Can Someone Explain Feminism to me.

(201 Posts)
StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 14:16:05

Because I think although it means equality (does it??) the fact the word starts with FEM is not a neutral word.

If it was 'peopleism' I think that would make more sense to me.

There isn't a 'maleism' is there?
Or is that because they don't need it?

I'm not very intellectual and that sounds like a silly question but do you get me?

I have tried to look it up on the internet but it all gets a bit complicated.

MiniTheMinx Wed 16-Jan-13 14:47:45

It might be best understood if you think about how you would answer these sorts of questions. smile

Are you a women?
Do you think men and women are equal?
Do you think we are actually equal within society now?
In what way might women face difficulties in education, health, wealth distribution, at work, in social situations and in their home lives?
In what way does biological differences and motherhood make women's lives better or easier or more challenging and difficult?

AbigailAdams Wed 16-Jan-13 14:48:07

OK I am going to take this at face value. Feminism is a political movement that fights to free women from the oppression of men.

The problem is that different people will apply different definitions.

The simple base definition is "wanting equality for the sexes, specifically the women as they are traditionally the oppressed sex".

So in general "maleism" isn't needed, there are obviously specific areas where men are less equal than women, but they are the minority.

But you will find that some people will add extra definitions to feminism.

I do tend to agree with you on preferring a more gender neutral term, but I think feminism is encompassed by a more general term, rather than being standalone.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:00:27

There isn't a 'maleism' is there? Or is that because they don't need it?

We live in a patriarchy so yes maleism is already in action. Men don't need quotas because they are already more likely to be picked for advancement in work etc.

It's a bit like the civil rights movement in the states. Would you say "why wasn't there a movement to push the white agenda in the 60s?" No because the whole society was the white movement.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:01:55

OK I am going to take this at face value please do.
I regret asking this in a way, it sounds stupid.
But the wikipedia page for example, is 10 miles long (in my head).

Also

wanting equality for the sexes, specifically the women as they are traditionally the oppressed sex

Maybe I am not so stupid. This is what I thought.

But I was confused by the fact the word feminism is not neutral.

I think you need to look at when and why it started. That's why it isn't gender neutral. When it started women were third class citizens. With rich men and poor men and class one and two. They were seen as being there solely to provide children/sex/housework.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:04:52

I've also shyed away from calling myself a feminist as in theory, well I'm a married women and I took my husbands name.

(and also because I wasn't sure what it meant I couldnt exactly use it for myself!!!)

I didnt like the one I was born with so to change it was a nice thing for me but it's not to carry on his name as we are not having children.

So there are so many things I could see that pointed towards what feminism meant that I didnt like the sound of.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:05:31

Actually it stresses me out that we are never allowed to push our own agenda because men are so scared we may get one up on them. Well men are already one up on us or more. They try and hold us back by saying we can't get too far because that wouldn't be fair, whilst simultaneously already being ahead of us. And not giving a shit about that. But yes, I have heard lots of people mentioning peoplism or a variation (equalism usually I think) things like that..and it just winds me up a bit. If people think peopleism is so great then why don't men start doing that now?

It never seems to get any play until women start throwing around feminism,

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:07:09

I will say I never really considered my position on this til I joined mumsnet.
Reading this bvoard has been quite an eye opener, even though some of the technical terms went right over my head

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:08:40

So there are so many things I could see that pointed towards what feminism meant that I didnt like the sound of.

I bet their are 50 times more that you do liek the sound of though.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:12:51

awesome things feminism has done for you

Getting victims of sexual abuse to be treated as victims, not equally (or more) to blame for their attack.

Getting your daughters and your sons to have equal access to education

Making it illegal for you and your work mate doing the same job to be paid more as a matter of course because he is the "breadwinner" (obviously we haven't totally closed the over all pay gap, but feminism is working on it)

Voting rights

Working against casual sex and sexual harassment in the workplace

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:12:59

Possibly...

Okay so try me, I read on some literature somewhere, real feminists didnt shave their legs.

I am sorry to be so laughably simplistic ... But no I didnt like the sound of it.

I can't think of one thing I dont have already that I would swap for the the idea of not shaving my legs.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:13:54

*casual sexism!

Don't think feminism is anti casual sex per se grin

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:15:00

Okay heres one thing I am grateful for that I have a choice on whether to have children or not.

I choose not to. Why should that be a womans job?! Well, I know birthing them is but why should it be my only life choice.

Hmm... maybe i can get on board with this

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:16:04

Well if you spend approximately ten minutes on the FWR forum you will see many of us do shave our legs and why we do.

Feminism wants you to be aware of why you shave your legs and give you the option of not shaving your legs.

start here

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:17:27

Feminism wants you to be aware of why you shave your legs and give you the option of not shaving your legs.

Interesting.

I think the main thing I see here is choice.
I guess a few years ago we didnt have as many and now due to feminism we do.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:19:42

Yeah that's about it.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:20:23

By the way on the shaving my legs note a few weeks ago I had a cold and couldnt be bothered. Partly also the weather gave me sensitive skin so for a week I didnt shave.

I did ask DH if I felt wierd and he said 'sexy and smooth'
With a weeks growth.

Although he said he would think it weird if I left my armpits very hairy.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 15:21:50

Anyway thanks Fem I gewt it now.

Why does all the stuff on the net make it sound so complicated.

Is there certain 'camps' and there's a bit of feminist one uomanship going on?
Like the 'shave legs' or not camp?

Again, simplistic.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:22:07

Feminism helps the men too. It means being macho isn't seen as the only option for them, it means flexible working hours so they can actually see their children, it means that we see most men as more than just rape monsters who can't help themselves when they see a short skirt.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 15:24:39

some do, some don't. only shitty people one up each other. Feminism has some shitty people like any group and like any group (with few exceptions) the shitty people are in the minority.

MMMarmite Wed 16-Jan-13 15:29:21

There are thousands of different types of feminists, which may be part of why you're confused. But every feminist I've actually talked to thinks that you can shave your legs and be a feminist.

seeker Wed 16-Jan-13 15:30:21

Feminism is a way of thinking that encourages you to think about how any choice or decision you make will impact on other women.

That's why it's about more than just women being able to make choices, although that's part of it. Just because a woman makes a choice doesn't make it a feminist choice.

AnyFucker Wed 16-Jan-13 15:33:10

I married a man, I took his name, I work PT so my H is the main breadwinner. I shave my armpits and legs, I wear make up and paint my nails when I am not working and I feel like it. I like nice clothes (to a degree). I get satisfaction out of cleaning a kitchen.

I am a feminist.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now