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Why are you for Women & Girls? A compilation of experiences & facts

(18 Posts)
BettyDuMonde Tue 19-Jun-18 19:34:22

Hello! I realise we’re attracting a lot of lurkers for the Trans threads at present, so I thought it would be nice for those who are completely new to Women’s Rights/Feminist Thought/Feminist Activism to be able to get a feel for why we we are so passionate about preserving single sex spaces & activities and why we need women representating women in political debates.

I figured we could all contribute a little something that helped us to our own understanding of the ongoing necessity for Feminism (whether that be a personal experience, a quote, a news story, a poem, whatever) and hopefully it’ll make a collective repository of inspiration for lurkers and renewed energy for posters.

I’ll post mine in the replies.

SwearyG Tue 19-Jun-18 19:43:25

I’ve suffered from an eating disorder since I was in my early teens. I’m 39 now and am only really starting to understand how much it affected my life and how what we tell girls damages their mental health beyond all measure.

I spent my life being told I was objectionable - that I would deserve a punch because I was direct (not rude, direct), or that my successes needed to be played down, or that I had to take up less space and make less noise. This turned in on me and made me ill for 25+ years. I still am unpicking the harm done to me because I wasn’t the right kind of girl for society.

My therapist unlocked an anger in me that faces outwards, not inwards, and I am forever grateful. I will fight for women and girls to have space and freedom from the male gaze, from male violence and from male interference. These things did me immeasurable harm and I will not have it visited on my goddaughters.

QuizteamBleakley Tue 19-Jun-18 19:44:43

I'm a long-time MNer, occasional poster on AIBU and knew next-to-nothing about any other boards. It was only when I became aware (on AIBU) of some changing rooms ceasing to be natal females only (am v worried about what I can & can't say) that I found myself here.

I've been lurking here for about 6 months, reading, reading, reading and researching. I've copied and pasted E V E R Y single thing that has struck a chord with me - a document that now spans some 30 pages.

I may lurk but I'm talking to friends, family, colleagues and - sometimes - randoms. I think you're all amazing and I am proud to be part of it - even if I dare not raise my head yet. One day, I will put my head on the line and ROAR (I'll then get the sack from my right-on org) but I'm saving for THAT rainy day.

I'm all for trans rights - but never, ever, E V E R at the erasure or expense of the hard-won rights of natal females.

BettyDuMonde Tue 19-Jun-18 19:58:02

I’ve been trying to find the source for this, I only heard/read it a few weeks ago but I can’t find it. However, it really stuck in my head so I will have to make do with a paraphrase for now and keep searching:

Worldwide, more male babies are born with disabilities, but in adulthood, the majority of disabled people are women. This is because women acquire disability, through illness, through accidents, and through (male) violence.

Serfisafleur Tue 19-Jun-18 20:21:56

90 million to 101 million females are missing from the planet though selective abortion/infanticide.
This practice is culturally specific, but the value of women as disposable or lesser humans is printed onto all cultures.

We see it all the time through the pay gap and deliberate/unconscious exclusion of women in power/politics/influence in porn and sex industry practice.

We can't identify out of this, it is chosen for us by the male-led structure of society, and it is an insult to womanhood to say that
a) women can identify out of this if we take unnatural levels of testosterone, change our names, remove/bind our breasts so that we pass as male
b) men can identity into womanhood by adorning themselves with paraphernalia of femininity.

No one can become a woman and no one can force someone to view someone as something they are not just because they say so.

Female spaces to me are not just loos, changing rooms, they are everything with the word "female" included. First female prime minister. Female world records. Female CEO. I could go on it's everything that refers to a female. A man cannot take a place of a female, ever.

BettyDuMonde Tue 19-Jun-18 20:26:01

‘Political decisions reflect who is in the room when decisions are being made’

-aka why women need to be represented by women.

pombear Tue 19-Jun-18 20:40:38

Hi Betty Not sure how this thread will go, but here's my tuppenny's worth:

- Started off as an 'ally', altering my own work practices to enable those who I believed struggled with dysphoria to be represented. Have always been part of LGB activism. Didn't think deeply too deeply about the 'T'.

- Started noticing a more aggressive, demanding, noise in the room that didn't seem to respect others' rights, but just demanded their own, regardless of the affect on female rights and needs.

- Started noticing that the definitions of those who required support were expanding to those who weren't looking for specific support and equality for their own needs, but only to appropriate the rights and support that females had fought for and gained over the last 100 years.

- Started noticing that,despite my own higher-education syllabus around the fallacy of 'gender' and its impact on women in particular, despite my own 'child-rearing' based on rejecting this fallacy and enabling my own child to see and live beyond gender stereotypes, for some bizzarre reason { not so bizarre, now I see the trans-agenda for what it is ) , the gender stereotypes were suddenly back in full play during this decade.

- Started properly listenening to other females who were talking about the issues. (Magdalen's videos were my intro).

- Started noticing that lesbians were being attacked for not including male biological genetalia in their 'likes'.

- Started noticing that there was very little rational, considered, informed arguments coming from the people who demanded T's are TWs.

- Woke up. (Finally...stretches arms and yawns!)

- Started talking to people in real life (as social media's been great for waking me up, but toxic to continue the debate without seeing vicious, angry males piling into females using 't' as a cloak to do so).

Some people seem to think that either a) saying things over and over again, b) linking to poor science and research, c) bullying and trying to cow others by emotional manipulation, will stop those of us who have had our eyes opened to what's going on here.

Unfortunately for them, the world I grew up in allowed females to speak, to use our voices, to use our minds, to think critically, and to not always resort to our female socialisation to always be kind and welcoming regardless of the impact on our own wellbeing.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Tue 19-Jun-18 20:43:18

When I was young, I absorbed dominant forms of culture like tv, film, books etc mostly created by men. After I found feminist ideas - mostly on here - I tried to seek out cultural resources made by women, and to meet up with women more.
I'd found it intimidating to socialise with girls when I was young, because my social skills are awful.
But as an adult, something clicked and I loved meet-ups, protests, conferences etc especially if women-only. I went to the women's holiday centre in Horton and saw women fixing things, paintings by women who had worked there etc.
I love women. It's hard to grow up in a culture that encourages us not to love women especially as a lesbian. I feel so much more able to like myself now.
I feel like women can do anything. I see women as fully human. I didn't have that before I accessed women-only spaces.

They also helped me recover from male violence, but that's not the primary reason for me.

I just meet so many women who are brilliant and creative and kind. And some who are brilliant and awkward and rude. And I love them all.

pombear Tue 19-Jun-18 20:45:23

Betty

To quote Hamilton, the musical:

No one else was in
The room where it happened
The room where it happened
The room where it happened
No one else was in
The room where it happened (The room where it happened)
The room where it happened
The room where it happened (The room where it happened)

No one really knows how the game is played (Game is played)
The art of the trade
How the sausage gets made (How the sausage gets made)
We just assume that it happens (Assume that it happens)
But no one else is in
The room where it happens (The room where it happens)

No one really knows how the
Parties get to yes (Parties get to yes)
The pieces that are sacrificed in
Ev'ry game of chess (Ev'ry game of chess)
We just assume that it happens (Assume that it happens)
But no one else is in
The room where it happens (The room where it happens)

I (I wanna be in the room where it happens)
Wanna be (The room where it happens)
In the room where it happens (The room where it happens)
I (I wanna be in the room where it happens)
I wanna be in the room… (The room where it happens)
Oh (The room where it happens)
Oh (I wanna be in the room where it happens)
I wanna be (Where it happens)
I wanna be (Where it happens)
I've got to be, I've got to be (I wanna be in the room where it happens)
In that room (The room where it happens)
In that big ol' room (The room where it happens)

thebewilderness Tue 19-Jun-18 21:00:25

The contempt for girls and women communicated in the lesson when adults tell boys "You don't want that. It's for girls".

heresyandwitchcraft Tue 19-Jun-18 21:20:57

When I was very young, my mother said:

"Love your sister and be kind to her. When you're both older, you'll be able to talk about things and share experiences in a way that your brother will never be able to understand."

My mother was right, as always.

I feel strongly about this because I want to be able to assert my own identity. Being born in a female body means something. It impacts your life profoundly, physicality and culturally. I want to preserve what being female actually means, to have that reality remain clearly defined. I think it's so important to be able to talk about the female reproductive system, because it has always been so taboo.

Politically, I would like representatives who understand that reality because they've always lived it. Who know what it's like to be of the sex that is always labelled the "other." Who know what it feels like to be embarrassed over having a period, who can envision what it's like to need an abortion. Who know what it's like to be met by a society that constantly undervalues them based on their body from birth.

Single-sex spaces are vital, for comfort and safety. Honestly, it's like being welcomed into a friend's warm, dry, living room after walking through torrential downpours and freezing winds outside. I don't want to feel like there are no safe havens for me anymore.

Women's rights were hard-won, they are still being fought for, and must be supported. We cannot take them for granted. And we cannot fight for them if forget what being a woman means.

ALittleBitofVitriol Tue 19-Jun-18 21:44:47

It was like a switch flipping for me. Scales from the eyes moment. My dd was 11, just starting puberty but still very much a child. She went shopping with dh (aside - my dh does 90% of our family shopping, including clothes, he's way better at it).
When they returned, dh related an 'odd' incident. A leery man. An aggressively leery man. It required more than politeness to stop it, it required my 6ft 3 burly husband literally stepping in front of and staring him down.
Dh related this story to me with amused bewilderment. I was shattered. So it begins with my precious daughter. So came flooding back all my experiences and those of every. single. woman I know. I have actually worked very hard, made some unusual choices, to help her grow up empowered and somewhat protected from this bullshit.

It took me a few days to be able to discuss it properly with dh. I had previously discussed my experiences and those of some friends so he knows that stuff happens to women. But his automatic framing of the situation was 'weird, out of the ordinary, harmless.' It was tough to make him see that it is actually constant, normalised and terrifying.

I couldn't identify out of being female, my daughter can't identify out of being female. We didn't chose to be treated like brainless, walking chunks of meat in front of wolves.

The personal is the political. If I don't stand up for my daughter, who will?

BettyDuMonde Tue 19-Jun-18 21:53:46

Y’alls comments are powerful and moving all at once.

Here’s a personal story of mine - started out as a reply on here and became part of Fair Play for Women’s recent blog on Cancer Research’s bewildering decision to drop the word ‘women’ from a women’s cancer campaign.

I already posted it on the relevant threads so apologies to those that already read it:

fairplayforwomen.com/cancer_research_drops_woman/

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 19-Jun-18 22:23:59

Personally, being sexually harassed in the street from 11 years old. That's more than three decades and counting. I'm almost invisible now, but not totally.

Professionally, working with sex workers and hearing about the horrific violence and abuse.

LastGirlOnTheLeft Tue 19-Jun-18 22:28:20

I relate to girls. I understand girls. I get the lack of self worth and lacking confidence. I was once like them! But where I am now...with a shitload of confidence, they can be.

RogerAllamsFangirl Tue 19-Jun-18 23:00:21

We have some small quiet rooms/meeting rooms in our offices. They are for 1-2 people. I feel slightly uncomfortable going in one with someone of the opposite sex. They feel a bit crowded and too close.

We have communal changing rooms (sex-segregated) for those who run or cycle to work. I hate this and always change as far as possible in the shower cubicles. If they were mixed sex I don't think I'd run/cycle to work any more as I wouldn't want to use them.

I don't want to be in spaces where I have to get physically close to or undressed with male bodied people, including transwomen. I might feel able to get over this for transwomen who had had SRS, I don't know.

As for metaphorical spaces - women's scholarships, prizes, awards etc, I believe it's blindingly obvious that these exist to reflect the fact that, despite being 51% of the population, women are woefully underrepresented in the boardroom, parliament, SLTs etc and this is because of biology and socialisation. Anyone who argues otherwise is being at best disingenuous.

As to sports - again so obviously unfair that I do not believe anyone can't see it.

And finally, Girl Guides, YHA, Sleeper trains. The risks are huge. And at the GG level, it's not even about assault, it's about horny teenagers driven by hormones and forgetting the brains they were born with having the opportunity for some jiggy jiggy all while their parents think they've gone off to a single sex camp weekend. Who can possibly fail to see the risks with this?

Terfulike Tue 19-Jun-18 23:42:49

We have to deal with a load of stuff men don't have to deal with. Puberty and periods are very difficult. Motherhood had a big impact on the way I viewed feminism.

Trans people don't know the first thing about being a woman. They only know how to perform femininity: this is because the closest they have ever or will ever come to femininity is by observing it.

They can mimic what they see but they can't feel it. This is because to feel like a woman is to feel the consequences of your female biology, no more no less. If the female biology isn't there you can't possibly experience the consequences of it.

I will never feel the consequences of being a man or a trans person. I will never have a penis that I fantasise is a clitoris and demand my right to have lesbians call it the same. I will never have a penis and want a surgeons knife to hollow it out, invert it and pretend it's a vagina.

A real uterus and vagina makes me feel like a woman because I feel the consequences of being a woman through it. Menstrual blood will pass through it for 40 years, and this experience is a womans experience. Neonates may miraculously be born from it, and this is a mothers' experience.

Trans people's vaginas are not women's vaginas because for womanhood a vagina is so much more than a pouch of skin and they experience being a woman by the way their organs behave not by what they look like.

mancheeze Tue 19-Jun-18 23:55:51

I think that observing male privilege my whole life and being denied so many things due to my female sex is why I'm so passionate about keeping women's and girl's spaces. Thing is, I didn't get to access women's and girls spaces much and when I did they were life changing.

It's also about protecting myself and other females from male violence. I see what transactivist MALES are trying to do and it's a complete form of patriarchal colonization and domination.

It's literally men trying to jump into the skin of women. To me, it's that violent. It's a total erasure.

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