Being a feminist, caring for men and women

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British writer Laurie Penny is a blogger and author who’s penned five books, her latest, Unspeakable Things, rails against neoliberalism and draws a link between sexism, misogyny and gendered violence. At 28, it’s fairly safe to say she has done more writing and thinking than many people many times at her age. Her interview with Lateline on 28 August, 2015 told everyone her opinion on feminism.

The uniqueness you would find from Laurie is that she is able to consider for men not just for women. In this sense, capturing men’s psychological state might promote the concept of feminism. Laurie found that men when they discussed things in public – as journalists or public figures, men were allowed to be experts on anything but gender or but the experience of manhood whereas women were assumed to be experts on nothing except gender. As soon as guys start to talk about gender then they’ve sort of broken the rules of manliness. “There’s this big silent conspiracy of men who don’t want to talk about actually how hard it is sometimes and because the first rule of man club is you don’t talk about the pain, you don’t talk about fear, you don’t talk about wanting anything different because that would – that instantly disqualifies you from being a man”, told by Laurie.

There is a chapter in the book called Lost Boys in which she posits that the greatest obstacle to women’s progress is not men’s hate but their fear. Laurie explained, “men’s fear of women’s power is something that men find very, very difficult to express. Men are part of the problem that we have to tackle as feminists but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also talk about men as oppressed by gendered violence, as oppressed by patriarchy and one of the reasons I think it’s important to talk about men within feminism and men as feminist allies is to kind of encourage guys to realise that there is a better world to fight for everyone, there is a better world to fight for where you can be free from this toxic notion of masculinity where you have to be this manly guy, you can’t express emotion, you can’t express yourself with clothes, there’s only certain jobs you can do”.

Consequently, this could explain why some people refuse to call themselves feminists. Julie Bishop, the first female leader of the Liberal Party and first woman to serve as Foreign Minister, refused to blame gender for any obstacles in her career and refused to call herself a feminist. Because feminism is a scary word for men. And ultimately, saying you’re not a feminist is kind of saying you don’t want to scare people and you don’t want to scare men. It’s not that it’s overall a worse deal to be a woman in this society still but there are plenty of things men have to gain from feminism and less and less than they have to lose.  (from Yvette W.)

Please view the link to watch her interview online: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2015/s4302385.htm

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One Response to Being a feminist, caring for men and women

  1. Malvina Malinek says:

    Championing women’s human rights is not necessarily what the word ‘feminism’ implies. Everyone needs to differentiate the fight for women’s equality in the workforce and in public life, which is what FEMINISM, the term is understood to stand for on the one hand and the right of all women to be treated with dignity and RESPECT everywhere and by everyone..
    Unless a woman is an ACTIVIST FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS, she should not call herself a feminist. Julie Bishop is obviously already in a position where she doesn’t have to fight for anything and doesn’t have the time to fight for other women,- who after all would be in competition with her in politics! Of course she should try and get more women into her Party and in Government.

    Wives of powerful men are usually the least feminist. They push their partners up the ladder and hate to see them subservient to women in power. Such wives, particularly if they are not ‘powerful’ themselves,. are often jealous of such women and will undermine them whenever possible.
    Therefore the expectation that all educated and intelligent women should be feminists and actively support the equal rights for all women, is unrealistic.
    What one must strive for is that all women and men fight for the HUMAN RIGHTS of all women and to RESPECT all women and their rights,

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