"I don't like being called a feminist. I'm a woman. That's it."

(89 Posts)

I read this opinion piece in the Huffington Post today.

To quote a small part of it: "If I'm honest, I don't take feminists seriously. Unfortunately I feel these protests don't do much for women. Certainly, they create a sense of solidarity among those who take part, but beneficial? I'm not so sure."

To some degree I agree with her - I've found solidarity in feminism, but I've also found outrage and impotence. Will my awakening change the world? Probably not, but it's made it more uncomfortable to live in the world, unchanged as it is.

But I don't see what difference changing the label of feminism will do, except to create a new name that far too many people don't identify with.

grimbletart Mon 12-Nov-12 21:32:09

And, before anyone asks, I'm not speaking for you either, I'm speaking for myself. Because I want to. And, more importantly, because I can

And why can you speak for yourself Lucy Sherriff? Think on it....

The impression I got from reading this is that it is written by a rather immature woman not long out of university and with not much real life experience. Give her time.....

Personally, I don't think feminism is about writing placards or marching particularly. It's about how you see the world and your place in it as a fully functioning human being.

And yes Lucy Sherriff, if you believe in having the vote, being paid the same as a man for the same work, in having equal opportunities etc. then you are a feminist - even if you don't call yourself one. The rest is merely semantics.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 12-Nov-12 21:45:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 12-Nov-12 21:48:45

Last time I looked at the voting on this, the feminist 'n' proud had changed more minds than the not-a-feminist.

SomersetONeil Mon 12-Nov-12 22:11:22

"Nearly every time I venture on a night out I am groped by a leering male. I don't think this is sexism. I think it's rude, immature males who don't know how to behave around women."

Sigh...

If men were objectified like women and casually groped and leered at on anything like the same scale as women, then maybe we could put it down to 'rudeness' and 'immaturity'. Otherwise, well, try joining the dots.

It's such a struggle to debate with people who steadfastly keep those blinkers over their eyes. wink

annie - did you 'find' the outrage/impotence in feminism, though, or was it always there? I'm not trying to be snarky/smug, I mean, I don't know if you're saying feminism makes women impotent, or it makes us aware we already were?

I'm afraid I read that article and I want to shake her. It is immensely disrespectful to write that and she comes across as a shallow, selfish, privilged person who thinks what matters most is how she looks to other people. She's happy to dictate ('Ditch the f-word. It's not doing us any favours.'), but insists other women should not be allowed to speak for her.

It makes me fucking furious and I know I should be directing that at the people who publish this sort of guff (which I hope and trust the writer will be ashamed of in a few years time). But just now I'm struggling not to be simply angry with her.

LRD - I did indeed 'find' the impotence and outrage along with 'finding' feminism, because I was suddenly aware of the crap which I had somehow previously failed to notice. And it's not that I was actually made impotent, but made to feel impotent on realising how much needs to change, without much of a clue how to even being to go about enacting that change. So I would have to agree with your comment that feminism makes us aware of a state which already existed.

Yes, that's how I feel too.

I am torn over it - I think there are degrees to it all, and probably all of us, feminists or not, are always finding new limitations on us we weren't aware of - or we're feeling crushed and we don't know why. But I think I would rather know, than be hitting out like that, and making hypocritical demands on society.

I can see why she's making those demands and getting angry with feminism; it just doesn't seem terribly healthy or likely to do much for her in the long run.

UptoapointLordCopper Tue 13-Nov-12 09:51:08

I used to think (when I was young and foolish, perhaps much with that writer) that all this feminism and gender studies is a waste of time. But now I understand: if you cannot name something you cannot fight against it. Even coming on here and seeing how people analyse and talk about things allows you (me) to clarify why it is that, for example, people apologising for swearing in front of "ladies" should be so infuriating, why Page 3 is an affront etc etc, even though you already feel that something is wrong with these things. To articulate is important.

As for changing the world, of course we are changing the world. It doesn't happen in one day. But one more person being told it would not do to objectify women, one more person who realises how the world operates (talking to BIL this weekend who thought the equal pay act got rid of unequal pay between men and women hmm), one more person with raised awareness, that's got to change something. No? Am I overly optimistic? Don't care.

Lottapianos Tue 13-Nov-12 10:35:00

'But if we class this sort of behaviour as sexism, then surely we are diminishing what sexism actually is?'

Oh not this again - 'stop making a fuss you pathetic wimps, let me tell you about some real sexism'. This is just so tedious. Feminism is not a competition and silencing other women like this is just not helpful.

I am always wary of anyone who uses 'males' and 'females' to describe people rather than animals. The only people I've heard use these words to describe humans (outside of a discussion about biology) have been misogynists.

mignonette Tue 13-Nov-12 10:38:48

Yes, she's immature. Yes, she hasn't grasped why she is able to say in print, why she does not see herself as a Feminist.

But at least she's engaging in the debate when so many young women seem not to want to form any opinions on the state of 'their' nation at all...

Curtsey Tue 13-Nov-12 10:51:01

Oh no.

This is a terrible article on so many levels. It's immature and entitled, and it's not very well written. Shame on the Huffington Post for publishing this, because the writer just comes across as sounding young and inexperienced instead of being convincingly provocative/offering an alternative, considered standpoint.

I suppose you're right, though mignonette - at least she's engaging...

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 13-Nov-12 10:57:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I don't think that's true, mignon. I meet shedloads of women her age all the time (because I work with them) and very few lack opinions or don't want to discuss things. I think actually lots of young women (just like lots of older women) feel they have to put on a front and not look as if they're interested in things.

I don't give her points for engaging. This is a cheap and easy 'opinion' to hold - it's not original writing, it's a re-hash of points being made with the same tedious claims all over the place.

mignonette Tue 13-Nov-12 11:35:58

Think there are just as many who haven't really given this a thought as have. That's not to say that once you start to engage them, that they would not then start to form and develop ideas.

Being naive, with a 'cheap and easy' opinion (interesting choice of words there.....) doesn't warrant dismissal. People can change and grow. Better give them the chance by opening and keeping a dialogue. Maybe the writer will read and grow via the reaction to her piece.

Yes, you may be right there are many who haven't thought. I suppose I feel a bit defensive of the women I know.

I do see what you're saying (and it's not naive). The reason I say 'cheap and easy' is that I think these are opinions all over the press at the moment. This women is re-writing things she's read elsewhere. She writes with a lot of confidence because she is very familiar with the style of writing and the 'voice' she's using.

It's a bit like, if someone writes a very polished opinion piece about how mumsnet is full of harpies, smug middle-class mums ... you can immediately imagine how that piece will go, because that's a piece that's been written a lot of times.

I can accept that ventriloquising someone else's opinions isn't a cardinal sin, and it isn't unusual for someone starting out to do that as a way of finding their own voice. But it is still something I think she deserves to be criticised for, because her work is shutting down debate and is remarkably cruel towards other women.

She's saying using the word 'feminism' 'doesn't do us any favours'. She's assuming there's an 'us' (ie., women), from whom she deserves 'favours'. Yet she's quite happy to mock her lecturer and another student in her class (both of whom I'm sure will know exactly who they are). And she's happy to tell feminists to shut up while insisting they are speaking over her and mustn't do so.

It is damaging, I think, because they way I'm seeing it is, there was at least one person in her class who was given an opportunity to express an opinion in the minority (by putting her hand up), and she's basically been slapped down by Voice of Handmaiden.

mignonette Tue 13-Nov-12 12:01:25

LRDTheFeministDragon

I agree with your post above regarding her mocking/cruelty towards particular women and you write eloquently and passionately.

I did not mean to imply that a lack of 'want' to form opinions about being a woman should be equated with any negative assumptions about character/the person. It is of real interest to me (as the Mother/StepM of grown daughters ) as to why some younger women/teenagers are so anxious about or hostile to Feminism. I often find that there are errors of definition and once they have read a little about it, they realise their ideas about it have been (deliberately?) skewed.

mignonette Tue 13-Nov-12 12:06:24

BTW Does the Huffington Post employ Copy Editors? or in the interests of self reliance, did Ms Sheriff insist upon editing her own OpEd?

Because if she did, she did a lousy job.

And Candidate selection Committees....ever heard of them Ms Sheriff?

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 13-Nov-12 12:08:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Someone needs to learn proof-reading skills.

From the article:

<i>Yes it's statistically "wrong" only a quarter of women are MPs.</i>

A quarter of women are MPs?!

Clearly she means, "yes it's statistically wrong that only a quarter of MPs are women."

It's a shame really, because I get the point she is trying to make (I'm not saying I agree with it, but I get it), however it all gets lost in such a badly written article.

Oh, I think we are very much on the same page, mignon, I'm not meaning to come across as combative towards you, just angry at this sort of thing.

I think you're spot on when you suggest ideas of feminism are deliberately skewed and that's a reason people feel hostile towards it.

Oops - getting confused what forum I'm on - I keep forgetting how to format italics properly on here.

mignonette Tue 13-Nov-12 12:17:45

I didn't read you as combative LRD. Think it was probably me who was sounding a bit spiky blush.

Stewie I enjoyed the last piece you wrote and my children read it too.

No, not at all! I just worried my anger about that article was spilling over.

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 13-Nov-12 13:55:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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