equally, and we have been trying to get everyone to share equally for a long, long, long time, many feminists are very angry. I am myself at times.

And I don't think that's odd. Many people of color are very angry. Many poor and unemployed people are very angry. Because come on! When are the white people/the wealthy people/the men going to start sharing the opportunities? I think that's the problem.

OliviaBlue Tue 04-Nov-14 03:59:23

I guess I must be trapped and chained by "The Patriarchy" because I like men to be stronger than me. I know I'm not intellectually inferior, but I don't feel the need to try to compete with a male in physical skills. My husband is easily stronger than me.

He's a personaL trainer and I like to work out, but he would win when it came to most of his training skills. The only thing I think I'd beat him at might be aerobic exercise. I've out-run him before. Weight training though - no way. Yoga/Pilates - yes. Boxing/Wrestling - no.

Men and women have different traits - that's what makes us different.

PetulaGordino Tue 04-Nov-14 04:31:03

That was an interesting test. I found some questions hard to answer because as with all quizzes like that there are some statements where you want to add more nuance.

I came out radical feminist on top, followed by liberal feminist a very close second. This surprised me but I'm not very well clued-up on the strands of feminism so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised. It goes to show that it is difficult to wholeheartedly subscribe to one ideology.

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