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Does being a feminist influence who you are friends with?

(42 Posts)
Jackieharris Fri 01-May-15 08:06:46

This came to mind after a comment on Hakulet's AIBU thread.

Since becoming a feminist I just don't have friends who are married mothers.

I never though of this before.

My friends are mostly lesbians or single mums or both.

I do have some single friends but they aren't in the 'desperate to find a man' brigade.

Anyone else noticed this? Is my feminism frightening them off?!

I'm not rude so wouldn't actually be critical of how some women live their lives but maybe my disapproval still shows through hmm thinking of fb now.

Yops Fri 01-May-15 08:08:57

Has your set of friends changed with your adoption of feminism? Or were you close to the same people previously?

avocadotoast Fri 01-May-15 08:11:16

I just have...friends. A mixture of genders, different relationship statuses, etc.

But then I would say I've considered myself a feminist since I was at school/college, so I guess it has probably shaped my friendships. I wouldn't stay friends with someone if they showed themselves to be anti-feminist, or racist, or homophobic, transphobic etc etc.

thatstoast Fri 01-May-15 08:21:05

I am a married mother and have a lot of friends who are in a similar stage of their life. I have a lot of friends who think feminism isn't needed anymore. Lots of friends who wouldn't describe themselves as feminists. However, I know they think men and women should be equal so that's a start.

ladymalfoy Fri 01-May-15 08:30:27

I can't be friends with men or women who don't engage in politics,news,current affairs etc.
I despise my SIL because she feels she is superior to women who can and want to engage in intelligent discourse.
I cannot be friends with women who refuse to acknowledge an intelligent woman's point of view but will fall over themselves to agree with a man who voices that same point of view.

cailindana Fri 01-May-15 09:11:01

I find that the more I get into feminism the more my friendships have changed. And actually my friends have changed - I have three friends I see regularly and all either dismissed feminism or were quite hostile to it when I met them three years ago. Now, one of them talks like a feminist and brings up feminist issues but absolutely will not say she's a feminist (?), the other listens to what I say about feminism and doesn't argue, and the other has directly asked me to teach her more about feminism. So even though I don't bang on about feminism to friends unless I know they're interested clearly my views have filtered through and I've changed some of their minds.

I don't feel you have to live a feminist life to be a feminist. So even if a woman were "desperate for a man" I wouldn't discount her as a friend or a feminist. I think it isn't your feminism frightening them off, it's your judgemental attitude.

BuffyNeverBreaks Fri 01-May-15 09:20:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FeijoaSundae Fri 01-May-15 09:38:44

I didn't 'become a feminist' later in life, I have identified as a feminist as soon as I could think, so it doesn't really determine my friendships.

I am a married (working) mother, and I am a feminist. I didn't realize the two were mutually exclusive.

I have friends who I haven't discussed feminism with, but who I suspect are Netmum types who probably eschew feminism, but they are nonetheless lovely people in their own right. Having said that, I probably do gravitate more naturally to lefty, liberal 'activist' types, at least in a conversational setting.

I suspect that if your consciousness was raised later in life, it might be more of an all-consuming thing.

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 01-May-15 09:41:36

I have certainly made decisions to not take steps to deepen friendships with certain people who expressed sexist views.

SunnyBaudelaire Fri 01-May-15 09:42:45

I have all kinds of friends, married, single, lesbian, male, trans and have always been a feminist. This has never even crossed my mind tbh.

INickedAName Fri 01-May-15 10:28:28

I suspect that if your consciousness was raised later in life, it might be more of an all-consuming thing.


I don't think feminism has influenced my friendships, it's influenced me, I think though, that it's helped strengthen my friendships, instead of inwardly judging them and the choices they make, I'll think about why
I have noticed the bigger change in my family, we have big family gatherings regularly, and I've started calling out the casual sexism, not always, and it's just little things but it can cause a big reactions, at best it's eyerolls and humouring me, I'm told I'm being silly with my "feminist faff" They are the people who shaped me as I grew, so I think that's why they are noticing the change in me more, I'm not just accepting their opinions as facts, I'll ask why they think certain things and it doesn't always go down to well.

Nolim Fri 01-May-15 10:32:52

I dont have many friends, i have met them in uni, work, etc, so in a sense it has been easier to make friends who had make similar choices. Most of my friends who are mums either work or are sahms who plan to go back to work in a few years.

TychosNose Fri 01-May-15 10:37:44

Your op reads as if you believe married mothers can't be feminists.

My feminism means I find it difficult to be friends with total misogynists but I try not to right people off who have different beliefs to me. I just need a bit of common ground to be friends, not total agreement on everything.

TychosNose Fri 01-May-15 10:38:56

Write not right, obviously.

BeakyMinder Fri 01-May-15 10:52:36

I've been a feminist since I was a kid. Me and all my friends are married/partnered mothers, they are all feminists too.

I think there used to be a school of thought that being a mother and wife/partner wasn't really compatible with being a feminist. You know, cos you had to put the kids first and then your relationship and then yourself at the bottom. Or if you were a feminist then you shouldn't have children. I think this is changing - increasingly women come to feminism because of their experiences having children and/or in long term relationships.

Just look at the convos in AIBU at the mo - women are angry about birth interventions without consent, unequal domestic duties, female objectivisation etc. - very explicit feminist views being expressed on many topics and no longer confined to the sidelines like they used to be.

Go women! 2015 is our year smile

TheBlackRider Fri 01-May-15 10:55:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JohnFarleysRuskin Fri 01-May-15 13:31:12

Most of my friends are married mothers and feminists.

YonicScrewdriver Fri 01-May-15 13:34:16

A pretty big chunk of FWR posters are married mothers!

There are a few people I interact with less, block on FB etc as they are sexist. Otherwise, not really affected them.

TheBoov Fri 01-May-15 13:45:46

I was brought up a feminist and have always been one. It's an integral part of who I am. I've not found a disconnect between being a married mother and a feminist.
But obviously 'who you are' affects who you choose as friends.

StellaAlpina Fri 01-May-15 13:56:48

No idea tbh.
I've considered myself a feminist from the first time I heard the word.

My close friends I've known since school. I certainly didn't choose them based on femisim though, more on the basis of 'hey we're in the same english set, and live near each lets walk home together and talk about emo bands!'

We're all still mates over a decade later and have grown into a fairly mixed bunch - a few are married/engaged, a few are pregnant/have children, a few have impressive careers...

Some of us are more vocally feminist than others, but we are all very supportive of each other.

SenecaFalls Fri 01-May-15 14:17:37

I have been a feminist for a very long time. For me, feminism is the center of my world view and the very core of who I am and my sense of self. I would not get far enough in a relationship with someone who was anti-feminist or who thinks that "we don't need feminism anymore." My closest friends are feminists; some are married with children (like me); others are not.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Fri 01-May-15 18:22:46

I've been a feminist since I was a young teen. As such I probably don't have any friends who are very sexist - as I wouldn't get on with them at all!

Some of my friends can be a bit sexist - and some probably consider me to be a bit unusual in some of my views - but we don't tend to talk about stuff like that too much - like politics and religion they are often subjects best avoided unless you want a row! I don't think many of my friends would hold fundamentally incompatible views though as like I say we'd be fundamentally incompatible as friends.

I am a married mother BTW grin

For sure when you go to feminist event type things there are less women who fit the married with kids standard than in general society so if that's where you are sourcing your friends since you became a feminist maybe that's why? Just a thought. On MN though there are loads of married with children posting on FWR as regs and being all feministy.

Blistory Fri 01-May-15 19:07:59

For friends yes, it's too important an issue for it not to matter. For acquaintances and professional relationships, not so much but I will comment on casual or ingrained sexism even if I think it might cost me.

I noticed that for my group of friends, there was a distinct period of alienating themselves from feminism after university and that was probably the biggest time of conflict. Then most of them had children and it was horrible watching the arse fall out of their world. The only people they could voice their concerns to who genuinely understood were the more active feminist friends. Now, the married and the mothers largely feel that the common ground we have as women outweigh the other differences and life choices that we make. It's a cliché but I've found a solidarity amongst those women as we age that didn't exist when feminism was being denied. That sense of someone having your back and just getting it is very profound so no, I'd have friends who weren't feminists as long as their beliefs were based in feminism. Whether they call it feminism or otherwise is not important to me.

CrispyFern Fri 01-May-15 19:14:04

I've always been a feminist. I'm a married mother.

I'm friends with... yes mostly women I must admit, but other than that, I don't have a 'type'.

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 01-May-15 19:21:52

Never made any difference for me that I'm a feminist.
What makes a difference is that I'm quite outdoorsy,and not particularly interested in stuff that stereotypical 'girlies' like.So I tend to gravitate more towards women who are similar to myself.Which means that I'd define my small group of friends as feminists,even if they wouldn't self identify as such.
If that makes sense confused

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