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“I’m Not A Feminist ….. But” Part 2

25 January 2012

Five years ago I wrote a post on the subject of feminism and the reluctance shown by so many women to admit they are.  I’m going to be cheeky and reproduce it below (well, that’s one way of filling up my blog with little effort.)

“I’m not a feminist . . . but”.  Am I the only person who gets really enraged by this statement, which I hear or read so often?  It’s usually followed by “Why should I do all the housework/women should have equal opportunities at work/childcare is not just the prerogative of the mother/there should be more women in Parliament etc etc”.

When did “feminist” become a dirty word, or did it never become a respectable one and I didn’t notice?  Why are intelligent, well-educated women so loath to admit that they’re feminists?  Are they confusing it with being feminine? 

Some Suffragettes died fighting for women’s rights and they at least got us the vote and the right to own property.  By the 1960’s we hadn’t moved much further down the track but a huge vocal movement gave us all legal and employment rights that even the Suffragettes wouldn’t have dreamt of.  The situation hasn’t just changed beyond recognition in my lifetime, but in my ADULT lifetime (and I’m not THAT old).  I was refused the first two jobs I applied for because they “wouldn’t consider employing a woman” and these weren’t even jobs that I would imagine anyone would now consider to be in any way “manly” (computers and market research) – I wasn’t trying to become a miner or deep-sea diver. 

So please, next time you’re thinking of uttering those words – “I’m not a feminist, but…..”  DON’T, unless of course you really do believe that women should hold an inferior status to men.   

For the rest of you, I’ve got news for you, sisters:  YOU ARE. 

In one of the weekend papers, there’s a wonderful quote from Rebecca West, the English author:

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is.  I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat”

Love it!

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3 comments

  1. I could cite so many examples. Not being able to get credit to buy my children bicycles, without a male guarantor (when I was in a secure local government job) – 1975. Being paid two-thirds of the wage of my male colleagues – 1968. At that level, things have undoubtedly changed. But it’s not all plain sailing. The CEO of the charity I work for has appointed females to 13 of the last 14 job vacancies (and the 14th is a gay man). “Forward-thinking sort of bloke” you may think. Only today we were discussing this at work and all of us agreed it’s because he behaves like a rooster in a henhouse, lording it over the “little women”, eye-rolling or putting-down when they express even a professional difference of opinion. We’re of the opinion that he actually couldn’t face what he would see as “real” competition, from another MAN.


  2. I do love that Rebecca West quote, too!

    And am only too happy to say I’m a feminist! (Early quote from me while travelling past the Mendips, hills in Somerset ‘where are the ladydips?????’)


  3. Love the quote!



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