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Feminism - Speaking Up


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#1 Zeppelina

Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:44 PM

I just read this article on Daily Life:

http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views...0211-2e7gi.html

I want to speak up more, desperately. But I'm always at a loss for what to say. I'm kinda new to this ardent feminist thing (thank you EB for opening my eyes)! Can any of you more experienced (for want of a better word) ladies help with how I/other women can speak up more, how we can respond to the everyday kinds of sexism and misogyny we are presented with? And how do we respond and deal with those typical "you just need a good root" comments that we then get? I mean specific responses, if possible!

#2 Mrs Dinosaurus

Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:09 PM

OK,

Firstly I have to say is "you need a good root" really typical? I am shocked and appalled and I thought i knew some sexist gits!

If anyone said that to me they would cop a gob full of abuse before I even had time to analyse if the comment was sexist!

Anyway:

If someone is outright sexist (male or female) I call them on it specifically - if someone I don't know (well) puts their hand on me in an unassuming manner (middle of the back, shoulder etc) I ask them to remove their hand and ask them if they would do that to a man.

If someone accuses me of having PMT I tell them I havent had a period in nearly 4 years so it must just be that Im p*ssed off - like a man.

If someone calls me honey, darling, love (oh that makes me shudder) I simply ask them not to. Again if necessary i ask if they would do the same thing to a man.

If someone says that you should promote on ability not gender and women shouldn't have women specific positions I tell them men got promoted on gender for a couple of thousand years - let us have a go (I specifically said this to my dad, in fact I have specifically said most of the above to him among others!)

When its something seemingly gender specific I tell them its not - for example I love, love, love girly pink frilly sparkly things. LOVE them. This is not because I am female but because i like them.

When anyone dares say anything to my sons about being men or not being girls, or throwing like a girl or...blah blah blah. depending on the level of anger at the time I will either make a crack about how awesome girls/women are at whatever thing it is, ask them why they think that is a bad thing, tell them it's better than growing up to be a sexist d***head or get worse than that.

If some deadbeat mechanic tries to talk to my DH instead of me he is very quick to tell them to talk to me because he doesn't know the first thing about cars. If DH is not there I will tell them myself, tell them i wont be buying from them and tell them why. I will then email the manager.

A friend recently emailed a magazine editor about a (very) sexist piece of "reporting"  and got him very excited when he responded to her with all sorts of threats.

I have often complained to people who can or should listen about discrimination. I have spoken up in 3 work places, I have written to managers, companies, magazines, Mia Freedman (no, really) and others about everything that is WRONG with their view laughing2.gif

In short I ask myself "is this happening because i am female" and if it is I try to do something about it.

It's quite difficult at times (especially in the work place) but I've had a lot of practice and Im good at it now. Trust me, i was a nervous 'girly' wreck when I first started practicing my roar - it's gotten louder and more attuned with time and use.

I'm still in shock about the root comment. I think I've been living under a rock.

Good on you for getting active OP, the world needs more active people.

Oh, and on the assumption Bettlebop will post soon i will just agree with everything she says because she is rOARsome.

#3 Seven of Nine

Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:32 PM

QUOTE (Zeppelina @ 12/02/2013, 02:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And how do we respond and deal with those typical "you just need a good root" comments that we then get? I mean specific responses, if possible!


Any man who says something like this is demonstrating his lack of ability -inability to debate a woman and probably his inability to be a 'good root' himself.

As tempting as it may be to respond in kind, I think it is best to be calm and measured in your response. The most important thing is to know what you think and have clear and logical reasons to back up your opinions. Voice your opinion and don't take the opinions of idiots personally.

I suspect that the attitudes described in the article you linked are probably more likely to be voiced to someone who is in the position of the author of that article, whose work is directly relevant to feminism. The majority of us will probably only be challenging less vocal opponents.

#4 Sif

Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:40 PM

QUOTE
When its something seemingly gender specific I tell them its not - for example I love, love, love girly pink frilly sparkly things. LOVE them. This is not because I am female but because i like them.


Sorry, couldn't get past this... I'm going to call you out on being sexist. Why are you suggesting that pink, frilly and sparkly is 'girly'? Engendering pink, frilly and sparkly is rather sexist. I'm as saying this a mum of four boys who have all worn pink, frilly and sparkly from time to time - not as dress up.

#5 Z-girls rock

Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:42 PM

meh. I have let go of the idea that everyone will like me and think I am a 'fun' person.

I speak up about a lot of things. Polite people will call me 'forthright'

Other people wont have any fun if they say something;
  • sexsist
  • racist
  • homophobic
  • that derides the poor
  • that in any way makes fun of cruely to animals
around me. they will be pulled up.

Some will be surprised - especially if they are my mother in law.

but so what. When your right your right. who cares if someone with low moral standards thinks that you are a bit brazen because you call them out on their B*llSh*t.

I love this quote from Martin Luther King Jr:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  
―    Martin Luther King Jr.,    I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World

Good on you for wanting to speak up OP. I think letting go of the idea (or the socially driven dogma) that as a woman you have to be 'nice', 'friendly' and 'likeable' all the time is a good way to start your quest.
just let go. be truthfull to your beliefs. people will respect your opinions.





#6 Prioritising Pooks

Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:50 PM

"why would you say that?" is often a good one.

#7 Mrs Dinosaurus

Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:37 PM

QUOTE (Sif @ 12/02/2013, 03:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry, couldn't get past this... I'm going to call you out on being sexist. Why are you suggesting that pink, frilly and sparkly is 'girly'? Engendering pink, frilly and sparkly is rather sexist. I'm as saying this a mum of four boys who have all worn pink, frilly and sparkly from time to time - not as dress up.


laughing2.gif

the whole post is about what I say when other people speak to me but you thought this one was something I thought myself? And my response was to whom? the mirror?

No, pink is not girly - that is exactly what I said. I don't like it because I am a girl. I like it because it's pink. And frilly. and hopefully sparkly. Although i like any colour that is sparkly. Except yellow - yellow does not look good sparkly.



#8 Zeppelina

Posted 12 February 2013 - 07:41 PM

QUOTE (Dinosaurus @ 12/02/2013, 03:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Firstly I have to say is "you need a good root" really typical? I am shocked and appalled and I thought i knew some sexist gits!

If anyone said that to me they would cop a gob full of abuse before I even had time to analyse if the comment was sexist!

I'm not sure that anyone has ever said it to me personally, but I know at least two of my friends have copped that line or similar, and I've read it enough times online in the comments sections of various articles.

Anyway, thank you SO much for your post. Your suggestions are exactly the sort of stuff I was hoping for. Now I just need to practice so that I can say these things calmly and confidently, rather than defensively or not at all.

#9 Zeppelina

Posted 12 February 2013 - 07:46 PM

QUOTE (Z-girls rock @ 12/02/2013, 03:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
meh. I have let go of the idea that everyone will like me and think I am a 'fun' person.

Good on you for wanting to speak up OP. I think letting go of the idea (or the socially driven dogma) that as a woman you have to be 'nice', 'friendly' and 'likeable' all the time is a good way to start your quest.
just let go. be truthfull to your beliefs. people will respect your opinions.


I think you've hit the nail on the head for me with these two comments. That's exactly it - I hate (and have always hated) the idea of people thinking that I'm not a 'fun' person. I guess I really need to acknowledge to myself that I am a fun person where it counts, but that it's still okay to take important stuff very seriously. And yes, I definitely feel like I have to be nice, friendly, likeable, (or other adjectives like agreeable, passive, helpful), and I find it very difficult to let go of this social-conditioning, especially with close friends and especially with my dad!

#10 Chaos in stereo

Posted 12 February 2013 - 07:53 PM

If you're quick-witted enough (which I never am) - I think the best response is a bit of humour at the offender's expense. They can't call you a b**ch if you're just having a bit of fun, can they? Because the usual defence of this type of stuff is usually "I'm only joking, don't you have a sense of humour?".

It undermines sexist pigs if you can be funny and cutting but you might have to think up some witty retorts in advance that you can pull out in case of emergency.

#11 Magnus

Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:03 PM

I think it's OK to just try a few comments to challenge people and see how it goes and build on it from there.

Realise you probably won't be able to pull everyone up on everything and it can be really tiring being the PC police.

I think trying to engage with people in the spirit of discussion rather than evangelism wins more people over to social causes (even though it's often tempting to get really angry or preachy).

I find 'I don't agree' followed by the reason is a good way into discussions about gender and feminism. Even then, mostly likely people will want to argue with you for ages and go away thinking they've won even if their arguments are incredibly flawed.

It may be easier to engage with strangers on these issues than your own family. It can be good to bring these things up with people in your family, but you may just have to leave it at 'that's interesting, we have different views, I don't agree' in most conversations, especially with older relatives.

ETA: Don't beat yourself up either, if you can't think of a good comeback. Sometimes when people say really awful things, especially if they include sexual harrassment it's really easy to freeze up and just walk away without a witty comeback. This is normal.

Edited by Magnus, 12 February 2013 - 08:06 PM.


#12 belindarama

Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:04 PM

The best response to she needs a good root is 'I hope you're not offering to do it yourself as you did say GOOD root, didn't you?'

On the rest I agree with Pooks that a 'why do you say that' works pretty well. Get them to justify their stupid comment and watch the games begin...

#13 BetteBoop

Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:15 PM

Congrats on opening your eyes OP.

I would suggest you get a bit of knowledge about the state of equality for women under your belt.

Fight stupid comments with simple statements of fact.

Most people genuinely don't seem to realise that women are no where near equal yet, on any single measure. They look at white middle class Western women and think their experiences are true the world over, or they overstate how far white middle class Western women have really come.

We have the veneer of equality in Western countries, nothing more.

Men own and control about 95% of the world's resources. And of that 95%, the majority are white men.

Look at data on the rates of sexual abuse and violence women face in Australia.

Equality is an illusion.

Rates of violence against women in Australia:
•Violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and illness of women aged 15 to 44 years 1.
•One in three women experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime 2.
•Women represent nearly 90% of reported rapes and 76% of reported sexual assaults 3 4.
•After financial difficulty, domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness, with women and children still being forced in the majority of cases to flee the family home 5.
Men are the main perpetrators of violence against women

http://whv.org.au/what-we-do/violence-against-women


The reality of the pay gap:
Studies show that between 60 to 90% of the Australian gender pay gap cannot be explained by differences in individual or workplace characteristics between women and men and that discrimination plays an important role in the gender pay gap
http://www.actu.org.au/Images/Dynamic/atta...TSEM_report.pdf

Oh, and everything Dinosaurus said. We will be starting a mutual masturbation society if anyone would care to join.

It's BYO canapes.

#14 RichardParker

Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:41 PM

'Really?  I've actually just hopped off a c*ck but since you're offering, I could go another round.  Oh, that's right, I gave up ****ing simpletons for Lent.  Maybe call me when you figure out how to use that cute little prefrontal cortex and we can, like, talk.  Kthanxbai.'

Edited by *Greenbag*, 12 February 2013 - 08:43 PM.


#15 RichardParker

Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:52 PM

But really, I don't, know.  Just keep fighting the fight as best we can.  What I'd like to know is how to raise my son to be a feminist - and for him to think that's just normal.

#16 Jane Jetson

Posted 12 February 2013 - 09:41 PM

QUOTE (Magnus @ 12/02/2013, 09:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It can be good to bring these things up with people in your family, but you may just have to leave it at 'that's interesting, we have different views, I don't agree' in most conversations, especially with older relatives.


I've never learned to do this. It causes fights. Oh well! It's not my responsibility to be "fun" anyway just to avoid annoying random throwbacks. Who says we have to be fun and likeable?



#17 Zeppelina

Posted 12 February 2013 - 09:43 PM

QUOTE (*Greenbag* @ 12/02/2013, 09:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
'Really?  I've actually just hopped off a c*ck but since you're offering, I could go another round.  Oh, that's right, I gave up ****ing simpletons for Lent.  Maybe call me when you figure out how to use that cute little prefrontal cortex and we can, like, talk.  Kthanxbai.'

roll2.gif Love it.

QUOTE (*Greenbag* @ 12/02/2013, 09:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But really, I don't, know.  Just keep fighting the fight as best we can.  What I'd like to know is how to raise my son to be a feminist - and for him to think that's just normal.

Me too - he's not even two yet, but I think about it a lot. Luckily DH is very much on-board with it all, so hopefully we'll have some success.

#18 WibbleWobble

Posted 12 February 2013 - 09:51 PM

QUOTE (*Greenbag* @ 12/02/2013, 09:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But really, I don't, know.  Just keep fighting the fight as best we can.  What I'd like to know is how to raise my son to be a feminist - and for him to think that's just normal.


I have one of each, so hopefully with both of them being treated equally in our house they will think this is the norm.



#19 Zeppelina

Posted 12 February 2013 - 09:55 PM

QUOTE (Beetlebop @ 12/02/2013, 09:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would suggest you get a bit of knowledge about the state of equality for women under your belt.

Fight stupid comments with simple statements of fact.


Very good point Beetlebop (you will always be BetteBoop in my mind though!). Thanks for the statistics and websites, I will definitely read up about it.




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