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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Marks & Spencer protest

371 replies

invisibleoldwoman · 18/04/2018 14:39

Here is an email sent to M&S today.

"I needed new bras. Normally I go to one of your stores, get fitted, get advice and buy several. Have a look around generally and maybe coffee or lunch in the cafe. Now, I cannot deal with the stress of worrying about whether I will have to deal with a male fitter, or men in the changing rooms. So I have bought my bras somewhere I don't have to deal with this. I have decided not to use your online shop as I do not wish to support a company that makes it impossible for me to feel comfortable visiting a changing room or asking for a personal service."

I have decided to send this sort of feedback everytime I fail to buy something somewhere where they have gone along with the self-id policy.

OP posts:
MadBadDaddy · 20/04/2018 16:58

@amagreyhoundhearmeroar Fri 20-Apr-18 16:46:32

"I'm a bit confused, MadBad; are you biologically male or female?"

lol I thought women could always tell? Good luck spotting the men in the changing rooms, then!

Pratchet · 20/04/2018 17:02

Why don't you post a picture

Iamagreyhoundhearmeroar · 20/04/2018 17:08

Have we met? Confused

Iamagreyhoundhearmeroar · 20/04/2018 17:11

Unless that was you in the sherry trifle aisle with a beard and miniskirt?

MadBadDaddy · 20/04/2018 17:11

I'm not posting much except to respond to or ask questions. Happy not to.

bd67th · 20/04/2018 17:13

@Charlieparley Interesting link, thanks.
@italiangreyhound Sorry, I totally got the wrong end of the stick on that.

I have often wondered whether trans women would benefit from bras designed specifically for them. Those who wear breastforms/prosthetics often place them very high on the chest and I suspect this might be because bras are designed for females and the straps don't adjust long enough for a male torso. Add to that the differences in spacing etc, it would suggest that dedicated styles might help?

TotallyLibrarianPoo · 20/04/2018 18:10

MadBadDaddy Fri 20-Apr-18 15:30:29
I think men have a hard time getting their heads around 'compelled' in any way except law. When it comes to 'compelled by social conditioning' I think the first thought to most men would be "WTF? Speak up if you don't like something. Don't be silent" (ps this actually works)

Mad you make this statement, but are you not aware that women are being told to shut up every time they do speak up? And yup, when you've got a hulking male standing over you telling you to shut it, you do. Lucky men who can shout their annoyance about something from the rooftops without repercussion.

I have not used a change room since I was using a curtained one and the change room assistant whipped open the curtain as she thought it was empty. The lineup of people waiting for a room got an eyeful. So this policy doesn't concern me personally, however as it is a concern for many other women, I will back them as they have a right to privacy and safety.

Italiangreyhound · 20/04/2018 18:36

@bd67th thanks so much. I am sometimes flippant and easily do get things wrong! Flowers

MadBadDaddy · 20/04/2018 18:37

@TotallyLibrarianPoo maybe my ps should have said "this CAN work" but that was more of an aside anyway. I think I was trying to say Men couldn't thrive in an intimidating environment like women have had to learn to because they wouldn't have 'internalised' it or seen the problems in the same way. It's a Man's World so they say, so a would have been analysed, solved, defeated, destroyed, etc. in no time flat. It's a short step from there to framing 'Women' as the problem to solve.

AngryAttackKittens · 20/04/2018 19:05

Broken record here, but...

If you watch a reception class of children lining up, try watching who barges in and who gives way without protest. By four they have this pinned down.

I've always been comfortable barging in when needed, and speaking up when I'm not happy about something. Honestly not sure how things worked out that way - I certainly had a feminist mum, and some aspects of personality come baked in, but there still seems to be a lot of randomness to which women end up this way.

However, having a personality that works that way doesn't have to mean being unaware that a significant minority of women, at the very least, will not find it easy to be assertive in situations where they're confronted with a man who's making it clear that he expects them to go along with something that they really don't want to go along with. Those of us who do feel comfortable maintaining and asserting our boundaries are not better than other women (or than women as a whole, if they're men). If we were raised female we're very lucky that things worked out this way for us. Maybe a bit less "well I don't get it, why don't you just speak up?" and a bit more "how can I help" or "what do you need, what would make you comfortable?", eh?

bd67th · 20/04/2018 19:23

@angryattackkittens:
^Those of us who do feel comfortable maintaining and asserting our boundaries are not better than other women (or than women as a whole, if they're men).^

This. "I'm not like other women" is internalised misogyny.

^If we were raised female we're very lucky that things worked out this way for us. Maybe a bit less "well I don't get it, why don't you just speak up?" and a bit more "how can I help" or "what do you need, what would make you comfortable?", eh?^

I'm writing this inside my head because I totally need to be better at kindness. FlowersStar

Italiangreyhound · 20/04/2018 19:24

@SirVixofVixHall "It is so ingrained in me to be polite that I really don’t know if I would have the courage to say no if faced with a male bra fitter. I imagine myself, half naked and inwardly cringing, politely saying thank you and desperately trying to find a way out. I would really rather not be put in that position to start with."

Thank you for sharing that. I really hope women who don'care will realise some women might care deeply and feel unable to say.

@SusanBunch "There is currently a 750k research project on gender and the law about to begin and i would be shocked if it doesn’t come down in favour of some sort of self-ID." Are you saying they are spending 750k and you already know what they will conclude? About something which is socially constructed? I am really curious to know how they could even pin gender down. Are they really doing this based on 'gender' or on biological sex?

@MadBadDaddy "... maybe my ps should have said "this CAN work" but that was more of an aside anyway. I think I was trying to say Men couldn't thrive in an intimidating environment like women have had to learn to because they wouldn't have 'internalised' it or seen the problems in the same way. It's a Man's World so they say, so a would have been analysed, solved, defeated, destroyed, etc. in no time flat. It's a short step from there to framing 'Women' as the problem to solve."

I don't understand that. Do you mean men would suffer more placed in women's situations, or men cope better or women cope better? Who would be ' analysed, solved, defeated, destroyed' men or women?

Thanks.

Italiangreyhound · 20/04/2018 19:26

Don't care (are not bothered by) sharing intimate (formerly women only spaces) with males.

Daffodil397 · 20/04/2018 19:31

Haven’t read whole thread but thanks for letting me know.
Am not happy and will be writing to m&s.
Don’t shop in their stores much anyway but will be aiming to avoid online as well.
Why are we being sold out like this and what is society going to look like in a year’s time for women?
Sad

AngryAttackKittens · 20/04/2018 19:41

Susan's responses make a lot more sense knowing that she's in academia (and therefore completely unaccustomed to being challenged on any of this stuff), so that was useful information to have.

I categorically reject the idea that the attitude towards this issue currently prevailing in academia is in any way ethically "correct".

thebewilderness · 20/04/2018 19:42

Colour me 'entitled' if you like, but me being here means this thread is less like an echo-chamber - wouldn't that add to its credibility?

No, it doesn't.
Why do you think women discussing their widely varying experiences in bra fitting is an echo chamber without you stating the specious and obvious if you don't like it don't go?

MadBadDaddy · 20/04/2018 19:43

@Italiangreyhound - I'm saying men couldn't thrive if they didn't solve, analyse, etc. anything they see as a problem. When they slay a dragon or climb a mountain they call each other brother or manly. Women, evidentally, have thrived & survived despite not solving their problems, but by finding ways of enduring them, resisting, etc. they are sisters in that. For me as a man, some of these posts are a little like hearing war reports from far away on a radio.

AngryAttackKittens · 20/04/2018 19:48

"Echo chamber" is one of those "prepare, someone is about to say something smug and not particularly useful" red flags.

thebewilderness · 20/04/2018 19:50

Why is what I say irrelevant? Would you prefer a private echo-chamber to an open debate?

I ask again. What evidence do you have to support your repeated assertion that women discussing their different experiences are an echo chamber?

MadBadDaddy · 20/04/2018 19:52

@thebewilderness and if its not just a rumour, and at the sharp end of all these comments is one (probably terrified, if they've seen this thread) trans individual? Why shouldn't I express a more sympathetic view?

TotallyLibrarianPoo · 20/04/2018 19:55

@Italiangreyhound Thank you for asking the question as Mad's response wasn't clear to me either.

Mad I'm trying hard to understand the point you are making, but I'm not really seeing what you are aiming for with your statements. Can you please restate what exact point you are trying to get across to us. You came here and have engaged on the FC board, so if you are sincere make your point clear. Thanks

AngryAttackKittens · 20/04/2018 19:59

The idea that a bunch of women talking among themselves is inherently an echo chamber in need of a man's input is comically sexist.

MadBadDaddy · 20/04/2018 20:04

@TotallyLibrarianPoo yes i agree i'm not making myself clear, and it's all pretty much supposition anyway.

I'll have another go: Men don't 'get' women's problems b/c of men's approach to problem-solving in general. Men are expected to attack what they see as a problem, women teach each other techniques of endurance and suffering.

And then the men act all surprised when you're upset or angry.

Rufustheconstantreindeer · 20/04/2018 20:10

Dh favourite phase is 'you should...'

Usually i already have!

SusanBunch · 20/04/2018 20:14

Are you saying they are spending 750k and you already know what they will conclude? About something which is socially constructed? I am really curious to know how they could even pin gender down. Are they really doing this based on 'gender' or on biological sex?

No obviously I don't know what they will conclude. I have absolutely no involvement in the project and it is not at my university, not in my specific field, and I don't know any of the participants in the project on a personal level. Privately though, I would be quite surprised if the recommendations of the project were not quite pro-trans. I could of course be proved totally and utterly wrong. Here is a link so that you can judge for yourselves:

www.kent.ac.uk/law/research/news/?view=2474

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