Jump to content

Why aren't more women feminists?


  • Please log in to reply
786 replies to this topic

#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 Harlekijn engel

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 The Dowager

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 MsFeralPerthFembo

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.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Five ways my second pregnancy is second best

As I roll into the second half of "Pregnancy: The Sequel", here is breakdown of the differences I have found thus far.

Domestic politics

Why I felt guilty about having a cleaner

Coming home to a clean house was a pleasure – and yet, I felt uneasy.

'Ugly' hearing aid ad leaves parents fuming

When Alecia Donoghue found out her baby would need hearing aids she worried about him becoming the target for schoolyard bullies.

Have you seen these missing children?

The Australian Federal Police has released the following information to locate some of Australia's missing children through the Family Law Court.

Margarita time

Keira Knightley welcomes first child

British actress Keira Knightley has become a first-time mother.

IVF patients in the dark over which clinics are least successful

Couples with fertility problems have little way of knowing which IVF clinics are the best performers despite significant differences between clinic success rates.

Couple forced to defend their decision to become parents

They met, fell in love and got married. Then, just like couples everywhere, Simon and Vicky Moore decided it was time to have a baby.

The one parenting tip that made all the difference

Amongst the useless, ill-informed advice we're given as new parents, many of us also receive nuggets of wisdom that make our lives just that little bit easier.

Five lies you tell yourself when you're pregnant

You can see it all now: glowing mumma with her gorgeous babe ... you know exactly what you're going to be like. Or perhaps you know exactly what you're not going to be like.

Family expecting fourth set of twins

A couple is expecting their fourth set of twins in five years.

The day my daughter almost drowned

We had six adults standing there, so I felt like I could relax a bit. After all, what could go wrong with so much supervision?

Sydney siege survivor names baby after victim Katrina Dawson

A Sydney barrister who survived the Lindt cafe siege has named her newborn daughter after her best friend who died in the tragedy.

The universal working mother experience

These days mothers need more than just traditional career advice.

Obama feels full force of toddler tantrum

Shopping centres, restaurants, the White House ... the list of places toddlers like to throw tantrums is endless.

Banishing bloat

How to avoid a bloated tummy

Here are some foods to eat in order to escape feeling ghastly and gassy.

The great new picture book for anxious kids

My son is a worrier by nature. I learnt long ago that it was completely pointless to say to him "Don't worry about it!".

Budget stripped more than $15b from families

The combined impact of the two budgets for low and middle income people was "devastating", new analysis by the Australian Council of Social Service shows.

Pregnant women urged to get flu shots

As the winter chill starts to arrive, NSW Health is urging pregnant women to get their flu shots.

65-year-old gives birth to quadruplets

A 65-year-old German woman, who already has 13 children, has given birth to quadruplets.

What you need to know about pregnancy and health insurance

It's not just waiting periods that couples need to consider - there are other factors to consider when thinking about health insurance.

Yummy mummy

Nicole Trunfio breastfeeds baby on Elle magazine cover

Australian model Nicole Trunfio has taken the concept of multitasking to a fashionable new level for Elle Australia.

Warnings after baby girl died while sleeping in bouncer

Parents have been warned about the dangers of letting babies sleep in bouncers and swings following the death of a three-month-old girl.

Coping with fatigue as a parent

Sleep deprivation is a real hazard of caring for a baby. But there are ways to manage the challenges of fatigue better.

A very 21st century issue: parents, parks and smart phones

It's not all the parents, and it's not all the time, but there is often at least one doing it. And sometimes, that 'one' is me.

Appliances

Faulty washing machines linked to house fires

More than 80,000 faulty Samsung washing machines pose a fire threat in homes throughout Australia despite a nationwide recall of the machines.

7 things you might not know about postnatal depression

Despite its widespread nature, there is still a great amount of mystery surrounding PND - and it's important to try unravelling as much of that as we can.

Seven questions you should be asking about your health cover

If the last time you assessed your health cover was five years ago, there?s a chance it may no longer suit your needs. To ensure it?s still right for your family, click here for seven questions to ask.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

How to use gas effectively in labour

Many women in labour don't use gas effectively and suffer more side effects than benefits. Here's how to get the most out of this pain relief option.

'He has gastro but that's okay, right?': sick kid etiquette

We cannot place all children who are sick in a bubble till they recover, but we can give other parents a choice about exposing their kids to them.

Welcome to Winter

Now that the colder months are here, Essential Baby as all the information you need for staying healthy and happy during the chilly season.

Ada Nicodemou: 'I can never be completely happy again'

Home and Away actress Ada Nicodemou has opened up about the loss of her stillborn baby.

10 things to consider when you're thinking about trying for a baby

Before you start tracking your menstrual cycle and reading up on the best positions to get pregnant, there are a few other things you may want to consider.

How special surgery and IVF can create a post-vasectomy baby

Cricket legend Glenn McGrath and his second wife Sara are expecting their first child together, thanks to IVF and a delicate surgical sperm retrieval process that helped the couple to conceive.

Belle Gibson's mother 'disgusted and embarrassed'

The mother of disgraced wellness blogger Belle Gibson has accused her daughter of lying about her childhood in an attempt to garner public sympathy.

Doctor's mobile phone 'left inside c-section mum'

A new mum claims a doctor left his mobile phone inside her after delivering her baby via caesarean section.

I'm a mum and I'm following my dreams

I want my kids to know that no matter what happens in life, you can still be who it is that you've always wanted to be.

Those first daycare days

I had this innate 'mum' moment the other day.

'If one person had listened, my life would have been so different'

Katherine's father will die in prison for the horrifying sexual abuse of his daughter. Yet she is the one with the true life sentence.

This new plan undermines breastfeeding and baby health at everyone's expense

Mothers, babies, the health system and the wider society are going to pay the price of this new budget.

Couple to celebrate terminally ill baby's birthday in unique way

Baby Jai Bishop has lived at Starship Hospital for the past seven months, with his parents flying back and forth from Hokitika, 1100km away, to be by his side.

Life On Mars

It's men who need 'retraining', not women

We are all responsible for our own behaviour. Telling victims to harden up is wrong.

Baby Gammy's dad tries to claim charity money

The biological father of baby Gammy has reportedly tried to access charity money raised for the little boy's medical costs.

Where are the childcare places?

It?s all very well to encourage women to work if they choose to, but how can the measures lead to increased workforce participation when women are once again left holding the baby?

The pain of not having babies and not knowing why

After seven years of wishing, hoping, crying, punching pillows and shouting "why me?!", the end result is more than I ever thought possible.

Getting your family finances in order

Whether you're after a new car for a growing family, a bigger house, or are just fixing up your finances, here are the basics on borrowing.

Mum shares graphic selfie to warn against tanning

A mum has shared a graphic photo of her skin cancer treatment as a warning to others.

Does parenthood make us happier?

We can certainly gain higher levels of happiness when we become parents, but the trick is to not get overwhelmed by the pressures of raising our kids.

No, having a dog is not like having a human child

It's obvious these people dote on their pets, but they're barking up the wrong tree.

 

Top baby names

Baby Names

The numbers are in and we can now bring you the 2014 top baby name list for Australia.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.