A blog post

Feminism in disrespute?

Posted on the 27 November, 2012 at 12:26 am Written by in Books

Under the heading, Does feminism have a bad reputation?, almost 50 participants attended the start conference of the new Feminist Forum at the University of Oslo, at Chateau Neuf Nov 26, with presentations by Charlotte Myrbråten, former editor of the feminist journal Fett, and myself. Mostly students, about a quarter men.

The debate concerned whether feminism today has become a mark of disrespute or negative reactions. In some student circles, saying “I am a feminist” is a risky proposition.

Yet the reaction against what is perceived as “feminism” also has some understandable reasons. For example, when feminism becomes the word for women-only-interests, or upper-middle-class-career-interests. Main reasons why feminism gets into disrespute were discussed, including a belief that feminism only favors women (and is against men), only the middle class, or that it is no longer needed (the goals have been achieved, gender equality is here already).

The debate did not provide “answers”, but it was interesting, fun, open and smart – a good start for the new forum. A debate like this would scarcely have been possible twenty years ago. At that time, the “hard” front lines between the genders would have been much more marked. Today, Myrbråten argued that masculinits, also, could be feminists. This idea would hardly even have been understood twenty years ago. There has been a major change of climate, and it is most noticeable among young participants in the discussion.

The debate underlined the need to know, to create better analyses and theories, and for better research.