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can we discuss feminism please

(197 Posts)
petunia Mon 11-Jan-21 10:37:35

Since feminism became “mainstream”,it appears that there are now different types of feminism. Several waves of feminism apparently.

Although I was never a card carrying traditional feminist, I believe I was a feminist with a small F. But since then, things have moved on. The nuances of this change have passed me by. Although mumsnet has a separate forum topics for feminism with numerous sub titles, gransnet does not have a feminism topic all. Does this mean that women of a certain age have no opinion on feminism, or have we sorted out in our minds what it is and what we are and that's that.

What does feminism mean today?

vampirequeen Mon 11-Jan-21 15:17:14

I think that woman and men should have equal rights, equal pay and equal respect. But there are things I like about what some women deem to be insulting. I like having doors opened for me, being offered seats (even if I turn it down with a thank you), DH walking between me and the road. Those little things that used to just seen as good manners but some now see as denigrating. I don't see what's wrong with waiter/waitress, actor/actress, master/mistress etc. I'm old fashioned. I don't see what's wrong with a bit of harmless banter as long as it's OK by both sides and isn't bullying. There is a difference between banter and harassment. I don't think that wolf whistles are insulting unless they come with a crude comment.

Galaxy Mon 11-Jan-21 15:34:22

Quite a few of us have asked GN for a feminism board, and there are a number of posters who are doing a really good job of starting threads on this topic as GN wanted to judge the level of interest. Feminism is the same as any other topic, you would not expect all members of the labour party to agree on every topic for example so I am not sure why feminists are expected to agree on everything. For example I think wolfwhistles are a horrible form of control as if you dont react the way they want you to you will always receive insults. I hate that girls from 13 upwards have to endure that.

Galaxy Mon 11-Jan-21 15:35:18

I am laughing that I used the labour party as an example there grin

vampirequeen Mon 11-Jan-21 15:41:58

I did say 'as long as there are no crude comments'.

AGAA4 Mon 11-Jan-21 15:42:29

Men and women should be treated equally in the workplace. I certainly wasn't in the 60's when the man I was training was earning more than me. Things have improved but are still not equal in some ways.
I admit that I am pleased when a man offers help eg when I am struggling up steps with heavy bags but that is just kindness and not male superiority.

Galaxy Mon 11-Jan-21 15:47:16

Yes the point I was making was you will always get crude comments unless you behave in the way they want you to. So if you smile you will be fine. If you challenge in any way you will be called a range of interesting names, so I see it as very controlling.

NotSpaghetti Mon 11-Jan-21 15:47:19


I hate wolf-whistles. Why would they even be called this if they weren't predatory?

Galaxy Mon 11-Jan-21 15:50:42

But it's fine for us to disagree vampirequeen, that's also what I was saying about feminists being expected to agree on it all smile

Jane10 Mon 11-Jan-21 15:59:41

I'm not sure what this thread is about. I consider myself to be a feminist. I'm financially independent and never felt I was valued less than a man in any job I ever had. I had excellent female bosses and was never sexually harrassed in any circumstance.
I just keep on as I always have done. I'd say that education has given me this confidence.

Elrel Mon 11-Jan-21 16:00:37

I was whistled at by a workman refurbishing an empty shop unit. I was surprised as I was my usual unremarkable elderly self, nothing about me to attract attention. A few minutes later I was going back the way I had come, he whistled again. I squawked loudly to his oblivious workmates ‘Hey, I reckon your mate needs to go to Spec Savers!’ Oh, how they laughed!

Chardy Mon 11-Jan-21 16:03:12

I hold the door open behind me, regardless of whether they're male or female. I certainly don't expect someone to stop and hold the door so I walk in front of them - I'm not the Queen.
Why would I expect anyone to give up their seat for me unless I was struggling?
Wolf whistling died out in the 80s

Redhead56 Mon 11-Jan-21 16:08:22

Studying Politics when younger there was Marxists feminists Liberal feminists and Radical feminist. All with different ideas of what they want from life with equality.
Regarding wolf whistles when I was young I used to wolf whistle back that shut them up!

trisher Mon 11-Jan-21 16:09:11

petunia Ok I can do this (it's going to cause lots of bother and this thread will probably go) Anyway I would describe myself as a third wave radical feminist. In this although I would uphold the rights and equality of every woman I also recognise that some women are more privileged than others. I know that some men are feminists and will think the same way I do. Which is that the present system still discriminates against women in many ways but real equality won't be acheived until we change the patriarchal system we live under. That that system not only discriminates against women, but against all minorities, including the poor, black and mixed race people, and LGBTQ people. So we need to change the system. But that isn't going to happen over night and so I will work within the system lobbying for things to change women's lives. The ultimate aim of creating a society where we are not simply a capitalist economy but a mixed economy where other forms of business such as cooperatives flourish, and some things, such as fuel, water and public transport, are run on a not-for profit basis, is a long term one, and something I know not all women will agree with. It has its roots in both first wave (the suffragettes) and second wave (the 1970s) feminism, but it's not for all.

eazybee Mon 11-Jan-21 16:09:20

I consider myself to be an independent woman; financially independent thanks to a good career, never felt discriminated against and always received equal opportunities, achieved most of what I wanted in life, and if I didn't, it was my own fault, not that of any one else.
As for wolf whistles; my mother said the time to worry about them is when you don't get any. Controlling! Really.

Ladyleftfieldlover Mon 11-Jan-21 16:12:03

It has always seemed to me that the only reason why men, over the years, have appeared and assumed to be superior to women, is their physical strength. To be successful, women must always do better than men. Yes, I can remember as a John Lewis management trainee, being paid less than my male counterparts. When I asked why this was, I was informed that men can carry more!

silverlining48 Mon 11-Jan-21 16:12:22

In the early 60 s in the civil service if/when a woman got married they had to leave their job. It was that bad!
I really don’t know what feminism means today, it’s similar but different to how it was understood 50 years ago. We have more of a voice and have come some way since then, but we don’t have equal pay (45 years after the equal pay act ) and still end up doing the greater share of the housework, cooking, childcare and running the home whilst working too, but few women are in high exec positions ....because of all the other stuff they have to fit into their day. Feminism eh?

Galaxy Mon 11-Jan-21 16:19:19

Yes really eazybee.

Chestnut Mon 11-Jan-21 17:21:09

eazybee As for wolf whistles; my mother said the time to worry about them is when you don't get any. Controlling! Really.
Spot on! Wolf whistles on their own are just a bit of fun. Have the confidence to take it as a compliment, give a little wave as you walk on and they will probably be thrilled. If anyone feels harassed by this I'd say they had confidence issues. Obviously any follow-up with crude comments, walking with you or standing in the way is a completely different matter. I guess we're talking about younger women here, I haven't had one for many years!

Galaxy Mon 11-Jan-21 17:24:34

I would say that anyone who gets validation from random strangers and who feels the need to make strangers feel thrilled probably has deep seated confidence issues.

PECS Mon 11-Jan-21 17:27:59

I consider myself a feminist, women & men are equal though in very many places in society this is not the case in reality, but as in any large group there are sub-groups... Look at political parties, religious groups etc etc. There will be differences of though but I think the basic tenet is that society shoud treat people equally regardless of their genitalia!

Galaxy Mon 11-Jan-21 17:31:10

I think some of the most important issues feminists are dealing with at the moment ate violence against women, porn, and prostitution.

GagaJo Mon 11-Jan-21 17:33:42

I think it means gender equality. For men, as well as women. Yes, because we exist in a patriarchal society, feminism by default ends up mostly supporting women, but not only.

I have proudly been feminist since I was 11.

grumppa Mon 11-Jan-21 17:38:13

One point if I may, trisher. First, in an earlier thread you referred explicitly to women and “other minorities”, and in this thread you make the same grouping implicitly. This is statistically incorrect: females actually outnumber males in all ethnic groups in the UK except Arabs (source: UK govt.). While I understand your appropriation of the term to describe how you see them being treated by the patriarchy, I do wonder whether calling women a minority makes it easier for your views to be attacked on the grounds that your facts are. wrong, and also devalues the term for genuine statistical minorities.

TerriBull Mon 11-Jan-21 17:42:29

Galaxy I agree with you, I always found them bloody annoying. When they started at around age 12 to 13 they were disturbing. Far from being worried when I no longer got them, I actually found that a blessed relief in that I could walk along the road or wherever alone with my thoughts without some stupid "cheer up love" crap that so many of us have endured. I don't really want to think about my prepubescent granddaughter, or indeed anyone else's for that matter being whistled at whilst she's still a child, because that's often when it starts. [ hmm]