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DD says she no longer labels herself a feminist

(41 Posts)
AradiasDaemon Thu 12-Nov-15 22:17:35

She is 14 and has told me tonight that she no longer labels herself a feminist. I'm gutted, while also understanding how she has reached that point. She is well read, passionate and clued up on feminism and I think it is largely to do with her current friend group. She said that one of the lads she hangs around with and likes a lot said that she 'lost points' for being a feminist. I just tried to talk to her about it but I'm tired and it really fucked me off so it didn't go well, so she has stomped off upstairs and I'm sitting raging.

Not at her, at the fucking world. At the patriarchy, at bastard misogynists that have made her feel like feminism is a dirty word. They win, again. I could actually cry that it is so hard to be a feminist in this world. She used the words 'feminazi' and 'man haters'. Wtaf? Most of her friends have a similar reluctance to call themselves feminists.

This is the girl who was tweeting for the TYFA! Help me please, I know I'm overreacting but have no-one else to rant to about this. Fuck's sake.

VestalVirgin Thu 12-Nov-15 22:30:21

You look like you could use some hot chocolate. brew cake

It's so sad that she actually thinks this idiot is worth her time when he talks about her like that.

But such is the mental state of teenagers. Insecurity is sort of part of it. (Or so I am told. I didn't have a peer group when I was a teenager, which in retrospect might have benefitted my health)

I'd just treat it as her being in an abusive relationship. Which means no arguing against her new stance, as she will feel the need to justify.
Try to give her more self-esteem. Reassure her when she doubts her self-worth, her intellect, etc.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Thu 12-Nov-15 22:38:54

Spot on Vestal. 14 years old is a riot.

If she is well read this won't be fooling her. She's just trying to fit in sadly.

VestalVirgin Thu 12-Nov-15 22:42:36

Maybe that will cheer you up: whatever.scalzi.com/2014/09/25/an-anti-feminist-walks-into-a-bar-a-play-in-five-acts/

That's how I feel if a man tells me that I "lost points" for being a feminist.

HarrietSchulenberg Thu 12-Nov-15 22:47:35

I've noticed that there is a lot of anti-feminist crap being spouted by teenagers lately, particularly on FB. Lots of posts of overweight women labelled "This is what a feminist looks like". Unfortunately my own ds (15) spouts it too, but when challenged he claims that he's all for equality but that feminists just hate men. He's a bright, articulate boy and I've pointed out that the word he's looking for is "misandrist" not "feminist", but still he persists because everyone else is doing it. He does now know the difference but chooses to ignore so he can follow the herd.
I think it's sad that so many teens have this view and I pop up on his FB threads now and again to publicly remind him that if it wasn't for feminists he wouldn't have clothes on his back, a roof over his head or an ipod to use for FB as his mother wouldn't be educated or working.
It's amazing how it's often his female friends who are the first to distance themselves from feminism yet males, oddly, defend it.

thatstoast Thu 12-Nov-15 22:49:28

Has she really thought about the fact that this boy likes her less because she believes that women are equal to men? Has she she thought about the fact that he might be less attractive to her because he doesn't believe women are equal to men? Has she thought about punching him in the balls?

If she was tweeting for TYFA, I'm sure she'll get over it and normality will be restored. Try and wait it out.

howtorebuild Thu 12-Nov-15 22:50:09

I would say, whatever makes you happy and give her a kiss. She will soon see this guy for who he is.

NewLife4Me Thu 12-Nov-15 22:52:33

I think she is just trying to fit in too
You have brought her up the way you have and she will have gained your values and they will be hers too.
Honestly don't worry.
If it's any consolation, she obviously doesn't want to be labelled.
My dd appears to be shouting about sexual discrimination all over the place, she's only 11. This means the message is getting through to the younger girls she hasn't been brought up by a feminist, not in my book anyway.
While I'm here perhaps somebody could recommend some books for her, but not too challenging grin

VestalVirgin Thu 12-Nov-15 22:53:57

That's not odd, Harriet - girls are more vulnerable to male violence, and their self-esteem is eroded by media, so it makes sense that they would be more concerned about what others think about them. Males won't get labeled "ugly" and "man-hating" for defending feminism.

Your son's behaviour is sad - actually, if I were you, I think I'd take his internet access away and make him read a book by an actual feminist instead. (Not saying that you should. It's just what I would do because I feel antifeminism is the same as misogyny and it makes me angry.)

NewLife4Me Thu 12-Nov-15 23:10:29

I have 2 much older ds and they were like too, but you just have to educate them.
It's pretty ingrained and you just have to chip away at it child by child.

As grown ups my sons aren't anti feminist at all in fact I can see how their generation has evolved, it's just slow.
They weren't bad lads, just ill informed.

Feminists were definitely lesbian, men hating, girls so to a boy who had a snog or more on his mind you would be less attractive to him.
You just educate.

wickedwaterwitch Thu 12-Nov-15 23:14:16

Christ, it's annoying isn't it?

Maybe she KNOWS he's being a twat and wants you to argue the point?

Or maybe not. Not much you can do other than calmly state your case.

wickedwaterwitch Thu 12-Nov-15 23:17:01

But the whole landscape teens are living in is a big depressing from a feminist point of view whilst also making it hard for them - the world is generally telling them one thing while we're telling them another.

tribpot Thu 12-Nov-15 23:20:13

Like the other posters, I don't think she's lost to the cause forever, just a shame that this is still a thing so many decades after we thought it should be acceptable to say 'hey boy I am your equal'.

14 year olds do generally talk total bollocks so I'd feign amused tolerance and/or do that thing where teens dye their hair pink so their parents dye theirs orange in a fake show of support. Say you're thinking about no longer labelling yourself as a feminist too and maybe offering to take a paycut in order to widen the pay gap further, see what she says.

howtorebuild Thu 12-Nov-15 23:20:14

The boys in tripple science would tell my dd to go make them a sandwich in food tech, that's what made my dd turn to feminism. I agree parents should turn off the wifi and speak to these boys.

lastuseraccount123 Thu 12-Nov-15 23:20:38

do they not teach them about it in school?

so far my 11 year old is all over feminism and asking a lot of (good) questions about patriarchy i.e. why have men always run everything in the past etc.

it will be interesting to see if it changes as she gets older.

I identified as a feminist as a teen girl and got a lot of hate for it. it is hard to stand up against the mainstream. Hopefully it's just a phase....

lastuseraccount123 Thu 12-Nov-15 23:22:00

lol @ trib. ha ha.

Missyaggravation Thu 12-Nov-15 23:25:33

I don't think there is much you can do, just keep challenging. My 12 yo DD after being on tumbl for awhile, said that perhaps she was a boy because she didn't like stereotypically girly things. Was a very short conversation where I set her straight hmm. She might try to fit in with her peers, but as an obviously thinking person she will make up her own mind.

VestalVirgin Thu 12-Nov-15 23:28:32

lastuseraccount, I think I remember learning a tiny bit about suffragists in school, but it really was only a tiny bit. And as for feminism, I cannot recall that it was ever mentioned.

Maybe they teach about it in more progressive schools but not where I live.

I identified as feminist as soon as I knew what that is, but then, I was a social outcast anyway so I had nothing to lose.

HarrietSchulenberg Thu 12-Nov-15 23:32:55

Ds' behaviour is indeed sad, Vestal, as he's under the same pressure to fit in as OP's dd. Neither of them want to stick their heads above the parapet.
He is every bit as obsessed with his looks as any girl I've ever met, more so than a lot. He declares himself fat yet is underweight. Refuses to be photographed by family yet posts "OMG I'm so ugly" pics on FB. TBH, with his intelligence and ability you'd think he'd understand the ridiculousness of media body images but, like so many teenage girls, he compares himself negatively to the scrawny dudes he sees in Kerrang.
I have frequently heard ds air decidedly feminist views: it seems to be the label "feminism" that he's decrying, to fit in with the herd. I find this sad whatever the gender.

HarrietSchulenberg Thu 12-Nov-15 23:36:17

I think maybe we should all turn off the wifi and speak to all our children. As I said upthread, it's predominantly the girls that are distancing themselves. The boys are about 50/50 in some very heated debates on feminism on ds' threads. Girls are maybe 80/20 against.

howtorebuild Thu 12-Nov-15 23:48:29

www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11991428/Primary-school-tells-girls-to-wear-tights-in-interest-of-modesty.html?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook

Look at the message sent to children, it's no wonder, alarmingly 50% agree with the school. shock

howtorebuild Thu 12-Nov-15 23:50:25

Harriet, that's dreadful. sad

VestalVirgin Thu 12-Nov-15 23:59:16

howtorebuild, I am actually a bit gleeful that they decided to switch the school uniform to trousers. Because trousers are way more comfortable, especially in winter, and apparently some schools force girls to wear skirts, which is horrible. So I hope that's the reason of the 50% agreement?

Of course, tights do nothing to protect girls from anything but cold temperatures. But a rule that enforces trousers is not worse than any other school uniform rule and will protect girls from catching a cold while they are in the phase where they try to appease males.

That said, I was furious when a school in Bavaria banned short trousers for girls in the middle of summer with a similar reasoning - Germany does not have school uniforms, so this is a rule that only applies to girls.

And yes, it is worrying in general.

However, I think what is almost worse is the constant messages girls are subjected to ... I avoid reading any malestream internet sites, but some I cannot avoid, and there it is all "this celebrity wore an ugly dress, that celebrity showed her breasts".

AradiasDaemon Fri 13-Nov-15 00:03:21

Thanks for the hot choc, I'm downing one as I type! smile It's the label that is the problem for her, she says she still believes in equality and feminism, but that it's the word itself that she's distancing herself from. There does seem to be this anti-feminist vibe with teenagers at the moment despite the fact that thanks to social media / celebrity endorsement, awareness is much higher than before. If I read the word feminazi myself on FB one more time I may actually explode.

I may try the reverse psychology of saying I'm not going to call myself a feminist any more, she won't like that I'm guessing. grin

It's just so frustrating isn't it? When I first properly realised I was a feminist it wasn't that long ago and I had an argument conversation with DH about the word and why it mattered rather than just 'equality'. He had a similar response to the word but it just goes to show what an efficient hatchet job the media /mra's / misogynists have achieved.

I was just so disappointed that it is so hard for her to say what she believes, it felt like I had failed her in some way by not giving her the tools to fight her corner. I do realise that's not actually the case and I have calmed down now.

I think she should have punched that lad in the balls as well though. Being a man hater and all... hmm

howtorebuild Fri 13-Nov-15 00:08:40

I am not impressed with the tights must be worn stance.

It's off putting to be associated with the Nazi party, no wonder she is put off.

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