Menopause trainer "not a feminist"
namechanging987 · 14/10/2021 10:09
I'm doing training this morning about menopause for managers. I've been impressed so far particularly because I was expecting "people" rather than women but that hasn't occurred. However, she stated during it "now I'm not a feminist" I can't remember the context exactly, something to do with the equality act, I just found this such a bizarre thing for someone to say, especially someone trying to promote menopause awareness in the workplace so women wouldn't be disadvantaged. She's a well known commentator on the topic, do we have very different interpretations of feminism?
MuthaFunka61 · 14/10/2021 10:19
It's startling how many women will throw themselves or another woman under the bus by being 'nice' to a mediocre male who's puffing his chest out and being aggressive or demanding.
But then I'm acting above my station,apparently.
namechanging987 · 14/10/2021 10:23
Would you mention it in a feedback form if we're given one? I don't mean tear her apart, but just a comment to say I was surprised by that comment, I found it quite controversial and it tarnished the rest of the training for me? I'm not expecting to change her mind but to maybe get her thinking about saying something like that to a group of women (because of course it's mostly women who have attended the training despite us having more male managers ) Or would you leave it be?
EdmontinaDonsAutumnalHues · 14/10/2021 10:31
I would definitely refer to it in any written feedback, perhaps mentioning that the context of the remark was not entirely clear - but it was distracting, which diminished the effectiveness of the presentation.
What the hell would be the point of this training if not to level the playing field for working women?
AmandaHoldensLips · 14/10/2021 10:32
I probably wouldn't bother. It's an odd thing to say, but women who say "I am not a feminist" are generally lacking in self-awareness and are shit scared of taking responsibility for their own lives. They find feminists terrifying, and very much disapprove of the whole feminism thing.
These are women who bow to the patriarchy, and most of them are a lost cause. If they had to actually open their eyes (and ears) and acknowledge the reality of women's suppression, they'd probably implode.
BlameItOnTheBlackStar · 14/10/2021 10:36
I think that's quite an old-fashioned thing to say! It was more common when I was young with people trying to distance themselves from some perceived butch/aggressive strand of feminism.
I recently logged out of a Zoom call which was meant to be about women supporting other women to speak up in the workplace. In the five minute intro the presenter talked about inclusion and centring trans people twice and I just thought...why? This is for women.
I'm very sure that trans people have their own substantial difficulties at work but why do women have to try to fix them in the name of feminism?
namechanging987 · 14/10/2021 10:42
@BlameItOnTheBlackStar yes I remember declaring I wasn't a feminist in my teens, back when feminism was regarded as a dirty word by many and before I understood what it actually was (also before I had the realisation of how disadvantaged I am due to my sex). But very surprised to hear it being banded around like that today, especially in the context of menopause awareness training. She's clearly extremely passionate about ensuring women aren't disregarded in work at that time in their lives and dedicated much of her life to it, she's a bigger feminist than me!
namechanging987 · 14/10/2021 10:49
I’d never describe myself as a feminist. Not everyone does. You can broadly agree with ideas without labelling yourself.
Would you label someone a racist if they believed white people were superior even if they didn't think they were a racist? Of course you would, they ARE a racist whatever they think of themselves. Saying you're not a feminist to me says you don't believe in equality of the sexes.
EdmontinaDonsAutumnalHues · 14/10/2021 10:50
That would be quite antagonistic in a work context. The un-feminist speaker isn’t answerable to the OP for her personal views. But the OP is entitled to feed back on the effectiveness of the training.
LeaveYourHatOn · 14/10/2021 11:20
@BlameItOnTheBlackStar It was probably relevant to the next bit that the OP can't remember.
@namechanging987 Yes, I'd call them a racist but I don't think that's relevant here because feminism encompasses way more than just a belief in the equality of the sexes.
LobsterNapkin · 14/10/2021 11:55
Complaining about it isn't likely to create a real commitment to feminism, is it? That seems very counterproductive. If her comment made her training ineffective that says more about those receiving it than it does about her.
Not everyone who believes in equality considers themselves a feminist, or considers that the meaning of feminist is just a belief in some kind of political or other equality for women.
There are even some feminists who themselves have a fairly narrow definition, and are quite happy to tell certain other women they don't qualify. If for example they are right wing, are not 100% pro-choice, think mothers should be supported to stay home with kid, whatever.
Some people feel feminism is a political movement which includes a commitment to a very specific view of what it means to be a woman, that comes out of a political discourse from the 1960s. Others see it as part of not only believing in equality, but about actively being involved in securing political advantages for women.
EdmontinaDonsAutumnalHues · 14/10/2021 12:23
But, LobsterNapkin - surely the point is that a training session convened (presumably) to consider ways to facilitate the working lives of women such that their careers should not be stalled by their sex is exactly the wrong place for the trainer to publicly state that she doesn’t believe in female empowerment.
No one cares what she thinks in her private life. It was aggressive and wrong of her to use her job as a personal platform in this way. It disrupted the logic of the training.
GeorgiaMcGraw · 14/10/2021 12:30
To he fair, women don't have to be feminists to care about other women. Feminism is broadly a political ideology, it's not as simple as "wants equality of the sexes". I don't call myself a feminist any more because of that reason. I still stand up to sexism wherever I can.
LobsterNapkin · 14/10/2021 12:37
Edmontin - This is really predicated on this idea that a commitment to equality for women = feminism. Many people don't think that, and many women don't think that. And many feminists don't - I can think of many times feminists on MN have told someone believing in equality of the sexes isn't feminism.
I know plenty of women who think the material requirements of women in the workplace need to be taken seriously, and would appreciate training like this, but are not only unlikely to self-identify as feminists, but might be inclined to have a negative view of feminism. Usually because they have been berated by feminists for doing something that was considered anti-feminist, like voting for the wrong side. So they might have had a somewhat positive response to the woman's comment.
Either way, whether it was a passing comment about being or not being a feminist, if adults at work can't learn from someone who has a somewhat different political identification, they need to grow up.
Dartfordwarblerautumn · 14/10/2021 12:49
Was it a mixed group ? If so she may actually have said it if she was about to state things about inequality of the sexes to deflect comments that would be critical if she was passionately making that point. In the real world at work, especially in male dominated industries/roles feminism is a negative label - a women who has dared raised her head above the parapet to call out discrimination. She have may well learnt the hard way to deflect that up front before she makes a point.
I definitely regard myself as a feminist. I would have not got anywhere with my “fights” for part time working nearly 30 years, or pay increases to keep my pay level with my male colleagues if I’d stated that publically. Like her on one occasion I had to deny I was as a nasty male manager was using the word like an insult to try to undermine me.
I’d not get hung up on it or do anything official. If you see her again , over a break ask her why and that it’s a shame she feels she has to do this.
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