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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Tonight I went to a social with my local feminist group.

21 replies

RespectTheDoughnut · 29/01/2011 23:59

I had an amazing time. Partly we talked about feminist issues & how we began to become aware of inequality being a problem, etc, partly we talked about upcoming protests & talks, etc, but mostly we had a really great time & I met some potential genuine friends with whom I've spent the night having a laugh & reasonably intelligent conversation.

I'm telling you because I'm a bit tipsy Grin but because you should all try & find a group, because it's amazing how liberating it is to be able to speak your mind without having to defend it. It was this section on MN that gave me the nudge to find my local group & I'm so pleased that I did :)

OP posts:
Earthymama · 30/01/2011 00:19

I would love to go to ours but I'm scared that they will all be younger than me (it's not hard Smile) and will find my presence uncomfortable.

It's heartening to know you had such a good time, May you go and the group go from strength to strength.

TapselteerieO · 30/01/2011 00:34

That sounds like a great night Respect. You inspired me to have a look and see if we had any groups in my area - but no we don't - my nearest would be in Aberdeen, a 2hr plus journey to get there. I looked at my nearest city too, Inverness, they have no feminist groups that have an online presence sadly!

I did download a document about starting a group, but that is a daunting prospect...

RespectTheDoughnut · 30/01/2011 00:39

Earthy, there was a massive range of women at the group tonight - different ages, races, classes... Honestly, there wasn't any 'type' of woman at all. It was just women as a whole.

Tapselteerie, that's a shame :( Have you looked on Facebook & Yahoo Groups, or whatever? I found mine on FB, but people were talking about how the current group is a splinter from an original one which was set up through Yahoo, which I'd never have thought to look at. Starting a group wouldn't be too hard, I wouldn't have thought. Obviously there's an element of organisation involved, but I was surprised at how many people turned up today. & apparently there are 250+ on the mailing list. There are interested feminists out there :) I feel quite optimistic tonight!

Going to bed now - I'm tired out from all the talking & laughing Grin

OP posts:
ElephantsAndMiasmas · 30/01/2011 01:11

Ah that sounds so lovely! I have a supposedly local feminist group but again it's the best part of 2 hours away, and I just can't afford the petrol at the moment. :(

sethstarkaddersmackerel · 30/01/2011 09:20

' potential genuine friends with whom I've spent the night'

good grief, they've sucked you into their lesbian commune already?


the UK feminista document on starting a group is quite off-putting. You don't need to be quite as formal as they suggest if you (to start with) just a social/discussion group; it's only when you start really actively campaigning and doing things that involve money that you need to be properly constituted. (Or so we concluded at our group the other week in discussion with someone from a nearby group who is 6 months further down the road than ours.)

AliceWorld · 30/01/2011 10:11

Good to hear respect Grin

Concur that you don't have to be a certain age. My group has students, mothers and women from 'back in the day'.

Setting up a group is easy. Book a room, tell people when and where. You don't need constitutions etc. Imo they are some patriarchal throwback anyway Grin. Groups in my area use consensus decision making. The local student one defies the union's attempts for them to have structured officers. I was going to post something about consensus decision making but all the links I find make it seem way too complicated. Basically you discuss till you all agree, or people stand aside (as in they're not bothered). You use hand signals so everyone can indicate their view without having to have everyone speak. It avoids the saying 'what does everyone think' and no-one want to say. Instead you just all use hand signals at the appropriate time.

sethstarkaddersmackerel · 30/01/2011 10:39

that's really interesting Alice

you don't even need to book a room to start off with - just pick a nice big coffeeshop or pub and say 'We're meeting there at x time'

ElephantsAndMiasmas · 30/01/2011 11:01

curious as to what those hand signals are... :o

AliceWorld · 30/01/2011 12:04

Grin Yes you could include some choice ones that really wouldn't be in the spirit of consensus Grin

Jazz hands is I agree. We do lots of jazz hands.

JaneS · 30/01/2011 12:35

Aww, that's lovely.

I am slightly terrified of feminist groups, that's why I prefer to come on here. I can't help feeling they'd judge me to shreds for not having read anything much and wearing heels. Sad

Please tell me if there are heel-wearing feminists who go to groups? Or can one wear one's heels in such a way as to send secret feminist foot-signals? Perhaps a special man-stomping tread?

feministlurker · 30/01/2011 13:12

I'm from that group 6 months down the road from SSM's. We started off v small and only wrote a constitution at all because we decided it'd be useful to have a bank account for the sort of thing we want to do. And we realised it'd also be potentially useful to have some agreed rule for what to do with potentially disruptive/derailing members (not that we've had any yet!).

We based it on a standard template for community groups but on a friend's advice we changed "voting" to "co-opting" for selecting the (rather nominal) roles of chair, secretary etc. Which fits in with the "consensus" philosophy I guess.

Each local feminist group has its own character and way of doing things and that's a great thing in my view. But LRD - yes, heel-wearing feminists definitely go to groups!
JaneS · 30/01/2011 13:15

Thanks fl, that's reassuring. Smile

AliceWorld · 30/01/2011 14:13

LRD at my group you'd be asked to remove your heels, which we would then ceremoniously dismember, and if you were wearing any make up would be taken to the toilets to have it scrubbed off with soap and scourer. Wink

You can wear heels, straightened hair, make up, wedding rings, pink, glitter, short skirts. Or none of those. I have never heard anyone mention what someone else is wearing, nor judge for it. People at mine wear all sorts.

JaneS · 30/01/2011 14:18

Alice, that reminds me of the mythical entrance policies at lesbian club nights (I'm too young to remember if they were ever more than mythical, but they spirit was still alive back when I went clubbing!). 'If you were lipstick, you are clearly an impostor peddling the filthy wares of heterosexuality!'

On a serious note, I'm just aware that I'm not able to reconcile my feminism and my choice of clothes, and I quite enjoy this internet feminist group for that reason.

Btw, what experiences have people had of what you do in feminist groups? I used to see very heavy-duty reading lists one when I lived in Cambridge, but does anyone go to a group where it's less theoretical, or are they basically for talking about theory?

(Sorry, I'm very ignorant. Grin)

JaneS · 30/01/2011 14:18

wear* lipstick, obviously! Blush

feministlurker · 30/01/2011 14:23

We aren't in a university town so we aren't academic or theoretical - more practical

  • campaigning, running awareness-raising events etc.
JaneS · 30/01/2011 14:29

D'you know, I'm daft, I hadn't thought of that. I guess even if it's not aimed at students, a university town group is probably quite high-brow ...

AliceWorld · 30/01/2011 14:41

I'm in a university town. It is so not high brow. Lots of chat, grrr at the news, talk about what's happening. Sometimes people have things they know about that have happened/are happening that they talk about. Sometime we discuss a theme but it's never really high brow. No reading lists. There is waaay more theory on here.

I don't think anyone can reconcile all they do and wear with their beliefs. We live in a world where our beliefs are not the way society is structured, and we have to function in that society. I think a feminist group does help with that as you feel less alone, so feel less like you have to comply as you know other people exist that agree with you. But different people are different places on that road, and people know that.

FlamingoBingo · 31/01/2011 17:19

I'm going to my first one (in a neighbouring town) on 10 Feb, and hoping to start one up in my area as well. I'm thinking of very informal 'what do we all want from this group' at first, but I'm wondering about how to get anyone along who I haven't emotionally blackmailed into coming isn't a good friend of mine.

Do you advertise it anywhere? If so, where!?

feministlurker · 31/01/2011 21:24

Remember it is ok to start small - this can give you the space to figure out what you do want from the group and how it will work.

We set up an group email address and a very basic website as well as setting up a facebook group and then we "advertised" (for free) on the UK Feminista website.

You do get the odd nutter email, which is why it's nice to have a group email address for nutter-screening purposes.

FlamingoBingo · 31/01/2011 22:17

Ooh, thanks for that tip, fl!

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