About feminism

Rosie-the-Riveter

She says, by @mammapolitico

Feminism – I had to google it. Before all you ardent feminists start grimacing and heading for the comments box, let me explain. Feminism as a movement, as an ideology has not loomed large in my life. I wasn’t one of those students at University who loudly proclaimed themselves a feminist at all possible opportunities and screamed blue murder if a male student dared to hold open a door for them. Hell, I even dated the Captain of the University rugby team for a while. I don’t recall feminism being high on his agenda!

So what do I think or even know about Feminism?

It’s a huge topic so let’s hide behind the word count and scrape the surface of the issue.

Feminism is all about equality. About women being equal to men. My marriage was an equal marriage and I made damn sure of it. Okay, I did some of the things that many feminists might disagree with. I had a big white wedding. I took my husbands name. I took the traditional vows to love, honour and obey. I admit – and this is true  – I had my fingers crossed behind my back when I said the obey bit. I was 23 years old and less inclined to argue than I am today. On the flip side we shared the household chores equally. I ran the finances, with separate his and hers bank accounts. When the children came along we even shared childcare. There was no breadwinner in our house as we both worked.There was no ‘I am your husband you will do as I say” in our house. This, however is probably a reflection of my generation and the expectation that marriage is an equal partnership rather than a conscious decision to take a ‘feminist’ approach.

I asked my teenage daughters “ What do you think Feminism is?’ and their lack of ability to define it is telling. Their generation of young women seem to have an inbuilt expectation that they will be on an equal footing to men in adult life. Whether their expectation will be met as they get older they will see for themselves.

Equality in Political, Social and Economic rights for women have far from arrived. Not a day goes by without an example of women being viewed as “second class citizens. Although my girls don’t see the need to wear an “I am a Feminist” label I will make sure the values I teach them mean that they remember that they, as women, are never second best.

***

He says, by @ADadCalledSpen

I was once told a man cannot be a feminist. Something to do with men being part of the patriarchy. I can’t be a feminist because I’m not a women. I agree with this. I’m not a woman. I’ve just checked. Also, as a male feminist, I won’t be able to understand women’s issues, as I am one of the oppressors against women. I am one of the patriarchy.

Makes sense dunnit? I can’t be a feminist as I don’t suffer the same inequalities. Men have privileges within society which will mean we can’t identify with feminist struggles as we don’t suffer in the same way. It is therefore impossible for men to identify with the feminist cause and struggle.Say some.

And yet, while some argue men can’t be feminists because of the intrinsic differences between the sexes, others argue that men’s understanding and support of the feminist movement is necessary for furthering feminist causes and bringing about equality. A number of feminist writers suggest that identifying as a feminist is the strongest stand men can take in the struggle against sexism against women.

Confusing isn’t it? Well, it confuses my pretty little brain anyhow.

I had a conversation recently with a mum and her 15 year old daughter about feminism, and I’ve talked about this with others who’ve wanted to blog about feminist issues, but some feel their voices will not be heard or their arguments and observations, ideas and notions will be pulled apart by feminist intellectuals who will read their words and tell them they’re talking shite. So much for equality eh?

Men can’t be feminists and neither can some women simply because some say some can’t be. So there. Nurr.

All of my very best friends are women. My daughter will be a woman one day and I want the best for all people closest to me. I’m a loyal friend and I cannot abide inequality in any way. In society, in the workplace, in magazines and newspapers, or in Life. In household roles some people see a clear gender division yet why? Tradition? Upbringing? Ignorance? I know some people who see cleaning the bathroom as a female role, yet we all use the bathroom so why should it be? If there is equality in Life then surely that makes for a happier society and people feel more fulfilled.

I know, that within relationships there are some things women can only do. Give birth for example, and with that comes the necessity of taking some time off work to do so. I knew someone who said she didn’t want to employ any more women because ‘all they do is work for a while and then get pregnant and take all that time off.’

I was also told by a friend that he would not allow a team member ‘flexible working hours’ when she wanted to return to work after she had her baby, and so she was forced to leave the job and find one which did offer those terms. Yet, when his wife had a baby, and he wanted to spend time at home, guess what he requested? He didn’t like being called a hypocrite.

Equality. That’s what we want. That’s what we all want. And maybe that’s what I am rather than being a male feminist. An equalitist.

George Bernard Shaw pushed for a level of equality in the 19th century when he campaigned for women’s public toilets and won but he offended a lot of people while doing so. Apparantly people didn’t want women going to the toilets down their throats.

Can a man be a feminist?

***

Thanks for reading and please leave your comments and thoughts in our comments box. What are your views on feminism?

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7 thoughts on “About feminism

  1. Yes a man can be a feminist. Absolutely. I also think that to be a feminist doesn’t mean you have to subscribe to everything all feminists say. I see nothing wrong with a lot of stuff some feminists get very angry about and I’m sure not everyone agrees with me.

    But there is one thing that is a red line for me. The workplace. I do not deserve to be treated less favourably or given less pay, I do no not deserve to be victimised because I’m a woman. If you agree with that, then in my view you’re a feminist. Sadly at some point in most women’s lives they will have gone through at least one of these things.

    Thank you for bringing it to the fore. I always find it shocking this isn’t on everyone’s agenda.

  2. Personally I’m not a feminist, I like an equalist best. People are always pointing out inequalities and unfairness towards women, but what about towards men, it’s there.
    A gent opens/holds a door for a woman he gets accused of thinking she is incapable, he doesn’t then ‘what sort of gent doesn’t hold a door open?’
    A SAHM has moms & tots groups, MOMS & tots not dads and tots, not parents and tots Moms, where are sahd’s welcome? Is this not inequality, or sexism?
    A dad decides to stay at home people say ‘ fancy sending your wife out to work while you just stay at home!’ A SAHM gets I don’t blame you wanting to spend time with the kids they grow up too fast!
    I say forget feminism forget maleism why not just have Spencer’s equalism!
    Also while I’m on my high horse if a mom wants to dress her baby girl in head to toe pink and dresses and pretty things I should have the right to do so!

  3. Excellent points. As a SAHD for 3 years I got plenty of sneering comments from men who said ‘Staying at home looking after your kids is what women do’ which I felt was both an insult to men who do that and women who decide to do the same.

    Thanks for reading and thanks for your comment. 🙂

  4. It makes me sad when people day they embrace the ideas of feminism but won’t call themselves a feminist. I think a lot of it has to do with the media backlash against feminism but I won’t go off on a tangent—just read Susan Faludi if you want to know more 🙂

    I’ve said it before and will say it again– men can 100% be feminists. I’m married to one and I’m raising one 🙂

  5. I think everyone should identify as being a feminist. I don’t think it’s only for women -after all, you dont need to be homosexual to support gay rights, you dont need to be a member of an ethnic minority to know racism is wrong.

    Nothing hurts me more than hearing someone, probably more so if that person is a woman, say that she isn’t a feminist. Feminism has many different strands, but at the core of all the different branches is equality. How can you NOT identify with that?!

  6. I am a feminist, but I don’t wear it on my forehead (except on my blog). People should not have to explicitly say they are a feminist to indicate they respect other people (and themselves). At the end of the day, every social movement is about respect and being treated equally.

    The main battle I fight when it comes to sexism is portrayal of gender roles in popular media. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I seriously think that Hollywood directors and producers hate the female population, with the garbage they cater to us. A lot of people internalize these films and TV shows and try to emulate them in their own lives, which is how pop culture messages translate into everyday attitudes. I have actually had guys complain about the fact that I don’t enjoy shopping like “most girls”. Sick of stereotypes.

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