Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not

9 December 2005

Okay, all joking aside lets look at the feminist debate going on at the moment.

I wouldn’t proclaim myself a feminist. But that has more to do with my dislike of labels than with any dislike of feminist theories.
As a 21st century woman, living in Ireland, it goes without saying that the feminist movements of previous decades have meant I have a vastly different life to what I would have lived even 50 years ago. But, from where I’m standing, feminism means too many things to too many people. For some it means nothing more or less than equality of opportunity. To others it means man-hating lesbians. Slight bit of a difference there I think.

In a way I suppose Sinead kicked the whole debate off, wondering about how many female Irish bloggers there are, and why aren’t there more. Saying that it’d be nice to see as many women blogging as men. And I agree, but[1] I’ve never really paid attention to the sex of people I list in my links, nor those I visit. Many people take gender neutral handles, and so the question only really arises when I’m leaving a comment and don’t know whether to say he or she in reference to another blogger. At the moment the default assumption, out in blogland, does seem to be that if you don’t know, go male. But that doesn’t bother me, you can always correct someone later.

But what has really interested me is the reaction to UI’s post because I saw it as nothing but humour, and took no offence at his “anti-penile hysteria” and “Feminazis” simply because I read it as a joke[2] But Sinead has a point in her recent post, that the language used in blogging about this online discussion is dismissive.

And I suppose I’m guilty because of yesterday’s “war” post. But then again, surely if you are confident enough in who, and what you are, then you can joke about it, and take terms that were once derogatory and offensive, and turn them into just words?

I reminded of when I was studying English at college and we were discussing some poetry[3] which used very harsh terms to describe men, but if similar terms had been used about women, or a minority group, it would not have been acceptable. Not because of any PC issues, but because of the history behind the words.
They have baggage. The way whether you say Londonderry or Derry has baggage in other laces.

This, I think, is where the dislike of certain terms comes from. In the past women have been oppressed and the labels used then still have those connotations, they bring an assumption that women are not quite equal.

But if we are to truly be equal then we shouldn’t bring all that up. We should have the confidence to be able to accept it as nothing more than humour. Doesn’t mean you have to enjoy the humour. Just don’t take it so personally. There are far too many things in the world to get irritated over, why waste the energy.

Still, this whole debate, scattered over the web does make for very interesting reading.

Some of those participating: Realitycheck(dot)ie | Babblogue | Mental Meanderings | Broccoli for Breakfast | Sigla mag


  1. there is always a but
  2. feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here UI
  3. I think it was Sylvia Plath, but I may be wrong

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4 Responses

  1. weenie says:

    I had a look at UI's post and just couldn't take it seriously – saw it just as humour, something to provoke – the kind of stuff that teenage boys do! ;) The only thing that gets my gripe over the man/woman thing is that if they are doing the same job, then they should be paid the same…and they're not. Outside of that, well if a guy tries to be patronising by calling me a 'bird', 'luv', or tells me I belong in the kitchen, well they always lose cos they won't get the reaction they want and yeah Fence, why waste the energy when there's other stuff to get irritated over.

  2. Sinéad says:

    I never take UI serously and as he's a great man for the wind-ups. I didn't find it offensive necessarily, just wondered why he felt the need to be dismissive of a discussion that has turned in to one of the biggest cross-blog debates I've seen in a whille.
    Have added your post as an update to my post from yesterday.

  3. I've discovered that taking the piss and winding people up is harder to do in the blogosphere than in real life. My intention wasn't to be dismissive of the debate as I like to see various Irish blogs engaging with each other. As a matter of fact I felt by making my post and linking to the debate I was doing my bit to highlight it. With that being said, I had no interest in entering the debate in a serious way as I personally don't feel there is a gender disparity right now. That's why I decided to act like I did think that way but many people didn't realise I was messing around.

    I'll have to work on my satirical style of writing. ;)