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Old school feminism

(39 Posts)
Poopooplop Thu 06-Nov-14 10:26:17

Thought I'd try and open a bit of a discussion on (what some might see as) extreme feminist views.

Background, I work with and advocate for women daily and feel that I'm a feminist, I have two degrees, one, I focused on feminist issues in criminal law, and the other relates to my current job ... However, I still don't think of myself as clever or brilliant at debate so go easy on me!

The thing which got me thinking I'd that I used to work with a woman of about 60, she often referred to herself as a feminist and used to frequently tell me that if want for her "burning her bra" I wouldn't be working/wearing trousers/driving etc etc. She was awesome, I definitely admired her but did, on occasion feel patronised by her.

One day we were discussing feminism (a few of us in the office). And she declared that you can't say you're a feminist unless you'd put your finger into your vaginal whilst menstruating and lick the blood off... It stopped the conversation but definitely got me thinking. What do you think?

NotCitrus Thu 06-Nov-14 10:40:11

I think there's a point that a lot of women could do with being more aware of their bodies, understanding how they work, and not finding their own bodies icky (I remember being shocked once by how many women felt they would never once want to experience cunnilingus, because they would be too worried about being 'unclean'). Or ruling out mooncups which might be more convenient, because they don't want to touch themselves.

I met a number of women with those views when I joined a women's group to get to know people in a new city. My conclusionswere getting period under your fingernails, worth getting over, but tasting it was totally unnecessary - it tastes just like blood.

Bifauxnen Thu 06-Nov-14 11:17:35

I remember Germaine Greer saying something similar. However any sentence that starts "you're not a feminist until..." is never going to end well.
Not sure of the link to old school feminism though?

Poopooplop Thu 06-Nov-14 11:20:42

Oh i just couldn't think of a title and she always talked about the fact that she was an "original feminist". Old school is my thickos interpretation

FloraFox Thu 06-Nov-14 11:25:15

An "original feminist"? hmm Her statements seem more characteristic of her being a PITA rather than representative of second wave feminism.

tywysogesgymraeg Thu 06-Nov-14 11:29:13

That's disgusting! And unhygenic too.

Beachcomber Thu 06-Nov-14 11:33:08

She sounds pretty odd.

Not sure us all sitting around tasting our menstrual blood will hast the revolution...

grimbletart Thu 06-Nov-14 11:36:07

I'm an old 60s/70s feminist and she is talking bollocks.

almondcakes Thu 06-Nov-14 11:37:18

I actually think this is more of a new age/pagan thing rather than a feminist thing.

APlaceInTheWinter Thu 06-Nov-14 11:55:52

iirc it was Germaine Greer who proposed it as a feminist idea and there were certain women's groups who agreed with her. I think their reasoning was about demystifying women's bodies and challenging the negative/dirty connotations associated with menstruation.

I'm not sure licking menstrual blood advanced the feminist cause but I think the underlying message about reclaiming and celebrating women's bodies, and challenging the fears around women's reproductive systems was a good one.

PuffinsAreFicticious Thu 06-Nov-14 11:57:58

I agree that Germaine Greer had a bit of a thing about it at one point, but I've never met a second wave feminist who insisted that it was some kind of initiation. How odd. Not disgusting, nor unhygienic, just... odd. I'd also agree that it's a bit new agey rather than feminist.

Beachcomber Thu 06-Nov-14 12:08:45


I agree with the notion of women knowing and being comfortable and confident about their bodies though.

Amethyst24 Thu 06-Nov-14 12:53:02

Why would it be unhygienic, Tywy?

Not something I've ever done, not something I'd have a problem doing, not something that confers any kind of badge of feminism as far as I'm concerned.

Poopooplop Thu 06-Nov-14 15:25:39

Ha. PITA and odd are good descriptions of her. She was also lovely and informative, but mostly was good at stopping conversation dead.

I agree, reclaiming our bodies as not disgusting things is important but I feel that making extreme comments, if anything, would do the opposite. I think it makes people sound like they're saying things just to shock.

She would never accept that I felt as strongly about women's rights as her because I'm younger (by by about

Poopooplop Thu 06-Nov-14 15:26:54

Oops my phone went wild

I'm younger (by about 40 years), so I couldn't possibly understand the struggles women have experienced in the past. Huff

Poopooplop Thu 06-Nov-14 15:28:58

Totally just noticed how highbrow my username is (i nc a few days ago and forgot to go back)

BertieBotts Thu 06-Nov-14 15:46:11

WTF? confused It just sounds bizarre. Okay I don't think women should be afraid or ashamed or think their menstrual blood is dirty but I don't want to taste it particularly.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EBearhug Thu 06-Nov-14 21:51:04

It is something I've heard before, and I think Germaine Greer, too. I don't suppose it's any less hygienic than sucking a cut finger, but I don't make a habit of that, either.

IrenetheQuaint Thu 06-Nov-14 22:43:49

As I recall Germaine Greer actually said that you weren't a proper feminist unless you had sucked your menstrual blood off your lover's penis.

As someone said above, it's a rhetorical flourish about taboos... I don't think we need to take it as an actual instruction. At least I hope not

grimbletart Thu 06-Nov-14 22:46:27

As I said, it is bollocks: it was propagated by a small minority of "extreme" feminists - the same ones that claimed you couldn't be a feminist unless you were a lesbian and also thought it was a good idea to examine your own cervix with one of those mirror things that dentists use. Most of us were just busy getting on with achieving (in theory anyway) equal pay, obtaining credit and bank accounts without male guarantors and generally kicking in the glass ceiling floor as we tried to climb out of the basement.

grimbletart Thu 06-Nov-14 22:47:13

glass floor, not glass ceiling floor!

AnyFucker Thu 06-Nov-14 22:49:22

Well, this thread makes me think about the idea of women thinking that shaving/waxing all their pubic hair off is "cleaner"

BertieBotts Thu 06-Nov-14 22:50:54

Surely proper feminists don't give men sexual pleasure which doesn't involve reciprocation for themselves? grin wink

IrenetheQuaint Thu 06-Nov-14 23:00:03

Good point, Bertie. I can't remember what The Female Eunuch said about cunnilingus grin

Greer has always been quite keen on sex (with men - I don't recall her going through a political lesbian phase, though someone may correct me). Probably a more unusual position then than it is now. (Fnarr.)

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