Month: May 2012

Safe spaces policy

1. Racism, as well as ageism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, ableism or prejudice based on ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, gender presentation, language ability, asylum status or religious affiliation is unacceptable and will be challenged.

2. Be aware of the space you take up and the positions and privileges you bring, including racial, class and gender privilege.

3. Avoid assuming the opinions and identifications of other participants.

4. Recognize that we try not to judge, put each other down or compete.

5. Be aware of the language you use in discussion and how you relate to others.

6. Foster a spirit of mutual respect: Listen to the wisdom everyone brings to the group.

7. Be aware that not only do people “do feminism” differently but that we are all learning all the time. If someone’s opinion differs from yours, that does not necessarily mean they are wrong. Be respectful when you challenge someone’s opinon.

A Feminist and the Nice Guys in Her Life

I’ve bemoaned the decentering of women’s issues in favour of the old ‘but what about the men?’ debate on this very site quite recently, so this article may seem a little strange. Bear with me; I’m definitely aiming to centre women’s experiences. More specifically, I’m proffering my own experience, as a woman, and wondering whether my rationalisation of it resonates for others. I make no claim that my experience is universal, though, anecdotally speaking, it seems to be common.

In my daily life, I don’t meet many people who will admit to being anti-feminist. 23 years in, I have (more or less) successfully pruned my social tree down to a verdant set of variously progressive political branches. However, the odd cuckoo is still to be found nesting. First, there is the common or garden ‘I’m not a feminist but…’, then there is the fairweather ‘I’m a feminist man stop oppressing me by saying I can’t direct feminist discourse because if I’m not allowed to maintain my traditional “active” role I’m not going to play any more’, and finally, the infestatious ‘Nice Guy’.

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