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Author Topic: Why don't young women call themselves feminists?
Judes
publisher
Babbler # 21

posted 24 February 2005 04:44 PM      Profile for Judes   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is the question I get most by journalists interviewing me.

Do babblers have views.


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
brebis noire
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posted 24 February 2005 04:52 PM      Profile for brebis noire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
1. Because their mums are. Or friends of their mums are. (In my case, my mum wasn't - so it was a no-brainer.)

2. Because they're not yet old enough to know what being a woman is. (Applies to men as well - it's about being an adult) I think it takes most people till they're about 30 to figure out the basics of politics and how it affects their life in fundamental ways.

Edited to add: I'm not young anymore, but when I was in my 20s, I hadn't yet figured out how feminism applied to me, because I grew up in a progressive environment where feminism was 'un acquis', so I guess I thought we'd moved on from there. Turns out, I was wrong.

[ 24 February 2005: Message edited by: brebis noire ]


From: Quebec | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mush
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posted 24 February 2005 05:04 PM      Profile for Mush     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
IMHO,
1) Let's face it- the right has done a pretty good job of linking the label of "feminist" to negative stereotypes in the popular media. Dowdy, no-fun, uptight, oversensitive, etc etc. All crap, I know, but I think it sticks.

2) What Brebis Noire said. Thinking about the young women in my classes, I don't think many of them realize the many ways that gender structures their lives. I really think that most of them believe that the major battles have been fought and won.

Of course, I'm at a pretty conservative university. Why am I answering this? I'm neither young nor a woman...Jeez.....


From: Mrs. Fabro's Tiny Town | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 24 February 2005 05:07 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The young women I know who are militants in different organisations and movements (Alternatives, CLAC, UFP, different social and community movements tend to define their outlook as a general social justice approach or rejection of the existing social order - depending on how radical they are.) I suspect many look at feminism as something rather narrow, restrictive and even open to careerism. This is very similar to the outlook I see among young activists of both sexes with respect to the national question that was so important in mine.

Some progress in terms of human relations does seem to have been accomplished, at least in the younger couples I see. (In this case I'm above all talking about het couples, but not only). After all, the lads were raised by feminists, no?

I think the limits of what we and they have won will come to the forefront later on in terms of the job and housing market and if and when they raise children of their own.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mush
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posted 24 February 2005 05:14 PM      Profile for Mush     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes, Lagatta...many of the women in my classes have yet to really enter the job market as well. They are in a faculty in which the teaching staff is about 50/50 and there is a predominance of female students. I expect if they were in, say, engineering, they might have felt some of these "limits" a bit sooner.
From: Mrs. Fabro's Tiny Town | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
The Hegemo
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posted 24 February 2005 05:50 PM      Profile for The Hegemo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm curious about how the attitudes of young women seem (anecdotally) to have changed just in the last decade or so.

I was a university student in the early 90s, and I would say that at that time, I and most of the women I knew did reject the term "feminist" for precisely the reasons Mush outlines...stereotypes in the media, etc. But when it came to our actual beliefs about the relationship between men and women in society, I would say that we were feminists, whether we accepted the term or not.

When I was a TA and instructor at Queen's in the late 90s, I was taken aback again and again by the views of a lot of my women students, and some of the undergrads I knew socially, most of whom were only 5-10 years my junior. A large percentage of them not only rejected the label 'feminist,' but they tended to argue that women shouldn't work outside the home if they had kids, etc.

This is obviously hugely anecdotal evidence, so take it with a generous dollop of salt, but it really did surprise me the extent to which a significant chunk of young women seemed to have gone from rejecting "feminist" as a label to rejecting feminism altogether in the space of a few years.


From: The Persistent Vegetative States of America | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mush
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posted 24 February 2005 05:57 PM      Profile for Mush     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This would be a good project: to investigate on the one hand the social and political attitdes of young women and on the other their feelings about feminism as a movement or a label.

[ 24 February 2005: Message edited by: Mush ]


From: Mrs. Fabro's Tiny Town | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Amy
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posted 24 February 2005 06:30 PM      Profile for Amy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I often wonder about this, and in the discussions I've had, the answers I've gotten is usually, "Because the word 'humanism' applies much better to the way I see things". People see feminism as focussing exclusively on women, and after having been given all those crap readings in second year about women being better models for humanity, I can understand why they don't like the label; if that's the first thing that comes to someone's mind when they hear the word feminism, I don't really want to be associated with it. The thing is, I would like to work for a better understanding of what feminism is, rather than just accepting that other people have a skewed view and leaving it at that.

It's funny, though, cos the first person who gave me the above reason has since become a very vocal self-identifying feminist.

Oh, another part of it is that they don't really want to have to be watching their language. Maybe that's just me. I find the idea of learning about the different feminisms (and then 'identifying' with one?) a bit intense. A lot of people in my peer group really resist being pigeonholed, and see a feminist label as another example of that.


From: the whole town erupts and/ bursts into flame | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
kuri
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posted 24 February 2005 07:01 PM      Profile for kuri   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by The Hegemo:
This is obviously hugely anecdotal evidence, so take it with a generous dollop of salt, but it really did surprise me the extent to which a significant chunk of young women seemed to have gone from rejecting "feminist" as a label to rejecting feminism altogether in the space of a few years.

When I first read this I was really surprised. I has long encountered women not wanting the label "feminist" (due to the cartoon version of "feminist" as a hairy-legged, almost non-sexual, angry woman) but certainly not rejecting the philosophy of it (mainstream liberal feminist philosophy anyway), or the premise of equality between genders. But upon further reflection, I wonder if it may be a reaction to an overload of choice, and little support in how to cope with it. During a long period of unemployment and general lack of direction last year, I often thought to myself, "Well, if I were born 100 years ago into the same social circumstances, I wouldn't have to choose a career or feel bad that I was unable to get one, it would be choosen for me: I'd be a farmer's wife and a mother." Of course, I know rationally that only 1 or 2 months into that lifestyle I'd be bored to tears and half mad but it still made it seem like almost a comfort. In some ways, freedom can be almost overwhelming, so maybe this rush to traditionalism is a coping mechanism for some people looking for direction.

Another contributing factor, I think, is the continued glorification of motherhood (in particular celebrity motherhood) that plays up childbearing and rearing as a necessary component of female adulthood. It's not too much of a step from it being a necessary component to it being the central component.


From: an employer more progressive than rabble.ca | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
brebis noire
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posted 24 February 2005 07:06 PM      Profile for brebis noire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You're right on, Amy. I went through that stage where feminism just seemed too narrow and limiting - almost to the point of being self-serving - so I identified myself as a humanist for a long time, before I really decided to take a good look at the more complete version of history, and have experiences in my own life that demonstrated to me that true feminism had nothing to do with the media construct. Now, I realize that I was growing up during the Great Backlash, and Mush's post shows just how effective that has proven to be.

I suppose, too, that had I appropriated the term 'feminist' when I was younger, I would've felt like I was calling myself a 'suffragette', just because the term itself belonged to a women's movement that was before my time.

But in the end, for me it was a question of going through the stuff that defines me as a woman in the current world (sex, childcare, career opportunities, ageing, politics) that makes me choose to define myself as a feminist. That might be somewhat self-serving after all, but it's integrated into a larger vision that includes social justice, openness to other people, peace, environmentalism, et al. I guess a person can be a feminist without a larger vision of social justice - that's where it loses its appeal for me.


From: Quebec | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 24 February 2005 07:12 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That is true about young women who aren't radical - most those I know are more radical and tend to call themselves anarchist, socialist, revolutionary, "altremondialiste" etc. But then, when I was a teen, although I wouldn't have rejected the feminist label I thought "radical", "revolutionary", "socialist" or whatever was far more essential.

Coming to be feminist from out of an already left political perspective related a lot to how we were treated in the movement, and in the differential opportunities offered to men and women in the broader world.

A lot of the young women I knew when I was young rejected the very idea of having children if they wanted to be political and/or creative. Some changed their minds later on, but a great many of us didn't. This changed among later cohorts - a good thing if it meant more choices in life. But skdadl had some interesting observations in that regard about cohorts and demographic factors.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
The Hegemo
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posted 24 February 2005 07:50 PM      Profile for The Hegemo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Now that I've had a couple of hours after work to reflect upon it, let me give a more specific example. It seemed like any time a school shooting was in the news (which seemed to be unfortunately frequent in the late 1990s), my students and younger friends would immediately start in about how school shootings happened because kids didn't get the attention they needed because both parents worked -- something that was always atttributed to greed, "wanting that second car," etc -- and that when [i]they/i] got married and had kids, they would certainly stay home with their kids.

Thinking about it in these more specific terms, I'd say a couple things come to mind -- first, that these were young women who, by and large, came from fairly comfortable backgrounds and who didn't have much or any experience in the labor market or with trying to support themselves, so they were probably (like I was at that age, honestly) not all that in tune with what it actually takes economically to get by, whether with kids or without. Second, they were really parroting a meme that was in the media around those school shootings -- blaming the "greedy mothers who put that second SUV in front of their kids." So it might really have been more about young people without a lot of life experience being exposed to a particular argument in the media and accepting it without a lot of critical reflection. In other words, something that happens frequently around any number of issues (people on welfare are lazy, affirmative action is always reverse discrimination, Quebec is whiny, to list a few more old saws the majority of my male and female students would repeat), and perhaps says more about how young people form political beliefs than how young women have turned against feminism.

I dunno. I would be interested in seeing empirical research on this though, and whether the backlash has carried through to a rejection of liberal feminism as a philosophy among those born after 1980.


From: The Persistent Vegetative States of America | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 24 February 2005 07:59 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Because the right wing media has been so succesful at making the word feminism synonymous with hating men.

And I'm not making that up. Ask young women why they do not consider themselves feminists and most will tell you because they do not hate men.

If you live in London, you should read this month's Q Magazine as it focusses on feminism. It is quite good. The link is below although there is no online content.

http://www.qmagazine.ca/


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 24 February 2005 08:44 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yep, I think it's as simple as what WingNut has said. Young women or teenage girls have bought the "feminists hate men" thing hook, line, and sinker.

Also, most of them are not old enough yet to have experienced the kind of sexism that radicalizes feminist women. They're still at their most valued age, where they're getting lots of attention, lots of encouragement, and lots of positive strokes. They haven't been in marriages where on AVERAGE (not in every marriage), women do the majority of the housework, and they haven't been in jobs where they see pink collar ghettoes (or at least not ones they figure they'll have to be in forever even if they have a part-time job somewhere during school).

I think I've always identified as a feminist as long as I knew what it meant. I don't think I went through an "I'm not a feminist but" stage. Not sure why. Maybe I thought being feminist was more rebellious.

Come to think of it, I still do.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Clare
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posted 24 February 2005 10:23 PM      Profile for Clare     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I read an interview with Orlando Bloom (Legolas, LOTR; Paris, Troy) in my daughter's YM magazine. He said he wouldn't want to date a feminist.

I mean I respect them and everything, but they're tough. I'd like someone a little more feminine.

That's a paraphrase but essentially what he said.

This is the same magazine that features two page advertising supplements paid by Tampax (that look like articles) downplaying the seriousness of toxic shock syndrome. I've tried so hard to steer her away from this kind of crap but it's what her friends are reading so she must have it.

My daughter is only 13 and definitely a budding feminist who regularly takes on anyone who makes a sexist comment. She was a little disturbed by his comments but not enough to stop drooling.

[ 28 February 2005: Message edited by: audra trower williams ]


From: Kitchener | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Clare
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posted 24 February 2005 10:25 PM      Profile for Clare     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I seem to have done something to eliminate and italicize parts of my post.

Orlando Bloom said he respects feminists but they're kind of tough and he likes his women a little more feminine.


From: Kitchener | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Coyote
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posted 24 February 2005 10:27 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Boo, Orlando!
From: O’ for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 24 February 2005 10:32 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think it is a combination of 1) They haven't lived, and 2)They have a false image of feminists as "tough" in a negative way, like Orlando Bloom does.

I remember a survey done of high school women/girls about ten years ago. They were from an average high school, but thought, overwhelmingly, that they would probably never have to work outside the home, because their husband would support them.

They also estimated their husband's likely earnings at $120,000.00 per year.

Since most women, by a large margin, work outside the home, and because the average income is half what they were expecting, basically they were living in a dream world.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
brebis noire
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posted 24 February 2005 10:33 PM      Profile for brebis noire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Clare:
he likes his women a little more feminine.

Did he really say his women, plural? What, does the guy have a harem?


From: Quebec | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Debra
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posted 24 February 2005 10:40 PM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Why does being a feminist preclude being "feminine"?

Why can't you enjoy "fashion" and still expect to be treated with respect?

I do agree that many young women will not identify with feminism because they don't want to be labeled man haters, but I think it is also somewhat because they haven\t had to stuggle with the right to wear pants, to get the same jobs, to be taken seriously.

I can remember a class at school where the teacher singled out all the girls who were wearing jeans and sweatshirts and said they were lesbians because they were dressed like boys.

The assumption being that wearing pants made them boys and all lesbians dressed that way.

I doubt a teacher would be allowed to do that today.

I never had a problem with identifying as a feminist, in fact it solidified my defiance of the system as a whole.

Maybe too many young people are so cynical of the systems that rule our lives that they choose not even to defy it.

[ 24 February 2005: Message edited by: Debra ]


From: The only difference between graffiti & philosophy is the word fuck... | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
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posted 25 February 2005 01:48 AM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Because there is a stigma attatched. I'm not saying it's right, I'm saying it exists. "Feminist" conjures images of screaming man-haters to many people. Most women don't want to be associated with that image. I hear many of them say "I'm not a feminist, I just beleive in equal rights". What they don't realize is that that does make them a feminist, albeit a mainstream one not a radical.
From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 25 February 2005 08:26 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What's a radical feminist, Gir?
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
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posted 25 February 2005 09:00 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
rad·i·cal (rd-kl) adj.

1. Arising from or going to a root or source; basic: proposed a radical solution to the problem.
2. Departing markedly from the usual or customary; extreme: radical opinions on education.
3. Favoring or effecting fundamental or revolutionary changes in current practices, conditions, or institutions: radical political views.
4. Linguistics. Of or being a root: a radical form.
5. Botany. Arising from the root or its crown: radical leaves.
6. Slang. Excellent; wonderful.


Door Number Six, Gir! For gawd sake, say Door Number Six!!

*peeping between fingers*


From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 25 February 2005 09:23 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Heph:

I'm a radical feminist, Gir. I'm coming to get you!

I'm not a young woman, so I'm still wondering about these things m'self. One observation: it has only slowly dawned on me just how wide and deep the backlash is. You might notice how many women have been saying in recent days, in the discussions of abortion rights, eg, that they had no idea women's right to choose might be seriously threatened again. Me either, boy. I mean gril.

Just when I think that the world can't get any more conservative (I've been thinking that since the eighties), it does. I think that is part of the problem, ever more serious pressure on people generally to fear for their personal security first.

lagatta mentioned me on demographics -- not sure I can remember what I've said over time, although I know that "studies have shown" that women outnumbered men in my cohort (first decade of the baby boom) to an unusual degree; and the cohort ahead of ours, where women traditionally would go mate-hunting, was unusually small (because of the Depression and the war). So it just was true: we were short of mates; it was very clear to many women by the mid-sixties that we were going to have to fend for ourselves, yet in a world that did not make that highly possible. That isn't the only or even the major explanation for the fierceness of what is now called the second wave, but it's a factor.

Even when feminism was thriving (by the early seventies), there were splits and tensions among feminists. I've never been comfortable with the commercially successful version that won by the end of that decade, which was purely equal-opportunity based, but I've mellowed in my anger about that development. People did what they had to do at the time.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 25 February 2005 10:17 AM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I've never been comfortable with the commercially successful version that won by the end of that decade

I might stir up a hornets nest here but, oh well ...

From a strictly observational viewpoint, the feminism movement was comprised of three distinct groups which often overlapped: sexual rights, economic rights and opportunity.

The overlap was greatest between sexual rights and economic rights as the women were often the same. Essentially, they were working class women, often but not always unionized, who were demanding fair wages in some cases and equaly wages for equal work in others and many times, both.

They were also demanding control of their reproductive rights, and it is here, where they often overlapped with feminist student groups who, in turn, overlapped with feminists demanding equal opportunity, or -- to provide a metaphor, the elimination of the glass ceiling.

It was the equal opportunity feminists who were, largely, co-opted and soon became spokespersons on behalf of corporations announcing layoffs of female workers in low paid jobs, for example.

The backlash was never against the third group. Privileged society could countenance privileged women in a few positions of power so long as those women were, themselves, conservative: Thatcher, Christine Whitman, Amiel, etc ...

Further, the backlash was less concerned with sexual liberation because sexual exploitation could then be sold as a "choice" or as evidence of newly found sexual freedom. Hence the objectification and marketing of female sexuality for consumer edification became "empowering" for female artists such as Madonna.

The backlash was most concerned with the second group, women demanding fair wages and equal pay. They became the "man haters" and the "femi-nazis" and the "ugly" bitches so despised by right wing pundits.

They are also the ones who have been most succesful in winning reproductive rights, obtaining concessions such as maternity leave, and wresting from government and industry court victories recognizing their contributions, rights and entitlements.

It is still class warfare. There would never have been a backlash if their had never been a victory.

Keep fighting grils.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 25 February 2005 10:30 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Not bad -- for a guy -- Wingy.

I still subscribe to that analysis too, Wingy -- but then, I'm not young. I think that many younger women who have come to identify themselves as feminists are still uncomfortable with our discomfort over broader notions of "empowerment," especially as it touches on women's sexuality. As I read them on babble, anyway, third-wavers are considerably more relativist than am stodgy old I.

That may have something to do with shifting notions -- and realities -- of class. The work force has changed, but the old institutions of working-class solidarity have not caught up with some of those changes, and younger people don't appear to see in them much promise at all. That disappoints me, but I see that it is a real problem from both sides.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hailey
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posted 25 February 2005 10:38 AM      Profile for Hailey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The reasons I've heard

1) Some women don't believe in any of the goals of feminism but that would be remarkably goal.
2. Some women believe that the word feminist implies something more organized and inclusive of activism. I've asked people why they aren't a feminist when they've said "I believe in equal rights I am just not a feminist" and they've sometimes said "Well, I just don't have the time to get involved". They see a feminist as a person that is an activist not just a person with beliefs.
3) The perception of feminists as persons who focus on "silly things". I remember an example I constantly heard was a group of feminist lobbying a city to change the name man hole cover to something gender neutral.
4) Some women I've noticed over the years are very interested in making sure any man within 50 feet sees them a certain way and a feminist wouldn't be a positive part of that picture.
5) Feminists are not an inclusive group.

quote:
I can remember a class at school where the teacher singled out all the girls who were wearing jeans and sweatshirts and said they were lesbians because they were dressed like boys.
The assumption being that wearing pants made them boys and all lesbians dressed that way.
I doubt a teacher would be allowed to do that today.

I know this is offtopic but your post made me think of something. One of my sisters really enjoyed the whole idea of being educated in the community rather than home-schooled and she spent more years than any of us in community schools.

During the summer the girls would often wear increasingly lighter clothing in the summer and in any situation with a mixture of value systems there are different views about what is "too little". My sister was wearing what just about every other girl in the class was a shorter wrapped skirt and top. Some of the teachers had taken the stance that you couldn't come into their particular classroom wearing that rather than accepting a uniform school policy. One of the teachers, however, decided to do something far creepier than that. The teacher stood by the door as persons entered and motioned some girls to go to the front. They hadn't realized until everyone had filed in that the teacher had sorted them through according to wardrobe. Women in pants or mid-calf skirts were seated with women in shorts or skirts above the knee at the front. The teacher then asked them to turn with their backside facing the class and bend over. If the teacher or the other students could see "their cheeks" they'd have to go home and change.

This was 7 years ago!

Stuff still happens.

[ 25 February 2005: Message edited by: Hailey ]


From: candyland | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
kuri
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posted 25 February 2005 10:51 AM      Profile for kuri   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Was that teacher disciplined, Hailey? What a humiliation for those girls! There were rules around dress codes in my high school but skirt length could be determined from knee.

I can see your point about some people seeing feminists as being "activists". I remember one time a teacher saying that I would carry the "women's rights" banner in a march and this image bothered me because I saw marching as probably the least effective way of enacting change and certainly not something that would be symbolic of being a feminist. I saw being a feminist as something demonstrated by my everyday life choices first and foremost, and secondly by working in a profession that would further social justice.

What do you mean, though, that feminists are not an inclusive group? I think most of us see everyone as potentially feminist, including men. I've never seen any particular movement on the part of feminists to say, "You can't be one of us."


From: an employer more progressive than rabble.ca | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 25 February 2005 11:03 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
WingNut:From a strictly observational viewpoint, the feminism movement was comprised of three distinct groups which often overlapped: sexual rights, economic rights and opportunity.

....The backlash was most concerned with the second group, women demanding fair wages and equal pay. They became the "man haters" and the "femi-nazis" and the "ugly" bitches so despised by right wing pundits.

....It is still class warfare. There would never have been a backlash if their had never been a victory.


Impressive analysis. Sign me up. Something that I notice in government is the constant barrage of "business women" and other corporate propaganda directed at women in government, the purpose of which seems to be to demobilize them and mis-direct them away from any kind of self-conscious feminism. Courses are offered the purpose of which seems to be just plain corporate brainwashing and anti-class consciousness. Don't forget that there are now more women in the unionized work force than men. There's even some offices financed by government, the purpose of which is to "help" women start their own businesses. I see the whole thing as an exercise in anti-feminist brainwashing and it has definitely taken its toll.


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Hailey
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posted 25 February 2005 11:09 AM      Profile for Hailey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
What do you mean, though, that feminists are not an inclusive group? I think most of us see everyone as potentially feminist, including men. I've never seen any particular movement on the part of feminists to say, "You can't be one of us."


I'm saying it's a perception. I'm not saying it's accurate.

There have been feminists that have made statements that get overstated within the media or various circles and ingrains a certain image. For example, you can't be a feminist against abortion is one. Another one is in much more radical groups of thinking some have even said that you have to be a lesbian. That isn't representative of the majority but those radical statements get shared excessively and ingrain an image.

I think people feel that they have can't agree on a portion of the goals - it's all or nothing.


From: candyland | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
belva
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posted 25 February 2005 11:19 AM      Profile for belva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My two daughters are the children, grandchildren & great-grandchildren of "feminists" and they act terrified of the the term. What they say to me is that the word is "dated," related to historical movements from the '60s & '70s. They seem unaware of how much my struggles and those of their grandmothers & great-grandmothers have benefited them. I think that the advantages for which I struggled for them have blinded them. I trust more lived experience shall change them, opening their eyes.

Interestingly, my son describes himself as "feminist" and says, "With you for a mother, how could I not be feminist?" (Mother-son relationships can be wonderful!)

I certainly am both feminine and feminist; my children could never use that "ugly, hairy, man-hater" crap about my feminism.

My sense is that my granddaughters shall be more "feminist" than their mothers. Let's resume this discussion in twenty more years--I'll add more first-hand experience.


From: bliss | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Vigilante
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posted 25 February 2005 03:23 PM      Profile for Vigilante        Edit/Delete Post
Perhaps a combination of the reacionary side of the 2nd wave(porn ect)as well as the patriarchical media.
From: Toronto | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
bodhitrees
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posted 25 February 2005 05:30 PM      Profile for bodhitrees        Edit/Delete Post
Many of my not to insightful male aquaintances always are relating to me the misandrist nature that they perceive from fenmale persons in positions of trust or power.YES this is the trend then i think ,of the blaming the gender rather than the problem,Many people are polarized this way .
The genderism is rampant but uncalled for nowadays ,people do not want to take responsibility for their own actions ,for example, and look for someone to blame,or something.
Men can be so different in their socialisation.

From: canada west | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sharon
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posted 25 February 2005 06:17 PM      Profile for Sharon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think the title of this thread -- a question -- is also the answer.

I was of the second wave and as young women then, I think we felt self-conscious and uncomfortable with the word "feminist." Very early on, the word was purloined by the mainstream media and turned into a label. The women called "feminists" were routinely ridiculed and diminished.

I clearly remember the headlines after the so-called "bra-burning" incident (in which no bras were ever burned) at the Miss America contest in Atlantic City. The word "feminist" was put inside quotation marks, the stories underneath were written with a mock-seriousness, there was a real tone of, "hey, there are important things going on in the world. Why are we wasting our time on this?"

I believe the two main things that pushed our second wave generation toward our proud use of the word "feminist" were the consciousness-raising meetings (which lots of people also made fun of) where so many of us finally laid everything out on the table and began to see the patterns and to see so many similarities in the lives of women who, in lots of ways, had nothing else in common except being women.

And secondly, our reading -- reading, reading, reading: Mary Daly, Kate Millett, Gloria Steinem, Michelle Landsberg, Dale Spender, Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer and so many others -- and then going back and reading women that we had read before but hadn't really comprehended: Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf, Mary Wollstonecraft, Vera Brittain and so many others.

And then came the day when, as the brand new Ms Magazine had predicted, one heard the "click" -- and suddenly everything fell into place and we were able to wrap the word "feminist" around ourselves and know that our lives had changed forever.

You know what? It will happen to many of the young women of today just as it happened to the then-young women of the second wave. I have every confidence.

[ 25 February 2005: Message edited by: Sharon ]


From: Halifax, Nova Scotia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
brebis noire
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posted 25 February 2005 06:39 PM      Profile for brebis noire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I agree Sharon. The only problem is, young women today don't have demographics on their side, and our society is so fragmented that this has to happen on an individual level - in the foreseeable future in Europe and North America. I just get the feeling that anything important in terms of a movement of people has to come from another part of the world where there is a larger and more cohesive youth demographic.
From: Quebec | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
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posted 25 February 2005 08:16 PM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
What's a radical feminist, Gir?

Ask a sexist male what a feminist is. The answer he gives you will be wrong, but it will be what I am referring to.


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Reality. Bites.
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posted 25 February 2005 08:50 PM      Profile for Reality. Bites.        Edit/Delete Post
Good save.
From: Gone for good | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
shaolin
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posted 25 February 2005 11:43 PM      Profile for shaolin     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Right, I haven't read this whole thread yet but I'm going to put my two-cents worth in anyway and risk repeating what has already been said.

I'm twenty-two years old and for all intents and purposes I've been a feminist for as long as I can remember. I caused a ruckus when I moved towns when I was eight and was told I'd have to join the softball team instead of the hardball team because girls weren't allowed. But, only about a year and a half or two years ago did I finally self-label as a feminist.

Definitely, a big part of it was having the label applied to me without my consent and used synonymously with being a man-hating dyke. Fitting in held a certain degree of importance and in my small-town there was always someone watching to see how you weren't conforming.

But the label was always applied to me anyway. I might have denied it in order to fit in but I couldn't keep my mouth shut when it counted most. So, eventually in my second year of university, in the midst of so-called progressive male activists who pegged me as the token feminist and made jokes about me staying in the kitchen to try and get under my skin, I just kind of embraced it. It feels good, but in a way it's still a sort of brave thing to do.

But it has always been this way, right? Because as long as there have been feminists there have been more who shake their head no and try to keep on fitting in. I think this is easier to do now because at least in my experience surrounded by middle class, privileged university kids, there is little recognition that we're missing out on anything the boys have.


From: Edinburgh | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged
ReeferMadness
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posted 26 February 2005 04:55 AM      Profile for ReeferMadness     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think the reason that most people don't call themselves feminists anymore is quite simple. Most people think that the war is over, victory has been achieved and that it's time to get back to life.

Personally, (pausing here to pull on flame-retardant overalls) I think the usage of the term feminism has long ceased to be a good thing. Once you achieve a certain level of parity, it's time to stop demanding the notion of gender equality and just expect and demand to be accepted for who you are.

Most people associate feminism with equal rights for women, not equality of genders and certainly not the freedom of people to do and be whoever they want, regardless of gender. And much as we might like to blame it on the media, I think there is a fair bit of logic behind this association.

Bottom line: I don't get why anyone would prefer the term feminist to humanist.

Gir - stop being a coward and show your true colors.


From: Way out there | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
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posted 26 February 2005 07:30 AM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ReeferMadness:

Gir - stop being a coward and show your true colors.


What are you talking about? I'm not hiding anything when it comes to my reasoning on why women reject the feminist label. I was specifically avoiding making the connection at first, but shaolin just did. Yes, there is a butch/lesbian connotation to the word "feminist". I think it's terrible, but I don't know what to do about it. Or if there is anything I can do about it...

From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 26 February 2005 08:30 AM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes. You can reject it. Just the same way you, hopefully, reject all other superficial and negative stereotypes.
From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 26 February 2005 10:00 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I was going to wait until I finished reading "Ten Thousand Roses" before I waded in here. But what the heck.

Like many progressive groups, feminism is somewhat a victim of it's own success. The battle ground has shifted from getting legislative recognition and enforcement of equal rights, to rear gaurd actions to protect those rights, and ensure women have practicle access to those rights.

I have three daughters. None are fire brand, protesting feminists. They, and women of their generation don't have to be-- others have paved that road for them. So, while they don't identify with feminist groups or the feminist label, they do have a very strong idea-- which comes from the efforts and sacrifices of first and second wave feminists-- of equality, and when they feel that is violated, that they are treated as second class citizens because of their gender they are not accepting of it.

What they are naive about is in thinking that they can protect themselves by individual action.

And I believe the feminist movement can put itself back at the cutting edge of social change by providing a place to go for young women who find out that they can't get access to the equality they believe is in place on their own.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 27 February 2005 10:09 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Ah, after having read some of "Ten Thousand Roses" we see that many of the young women of the first and second wave didn't want to call themselves "feminists" or "women's libers".

It doesn't seem to be something confined to today's young women, and it doesn't seem to be a factor in getting things done, either.

Maybe, because of the diversity of views and backgrounds within feminism, women are cagey about the feminist label, because it can mean many different things to many different people.

Then, as now.

[ 27 February 2005: Message edited by: Tommy_Paine ]


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 27 February 2005 11:57 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Gir Draxon:
Ask a sexist male what a feminist is. The answer he gives you will be wrong, but it will be what I am referring to.

That doesn't answer my question at all.

What is a "radical feminist", Gir?

You said,

quote:
What they don't realize is that that does make them a feminist, albeit a mainstream one not a radical.

You were the one who used the term "a radical". You. So YOU define it since you used it, instead of weaseling out.

What is a "radical feminist", Gir?


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Judes
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posted 27 February 2005 12:09 PM      Profile for Judes   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here's an example of how the mainstream press describes feminism from the Janice Kennedy in last week's Ottawa Citizen. I can't give you a link because you have to be a print subscriber to get on their web site. How bizarre is that?

quote:
Pick a subject -- the wage gap, say, or national day care -- and it's a safe bet you'll know where Rebick stands on it, down to the last syllable, before she even gets her first peep out.

Much like Official Feminism today. After decades of shaping a party line, it now finds itself prisoner of that line. It has become predictable, doctrinaire and, worst of all, intransigent, applying attitudinal templates to complex issues. Consider, for instance, the question of abortion, which the movement has always seen as a kind of philosophical linchpin.


What planet is she on?


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
kuri
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posted 27 February 2005 01:00 PM      Profile for kuri   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I suspect she's on a planet where you don't have to read or understand feminism in order to comment on it. =(|).(|)=

I'm certainly not an expert on all strains of feminism but really, anyone who's read (or listened to) a minimum of 2 feminists would not be able to plausibly say that all feminists agree nor that it is predictable what they are going to say.


From: an employer more progressive than rabble.ca | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Amy
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posted 27 February 2005 04:04 PM      Profile for Amy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ReeferMadness:
I think the reason that most people don't call themselves feminists anymore is quite simple. Most people think that the war is over, victory has been achieved and that it's time to get back to life.

Personally, (pausing here to pull on flame-retardant overalls) I think the usage of the term feminism has long ceased to be a good thing. Once you achieve a certain level of parity, it's time to stop demanding the notion of gender equality and just expect and demand to be accepted for who you are.

Most people associate feminism with equal rights for women, not equality of genders and certainly not the freedom of people to do and be whoever they want, regardless of gender. And much as we might like to blame it on the media, I think there is a fair bit of logic behind this association.

Bottom line: I don't get why anyone would prefer the term feminist to humanist.


The 'war' isn't over though; it's not even close to being over.

When I can say that none of my friends and none of yours and none of theirs have been raped, when I can say that none of my friends and none of yours and none of theirs have been in abusive relationships that involved gender-related power imabalances, (ie: when women's shelters are no longer needed), when I can say that access to abortion isn't being limited around the world by envangelicals in the white house and the Catholic Church, when my step-'mother' stops implying that I'm a 'slut' because I co-habit (but wouldn't think anything of it if I were a guy), when those "Julie's story" ads could've just as easily been "Jim's" or better: not an ad campaign at all, when kids worldwide are educated no matter their gender rather than girls disproportionately being required to help their mothers around the home, when UNIFEM has no statistical reason to exist, when the people elected to represent me are more or less in proportion with the gender balance in the world, when I can go into restaraunts in my hometown and see servers who are other than tall, thin (mostly blonde) women with big smiles, ...

THEN, I might call myself a humanist.

Equal rights for women has the word 'equality' right in it. There is no logic in saying that somehow the goal in feminism is to make women 'more equal', less restricted than men.

[ 27 February 2005: Message edited by: Amy ]


From: the whole town erupts and/ bursts into flame | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Sharon
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posted 27 February 2005 04:45 PM      Profile for Sharon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I couldn't help but think of those who believe the battle is over when I read this recent column by Maureen Dowd.

quote:
We also got a scalding peek into the locker-room mentality in Jose Canseco's new book, "Juiced." In a segment called "Slump Busters," Canseco writes: "As everyone knows, baseball players are very superstitious. Players who are struggling start talking about how they need to go out and find something to break their slump. And often enough it comes out something like this: 'Oh my God, I'm 0-for-20. I'm going to get the ugliest girl I can find and have sex with her."'

Canseco nobly points out that he never stooped to this tactic.

"I'd rather go 0-for-40," he protests. But he tattled that many of his fellow athletes did seek out "slump busters." What a lovely term used by our sports heroes, our boys of summer.

"It could mean the woman was big, or ugly, or a combination of both," Canseco explains. He said that golden boy Mark Grace, the former Chicago Cubs first baseman, who seems like the kind of nice guy and good sport you'd want to bring home to mom, defined a slump buster as making out with the "fattest, gnarliest chick you can uncover."



From: Halifax, Nova Scotia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 27 February 2005 05:17 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That was really hard to read on an empty stomach, wasn't it, Sharon.
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sharon
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posted 27 February 2005 05:56 PM      Profile for Sharon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
skdadl, it was hard to read. And it took me back too. The first time I read Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch was years ago now but I have never forgotten a sentence that opened one of her chapters -- Chapter Eight perhaps: "Women have no idea how much men loathe them."

I was shocked and frightened by that sentence and by what followed in that chapter. I still have the horrifying pictures that she described in my consciousness.

They came back to me when I read this column by Maureen Dowd.


From: Halifax, Nova Scotia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 27 February 2005 10:41 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
And people think Jose's steroid allegations are the most controversial aspect of his book

To answer Judes' original question, I think there are two main reasons:

1) Society has created a "straw woman" version of what feminist is, and not every young woman wants to identify with that.

2) Society (particularly men, but not only men) punishes young women who identify themselves as feminists.

I'd add that most of the time that I hear, "I'm not a feminist", it's followed by "but" (i.e. "I'm not a feminist, but I'd better be paid the same as a man...").


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 27 February 2005 11:26 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Some of the contributions about the "feminist" label remind me a great deal of discussions of atheism. The same "template of hate" gets used against feminists AND atheists. In which case, I can hardly blame anyone for avoiding someone else's "crosshairs" by avoiding the word except when they're among friends.

You're for equality? You're a feminist. Come to think of it, most religious people are atheists when it comes to the religious views of people that belong to churches different from their own.

[ 27 February 2005: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 28 February 2005 02:38 AM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Because in high school a feminist is equated to being a little man-killer. Which I can severely say is the totally wrong image of feminism, but it is the prevelant one. That and girls are becomingly subserviant. I shit you not, I've been seeing a really scary trend among girls in relationships in my age group.
From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
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posted 28 February 2005 03:31 AM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by N.Beltov:
Some of the contributions about the "feminist" label remind me a great deal of discussions of atheism. The same "template of hate" gets used against feminists AND atheists. In which case, I can hardly blame anyone for avoiding someone else's "crosshairs" by avoiding the word except when they're among friends.
[ 27 February 2005: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]

But it's cool now to be an atheist. I bet if you surveyed an urban high school you'd find a lot more self-identfying atheist women than feminist women. If you actually examine their beleifs, the results would be the other way around.


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
peppermint
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posted 28 February 2005 03:54 AM      Profile for peppermint     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
When I was younger it had a lot to do with the women I knew who called themselves feminists. They came in two varieties, either kind but out of touch with reality as I understood it, or the sort that put their politics before people. Neither one seemed very appealing.

Now, I'm just not a fan of labels in general. I guess I'm a feminist in my actions, but I still don't really relate to a lot of the feminist literature that I've read. It's too confrontational for me. Even here where the men seem a little nervous about posting on the feminism forum. Isn't that marginalizing them in the same way that women were marginalized in the past?


From: Korea | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Anchoress
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posted 28 February 2005 05:55 AM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
When I was 'young'... younger, most of the women I knew who identified themselves as feminists were middle-aged, grumpy women with hairy legs and coathanger earrings who used menstruation as an excuse to be absolute bitches for three weeks a month and who had an extremely judgemental, narrow-minded, 'if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem' view of women, and considered themselves the sole arbiters of what it meant to be 'part of the problem'.

They were people whom I felt I had absolutely nothing in common with, had nothing to offer me I wanted and no qualities I wished to emulate, and who had nothing but criticism and condescension for women with differing views.


From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 28 February 2005 07:20 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Gir Draxon:
But it's cool now to be an atheist. I bet if you surveyed an urban high school you'd find a lot more self-identfying atheist women than feminist women. If you actually examine their beleifs, the results would be the other way around.

Hi Gir, so nice to see you back in the thread.

So, what's a "radical feminist"?


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Krago
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posted 28 February 2005 11:25 AM      Profile for Krago     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
About a thousand years ago, I was at an NDP Provincial Council meeting in Brantford. There was a debate about the NDP having a booth at something called the Toronto Women's Show at the CNE.

National Women's Show

An executive member claimed that it was a good opportunity to show the NDP banner amid all the fashion and makeup booths, and to make contact with hundreds of women. Someone from the Women's Committee countered that it was a big waste of time and effort because "they're not our kind of women".


From: The Royal City | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 28 February 2005 11:33 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Krago, do you think that the NDP should have been paying to set up a booth at the Miss Canada pageant as well?
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 28 February 2005 11:34 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Is it possible that the term "feminist" implies more rigid dogma than young women are happy with?
From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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posted 28 February 2005 11:58 AM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think young women don't call themselves ANYTHING, because we're either too spooked to apply a label to ourselves in case we don't fully understand its tenets and are "wrong", or because we've postmoderened ourselves into a state where we see so many sides of every issue that we don't think anything is "right".
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Coyote
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posted 28 February 2005 01:04 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
Is it possible that the term "feminist" implies more rigid dogma than young women are happy with?

Which would show, again, what a good job the corporate media does of demonizing anything that challenges the status quo.

From: O’ for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 28 February 2005 01:28 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Which would show, again, what a good job the corporate media does of demonizing anything that challenges the status quo.

Huh? Actually, this thread suggests it's anything but the media. It's some actual "feminists" who seem to be turning the potential feminists off, not a media smear. Real people who've taken ownership of the term.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
brebis noire
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posted 28 February 2005 01:32 PM      Profile for brebis noire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by audra trower williams:
I think young women don't call themselves ANYTHING, because we're either too spooked to apply a label to ourselves in case we don't fully understand its tenets and are "wrong", or because we've postmoderened ourselves into a state where we see so many sides of every issue that we don't think anything is "right".

Audra, you are definitely right on. I've had to post-postmodernize myself to make that assertion.


From: Quebec | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Coyote
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posted 28 February 2005 01:39 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:

Huh? Actually, this thread suggests it's anything but the media. It's some actual "feminists" who seem to be turning the potential feminists off, not a media smear. Real people who've taken ownership of the term.


Nonsense. You're on a site populated by many a feminist, from many divergent views. Their fundamental concern qua feminists is the condition and rights of women in a patriarchal society, which gets spun into ridiculous proportions by those with a vested interest in beating back women and their rights. Blaming feminists for how those directly opposed to them frame them is highly insulting.

From: O’ for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 28 February 2005 01:47 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Their fundamental concern qua feminists is the condition and rights of women in a patriarchal society, which gets spun into ridiculous proportions by those with a vested interest in beating back women and their rights.

I'm not suggesting this doesn't occur. But that doesn't inevitably lead to it as the cause of younger women's flight from the label "feminist".

All I'm asking is whether maybe young women's experience of the word feminist is being coloured by their experiences with women who call themselves feminist, but who also have very narrow or rigid ideas about what that must mean. I think that by and large, here at babble, feminism includes a respect for certain choices (though not always), but I don't know that every "feminist" out there is necessarily so accomodating. It seems to me that if the first "feminist" you meet tells you, authoritatively, that "real feminists can't wear makeup", that could be a turnoff.

quote:
Blaming feminists for how those directly opposed to them frame them is highly insulting.

Did you read the posts by Anchoress or Peppermint just above?

Is it necessary for you to externalize this? Must the blame lay solely at the foot of the ideological enemy, or is it possible for you to listen to the experiences of other women like Anchoress and Peppermint?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Amy
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posted 28 February 2005 02:04 PM      Profile for Amy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
All I'm asking is whether maybe young women's experience of the word feminist is being coloured by their experiences with women who call themselves feminist.

I think that this is half the reason that the young woman I was speaking about above called herself a humanist for a long time; as I said in another thread, I took a class with her where we were taught Valerie Solanis as straight-up, no satire involved feminism. It bugged the crap out of me but for her, ended up being anotherexample added to her list of 'feminists who are out of touch with reality', along with the teacher of that class.

Honestly, my patience with the label was tried when dealing with rather less than understanding women's studies professors (the sort that doesn't understand that not all students have unlimited funds, for example), so I do understand what you're talking about, Mr. Magoo.


From: the whole town erupts and/ bursts into flame | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
shaolin
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posted 28 February 2005 02:10 PM      Profile for shaolin     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
All I'm asking is whether maybe young women's experience of the word feminist is being coloured by their experiences with women who call themselves feminist.

Certainly this can be the case for some. For others, it's just as much the media or societal portrayals of feminists. I didn't know a single self-proclaimed feminist until I was seventeen or eighteen - for me my experience of the word was definitely what other parties, mainly chauvinistic men, read into the word.


From: Edinburgh | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 28 February 2005 02:13 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
It seems to me that if the first "feminist" you meet tells you, authoritatively, that "real feminists can't wear makeup", that could be a turnoff.

Funny. One of the more prolific anti-feminist women I've met on babble informed us that "real women MUST wear heels," which I found hilarious, at least.

I would be amazed to hear that any woman in North America is feeling vulnerable or marginalized by someone's opinion against the wearing of make-up. There is such constant commercial affirmation of the made-up woman -- I just can't see that problem.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 28 February 2005 02:19 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I would be amazed to hear that any woman in North America is feeling vulnerable or marginalized by someone's opinion against the wearing of make-up.

I wasn't suggesting they'd feel anything other than "this clearly isn't for me then". I mean, if you wear makeup, and someone tells you that you have to choose between that and "being a real feminist", wouldn't you figure that more than a few young women would choose to pass on this? How important is the label if it comes with behaviour modification requirements?

What's the old quote? "If I can't dance, fuck your revolution" or something to that effect?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 28 February 2005 02:21 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:

Funny. One of the more prolific anti-feminist women I've met on babble informed us that "real women MUST wear heels," which I found hilarious, at least.

I would be amazed to hear that any woman in North America is feeling vulnerable or marginalized by someone's opinion against the wearing of make-up. There is such constant commercial affirmation of the made-up woman -- I just can't see that problem.


I was once told, loudly and in front of everyone at the first feminist event I ever intended, that I couldn't be a feminist and wear red lipstick. Oh, and that my hair was too big for feminism, too. I rather suspect my shoes were all wrong, as well, because I did (and sometimes still do) have a tendency to wear heels. Granted, this was a long time ago, but I'm not convinced it doesn't still happen in university settings, from conversations I've had with feminists currently in academia.

Women can be jerks, too, whether they're feminists or traditionalists.

I went through a heavy phase of "I'm not a feminist, but..." I think part of the reason for this was that, in the late '80s and early '90s, I felt that accepting my feminine side made me somewhat unacceptable in organized feminism, as did my fondness and ability to relate to men. And not without reason -- I was told as much, many times over, by other, self-identified feminists.

It took me a long time to realize that I WAS feminist, in spite of the opinions of others. I suspect there are a lot of young women out there who are going through that very same process.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
fern hill
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posted 28 February 2005 02:35 PM      Profile for fern hill        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:

Funny. One of the more prolific anti-feminist women I've met on babble informed us that "real women MUST wear heels," which I found hilarious, at least.


And my personal fave: "My husband has never seen me without lipstick" from, I think, the same source. (That one had me wanting to start a thread: "My Sweetie Has Never Seen Me Without. . .")

I just asked a young woman I'm working with if she is a feminist. She paused, then said, "I guess so." I think that for a lot of young women, they're busy being or becoming something (in this young woman's case, an artist) that is taking quite a lot of their energy. Feminism has achieved a lot -- women in university, various careers, including high-paid blue-collar work, and so on. Women's rights aren't front-of-the-mind priorities for many young women. Also, many young women haven't yet had the kinds of experiences that haul them up short yelling "WTF?!" Then realizing that the F in that is their gender.

All that said, there certainly is and has been some demonizing of the word by the media, the powers that (still) be. Me, I don't think it's a big deal whether or not young women call themselves feminists. Sooner or later the thinking, achieving ones among them will run into something that sets their priorities straight (ha).


From: away | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 28 February 2005 02:37 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm all in favour of people wearing whatever they feel good in. I was just pointing out the distinct imbalance in the propaganda, if it is propaganda that plays on people's insecurities that we are talking about.

There's no way on earth that young women are now getting or ever have got more feminist messages that intimidate them than commercial messages meant to do the same thing (or at least to make them SHOP!).

True style is something else, and it is a question of what makes you feel good. And I, like the late Princess of Wales, feel rather saucy in smart flats.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 28 February 2005 02:58 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Flats or heels, makes no difference to me. I wear both. What counts is having the choice -- I've come to the conclusion that having choices should be the main aim of feminism, although I think that feminists are as judgemental about the choices women make as traditionalists are. It doesn't really seem to matter what side of the fence we're on, we women are usually ready to pick at each other, one way or the other.

I concede that media propaganda has had an effect on how younger women understand the term "feminism", but I also believe that Magoo has a point -- we who call ourselves feminists must also acknowledge some responsibility in how we are perceived.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
ShyViolet
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posted 28 February 2005 08:27 PM      Profile for ShyViolet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:


What's the old quote? "If I can't dance, fuck your revolution" or something to that effect?


"if there's no dancing, i don't want to be part of your revolution." ~emma goldman~

[ 28 February 2005: Message edited by: ShyViolet417 ]


From: ~Love is like pi: natural, irrational, and very important~ | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 28 February 2005 11:33 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Ah, I love that quote. We DDR-nerds use it most profusely on T-shirts.

I think there is a big problem nowadays, and it is growing. The complacency of girls my age. The whole "sexual liberation" complex is growing, but the idea of women's rights isn't. A lot of girls are simply dismissing these important aspects and choosing to reap the rewards of what the old front of feminists did for them without thinking on the consequences of laying back and ignoring the growing mysognist ideas in young men.


From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
anne cameron
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posted 28 February 2005 11:43 PM      Profile for anne cameron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I am a feminist. I have been described as a "radical feminist". I have been described as "a radical lesbian feminist". Labels... yawn. I am a feminist. I am a mother. I am a grandmother. I used to be bothered when young women said "I'm not a feminist but....", now I am less bothered, because they are young. I suspect I have 'always' been a feminist but I didn't know it until "click"....my click came when my daughter was about three years old. She came home covered with little round bruises. Some boys had taken her new tryke, she tried to get it back, the gang of them beat her up and kicked her. I thought my head was going to explode. My poor unimiginative husband came home from work expecting to find his supper ready and instead he found Momma and daughter celebrating the return of the tryke. Momma had taught her how to throw a punch, how to kick and where to kick, and how to grab them by the ears, haul their heads forward and bite their noses. She got her tryke back, she was Boadicea, she was Wonder Woman, she was proud! And he, poor guy, (poor sap) gave us both a lecture on how she should learn to be NICE. Insisted she could have got her tryke back by asking NICELY, going to their mothers, if necessary. And I just went ballistic. Wound up yelling that no god damned etc. etc., snotnosed little so'n'so was EVER going to etc., etc., if necessary I'd get her karate lessons and furthermore if he wanted her to wear frilly dresses he could goddamwell iron them himself. Still fuming I began to make supper and CLICK.

It all fell into place while I mashed the turnips and checked the meatloaf. My rage was as much for myself as for her. That same pack of little boys had never even tried to take anything from either of her brothers (one older, one younger). They went at her because she was a girl. And I didn't get her karate lessons I got her boxing lessons. "They" expect karate, they don't expect a good solid right cross or left hook!!

Now she is a woman who identifies herself as a feminist. Her sister is a woman who identifies herself as a feminist. Both work and struggle in non-traditional careers.

Neither of my daughters has or wants children. They both say they have all they can do to keep their heads above water and children would make that impossible.

I have granddaughters. I have taught them how to defend themselves physically. Yes, I dream of a world where none of us has to be able to defend her/himself physically. I do not expect to live long enough to see that and as long as women and girls are the main targets I want my darlings able to have at least a fighting chance to get to the "to sound alarm break glass" gizmo and call the fire department or police or both.

Young women do not identify themselves as feminist because the CLICK has not yet happened. It will. Sooner or later. Society will make it impossible for them not to get their noses rubbed in the truth and then CLICK!

I am a feminist, I am said to be radical, I do not hate men but I detest the things (some) men do and (most) men do nothing about. Until rape is as big a threat to men as it is to women it will continue. If we started tonight and every time a woman is raped a hit squad of angry feminists grabbed a man at random off the street and brutalized him it wouldn't take three months for rape laws to become more effective. If we could grab lawyers and judges and pound the piss out of them it would take less time. As long as rape is a threat only to women and girls rape will continue to be the subject of jokes.

I am deemed radical because I see nothing funny in rape jokes and I SAY SO. I see nothing funny in blonde jokes and I SAY SO. When some dumb cluck of a man makes an anti-woman joke at a party I CALL IT.

I still get invited to parties.

I think I'll end this, it seems to be going on a bit much.

My granddaughters will eventually hear and feel CLICK. As will their granddaughters. We've been hearing CLICK for a long time...too long! Feminism gave me political analysis and taught me "Who benefits?" "Is that an accident?".

We are the ocean, we come in waves. We cannot push push push constantly, we have to take time off to rear our amazon daughters and our gentle sons. But we recognize each other. Pay attention. Watch. See the smiles, the little smiles, the nods, the quiet way non-radical women support the mouthy dykes. I was at a dinner recently, eleven people, having a most wonderful meal and a boor made some kind of idiotic joke and I put down my cutlery (potential implements of total destruction) and very mildly asked "and would you tell that joke to your grandma?". Dead silence. Idiot started to go red in the face. A very quiet women who probably would never have confronted him said "my grandma wouldn't think it the least bit funny.". His wife (who probably NEVER argued with the boor) said "I've told you that joke stinks". Another woman said "he wouldn't dare tell that joke to my grandma, she'd slap his face". The men were quiet. And THAT is the biggest reason young women do not identify as feminist... they do not want to offend the silent men. But they will outgrow that. They will learn, through heartache and heartbreak, that silent men are complicit in the rape of children, the abuse of the elderly, the pillaging of the last few remnants left to the politically powerless. And when they hear the CLICK, look out! We have given them a foundation on which to build new barricades against their own perceived injustices. It is not for me to say which battle my granddaughter chooses to fight it is only my obligation as her Grandma to give her the tools to fight the fight effectively, and with honour, in the very proud tradition of all of us who are blue jeaned loud mouthed radical lesbian sarcastic humourless and overlysenstive bitches.

Solidarity, sisters.


From: tahsis, british columbia | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
James
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posted 01 March 2005 12:13 AM      Profile for James        Edit/Delete Post
A powerful post, Anne;

I say so right now to ensure it is immediately brought to the fore of "today's active topics"

[ 01 March 2005: Message edited by: James ]


From: Windsor; ON | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Contrarian
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posted 01 March 2005 12:22 AM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, I feel like standing up and cheering.
From: pretty far west | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
ShyViolet
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posted 01 March 2005 12:38 AM      Profile for ShyViolet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
yay anne!
From: ~Love is like pi: natural, irrational, and very important~ | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 01 March 2005 12:55 AM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That is a bad ass story.

Standing O.


From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
catje
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posted 01 March 2005 04:23 AM      Profile for catje     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
clearly, i'm just here to spend my evening agreeing with anne cameron.

although i do call myself a feminist but don't really remember the click. perhaps it has happened so often in so many small ways that i've lost track . . .


From: lotusland | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
peppermint
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posted 01 March 2005 05:11 AM      Profile for peppermint     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by anne cameron:
I am a feminist, I am said to be radical, I do not hate men but I detest the things (some) men do and (most) men do nothing about. Until rape is as big a threat to men as it is to women it will continue. If we started tonight and every time a woman is raped a hit squad of angry feminists grabbed a man at random off the street and brutalized him it wouldn't take three months for rape laws to become more effective. If we could grab lawyers and judges and pound the piss out of them it would take less time. As long as rape is a threat only to women and girls rape will continue to be the subject of jokes.


As much as I was with Anne through both the story about her daughter and the story about the dinner party, the part I bolded is almost exactly the kind of thing that puts me off calling myself a feminist. I know a disturbingly high number of chauvenists, but I don't know a single one who would ever joke about rape, nevermind silently condone it.


From: Korea | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
voice of the damned
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posted 01 March 2005 07:14 AM      Profile for voice of the damned     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I know a disturbingly high number of chauvenists, but I don't know a single one who would ever joke about rape, nevermind silently condone it.

Actually, in my experience, men, be they chauvinist or otherwise, are more likely to make jokes about male-on-male rape. Innunendo about prison assault, impromptu imitation of the duelling banjo chords, that sort of thing.

I suspect men are more likely to take a light-hearted approach to this topic because for most of them the chances of being raped are pretty remote.


From: Asia | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Hailey
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posted 01 March 2005 07:26 AM      Profile for Hailey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Because in high school a feminist is equated to being a little man-killer. Which I can severely say is the totally wrong image of feminism, but it is the prevelant one.

It's common, yes.

quote:
That and girls are becomingly subserviant. I shit you not, I've been seeing a really scary trend among girls in relationships in my age group.

That's not my experience. I don't consider it scary depending on how it fleshs itself out.


quote:
I would be amazed to hear that any woman in North America is feeling vulnerable or marginalized by someone's opinion against the wearing of make-up. There is such constant commercial affirmation of the made-up woman -- I just can't see that problem

I know women who feel judged by the decision to have make up by those who feel that it's wrong.

quote:
I was once told, loudly and in front of everyone at the first feminist event I ever intended, that I couldn't be a feminist and wear red lipstick. Oh, and that my hair was too big for feminism, too. I rather suspect my shoes were all wrong, as well, because I did (and sometimes still do) have a tendency to wear heels.

That made me smile!

quote:
Granted, this was a long time ago, but I'm not convinced it doesn't still happen in university settings, from conversations I've had with feminists currently in academia.

It happens as a minority experience.

quote:
It took me a long time to realize that I WAS feminist, in spite of the opinions of others. I suspect there are a lot of young women out there who are going through that very same process.


Agreed.

quote:
my click came when my daughter was about three years old. She came home covered with little round bruises. Some boys had taken her new tryke, she tried to get it back, the gang of them beat her up and kicked h

Honestly, Anne, I'm puzzled why you would think that a small child who is three years old would have the skill set to be out alone. SO much worse things could happen than losing a tricycle.

quote:
Momma had taught her how to throw a punch, how to kick and where to kick, and how to grab them by the ears, haul their heads forward and bite their noses. She got her tryke back, she was Boadicea, she was Wonder Woman, she was proud! And he, poor guy, (poor sap) gave us both a lecture on how she should learn to be NICE. Insisted she could have got her tryke back by asking NICELY, going to their mothers, if necessary. And I just went ballistic. Wound up yelling that no god damned etc. etc., snotnosed little so'n'so was EVER going to etc., etc., if necessary I'd get her karate lessons and furthermore if he wanted her to wear frilly dresses he could goddamwell iron them himself. Still fuming I began to make supper and CLICK.

Male or female I would prefer to have children that resolved problems without fighting. I would certainly never oversee or guide a fight.

quote:
I have granddaughters. I have taught them how to defend themselves physically. Yes, I dream of a world where none of us has to be able to defend her/himself physically

I agree we live in a world where women may have to defend themselves against rapists and such.

quote:
Young women do not identify themselves as feminist because the CLICK has not yet happened. It will. Sooner or later. Society will make it impossible for them not to get their noses rubbed in the truth and then CLICK!


Perhaps their "click" is different and perhaps it guides them to think differently. Every life lived is one filled with different experiences.

quote:
I do not hate men but I detest the things (some) men do and (most) men do nothing about. Until rape is as big a threat to men as it is to women it will continue

I don't hate men. I detest the things that some men and women do to each other. I detest that men and women do not do enough about it. The barriers to diminishing rape as a threat are broader than what you suggest.

quote:
If we started tonight and every time a woman is raped a hit squad of angry feminists grabbed a man at random off the street and brutalized him it wouldn't take three months for rape laws to become more effective. If we could grab lawyers and judges and pound the piss out of them it would take less time.

I couldn't support that anymore than I believe that aboriginal people should randomly grab white people to harm them because their voices are not being heard or any other number of examples.

quote:
As long as rape is a threat only to women and girls rape will continue to be the subject of jokes.

I have never heard a rape joke.

quote:
I am deemed radical because I see nothing funny in rape jokes and I SAY SO. I see nothing funny in blonde jokes and I SAY SO. When some dumb cluck of a man makes an anti-woman joke at a party I CALL IT.

I have never heard a rape joke. If I did I would have to re-evaluate who I was spending time with. I would, most certainly, say something. I have heard blonde jokes and I simply interject. I do call them on it but I probably do it with a more gentle spirit than you are advocating.

quote:
And THAT is the biggest reason young women do not identify as feminist... they do not want to offend the silent men. But they will outgrow that. They will learn, through heartache and heartbreak, that silent men are complicit in the rape of children, the abuse of the elderly, the pillaging of the last few remnants left to the politically powerless.

That is not the biggest reason why women are not feminists. The reasons are diverse. You can't pigeonhole people.

I also think that to suggest someone will "outgrow" their thinking has a tone of superiority. You believe that as they mature they will graduate into your more mature advanced views. Perhaps you can accept, at some point in the future, that some will have a lifelong disagreement with you on how you perceive these matters.

And people who are silent, men and women, are complicit in many social injustices. It's not about one gender. It's about good people define how to treat others and standing up for better practices in that area.

quote:
And my personal fave: "My husband has never seen me without lipstick" from, I think, the same source. (That one had me wanting to start a thread: "My Sweetie Has Never Seen Me Without. . .")


I find that interesting that persons would feel that a woman who made a different choice than they did around her grooming is worthy of scorn. If one woman chooses to be well-groomed using professional make up products and another woman chooses another path is one choice valid and the other not?

I can't imagine imagine carrying so much about what women do with their own faces.


From: candyland | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
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posted 01 March 2005 07:43 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm curious who it was that skdadl was referring to who said you can't be a REAL woman without heels. fern hill implied that it was Hailey when she said she thought it was the same person who said that her husband has never seen her without lipstick, but I don't remember Hailey ever saying that about heels (I do remember the lipstick comment), and I would think that it would be out of character for her to make a pronouncement like that about what ALL women must wear in order to be REAL women. Although I might be wrong, so that's why I'm curious about who skdadl was referring to, who made the real women/heels comment.

I also don't see how someone saying that THEY like make-up and THEIR husband has never seen them without lipstick is the same as someone saying that ALL women, if they are to be considered real women, MUST wear heels. The latter pronouncement would really annoy me if I saw it, being someone who likes heels but can't wear them - and yet, I consider myself a real (but not an R.E.A.L. ) woman. The former, though, doesn't bother me at all. Why should I care if someone always wears lipstick, to the point where someone she lives with has never seen her without it? (Although I would think that would make for awfully messy sheets and pillow-cases.)

A note to Hailey, however:

quote:
If one woman chooses to be well-groomed using professional make up products and another woman chooses another path is one choice valid and the other not?

You can be "well groomed" without using professional make-up products. You probably didn't mean it to sound as it did, but the way you have that sentence set up, it makes it look like you're saying that women who use make-up are well-groomed whereas women who do not are choosing a path other than being "well-groomed".

[ 01 March 2005: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hailey
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posted 01 March 2005 07:58 AM      Profile for Hailey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Although I might be wrong, so that's why I'm curious about who skdadl was referring to, who made the real women/heels comment.

Michelle, I had said that 99% of women would have a pair of heels in their closet. That view was challenged. I'd retract that high a percentage.

quote:
You can be "well groomed" without using professional make-up products. You probably didn't mean it to sound as it did, but the way you have that sentence set up, it makes it look like you're saying that women who use make-up are well-groomed whereas women who do not are choosing a path other than being "well-groomed".


I had toyed with that sentence hoping NOT to achieve that so I obviously didn't do a good job. I meant well groomed WITH professional make up products or well groomed without.

I certainly do not believe that women who don't wear it are disshevelled or poorly groomed.

I happen not to be someone who looks good without make up. Other women don't need that as an accessory or are philosophically opposed. Women are a pretty diverse group.

As long as i get my lipstick I don't care what others do


From: candyland | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 01 March 2005 08:05 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Michelle, I had said that 99% of women would have a pair of heels in their closet. That view was challenged. I'd retract that high a percentage.

Hmm, now that's a little different than how the comment was characterized above. Actually, I would bet that a pretty high percentage of North American women have at least one pair of heels as well, but as you say now, I doubt it's as high as 99%.

If I could wear them, there would be a pair of high heels in my closet. I like 'em, but they absolutely wreck my feet.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 09:06 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I would think that it would be out of character for her to make a pronouncement like that about what ALL women must wear in order to be REAL women. Although I might be wrong, so that's why I'm curious about who skdadl was referring to, who made the real women/heels comment.

Hmmn. I knew my ears were burning.

Sorry you can't remember or wouldn't believe, Michelle, but Hailey did indeed write something approaching what I (perhaps clumsily) summarized above, and in fact something of a debate ensued, which obviously fern hill remembers, and I'm pretty sure Scout would too.

This was some time ago, and I didn't look up Hailey's exact wording, which was, of course, very subtle. No, she didn't use the expression REAL women, but she did say that she understood that some women didn't care whether they were physically attractive, and therefore didn't wear heels. As she put it in her original post, there was no ambiguity at all: heels make a woman's legs attractive, and refusing or neglecting to wear them implies something about one's attitude to attractiveness.

The link to feminists was also unambiguous as I recall.

And I do recall it because of the several intense reactions that followed, from women who do and don't wear heels both, all disputing the automatic linkages.

This was a long time ago and early in Hailey's career on babble, so perhaps she has altered her perceptions. But she certainly said more than that line about 99 per cent of women having heels in their closets.

I would not have gone on about this at such length, did not want to personalize the comment earlier, but really, what choice did I have?


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 01 March 2005 09:13 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It's not that I wouldn't believe, exactly. It's that, knowing that Hailey is generally a person who says, "This is how I choose to live my life and it's right for me, and other people are free to make choices are right for them," I thought it sounded out of character, that's all. And I haven't always agreed with the characterizations of Hailey or the things she has said on babble, so when I saw what was being said about her, I thought I'd address it openly.

And as for your ears burning... I addressed you directly, HOPING you would respond. I didn't want it to sound like I was being passive-aggressive or trying to sneak the comment past you. Sorry if it came across that way.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 09:16 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hailey may generally take a relativist position on most things -- I would agree. But on some topics related to feminism, she has in the past written with more, ah, subtlety, shall we say. I don't mean to prolong this, but that is my view.
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 01 March 2005 09:31 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Okay.

Anyhow, about the thread topic...I agree with Anne Cameron that for a lot of women who go through the "I'm not a feminist, but..." stage before identifying as a feminist when older, there's often a "click" when you realize, oh, so THAT'S what they were talking about.

I never had a "click" myself since I've pretty much always identified as a feminist, at least as far as I remember. However, when I took my first year women's studies course at age 27-28, during the last year of an absolutely miserable marriage, so much of the stuff I read and the stuff we talked about really "clicked" with me in a way that it didn't for many of my 17-18 year-old classmates. That's when I really, REALLY realized the truth of Gloria Steinem's essay on how feminists often get more radical the older they get, because it's not until you experience the crap that gets thrown at you as a woman (or until you're old enough to recognize that it's being thrown at you BECAUSE you're a woman), you're just not going to be able to relate.

I think that's okay, actually. I don't mind when young women say they're not feminists. I don't think being a "feminist" SHOULD be some trendy thing that young women do because it's the hip thing to call yourself. I think it SHOULD be from personal conviction and a personal recognition and commitment. If the personal is political, then I don't think it's really possible for women who haven't experienced (or recognized that they have experienced) gender oppression to identify very strongly as a feminist. I mean, why would they?


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scout
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posted 01 March 2005 09:41 AM      Profile for Scout     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This was about as subtle as a jack hammer:

quote:
Nothing is wrong with high heels but I understand that some people have barriers to wearing them like weight problems, back difficulties, or the general aging process but they are a fun shoe to wear for a certain time in your life. I also appreciate that for some women looking unflattering or assuming male characteristics is a political statement, that's fine.

From here.

Most of the contributions by Hailey in that thread were unpleasant but gee, look at her now, taking up most of the space in another thread about feminism. We've come a long way baby!

[ 01 March 2005: Message edited by: Scout ]


From: Toronto, ON Canada | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 09:42 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
If the personal is political, then I don't think it's really possible for women who haven't experienced (or recognized that they have experienced) gender oppression to identify very strongly as a feminist. I mean, why would they?

Because the political is never just about oneself?

I don't mind making some concessions to youth, but imagine how you would react if I were to say openly, "Ah, well, we can't expect teenagers to support progressive social causes because they are too wrapped up in themselves/ignorant/fill in the blanks to notice that other people's lives are harder than theirs."

Surely younger people don't want to be condescended to that way?

Now, different definitions of feminism may be at work here: I never thought that feminism was all about me, or was meant to address only that level of discrimination that I had encountered (and I did encounter some). As I wrote above, a certain commercially successful version of feminism that triumphed -- in the mainstream media, at least -- by the late seventies really did/does seem to work that way.

But to me, feminism means noticing what happens to women, all kinds of women, here and elsewhere, and I should think that many younger women are entirely capable of that.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 09:48 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well done, Scout.

Gee: my search didn't work. What did you search?


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
fern hill
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posted 01 March 2005 09:50 AM      Profile for fern hill        Edit/Delete Post
Michelle, like skdadl, I don't want to prolong this either, but I want to clarify -- I don't care who wears make-up when, how much or why. I just thought it was a peculiar (and funny) assertion to make, especially here. (And yeah, I thought about sheets and towels too.)

It's interesting that we seem to be coming to a consensus -- that it doesn't matter what one calls oneself; that one will or will not get the CLICK that anne cameron described so well, that some don't need one big CLICK. What matters is that (most) women and (some) men realize that there are still big inequities and there's still work to do.


From: away | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
belva
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posted 01 March 2005 10:46 AM      Profile for belva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by fern hill:
Michelle, like skdadl, I don't want to prolong this either, but I want to clarify -- I don't care who wears make-up when, how much or why.
It's interesting that we seem to be coming to a consensus -- that it doesn't matter what one calls oneself; What matters is that (most) women and (some) men realize that there are still big inequities and there's still work to do.

Exactly right, fern hill! In that same line, that's why "debates" about heels or makeup or wearing pants are not relevant. Those discussions may contain interesting elements but the real issues arise around inequities & struggles! Thanks for putting it so well! We have work to do.


From: bliss | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Scout
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posted 01 March 2005 11:01 AM      Profile for Scout     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Gee: my search didn't work. What did you search?

"Heels" modified by the babblers number.


From: Toronto, ON Canada | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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Babbler # 560

posted 01 March 2005 11:11 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Scout:
Most of the contributions by Hailey in that thread were unpleasant but gee, look at her now, taking up most of the space in another thread about feminism. We've come a long way baby!

Actually, Hailey didn't bring up any of that stuff in this thread. Other people did which is why we ended up talking about it. Hailey has had three posts in this entire thread.

However, I do agree with you that the quote you pulled is not impressive at all. I don't think you have to wear heels to be attractive.

fern hill, I think I can agree with your entire last post, without qualification.

[ 01 March 2005: Message edited by: Michelle ]

[ 01 March 2005: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 01 March 2005 11:15 AM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by peppermint:


As much as I was with Anne through both the story about her daughter and the story about the dinner party, the part I bolded is almost exactly the kind of thing that puts me off calling myself a feminist. I know a disturbingly high number of chauvenists, but I don't know a single one who would ever joke about rape, nevermind silently condone it.


Yes, I find that sort of thing disturbing, too. If men in general are the oppressors, and we mirror their behaviour, do we not become oppressors, too? What good does creating more innocent victims do? Not all men rape, and punishing those who do not is no answer. The ones that do won't give a shit, anyway.

Aside from that, rape will never be equivalent to men, or as prevalent among men, as it is for women -- just physiologically speaking, women are easier to rape. Expecting that it ever will be is entirely impractical.

I was and wasn't with Anne during the story of her daughter and the trike. I don't think violence as a solution is a good thing, although defending oneself is a great skill to have. My daughter takes Kung Fu classes. I, myself, was taught to defend myself by my grandfather, who knew some dirty fighting tricks. So for me, I have a patriarchal male to thank for that particular skill, among others. I guess they're not all bad.

Edited for clarity.

[ 01 March 2005: Message edited by: Zoot ]


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 01 March 2005 11:34 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You're right, skdadl, about how people don't necessarily identify with certain causes merely because they themselves are affected. However, I think most young people come to political action because there is SOMETHING that speaks to them personally, that they can relate to, even if it isn't that SPECIFIC oppression that affects them.

For instance, I'm not gay, but I've always been a supporter of gay rights. I didn't become really passionate and outspoken about it, though, until a couple of close friends came out, and I was told by my pastor when the second one came out that she probably wouldn't be welcome at our church, at least not as a member. I told him, "But I was baptized when I was living with my boyfriend. And I was living with him when I was hired by the church as the administrator." He told me that he didn't know that at the time and if he had known it, he would never have let them hire me. And that furthermore, when he DID find out, he expressed his "concern" to the head of the executive committee, but of course there was nothing they could do about it at that point unless they wanted a wrongful dismissal suit on their hands. (And I think they knew I'd have enough piss and vinegar in me to pursue one, too.)

It was at that point when, although certainly not comparable to the discrimination that gays and lesbians face, it really hit home with me, and started me down the road of being really outspoken about the issue, to the point of taking action and leaving the church once it became apparent that homophobes were running the show. I think most of us come to these realizations either because we have experienced something similar, or because we have seen people close to us experiencing it.

I'm not saying this is always the rule. But I think that's how most people become radical and start identifying themselves personally with movements - either because they themselves are affected, or they know others who are.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 02 March 2005 01:28 AM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Speaking from a really bad experience, I'm pretty sure rape is equally traumatizing for men.
From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
ReeferMadness
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posted 02 March 2005 01:34 AM      Profile for ReeferMadness     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Momma had taught her how to throw a punch, how to kick and where to kick, and how to grab them by the ears, haul their heads forward and bite their noses.

Congratulations, Anne. You've taught a three year old child that revenge is sweet and that the answer to violence is greater violence. I would never teach that lesson to my son but I'll allow you to explain to me why it would be proper to teach it to my daughter.

quote:
If we started tonight and every time a woman is raped a hit squad of angry feminists grabbed a man at random off the street and brutalized him it wouldn't take three months for rape laws to become more effective.

I find this statement hateful as it is stupid. It is certainly true that men commit the great majority of violent crimes; it is also true, however, that men are the victims of most violent crime. If there was some secret club of men who could magically stop rape, do you THINK maybe men would be bright enough to stop murdering other men?

Men are, on the whole, certainly more aggressive; it's part nature and part nurture. Your solution seems to be to teach women to be equally aggressive. It would seem more intelligent to try to reduce the aggressiveness of men to equal women than the other way around.


From: Way out there | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Hailey
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posted 02 March 2005 10:32 AM      Profile for Hailey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Before I begin I wanted to say that I'm not going to respond to this collection of posts SKDADL began because I don't want to prolong the topic either. It's a bit disingenuine though to begin a topic, in the spirit of gossiping, only to want to move on and "not prolong it" when the person you are speaking of makes comment. It's not appropriate to prolong it,you are most correct, but it's a mystery to me why an intelligent well-mannered person assigned the position of moderator would think it was appropriate to begin.


quote:
I , myself, was taught to defend myself by my grandfather, who knew some dirty fighting tricks. So for me, I have a patriarchal male to thank for that particular skill, among others. I guess they're not all bad.

I am not in favour of violence but I agree that women should be able to defend themselves. It's not a skill I have at all but it's one I admire and think it a very worthy goal.

quote:
However, I think most young people come to political action because there is SOMETHING that speaks to them personally, that they can relate to, even if it isn't that SPECIFIC oppression that affects them.

I would extend that beyond young people to include almost everyone but yes.

quote:
Speaking from a really bad experience, I'm pretty sure rape is equally traumatizing for men.

I've never been sexually assaulted. It's also not happened to anyone close to me. I've dealt with it in a professional or volunteer context but I still feel like I have limited frame of reference for it.

I believe that rape is more of a day to day reality for women. Men consider it as a factor far less in their day to day wanderings and going out and about. Women have to take that risk factor into consideration when running errands, being in dangerous areas, being out late, going out socially, and countless other situations. It is not at the forefront of men's minds in the same way.

That being said when it does happen I am sure it's a profound trauma for men which is aggravated by a total lack of a support system. Most men aren't going to draw upon other men as resources for discussion.

quote:
Your solution seems to be to teach women to be equally aggressive. It would seem more intelligent to try to reduce the aggressiveness of men to equal women than the other way around.

Although I think that women should have the skill set to defend themselves I think it would be wonderful if we moved to a less aggressive form of resolving issues.


From: candyland | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 02 March 2005 10:38 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
it's a mystery to me why an intelligent well-mannered person assigned the position of moderator would think it was appropriate to begin.

As my first post in the series makes clear, I didn't "begin" that discussion: I was replying to a direct question to me from Michelle, as she later affirms.

If it is my much earlier comment you were referring to, Hailey, you will see if you read the whole thread preceding that I was responding to an earlier poster using exactly the same construction that poster had, but with contrasting content, which seemed both necessary and fair, given the context.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scout
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posted 02 March 2005 11:46 AM      Profile for Scout     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Papal_bull and Reefer, I’d like to thank you for behaving like patriarchal jerks in the feminist forum. You guys get the “Posters of the Month Award” for March for coming in here and whining about how hard life is for men because they get raped and violently assault each other too!

Papal, we apologize for not understanding that men get raped and it hurts too, we are insensitive Feminists who only talk about our issues in the Feminist Forum, we suck. Why we would do that I have no idea.

Reefer, we apologize for thinking that little girls who get physically assaulted should defend themselves, we apologizing for think that a woman should look out for her safety first when really, she should really realize that punching her attacker in the mouth is revenge, not a chance to get that guys hands out from under her dress and get away. We should encourage woman to treat violence against themselves passively. We should realize that women do most of the nurturing in our society and if men are violent and aggressive we must be partially to blame and we really should learn to nurture men better and fix their problems. We apologize for our angry impotence at our helplessness to stop violence.

I guess the women of the Feminist Forum should thank you both for setting us straight and helping us realize our priorities are all out of whack that we should really bring up men’s suffering when we are talking about our own issues, that their really is no time or place for us to share with each other, even here on a progressive board in a space dedicated to the subject.

And we wonder why young woman don’t call themselves feminists anymore.


From: Toronto, ON Canada | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hailey
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posted 02 March 2005 11:49 AM      Profile for Hailey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Perhaps it could be clarified by a moderator if this falls within the scope of the feminist forum. I believe most are assuming it falls within the "walking the talk" scope.
From: candyland | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 02 March 2005 11:56 AM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Is this an extension of the feminist forum? I didn't think it was. I can't see any reason why Reefer or Papal_Bull shouldn't voice opinions here. (or the feminist forum, for that matter, but that's an argument for another day.)

quote:
And we wonder why young woman don’t call themselves feminists anymore.

Well, I'm old enough and secure enough in who I am to still call myself a feminist after reading such an irrational rant. But you're not doing me any favours, as such.

Nobody anywhere in this thread said women or girls shouldn't defend themselves when assaulted. Nobody said rape is anything but terrible or tried to minimize the experience -- instead, you've minimized PB's experience. Congratulations, you've stepped into the shoes of the oppressor. Feel good? Powerful? Bully for you. I mean that in the most literal sense.

I'm not saying women should be all warm and nurturing, and I never have. But violence as the first solution to any problem is wrong, regardless what your sex is, and I think this is what most of the posters are reacting to.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 02 March 2005 12:09 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
...instead he found Momma and daughter celebrating the return of the tryke. Momma had taught her how to throw a punch, how to kick and where to kick, and how to grab them by the ears, haul their heads forward and bite their noses.

Mom?


From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 02 March 2005 12:25 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"Walking the talk" is not a forum on babble (as you will see if you look at the main page): it is a major section, into which both the feminism forum and this forum, on Judy's new book about the history of feminism, fall.

I started the first thread about Ten Thousand Roses in the feminism forum. Then, because it was anticipated that there would be multiple discussions about the book running at the same time, audra decided to open a special forum for topics related to the book.

So although this isn't, technically, the feminism forum, it seems odd to me to think that it isn't a feminist forum ... but there you go.

I also think that some people are reading Anne Cameron's comments above pretty literally. That's not how I read them -- ie, I did not think she was proposing that we start going out and assaulting men, any more than Gloria Steinem was appealing to doctors to find ways to make men menstruate.

[ 02 March 2005: Message edited by: skdadl ]


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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posted 02 March 2005 12:29 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Okay, seriously, Scout. A teenaged poster bravely shares that they have suffered through sexual violence and you lash out at them? There was nothing wrong with Papal Bull's posts, and there is nothing acceptable about your treatment of him. I'm suspending your posting ability for a week.

[ 02 March 2005: Message edited by: audra trower williams ]


From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 02 March 2005 12:33 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I don't think I was reading anne's comments entirely literally. The problem I have with her points relate more to the idea that men are innately violent, and that we should be encouraging women to be just as violent in retaliation. It plays right back into the old stereotypes of men as aggressive (and we know they aren't all aggressive) and women as passive victims (and we know we aren't all passive), and that the only way we have to work towards equality is through aggression equal to the worst of males.

Personally, I think we can find equality without becoming assholes.

[ 02 March 2005: Message edited by: Zoot ]


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 02 March 2005 12:41 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post
In a utopia, maybe. But from my experience, and where I grew up, men knew quite well what women were capable of if pushed too far (think of the movie Loyalties). I don't have a problem with everyone knowing just what physical agression anyone is capable of. The threat of it should be a consideration. It applies to all powerless people; gays, women, brainy nerds, everyone.
From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Moire
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posted 02 March 2005 12:42 PM      Profile for Moire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
And we wonder why young woman don’t call themselves feminists anymore.

Edited because two wrongs don't make a right. Lesson learned.

[ 02 March 2005: Message edited by: Moire ]


From: Halifax | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Bacchus
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posted 02 March 2005 12:46 PM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Edited to remove post as Moire proved a class act

[ 02 March 2005: Message edited by: Bacchus ]


From: n/a | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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Babbler # 478

posted 02 March 2005 12:46 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Scout is NOT

quote:
a heartless, angry, crass person


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Moire
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posted 02 March 2005 12:49 PM      Profile for Moire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I retract and apologize. Just found it totally hurtful as someone who has suffered sexual assault myself.

I was wrong.


From: Halifax | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 02 March 2005 12:50 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post
Class post, Moire.
From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Amy
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posted 02 March 2005 12:51 PM      Profile for Amy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Hinterland:
In a utopia, maybe. But from my experience, and where I grew up, men knew quite well what women were capable of if pushed too far (think of the movie Loyalties). I don't have a problem with everyone knowing just what physical agression anyone is capable of. The threat of it should be a consideration. It applies to all powerless people; gays, women, brainy nerds, everyone.

As a queer nerdy female, I would have to say that punching someone in the nose the minute they started to be aggresive toward me would likely be the most inflammatory action, and therefor the least effective. (Not to mention the one that would make me feel bad, like... why did I just hit that person if it served no purpose?)

There are ways to try to deflate conflict before it comes to blows, and although I would feel much safer in knowing how to defend myself should I really need to, part of defending myself is knowing when I really need to.


From: the whole town erupts and/ bursts into flame | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2

posted 02 March 2005 12:53 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is getting too long.
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged

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