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  1. #1
    Senior(ita) Member Cloudpatrol's Avatar
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    Question Not a Feminist: Fighting Proud

    I am not a Feminist.

    I don’t feel shamed by this. It doesn’t mean I don’t feel solidarity with Sisterhood and that I won’t fight for Women. I will.

    People tell me: You are automatically a Feminist if you are a strong woman and believe in equal rights.

    Nope.

    There are things in the Feminist movement and language I don’t identify with or even agree with.

    For example, take this book by Hannah Rosin:

    The End of Men: And the Rise of Women eBook: Hanna Rosin: Amazon.ca: Books


    I believe the EXACT opposite. That the rise of women does not mean the fall of men. I believe in co-existence, not cancelling each other out or perceiving either as less than.


    So, am I a Womanist? No. I would be if this definition ran across the board:

    A Womanist is a woman who loves women and appreciates women’s culture and power as something that is incorporated into the world as a whole. Womanism addresses the racist and classist aspects. It includes the word “man”, recognizing that men are an integral part of women’s lives as their children, lovers, and family members. Womanism accounts for the ways in which women support and empower men, and serves as a tool for understanding the woman’s relationship to men as different from the woman’s. It seeks to acknowledge and praise the sexual power of women while recognizing a history of sexual violence.
    But, when I delve into being a Womanist, it encompasses a lot of racially-specific and political rhetoric, that don’t square with my beliefs. I had to amend the above quote because I could not find one that wasn’t race-specific.



    I am not a Feminist or Womanist in the same way I am not a Catholic or Mormon. I may believe those designations have wonderful followers and aspects that I admire. But, there are enough differences in my personal belief system that I cannot 'throw my lot in' with those groups.


    IF I am FORCED to identify with any movement, being a Universalist comes closest:


    Universalism is not only a set of values, but a worldview to which any can subscribe if they observe and believe in the universality of the human experience — and that of all sentient life — and work to uphold the principles, ethics, and actions that safeguard these fundamental things.

    Human unity, solidarity, and the perceived need for a sustainable and socially conscious global order are among the tendencies of non-religious Universalist thought.



    Really, I don’t find myself utterly at home with any movement.


    Where I do find “home” is with all the people who care. Who are not content with inequality and who feel diligence is necessary. Who value women and while acknowledging clear differences among genders or classes, do not disparage them.


    I am so proud of the men and women who are not complacent.

    People and media have been saying this is an especially bad or scary time to be a woman. But, when I look at the amount of men and women who are attacking inequality right now with reason and passion…I don’t think it is.


    I am curious how other women feel about being defined in this regard? Or what ANYone thinks about the current passion re: equality being shown?


    {Am I naive in thinking this can avoid becoming a garbage thread? I want to make clear that although it isn't my focus here, I am not blind to or uninvolved in the inequality males also face and am equally passionate/devoted to those in my personal 'real-life'.}

  2. #2
    The Bat Man highlander's Avatar
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    I think it is unfortunate but the word feminism has developed a negative connotation because of the small segment of the population that has embraced a negative orientation towards men. It is misandry really. It was originally about equality and that was good. Something somewhere along the way went awry. The spirit of what feminism stands for is good. I'm saddened to see that ruined.

  3. #3
    Senior(ita) Member Cloudpatrol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    The spirit of what feminism stands for is good. I'm saddened to see that ruined.

    I wholeheartedly agree with this ^


    Thank you so much for responding to the thread. I was nervous to make it. Not because of the content, but because I sometimes find it difficult to express properly what is in my head. Especially when it matters most

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    The Devil of TypoC EJCC's Avatar
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    Short answer: It's hard to talk about feminism without talking about the perceived loadedness of the word "feminism". Nothing about the book in the OP resonates with how I experience feminism. Nothing about how I experience feminism seems like misandry. Feminism, to me*, is about women being considered people to the same extent that men are. Women are people, men are people, and they should all be treated as such.

    The platform of the Womens March on Washington, which I attended today, sums it up well. Women's rights are human rights.


    *keeping in mind that there are many schools of thought re feminism and I am not a scholar in this area
    EJCC: "The Big Questions in my life right now: 1) What am I willing to live with? 2) What do I have to live with? 3) What can I change for the better?"
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    It's impossible to talk about feminism without referring to the specific branch you're talking about but people do it anyway and it fucks it up for everyone else. When people bitch about feminism today they're bitching about radical feminists and beliefs that the majority of other branches of feminism do not necessarily agree with. I'm a liberal feminist.

  6. #6
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Any statistics on which feminists are which and what they believe?

    Interesting statistics on feminism in the UK can be found here.

    "Only one in twenty (4%) people in the UK said they don’t know what feminism stands for. However 3 in 5 (61%) people in Britain believe in equality for women and men but don’t describe themselves as feminist. Only 7% self-identify as feminist and one in ten (9%) think feminism is irrelevant."

  7. #7
    Senior(ita) Member Cloudpatrol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cellmold View Post
    Any statistics on which feminists are which and what they believe?

    .
    I am loathe to provide sources re: the latter question because such disparity exists between what liberal, radical, social and cultural beliefs are in the subsets. I'd rather leave the research to individuals.

    This data doesn't answer your 1st question exactly (I couldn't find any. Maybe someone else can?) but might prove relevant or interesting...


    Poll: Feminism in the U.S. - Washington Post


    Attitudes to Gender in 2016 Britain – 8,000 Sample Study for Fawcett Society | Survation
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  8. #8
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloudpatrol View Post
    I am loathe to provide sources re: the latter question because such disparity exists between what liberal, radical, social and cultural beliefs are in the subsets. I'd rather leave the research to individuals.

    This data doesn't answer your 1st question exactly (I couldn't find any. Maybe someone else can?) but might prove relevant or interesting...


    Poll: Feminism in the U.S. - Washington Post


    Attitudes to Gender in 2016 Britain – 8,000 Sample Study for Fawcett Society | Survation
    Thanks.

    Realised I'd just found the same link. Always adding to posts as an afterthought .
    Likes Cloudpatrol liked this post

  9. #9
    Seeking Rainbows Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloudpatrol View Post
    I am not a Feminist.

    I don’t feel shamed by this. It doesn’t mean I don’t feel solidarity with Sisterhood and that I won’t fight for Women. I will.
    I am a feminist (see definition below), and feel no shame in it either. I don't, however, feel solidarity with women simply because they are women. I feel solidarity with people who share my values and work to promote them, be they female or male. Usually when I see "sisterhood" in a context broader than actual family relationship, it references a basket of interests, abilities, and preferences that I don't share. Nothing wrong with what's in that basket or those who enjoy it. It just doesn't describe me as a woman or as a human.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloudpatrol View Post
    People tell me: You are automatically a Feminist if you are a strong woman and believe in equal rights.

    Nope.

    There are things in the Feminist movement and language I don’t identify with or even agree with.

    For example, take this book by Hannah Rosin:
    Sorry, but if you meet the definition of feminist, you are one, whether you like the label or not, just as your citizenship makes you Canadian. I willingly accept the "American" label, though there is plenty associated with America that I do not espouse. When it comes to group membership, there are few if any groups with whom we will agree 100%. Most people seem willing to claim group affiliation when they agree with a critical mass of what that group stands for and does, e.g. those Catholics who accept birth control, etc. They know what "Catholic" means to them, and don't let anyone else define it for them, just as mainstream feminists won't let Hanna Rosin define feminism for them.

    Sure, you can insist on being a purist and claim affiliation with no one (or with everything, which is essentially the same thing). But sooner or later you will talk about what you believe, or pitch in to help what you consider a worthy cause. Your words and actions will suggest affiliations for you, which you can expend effort trying to distance yourself from, confusing those around you. These shorthand labels exist for a reason. We just need to remember that no group is as monolithic as its name might suggest, and work within our chosen groups to promote the best segments within it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloudpatrol View Post
    People and media have been saying this is an especially bad or scary time to be a woman. But, when I look at the amount of men and women who are attacking inequality right now with reason and passion…I don’t think it is.

    I am curious how other women feel about being defined in this regard? Or what ANYone thinks about the current passion re: equality being shown?
    What do you mean by women "being defined in this regard"? Who is trying to define us? Attacking inequality with words is necessary, but far from sufficient. It remains to be seen how much women's rights and opportunities will be harmed by:

    • supreme court nominees who oppose reproductive rights and possibly equal opportunity regulations on business
    • cabinet members who oppose the same, and won't try very hard to enforce existing equal opportunity law, or prosecute sexual assault seriously
    • education policy that supports education with religious underpinnings, whether home or school based, that promote strict gender inequality and shelter children from people different from themselves
    • a chief executive and advisors who have set very poor personal examples when it comes to treatment of women (gives a whole new meaning to "bully pulpit")


    If none of these factors bear fruit, then I might be willing to write off the rest as the proverbial "tale of sound and fury".

    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I think it is unfortunate but the word feminism has developed a negative connotation because of the small segment of the population that has embraced a negative orientation towards men. It is misandry really. It was originally about equality and that was good. Something somewhere along the way went awry. The spirit of what feminism stands for is good. I'm saddened to see that ruined.
    Feminism isn't ruined, though many people have sought to undermine those working for equality by smearing the name. Anyone who is going to be so easily frightened off by a word is in no position to be making positive change in the world. Sure, we can coin another term for the campaign to get rid of gender bias - not sure what that would be - but we shouldn't shy away from calling the efforts focused on women's end of things "feminism" any more than political progressives should shy away from the term "liberal".

    If someone wants to disagree with the beliefs or actions of either group, then they should criticise those actual beliefs and actions, rather than simply resorting to mudslinging with labels.

    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    *keeping in mind that there are many schools of thought re feminism and I am not a scholar in this area
    Nearly every dictionary of standard English that I have checked has a similar definition: "the position that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men; taking action to support this position". Anything else is twisting and perverting the definition, just as ISIS twists and perverts what Islam really is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yamato Nadeshiko View Post
    It's impossible to talk about feminism without referring to the specific branch you're talking about but people do it anyway and it fucks it up for everyone else. When people bitch about feminism today they're bitching about radical feminists and beliefs that the majority of other branches of feminism do not necessarily agree with. I'm a liberal feminist.
    This is primarily a disagreement about strategy (which priorities are highest) and methods (how do we reach our goals). It is a very important disagreement, and there are definitely feminist groups out there doing more harm than good, just like some of the groups working against racism and homophobia have done. All those Republicans who had no patience with Donald Trump didn't all of a sudden stop calling themselves Republicans, though, because they disagreed with his priorities and methods. Instead they called him out as "not a real conservative" and stuck to their guns (well, at least for awhile). Those (majority of) feminists pursuing more reasonable and productive agendas should take the same approach to anyone who isn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloudpatrol View Post
    These conversations are important, but as a woman I don't even know all the branches??? I tried to supply an example of one I didn't identify with...but there was a huge variety of 'radical thinking' that came up when I searched. I have 3 friends who have their "status" online as Liberal Feminists. But, all 3 of them have markedly different places they land on key issues!
    If you want examples of what I think of when I think "feminist", look at the League of Women Voters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloudpatrol View Post
    How can we make headway if the very word we identify by are divisive and cause confusion? I have found that people automatically shut down when I say the word "feminism". Whereas when I simply have explained what I believe, the same people are open to discussion, and we even found points of commonality.
    You have opened a can of worms here. Throughout history, words denoting the female version of something have often been given negative connotations (called "semantic derogation"), usually relating to the lesser value or position of women. Compare: bachelor vs. spinster; master vs. mistress; sir vs. madam. Moreover, terms like "hussy", "tart", and "crone" that originally denoted independence, endearment, or respect were turned into insults in a way that doesn't seem to have happened with the male equivalents. I guess the tendency for association with women to drag good words down is still with us.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  10. #10
    / nonsequitur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloudpatrol View Post
    There are things in the Feminist movement and language I don’t identify with or even agree with.

    For example, take this book by Hannah Rosin:

    The End of Men: And the Rise of Women eBook: Hanna Rosin: Amazon.ca: Books


    I believe the EXACT opposite. That the rise of women does not mean the fall of men. I believe in co-existence, not cancelling each other out or perceiving either as less than.
    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    They know what "Catholic" means to them, and don't let anyone else define it for them, just as mainstream feminists won't let Hanna Rosin define feminism for them.
    Seriously, I get so annoyed with people who don't bother to do the research, pull up a book title and make assumptions about its contents.

    Hanna Rosin is a serious journalist who has done very good work. The book isn't advocating for the rise of women and the end of men. It uses statistics and studies to show that women are at a large advantage right now - whether in higher education, or in the workplace. This book has been criticised by the left wing (people who actually read the book) for failing to acknowledge systemic discrimination based on sexist expectations, and ignoring a patriarchal system. It's supportive of true equality and provides evidence that the system is failing young males. But you certainly wouldn't know that if you made assumptions based on a title.

    Ugh, this kind of stuff pisses me off so much.
    "How badly did you have to break it to make it care about people so much?"
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