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can we discuss feminism please

(771 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?

trisher Thu 21-Jan-21 19:13:47

I don't know MBHP1 why do we have it? Why do we have laws which insist a person must identify s male or female with no other recognised genders? There are other cultures which recognise different genders and have always done so. For example Native Americans recognise such people as "two spirit" and have either 3 or 4 genders www.ihs.gov/lgbt/health/twospirit/
Could it possibly be that such a restrictive and prescriptive legal system benefitted men and maintained the patriachy?

Rosie51 Thu 21-Jan-21 19:40:19

We don't need gender at all. Do away with gender classification, the two sex classes are all we need. Present how you want, like what you like, love whomever you want to. Why confine yourself to a strict stereotype, whether that be a binary one, two spirit, astral or anything else. Dare to be the unique you. If we're going to continue with genders I do wish there wasn't this tendency to conflate them with sex. Masculine and feminine are genders, male and female are sex classes.

Galaxy Thu 21-Jan-21 19:50:59

Absolutely gender is simply a list of stereotypes.

trisher Thu 21-Jan-21 20:14:14

So if there are only two classifications -you can call them sexes if you wish but gender is different,- what happens to people who feel their body does not match their own idea of their gender and people who do not want to identify as any gender but are non-binary. The patriachy insists they must identify as one or the other. Do you support that?

Galaxy Thu 21-Jan-21 20:25:50

They can identify in whatever way they wish. Every women I know is non binary.

trisher Thu 21-Jan-21 21:05:28

But they can't! They have to legally declare themselves one gender or another. There is no provision to be non-binary. Really that is the whole point. As for the statement about every women well in that case they won't mind sharing facilities with other non-binary people.

Galaxy Thu 21-Jan-21 21:10:13

They can declare themselves to be any gender they want, no body cares. The services women are talking about are segregated by sex and these are protected under the equality act. A non binary man is still a man.

trisher Thu 21-Jan-21 21:27:16

And what is a non-binary woman Galaxy? I really don't understand this desire to regulate and control other people's lives.

GagaJo Thu 21-Jan-21 21:30:34

I beg to differ Galaxy. The document I had to fill in to register for the Covid vaccine had 4 options.

Male
Female
Non binary
Do not wish to disclose

Galaxy Thu 21-Jan-21 21:30:56

I am not regulating anyone life that's just nonsense. Their sex is female. They are at risk from cervical cancer not prostrate cancer. Its not regulation its biological reality.

Galaxy Thu 21-Jan-21 21:34:19

Or prostate cancer even.

Doodledog Thu 21-Jan-21 22:03:04

I'm thinking aloud here, but maybe we need to separate the terms we use for sex and gender, so someone could identify as Male/whatever or Female/something?

That way, people who wanted to could make their gender clear, which is obviously important to a lot of people identifying as a gender that is different from their sex, whilst remaining in the sex that they were born with, unless they fully transition to the other. Sex should, IMO, be the characteristic that applies under law.

Male/whatevertheterm people should use male facilities, and men could broaden the remit of what it is to be male, whilst women would remain secure in female spaces whatever their own gender preferences.

In time, people would get used to seeing men in dresses in male spaces, and women would not feel threatened by having them in theirs.

Again, as has been repeated over and over on these threads, this would only matter in situations where people feel vulnerable - the majority of the time it would be business as usual - the only difference being that sex would remain a protected characteristic.

trisher Fri 22-Jan-21 10:09:15

The only possible reason for even asking about sex should be medical. There is absolutely no reason for it to be involved in anything else from pronouns to changing rooms. In fact once it is seen as normal to deal with someone simply as a person and not as male or female, however they present, surely we will have true equality.

Galaxy Fri 22-Jan-21 10:15:40

No because the equality act is based on sex. The protected criteria is sex which can apply to all sorts of situations prisons, sport, personal care for the elderly and those with disabilities, sex matters in all those cases.

petunia Fri 22-Jan-21 11:50:45

Some great comments here-Doodledog, Galaxy and others.

We have rules based on sex already but we also have organisations, the media and individuals pushing hard against the boundary.

Sex does matter, absolutely. We cannot makes rules to accommodate endless varieties of gender that can not be defined or that constantly changes.

Just to add an intercontinental flavour to this argument;

President Bidden has indicated that there are now plans to allow anyone to enter the sport category of their chosen gender, not sex. Its a bit of a change from loos and changing rooms! But allowing anyone to enter any athletic competiton they chose will almost certainly see the end of female athletics in the USA. Women will just say, why bother, I have no chance at all. Sex does matter.

trisher Fri 22-Jan-21 12:12:18

Wow petunia a long rant in support of patriachy on a femiinist thread. It seems Simone De Beauvoir was right there are women who are complicit with keeping women as "other".

Doodledog Fri 22-Jan-21 13:00:45

I don't see a long rant in support of patriarchy? Has something been deleted?

I read that Biden was going to remove single-sex exemptions as soon as he took over. My first thought was that there are sure to be problems with this, and that (awful as it is likely to be for women in the US) I hoped that when they came to light they would deter anyone from passing similar legislation here.

I do feel that politicians are waking up to the realities of what might seem at face value like a nod in the direction of equality for a minority, however. Unfortunately, the burning torch brigade are ever ready to shout down anyone who dares to give an alternate point of view to their own, so it takes a brave politician to speak up, and many try to dodge the issue in the hope that it will go away.

I can't remember any other single issue being as able to silence people as this one.

petunia Fri 22-Jan-21 13:03:25

Trisher, I started this thread because for two reasons. Firstly, mainly, I was beginning to wonder whether my understanding of feminism needed updating and I wondered whether a separate forum was needed. There is one on mumsnet, I personally would like to see one here. I think this thread suggests that there are posters out there who also would use such a forum.

Secondly, although I did not state this at the start, (I wish I had), I was musing to myself about the lock down and the role of women in relation to domestic responsibility. I had observed that women who were able to work from home often (but not always) assumed the task of homeschooling on top of their own work. I saw this in the parents of my grandchildren peers, and in news pieces and social media comments. However, the thread quickly assumed a life of its own. No problem. Some things need to be said and many of us have expressed those opinions.

Those musings lead me to consider the role of feminism in today's society, hence the thread. Clearly I am out of date with my understanding of modern feminism. The day to day life of working women is no longer of interest it would seem.

trisher Fri 22-Jan-21 13:44:45

I think actually basing ones opinions solely upon personal experiences just gives examples of how or if we have managed to put our feminist principles into action. Only one of my DSs has children and he is involved in caring for those children on an equal basis whilst working from home. He can plait hair, iron dresses and bake bread as well as doing DIY. One of the others bakes excellent cakes while his partner has recently fitted out her own kitchen. The day to day life of working people is of interest but thinking it is only women who can child care or home school whilst working from home is just wrong. Men can and are doing it. Not enough I admit but then who is to blame for that? You can't completely blame men if they aren't taught to take on other roles because their wife or mother has always picked up for them.
As for the rules and gender so much of society is tied up with those because it enables men to remain powerful that is the nature of patriachy. Accepting different ways of living and widening our expectations of gender roles breaks down those barriers.
Take sport, in boxng there are categories. You wouldn't expect a bantam weight boxer to take on a heavy weight, so why not the same in other sports? Base the nvolvement not on gender but on weight/height/age there are heaps of other factors that could be used. It would not only widen participation it would make it more interesting.

Iam64 Fri 22-Jan-21 13:48:34

Petunia, no you aren’t out of touch with your understanding of modern feminism. Your contributions reflect and support the majority of post from other feminists.
Feminism means much the same as it always has. The search for equality of opportunity, for equal relationships between men and women, in the work and domestic arena.
That covers all aspects, including race, physical/ mental health, gender and so on.
There have always been differences of opinion, different branches of feminism. Anyone involved in the women’s movement in the 70’s and 80’s could write the book on the heated debates.

Galaxy Fri 22-Jan-21 13:51:48

Indeed and that applies to many subjects, prostitution, surrogacy etc.

petunia Fri 22-Jan-21 13:53:24

Trisher-”Men can and are doing it. Not enough I admit but then who is to blame for that? You can't completely blame men if they aren't taught to take on other roles because their wife or mother has always picked up for them. “

Women to blame again, I don't know, these pesky women, applauding violence, not teaching their sons and refusing to have men in women's spaces. I am out of touch!

Iam64 Fri 22-Jan-21 13:55:36

I cross posted with trisher, otherwise would have expressed irritation that once again, blame is put upon women for men’s behaviour.

Galaxy Fri 22-Jan-21 13:56:23

And actually it's just one more ridiculous expectation of feminism, all political parties have disagreements within them, the lgbt community disagrees on many areas of their campaigning, of course feminists are going to disagree on issues.

trisher Fri 22-Jan-21 14:13:35

petunia whose fault is it then if men expect to be waited on by women? They may pick things up from other parts of society but their actions in the home must be influenced by their family lifestyle. There are numerous posts on GN about how partners or husbands can't or won't do housework. Now I can understand there is a certain generational element that older men were not trained by their mothers (although my brother was taught to cook, my mother believed men should be). But I don't understand how my generation if they really are feminists could raise boys who cannot or will not take responsibility for house hold tasks and the care of children. How can feminism prosper if women don't do this basic training of boys?