Welcome to the Planet! "Feminist Supervixens", both female and male, are invited to come and participate in this discussion of feminism, women's issues, and anything even tangentially related.
This is a regularly-occurring "Feminists' Circle" for Daily Kos, where all the supercool feminist Supervixens can pull up a chair and chat, get things off their chests, and get to know each other.
Everyone is free to bitch (yes, BITCH!) and moan - this forum can be "What's Your Fucking Feminist Problem?!" if you're in that frame of mind - but humor, fun, happy stories and congeniality are encouraged.
Notice to anyone who is NOT a feminist and wants to come here and complain about how bad feminism is, the problems inherent in feminism, etc.: you're welcome to write your own diary on the topic, but we don't want to talk about it here. That's not what this diary is for.
Previous "episodes" in this diary series have been written by hrh, with guest-host diaries from mem from somerville, Elise, and righteousbabe. Some more guest-hosts are waiting in the wings. Feminists who are interested in being a guest-host can email hrh at: feministsupervixens (AT) yahoo.com
OK, some administrative stuff first: in case anyone crashes the diary with intent to start an anti-feminist argument as we've specifically asked people NOT to do - we saw some of that last week - I suggest that the best response is to ignore them.
This week I'm sharing a few thoughts on the phenomenon that I call "Invisible Women". I've been mulling this over for a while and would like to hear your opinions on the subject.
The idea first came up for me when I did some interviews with female folk musicians for an article that was published in 2001.
One woman, a fiddle player who is well-known in the Nordic folk music scene, said:
People have asked me this question for years and years - are there any problems being a female fiddler? And I have always said, oh no, there's no problem, it's very easy, and it's the same as if I was a man. But some years ago, I gradually came to understand that I was wrong. In my family, where I grew up, it was totally natural that you were equal to the man. And I thought that for such a long time, I didn't even see the signs that showed very early that it wasn't like that. I am one of those who have had the luck to get more well-known, even if I am a woman. But it has been harder. And now when you come to the modern folk musicians who play in groups, all our friends, it's easier, but there are still problems that are more subtle. They are not so obvious, but they are there. For instance, if you play in a group it's okay if you stick to your role, but if you try to rearrange the tunes or have opinions about things that are more the men's area, then you get problems, even with the young men. They kind of ignore you. You say, "Oh, could we do it like this, I hear the music like this in my head," and then there is only a strange silence in the room. (laughs) Then you start to think, "Okay, I cannot do this, I am just good at playing."
One problem that we have here in Sweden is the mythology. For instance, I was playing in one concert with about ten persons and five or six of us were women. Everybody played very well. And in the biggest newspaper, the man who wrote about this concert didn't mention one woman. He said, "Oh, those big men with their big hands coming out from the forest playing this music from deep history..." Like that. (laughs) He didn't see us! Very strange! But it happens, and it happens often. It's because in our country the picture of the fiddler is very clear, and it's not a woman.
I thought this was totally bizarre. How could someone look at a group of musicians and think that they were all men, when several of them were women?
Once that came into my consciousness, I started noticing it more. For example, when the Democratic veterans running for office were called "Band of Brothers", even though a few of them were women. That was an egregious example and I diaried about it here - yet some people seemed annoyed that this was even brought up!
"A Strange Silence in the Room"
I also started thinking about the difficulty women have in getting their points across in a male-dominated group. In the same vein as the story told by the Swedish fiddle player, I've heard stories about women in meetings - for example, in business - who make a comment or suggestion that gets ignored, but then a male will make a similar comment that gets picked up on and responded to. Has this happened to any of you?