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Who is a feminist....and why?

(32 Posts)
Oxon70 Sun 03-Jul-11 16:34:59

Seems one or two want to discuss - so....

My ex-husband, when we were divorcing, actually said to me 'Next time I will find a doormat.'
I barely believe this to this day.
Well, he thought he had, and - she divorced him too.
It was my going to women's meetings in Dundee that opened my eyes to him.
How did I stay married for 12 yerars?

Stansgran Tue 19-Jul-11 10:12:17

so with you there-my vote is wasted here because people vote one way blindly and refuse to see that making their seat marginal would bring money jobs and prospective MPs champing at the bit

JessM Sun 17-Jul-11 12:06:08

My grandmothers were born around turn of last century so lived through the suffragette movement and believe you me, they both voted diligently. My nana used to tell a story about how she disagreed with her husband about which way to vote, while they were on the bus. She got off the bus and walked !
The other one always used to vote Tory despite not having 2 pennies to rub together and living in S Wales. Part of an upwardly mobile mindset I think. Her mother got the family out of the coal field and set sons up in business. My gran left the chapel and joined the C of E. If she had better education or a start in business there would have been no stopping her. Instead a husband gassed in the first ww and a son who was disabled by rheumatic heart disease.
That generation of women were very conscious of the sacrifices made by the suffragettes.

Annobel Wed 13-Jul-11 22:10:32

When canvassing at election time, I've often been scandalized by women who 'don't vote' or vote the way their husbands vote. I was so proud of my GD when she had her first opportunity to vote, haranguing her friends about their duty to vote! Granny obviously has had some influence...

JessM Wed 13-Jul-11 20:38:20

I remember my mother who was a primary school teacher (and the breadwinner for family of 6 females) telling me that she was not a member of one of the teaching unions because they did not agree with equal pay. She was a member of NUT and I think the other lot were striking. Must have been about 1957. I think I was a feminist from that day on.

Oxon70 Wed 13-Jul-11 19:56:44

Oh god, it's just like the women who were against women having the vote...., how far have we got, I wonder?

Charlotta Wed 13-Jul-11 16:42:54

I think that we all find that such women make the going hard. It has taken such an long time for women to vote for women candidates, whether its the golf club or a local council. It is better now but after 50 years there is still so much still to do. You wonder if the treament of old people in the UK would be better if 80 % of the elderly in care were men instead of women.

Joan Wed 13-Jul-11 15:02:08

I might have stayed and fought, except I couldn't get my mind round women agreeing with reduced pay. I felt bad working with them after that - they were the Uncle Toms, or Auntie Thomasinas of the women's movement.

Charlotta Tue 12-Jul-11 20:25:43

Joan, I think it is a shame you left.

Joan Tue 12-Jul-11 14:31:19

Just remembered a feminism fight from the 1960s, that never happened in the end. I'd got a boring clerical job at an engineering firm, while I was deciding where to go with my life. A lad came up to me to ask me to join the union, expecting me to refuse. I said "of course I'll join - I've just discovered I get less pay than a man gets doing the same job, so I want the union to fight for my equal rights." Well, he nearly had a fit, and muttered about not wanting that sort of talk, so I told him I'd get on to the union executive about his attitude!

When I got home that night there was a letter for me from Austria, where I'd previously been an au pair girl, offering me a translating job, so I decided to take it. While working my notice I found at least half the other women there were AGAINST equal pay. I had a few ding dongs with them, trying to explain about human rights, but the most vocal against equal pay was the lass who was knocking off the married boss.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I'd stayed? Would I have won over the other women? Would the union have supported me? Would I have been in any danger? I'll never know.

absentgrana Mon 11-Jul-11 11:24:59

I would guess that many of us are of the age that carried forward the feminist flag in the 1960s and 1970s, but there can be few survivors of the original Pankhurst and Fawcett followers – and even they weren't the first. I hope there's another generation – especially those now raising children – taking up the standard.

Charlotta Sun 10-Jul-11 16:13:45

absentgrana, I suppose you would have to do it to answer that one.

I became a feminist after I'd read Maryilyn French 'The Women's Room.' that book knocked me out and I never looked back. Of course its dated now but a lot of what she propagated actually came true; that women became doctors instead of nurses who wanted to marry a doctor. That sports teams are not either the men and the girls but women and men. We have at the moment the Women's Football WM- In the 80s that would have been the Girls WM.
Then too many women took over who made men into enemies, so that those who actually loved and respected their male partners felt left out of the movement.
I agree wholeheartedly with GtGran, and if she is a greatgrandmother then she is my generation and we were the ones who fought for it.

absentgrana Sun 10-Jul-11 11:19:44

Charlotta Pretty much everything starts in the home, but ends up in all sorts of places. How mothers bring up their sons is just as, possibly more important than how they raise their daughters. I agree that feminism is nothing to do with getting drunk and still can't work out why pole dancing is described by some as empowering.

GtGran Thu 07-Jul-11 14:11:07

I am a feminist proud to be and have done my stint through out the phases. I am appalled when I hear young professional women state "Feminism is a dirty word" or "Greenham whats that"
Ok Im pretty hardcore but it was the hardcore like me who fought for your rights.
Dependancy on a man/boy does not help male female or children.
If women are educated and responsible their male children will be.
The big problem today is that we fought the struggle but many many women then embraced the personal but didnt understand or ignored the political.
I was never about marginalisation of men and nor should feminism be but the sisterhood needs to be realistic not merely a stepping stone to sliding that glass ceiling across against other women or man and it often is.

Charlotta Thu 07-Jul-11 11:08:43

A good start would be if in a marriage if the costs of the house, food, clothes, travel etc be added up and deducted and what is left be SHARED between hubsand and wife. We have done this even if there was only tuppence left we shared it.
Then the woman should have her say in what she does in her leisure time. I have taught women at nightschool and when we discussed an evening out, we had a problem because some of the women had to ask hubby first. Probably he didn't want her to go out and enjoy herself in women's company, but she could go to choir practice or the fitness club.
I am a feminist- you see I don't call women 'girls' and it starts in the home and how we bring our daughters up.
I can't speak for the younger generation but drinking yourself silly and lying in the street in your own vomit is not what feminism as a movement is about.

JessM Wed 06-Jul-11 18:44:15

Sorry Sussexpoet, not quite getting your drift. Tolerate what?

sussexpoet Wed 06-Jul-11 18:38:42

small comment, JessM - not all women tolerate all of the above.

Oxon70 Tue 05-Jul-11 23:21:02

Female - and how different we can be. The Queen Mother, young Milly Dowler and Martina Navratilova, Mary Seacole - and 'Big Rachel' - I discovered her this week, a 19C 6'3" pipe-smoking Glaswegian, who was roped in as a special constable to help quell city riots...not all Victorian women were prone to the vapours.

Has anyone else seen film of the first women's march in London (or even was on it?) where they were singing 'Stay young and beautiful - if you want to be loved'. I can't find what I want to say about this....how many of us grew up being stuck with this idea?
Or this one - needing a man to feel real, or whole?
Trying to be what you're supposed to be? My grandmother wrote to her intended 'I will be a good wife to you, Andrew.' She was a lovely person, but that was in the year 1900......I guess things have changed a little!
Trying to be nice to everyone? Be nice, don't make waves, etc etc. Grin and bear it. Think of England (!) Grr.

And about the word 'feminism' - how about the women who say 'I'm not a feminist - but.........' ?

borstalgran Tue 05-Jul-11 17:39:54

We have to be until women get equal opportunity/access and salaries/wages. Seems that things are going backwards: daughter made redundant on day she went on maternity leave, as were others who were on such leave. All the pink stuff/princess tat is hardly preparing our grandaughters to take their place in the world.
However, men need to do their bit. Male bosses need to give men a break when they have little ones: that doesn't happen, further driving women into the kitchen. Recent government cuts have made it harder for women: they have lost proportionately more.
Public sector has far greater equality than the private, because it is unionised and has equal pay, though maybe not opportunity.
Feminist might be a dirty word, but it's a dirty word because it's still needed.
If you have power, you will keep it for as long as possible and belittle any attempt to get you to share it!

JessM Tue 05-Jul-11 17:08:32

Actually writing that list made me feel like a complete slacker.
How to channel this other than living your life and maybe taking on roles that women previously did not hold...
I wonder if Thatcher has a lot to answer for and that the oomph went out of the feminist movement when she came to power. Any thoughts?

HildaW Tue 05-Jul-11 14:05:27

Oh dear.......weve still got such a long way to go havn't we?.....reading Jess's list is very sobering.

What is the next step then? I worry that the current trend towards trying be more 'blokish' is not actually going to do any good in the long run, might even be doing some harm. Young girls should be able to rejoice in being female, its a wonderful thing to be. They should not feel they have to be like a man to achieve what they want in life. Needless to say men should not feel they have to deny they can be gentle and loving partners and parents. But I do feel that there are differences but they should be enjoyed and celebrated not seen as a reason anyone can or cannot do something.

glassortwo Tue 05-Jul-11 11:44:39

jess well said!

janthea Tue 05-Jul-11 11:36:23

Well said, JessM grin

baggythecrust! Tue 05-Jul-11 11:18:52

Three cheers, Jess! (at least three!!!!)

Joan Tue 05-Jul-11 10:28:14

Well, that says it all, Jess! Can't fault any of it.

JessM Tue 05-Jul-11 07:08:36

Because women do more than half the work in the world but men get more than half the money.
Because men still, overwhelmingly, control politics and business
Because men, not women, commit the vast majority of crimes
Because men don't yet, in the main, recognise that they have a problem with masculinity
Because the vast majority of inter-gender violence is in one direction
Because thirteen year old girls feel under pressure to have sex with their boyfriends
Because thirteen year old boys feel that they have to carry knives
Because the pornography industry carries on growing and influencing "everyday life" - newspapers, pop videos, personal grooming, fashion etc
Because women in the third world don't have access to midwives
Because women have their genitals mutilated
Because looking after children is considered un-important work
Because they have grey-haired men reading the news but the women are young and beautiful
Because women tolerate all of the above