I know I have already blogged about this but it has made me very, very cross. There is so much wrong with this survey. It’s poorly worded and deliberately and maliciously negative, as Salt and Caramel pointed out here. So, I’m going to break my complaints down by image. It’s not very exciting but, let’s be honest here, malicious smear campaigns about feminism aren’t very exciting either. Mostly, they are tedious and dull. So, to start with, that bit about this being a “new movement … to reflect women’s personal choice”, well that’s either some serious reinvention of history or extreme stupidity. I haven’t decided yet. Normally, we call this Third Wave Feminism. I’m not quite sure how Netmums managed to miss this but, apparently, they did. And, if 36% of youngsters (and WTF is a youngster on a parenting site? I was a teenage mother. The last thing you are is a “youngster”) can’t imagine a time when men and women were not equal, I would suggest they have never actually engaged with the media in any way, shape or form. Also, I’d be questioning their education. I’d be sending OFSTED in, pronto, for a quick inspection.
Now, I’m willing to concede that only 14% of respondents wanting to self-identify as feminists is a problem. If this were a real survey, I would be concerned but it’s not. It’s a group of self-selecting women on a specific internet site choosing to take the time to fill out the survey. It’s about as accurate as those fake surveys hair care and make-up companies are forever peddling in women’s magazines and then claim they are scientific. This only works if you are a dingbat. Even I, who effectively slept through high school math, can tell that this is a bad statistic. It just doesn’t work.
I still don’t know what they mean by “old-fashioned” feminism and how “old-fashioned” is different from “traditional”. Or, how “old-fashioned” feminism is too “divisive” and that 39% of women “don’t want to be equal – women are different to men and we should celebrate the differences” whilst simultaneously claiming that it is “old-fashioned and not relevant to their generation”. Which old-fashioned is it? Because that is the same answer to two very different statements.
And, frankly, anyone who thinks feminism has gone “too far” when women still are paid less than men, women are more likely to live in poverty than men, and rape is still a daily occurrence is a nincompoop.
This statistics in this chart make sense but how they are the downside to feminism is beyond me. Too much is expected of women. We are expected to hold full time jobs and do all the housework and all the childcare. That isn’t the fault of feminism. That is the fault of men who refuse to give up their privilege and act like adults. That is the fault of the patriarchy who insist that women pass the Patriarchal Fuckability Test 10 minutes after giving birth. When all men are doing 50% of the childcare and 50% of the wifework, I might consider the question of the possible downsides of feminism success.
And, for the love of Sappho, does no one know what “chivalric behaviour” really means? It’s not opening frigging doors. That’s basic kindness. Shutting doors in the face of the person behind you is a nasty thing to do. The sex of the person holding open the door is irrelevant. But, holding them open isn’t “chivalry” either. It’s a military code romanticised in literature where rape is a common theme. In fact, rape is practically a reward for being a knight.
I’ve already deconstructed the whole “my daughter isn’t aware of feminism” motif as highly suspect but I’m equally perturbed by the fact that 36% of their daughters couldn’t “imagine a time when men and women were not regarded as equal.” Either their daughters are very dense or their parents don’t ever talk to them because only someone deeply stupid could not imagine such a thing. Again, 20 minutes on the news looking at rape in warfare would make the point pretty obvious. Basic history lessons at primary school cover the issue of women not being allowed to “work outside the home”. If their daughters don’t know this, they need to watching Horrible Histories. Or, change schools. Probably both.
We’ve already established that their is, in many ways, more pressure on women now than 50 years ago. Again, this isn’t the fault of feminism. This is the fault of the capitalist-patriarchy who refuse to acknowledge their privilege. So, more than 69% think feminism’s biggest fight is to reinstate the “value of motherhood”. It’s a parenting website. Of course, they are going to worried about issues like this. Frankly, that’s just the stating the frigging obvious. We live in a society that consistently denigrates women’s roles, regardless of what that role is. It’s no wonder that women are worried about it. I am slightly perplexed that 58% want “New Feminism” to “ensure women have ‘real choice over their family, career and lives.” That’s the whole point of feminsm. It’s to liberate women from oppression so that we have real choices.
This section is so odd since it seems to contradict earlier sections. The only way this bit makes sense is if the 1300 women [and men? it doesn’t give a gender breakdown but I assume there are men on Netmums. They are all over the place on Mumsnet] is if they genuinely don’t have a clue what the word feminism actually means. Now, you don’t need to be au courant with feminist political theories. The basic dictionary definition covers all of the above. So, they have answered the question “what does feminism mean to you” with the dictionary definition but didn’t know that’s what it meant in previous sections? The piss-poor wording of this survey is just unbelievable.
I like this bit. Obviously, there are already feminist activists campaigning on all of the issues but I like to see what different feminists want to focus on themselves. There is so much to destroy within the patriarchy that we do need women tackling it from every angle. Yes, there are only 1300 respondents and it wasn’t a very well done survey but this is still interesting, particularly since many of the issues overlap.
This bit is just really, really sad. Modern women are required to look feminine and glamourous to be taken seriously. The Patriarchy immediately punishes any woman who doesn’t pass the Patriarchal Fuckability Test by labelling them unfuckable and ugly and fat. Once you are unfuckable, you have no relevance. Just look at the way Harriet Harman and Hillary Clinton are treated. Yeah, a bunch of them claim marrying for money is wrong but what about the men who “buy” wives or who buy prostitutes? Why do they never get called on their behaviour in these surveys? Why is it always the women?
In conclusion, Netmums might want to check with their members because they don’t seem very happy with the way this survey was done or how the results were presented. Netmums have managed to make their members look stupid, which I have a problem with because I use Netmums and they aren’t stupid. Some of them are unpleasant and racist and disablist and homophobic, but, you know what, so are many people everywhere. But, using a minority of nincompoops to represent a dynamic group of women is just nasty. Dismissing an entire community in this manner just fuels the anti-woman rhetoric.
I may mostly post on Mumsnet but I can see the same patriarchal arsehattery involved in deriding NMers for being stupid as I can when MNers are labelled vipers. I’m sick to death of women being misrepresented in this manner.