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Worrying about how your feminism looks to others

(50 Posts)
FreshwaterSelkie Wed 19-Oct-16 17:43:56

Do you?

I was thinking about this today, and I don't know if its a factor of being in my forties and generally giving less of a toss what people think of me, or if after twenty five years of feminism, I just feel like I'm on top of it, and I don't much care if people disagree. I don't mean that I have nothing left to learn, as long as there is breath in my body, I'm learning, but more that I'm much more selective about where I take my feedback from about whether I'm getting it right or not (this is a lifelong pursuit for me, thanks to quite an invalidating upbringing).

Part of me thinks that this is really quite a breakthrough for me in my feminism - I have wasted years and breath and words on people who never took me seriously, falling back, softening my words and trying not to offend. These days I am much more happy just to assert my position, chuck it on the table and say "There. it is what it is. If you don't like it, that's your prerogative, but unless you give me some compelling new evidence, it won't change (no, your hurt feelings are not compelling evidence)". I spend more of my mental energy on the issue, and less on worrying about what people with think of it, or of me for saying it.

I'm feeling this way particularly in relation to men, and whether they find my brand of feminism threatening, or a turn-off, or "problematic" or whatever. I used to feel quite compassionate, thinking "Oh, this is probably quite hard to hear, and difficult to process, but the onus is on me to explain it nicely". Now, I think, "If this is hard to hear, then it's very likely you need to hear it, and here it comes. You can take it on board or not as you please".

What do others think?

Twatty Wed 19-Oct-16 18:10:07

I don't give a toss.

In my teens early twenties I also didn't give a toss, It made my life hard. I realised there were so many twats I felt isolated (plus being on the receiving end of anger and violence my views apparently enraged) I reined it in and hid my thoughts, from late twenties to early thirties. I learnt to in that time to sort the wheat from the chaff, and reconise people to avoid as they are beyond effort and not the sort of person I want anywhere in my life.

I will challenge opinions, or casual sexism, and don't fret at how they will perceive me.

This board has been so educational, I don't post on here but read most of threads.

femfortheday Wed 19-Oct-16 18:13:16

I try not to care what some of my very 'right on' socially aware, liberal friends think about my more radical take on aspects of feminism. But I'm practice I don't really talk about those things with them, if that makes sense?
I've stopped falling over myself trying to appease people and softening my views in some situations though.

AnyFucker Wed 19-Oct-16 18:17:17

My online presence is on the down low (because of my job) but in RL ? I am polite but don't pull punches

HillaryFTW Wed 19-Oct-16 18:59:49

Agree with yoi, OP

Felascloak Wed 19-Oct-16 19:03:40

Yeah me too. MN has made me more outspoken though grin

FreshwaterSelkie Wed 19-Oct-16 19:08:10

But I'm practice I don't really talk about those things with them, if that makes sense?

Yes, total sense. There's still a lot to be said for picking your battles. There are many, many hills that I choose not to die on!

Felascloak, Mumsnet made me more radical than I've been since I was a starry eyed 18 year old baby marxist grin

scallopsrgreat Wed 19-Oct-16 19:08:11

Good idea for a thread! I'll be back but the short answer is yes I do care.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Terrifiedandregretful Wed 19-Oct-16 20:50:03

I wish I didn't give a toss but I care massively what other people think and am generally too scared to express opinions about anything. I immediately doubt my own views if I ever do get up the nerve to express them. I'm a teacher doing a unit on feminism next term and I'm stupidly terrified and worried I won't be convincing enough and will do more harm than good. What is wrong with me?!?!?

almondpudding Wed 19-Oct-16 21:00:59

I do not want to derail this thread on to the trans issue, but that is what makes me doubt my feminism.

It makes me feel like I fundamentally disagree with so many other people on what feminism is about, and what sexism is, that I feel less able to talk about it.

With other feminist issues, I can respect other people's perspectives because even though they're not my kind of thinking, I can see how useful they are in many ways. But the trans thing really makes me doubt myself and think I should shut up, and that I don't understand anything.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cocoabutton Wed 19-Oct-16 21:17:04

I am not sure really. I live my values in so far as I am financially and socially independent and did not stay in a difficult and unequal marriage; but part of being able to do that means some compromising how much I rock the boat at work, if that makes sense, because I need my job. But I am becoming much more myself overall.

AnotherEmma Wed 19-Oct-16 21:17:53

It bothers me that people have misconceptions about feminism and what it means, but I will happily challenge people and say what I think. I am generally polite but sometimes I worry that I've got a bit too passionate or belligerent! It's not an issue with friends (as they're all like-minded) but I am wary of it at work. A man said something ridiculously stupid (gender/sexism related) at work the other day and I challenged him but then worried afterwards about the way I'd done it. Oh well, no-one's perfect, and I think it's better that I challenged him, even if my words or delivery were imperfect.

scallopsrgreat Wed 19-Oct-16 21:35:26

almond you've completely articulated what I was going to say.

I absolutely temper down my comments to the general populace in RL. I said it on another thread today I'm not likely to rock into work and declare male violence as the biggest problem the world faces. I would however, strongly challenge the fact that it was understandable a female colleague was pushed up against a wall by her throat by a male colleague because "she was a pain in the arse". Generally, however a raised eyebrow is sufficient to convey my displeasure at yet another sexist comment.

Felascloak Wed 19-Oct-16 21:37:49

terrified how could you do more harm than good? The worst that can happen is 100% of the students are bored and don't listen. Far more likely some even most if them do and you make a huge difference!

scallopsrgreat Wed 19-Oct-16 21:43:24

As for the trans issue, MN and FWR in particular is a special place to be able to discuss this in relative anonymity. Most people don't have that opportunity and take the whole 'man is actually a woman' at face value. It would require a great deal of energy and time to explain my perspective with a great deal of risk too.

Truckingalong Wed 19-Oct-16 21:44:26

I'm far less tolerant of it all now due to 2 things. 1 is the education I've received from mumsnet. I've always been a strong, confident woman that didn't put up with any nonsense but it's like the scales have fallen from my eyes. The other factor is age. I'm not entirely sure how to articulate it but it's a mixture of really not giving a shit now and feeling a sense of responsibility for the next generation coming through.

Truckingalong Wed 19-Oct-16 21:45:59

Almond, I'm genuinely interested to hear your views, if you feel inclined to share at all?

whattheseithakasmean Wed 19-Oct-16 21:46:40

I feel I live my values as I am an independent professional with a pretty extreme hobby. My daughters are studying STEM subjects with the plan to earn good money and would never ever consider a woman's place is in the home - I role model getting out and taking on the world every day. I am also supportive and encouraging of all women in my workplace and nurture my female friendships. I am more of a deeds not words person - be the change the want to see and all that.

LifeLong13 Wed 19-Oct-16 21:55:25

I feel what many of you are saying. Historically I have worried about what people would think. However now I have a DD I feel my words are paving her legacy for a world of equity.

And now I don't give a shit who I upset. If it upsets you than clearly you need to hear it.

My old boss explained to me one day how he had promoted a lesbian over her straight female colleague as she "wouldn't be having kids". I explained to him in an eloquent fashion how wrong he was. I was made "redundant" a week later.

almondpudding Wed 19-Oct-16 22:04:42

Trucking, which views, about different perspectives in feminism or the impasse that is trans activism?

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 19-Oct-16 22:04:48

No I don't worry, I never have. I, my parents and my maternal grandparents were raised in matriarchal homes. I went to single sex schools, so I didn't really experience sexism until I was an adult and it simply didn't occur to me to put up and shut up.

Truckingalong Wed 19-Oct-16 22:11:14

The first one.

BeMorePanda Wed 19-Oct-16 22:12:57

MN was my feminist reawakening but FB feminist groups are my fire and fuel.

I feel like you do op. I give no fucks now.

My main issue these days is striking a balance. If I get too carried away or involved, I find it quickly takes a negative emotional and mental toll on me. So this is what I'm learning now. How to be engaged, becoming more active, but staying sane and not being overwhelmed by anger and/or despair.

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