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Seeing Ourselves as Others See Us

(320 Posts)
MaryRobinson Tue 23-Feb-16 02:14:13

I don't want this to be a TAAT, but Gosh. The "If you feel that feminism doesn't include you" thread makes for very depressing reading.

How have we lost so many women on the way?
So many points jumped out to me but it was the bullying/nasty/hysterical accusations that really sting. It seems that putting together a cogent, thought through, tight argument opens you up to an ad hominem attack of being strident/over educated blah blah blah.

I know I'm not alone in this but it makes
me feel so disheartened.

WrenNatsworthy Tue 23-Feb-16 02:27:06

This is a TAAT. Why not post the same thing there?

MaryRobinson Tue 23-Feb-16 02:35:25

Because this isn't about the points over there. The purpose of this thread was "knowing that so many women simultaneously agree with many tenets of feminism (eg equality of opportunity), and yet feel repulsed by or hostile to feminism because they don't like the style of discourse/debate, What can we do about that?"

WrenNatsworthy Tue 23-Feb-16 02:45:18

I think that the women on that thread are coming out with more reasons than that one.
I consider myself to be a feminist but I stay away from most things feminist online because I'm done with all the arguing.

MaryRobinson Tue 23-Feb-16 03:03:02

"I'm done with all the arguing"

Yes yes yes. It can be exhausting

ICJump Tue 23-Feb-16 03:33:50

I think that a lot if the nasty shit feminist are accused of doing is not being done by feminist. It's the mysoginists that pretend to be feminist. It's media beat ups of stereotypes.

MaryRobinson Tue 23-Feb-16 04:01:59

Yeah, that's probably true. There are people who are portrayed as almost being a caricature of feminism. I mean so many people talk about Germaine Greer in the same tone as I talk about Donald Trump (I suppose incredulity that anyone could think them rational)

But there was also several people who talked about how this board is littered with people who leave other women feeling alienated and belittled. Personally, I see people who get respectfully challenged both with logic and evidence, which I think is a good thing- but swathes of people really disagree with me.

seoulsurvivor Tue 23-Feb-16 06:25:47

Yes, I am tired of arguing. I would rather just try to live my life in a feminist way.

seoulsurvivor Tue 23-Feb-16 06:31:33

Mary personally I have felt alienated on this board. I wouldn't post about feminist stuff here. I have been reading feminist literature since I was 15 (now 33) but I really feel like there's less a feeling of supporting and helping other women, and more of attacking those who aren't feminist enough. If you disagree, it's cos you're wrong, not because you have a different opinion.

I am guilty of that myself at times. At some point, I just want to live my life without worrying about every single little thing being feminist or not.

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Tue 23-Feb-16 08:01:01

I think the reason is that the backlash has done such a good job of painting feminism as a female supremacist movement and are ready to pounce on any feminist who does anything less than perfect.

Sometimes I don't like the direction that current feminism has gone in (getting caught up in the transgender debate) but I'll always call myself a feminist because no decent human being would disagree with the basic tenets and to denounce it would be hugely ungrateful to the women who fought for the rights that I currently enjoy.

BertrandRussell Tue 23-Feb-16 09:25:25

I have tried in the past to get people to give examples of the hostility and belittling they receive on feminist threads. the usual response is the classic schoolyard "Well, if you can't see it, it's because you are one of the hostile belittlers". Or something along the lines of "It's not up to me to tell you- go and look, there's loads of it"

Or occasionally, somebody will quote something a batshit crazy separatist feminist said in 1974, and attribute it to all feminists.

It is deeply frustrating.

seoulsurvivor Tue 23-Feb-16 09:28:50

Bertrand maybe people don't want to name names because they don't want to be accused of bullying, or have everyone jump on them in order to defend their mate

NNalreadyinuse Tue 23-Feb-16 09:30:27

I am on that thread. I can easily understand why someone would hate all the infighting that takes place amongst feminists who have opposing views (although all groups have differences of opinion). What I can't get my head around is how, given that at its core feminism is about equality of opportunity and freedom over our own lives, there are women who can not identify with this. Agree that something, somewhere has gone seriously wrong.

BertrandRussell Tue 23-Feb-16 09:36:23

"Bertrand maybe people don't want to name names because they don't want to be accused of bullying, or have everyone jump on them in order to defend their mate"

Possibly. But not one? Ever?

And you really can't throw the sort of accusations that are regularly thrown at feminists about without some sort of evidence, surely?

Mide7 Tue 23-Feb-16 09:36:42

It's an interesting thread, personally I don't see why people are so bothered either way. Although as with any group of people it's normally the worst that get talked about, whether it's feminists, Christians, vegans or cyclists for example.

There are a lot of people in here that have similar views. If someone says something which goes against the view here and they get about 5 people questioning them I can see how that could be misunderstood.

RufusTheReindeer Tue 23-Feb-16 09:44:37

Agree with bertrand and NN


1. With lots people posting the same or similar question to one poster it can feel that people are getting at them

2. How the fuck is "oh so you dont care about battered women" helpful. Its exactly the same tactic chuggers use

3. Most people dont want a debate or explain their reasoning, the odd person who does gets asked lots of questions and then feels picked on

I have got some more but ive forgotten them

I really like the feminist board and i dont feel its bullying, i have never seen "oh you shave your legs, you are not a feminist"

But also i have no idea how you would solve this, because everytime you try to defend feminism people seem to get offended

Its peoples perceptions, my dad always said that you get yelled at by feminists if you open a door for them. He has said this for decades and i asked him the other day when it had happened to has never hapoened, he just read it somewhere

RufusTheReindeer Tue 23-Feb-16 09:46:52

Oh and i hate it when people refuse to quote or link to the "bullying"

It only seems to happens on feminist threads, every other thread has quotes galore and *rufus...on the 7th of december at 10am you said..."

BertrandRussell Tue 23-Feb-16 09:59:31

"Its peoples perceptions, my dad always said that you get yelled at by feminists if you open a door for them. He has said this for decades and i asked him the other day when it had happened to has never hapoened, he just read it somewhere"

Absolutely. There are a whole lot of feminist memes largely invented by the press which are always used when people say "I've been told I can't be a feminist because....." I reckon that nobody has actually said that in so many words to them- it's stuff they've absorbed from a largely hostile media.

Another point that occurs to me is that a group of women talking seriously together is not something you see very often, and is traditionally regarded with suspicion. Women with strong opinions have traditionally been characterized as aggressive, or shrill or hysterical. Maybe there's some of that going on?

PosieReturningParker Tue 23-Feb-16 10:39:47

I have to say I don't care about individual women who feel a weird sense of pride who don't call themselves feminists. I care about women as a gender. But really feel the "feminism" isn't a label I want or I don't to align myself with quite childish to be honest.

I do have a dim view of women that aren't feminists.

uglyswan Tue 23-Feb-16 11:27:50

Bertrand, I agree with you on the whole: there are a lot of aggressive straw-feminist tactics out there and it does make sense to challenge them.

But honestly, I do find that this board has become increasingly unpleasant in tone, particularly whenever trans issues come up. A lot of posters still try to engage with others here in good faith; but some of the responses have been self-righteous, patronising and downright rude. And no, I'm not going to link to examples and get involved in a point by point rehashing of the original discussion, how is that helpful? It smacks of the whole "women, if you want me to believe sexism exists, provide me with at least 5 specific examples of inequality so that I can disprove your argument" tactics you get from the occasional anti-feminist goady fuckers that descend on the FWR boards every once in a while. If a woman says she feels bullied on this board, how about we just believe her and try to fix that instead of demanding proof?

ICJump Tue 23-Feb-16 11:39:27

I recently attended a breastfeeding meeting and I noted that I felt it was a radical act of feminism. Why? Because a group of women came together and shared their own experiences and were validated. Women supported and empowered each other to so something they felt passionately about. There was no us and them, no need to talk down others. There were different choice, opinions for sure but with respect. It was just women being women. It was the very essence of feminism to me.
Why would any have a problem with that ?

ICJump Tue 23-Feb-16 11:41:54

Ugly swan it's hard to fix if you don't know the problem. I don't mean that in a disbelieving way I just mean if I'm merrily going about my business not realising I'm being a dickhead I'm unlikely to know how to change to stop being a dickhead

SenecaFalls Tue 23-Feb-16 11:51:17

But uglyswan how are we going to fix that if we don't understand what they mean. I think the meaning of the word "bullying" has become so diluted in our society that many people conflate it with any sort of assertive disagreement.

itllallbefine Tue 23-Feb-16 11:57:59

My first thought on reading this was that you will get slated for using the word "hysterical". I have. Despite being a commonly used word which people use all the time to describe the behaviour of men woman and children, someone decided that they found it "misogynistic" because of it's original usage. This academic and rather arsey objection to a word in which i have never heard any objection to "in real life" and in common usage is the exactly the sort of thing that puts people off.

I recently got into a heated debate about usage of the word "violence" as applied to rape. Without rehashing that "debate" I was trying to explain why i thought removing the need for rape to be defined as violent would make it easier for women to come forward despite having no physical injuries.

I was told that I was "disgusting", asked if i was a man, told i was showing my "true nature" etc. The thread is still up for those that would doubt whether I am telling the truth. Being assumed to be man when expressing an opinion that deviates even slightly from what other posters think has happened on a few occasions.

These tactics are IMO employed to shut down debate, "misogynist", "are you a man?", "hand maiden" etc etc. There are several posters on these threads whom i have never seen concede a point about anything, they simply express their opinions in a cocksure manner and slate anyone who expresses even a slight deviation in thought. It is not therefore an exchange of ideas it is an echo chamber where any new comer better have exactly the same opinion or they will be flamed.

itllallbefine Tue 23-Feb-16 12:14:59

To be fair - that came over a bit harsh, not all posters were like that, but some were, scallopsrgreat and posie I recall, incase anyone feels I am being unfair. Other posters were perfectly reasonable, but then people are of course perfectly free to consider me unreasonable.

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