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503 replies

slightreturn · 17/08/2010 18:33

Please feel free to express your views honestly re; Feninism.
What to men really think about it?

OP posts:
FallingWithStyle · 17/08/2010 18:34

Oh I do hope your thread doesn't get derailed... Wink

slightreturn · 17/08/2010 18:38

do you think so..I'm curious having been on some of the mumsnet topics..i wondered what the partners/husbands honest thoughts were about it and how far they feel it could or should go. Do any men on here silently suffer as a result of an overbearing female..etc.

OP posts:
slightreturn · 17/08/2010 19:45

Oh i see 'Big Sister' edits on here then! honest and fair is that!

OP posts:
slightreturn · 17/08/2010 19:46 apologies to the powers that be, page wasn't displaying fully...

OP posts:
slightreturn · 19/08/2010 14:38

i see dadsnet is full of wimps, cowering in the kitchen..!

OP posts:
elportodelgato · 19/08/2010 16:03

Hi slightreturn, I'm not a bloke but I am a feminist, do I qualify to post here? Grin

In relation to your question: 'i wondered what the partners/husbands honest thoughts were about it and how far they feel it could or should go. Do any men on here silently suffer as a result of an overbearing female..etc.'

It's just a quick thing really - I think you may be misinterpreting the word 'feminist' to mean 'man hater / ball-breaker' so I wanted to clear that up before people come on and comment.

Feminists want equality between men and women, not for women to be dominant over men. This is much the same as people who want racial equality or equal opps for disabled people. It's really not very controversial. And IMO it has many positive impacts for men as well as women (as a simple example: women no longer expected to always be stuck at home but also, men no longer always expected to be the main breadwinner - what a relief for everyone!)

FWIW my husband and father would both self-identify themselves as feminists - men can certainly be feminists too, and I would say the vast majority of feminists welcome men to the cause.

TBH I think you are just trying to bait some men into slagging off big hairy lesbian feminists and I'm not sure why you feel the need. I find that most self-confident men are not threatened by the prospect of equality between the sexes.

TiggyD · 20/08/2010 22:29

I don't like feminism. I think it's not a very good word. Why not use "Equality" instead. Feminism implies 'more rights for women', but that might mean more rights than men have leading to men suffering from inequality.

I think when you get into the whole anti-discriminatory and equal-opportunity area it's far easier if you avoid singling groups out.
eg: It's easier to say "I don't discriminate on grounds of actual or apparent sexuality" rather than " I don't discriminate against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, heterosexuals and people who look like gay.....etc"

I'm an equalist.

LordPanofthePeaks · 26/08/2010 21:33

I think

1 men don't think about it very much at all.
2. When we do it can be quite bewildering as there is no settled and precise definition, which is how we would like things to be. Usually.

Heracles · 30/08/2010 14:44

Bit of a vague start to a thread, isn't it?

MrJustAbout · 30/08/2010 21:55

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by feminism, so it's hard to comment!

For myself, I'm not sure men can be feminists any more than a white guy can know what it's like to be a black woman. We can know what sort of world we'd like to live in though ... and sometimes that's enough.

Anyone who's a breadwinner is likely to be pissed off by some of the gender equity stuff, where women argue for 'equality' when this means breeding but not working (at work). Equally, a lot of us probably can't see any good reason why a woman with the same experience and knowledge shouldn't earn the same. There are a thousand defnitions of feminism that distinguish between these cases and a thousand that don't.

As with the previous poster, I'd need to know more about what the OP means.

Toadinthehole · 08/09/2010 01:56

When I was a younger man I considered myself a feminist on the basis that men and women should be equal, but women were in fact disadvantaged.

I then married a woman who did not consider herself a feminist.

Insofar that I think about it at all, I'd say I don't consider myself a feminist any longer. This is partly because I have met too many people who hold half-baked views what they see as on the fundamental differences between women and men.

I have also listened to my wife. I now think it is true that there are many varieties of feminist, and many of those genuinely believe in equality. There are still, however, those who believe all men are rapists. The direct object of feminism (as I see it) is not equality but rights for women. Equality might be a by-product, but equality from whose point of view? If I hire a lawyer to represent me in court, (s)he would argue for a fair result under the law, but obviously one that benefits me. Feminists who claim to advocate equality are in much the same position.

I think that society is capable of working out what constitutes a fair deal for women and men on a case by case basis without resorting to identity politics.

mathanxiety · 08/09/2010 06:12

'Anyone who's a breadwinner is likely to be pissed off by some of the gender equity stuff, where women argue for 'equality' when this means breeding but not working (at work). '

Do the men play any part in the breeding?

Equality has never meant 'breeding but not working (at work)' -- it means having the choice of working when biology has been attended to (unless you want women chained to their desks, giving birth, preferably on their break or at lunchtime, and returning to work after a cuppa) which means having affordable childcare and having bosses acknowledge that the fathers of the babies all these women have been breeding might need time to attend to fatherhood just as much as the women need it as new parents. Feminism where it applies to 'breeding' is about rethinking the role of men who are fathers as parents first and employees second, to the benefit of the men and the women as well as the children.

Feminism is about treating people as people, where men = people and women = people too. Are we not all people?

It seems really obvious to me what feminism is, and equally obvious that feminism has failed utterly to reach the people who really needed to be reached with the message of 'do unto others...' which is the basis of it all.

Feel like an invader here.

Carry on.

Toadinthehole · 08/09/2010 09:21


A good example (re parenting). However, it seems that in fact feminism has plenty to say about, for example, the rights of mothers to to have the choice of following a career, staying at home, or a mixture between the two. It hasn't so much to say about how fathers fit into this, if at all. This is perhaps why fathers (if they're around) are generally still stuck in the 9-5 breadwinner role.

I think it is perhaps misleading to say that feminism is simply about treating people as people. That suggests feminism is gender-blind, which by its very definition it is not.

msrisotto · 08/09/2010 09:35

No feminism isn't gender blind. It focuses on rights specifically for women, as women are currently dealt a bad deal by a system that is weighted in the favour of the male (this is often most stark in rape cases hence it being a focus of many feminists)

With regards to your earlier point - feminism isn't a singular construct either and this feminist doesn't believe that women should have the ultimate choice about staying at home or working out of the home but rather, it should be a decision made between both parents (in cases where both parents are active and present). In this current society, it often works out, due to expensive child care that the person with the lower salary looks after the children and in general, women earn less than men hence the status quo remains. This is another example of how 'the system' is weighted to keep women earning less (not only do they start off earning less but they damage their career progression by taking extended leave to look after children full time).

mathanxiety · 08/09/2010 15:44

I dunno -- until feminism the idea of work-life balance wasn't around. Not sure if feminism specifically was the reason for that, but maybe the general consciousness-raising and questioning of rigid gender roles that were a part of feminism have contributed.

I think feminist aims in the workplace (allowing for women to return to work after having a child, with the guarantee of your old job back, time sharing arrangements, part-time work, no cutting off of your pension for maternity leave, etc.) have actually been beneficial to those men who are the main breadwinners too, as the pressure to earn and to devote your every waking moment to your career is surely eased if the mother as well as the father can contribute. There's still a long way to go on this front of course.

I think progress will really be made when men realise that what's good for women in the workplace could be good for them too. There's a lot of 'them and us' feeling on the part of men that is counter productive for both men and women.

For instance, how do men benefit ultimately if they have to pay high taxes to support older women who have been paid less than men throughout their working lives, assuming they've managed to find a job that allows them to take care of their children too, who don't have the same contributory pensions that men can look forward to if they've taken long breaks while having children because childcare is too expensive to make working a viable proposition (assuming there's a main breadwinner in the family)? It's shortsighted of men to want the workplace only for themselves and for those women who don't take a child break. Everybody pays for the financial inequality that the traditional workplace and employer mindset produced.

Feminism could be gender blind if men could see the advantages in it for them that feminism suggests for the workplace. And I do believe it's about treating people as people -- if you had a son who was good at maths and science and did well in general in school and was told by a teacher that he couldn't be an engineer/pilot/CPA/Prime Minister because that's a job only for girls, and why not choose some career ambition that was more suitable for boys, like secretary or nurse, and take subjects in school that would steer you in that direction and preclude the careers he really wanted, would you feel your son was getting a fair shake? Would you feel angrier if a teacher suggested that to a son than to a daughter? Feminism is about everyone's human potential, ultimately.

NickOfTime · 08/09/2010 15:53

toadinthehole, lots of feminists believe that both and women should share the 'post birth' childcare and the 'breadwinner' role. childcare isn't a solely female preserve past the breastfeeding stage, so it's only reasonable that men should take some time 'off' Wink with the littlies whilst the woman takes up the breadwinner mantle...

would you agree that this would allow both genders to experience a far broader spectrum of life. more equal?

UnquietDad · 08/09/2010 15:57

Is it possible that the dads didn't answer right away because most of us were at work? :)

Anyway, I've tried to have a debate on the feminism section on here a few times and have been made to feel extraordinarily unwelcome - toxically so, even. That section doesn't do an awful lot to dispel the stereotype of the "humourless feminist".

There was a very reasonable thread outside that section recently about the point/nature/helpfulness of the section, which went very well, with people actually listening to each other. Just goes to show... something.

Feminism is meant to be about men and women being treated equally, You'd have to try hard to find a man who didn't agree with that, especially on a parenting site. With a mum who worked, a wife who works and a DD who I'd like to have a good job and be treated the same as DS, it would be pretty strange for me not to, really. It seems pretty obvious that, if feminism is actually going to do anything as opposed to just saying stuff, it needs to get men on board with its aims rather than just being anti-them all the time.

There is a particular brand of feminist (no pun intended, as I quite like Jo!) which seems to have a contempt for men and all things men have to say, and which seemingly has as its aim to get us all to apologise for having a penis or, indeed, existing - but they are best just ignored.

mathanxiety · 08/09/2010 16:00

What, people don't go on MN at work?

UnquietDad · 08/09/2010 16:06

I was just trying to suggest a better reason than "cowering in the kitchen" FGS! :)

mathanxiety · 08/09/2010 16:14

There's always a better reason than 'cowering in the kitchen'.

I agree with your last comment there -- the them and us attitude is a dead end for all of those who hold it.

Snorbs · 08/09/2010 16:19

I absolutely agree with feminism in the sense of striving for equality between men and women. I have also learned a lot from discussions in the feminism section here (and with friends) around things like gender stereo-typing, how women are represented in the media, and issues to do with sexual abuse.

I do have issues with a very few feminists and the way they present their arguments but I think that is much more to do with personality clashes rather than feminism itself. Some people take a very black-and-white view of the world and I struggle with that.

moraldisorder · 08/09/2010 16:37

I dont think feminism is the same as equality. I think feminism is an active challenge of the injustice that women face.

Equality would be great and that will be the outcome when feminism is no longer needed. But whilst there are such differences in the way the sexes are treated 'feminism' needs its own tag.

I have met men who consider themselves feminists. Men who do beleive that men and women should be treated equally. But I have never found one who is truely passionate about the cause and has thought about it in a huge amount of detail.

I am not a racist person and I do challenge racist attitudes but I dont get quite so het up about it as I do about 'women's issues' I suppose because I am not black.

I think a lot of men struggle with what it actually means.. but then so do a lot of women... me included!

booyhoo · 08/09/2010 16:53

totally agree UQD, feminism needs to be something that is willingly adopted by men for it to ever have any movement. and not because men have overall power, but because men are should have equal say in how the world changes to make equality the norm. it is equality for men and women, and men need to be involved in creating that equality. 'us and them' doesn't help at all.

BeenBeta · 08/09/2010 17:03

In common with other posters I find Feminism means different things to different people.

To me it is an artifical construct, because in a civilised society everyone should have equal rights. My DW would not describe herself as a feminist but has been affected by many issues that feminists talk about and feels passionately about them. I fully support and agree with her. We work together and are absolute equals in every aspect of our lives.

Where, I part company with Feminism though is for the issues that UQD higlights. There are a minority of feminists who believe that women can only become equal if men are undermined, belittled, treated unfairly, silenced and have rights taken away from them. To them, feminism is really just a 'fight' against all men. They are thankfully in a minority but these kind of feminists are abhorent to men and the vast majority of women. In fact, in many cases I get the impresison that they are just women who are sexist and fundamentally dislike men for being men and for no other reason.

Other than that I have enjoyed and learned a lot by posting/reading Feminist threads on MN.

Habbibu · 08/09/2010 17:07

But to say you're not a feminist because you don't like the approach of some feminists is weird. If they are not the majority, then why not just stand up as a feminist if you adhere to its basic principles and aims? It's like saying you can't be an atheist because you don't agree with Richard Dawkins on everything.

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