What doesn't kill you...(24 Posts)
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Like you Buffy, I've recently been helping a friend who's STBExH was an emotionally abusive arse, I'm not sure I'd even have identified his infantile behaviour as abusive, if it hadn't been for Feminist women and thought.
I have been inspired to finally go and fulfill my potential educationally. I get a bit emotional about that. The women who have inspired me know who they are (I hope) I owe them a debt of gratitude.
Mostly what I've gained is the support and care of women I respect. Yes, Patriarchy is still here, yes, it's a complete bastard but knowing there are others who get it and who you can rage with helps a lot.
When I was growing up, most of my friends were male. It wasn't until I was in my 20s that I had close female friends, but I now think there's an amazing quality to female friendships that is very, very special. I also think that quality only comes out when we remove the artificial way that we've been conditioned to compete for male attention.
My aspiration is to be the woman who says "Yes you can, of course you can, I have absolute faith in you" to others - and who backs it up (with comfort food where necessary).
It's hard isn't it? Sometimes I wish I could get back in my socially conditioned box and take the blue pill in a Matrix stylee.
I was in an awful marriage in my twenties and it's only as I became aware of feminist issues and started questioning the crap I was putting up with that I got out, feminism literally saved my life.
On a bad day I resign myself to the fact that my daughter will have to fight the same battles her grandmother did
On a good day, when I look at my dd tearing a strip off my dad for commenting on women drivers, I feel great.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Through adversity I have learned just how much women can do if they've got to knuckle down and do it.
From using a pickaxe to laying slabs,its a journey how to wrestle this knowledge away from men,and a triumph when you do.
From having had an arsehole ex,I'm also clear on how important self esteem is for my dd's,and what their expectations should be when it comes to men.
Buffy don't forget the contribution you make to this board.
Time and time again I see you ready with support,the ability to carry on learning from others,and the patience to take on board women who are trying to explore feminism.
I hope I have used my feminist leanings to keep chipping away at the notion that women are inferior to men, that they deserve less respect, that they have to tolerate being treated like a second class citizen, that their role in life is to keep men happy.
Buffy I know I've learned loads from you and I think others on the wider boards have too.
For me, it's made me a better mother. I am actively teaching stuff to DS that I think without feminism I would have assumed he would 'just get'.
So things like active consent, the way I teach him about sex and relationships - I am going way out of my comfort zone and not resting on any assumptions that he'll just get all the good stuff by osmosis.
And sometimes when I get all stressed about the bad stuff I remind myself that at least I have a name and a cause for it. Otherwise I'd just be sitting looking at the world going 'huh? Da fuck?' At least now I know most of it isn't me, it's patriarchy.
I just use the voice that feminism has given me.
I've found that it's in the small, daily ways that feminist thought and practice helps such as supporting friends who have only just encountered the imbalance that occurs when trying to raise children, by speaking out positively in the workforce about how valued they are, by encouraging men to take on their share of the childcare responsibilities, by having an absolute zero tolerance approach to sexism and double standards even if it means calling it out time and time again.
I may have gained a reputation for being 'one of those feminists' but sod it, it's my reputation so I have a responsibility to make sure that the women in my workplace see me stepping up. I can cope with the negativity that comes with that but I think that's an age thing.
I've mentioned before about feeling invisible being an older, childfree woman but it's actually proving to be quite beneficial in some ways as I no longer care about proving myself. I've already proven myself so it matters not a jot to me that some men find it irritating that I insist on using my voice in meetings. I simply refuse to pander any longer to the aggressive, macho posturing that goes on in my industry. I can see the impact that it's having on others and that if women actually raise these issues with other women, it empowers us all to make changes where we can. I used to be embarrassed about mentioning how policies etc specifically affected women etc but now find that by raising the issue, the other women present always support my view and join in with the discussion and are no longer scared to talk about their very real experiences. Given that we influence policymakers at these meetings, we can see the odd lightbulb moment happening which is amazing.
Where I lose my voice is on the bigger issues - rape, DV, FGM, murder. The smaller stuff might embolden women in every day little acts but I really do fear that we're not making progress on the big issues and I don't know how feminism is going to address this. I don't know what I can do to address it and that scares me.
So positives and negatives for me.
I'm waiting for a response from the Scottish Government about why violent crime and hate speech against women isn't defined as and punished as hate crime.
Nicola Sturgeon came to power telling women that she was going to use her voice and her position to help women and I'm going to hold her to that.
Sorry, the point of that last post was to say to Herring that I think letters to MPs etc does have an effect and it does count. It might be frustrating but it's another voice speaking out. That's something.
I've found feminism helps me take a stand.It helps me get angry.
Its meant that years ago,when my boss thought inappropriate touching was ok because I was young,he found out that some women will actually take action for sexual harrasment,however young.
I might have let it go if I wasn't angry.
I often hanker after the days of sitting in my womens group in the 80's putting the world to rights.
How different a person would I have been without those (significantly older) women showing me the path?
It helps me express and clarify things I already thought a lot of the time, but didn't have the words for. And I've met a load of brilliant women.
It's helped me find myself again.
I think I was always a feminist, right from being a child. And when I was a teenager and student, big feminist. Then I realised I wouldn't get a boyfriend or be taken seriously as a person unless I toned it down (I didn't realise I wouldn't be taken seriously anyway) so I toned it down and compromised and stopped looking too closely at things and was busy having a job and relationship and children. And then I came to MN and remembered all that stuff from my youth and learned more and now I don't care if I get a boyfriend or not. I feel like I've found a sense of peace, because I'm not always trying to reconcile different points of view and explain away sheer nobbishness in the men I know.
EG with friends' husbands - I used to desperately try and explain away (to myself) their utter nobbery so that I could carry on being their friends. Now I don't need to, I just accept it and allow myself to dislike them while being utterly unmoved by their "devil's advocate" authoritative testicles of objectivity stances, when I used to get angry and upset because I was trying to reconcile why someone who called themselves my friend, would try so very hard to be an utter nob when discussing stuff. So I find that I can like the things about them which are nice, without constantly feeling baffled anger and dismay about the nobbery - I just accept that as an unavoidable result of male privilege and feel slightly sad for them that they are trapped in that mindset, but detached enough to not care and also recognise when they are intelligent enough to try and get out of that mindset but have chosen not to.
Also with work colleagues etc., I've found that I've become more confident, because even though I'm much more aware that they have an automatic advantage over me (what with the mighty peen an' all) I am also much more aware that they aren't the great authorities they always set themselves up to be. They don't know more than me, they don't have a special knowledge which I have to keep trying to find out about - they just have that male network which I'll never be part of, no matter how many trade publications I read and that assumption that they will be listened to and respected before they prove themselves. And that's fine. I'll just have to try and function outwith that network and try and make alternative networks with women.
Sorry. I'll stop there, it's already too long.
I am now in a position where I can give some support to younger people in my industry. I work in a very male dominated industry and I focus my advice and networking on women where I can.
I had to do an exercise in identifying and expressing my values for a recent project I was working on. The purpose of the exercise was to allow you to make decisions in a more efficient and less uncertain manner.
My feminist values featured quite strongly in the exercise and now I feel even more comfortable making my views known and taking decisions on the basis of what I put time, energy and reflection in determining was important to me. Someone who thinks I am a twat for a decision I make now does not bother me as I am happy in the knowledge that we probably don't share the same values or experience
and they are possibly the twat
Feminism helps me be a role model for my younger female relatives, and to make sure they grow up to know their own greatness and strength rather than living in self-hatred like I did.
I have a niece, and I never want her to think she can't do certain things or can't be certain things. I want her never to hate the fact she is a mixed race girl, I want her never to believe she is inferior. I never would have realised my own greatness or that I'm not inferior or less worthy without feminism, and I would never have been able to teach her to love herself.
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