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Feminists- what stops you giving up and helps you keep going?

(58 Posts)
LastFirstEverything Sun 12-Jun-16 20:09:12

By 'giving up' I mean by being a feminist in public, either in 'real life' or on the internet; so, on mumsnet, or facebook, making comments btl on blogs or articles, or wherever.

Because, I often feel disheartened by real life conversations and by some attitudes I come across. The everyday sexism can be so pervasive. I used to try to talk to my mum about things I felt, about feminism, but she really doesn't 'do' feminism. I don't have many close friends, and those that I have are lovely, but are not up for much feminist chat.

So I feel isolated, but come onto mumsnet, and feel less so. But there's a bit of anti-feminism here too (not HERE here, but peppered throughout the threads on AIBU and chat). It's depressing, but I like variety and freedom, so enjoy the variety of opinions too.

Then, I just read the Office leg shaving thread, and just felt so fed up, at times it all feels so futile- the caring about sexism. Makes me want to just never engage because I don't have the energy. Found the Guardian article on it very depressing too, because I really like Victoria C-M, and then I start wondering if I'm just a bit stupid to care at all, about any of it.

SO- Do you ever feel like this too?
If so, do you have any tips on how you cope with the ennui, the depression, the desire to give up bothering any more?

I think if I had a real life community of feminist friends, like I had (briefly) over 20 years ago now as a student, it might be easier. But maybe not, because it wasn't exactly easy at the time- it was challenging and embarrassing to be seen as a feminist, I found. blush I was often more concerned about being attractive to men, or to 'cooler' friends.

I've been reading (online) Andrea Dworkin, who has encouraged me somewhat. And I like watching Gail Dines videos on YouTube that I've recently discovered. What do YOU do?

Please give me some encouragement or ideas (if you can). Many thanks.

Shallishanti Sun 12-Jun-16 20:57:47

Take courage from our foremothers- remember how far we have come- we can vote, keep our own property if we marry, divorce and keep our children, have (limited) control of our fertility and, most importantly, have a language and conceptual framework for naming and discussing women's oppression.
Many of the gains we have made now seem 'normal' and younger women take them for granted, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be grateful to the women who fought for them. Watch that film about the women at Ford who went on strike for equal pay, that will cheer you up grin

RebelRogue Sun 12-Jun-16 21:02:50

Because what you do,think,say matters smile

LastFirstEverything Sun 12-Jun-16 21:07:39

Thank you Shalli, that's a great idea! And what a lovely response, thank you. I think I'm getting downhearted because of being currently unemployed, it's really getting to me. So is having a knock on effect in everything in my life.

But I will definitely watch that film, I used to live right near, as in feet away, from the Ford works in Dagenham too!

You're so right about the language and possibility of discussion. I'm so pleased this place exists.

LastFirstEverything Sun 12-Jun-16 21:08:35

Thank you Rebel smile Excellent name btw.

RebelRogue Sun 12-Jun-16 21:26:32

Thanks x Don't let unemployment bring you down. Your opinion is not any less important just because you don't have a job. Sexism and everything else doesn't just disappear and they should be challenged. Maybe use this time to reconnect with your inner feminist. It sounds daft i know, but remember what makes you one,read and research. Look for local groups online or face to face. Debate every subject you can think of and draw power from it. You're currently unemployed and it on't last forever. You'll always be a feminist x

LastFirstEverything Sun 12-Jun-16 21:38:07

You are right! Thank you. x flowers

Shallishanti Sun 12-Jun-16 21:43:28

being unemployed sucks
why not volunteer for a womens project of some kind?
and definitely find some local sisters

erinaceus Sun 12-Jun-16 22:48:11

Do you ever feel like this too?

Absolutely.

Do you have any tips on how you cope with the ennui, the depression, the desire to give up bothering any more?

Spend time in resolutely feminist spaces. Twice a year, I go to feminist conferences for the weekend. I go so that I can get angry, cry, and be believed. This seems to be enough to help me through the rest of the year.

Poetry:

Questions I've been asked as a midwife by Kayla Q
10 Honest Thoughts on Being Loved by a Skinny Boy by Rachel Wiley
Shrinking Women by Lily Myers
Wow by Hollie McNish

Read all sorts of different things, this board, academic articles which go over my head, blogs, books with which I do not agree. I clarify my position on the issues which divide feminists and do my best to understand the arguments from all sides. Change my mind sometimes on some issues and be unwavering at other times and on other issues.

This interview - Victoria Coren-Mitchell interviews Sandy Tokszig

LastFirstEverything Sun 12-Jun-16 22:56:17

erin These are wonderful links. Thank you so much.

I think you are right about the feminist space. I need this definitely.

BertrandRussell Sun 12-Jun-16 22:59:14

Mumsnet seems a particularly hostile environment to feminists at the moment. I do find that very depressing.

LastFirstEverything Sun 12-Jun-16 23:05:23

Yes, I'm finding that too Bertrand.

I didn't want to make this a TAAT, so didn't mention the various comments that seem to have really depressed me over the last few days, but there's been quite a few.

None of them saying 'I hate feminists, they're stupid etc' explicitly, and sometimes it's hard to analyse them as being definitely hostile, and WHY they are, but they are hostile. Depressing indeed.

HolisticMama13 Sun 12-Jun-16 23:10:17

Yep! Rather frequently I feel beaten down but the comments on her, social media & real life.

But if we don't keep going at it who else is going to?

Also on social media & MN it seems some women just can't wait to put other women down. That's the hardest part I think.

BertrandRussell Sun 12-Jun-16 23:13:19

It's the "Nonsense, it's not a feminist issue, you're overthinking it" and "Haven't you got anything more important to worry about" posts that I find depressing.

LastFirstEverything Sun 12-Jun-16 23:23:25

Yy Holistic, totally agree.

And that's just it Bertrand, those are the sorts of posts. I love the argument that you brought to the Office thread, (I think), about not being an 'underthinker' to counteract that! Thank you for that. I'm going to enjoy (sort of) using that as a response to the overthinking accusations that I sometimes get!

erinaceus Mon 13-Jun-16 07:41:56

You are welcome. I collect links like that for times like this.

It is absolutely okay to take a break from it all, sometimes.

You mentioned that you are unemployed. It does not follow that you have a lot of time on your hands, but if you do, volunteering is one way to meet feminists IRL. If you are short of suggestions of how you could volunteer, and you post here your skills and interested and how much time you have, we might be able to make suggestions. Or DM me if you prefer. I am not a volunteer matcher but I have volunteered before and I find it helps.

PalmerViolet Mon 13-Jun-16 08:55:49

I am very lucky in that I have a group of the most amazing women with whom to talk, laugh, rage and discuss feminism.

We meet up as often as we can.

Plus I go to a couple of feminist conferences a year, most of which have concessions for the unemployed, sometimes free entry, so that might be worth looking at. Recharging your batteries is hugely important in the face of endless apathy and ennui over women's issues.

Grimarse Mon 13-Jun-16 10:48:07

^ I don't have many close friends, and those that I have are lovely, but are not up for much feminist chat.^

Why is that, Last? Why do you think so many women aren't interested in a political movement that is entered around their needs specifically? Fifty-one per cent of the UK population should be on board with feminism (almost) automatically. Imagine what a serious political party with that sort of base support could achieve.

I got shot down on FWR recently because I actually said that I like FWR because it gives me a chance to discuss a movement that I don't encounter in my day-to-day life. I was accused of prodding 'feminists in captivity', to many snorts and guffaws. But you seem to be saying a similar thing.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Mon 13-Jun-16 10:54:17

In certain groups or situations, I pick my battles. That means I also ration the time I spend in those groups or situations - I prefer to prioritise time where I can speak freely and discuss the the issues that are important to me.

That means I hide a lot of threads! On MN I prefer to beat the SN drum (or as it is so charmingly called, 'play the SN card') and I don't have the energy to fight two battles at once.

Grimarse Mon 13-Jun-16 11:08:12

I have tried googling that Lonny - what is SN?

LurcioAgain Mon 13-Jun-16 11:25:21

Special needs, Grimarse. The amount of disablism on mumsnet is startling and disturbing and depressing (have a look at some of the threads on buggies in wheelchair spaces on buses or use of toilets for people with disabilities to see this - there's a substantial minority of posters who take the attitude "I'm not bloody folding my buggy, wait in the rain for the next bus", or "I don't care if your disability makes you struggle with fecal continence and you're likely to shit yourself while you wait for me to finish re-applying makeup in the disabled toilet, it was the only one free when I arrived, and you'll just have to wait in a queue same as the rest of us... you said you wanted to be treated equally, after all". It's eye opening to discover just how many people are completely self-centred shits, and has really given me an insight into just what a struggle life must be for parents of children with SN and posters on here who have disabilities themselves).

BertrandRussell Mon 13-Jun-16 11:26:44

" got shot down on FWR recently because I actually said that I like FWR because it gives me a chance to discuss a movement that I don't encounter in my day-to-day life. I was accused of prodding 'feminists in captivity', to many snorts and guffaws."

I think there might have been a leeeeetle more to it than that. But we wouldn't want to make this a TAAT, would we?

Grimarse Mon 13-Jun-16 11:30:28

Ignore my reference to that incident, then. I'd still like the OP's opinion.

PalmerViolet Mon 13-Jun-16 12:29:58

Not sure that's actually what Last said in her post Grim. What she said was that they aren't interested in much feminist chat, not any at all. Even when I meet with feminist friends we don't solely discuss feminism, because we talk about all sorts of other things.

Doesn't mean that while discussing other things we're not feminists. In the same way as when I'm talking about feminism, it doesn't mean I stop being concerned about the lack of funding my DS with SN is getting to help him, or the state of the oceans or a million other things.

Are you only capable of discussing single issues with certain groups of friends Grim? I find that a bit weird.

VestalVirgin Mon 13-Jun-16 12:54:51

I know that feeling all too well. Since the feminist group I hoped to work with has come out as transwacktivist supportive, I have given up. I was never a leader personality, just hoping to help some others with their work, and there seems to be ... nothing that is really for women, that I could support in good conscience.

Lady*QueerFest is apparently looking for cake donations. Last year I would have baked a cake. Now, after they made clear that they prioritize males ... nope.

So, that's the status of my feminist activism: Not even able to bake a damn cake for a good cause, because there are no good causes to be found!

Anyone hosting a Radfem festival in Germany and in need of chocolate cake?

Reading threads on mumsnet and lending my voice to the feminist point of view is literally all I do in terms of feminist activism at the moment.

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