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Angela Merkel doesn't want to be described as a feminist

(20 Posts)
PippaFawcett Tue 25-Apr-17 21:48:57

Did anyone else see that clip? I was disappointed - I was expecting an 'of course' response! It is a shame that even the most influential female politician in the world is uncomfortable with the 'label'.

sticklebrix Tue 25-Apr-17 22:39:38

Disappointing. But then again, she is up for election in the autumn and leader of the CDU (conservatives). So probably worried about scaring more conservative voters away if they don't understand feminism. If she'd answered 'yes', her opponents would have seized an opportunity to undermine her.

Her response didn't seem too bad on reflection. The Irish Times reported it like this:

"To be honest the history of feminism is one with which I have common ground but also differences,” she said, “and I don’t want to embellish myself with a title I don’t have.”

As Germany’s first female leader dug herself in further and further, it fell to a fellow panellist, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, to rescue her. “I just want that all women have freedom of choice and opportunities, that they can grab and be happy and proud of themselves,” said the Dutch queen. “If that is a feminist, I am a feminist.”

A grateful Merkel grabbed that lifeline, adding: “Then I am one, too.”

PippaFawcett Tue 25-Apr-17 22:42:06

If she'd answered 'yes', her opponents would have seized an opportunity to undermine her. - isn't that depressing?

But thanks for the further info, it does seem like a fudge.

elevenclips Tue 25-Apr-17 22:46:08

Rather than being disappointed that she doesn't want to be described as a feminist, it would be better to examine why. Like you said, she is the most powerful female politician in the world. And she clearly doesn't approve of current feminism.

PippaFawcett Tue 25-Apr-17 22:55:12

Current feminism? It isn't a mass produced identikit product. We are exploring why, and so far we think she might think it will hurt her in the election. Which strikes me as a patriarchal problem, not a problem with feminism.

TeiTetua Tue 25-Apr-17 23:12:48

Well, I think if someone boldly says "I am a feminist" then she (rather different if it's "he") is saying that she wants to change the world in certain ways. Sure, Queen Máxima said the right thing, and it's easy to agree with her, but that's not an activist's statement. Merkel may feel that her first responsibility is to run her country for everyone's benefit, and to call herself a "feminist" would make her seem to have a particular agenda in favour of women. If she'd made the "I am a feminist" statement, then the next questions would be what exactly are the problems that affect women, and how does she propose to tackle them, being that she's in a position where she could choose to concentrate on any social problem that she selects. As national leader she'd probably prefer to say that of course no society is ever perfect, there are problems to solve and she hopes to advance everyone's interests, etc etc. If Angela Merkel were from the Women's Equality Party, then we'd expect her to have a more concentrated viewpoint, and to talk about women's particular issues often! But she's not.

Bejazzled Tue 25-Apr-17 23:14:30

It's good that she is a strong woman in a position to say or not say what she wants to.

YesILikeItToo Tue 25-Apr-17 23:15:02

I've read on these boards a lot of consensus that a feminist has to be left-wing, could this be the sticking point?

PippaFawcett Tue 25-Apr-17 23:34:54

Feminism is about equality. I don't understand why that ought to be controversial in any way and I would like leaders to set the tone no matter which end of the political spectrum they are from. I miss the days of Obama wearing a 'This is what a feminist looks like' t-shirt.

Charlieismydarlin Tue 25-Apr-17 23:39:14

Given many young German woman are no longer able to exercise their freedoms of old due to some of her policies, I think she is an anti-feminist, to be honest.

PippaFawcett Tue 25-Apr-17 23:41:15

Charlie, can you elaborate? I'm probably not as au fait with German politics as I could be.

7Days Wed 26-Apr-17 00:31:29

Do you mean welcoming the refugees?

ineedmoreLemonPledge Wed 26-Apr-17 07:40:39

It's a very patriarchal society. It's strange how we see Germany as progressive but in terms of being a career woman with a strong voice - well it's not looked on well.

Family values are promoted by conservative Germans and while women are supported well financially to remain at home to care for the family, it's more of an expectation than a choice.

I work on the border in Switzerland and we are integrated with a lot of German companies. Very few women on the boards unless in HR capacity.

I had a new contact to work from our Hamburg office, a very traditional German male manager (but the same age as me). He's caused an absolute shit storm here.

Told one French colleague that because she works from home 3 days a week and is pregnant again that she should forget her career and just do a basic job because she's of no real use to him in the team. Makes her address him in the formal manner, ugh it's just awful.

He doesn't manage me, but tried in the same way (I'm a single mother working a 45 hour week). I cut him dead and reported his behaviour. I will not tolerate it. He's gunning for me now and in his mind I think it adds to the troublesome issue of women in the workplace. hmm

Socially - schools finish at midday, children are in the whole expected to come home for lunch, in towns and rural areas there are few opportunities for wrap around care outside the home.

Your mail still comes addressed to the man of the house.

The policies and acceptance on legal sex workers and prostitution also say a lot to me.
And most are aware that rape laws are only now being reviewed

Merkel to me, is about as feminist as Thatcher.

Here's an interesting view from the expat site that I read a few months ago....

sticklebrix Wed 26-Apr-17 09:44:21

Can't make that expatica link work, ineedmoreLemonPledge. But would be interested to read the article.

YetAnotherSpartacus Wed 26-Apr-17 10:26:53

Interesting isn't it that they combine old-fashioned patriarchal attitudes (wimmin in the home, mail addressed to 'the man of the house', etc.) with a form of progressive liberalism that benefits men (they can also buy women's bodies to fuck in the name of freedom).

Merkel knows what she needs to do to keep her job be a handmaiden and she does it well.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Wed 26-Apr-17 10:39:03

It doesn't surprise me that she says she doesn't entirely go along with feminism. It's a classic politician's answer.

For all her faults, I will always admire her for her stance on the refugee crisis.

ineedmoreLemonPledge Wed 26-Apr-17 12:08:15

Sorry I'll try that again...

LanaKanesLeftNippleTassle Wed 26-Apr-17 12:15:31

Interesting isn't it that they combine old-fashioned patriarchal attitudes (wimmin in the home, mail addressed to 'the man of the house', etc.) with a form of progressive liberalism that benefits men (they can also buy women's bodies to fuck in the name of freedom)

^^^^^ THIS!

Agree with PP, she is as much a feminist as Thatcher was (ie not at all)

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest Wed 26-Apr-17 12:50:23

I don't think Merkel's stance on refugees was particularly feminist though, was it?

She says she'll accept anyone who gets to Germany knowing full well that this will overwhelmingly young men (who just so happen to be the demographic Germany wants) whilst then choosing to leave all the refugees in the camps (i.e. women, the elderly and children) because they've taken their share from the most economically viable.

sticklebrix Wed 26-Apr-17 21:09:17

Thanks for the link IneedmoreLemonPledge.

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