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I’m a once-single mum of two boys (4 and 8) who was ‘attempting the ordinary’ after conceiving my second son by donor. I'm now married and pregnant and its complicated - again. These are my anonymous ramblings about life, love, parenting and the rest – emptying my head of the weird, the wonderful and the mundane. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, 19 October 2012

A rant about that survey... oh you know the one

Now you know me, I don't blog often, and when I do I'm normally whining on about the lack of romantic activity from one particularly backward-in-coming-forward bloke, but this, article in the Telegraph - echoed in other papers and pretty much lifted off the Netmums website -  this has made me so angry that you are getting another post in the space of two days. You lucky people. So

Rant... begin...

Here are some choice quotes, and my thoughts on them:

"The survey of members of Netmums, Britain's largest women's website, revealed almost a third (28 per cent) think traditional radical feminism is 'too aggressive' towards men while a quarter (24 per cent) no longer view it as a positive label for women.
One in five describe feminism as 'old fashioned' and simply 'not relevant' to their generation."

Lets just take a minute to wonder what the other 72%, 76%, 4 out of 5.. you know, the majority... thought....

"Instead, two in five want to 'celebrate difference' rather than be equal to men."

And this is the one that really gets me. Holy mother of fuck are that many people really that stupid to not understand that celebrating difference and being equal to men are not mutually exclusive?? Or were people just sucked into a multiple choice question that made out they were? Feminists have never wanted to be the same as men. Feminism is, I believe, about being a woman and being proud of being a woman and wanting to be treated equally and with the same respect as men.

That, however doesn't make good copy for our glorious press does it? Feminism has to be seen as pitting man against woman - has to be seen as unreasonable and irrelevant doesn't it? Apparently we are all just man-hating freaks who also want to be exactly like the people we're hating - has no editor ever questioned the logic of that? Maybe they have, and then just dismissed it as 'Well you see, that's just how unreasonable these women are?'

 
"And the biggest battle for modern women is to reinstate the value of motherhood, with more than two-thirds (69 per cent) making it top priority.
More than a third of younger women (36 per cent) cannot imagine a time when men and women were not equal. "

Why does Netmums, or whoever designed this survey for them, suggest that valuing motherhood is not a Feminist issue? And what does 'cannot imagine a time when men and women were not equal' mean? We are equal, obviously, but whether we get equal treatment and respect in every situation is entirely another matter

"Instead, the study shows that the vast majority of young women now choose a new and totally different political path, leaving them free to make decisions to suit their own personal beliefs."

Seriously??? How did anyone get the idea that being free to make your own decisions, was a 'new and totally different political path' to Feminism??? Has anyone writing this shit been awake for the last 50 years???

"Social commentators have dubbed this new movement 'FeMEnism' as it gives women the right to live very varied lives without judgment from their peers - rather than be dictated to by the 70's-style 'sisterhood' with a solitary viewpoint."

Errr.... no. Netmums and their marketing people have dubbed this new movement 'FeMEnism' in a blatant display of 'lets label something we can market to, in a blatant attempt to get a bit more of that advertising money'... or is that me just being too cynical?

"Less than half of the 1,300 women polled still felt feminism should be about 'equal rights and equal pay', but the majority (58 per cent) wanted feminism to ensure women have 'real choice over their family, career and lives'. "

Because apparently its one or the other ladies... make your choice.. NOW!

"However, 70 per cent of younger women feel far too much is expected of women today, with unprecedented stress to be 'red hot lovers, domestic goddesses, climb the career ladder and look like supermodels.' "

... so does someone want to explain to me why exactly we don't need Feminism anymore?

Okay, it goes on and on, and so could I, (don't even get me started on the '63% believe topless modelling is acceptable for feminists' and the other associated bullshit).

But the crowning glory is this:

"Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard said: "As the UK's biggest women's website with over a million women logging on each week, we are best placed to work out what young women want now.
"The study starkly shows modern women feel traditional Feminism is no longer working for them, as it's aggressive, divisive and doesn't take into account their personal circumstances.
"Modern women simply don't view men as 'the enemy' - instead men are their partners, their fathers, their brothers and their sons to be loved and cherished. And it's clear there is no longer a 'battle of the sexes' but a coming together of the sexes to make society work for everyone in it." "

Shame on you Siobhan.
What's 'aggressive, divisive and doesn't take into account their personal circumstances' is not Feminism.
Its defining Feminism as seeing men as 'the enemy'
Its saying that you can't be a Feminist and still 'love and cherish' the men in your life.
Its saying that Feminism is against the 'coming together of the sexes to make society work for everyone in it'.
And as the founder of 'the UK's biggest women's website' your are 'best placed' to do something positive about the real sexism that women face every day, day in day out, and you didn't, you did this instead.

Words fail me.

Last night at the Open Mic, I did a song about domestic violence and a song about absent fathers - and they levelled the room. You know who came up and said well done, and congratulated me on saying stuff that needed to be said? The men. Men can be feminists too. The men in our lives who love, care about and cherish us, are just as keen for there to be equal treatment of the sexes, with all their glorious differences, because that, is what Feminism is about. For everyone, not just for women.
Trying to make out that its not, just to grab some headlines disgusts me. That is all.

Rant... over....

Your thoughts people?

14 comments:

  1. I hadn't seen this. What a load of tripe. Another good reason why prefer Mumsnet.

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    1. Yep, I couldn't be more angry with them

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  2. What a great post.

    I find it astonishing that the survey was so set up and run, and that the results have been published as 'fact' by several national newspapers (which I blogged rather angrily about).

    You are so right about Netmums - they should be ashamed.

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    1. Absolutely! It is really shocking that the influence that Netmums have has been used in a way that really undermines their membership

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  3. Well said. I am disgusted with Netmums. I am also scared at the way this has been jumped on and distorted by the media in general. Begs the question - What are they so scared of?

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    1. Any change in the status quo I should imagine.. as usual!!!

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  4. I absolutely agree, but you see if people aren't actually aware of what being a feminist is (I'm not always sure myself) and just read what 'popular media' say, without making up their own minds, then they are going to take this view of feminism that it is aggressive, anti-men and all that other guff, because that is how it is often portrayed and people don't take the time to understand. By the way, I am outraged that equal rights & pay are now not part of having choice over family career and lives. Unless it is about equal rights and pay and until we achieve that, we can never have proper choice over family, career and lives

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  5. Yeah, the media have a lot to answer for in how it is perceived... and yes, couldn't agree more.

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  6. Fantastic post. Somehow I had missed this 'news story' and now my blood pressure is glad. But not as glad as I am that you have taken it apart so effectively.

    Well done Netmums for facepalming half the world's population.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I think Netmums deserve a really special award for their work here :/

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  7. This has made my blood boil...I know the media have a lot to answer for for portrayed feminism as an agressive man-hating "cult", but surely an organisation as influential and large as Netmums should check their facts before a) writing a survey and b) the results. Based on their statement and survey questions, it clearly is not just the participants who didn't "get" feminism. How can any modern woman be ashamed of being a feminist? Do we all not want to be equal or stand up and be counted?!

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    1. Exactly! Its the influential nature of Netmums that makes it so shocking that they could do this to their membership, seems so irresponsible to me.

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  8. I blogged about this "research" too, and was absolutely furious when I read about it. However, since then I have found so many women who have expressed rage and frustration about the Netmums survey, that I am again reassured that all is not lost. It's a shame that those with the loudest voice so often seem to be the ones talking utter bollocks, but we can still fight back. Great post!

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    1. Thank you - just read your post and its great - I guess the papers only publish what they think makes good shocking headlines - I wonder how many will report our fight back??

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