Dear Women who don’t call themselves feminists. Think about it…

Dear Women who don’t call themselves feminists,

I used to be one of you. In fact I only started calling myself a feminist in the last two years. I “came out” as a feminist right here, and here,  here and erm finally here on this very blog. In fact I had to break this blog out from its rather extended hiatus (sorry I’ve been terrifyingly busy but will update more in the new year) just to write this post.

So there has been a bit of an upset about Mumsnet Blogfest and reactions to a panel including two real life friends of mine @Glosswitch & @SarahDitum who have written simply incredible responses here and here.  I’m not going to ramble on about that so much as I wasn’t there (but have watched the videos) and it all seems to have been woefully misconstrued by people with their own issues, and hats off to Glosswitch and Sarah who have handled it beautifully. Me I would have been weeping in the corner at all the unnecessary vitriol directed at me but then I’m always someone who likes things happy and easy and just wants everyone to like me……….

…….which is probably almost definitely why I never called myself a feminist until recently.

Feminism is hard work and once your eyes are opened to it, and I mean truly opened, to the extent of male violence and all the inequalities that women and girls will face just for being female, then erm its hard and its scary. Its terrifying to challenge things, to be that difficult person at playgroup or school trying to explain why X Y or Z actually isn’t okay.

I’ll hold my hands up and say I was blinkered. I didn’t want to hear, I didn’t want to see, I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want it to make me angry or sad.

Back then I didn’t think my gender had affected me from achieving anything. Basically I was being selfish, “women’s issues” hadn’t really affected me, so I didn’t care, but then I started to think, think about my body image, gender roles in marriage, sex, makeup, abortion consent and my daughters growing up loads and loads of other stuff, and I finally truly really got it.

I had my lightbulb moment.

I even used to get upset at women who got angry at women who didn’t want to call themselves feminists. I didn’t call myself a feminist, and how dare anyone judge me for that?

But now I understand, & now  I have come full circle. I have read a lot of responses to this event with women declaring themselves not to be feminists, and showing a woeful misunderstanding of some of the issues at stake, and I want to tear the blinkers from their eyes (in a gentle non-angry way obviously!) and make them see, make them understand, make them listen.  I get why women were angry at me not calling myself a feminist. I am angry at the old me too.

That isn’t to say that it is okay to be verbally abusive at someone because they hold different opinions to you, because it most definitely isn’t. What I am asking is for you to think about it. Think about why feminism exists and what it means and what it needs, think about how your gender will have affected your life, really think deep down why you don’t want to call yourself a feminist. (Glosswitch once pointed out  to me that some women might not call themselves feminists so they don’t appear threatening to men and that  resonated with me. Maybe it will with you too. Why do women always need to be liked, to seek approval, to not shout, to not be aggressive…..?)

All I am asking is for you to just think*

Lots of Thinking Love


*P.S With an added caveat about  “and not responding aggressively to the person just asking you to think.”

*ducks back down below the parapet*.

9 responses to “Dear Women who don’t call themselves feminists. Think about it…

  1. I’ve seen some interesting responses to the mumsnet crapfest entries “I’m not a feminist but [then defines a feminist]” … I can’t help thinking that if it walks like a duck, swims like a duck etc then it’s probably a fucking duck.

  2. I very definitely have been affected by women’s issues, violence, misogyny and sexism abounded in my upbringing and young life. But for a long time, after I escaped that life and joined the privileged middle classes, I also chose not to think about it and to believe it wasn’t as bad as these somewhat strident and rather annoying feminists made it out to be.

    But what is seen cannot be unseen, and in the last few years I stumbled into greater knowledge of feminism and somewhat unwillingly joined the ranks of feminists, even if sometimes I avoid the tag out of cowardice because of the ill educated stigma that sometimes is attached to it. Half the problem is that not everyone who identifies as a feminist even actually know what the world really means and I see women perpetuating the wrong ideas about feminism as well as the usual deliberate misrepresentation by misogynists and sexists. We need education at school level on the basics of Feminism to avoid all the years of misunderstandings. Fat frackin chance though, I would say.

  3. Dear LadyCurd,
    I have missed you.
    I am glad you’re back.
    x x x

  4. So eeeerrrmmm I was one of those, who dared to call my post “why I am not a feminist”. I won’t have the ego to think you may be referring to me, but after Saturday’s storm, why on Earth would I want to be one. I got close to conversing with one on Twitter today, and despite being very civil, I got blocked. Sorry but that didn’t endear me to the ole feminist gang! Great post you have put together though.

  5. I’m not a feminist (anymore). Gender and feminism has been one of the things I have thought about the most in my life (at least I get points for thinking?). But nowadays no feminist ever says I’m a feminist deep down, either. As I don’t speak like a feminist, say feminist things, agree with feminists or like feminism. So thanks, but no thanks.

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