You’re NOT a Feminist

Sometimes feminism gets a bad press. It’s confused with misandry – that’s a word I recently learned and it basically means ‘man-hating’ – the female version of misogyny. The fight for feminism is a fight for equality. Real feminism values men and not only understands male issues, but campaigns for them too. That’s important to me as a woman who is the mother of a boy.

Because what is the point in raising sons who are told they are not trustworthy? That men are predatory? To raise them thinking that when a sick woman makes a claim of abuse against them they should be instantly chastised and hounded for their awful behaviour purely because they have penis?

Raising my son to be a feminist

Instead, I raise my son knowing that he is an equal to the girls in his class. I teach him to respect all people, no matter who they are, where they come from, how they look or what they believe. I raise him knowing that he can talk about emotions, cry, wear whatever colour clothes he wants to and play with any toy he likes. I’m raising a son knowing that he makes the decision about his future career and that if he wants to be a Daddy raising his babies then that’s perfect too. Because women deserve a voice in the board room just as men deserve a voice in the home. Traditionally female roles shouldn’t be seen as weak, or lesser, they should be seen as strong and equal.

That’s what feminism means to me. But that’s just me. So I asked other parents what it means to them. What with us raising the next generation.

 

Feminism is…

“about recognising that women are equal to men. Not above and not below! Everyone has a place in society” – The Smallest of Things

“creating a world where women are free to lead their own lives in the way they want, whether that’s by taking on the world in a professional capacity or deciding to be a homemaker.” – Little Pickle’s Mom

“seeking equality. feminism is not making slanderous generic and unprovoked remarks about all men because you are clearly bitter about something”- Chocolate and Wine and I’ll be Fine

You’re not a feminist if…

“your feminism requires women to be ‘better’ than men. Equal. All equal.” – Life With Boys

“you act completely unreasonably and then try and use fighting for feminism as an excuse. Feminism is about equality not expecting more and does not excuse you acting like a spoiled brat.” – Real Mum Reviews

“your main agenda seems to be men hating. Sweeping, generalised statements about daddy bloggers are a case in point.” – Baby Foote

Feminism is…

“about striving for true equality for men and women in every aspect of life, including (but not limited to) our rights, our ability to parent and our professional worth.” – Surviving Life’s Hurdles

“about choice. Women should fully have the same choices as men. My mum is a feminist and so is my Dad. I get criticised a lot for leaving my career to focus on the kids – but I am a feminist and I’m pleased I made that choice. But with my first the roles were reversed. I’m no more or less of a feminist as I was then.” – Mama Mei

“about bringing everyone together. Feminism is about empowering everyone to speak up and speak out. Feminism is about me raising my son to be an epic human. Feminism is my son seeing no difference in anyone in the world around him, and for him to feel safe (and empowered) to challenge those that behave otherwise” Cheeki Mummy

 You’re not a feminist if you…

” don’t believe in equality for everyone no matter what their gender, colour, race, sexuality, age, ability or wealth etc. Feminism is based on respecting everyone.” – My Boys Club

“think women should get more than men” – LesBeMums

” use the word as an excuse to be hateful to ANYONE” – Muffin Top Mummy

“tell me your son can’t have the pram he asked for for his birthday (this was from a woman who is always spouting out about how much of a feminist she is and is raising her daughter to be a feminist but doesn’t think it applies to her son)” – Better Together Home

“are not raising your sons to be feminists too” – Thrifty Mum

 

Feminism is…

 

“about creating true equality between men and women. That includes life at home, such as little things like housework and cooking, as well as bigger things like looking after the kids equally, both having the option to do the career they want and reach the levels of that career that they want to. It is about being 100% equal in all things – neither men or women should be “above” or “below” one another.”

That Marketing Punk

 

You’re not a feminist if you…

“don’t believe in equality of the sexes. It really is that simple!” – Our Fairytale Adventure

“use your gender (whatever gender that might be) as an excuse to be a bully” – Plutonium Sox

” think you are better than anyone who is not exactly like you” – Fit For Parenting

“use feminism as a badge/ free pass that allows you to belittle others. Share your views, advance the agenda of equality yes but don’t become part of the problem by putting up more walls.” – Hi Baby

“make sweeping statements about someone based on their gender alone. Just become some men, or women, do something or believe something does not mean it applies to all men or all women. Feminism for me is about equality, empowerment and treating everyone as individuals who deserve the same rights as everyone else, but are also free to make their own choices when it comes to pursuing opportunities” – Little Hearts Big Love

Feminism is…

“the fight for equality between men and women. Feminism is recognising that historically and globally, women have been/and are treated as lesser. Feminism is not about diluting the bigger picture with petty arguments about slights to men.” – Mama Cat and Baby Bee

“a celebration of womanhood; in all forms and races, a fellow being with a privileged place on this earth alongside men, children and all other living animals on this planet.” – Mum2Sons

 

You’re not a feminist if you…

“don’t believe that anyone who identifies as female suffers the same discrimination whether or not they have a vagina.” – Mama Eden & Me

“tell women OR men what they should or shouldn’t do.” – Tattooed Tea Lady

“become the one thing that feminism was created to fight against in the first place.
If you become the oppressor, the liar, the bully and the abuser in the name of feminism, you are not a feminist, you’re an idiot.” – Me Becoming Mum

“think all men are bad or that women are better. I believe that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men.” – Teddy Bears and Cardigans

“believe that you are superior to men. You’re not a feminist if you use feminism to diminish what men do, mock men or continue the divisive society that we currently have, just with a slant towards females over males. Feminism is purely about equality. It’s about standing up and saying I am as good as any man, I deserve that to be acknowledged. I’m raising my sons to be feminists and I don’t want to feel that they are being belittled by those that claim to stand side by side with them on the picket lines.”

“are a stay at home mum. Actually you are. You can be whatever you bloody want to be. That’s feminism.” – The Incidental Parent

Feminism is…

“seeing all people as equal humans, regardless of gender” – Friendly First Foods

“about everyone having the same rights. I prefer to say that I’m a supporter of equality rather than feminism purely because of the man haters who make a mockery of it all!” – Digital Motherhood

“about seeking equality. It is not man-hate nor is it idolisation of women. But equally, pointing a finger to and acknowledging the patriarchal attitudes and societal structures should be encouraged rather than shot down as man-hate. Unfortunately the latter happens a lot nowadays too.” – Wave to Mummy

 

Feminism is… Confusing…

I have to be honest and say I’m confused about what a feminist actually is? I have strong opinions so does that make me a feminist?” – Squats, Sass and Saggy Skin

“The term “feminist” has such bad connotations these days. When I first got with my boyfriend, I told him I considered myself a feminist and he said “oh great…” and then I explained my views on feminism to him and what it meant to me and now he agrees and backs me up and considers himself a feminist…Men can be feminists. Men have female friends. Family members. Wives, girlfriends. Children! Men care about women’s rights just as much as women, so if your main agenda is to slander and demonise men, you’re not a feminist. ” – Lukeosaurus and Me

I actually really dislike the word ‘feminism’ because really, feminism should be about men and women being completely equal, not one better than the other, but I think using a female sounding word gives too many people the wrong impression that feminism puts women in a higher place” – ArthurWears

I’m a feminist. I believe in equality for women and men but I’m very aware that women have experienced sexism, inequality and oppression since we’ve been recording time. That’s why I’m a feminist, not an equalitist because we need to challenge the systems and norms to be better for women before we can get true equality. For me this also includes removing stereotypes and oppression that affects boys and men too (like the whole man up/ boys don’t cry claims) because it’s all part of the same system of oppression of women and girls” – Ellamental Mama

…yet simple

“To me, feminism is simply equality.” – That British Betty

“You don’t have to be female to be a feminist, you just have to believe in equality for men and women” – My Mummy’s Pennies

“I’m a feminist. I want equal rights for my daughters, no gender pay gap and parenting responsibilities and working seen as equal.” – Corporate Dad

 

 

 

 

 

The girl who cried wolf: A tale from the other side

Something happened in the blogging world recently that threw me back to being 18, back at sixth form. One of my friends was falsely accused of rape. The accuser was a prolific liar. We all knew it was lies, but accusations have to be taken seriously. I’m still friends with the accused’s girlfriend at the time. She’s one of my best friends. I asked her to write about her experience. A woman’s point of view about that kind of lie. People that know me personally will know this story, but we have kept it anonymous.

 

 

I would like to start this by saying I am not a writer. I am not a blogger, or even a tweeter.  I am writing this as the ex-girlfriend of someone accused of sexual assault. I am writing this for everyone who has ever been accused or insinuated against falsely. For their friends and family who it has affected, without even having the conscious realisation that one little exaggeration or one misinterpretation can damage a life irrevocably.

I can only tell you the story from my side, how it affected me and how I feel it affected those around me… but here goes. I would also like to add retrospectively that I had tears in my eyes writing this piece even 11 years on – tears for the boy I loved and was never the same, for the girl I was before. And also pride, for the people that stood by us and the way we got through it.

 

We were only 18

I (A) was starting to date a lovely guy (B) from a good family. B was on course to do fantastically in his exams, high hopes for a career in law. He had it all planned out, right down to his 15 year plan – including his own practice and judgeship and all those kinds of things. Then some girl he had fancied before me (C), decided to accuse him of sexually assaulting her.

 

Idle whispers to police investigation

This started out as just a few comments to mutual friends at school. That C and B had got together just as me and him did, and that in the past it had been more than just flirting. She just appeared to be jealous of him and I having a real relationship, so wanted to make out that I was second best. This was water off a ducks back, didn’t bother us at all and we fell in love… but this didn’t go down well.

The story then developed into it being unwanted attention, that she wasn’t interested and his flirting was not reciprocated. Then that he had assaulted her whilst driving her home one night. This got around the college. It got to the teachers, who called B into the headmasters office where the police were waiting.

He questioned his character

This amazing guy, who had been nothing but patient and sweet with me, was an outgoing, fun guy. He was great to be around and had loads of friends. Suddenly he was hauled out of his class in front of everyone and questioned like he was a criminal. He was suspended from school pending investigation. Meanwhile C still got to swan around the school making sly jibes at me and trying to turn people against B. He became withdrawn. Worried how it would affect his career and his hopes. Scared of how people at school would be talking about it and would think he had done it. We knew he didn’t. Everyone knew.  But the thought was still in his mind.

In the early stages of first love and lust, its supposed to be amazing and flirty and realistically, kinda hot – but this was really hard when he was worried what people would think. He even started to question himself and worry that if he kissed me, if it all went wrong, I could say something bad too. I was his girlfriend – we were inseparable – and yet he was afraid to touch me without my explicit permission, which in all honesty is a bit of a mood killer!

Disproved accusations

Thankfully, the police and school didn’t take too long to disprove her accusation of the sexual assault, but the damage was done. The rumours around the town were still in existence. I’m sure if you googled it you would have come up with a few bits, and this was in the days before Social Media was huge like it is now. I hate to think the impact this could have had if it was even more widespread. Even localised, this destroyed a young man’s college experience. It prevented him from having the confidence to go for law firm internships and work experience. It eventually broke down our relationship.

I know after us, he didn’t date for a long time, and any time anyone tried to get close, he would back away, would orchestrate so he was always in view of a camera or other people. This INNOCENT guy had to find ways to make sure he always had an alibi, as every now and again, C would pop up and try ruin things.

It hurt me, to see him so upset, to be seen as the “silly girl standing by a rapist”, a few people even said I was in on it all and protecting him. That I should stand up for women and not be another victim. I am not a victim. I never was. And I was standing up for women, for my friend. I am 100% in belief that if true, this kind of thing is absolutely horrific, but it is stories like this which stop real victims being believed and scared to come forward!

It affected his friends and family too. Being his defender, being there to help him rise above the whispers, to fight back with his suspension and keep on top of school and work and everything else a teenager has to do.

 

And all of this, stemmed from either jealousy, a misinterpretation, a girl who liked attention and wanted it however it happened.

 

Now I will say, I am ashamed in a way, but I do still hold a grudge against C for ruining what should have been a fantastic time in my life. Visiting my home town every now and again, I have bumped into her. She tries to be friendly but I cannot ever forgive what she did. Not for me. Nor B. Not for any of the women who’s experiences she has belittled and given doubt to in real cases of sexual assault etc.

Two sides to every story

Not having the knowledge of what really happened can ruin lives. It is so important to remember that there are two sides of every story and the impact this kind of suggestion or accusation can be devastating for all parties involved, not to mention their wider circles.

 

 

This account is not related to any bloggers, it is an account of an old school friend. The names of all parties involved remain anonymous.

 

anneliese phillips photo of two people in meadow surrounded by mountains

 

 

 

10 reasons not to ditch your kid free mates

I’ve seen loads of blog posts about why you should release your kid free mates of the burden of your friendship, or indeed set yourself free from those awful wretched non spawning folk who dare to not have/want kids and therefore don’t understand your life.  There have been times I’ve felt like believing them, but I’m here to rebel and say keep those friends, and here’s why!

 

1. It’s actually quite nice to be reminded that it isn’t the social norm to discuss pelvic floors, your child’s bowel habits, mucous plugs and your lady parts at the dinner table.

 

2. When you go on a night out with them they calm down your hysteria at actually going out.  They convince you to stay out late and drink more than you should, because they have no idea what it’s like to look after an insane toddler with a hangover.

Source: Pinterest

3. You get to see the photos of their amazing holidays (and when they drop everything to go travelling to the other side of the world because they can) you get to hear about some amazing experiences – even if you are really jealous that you can’t do the same.  You can basically live your kid free life through them and encourage them to do all the crazy shit you wish you could [read: too scared to do now because you completely freak out that your kid is gonna grow up without his/her mummy!]

 

4. The photos that you get on timehop bring back amazing memories of being completely care free – and they love reminding you of how much fun you used to be, back in the day; it’s refreshing to remember that life hasn’t always been about dirty nappies and vomit even though it feels like it.

 

5. While we are on the subject of photos,they probably have a collection of photos that never made it to facebook because they are so awful. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of them.6. They’re always up for a beer, or wine, or cocktail, or anything alcoholic because going to work with a hangover is nowhere near as bad as looking after a baby/toddler/child with a hangover. And they can sleep on their day off.

 

7. They have actual ‘stuff’ going on in their lives, which means they have interesting things to tell you, not just the fascinating world of bodily functions, tantrums and (lack of) sleep.

Source: Pinterest

8. The words ‘mummy tummy’ never come up in conversation. Even when you eat cake.  In fact cake is usually encouraged.  Because they have time to go to the gym.

9. They don’t mind watching peppa pig with your toddler cos it’s not the 1,000,000th time they’ve seen it.

10. They buy amazing gifts for your kid – you’ll never have to shop for a smart/cute outfit again and they can spend an hour in a toy shop choosing a gift by playing with all the toys without fear of tantrums and meltdowns

Some of my best friends don’t have kids, some of my best friends don’t want kids.  And that’s fine.  Cos they’re pretty bloody cool.

Disclaimer:  If your mate is actually just a shit mate, you should totally ditch them.  Be free of the shitness.

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