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9 questions in the "Women" category

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do girls like trans women

I do

I do - but should it matter...for me its the person and not what they self define as.

Asked on 19th October 2012 in Women

How do I keep my cool when trying to convince others of the value of the women's movement?

Criticism of the need for a women's rights movement is growing, in part because of more legal rights for women. There is still need for a women's rights movement in order to tackle the multitude of ways in which women are still systematically oppressed in society. Communicating the need for this can be challenging, especially as some people feel that they are not personally oppressed, or cannot comprehend how women are still oppressed.

I use two arguments to try and convince others of the value of the women's movement:
1) Bringing in other forms of oppression. For example, poorer women often face higher levels of oppression than richer women, lesbian women face double ridicule, and as Maya Angelou said 'If you are poor, black and female you get it in three ways.' I find this broadens the debate and gets people to think about things in a wider context.
2) A personal story of how the women's rights movement has helped me. It is up to you whether you feel comfortable doing this, but I find making the personal political validates what I say and is harder for the other person to challenge.

I would say that sometimes people question the value of the movement just to get a rise out of you so pick your battles and don't feel like the sole defender of the women's rights movement. Tell them to visit Liberate Yourself, read the personal experiences and see if they still don't think there is value in the movement.



Without sounding too condescending I think its important to keep in mind that not everybody who doesnt understand feminism is against the concept. When im campaigning and talking to people about issues its important to keep in mind that people may not have come across this issue before or been aware of that they engage in it.
When Im trying to keep my cool when it comes to campaigning about issues Im passionate about I just remember four simple things:
Keep it simple and cover the key points. When you are passionate and knowledgeable about a subject as complex as feminism, its very easy to find yourself lost and treading into subjects that are not even related! Keep it simple; cover the core points such as lack of equal pay and body autonomy. Two albeit very big topics but fundamental ones at that.
Take a breath! Its very easy as a passionate activist to get emotionally invested in the direction and outcome of the conversation. Dont worry this is part of what makes you a good activist but if you need a time out to take a breath and gather your thoughts, thats fine! Debates arent a case of whoever can scream the longest and loudest for wins, its good to take a breather; it shows you care about the content of the debate and its good mental health practise!
Discussing such major issues isnt a winning/losing kind of conversation. A lot of activists (myself included) go into debates with the mentality that they must win this debate to validate their beliefs. This isnt the case at all! Whether the person youre engaging with agrees with you or not, in this instance about the importance of feminism; feminism is still going to be a thriving part of society regardless of this conversation!
Its the politics not the person! This is the most important one to remember in my books. As hard as it is to believe, if a person doesnt agree with the necessity of feminism it doesnt mean they are a horrible person! It just means they have different core values to you and its important to remember that the diversity of opinion in this world is what makes it beautifully diverse.

Asked on 8th June 2012 in Women

How do you respond when a male colleague you are supposed to work with calls you fat? Time and again?

I suppose the first step would be to ask the colleague to stop saying it, preferably by email so there's a record of it. Then if it continues report it to your line manager or go straight to your line manager to talk to them about it. Have a look at your bullying and harassment policies at work and work out what process it takes. It might be a good idea to have a chat with a friend or colleague at work to get some support.

Asked on 3rd March 2012 in Women

As a cis-male in a position of limited authority with few women around, how is best to approach calling out sexism against women without falling in the trap of attempting to defend those who can defend themselves, and thus being patriarchal? Assume if I say nothing, nobody else would.

I'd say in that particular situation, the best thing to do is to call them out on it. If the woman in question, or any other person who identifies as a women for that matter, then feels they have the backing of at least one other person in the room, perhaps they will say something themselves, in which case this cis-male need no longer 'intervene'. Sometimes all it takes is knowing that one other person understands that you feel threatened/oppressed by something/someone in order for you to feel like you can say something yourself. The only thing that could go wrong in this situation is if this cis-male then continued to 'defend' women whilst not letting any people who identify as women to speak.
To avoid being paternalistic it's so important to help empower women to speak rather than to speak for them.

Asked on 2nd February 2012 in Women

Why do people get uptight about using frape to describe when your facebook gets hacked. Isn't it just political correctness gone too far?

There are a few reasons why people are opposed to the use of the word 'frape', a combination of the words 'facebook' and 'rape', to describe facebook hacking. Some are really simple and kind of obvious, and some aren't quite so simple and need some explanation.

Probably the most simple reason is linked to the concept of 'triggers'. When someone has been through a traumatic experience, certain words, ideas, sounds, images, feelings, places, or other things can trigger flashbacks or traumatic memories of the event, which can be extremely frightening and distressing. The word 'frape' can act as a trigger for people who have survived rape or sexual assault. Statistically, you are very likely to know at least one rape survivor, to whom the trivialising use of this word can be extremely troubling.

Another slightly more complicated reason has to do with the normalisation of rape culture. Rape culture is a term that is applied to a society that sees rape as natural or trivial, or that tolerates or condones it in some way. We can see evidence of rape culture in our society in the practice of 'victim blaming', which is when rape is attributed to something the 'victim' did - what clothes they were wearing, whether they were drunk, or whether they flirted with their attacker, for example - rather than the rapist being held responsible. We also see evidence of it when certain forms of rape, such as so-called 'date rape', or rape within marriage, are held as acceptable or not serious. Using the word 'frape' to refer to something as minor as posing as somebody else on facebook contributes to this rape culture by equating that minor act with the horrific act of rape.

In response to those reasons, many people argue that 'frape' is just a word - what harm can it do?'. But we know that language does not work like that. Certain words have power or history attached to them, such as racial or homophobic slurs. Language is not just a series of sounds - it both reflects the way we see the world and contributes to it. And no, using the word 'frape' is not going to suddenly cause a load of people to go off and rape. It's not that simple. But it contributes, in a subtle and gradual way, to us seeing rape as something that is not all that serious.

Finally, at the end of the day, it hurts absolutely nobody to avoid using the word 'frape'. Our language is no less rich if we don't use it, and it's not like there are no other words to describe hacking someone's facebook. However, by contrast, many people do find the use of it hurtful, offensive or triggering. Aren't the rights of these people to feel comfortable and secure more important than whether or not you can use a word?

Asked on 12th January 2012 in Women

Are facials ever acceptable in a loving relationship? Whats the best way of approaching your partner for consent?

When answering this question we have made the assumption that facials relates to the sexual kind as apposed to the face mask type. However, we are aware that, as the old saying goes, to assume makes an ass out of you and me. So if this wasn't the case please forgive us!

Here's the response from our volunteers:

What I think is important for a loving relationship is a mutual understanding of boundaries. There is nothing wrong or unacceptable with wanting to do new things with a relationship, or to spice things up. Talk to each other about what you want to do together, and where your boundaries are - communication will always be important to a healthy, loving and consentful relationship.

There's lots of different things you can do with a person, and by talking you'll find new things to try together and things you will both enjoy even if facials is not one of them. But be honest and upfront and don't feel guilty for wanting to do something. There's no reason why facials shouldn't be part of a loving relationship. The important issue is that all people involved must have talked about, and want it.

The issue here is, how do you find out whether someone actually wants to do something, without inadvertently putting pressure on them? The best way to do this is probably to start off by discussing what sorts of things they enjoy, what they don't enjoy and so on. So rather than using closed questions, which require a 'yes' or 'no' answer, like "can I do this"/"will you do this?" use open-ended questions such as "what do you like?"/"what do you feel comfortable with?" By using closed (yes or no) questions, the other person might feel obliged to say yes, because they assume it's what you want. If you leave the question open, you allow scope for them to tell you what they want, independently of presumptions or expectations. So the best way is probably just through casual discussion!

With this in mind, sometimes people get caught up in the moment, and experimentation can be a great part of a consenting sexual experience without explicit conversations happening beforehand. What should always be remembered is the right of anybody to say 'no', 'stop' or otherwise put the brakes on, and for everyone to be sensitive to each others less explicit signals.

Asked on 11th January 2012 in Women

do girls like wolf whistles

I have written a personal experience in response to this question you can read it here: http://www.liberateyourself.co.uk/womens/womens-experiences/i-find-wolf-whistling-offensive-and-intimidating/

If this doesn't specifically answer your question please ask again something more specific. Thanks :)

Asked on 25th October 2011 in Women

How can abortion ever be seen as a good thing for women?

The issue of abortion is an extremely sensitive and controversial one, and so while some women feel that it ought to be their free choice as to whether they go ahead with a pregnancy or not, it's also the case that some women find the concept of abortion traumatising.
However, the freedom to choose whether or not to continue with an unwanted pregnancy is essential if women are to be said to have autonomy over their own bodies. Women cannot be said to be liberated if they are unable to choose whether or not to undergo several months of pregnancy followed by a painful labour, which will alter their body, not to mention the issue of having to rear and care for an unwanted child.
Furthermore, in instances of rape, if a woman then ends up pregnant as a result, having to continue with this pregnancy will only add to what is already an extremely traumatic and scarring situation. If the survivor of a sexual assault was not free to choose whether or not to continue with the resultant pregnancy, they could not be said to be truly liberated, or to have autonomy over their own body.
So the option to have an abortion is essential if women are to be liberated, and to have control over their bodies.

Asked on 4th October 2011 in Women

With the rise in discriminatory humour on the internet targeted at women - ie "Go make me a sandwich" - how does this make female internet users feel about themselves, about women's image in today's cyber-society and most importantly, how can we educate people to seeing that this isn't appropriate?

Good question! As with lots of the problems surrounding womens liberation, I suppose its primarily an issue of education. That means teaching people about why women are still disadvantaged in todays society, so that the language they use reflects this.
This concern is also particularly problematic, since its likely to be part of a backlash to the perceived successes of the feminist movement. So since a lot of people, men and women alike, believe that feminism aims for the equality of genders, it is often believed that, since many of the physical barriers have been removed so that women are no longer officially discriminated against, that feminism has achieved all that it aims to. However, since women are subject to negative stereotyping and covert discrimination, they are clearly not truly equal. So the view that women are equal to men, means that people assume that its acceptable to make these kinds of jokes, which obviously just entrench the underlying prejudices women face. Quite often it seems like, when people are confronted when they make these sorts of jokes, they dont intend them to be taken in a malicious, anti-feminist way, and its more a case of their not having understood the issues. So it looks to me like we just need to explain to people carefully why this sort of humour is damaging, and be aware that they probably dont intend it in a harmful or offensive way. We just need to make sure that everyone understands the issues behind why this humour is unacceptable.

Asked on 3rd October 2011 in Women

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