A Surprising Post From Jen, But Nonetheless…

4 May

So, I’ve been thinking about this pole-dancing/stripping malarkey and the various CFN views on this, and I wanted to bang-on talk about the same thing I was before: inclusiveness and diversity.  We set out to be inclusive and celebrated the diversity of views that all members brought to the table, and I want to re-emphasise this focus.

Personally, I am extremely uncomfortable with stripping and related activities.  I have wavered for some time, but recently came down firmly on one side of the fence and I am confident in my decision.  However, I am also aware and comfortable with the fact that many people in the group do not share these views.  I am sure they have thought long and hard about the issue as well, or perhaps are at the same stage I was not long ago.

What I want to emphasise is that it is important that the group does not assume shared values on every element of feminism – stripping being just one especially divisive example of this.  If some CFN members are okay with, or support sex establishments, or simply are unsure and do not want their views assumed on the matter, then they have every right to believe this and still be ardent feminists.  That is not to say that we should not debate the matter sensibly, or even try hard to convince each other every now and again.  In these matters, respect for opinion is key, and it is not my place to assume that my views are the only correct views, or held by everyone else with a feminist card in their proverbial wallet.

I for one am glad of some disagreement: it shows that we have succeeded in uniting feminists of all persuasions, and I hope we can celebrate this unity, rather than fretting about differences.  It is our strength and our inspiration.

See you all at The Albany!

Jen

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2 Responses to “A Surprising Post From Jen, But Nonetheless…”

  1. Jules Holroyd May 6, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    Jen, thanks for posting this.

    I wholeheartedly agree (!) with you about the importance of recognising this: that there will most likely be disagreement over issues, and many other issues of importance in feminism.

    Really, that isn’t surprising, given that most of the issues are really complex, and what should be done about them even more complex, and it isn’t at all obvious what view one should take.

    I think making clear that we welcome a range of views, and are open to respectful discussion is crucial – I think something that alienates people from feminism is the thought that there’s a ‘party line’ with which they are not sure they agree.

    Sure, we all agree gender oppression is bad. And we all agree that violence against women is bad. And that exclusion and discrimination is bad. But when it comes to more fine-grained matters, we shouldn’t expect or demand consensus.

    Rather we should welcome reflective discussion, and be willing to acknowledge different perspectives. That should be something we can draw on and be glad of!

    Once again, thanks so much for posting on this. Really important to make it clear!
    Jules

  2. M May 7, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    I think the group should see it as a very good thing that members feel safe enough to discuss issues and disagree with each other openly. We had a good chat at the social about how we shouldn’t make assumptions about anyone’s feminism and it’s great to be talking about that so early the group’s existence.

    I would be far more worried if everyone was agreeing with each other, not least because, in my experience, when there’s total agreemwent in feminist spaces its because:

    a. some people are feeling too intimidated/pressurised to say what they really think;

    b. people with dissenting views are not allowed into the group;

    c. people with dissenting views know they won’t be welcome and haven’t even bothered to turn up in the first place;

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