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Archive > Does "Feminism" need a new name?

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message 1: by Cayenne (last edited Jun 28, 2017 05:13AM) (new)

Cayenne (KNPepper) Here is a status I recently put on Facebook, I'm quite interested to see what the group thinks... Is it time that we "rebrand" feminism, or should we continue trying to fight to reclaim the word - are we only making our own lives more difficult by doing so and alienating people from the cause by clinging to a word that no longer means what we want it to....?

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I have been accused, on several occasions, of being a 'bad feminist'.

People seem to assume that because I am a strong willed, independent, aware, and opinionated woman, I must be a 'feminist'. People are then surprised to realise that some of my views are not entirely misandric, and I don't really mind if a man I'm speaking to happens to notice I have breasts. So let's talk about why I, an apparently intelligent woman who is more than capable of living her own life, am not a 'feminist'.

66% of Britons state that they are in favour of gender equality.*

Less than 7% of Britons consider themselves to be feminists.*

This disparity suggests to me that approximately 60% of Britons feel, as I do, that the word 'feminism' no longer represents equality.

It has come to mean something hateful, something judgemental, something that sets out to achieve relative equality by giving men less respect, rather than by giving women more of it.

I am not a feminist. I do believe in equality.

I do not believe that equality means, "the same".

People can be confused by my interactions, particularly in romantic relationships, when they realise that I will look for 'dominant' traits in men and want them to lead a relationship to an extent. That I can be submissive. That I enjoy traditional gender roles, and take pleasure in cooking and performing domestic activities for a man, and in return expect him to give the heavy lifting a good crack.

How can a person who is so aware of social issues, subject themselves to such oppression?!

The view that works for me, is that men and women are equal, but not the same. And for me personally, a healthy sense of self, and healthy social relationships, both acknowledge and celebrate those differences. It is a dynamic that I am more comfortable with.

Now, some people will doubtless jump down my throat for saying that gender is a part of a healthy self image and identity. Let's let that go, please. I am not assuming your gender, I am not saying it is your birth assigned gender, or that you even wish to identify with any gender at all. But whatever choice you have made regarding your gender, that choice is a part of your identity.

And choice, is what it really, truly comes down to. The understanding of choice, is what 'feminism' seems to be lacking now.

I am not being oppressed by traditional roles, I am not being controlled if I submit to a man, I am not being a 'bad feminist'... I am exercising my right to choice. I choose these things for myself.

And that, is what equality does need to be about. Choice. Freedom of choice.

I was scolded by womens' rights advocates for null voting in the last General Election. Told that women died and fought for my right to vote, and by not exercising that right, I was undoing all they had stood for...

The key word here, is the *right* to vote. The right to. Not the obligation to.

In fact, I did vote, and I chose to null vote rather than to sell out on my own ethics in a tactical vote. But my voting choices are neither here nor there, what matters is that most saw that as a refusal to vote and therefore an insult to suffragetes' efforts and sacrifices. Missing the point that women fought for me to have the choice to vote if I wanted to. Not for me to be dictated to.

It is my choice to assume a traditional gender role when it suits my circumstances, and the only reason this surprises some people is because they have always known me to be assertive and dominant. Only going to show that my decision to be any other way, is in fact, my choice.

I really do feel that 'feminism' has been lost. And we probably won't reclaim it any time soon. But rather than using it as something to shout at other women who aren't behaving in a way that you think an independently minded woman should... try standing back and appreciating that, that independently minded woman, has independently made up her own mind to exercise her right to choose. And whether or not you agree with her choice, she made it for herself, because she knows that she has every right to live her life in whatever way makes her personally feel happy and comfortable. It probably does make her a 'bad feminist' by the modern concept of what feminism has been subverted into, but it doesn't make her any less gender egalitarian.

*Stats from Fawcett Society's 2016 Sex Equality Report


message 2: by Keith (last edited Jun 28, 2017 06:37AM) (new)

Keith | 632 comments Hi Cayenne,

As no doubt many will point out, similar threads exist on OSS. However, I think it is always worth debating

In the first instance, I don't like labels, particularly when they are imposed on individuals. My belief has always been that it is your actions and deeds that matter, not what you call yourself or what others call you.

Secondly, you have the right to choose how you live your life and, so long as you do nothing that deliberately hurts another or seriously breaks the law, you can do as you please..

There have, and are, instances when the Feminist movement shoots itself in the foot; for instance, insisting that you are oppressed when your personal experience tells you otherwise, or. just as bad, the dismissal of your experiences as being meaningless, just because they don't fit in with whichever cause is flavour of the month.

I understand your thoughts, but I believe Feminism, as a word to describe equality, is worth fighting for and we need to re-engage with people to explain its true meaning.

For me, Feminism has too much history and has achieved too many successes to allow its meaning to be hijacked by a small minority (you could argue this has already happened and there would be difficulties in disproving this stance).

Is it worth the fight? - I happen to believe so, but you have presented a compelling case to the contrary and I commend you for doing so.


message 3: by Meelie, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Meelie (meelie_) | 1353 comments Mod
Hi Cayenne,

As Keith has mentioned, there have been similar threads along these line, please do make sure there aren't any duplicate threads. (You can check on the desktop version of this site - click on discussions on the right hand side, and use the search bar ;) )

Please do feel free to add your comments to this thread: "Should the term feminism be altered into something that everyone feels comfortable with?"

In order to maintain the forums general housekeeping, I'll be locking and archiving this thread.

If you do have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask! :)

Meelie x

Locked and archived.


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