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-   -   The "F" word (http://www.wowwomen.com/boards/showthread.php?t=669)

prnsescheryl January 28th, 2004 02:41 PM

The "F" word
So heres the deal. Im 24 years old, in school, and living with a man I love with all my heart. When all of a sudden (actually it didnt happen so suddenly) I come across the "F" word. Feminism. WOW what a powerful word. Ive been so afraid of this word because of the negative conotations society has placed on it. However, as each day goes by I realize more and more that I am, dare I say it......a Feminist. Im to the point now that Im not so afraid of the word, now Im becoming more and more proud to be in this elite group of women that are speaking up.
So here I am now. protesting the images I see on tv, billboards, in magazines, everywhere. Im speaking up for what I believe is right. The problem...I never thought I would be met with so much resistance (mostly from men). Its gotten to the point where Ive been reduced to tears trying to get people to open their eyes and see where Im coming from on this issue. Sometimes its so frustrating I feel like Im talking in circles. ITS NOT THAT HARD TO UNDERSTAND. At least thats my opinion.
I suppose what Im looking for here is other peoples stories. I just want to know that Im not the only one confronted with ignorance or people with the unwillingness to understand.

Angel_Wolf January 28th, 2004 07:43 PM

Hi and how are you? Here is my two cents worth for what its worth. LOL
That sounds like anything most women say that men dont like or want to listen too. Sometimes there are women who dont want to listen since it'll cause them more trouble than its' worth.
Then again many have been down that road before and know where it usually ends up at. The choices we make today we live tomorrow. Some men are open minded and realize that women are usually right thus listen to what we have to say. Then there are the male chauvenists (sp?) that believe men are right. Yet I believe everyone is equal...Yes men have certain areas they are stronger in than women yet could you imagine a man having a baby? LOL They'd surely want to die. :) Anyway, I believe that no matter what I am not going to be dominated nor do I wish to dominate my partner. I want an equal oppportunity in my relationship. Which by the grace of the Creator I am blessed with. :) I hope that you will become a regular and keep on posting on the message boards. Have a great day!:)

Atman January 28th, 2004 09:10 PM

No, prnsescheryl, you are not the only one. It can feel so terrible and alienating when you're trying to share a perspective - particulary a emotional perspective - and you encounter resistence like you've obviously experienced. It can feel like you're on the moon, or floating around in empty space, or separated from all other humans by an impermeable bubble. But you're not alone. Many people understand and share your positions.

Personally, I don't call myself a feminist because there are so many different kinds of feminism that I don't find the term particularly useful. I do, however, share most of the standard feminist views (e.g. many T.V. commericals and movies are sexist; there are double-standards which hurt everyone, etc. etc.). And I have, I think, noticed something which I find interesting and which you may find useful - specifically, if something is sexist (or racist, or homophobic) and person A sees this, and points it out to person B, who has not seen detected the sexism (or racism, or homophobia) on his own, there's a tendency on the part of person B to think "If this thing really is sexist, like person A says, and if I didn't see that on my own, then I must be a sexist too. But I don't want to be a sexist. I'm a good person. So this thing must not be sexist and person A must be over-reacting. Now I must convince person A that she is over-reacting so I can feel good about myself again."

I suspect that most of the time, when someone intentionally or unintentionally reduces you to tears, this is what's going on. If I'm right, it might help to adopt a conversational strategy designed to head this off at the pass - saying something like "Gee. When I see this commercial, it can't help striking me as sexist. Here's why... What do you think?" By speaking in terms of your own reactions, you aren't claiming that the commercial really is sexist (although you're not claiming that it isn't, either) and by asking for the other person's perspective, you're clearing valuing the person's opinion, thereby validating that person as a human being and helping him or her to be more secure and less defensive.

Of course this might not work, and you didn't really ask for advice anyway, and you might already be doing exactly what I recommended, so I hope I didn't overstep the bounds of propriety. I just wanted you to know that you're not alone and give you something that might help at least a little. Take it for what it's worth. And remember, just because someone has made you cry, it doesn't mean you've lost the argument.

crazymomma January 29th, 2004 02:57 AM

These ladies are so smart. It seems if you need words of wisedom come to WOW. :) No, you are not alone. In the world today it's hard to beieve we still have so many double standers and how many thing ads use sex to sell. but, have you notice it isn't just geared toward men? It seems to be toward woman too. remember the pepsi ad with al the women staring out the window at the guy working construction? I do.
I hope when my youngest grows up she'll se it's not right to do this. regardless of your sex. Angel_Wolf and Atman both make very good points. Please keep checking back on your board as sooner or later almost everyone will add their 2 cents.

prnsescheryl January 29th, 2004 05:44 PM

Thank you so much for your advice ladies. It really did help.


Sabra January 29th, 2004 07:20 PM

I always thought the "F" word was something different......feminism means equality, social,economic,political, and why is this bad?

MintyFemme2 January 29th, 2004 07:58 PM

prnsescheryl Hi! Wow , you have a way of introducing yourself.
I am not to sure if I would define myself as a feminist. I have debated several time over the issues you are debating about. My own opinion is; you can't change a world over night, BUT through your words and actions you can educate people and show them that there is a different way to live and treat women - one person at a time. There are people out there who won't change no matter what you do or say. Those people aren't worth your time or energy.
Sabra, being feminist isn't bad or good it is just a way of being;)

amc929 February 3rd, 2004 02:02 PM

wow, what an interesting topic! and a very personal one. i'm not sure i am a feminist, but for as long as i can remember, i've never paid much attention to anyone who wants to assume anything about me because i am a woman. and i certainly try not to do that to anyone else. my mother was the queen of the double standard,(i grew up with five brothers and no sisters) and i recall pretty much fighting her on everything the boys could do, but i could not, and everything i did and the boys could not. so, my perspective might be just a habit by now. i take everyone as they come to me and take it from there. and don't tolerate too much sexist attitudes. i think the younger generation might have it a little better, but, 'old habits die hard' as they say. its up to us to remind/educate people that while there are differences in the sexes, people are people first, and take it from there.

Cinderellen February 3rd, 2004 04:59 PM

I wonder if any of you all are watching The Apprentice? Do you feel that it sheds any light on this topic?

MintyFemme2 February 3rd, 2004 09:25 PM

((((((((((((((CINDERS)))))))) not I.. never heard of it. Can you give me more info like what station it is on and the approximate time?

Atman February 3rd, 2004 09:51 PM

I haven't seen "The Apprentice," Cinderellen. What's it about, basically? I hope it's not on network because I don't get network.

And I really like the way you think, amc929!

I'm far from being expert on the topic, but it seems to me that the short history of the F-word runs as follows (And I'd *love* to be corrected by those of you who know more about this than I do!):

Once upon a time, certain dichotomies were set up. The mind was opposed to the body. Knowledge stemming from pure reflection was opposed to knowledge stemming from the senses. And logic was opposed to emotion. As far back as ancient Greece - although not universally - the first element in each of these dichotomies was considered better than the second. The mind was better than the body because it might be immortal. Knowledge stemming from pure reflection (like math) was better than knowledge stemming from the senses because it was more trustworthy. Logic was better than emotion because it was a better guide to truth. And onto these dichotomies was mapped the disjunction of male vs. female. So male stood for goodness, mind, rationality, and logic, whereas female stood for evil, body, sensation, and emotion.

At first, feminism tried to rehabilitate the feminine by demonstrating that, contrary to common prejudice, women could be mental, rational, logical and 'good' too. This was the kind of useful old-fashioned feminism that got us the vote and is still working to end discrimination in the workplace.

But then some feminist began to see that the first kind of feminism might harbor a deep mysogyny in its bossum, because in *accepting* all of the previous dichotomies, wasn't it, in effect, saying that women were just as good as men because they could be, in effect, just *like* men? And if being a good woman was trying to be just like a man, what kind of feminisim was *that?* So these feminists were, and are, working to recapture and redignify the traditionally "feminine" characteristics. As I understand it, some of these feminists are claiming that women are, in effect, naturally more 'emotional' and less 'logical' than men and that this is a fact about us to be celebrated, not denegrated.

Personally, I get very nervous around that idea, not only because I'm a woman who has just always loved logic, but also because in abandoning logic, and the traditional standards of rationality, women loose the very tools they need to argue for more equitable treatment.

It seems to me that the tower of dichotomies needs to be dismantled from the very foundations and everyone - men and women of all races, religions, and sexual orientations - be allowed to define themselves for themselves and to themselves. I'm a woman, and I'm very logical. I'm a woman, and I'm very emotional. But I don't think that I'm either of things because, or despite the fact that, I'm a woman.:mad:

Atman February 3rd, 2004 09:55 PM

Did I intend that mad-face at the end of my message? No I did not. I'm morbidly self-critical, but not *that* morbidly self-critical.

I intended that mad-face to sit after my confession that I don't have network. (I love my dish because I'm addicted to T.V. and get like a bazillion stations, but I did not realize that "no local stations" meant, for my area, "no network at all.")

Cinderellen February 3rd, 2004 10:38 PM

The Apprentice is a "reality" show that airs on NBC Thursdays 9pm ET. There were originally 16 contestants, 8 male, 8 female. They are vying for a job to run one of Donald Trumps companies. Each new episode they are assigned a marketing job and the men and women compete against each other. Each week one is fired. So far only men have been let go.

The thing is, the women have been using their sexuality to sell thier item each week. For example the week they ran a lemonade stand, one of the women was selling kisses in addition to lemonade. The women wear short skirts, very high heels, and tend to reveal as much cleavage as possible when they're marketing their product. While the men are more staid, trying to project a more professional demeanor.

I wonder what this does for the women in the business world. Do we watch this show and think that maybe that's how successful women got where they are? It implies that for women to succeed in the business world they have to sell thier bodies not their skills and talents. I think it's an interesting study in how our television portrays women in the work place. I hope that the average person watching doesn't think that it's what the corporate world is really like.

Atman February 3rd, 2004 10:48 PM

Well no wonder I haven't gotten promoted! Tomorrow, it will be a whole new Atman, I can tell you!

The whole thing sounds pretty torrid, and now I remember seeing commercials for the show. Even in the commercials, the women seemed to be selling themselves. It was almost like watching a comercial for a comerical.

It reminds me other commercials I've seen for Dream House - at least I think that's the name. It's that show where people get together to build and fight each other over a house. Sort of like Habitat for Humanity meets Survivor. In one commercial, we learn that a woman was having, or is having, or is about to have, or is thinking about having, an affair with a married contestant. It's woman against woman, pretty clearly. At least so it seems in the commercial. It is rather alarming on many, many levels, not the least of whihc is "CATFIGHT COME WATCH THE CATFIGHT."

MintyFemme2 February 5th, 2004 12:48 PM

Oh Cinders. I don't think I would like that program to much.

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