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What does feminism mean for you?

(38 Posts)
WelshMoth Tue 04-Apr-17 20:21:52

Just that really. I've always had feminist 'roots' but stupidly don't know how to put it into words.

isthistoonosy Tue 04-Apr-17 20:25:43


VestalVirgin Tue 04-Apr-17 20:33:01

I have often seen feminism described as a movement aiming to liberate women from patriarchal oppression.

I like that description better than ones that involve "equality", partly because some people seem to think it is equality if women are treated the same as men in everything, which is clearly nonsense (men not being allowed to have abortions doesn't make it any better that women don't have that right, for example), and partly because even with a more sensible approach that results in the same quality of life for women that men take for granted, it implies that women should do the same shit men do, like exploiting third world countries (and ultimately the women there) to get that same life quality.

0phelia Tue 04-Apr-17 20:34:31

I'd say liberation rather than equality, because equality under patriarchy means very little. Liberation from patriarchy means rather a lot.

0phelia Tue 04-Apr-17 20:35:06

X post with VV.

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 04-Apr-17 20:35:43

I agree with Vestal. I also think there's a difference between what the objective of feminism is, and the methods of how to achieve that.

ladyballs Tue 04-Apr-17 20:39:13


DJBaggySmalls Tue 04-Apr-17 20:51:11

My starting point is equality. We have that in law but not reality. Its the thing people find easiest to accept.
But really, I'm a radical feminist. The whole of society is set up and run by men, from their viewpoint and for their benefit. Peachyoghurt gives a good description;

Society is now based around men and politics, not people and their families. For example;
The recent video of a man being interviewed on TV and his children walk into his study; his panic stricken wife then pulls them out. That situation was ridiculous.
Someone made a parody and it was called sexist.

On Twitter recently, someone asked if religion was the root of homophobia and most people responded yes it was. I responded no, men are the root of homophobia and got called out as sexist. One person said the most savage homophobic remarks they had encountered came from women,
But what world religion is set up and run by women, or treats them as equals? And how many women are physically violent?

Society is becoming more fascistic, less caring and more violent. Thats a problem. The people driving it cant see where they are heading, and assume it will all be in their favour.
We are also destroying our natural resources.
This is why I'm a radical feminist.

WelshMoth Tue 04-Apr-17 20:51:12

Thanks everyone. I want to be able to raise my DD's to be strong women. They're still only 11 and 8 but I want to be able to explain things in a language they understand.

WelshMoth Tue 04-Apr-17 21:17:36

And if I'm honest, I have trouble understanding the difference between equality and liberation. I've watched Peachy's video, but can someone give some more examples

VestalVirgin Tue 04-Apr-17 21:41:25

And if I'm honest, I have trouble understanding the difference between equality and liberation.

Imagine that there's two monkeys in two cages, and one monkey has a banana.

Equality would mean to give the other monkey a banana too - or take away the one banana.

Liberation means opening the cage.

With the cage opened, both monkeys would be equally free, but they could also be made equal while remaining in the cage.

This is not meant to be a metaphor for patriarchy, but hopefully it explains the difference.

WelshMoth Tue 04-Apr-17 22:13:23

Thanks Vestal.

The liberation bit seems incredibly utopian to me though.

WelshMoth Tue 04-Apr-17 22:34:40

Another request - what good reading matter can I direct a strong 15 year old towards?

VestalVirgin Tue 04-Apr-17 22:36:53

The liberation bit seems incredibly utopian to me though.

It doesn't mean that we can't work for equality, too.

Think of it as a compass needle. If you want to get to the North Pole, you walk north. You may not ever get there in your lifetime, but it will become noticeably cooler while you walk north, and you will have walked part of the way, so your children don't have to walk all of it.

If you walk without a compass, you might end up walking to a place that is cooler now, because there's wind or shadow, but lies farther south and will get uncomfortably hot, soon.

I hope that metaphor works.

I am realistic about the likelihood of women's liberation during my lifetime, but I consider it important that we make progress, or at least don't move backwards.

VestalVirgin Tue 04-Apr-17 22:38:45

The only "famous" feminist book by an English speaking author I have ever read was "The Female Eunuch" by Germaine Greer. It has been a while since I read it, but I recall it being written in a nice, no-nonsense style, so should work for the attention span of a teen.

IAmAmy Tue 04-Apr-17 22:43:35

WelshMoth I would say the 'Everyday Sexism' book by Laura Bates ,Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'We Should All Be Feminists' and 'Delusions of Gender' by Cordelia Fine.

WelshMoth Tue 04-Apr-17 22:58:11

Vestal, I'm learning from your metaphors. Thanks. I considered the GG Female Eunuch - I may buy 2 - one for me to read too.

WelshMoth Tue 04-Apr-17 22:58:51

Amy - thank you. All great suggestions that I'll probably read myself too.

Lessthanaballpark Tue 04-Apr-17 23:06:47

I think part of the purpose of liberation is to find out who we really are.

Historically we've been defined by men. From Aristotle to St Augustine to Freud we've been told all kinds of crap about who we are and what our motivations are: that we have no souls, that we're duplicitous, that our sexuality is out of control and dangerous, that we are incomplete men who don't know how to orgasm properly, etc etc.

In all of this we've lost our own selves, our instincts and internalised a patriarchal definition of what we should be and how we should behave.

And that's what we need to be liberated from.

GuardianLions Tue 04-Apr-17 23:52:56

Sisterhood and resourcefulness in the struggle for women and girls to be liberated from male dominance and misogyny

makeourfuture Wed 05-Apr-17 07:01:42

Our past/present structures have put us in today's terrible and precarious position. We need women.

Lessthanaballpark Wed 05-Apr-17 07:37:37

Equality would mean to give the other monkey a banana too - or take away the one banana.

Liberation means opening the cage.

This reminds me of Gloria Steinem's words on feminism and liberation: "feminism isn't about women having an equal share of the pie, but about baking a completely new pie" or something like that grin

Basically saying that we are fucked in the current system that patriarchy has left us and we need a massive overhaul.

Then hopefully both sexes will find freedom a la Chimimanda Ngozie Adichie style.

WelshMoth Wed 05-Apr-17 18:53:09

I really need to read these books.

picklemepopcorn Wed 05-Apr-17 19:08:35

I would suggest the handmaiden's tale by margaret Atkins, a novel. Read it together and talk about the implications.

TeiTetua Wed 05-Apr-17 23:58:56

Um, 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood.

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