Wading in on feminism

I almost blogged about feminism after attending Blogfest and britmumslive last year, but never quite had the er…balls…to do it. (Pun intended). This year though, the fire was once again lit for me at britmums live.

Let me start by saying that I’m not a ‘must join the debate’, ‘burn your bra’ or ‘lets be controversial’ kinda girl. What I do believe is that life is short, the world is better when we are kind to each other (male and female) and when we stick together we achieve more. I also think that feminism in the truest sense of ‘advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality’ has to start with women doing it for themselves.

My personal brand of feminism can therefore be described as a let’s work together, let’s be kind to each other and let’s respect the fact that different people see things differently kind of feminism.

This weekend then it was my absolute pleasure to attend #britmumslive and the weekend was full of highlights. The key note speeches from Emma Freud and Benjamin Brooks-Dutton were both inspiring in their own way. The social media for advanced bloggers session by Paul Armstrong from Digital Orange was brilliant – causing me to write more notes than you can possibly imagine! I also met some amazing bloggers who were friendly and fun – some old friends and some new. There are some really inspirational women in our blogging community and I enjoyed grinning inanely at a couple of my blogging hero’s at the weekend – not quite managing to actually say hello! (i’m aware that sounds slightly pathetic.)

britmjus 2014

Along with the many positive memories I have from the weekend though I couldn’t help but come away with a tinge of frustration because despite all the talk at britmums live (right from the opening panel session) about feminism and sticking together it just doesn’t always seem to work like that in practice. Let me give you an example.

At one point this weekend I sat down on my own in a session and enthusiastically introduced myself to three bloggers already sat there – I handed over my cards (which had become my ‘go to’ tool for breaking the ice) and asked for their cards. One of the bloggers handed a card over whilst the others simply took my card and turned away.

I’m a fairly confident person but walking into a group of bloggers who already know each other and joining in is, for me, a tough ask. When I build up the courage to do it and the group don’t seem to want to speak to me it hurts. It doesn’t feel like feminism in action.

Most bloggers aren’t like this at all, but the irony of the experience at an event where feminism was being openly discussed and celebrated wasn’t lost on me.

So I don’t know if this post adds anything to the debate, but what I’m hoping is that it states the flipping obvious – we’d be far better off to stop talking about feminism and start behaving like we want to support and be there for each other.

10 thoughts on “Wading in on feminism

  1. Actually Mummy...

    I’m so sorry that happened to you. If it’s any consolation, there are so many personalities in that room, many of them quaking in their boots and terrified to talk, even when someone makes the first move. If your table mates weren’t of that variety, then I’m really sorry they didn’t make more effort. I’ve heard a few stories that are similar, and it saddens me.

    That said, I know for a fact that I’ve appeared dismissive of other bloggers before now, without meaning to. (Pinkoddy will testify)! I’m always horrified at myself when I realise, and I’m always worried at BritMums that I’ll do it again, inadvertently. I’m just so distracted, hungry, air-brained, wine-fuddled, in a rush, or involved in a must-finish juicy conversation that I don’t give as much attention as I’d like, and when I turn back, or remember to try harder, the moment and the blogger is gone. It’s not an excuse, and I have a terrible memory, but please let me use your post to publicly apologise to anyone I’ve ever done that to. It’s happened to me, and it’s horrible, but personally, I never mean it.

    Reply
    1. Sharon Smyth Post author

      Thank you for your comment and your encouragement to write the post in the first place! You and a couple of others would have been well within their rights to run the other way from me at #britmumsllive based on my inane grinning at you! lol

      Reply
  2. Kerrie McGiveron

    Aww this is sad. I agree with you about feminism, being nice to each other and supporting each other is key. I often felt out of the loop at Britmums but I think it was because I have never been and didn’t really know what to expect. x

    Reply
    1. Sharon Smyth Post author

      Hi Kerrie,

      Thanks for reading and for your comment. Don’t get me wrong – I had a great time – I just think sometimes we all get wrapped up in things and forget to look around us to see if anyone needs support. Hope you enjoyed it!

      Reply
  3. Katy Hill

    I always find it amazing how, in such a busy place, it’s possible to feel SO lonely! I left for coffee on several occasions. Next time, I might go with a buddy! x

    Reply
    1. Sharon Smyth Post author

      I was lucky enough to be with a friend for much of the time – but we were both keen to meet others and mingle so it meant we made the effort which was great.

      By the way – I did nearly include a further comment about people not talking when you’re watching fellow bloggers getting awards, as that doesn’t feel much like respecting each other either, but I thought it too much for my first foray into the discussion!

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Reply
  4. Sandra

    Agree actually.

    It seemed like most people were in well established groups and it’s hard to just butt in really. I think I sat at the back of every session but did meet some nice other people who chose to sit at the back, away from the groups.

    I also got the impression that if some people didn’t recognise you name, they wouldn’t deem to talk to you. Definitely just some though, not all. Maybe some formal networking is in order next time? Getting each table to talk to each other and introduce themselves? Could be fun. I think half the point of going is to meet new people, not just to learn new things.

    Reply
    1. Sharon Smyth Post author

      Hi Sandra – I could’t agree more about the formal networking! super idea and I wonder if we ought to have a code that says – if someone is on their own at the back you go speak to them!! thank you for reading and commenting x

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *