Gransnet forums


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?

Galaxy Mon 11-Jan-21 17:46:02

Yes I wish I could find it, I will have a look, but somewhere recently women were asked for their experiences of street harassment, it was incredibly moving to listen to the accounts, and a large number of them talked about their experience of enduring this at 13/14.

Witzend Mon 11-Jan-21 17:58:03

I do agree about the actor/actress etc. thing, Vampirequeen.

To me it’s anti-feminist to insist on ‘actor’ for a woman. It seems to imply that the female version is somehow inferior.

Eloethan Mon 11-Jan-21 19:04:09

Wolf whistles aren't meant to be complimentary - they are meant to intimidate and belittle. I am sure most women can think of examples when a young woman has been obviously embarrassed by the attentions of a group of men - but that has spurred them on.

It happened to me when I was about 15 - a line of army jeeps going through our village with the men whistling and yelling out remarks. I was almost in tears and felt so humiliated.

BlueBelle Mon 11-Jan-21 19:04:19

I miss wolf whistles I always saw them as a bit of harmless fun
I never felt intimidated by them but then until I got married I had never encounter controlling or superior men my dad was a gentle man in all aspects and both grandads too

trisher Mon 11-Jan-21 19:19:59


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.

grumpa the meaning of "minoritiy" does not just depend upon the actual numbers that exist. Women are a minority because they are underrepresented in many areas of society. For example The House of Commons consisits of many more men than women, one of the current campaigns is to get more women to stand as MPs
The sociological meaning is different to the statistical one.
Minority, a culturally, ethnically, or racially distinct group that coexists with but is subordinate to a more dominant group. As the term is used in the social sciences, this subordinacy is the chief defining characteristic of a minority group. As such, minority status does not necessarily correlate to population. In some cases one or more so-called minority groups may have a population many times the size of the dominating group, as was the case in South Africa under apartheid (c. 1950–91).
Hope that helps.
I can't believe that a debate about feminism has stuck on wolf whistles.

Chestnut Mon 11-Jan-21 19:29:01

I can't believe that a debate about feminism has stuck on wolf whistles.
Agreed. But the fact that so many people get worked up and 'intimidated' by them speaks volumes about the lack of confidence amongst women. They see what is essentially a bit of harmless fun as threatening and intimidating. Like everyone else here, I had wolf whistles as a young teenager and even then I found them cheeky and amusing.

Galaxy Mon 11-Jan-21 19:38:55

Imagine on a feminist thread discussing the behaviour of men that makes many women and girls deeply uncomfortable. The young women I know think men who wolf whistle etc are deeply sad, pathetic really, but then they are confident enough not to need the attention of men.

Galaxy Mon 11-Jan-21 19:41:49

If as a man you are wolwhistling teenagers, which is when this behabiour often starts then you are deeply creepy.

NotSpaghetti Mon 11-Jan-21 20:21:57

You are right of course, we should not be stuck on wolf-whistles, but as we can see here, plenty of women still see this as harmless fun.

Whilst women (and other, non-whistling men) don'tcomplain about "harmless fun" which is actually not fun and not harmless for many, and "office banter" - which is also not much fun if you are the subject of it, how can we say we are substantially moving on as a society?

Chestnut Mon 11-Jan-21 20:26:26

From what Galaxy says it sounds like we have moved on as a society if these 21st century young women take such a disapproving view of all this. Whether you think this is a good thing is up to you.

Lucretzia Mon 11-Jan-21 20:27:36

If women see wolf whistling as harmless that is their right.

I once wolf whistled a bloke that walked past me on the beach.

I suppose that must make me a sexist hussy

trisher Mon 11-Jan-21 20:28:03

If you are a feminist man you will not wolf-whistle at any woman. If you are a feminist woman you may or may not enjoy being whistled at, much like high heels, lipstick and short skirts is something which it is up to the individual woman to decide.

Galaxy Mon 11-Jan-21 20:28:28

Well I am not the Oracle of young women chestnut grin. I think young women have lots of other awful issues to deal with, porn, social media etc.

Alegrias1 Mon 11-Jan-21 21:01:17

I've considered myself a feminist as long as I can remember.

I think the debate about wolf whistles on this thread reflects the debate about feminism. On one hand people who understand feminism as a way of looking at society and trying to make that society more equal, and on the other people who think its all about women objecting to have doors opened for them and blaming women for objecting to the unwanted sexual attention of men.

I know you are making a joke Lucretzia (at least I think you are.... smile) but women wolf whistling at men, especially men they don't know, is just as bad a man whistling at women. Men can be sexually harassed too.

trisher Mon 11-Jan-21 22:52:18

Alegrias1 I think most feminists have moved past objecting to men opening doors for women. Indeed many of us have been known to hold doors open for men.

SparklyGrandma Tue 12-Jan-21 09:37:27

An issue of politics, which feminism is also, why at election time are Mumsnet quoted, and not Gransnet?

Is this about possibly the invisibility of the older woman?

Alegrias1 Tue 12-Jan-21 09:40:04

trisher I think we are in agreement. For most people, the doors thing is completely irrelevant (me included), for others it's the heart of feminism...

claresc0tt Tue 12-Jan-21 09:49:09

Anyone here read "Mars & Venus"? Let's talk humans, Men and Women are different, born that way! Men are/were hunter gatherers, and women gave birth and nurtured the offspring. There is nothing wrong with both men and women working or reversing the nurturing roles. All men and women should be treated the same in the work place, same pay and conditions.
Polite manners … I hold a door open for the next person behind me, without looking what the sex of the person is and would like others to do this for me.
If I'm not strong enough to do something it would be nice that someone else, male or female that's stronger than me, would help.
Plain old fashion manners need to be taught to our youngsters.

NiceasMice Tue 12-Jan-21 09:55:53

Indeed many of us have been known to hold doors open for men

Old habits die hard.

CrazyGrandma2 Tue 12-Jan-21 09:57:59

Trisher I think that the type of society that you outline sounds much nicer than the one we are currently living under.

Sparkling Tue 12-Jan-21 10:04:51

Being of equal value and importance, regardless of gender or race. Women can pursue any career they wish and so can men. I have never considered myself a feminist but being a women never kept me back.

sarahcyn Tue 12-Jan-21 10:05:56

Maybe one reason GN is reluctant to encourage debate on feminism is that it has now become a toxic and fraught issue, with little to do with holding doors open or equal pay.
Many feminists object to men being allowed to self-identify as women; many feminists object to the avoidance of using the word woman etc.
For example in my own field we are advised to refer to “pregnant people” and refer to breastfeeding as chestfeeding to avoid excluding trans people. Not everyone feels comfortable with this.
And there are other feminists who say that to express reluctance to change one’s language in such a way is in itself an act of violence towards trans people, who are or have been a persecuted minority.
So what I’m saying is basically...maybe best not to go there.

David0205 Tue 12-Jan-21 10:16:16

Of course “Women” are a diverse group, at one extreme timid and even a look will offend, at the other extreme, give as good as they get, work happily with men and often supervise them.
So one definition of feminism is impossible.

trisher Tue 12-Jan-21 10:32:39

A basic definition of a feminist would simply be someone who works for the betterment of women David0205. So there's a definition within that people can agree or disagree about the small or large issues.
claresc0tt Men are/were hunter gatherers, and women gave birth and nurtured the offspring. There is archaeological evidence being uncovered which indicates that women were actually warriors along side men. Many historians believe that when people were nomadic the position of women would have been very different and it was property owning that caused them to become regarded as property and less than men.

cupcake1 Tue 12-Jan-21 10:51:33

Totally agree with your comments vampirequeen - spot on!