Feminism Female Unity?

audreygrace412 posted on Jan 26, 2016 at 10:49AM
Hello Everyone!

I had some questions in regards to women and feminism and I was wondering about what everyone thought about female unity and there are some points in particular that I'd love to get opinions on, if you guys don't mind sharing? :)

1. Do you think that men in general have a male unity? Aside from a few exceptions, do they seem to have a certain respect and comradery for each other?

Some people believe that they do and they believe it comes from sports, recognizing that they're all different yet make up a team together: Some are stronger, some are faster, some are better at improvisation, etc. They all have their different positions and responsibilities, thus maintaining a uniqueness while also building dependence and trust with other men on the same team and working together.

2. Do you think that females are capable of a similar "unity" and how do you think it can be achieved? (Sports or other activity etc?) Or do you think females have already achieved a "female unity"?

3. Do you think women treat each other well enough, are too divided or need/choose to be divided etc?

4. In regards to feminism, do you think it has helped or harmed female unity? Do you think it has done too much/not enough/exactly enough?

5. Do you think that feminism is too adaptable based on culture and perception which makes it hard for feminism to unite women? (i.e. when some women believe they are supporting feminism but others say they are not representing feminism etc.)

6. Do you think a more globalized, unified and specific outline of causes and positions for feminism would strengthen the overall movement and unite, as well as, attract more women? (As well as eliminate confusion about which positions are in line with feminism and which aren't?)

If this already exists and I am ignorant to it, then I completely apologize and would love to see a source to update myself.

7. Do you think feminism and feminists should accept all versions and variations of feminism, in order to unite and represent more women? (Supporting all women, i.e. pro-choice and pro-life feminists etc.)

Any other relevant thoughts are totally welcome and I ask that we show some female unity here by not insulting each other for sharing opinions. I would really appreciate us all being respectful and open-minded here with open "ears". I just want to learn more about what feminism means to different women around the world and why it isn't as globally stable and consistent as one might expect it to be.

PS This is not to dissuade any male members from giving their opinions at all, male opinions are just as welcome. I pose this question towards women merely because it is mainly involving women.
 Hello Everyone! I had some maswali in regards to women and feminism and I was wondering about wh

Feminism 3 majibu

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zaidi ya mwaka mmoja uliopita misanthrope86 said…
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1 & 2 - Uh... I think that it is much more complex than "unity", particularly if you talk about it through something like sport... So yeah, don't really have anything to say about the "unity" thing other than it is just so much more complex and extensive than that.

3. I think through particular ways of talking women can be "pitted against" each other. For example, anti-feminist ways of talking about feminism have created fractures within feminism where the movement is split-off into different groups, and then anti-feminists again use that try and dismantle feminism. So, again, I think this is an extremely complex issue that can't be reduced to any of those options mentioned. Its about social construction.

4. Hmmm... like I said, I'm not really getting this "female unity" argument... Feminism aims to enable all women the freedom to choose how they live their lives. In some cases, women have these choices. I think what mainly works against any kind of feminist "unity" is that talk from outside feminism that misrepresents feminism and women in order to discredit them. It is a pretty powerful movement as it is motivated by fear. This kind of talk claims that feminists want to dominate men, or equates feminism with Nazi Germany, and this makes people think that the women's rights movement is about taking other people's rights away. This is what upsets unity, for women, for men, for all of us.

5. No...? I think due to the issues I described above, the meaning of feminism has been buried. Feminism is about women having equal rights to men, and therefore the freedom to choose how to live their lives. This, to me, has to be applied culturally, as women in different cultures have different experiences. We need to be aware of those different experiences and what meaning they hold.

6. Like I said, the anti-feminist talk works to divide and conquer. As feminism is interested in the diversity of women's experience, I think the unity needs to instead come through the discrediting of anti-feminist propaganda. I personally do this by reminding people of the definition of feminism, especially in response to anti-feminist propaganda.

7. Again, I think the definition of feminism is what unites feminists. There will never be total agreement because women are a diverse group of people with massively differing experiences and contexts. The main aim of feminism is what unites us, and beyond that is up for intellectual debate. I think that is healthy for a movement.
zaidi ya mwaka mmoja uliopita audreygrace412 said…
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Hello! Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! I hope you don't mind if I give you some of my thoughts in response?

1.You are right, it is definitely more complex than “unity” and I was primarily using that term for the sake of conversation. I hope you don’t mind allowing me to try and further explain? It seems to me that in general, a lot of men seem to have a certain male bond that keeps up a bit of a comradery for each other. The term “bromance” and the phrase “bros before chicks” come to mind. Of course, this is just my perception which is why I was asking if you and others think this as well or if it is just me.

2.The question about female unity really depends on your answer to the question about male unity. I perceive that men seem to have a male bond that I don’t find as common between women. I have read some views of others who have perceived the same thing and they have attributed it to sports having a unifying bond-like effect on males. I am not saying this is accurate but it made me wonder if females could have a better bond than what I see more commonly displayed? I wasn’t trying to say sports would be the answer for females but just asking if it could help or if there was another equivalent, if this is what helps males with a general respect or bond for each other. Since this is just my perception based on my experiences and I can be totally wrong, this is why I asked if others believe that there is more female unity, or more respect between women, than what I am thinking there is? It just seems like there used to be a focus on “girl power” and girls “sticking together” and making things better with their influence but now I see that more replaced with an “independent” and more competitive focus. Of course there is concern for me about this as well though, because I do understand that “girl power” can go too far and end up a bit sexist or exclusive.

3. Thank you for talking about this. I see many women arguing with each other about feminism and it makes me wonder. I grew up thinking feminism was a great thing that just cared about helping women, so it’s interesting to me how some women could be against feminism if it’s sole purpose is to help them? I also grew up thinking feminism was about “uniting” women, so you can see why I was asking these things in relation to each other as well. I think it’s weird that women could be so divided about feminism. Do you think anti-feminists convince women to think feminism is against them or do you think anti-feminists convince women to be against feminism, both or neither?

4. Again, I am sorry if I wasn’t as clear before with what I meant in regards to “female unity” and hope I have made it more clear. I suppose all in all, I mean female unity in general but especially in regards to feminism. Like why aren’t all women feminists and why are there so many female anti-feminists (i.e. Women Against Feminism etc.)? And why don’t all feminists agree on women’s issues? I understand what you are saying about women outside feminism misrepresenting feminism and women in order to discredit them. My next question is what about the feminist women who don’t get along with each other and aren’t outside of feminism? To me, this seems to happen the most between women from different places and age generations the most.

5. This is exactly what I am trying to say about when it comes to feminism being adaptable. One example would be the pro-choice and pro-life feminists. The pro-choice feminists argue that it’s a woman’s choice for abortion while the pro-life feminists argue that it’s taking away the choice of that baby (which might be a female) to have life by aborting it. Another example is that Gloria Steinem did a big expose on Playboy and feminism in her day was really against all pornography and any legal prostitution as she said it was objectifying of women but today, some feminists argue that it’s a woman’s choice with her body whether or not she wants to engage in those activities. Similarly with women in the middle east, some of them argue that the hijab is objectifying and abusive while others argue that it is their choice to cover their body and control their sexuality to that strict level and that they want to.

6. In relation to #5, this is why I was wondering if maybe a more consistent outline of feminist positions would help or harm feminism? I hope you don’t mind me saying that I think it might help feminism as it leaves less open to criticism of hypocrisy or other claims and makes feminism views more clear? Do you think that’s wrong though and that it would be too limiting since feminism was founded in philosophical ideology and should be able to constantly adapt? This is why I’m not too sure and trying to ask what others think.

Also, do you think that feminism will always have anti-feminists and a group of people against them, just as there will always be racism and sexism and other things? Do you believe that can be eliminated if feminists unite against it or do you think it might be better to ignore it and focus within feminism rather than focusing on the “haters”?

7. So although the definition is pretty specific, it is also subjective based on diversity of women’s experiences, as you mentioned before, so would you say as long as women have the best intent for other women (pro-choice and pro-life feminists) then they can be considered feminists or would you say women who have good intentions don’t always represent feminism (say pro-life for example as it overrides the mother’s choice)? Is feminism a healthier movement because it has feminists of different views and why do some feminists accuse other self-proclaimed feminists as “not really being feminists or in line with feminism views” if it is more open to include such various feminist opinions?

By the way, I have seen lists before of “different types of feminism”, which I suppose are meant to be sub groups of feminism. Did you have any thoughts on that at all, if that is perhaps a reason why some women are confused about feminism if they are in a different branch maybe?

Thanks so much for taking the time to help me learn about feminism! I really appreciate it!
zaidi ya mwaka mmoja uliopita misanthrope86 said…
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Woops! Sorry for the late reply! I clean forgot.

1. I'm not convinced that "unity" between men exists as a "unity" as such. I think men have a shared experience, much as women have a shared experience (ie despite all coming from vastly different contexts, there is a certain level of shared knowledge about what it is like to be a woman (or a man)). The "Bros Before Hoes" thing I fear is not so much about male unity as it is about 'othering' and subjugating women. So I guess this does in a sense create a certain unity: all men above all women...

2. I think it is important to note that something like sport unites certain men, so I think what I would talk about here is connection rather than unity. Certain groups of men can connect to each other through sport, just as certain groups of women can. So yeah, I guess I just don't see any of this as unity, but rather I guess shared experience...? And I don't think that needs to be performed through organised activity as such, but rather through how we interact with one another, for example, like our discussion in this forum.

3. "Do you think anti-feminists convince women to think feminism is against them or do you think anti-feminists convince women to be against feminism, both or neither?" - Definitely both. There is a lot of anti-feminist rhetoric that tells people that feminists hate "traditional femininity" or that feminism is about hating men, so those kinds of statements work to alienate everyone from feminism.

4. I don't think you are unclear in your discussion of unity, I just think we see it very differently.
Like I said, there systems in place to oppress feminist talk, and that means that women (and men) can come to believe things about feminism that are untrue and thus reject it.
I think feminists disagree on many topics and ideas because women are so diverse in their experience. Women, across history, have also had to forge their own ways of managing oppression and violence, as well as political and social victories. So in this sense, there are a multitude of ways in which women have experienced subjugation, so there are a multitude of ways to, politically, undo that subjugation.

5. Yep those are some diverse views on serious issues that effect women. And what I think is really important about those differing views is that the contribute to and create intellectual debate, as well as inspiring research, which can in turn inspire change, perhaps at an individual level, for certain women, or at a policy and/or social level, that can make things better at an institutional level for women in general.

6. I think that base definition of feminism is really important and it does need to be promoted and repeated so that people hear that definition of feminism and see it in action. I don't think that base definition is limiting, since it really is the core of feminism, so yeah, I do think it is necessary for that definition to guide feminism. There is plenty of space around that definition for feminism to grow and shift and change with culture and social-historical context.
Yeah, there will probably always be nay-sayers. And I firmly believe in questioning them and refuting their misinformed and/or hateful comments. And I personally love seeing feminists doing the same when they are faced with anti-feminism. But I also respect that many don't want to engage in the battle. I think it is personal choice how you respond to the nay-sayers. There will always be those of us who need to poke at anti-feminism with a sharp stick, and those of us who ignore it as the junk it is!

7. Yeah, I think is important women's rights are at the core of any feminist debate. And that will mean different things to different people. I really do thing the diversity in feminist thinking is really important for intellectual debate and discussions that can move things forward for women in ways where women can have the freedom to make their own choices based on there own experiences and beliefs. If we all believed exactly the same thing, this process would stall. So infighting ain't good, but the challenges of debate are.

I don't really much care for the "different kinds of feminism" thing, but understand that some feminists want/need to identify themselves in those ways. Again, I think that core belief in women's rights is really important, and how women build upon or shape that is a personal journey. I don't believe those labels need to divide feminists, but should rather just perhaps help women find their place within feminism.