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Why aren't more women feminists?


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#1 Bart.

Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:44 PM

As the topic title suggests, I'm contemplating why more women don't identify as feminists.

- Is it the title of 'feminist'?
- Is the meaning behind 'feminist' too confusing? To confronting?
- They don't see the inequity?
- They do see the inequity but accept it's the way it is?
- Don't see the patriarchy as a problem?
- Don't think they can do anything to change it?
- Can't be bothered to change the status quo?

I'm sure there are a multitude of reasons, but what hurts me the most is when I see a woman demonstrating blatant misogyny against her own sex.   sad.gif

I'm wondering if others have a theory, opinion or view on why feminists are a minority and are seen by some as "the western world's greatest evil" (direct quote from an article comment).


As my signature suggests, I do identify as a feminist.  I view the feminist movement as one which seeks to equalise the genders, value the contributions of both men and women equally and address the horrendous practice of sex crimes against women (including sexual harassment), among other objectives.  But that's just my view and I think because the description of 'feminist' is broad and has been misrepresented and/or misinterpreted, it has negative connotations.





#2 Phasmatis angelam

Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:49 PM

I'd call myself a feminist, but I'm quite sure some other feminists would disagree.  In some ways I think it would be helpful if we had clear demarcations of different kinds of feminism, but of course we don't.

But I think of someone like my mum... I asked her as a teenager once if she was a feminist.  And she pulled a face at me and said, "What, do you think I should burn my bra?"  I think she sees feminism as destabilising society - which to her is bad.  I suspect other older or more conservative women would agree.



#3 CocobeanLillylove

Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:54 PM

I think it may be due to the negative connotations associated with the word 'feminist.' Some people view feminists as 'man haters' or angry amongst other things.
I identify as being a feminist because I don't see it as being either of those things. I think if you asked women who say they aren't feminists if they believe in equal rights for women then they would say yes of course. I don't think a lot of women understand what being a feminist actually means.

There do see to be some women who dislike women or think they should 'stay in their place'. I don't really understand that at all or how it has come about. Women disliking women in general seems odd to me.

#4 KT1978

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:00 PM

Because feminism is associated with bitterness, and women are socialized not to be confrontational and angry.

For some stronger women, it is a reluctance to claim a place of weakness. Ie I don't need feminism, I'm fine, that is for weaker women who can't stand up for themselves. (I see this in the corporate world).

The term is used as insult by some men, and who wants to call themselves an insulting name?

#5 Fr0g

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:02 PM

I'm perhaps in the lazy or comfort zone, and in the lack of understanding zone.

I don't think I would identify as a feminist; I don't feel as passionate about gender issues as feminists seem to (my observations from EB) - even though I'm irritated by the concept of inequality etc, I am not bothered enough to think or act on anything specifically.

I'm not devoid of rational thought, or critical thinking, or passion; and I also don't think inferring women who don't identify as feminists are lesser women, or anti-feminist, either.

Edited by FrogIsAFrogIsAFrog, 15 February 2013 - 05:04 PM.


#6 Snot stew

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:03 PM

What frogisafrogisafrog said.


#7 Fenrir

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:05 PM

I would identify as a feminist but I will answer your questions from my POV.

QUOTE
Is it the title of 'feminist'?To some yes. There are some "feminists who do more harm than good and, unfortunately, they tend to be the most vocal and offensive.
- Is the meaning behind 'feminist' too confusing? To confronting? Sometimes. "Don't be a doormat but get offended when a man holds the door open for you. How dare he?!"
- They don't see the inequity? I do but in certain circumstances it is unavoidable. Women can do the same work as men but there are differences in physical attributes and, with all due respect, men can't have babies.
- They do see the inequity but accept it's the way it is? Not me.
- Don't see the patriarchy as a problem?Again, not me.
- Don't think they can do anything to change it? It seems to be a slow process. I do see some women actively not helping to "advance the cause" so to speak.
- Can't be bothered to change the status quo? I do what I can when appropriate.


This is from my POV and I am sure that some will disagree and accuse me of not being a feminist.

#8 CupOfCoffee

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:05 PM

I think because some people see feminists as this homogeneous group.  So something said by one feminist, is what feminists should believe, and they need to believe it angrily. (and therefore if they don't believe that, they are not a feminist).

So while I consider myself a feminist, and yet don't always agree with different schools of feminist thought.  

(For example, there is a school of thought that things that are traditionally 'girly' are bad (dolls, toy kitchens etc)... whereas I think that is just reinforcing the traditional belief that women and girls were weak and inferior (and therefore bad) as opposed to saying that there are qualities in play with dolls and kitchens which is good for both sexes and allows children to develop their own identities, styles and preferences).

Also, people are afraid of using the term because it has always been seen with such negativity (as though there is something man-hater, angry, unreasonable about feminists).


#9 chubbabub

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:08 PM

If you are female and you are not a feminist, then I seriously don't get it. Feminism is supporting women's rights, being an advocate for women and a belief in equality for all. What's not to support?

I honestly believe that many women have no clue about the history of the feminist movement and are hoodwinked by the media's stereotype, that all feminists are men hating, ball breakers.

Education in this matter, is sadly lacking and this leads to the ill informed view that supporting feminism is a bad thing.




#10 SaintJoe

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:16 PM

I call myself an equalist.

The problem I have with some aspects of the feminist movement is the inability to recognise that there are some biological differences between the sexes. That argument fails logic imo.

#11 KT1978

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:18 PM

I think it's also complacency.

Most women have never lived in a time where they couldn't vote or get an education, so they don't really get how much feminism affects their lives.

#12 ~river song~

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:20 PM

QUOTE (silentmoose @ 15/02/2013, 05:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Because if they develop a conscience, boys might not think they're pretty.


laugh.gif

I most absolutely identify as a feminist.

QUOTE (KT1978 @ 15/02/2013, 06:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it's also complacency.

Most women have never lived in a time where they couldn't vote or get an education, so they don't really get how much feminism affects their lives.


yes yes a thousand times yes!

#13 Tigerdog

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:26 PM

I think some 'feminists' take it to the extreme, too far in some cases, and have given the term a bad name to the extent that many women are scared to be associated with it due to the negative stereotypes created  sad.gif

Edited by Tigerdog, 15 February 2013 - 05:27 PM.


#14 AbbottProofFence

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:30 PM

Different people have different definitions of what the word feminist means and some women are worried they'll be associated with the 'extreme' feminists.

#15 CupOfCoffee

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:31 PM

QUOTE (**myboys** @ 15/02/2013, 05:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The problem I have with some aspects of the feminist movement is the inability to recognise that there are some biological differences between the sexes. That argument fails logic imo.


As a feminist, I believe in the individual (which is made up of things like sex, gender, environment and importantly their own personality).  

As  a feminist, I want girls to be able to be the individual they want to  be (and not be constrained by ideas that relate to their sex).  I don't  mind my daughter wanting to be a princess and wearing pink, I just don't  want her being told she has to, not having real choice and being  labelled or criticised if she wants something else for herself.    

And this extends to women, I want women to be able to be what they want to be, on a fair playing field.  It isn't about what they want to do, it isn't saying they are the same as men, it is about fair and equitable choice and outcomes.

#16 ~Supernova~

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:31 PM

Because they have the dumb.

But seriously, I could not respect somebody who WASN'T a feminist. There are a lot of negative connotations around about feminists (and many extremists, just like any other group in society), but jesus...do your homework people. If you're a woman, you should support feminism, end of story. If not, then you can't like yourself too much IMO.

#17 FeralPerthFembo

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:33 PM

I am a feminist by the definition:

QUOTE
"advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men."


I don't identify with the label because I've had had more bad experiences than good with those who label themselves with the title. Not identifying with the label doesn't make me any less so.

I also don't identify as an athiest, despite having a lack of belief in god. Maybe I just don't like labels.

Edited by JBaby, 15 February 2013 - 05:47 PM.


#18 Mudpie

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:42 PM

I wrote about this in my blog. I think people are peddling the message that to keep pushing now when we have come so far is ungrateful and we are falling for it.

Can read more here.

Edited by Mudpie, 15 February 2013 - 05:43 PM.


#19 niggles

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:42 PM

I quite frequently come across this misconception that equality is the proper response to lack of women's rights, rather than equity. People seem to resent any kind of treatment that privileges women because they see it as unequal rather than as equitable.

Yes, there are biological differences. All the more reason for their to be social systems in place to prevent those biological differences leading to an inability to fully participate in society.

So, yeah, I am a feminist but I'm rarely called upon to label myself that.

#20 Bart.

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:43 PM

QUOTE (**myboys** @ 15/02/2013, 06:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The problem I have with some aspects of the feminist movement is the inability to recognise that there are some biological differences between the sexes. That argument fails logic imo.

I don't see this often and I certainly don't agree with this idea, anyway.  Men and women do approach things differently as a general rule, but their contributions are equally as important and should be valued as such.  However, this isn't the case as traditionally female roles are often devalued (how many times have you heard a woman say she's "just a housewife but if a guy says it, he's either 'pussy whipped' or a hero).

The double standards perplex and frustrate me.

#21 Rainbow Brite

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:45 PM

QUOTE (chubbabub @ 15/02/2013, 06:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you are female and you are not a feminist, then I seriously don't get it. Feminism is supporting women's rights, being an advocate for women and a belief in equality for all. What's not to support?

I honestly believe that many women have no clue about the history of the feminist movement and are hoodwinked by the media's stereotype, that all feminists are men hating, ball breakers.

Education in this matter, is sadly lacking and this leads to the ill informed view that supporting feminism is a bad thing.


If you don't get it what are you doing to educate women? As you say you believe many women have no clue. I'm interested to know.

#22 SaintJoe

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:46 PM

QUOTE (Rawr @ 15/02/2013, 06:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I disagree. I don't think I've  ever gotten that impression from any feminist


I have. Although many in my friendship group I would consider extreme in their views. I have seen it on EB before also.


QUOTE (CupOfCoffee @ 15/02/2013, 06:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
As a feminist, I believe in the individual (which is made up of things like sex, gender, environment and importantly their own personality).  

As  a feminist, I want girls to be able to be the individual they want to  be (and not be constrained by ideas that relate to their sex).  I don't  mind my daughter wanting to be a princess and wearing pink, I just don't  want her being told she has to, not having real choice and being  labelled or criticised if she wants something else for herself.    

And this extends to women, I want women to be able to be what they want to be, on a fair playing field.  It isn't about what they want to do, it isn't saying they are the same as men, it is about fair and equitable choice and outcomes.


I agree CoC completely. My point is there are biological differences between men and women. And these differences at times can bring advantages or disadvantages to one of the sexes. Let's use sport as an example. Men will always be faster and stronger and it can therefore be arguable that the viewing of that particular sport is more enjoyable. This brings about better conditions, pay, status etc to the male.

I HAVE seen similar situations where people would argue otherwise, that there are no differences between the sexes and it is all social conditioning. While this is a largely true, we do have to acknowledge our differences and embrace them.

I have my 2 year old pulling at me. not eloquent atm!


#23 MintyBiscuit

Posted 15 February 2013 - 06:01 PM

QUOTE (silentmoose @ 15/02/2013, 05:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Because if they develop a conscience, boys might not think they're pretty.


Well I hope you don't identify as a feminist, because that's not a very women friendly thing to say.

QUOTE (Mareek @ 15/02/2013, 06:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Because they have the dumb.

But seriously, I could not respect somebody who WASN'T a feminist. There are a lot of negative connotations around about feminists (and many extremists, just like any other group in society), but jesus...do your homework people. If you're a woman, you should support feminism, end of story. If not, then you can't like yourself too much IMO.


Explain how? Not identifying as a feminist does not automatically mean someone thinks women are the weaker sex or any other misogynist connotations.

I have many times, both IRL and here on EB, said I don't identify as a feminist. I have had people tell me they disagree and consider me a feminist, both here and IRL. I have no doubt there are others who would find it offensive to their idea of feminism if I were to call myself one. It's perception.

For me, it's multi faceted. I have encountered many women who tend to begin any complaints about anything in life with "I'm a feminist, and x is unfair against women" and it's crap. Feminists with a victim mentality are people I've encountered a lot, so that has probably coloured my view. I've also encountered feminists who seem to believe that everything is a sign of the man keeping women down, and drawing conclusions that I just find bizarre - in fact I started a thread about it a few weeks back. This annoys me. While I don't consider all those who identify as feminists to be like this, I don't want to be associated with those who do.

As for what I believe, I think everyone should have the same opportunities afforded to them regardless of gender, religion, sexuality, socio-economic status or health. If someone is capable of something, they should have the chance to do it. Maybe that makes me a feminist? I don't know. I prefer not to label these things.

ETA - I am extremely grateful for the feminism movement on the whole and what it changed for women. There are elements that frustrate and annoy me, but that doesn't change the fact that I am grateful for it and respect those who have worked towards real change.

ETA again - I find it interesting that in these sort of threads the are inevitably a couple of people calling those who don't identify as feminists dumb or something similar. How do those people balance their passion for feminism with labelling vast numbers of women stupid simply because they have a different viewpoint?

Edited by HollyOllyOxenfree, 15 February 2013 - 06:06 PM.


#24 caitiri

Posted 15 February 2013 - 06:05 PM

I rejected the notion of feminism for ages and thought of myself as more of a we should be equal type person but its only been recently that I have realised how geared towards men everything in our lives is.    The default is not equal.

Honestly I've a bit ashamed of how much I criticised feminism throughout my university and schooling,   and how long it has taken me to make this simple realisation.

#25 ~Supernova~

Posted 15 February 2013 - 06:06 PM

QUOTE (HollyOllyOxenfree @ 15/02/2013, 06:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Well I hope you don't identify as a feminist, because that's not a very women friendly thing to say.



Explain how? Not identifying as a feminist does not automatically mean someone thinks women are the weaker sex or any other misogynist connotations.

I have many times, both IRL and here on EB, said I don't identify as a feminist. I have had people tell me they disagree and consider me a feminist, both here and IRL. I have no doubt there are others who would find it offensive to their idea of feminism if I were to call myself one. It's perception.

For me, it's multi faceted. I have encountered many women who tend to begin any complaints about anything in life with "I'm a feminist, and x is unfair against women" and it's crap. Feminists with a victim mentality are people I've encountered a lot, so that has probably coloured my view. I've also encountered feminists who seem to believe that everything is a sign of the man keeping women down, and drawing conclusions that I just find bizarre - in fact I started a thread about it a few weeks back. This annoys me. While I don't consider all those who identify as feminists to be like this, I don't want to be associated with those who do.

As for what I believe, I think everyone should have the same opportunities afforded to them regardless of gender, religion, sexuality, socio-economic status or health. If someone is capable of something, they should have the chance to do it. Maybe that makes me a feminist? I don't know. I prefer not to label these things.

ETA - I am extremely grateful for the feminism movement on the whole and what it changed for women. There are elements that frustrate and annoy me, but that doesn't change the fact that I am grateful for it and respect those who have worked towards real change.


Sorry, but you just described yourself as a feminist. Label or no label, a desire for equality is exactly what feminism IS.

And there are elements that frustrate and annoy the hell out of me too. But does my NEED for a more equal society change due to that? Nope. Henceforth, whether I label myself or not, I subscribe to feminist theory by default.




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