Some Quick Thoughts on Feminism

13th November 2009 13 Comments

“…a political, cultural or economic movement aimed at establishing more rights and legal protection for women…” (an oversimplied Wikipedia description!)

It was a fantastic movement, establishing votes, reproductive rights, civil rights and so on. I think, however, that I am a post- feminist. The feminist movement was a brilliant thing up to the 1970’s. Yet, I am begining to slowly come to the conclusion that much of the recent advances in womens rights have actually had a counter-productive effect. For example, the extension of maternity benefits; whilst I have undoubtedly benefited from them and am very grateful for that, recent news reports seem to suggest that women of child-bearing years are now being subtly discriminated against when applying for jobs. This is a bad thing.

My mothers generation and those before her also felt that it was their right and duty as women to stay at home and look after children. They were not frowned upon for making this positive decision. I would argue that this has changed now and women are expected to put their children into some form of care and go back to their jobs. This is a bad thing.

I have been brought up to think that as a women, I am equal to any man. This is how I will bring my daughter up. However, this does not tally well within some cultures present in the UK today. This worries me, the first time I realised this was when a door was deliberately shut on me as I was coming through it at a place of work. I complained about this, it was clearly not a ‘you’re a woman, why should I hold it for you?’ circumstance. I was told that it was a cultural thing, not to worry, that’s just how it is.

These points alone make me wonder; is there a subtle shift in society that is actually making excuses to try to undo some of the feminist movements successes?

On the door thing; I was shocked and part of that was, not only because it was cultural, but also because I actually do expect people to hold the door open for me. Not because I am a woman but for the sake of manners. The male backlash against the feminist movement would argue that, as I have pushed for equality they should not need to open the door. I actually like a bit of old fashioned manners. And, whilst i’m at it I will be very happy if you give me your seat on the train.

What are your thoughts?

Claire Walsh

All posts


  • TheMadHouse 13th November 2009 at 10:21 am

    I have a love hate relationship with Feminism. I think that sometimes we are our own worst enemies and by wanting it all, we have let men think we can "Do it all" and I for one dont want to do it all.

  • Noble Savage 13th November 2009 at 11:29 am

    I think it&#39;s no surprise that I have many thoughts on this. So bear with me while I try to address your points in a coherent manner.Apologies in advance for the length. 🙂 <br><br>First and foremost, I disagree strongly with the use of &#39;was&#39; in relation to the women&#39;s rights movement. Despite somewhat popular belief, the movement is NOT over, is NOT irrelevant and has NOT

  • The wife of bold 13th November 2009 at 1:03 pm

    I completely agree that to a large extent some of the advances made are counter-productive. Particulary with regards to women who &quot;choose&quot; to stay at home, whilst gaining the right to go out and get any job regardless of our sex women are expected to view the role of &quot;SAHM&quot; with comtempt surely this is not equality – i&#39;mtired of having to explain myself and justify my

  • Rebel Mother 13th November 2009 at 2:37 pm

    I hold a door open to anyone. Its manners more than anything.<br><br>Having hosted many students from all over the world, the western woman is lucky. There are many women in other countries who are still beholden to a primate society. Its shocking. Some arent even entitled to an education!<br><br>On the Western front, I do think that women have evolved so much, however, we have not shifted

  • Mark 13th November 2009 at 5:10 pm

    I think we often confuse equality with equal worth and equal rights.<br><br>There are difference between sexes just as there are differences between peoples, but those differences can be of equal worth. And we should all have equal rights.<br><br>The &#39;back to work&#39; issue is case in point; to my mind, choosing to stay at home to look after the children is of equal worth to going back to

  • Jo 13th November 2009 at 5:18 pm

    A very interesting debate and I agree with many of the things Noble Savage said. <br><br>I do not feel any pressure to go back to work apart from a financial pressure from myself and a desire to continue to work in the job that I enjoy and feel equipped to do. We can&#39;t quite survive on one salary and when I say survive I mean we can&#39;t afford to pay the rent and essential bills without

  • zooarchaeologist 13th November 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I take on board points about choosing to go back to work. However, I think you will find that the Pensions Office feels somewhat differently. As will future employers, certainly in my line of work anyhow…

  • slugs on the refrigerator 13th November 2009 at 5:24 pm

    c- interesting post. By and large I have to agree with NS that a lot of the issues that feminism is often blamed for are truely the result of capitalism and our consumerist culture as well as the inherent misogyny that still exists.<br><br>However, I have often felt very let down by feminism. As a student in &#39;women&#39;s studies&#39; at a liberal and largely lesbian university, the role of

  • Noble Savage 13th November 2009 at 5:33 pm

    I would just like to add that where people think feminism has been &quot;counter-productive&quot; because a particular sexist practice has shifted in a different but still unwelcome direction, this just means that the sexism and discrimination are still there and have yet to be fully resolved. Just because feminism hasn&#39;t fully &#39;fixed&#39; a problem doesn&#39;t mean it&#39;s the movement&

  • Emily O 13th November 2009 at 6:20 pm

    The feminism movement has helped us have more choices today and I think it&#39;s far from over. Unlike most families, my Grandma and Mum were both working mothers and suffered discrimination for being one. On the other hand, I&#39;m a SAHM and feel invisible in society because I don&#39;t work. And conversely I think men who choose to be stay at home dads these days suffer discrimination too. Are

  • Linda 13th November 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Oh now this interesting. I&#39;m happy to call myself a feminist and as the mum of two daughters, recognise they will not face all the battles we have. I don&#39;t think there&#39;s anything feminist about decrying another woman for wanting to stay at home with her children and am upset by some supposedly feminists&#39; complete lack of respect for children – this is something Noble Savage wrote

  • Natalie 13th November 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Great post and comments. I think that obviously sexism and discrimination still exist. We&#39;re all supposed to be equal – man, woman, black, white, religion&#39; age, stay home, go to work, whatever but the fact is that we&#39;re not, or should I say, not everybody plays by the rules. Whilst some things are about our consumerist and capitalist society, most of it is actually down to each other.

  • Perfectly Happy Mum 13th November 2009 at 10:48 pm

    I agree with a lot that is said in the comments and Noble Savage definitely has some very fair point. <br><br>On the door front, I believe that it is a question of *respect* in general we are talking about. Nothing to do with men/women interaction. I have been taught growing up respect for others and manners. This includes holding doors for *everyone*, giving up my seat for an elderly person, a

  • Leave a Reply

    I accept the Privacy Policy



    About Me