Weekly Round-Up Post

// 8 November 2010

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We can’t always cover all the stories in the news and around the interwebz, so here is this week’s round-up post of the ones we missed. If you want to add more suggestions, or have a general feminist chat, feel free to do so in the comments!

Comments From You

Kate // Posted 8 November 2010 at 2:50 pm

Raped women jailed after being bullied into retracting the allegation http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/08/rape-case-woman-appeal

Get outraged people!

polly // Posted 8 November 2010 at 8:31 pm

I already am outraged Kate. Cath Elliott has got rape crisis’s official statement on her blog.

http://toomuchtosayformyself.com/

Sheila // Posted 8 November 2010 at 11:15 pm

@smallstrokesbigoaks posting

GIve me a sodding break. She says

Sheila // Posted 9 November 2010 at 8:56 am

Oops, looks like most of my post went missing. @smallstrokebigoaks. She says Feminism is all about choice, and her choice is to call herself a housewife and stay at home. Feminism is very frequently about lack of choice. Many women have no choice whether they work or not. It doesn’t make them not feminist. Choice is a luxury, not a justification for calling yourself a feminist. When I was 26 and childless like her, I felt I had more choices than I do now, and chose not to be economically dependent on a man. Choices have consequences that affect people around you. One effect of women saying that they can choose whether they work or not is that it perpetuates the myth that women only work because they feel like it, for “pin money” and that affects the price we can charge for our services in the work place. Please don’t give me this feminism is all about choice crap. It’s about lack of choice for the vast majority of women.

Anna // Posted 9 November 2010 at 4:40 pm

The tattoo piece is interesting. I read it because I don’t get the attraction of tattooes. If I see someone with a lot of tattooes, I’m afraid certain stereotypical, judgemental opinions do pop into my head. I’m ashamed of that, especially as I could be totally wrong. I try not to let them dominate. But I do think some people get a lot of tattooes because they want to look intimidating. For whatever reason.

maggie // Posted 9 November 2010 at 5:12 pm

I wish Miriam O’Reilly well. I’m not paying good money for my TV licence to have intelligent women told to go because they have wrinkles. Yet ad infinitum we gaze upon the ‘wise and wrinkled’ complexion of the older man.

Please stop this dehumanising of women who get older. It happens to us all and when you finally get to a ‘certain age’ it really hits home how appalling this is.

polly // Posted 9 November 2010 at 7:41 pm

“Feminism is: being empowered to do whatever you want, regardless of your gender”

What nonsense: I agree with Sheila that being able to stay at home by CHOICE (and work as an artist from home) is a privileged position and nothing to do with ‘feminism’. I don’t have a husband, but if I lose my job I’ll be up a financial s**t creek without a paddle. It doesn’t matter how feminist I am.

PRIVILEGE is being able to do whatever you want. Feminism is about women not being treated unequally because of their gender. I’d also say that feminism is about carers (of children or others) having their work recognised as equal to traditional waged work.

But I’m afraid that looking after the house is what the rest of us do when we’ve done our waged work.

Sheila // Posted 9 November 2010 at 10:16 pm

@Polly

Thank you so much for that post. When I log into the F-word during 2 minutes reprieve at work or after the commute and the chores, it’s great to see someone else not bashing me for working (not through choice but through economic necessity).

Cat // Posted 10 November 2010 at 4:40 am

Hi! I wrote the “Feminism and Being a Housewife” post, and I invite you to comment there, where we might, you know, dialogue. :)

I’m disappointed by the conversation so far, though. There’re a lot of personal jabs here that don’t have a base OR a relation to the topic. They’re just angry.

It’s a REAL big assumption to say I live a “priveleged” life and insinuate that I’m a kept woman. That’s reading a LOT into what I didn’t say, and not reading a lot of what I did, like that I work for a living. I have a supportive husband who is a true partner in helping me and who is supportive of my career – if you read the post carefully, I have one. Just like I supported him when I worked a full time white collar job and he got his business going. Was that bad of me?

I agree that feminism is about MORE than what I said. But that doesn’t mean that it’s still not about, in a smaller way, not trying to fill roles set for yourself by others. In a large way? In a policies-and-initiating-change way? Yeah, feminism isn’t about choosing to be a housewife. But in the day-to-day, feminism is DEFINITELY not about fretting over whether the choices you make about your wedding or whose name you take or who cooks dinner makes you a “bad feminist”. And that was the point I was going for.

But wow, you guys just informed me that I’m the worst feminist ever.

Ashley // Posted 10 November 2010 at 11:38 am

Hi there. I own Small Strokes where the tattoo and housewife articles were published.

Here’s the thing: If we feminists are going to be pro-choice, we really need to be pro-choice in every sense of the word. We can’t tell women we’ve fought for their right to make their own, autonomous choices and then tell them that their choices aren’t good enough. So you may not have made that particular choice or may not be in a place to be able to make that choice, but attacking someone’s informed decisions (assuming they are informed, and I believe Cat’s were) is almost as bad as attacking his or her very right to make the choice.

Kristel // Posted 10 November 2010 at 12:38 pm

Dear Cat,

Making big assumptions and insinuations and jumping in to have a pop at someone’s perceived ‘privilege’ without even reading their posts properly is unfortunately what a quite a few commenters on the F-word do. It is a great site, some great posts and features, but I do get tired of that.

So don’t feel bad, and don’t feel silenced!

Toni // Posted 10 November 2010 at 12:51 pm

Sheila and Polly, why don’t you read people’s posts/comments properly before you jump in to jump all over them with accusations of ‘privilege’? Your comments just sound like the politics of envy.

And why is it nonsense to say that feminism is about empowerment? That is what it’s about for me, being empowered to do what I want regardless of my gender. I will decide what feminism means to me, just as other people have got the right to decide what it means to them.

Lindsey // Posted 10 November 2010 at 1:23 pm

re: housewife feminism

I see 2 conflated issues here: being able to stay/work at home is a privilege, but having privilege doesn’t automatically make you not a feminist. I have white, middle-class, cis, able-bodied privileges just off the top of my head but that doesn’t make me less of a feminist than someone who doesn’t have those privileges. A different kind of feminist, sure, but not less than.

What is interesting about the post is that although Cat has her own career she adopted the identity/label of housewife. A brief look at her personal blog makes clear that she’s not a 1950’s romanticised housewife either. Is it impossible to reclaim the word at all?

Zita // Posted 10 November 2010 at 5:22 pm

@Cat

I completely agree with you. I understand what the other commentators are saying and they’re also not wrong, but I think they’re assuming you don’t know that you’re privileged, even if you don’t like the word, and by that I mean in the way that you’re lucky to have a supporting partner etc… I think people kind of react badly to the word privileged but I’m sure you know really that you’re a lucky lady and you don’t need to be told that, and you should be proud to have such a great partnership.

The people commenting have a valid point about choices, but I think you knew that too. I think what you were saying about choice was not blythly talking about this issue with the delusion that everybody can do everything, it was that they shouldn’t be condemned for the choice they make within their abilities and means.

Tbh I think the comments may be a bit knee jerk because this is such a loaded point for women both sides of the “working outside the home” fence but I think you’ve been misinterpreted. I mean, I could say women should be allowed to be scientists or engineers if they choose and people wouldn’t get upset with my comment because not all people are privileged enough to have the aptitude or resources or support to do so, even though that’s true. They’d see it was a separate issue and that what I was saying is that people shouldn’t be restricted from making any choice if they can make it, whether it’s been encouraged in the past by the patriarchy or discouraged.

I know that analogy isn’t directly comparable (women aren’t encouraged into those careers but were expected to be housewives, we all know that) but it kind of makes my point! In the same way, it’s not like we think nursing is a bad career even though it’s a “female” one. To get rid of all the baggage involved with being a housewife or househusband I believe we have to change what it is from the inside not condemn it as a bad choice.

Sheila // Posted 11 November 2010 at 12:43 pm

My detractors appear not to have read my post properly. I haven’t mentioned privilege at all. In fact, I think we are probably in violent agreement about this. Ashley says, “Feminism is: being empowered to do whatever you want, regardless of your gender.” The problem is that I read that as saying that if I feel disempowered and can’t make the choices I want to, then I’m not a feminist. She probably doesn’t mean it like that. She probably means it aspirationally – like wouldn’t it be great if all women could choose what they did (though I think the economy and services vital to society wouldn’t be so hot if everyone worked from home so I am glad that not everyone makes the same choice). We can all view ourselves as economically disempowered in some way – if you are a single parent like me, you have to work or live on benefits, if you are supported by a partner, you are dependent on them. Lack of choice is a huge feminist issue. We don’t disagree that choice is the problem. But not to choice to exercise doesn’t make a woman not a feminist. It’s defining yourself as a feminist because you exercise choice that I take issue with.

Anchoredwunderlust // Posted 11 November 2010 at 1:45 pm

I’d like to add the cuts demo, even if it’s everywhere. There were a lot of feminist placards in every group. It was good to see. Obviously there are some things that we will disagree on about the occupation, all being of different mindsets, but with the ways that the cuts will affect women, this was a very strong numbered demo.

Feminist Avatar // Posted 11 November 2010 at 3:39 pm

I am not sure I agree that feminism is being ’empowered to do whatever you want regardless of your gender’. Most feminists would not support your choice to say own slaves or beat other women. We generally would not support choices that reinforce power hierachies that limit the exercise of other people’s choices.

I don’t feel that ‘I chose’ therefore ‘it’s feminist’ is true. You can choose things that are actively bad for women; you can choose things that are relatively neutral or whose impacts are far from clear; you can choose things that most (but probably never all) feminist would agree were positive- but the act of choice is not what makes it feminist.

Plus, I think that such a simplistic understanding of choice fails to recognise that choices are not freely made- they are informed by the structures that create them- hence why we sometimes get ourselves in knot trying to figure out what is ‘feminist’. If you choose to wear high heels is that empowering, or does the fact they are limiting in movement make them ‘patriarchal’. Much of the time, our ‘choices’ are constrained by society and what is available to choose from. So, there often isn’t a ‘patriarchy free’ choice available.

Ashley // Posted 11 November 2010 at 4:43 pm

I absolutely agree with the commenters here saying that not every choice is feminist. However, the act of making the choice is a feminist act, and something our foremothers have fought for. To then prescribe what the best choice to make is and say anyone who doesn’t make this choice is not a feminist is simply ridiculous.

Cat has the privilege to be able to work from home. She made that decision within her privilege. Should she go out of the home and work just because it’s the “feminist thing to do”? Saying that is like saying a woman who became unexpectedly pregnant should have an abortion because feminists have fought for the right to be able to do so. It seems counter-intuitive. Feminists are not fighting for women to have abortions; they’re fighting for women to have the right to CHOOSE. Similarly, feminists didn’t fight for women to work outside of the home; they fought for women to choose what profession they wanted, just like any man could choose. Being a housewife, as Cat calls herself, is typically a woman’s job, and that’s why we jump all over it when she says she’s chosen that job proudly. I’m a teacher, and an English teacher no less, which is also typically a woman’s job. What of that? Should I quit my job and become an engineer just to get my feminist card back?

In our society, if a man decides to stay at home to support his career-driven wife, we look at him and say “Wow, what a stand-up guy. How wonderful of him to make that choice for her so she can follow her dreams.” If a woman decides to stay at home to support her working husband, well, I think we all see what happens then right here within these comments. We cut her down and tell her she’s not a feminist. It’s yet another example of women bashing women, and a huge reason why it seems we can’t seem to get on the same page.

Cat Rocketship // Posted 11 November 2010 at 5:17 pm

Sheila: Sure, I totally agree with most of that comment. “It’s defining yourself as a feminist because you exercise choice that I take issue with.” And maybe I worded that poorly – I’m a painter, not a writer. :) I DO have the privelege of not having to take any job that I can, and of working with my partner to take some time to create my career. I AM trying to argue pretty much exactly what Zita and Ashley said – that this particular choice, to support my family by making my home my job – is not an unfeminist one.

I don’t know that I’m really saying that it’s a feminist choice either. Just that it’s not anti-feminist or unempowering because I’m NOT choosing to work outside the home, let alone because I’m not working as an astronaut-doctor-lady politician.

Ashley, I think you summed it up well in your first paragraph. And your second. So, you know, good job.

Again, I just think that it’s a shame that some women have become nervous about losing their feminist card or fitting into a mold. I’m not trying to say “I AM A WOMAN AND A FEMINIST AND A HOUSEWIFE, THE WORLD IS SAVED!” Just that this lifestyle, these choices that do come from privilege, are small victories, not worries.

marie // Posted 11 November 2010 at 6:35 pm

Feminist Avatar i totally agree with your comment. being a womanist and not a feminist i get sick and tired of other feminist telling me that every choice i make is down to some woman i do not even know.

Shinila Bakar // Posted 11 November 2010 at 7:20 pm

Marie.. not every choice but, a lot of them.

I swear, things could be just a liiittle bit less anti-feminist round here sometimes.

Anchoredwunderlust // Posted 11 November 2010 at 8:52 pm

Whilst people were saying that your choice isn’t automatically feminist. Boone said it was unfeminist or anti feminist to choose to be a housewife, more that we often think of the choice of links shown here to be heralded by the creators for praise (which would rub on people that don’t have your choices) or to be critical and debate about, which we do differently when it’s personal to another poster.

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