What should a feminist vote?

The national elections in the Netherlands are drawing closer, in March we will be voting for the House of Representatives (in Dutch: De Tweede Kamer, literally: The Second Chamber).

But what should we vote for…?

To answer that question, we’ve started a collective effort of formulating voting advice. Using our recently published Manifesto, we’ve made a list of criteria. Together, we are reading all the party programs and putting our findings in an online document. If you want to contribute to this document, please feel welcome to do so! At this point, we are writing in Dutch. When we’ve finished the analysis part, we will try to find someone who can put all the findings in a clear and handy infographic. We will also try to make the effort to translate this infographic for those who do not read Dutch but are interested in the programs of the Dutch parties.

So go on and head over to our google doc, and see how you can contribute to an important document for feminist voters in The Netherlands.

FEMINISTISCH MANIFEST TER VERBETERING VAN DE ARBEIDSMARKT

In de aanloop naar verkiezingen wil The Feminist Club politieke partijen oproepen om zich actief in te zetten voor een eerlijkere arbeidsmarkt. Daarom heeft The Feminist Club een Feministisch Manifest geschreven, waarin wordt beschreven op welke gebieden verbetering noodzakelijk is. We willen politici aansporen om zich hard te maken voor een werkvloer waar seksisme, racisme, discriminatie, cisheteronormativiteit en andere ongelijkheid wordt uitgebannen.

Het Manifest bestaat uit de volgende 6 hoofdpunten:

  1. Reproductieve- en ouderschapsrechten
  2. Loonkloof en waardering voor ‘vrouwen’werk
  3. Vrijheid van kledingkeuze
  4. Seksueel geweld en seksuele intimidatie
  5. Racisme en discriminatie
  6. Volledige decriminalisering van sekswerk

Wil je het manifest steunen? Graag! We nodigen personen en organisaties van harte uit om het manifest te delen via hun eigen kanalen. Laat het vooral weten als je ons manifest steunt. We plaatsen graag steunbetuigingen op onze website en in het manifest. Je kunt ons bereiken via thefeministclub@autistici.org

Het manifest wordt ondersteund door:

Internationale Socialisten
Vrouwenplaza
Mad Mothers NL
Heidi Dorudi
21 Maart Comité
Women on Waves
dr. Miriyam Aouragh senior lecturer, University of Westminster (UK)
Artikel1
Doetank PEER 

Het manifest laat zich samenvatten in de volgende eisen:

Manifest samengevat in eisen

  • Recht op toegankelijke en betaalbare abortus en anticonceptie
  • Zwangerschaps- en borstvoedingsdiscriminatie uitbannen
  • Evenwichtig ouderschapsverlof voor beide partners
  • Betaalbare en goede kinderopvang voor alle gezinnen
  • De loonkloof zien verdwijnen
  • Dat ‘vrouwen’werk (zoals in de zorg en het onderwijs) ge(her)waardeerd wordt
  • Dat instituten, organisaties en bedrijven gestimuleerd worden om vrouwen, LHBT+’ers en mensen met een migratieachtergrond in topposities te brengen
  • Dat mensen zich zo mogen kleden als zij willen en het verbod op gezicht bedekkende kleding wordt teruggedraaid
  • Voortdurende aandacht voor seksuele intimidatie en seksueel geweld op de werkvloer
  • Actief beleid tegen Islamofobie en specifieke aandacht voor het groeiend aantal geweldplegingen tegen Moslims
  • Specifieke en uitgesproken standpunten tegen racisme
  • Dat vluchtelingen beschermd worden en welkom zijn, ook op de werkvloer
  • Specifieke en uitgesproken aandacht voor LHBT+’ers, die te maken hebben met specifieke vormen van discriminatie
  • Specifieke en uitgesproken aandacht voor mensen met een beperking, die te maken hebben met specifieke vormen va discriminatie
  • Aandacht voor het koloniaal heden en verleden van Nederland, op de werkvloer en in het onderwijs
  • Armoedebestrijding in de bijzondere gemeenten en landen binnen het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (Bonaire, St. Eustatius, Saba, Sint Maarten, Aruba, Curaçao)
  • Betere en actievere bescherming van de mensenrechten in de bijzondere gemeenten en landen binnen het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
  • Bescherming en uitbreiding van het recht op vrij verkeer van personen
  • Volledige decriminalisering van sekswerk, erkenning van sekswerk als arbeid
  • Bescherming van sekswerkers tegen discriminatie door gemeenten, politie, verzekeringen, banken enz., en actief beleid op dit gebied

Lees hieronder verder of download het manifest hier als pdf-bestand: Feministisch Manifest ter Verbetering van de Arbeidsmarkt
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Feminism and Men: Contradiction or collaboration?

The Feminist Club Amsterdam discussion night 10th of January 2017 @ Atria 
Sum-up by Vanessa Cantinho de Jesus

 

Real dialogue isn’t about talking to people who believe the same things as you.
― Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017)

When I first joined The Feminist Club I decided to do so because I felt this was a space where people were open for real dialogue, as in the words of the late sociologist Zygmunt Bauman (who passed away on the day of our meeting, hence the homage). This is because I truly believe that, even if complex and sometimes defeating, inclusive dialogue is always more constructive than just retreating away in our safe spaces and rejecting people or opinions for their perceived wrongness or incapability of understanding ours. As much as I concede that we all are bound to our particular bio-socio-historical positions and eventual privileges, so that for instance a white middle class man will never have the lived experience a low class black woman does, I cannot accept that this is enough reason to dismiss the first one on the basis of arguments like “he will never understand the position of the second”. Although indeed it will never be the same thing hearing about an experience and actually experiencing it, I sill believe that communication and empathy are a better answer. It is also important to boldly underline, like one of our members so righteously did, that this must be a shared responsibility and not a cumulative burden on the ones who are already in a position of disadvantage.

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PIEMELPRAAT

A few weeks ago Lactacyd, a brand of “female hygiene” products, published a new video which – supposedly- was meant as an advert. It was terrible, shitty on all accounts. The video basically was four guys sitting at a table, body shaming women. Talking harshly about how they would never go down on an unshaven or unwashed pussy.

News for heterosexual men: vulva’s and vagina’s are NOT made for your pleasure, how vulva-owners treat their body is entirely up to them. Moreover, Lactacyd is a completely redundant product that can do a lot of harm to the skin. There is no reason to wash with anything other than water. Telling people that they should wash their genitals with soap because they might otherwise not get laid, is a disgusting business strategy.

I am very happy to say that within our group a couple of members initiated a video response, which has been published yesterday. Check it out here!

 

The End of Bad Sex

One of our members has written this beautiful piece on bad sex. She wishes to stay anonymus. If you want to write a message to the writer, you can send an e-mail to us, and when appropriate we will forward it to the writer. 

The end of bad sex

sheep_sex

Image by: Dunpharlain, 2010, click image for source

‘..Or you can stop whining’, he said softly, after I tried to address the topic that is our boring one-sided sex-life with my ex-boyfriend ‘Tom’*.

 

..Finally after kissing and fondling her, he quickly gained an erection and entered her in the male superior position, with little or no foreplay, and orgasmed in approximately 5 minutes. She had no orgasm and went to the bathroom. . . .

 


After trying to bring it up for the umpteenth time in all the ‘positive ways’ I could think of and things barely changing… he wished I would stop whining. ‘Well you can also think about different positions during intercourse’, he said. I explained, that while dick in my pussy is cool, it could hardly ever make me come, and is only a small part of what I consider good intimacy and sex. And that there are many more possibilities beyond that. He said, ‘I don’t have to come every time’. But somehow he did come nearly every time, and I came nearly never. Something he failed to notice or care about.

PRO-CHOICE PROTEST

For the 24th consecutive year the anti-abortion organisation Schreeuw om Leven (literally: Scream for Life) organized the so-called March for Life. In this annual march a growing group of people demands that abortion becomes illegal. The organisation consists of mostly conservative protestant Christians. From all over the country full buses drove to The Hague last Saturday to march against freedom of choice. The march started with a gathering where people sang christian songs and politicians of conservative christian political parties spoke, both Kees van der Staaij (SGP) and Chris-Jan Segers (CU) were present. After this the at least 5000 (!) participants had a silent march through the city (some people on twitter said there were 7000). The Dutch newspaper Gereformeerd Dagblad wrote about it (Dutch). It was virtually the only media outlet that reported the event.

This year, CHOICE for Youth organized a counter demonstration, and some of the members of the Feminist Club joined.

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Discussion Night: Safe Space / Closed Space

On this night we will discuss the idea of Safe Space. What are its conceptual ideals and its practical existence? And what are the tensions between the ideology and the lived reality? These are some of the questions we wish to explore together.

The concept of Safe Space originated in the LGBTQ communities, where it signified a space where LGBTQ- people could come together and be safe from discrimination, marginalization and (physical) harm. It now extends to all kinds of groups who are marginalized in society on the basis of sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, religious affiliation, age, or physical or mental ability. Safe Spaces should be hospitable environment, in which they can come together, feel at ease, and exchange experiences that other people can’t relate to. Safe spaces, in short, should be exactly that: Spaces were people feel safe, where they can be themselves, where they can be with people like themselves.
This idea, however, is not without conflict. Criticasters argue that Safe Spaces actually contribute to more separation, more division, more hierarchies. Moreover, as commitments to safe space, and related concepts such as the use of trigger warnings and pronouns, are exported to other sites and situations (for instance, higher education) critical voices argue that these formalized sensitivities towards the presupposed minority experience effectively leads to censorships. Only thoughts and opinions that take account trigger warnings, pronouns and the like are allowed to be voiced, opponents say.
In this discussion, we want to explore these criticisms: to learn how to productively and appropriately engage with them and how to not simply withdraw from conversation in “less safe spaces”, and thus take them as an invitation to ponder on the means through which we translate commitments to inclusivity and equality into practice.

Acknowledging and exploring the tensions that might come up from this is particularly relevant for the Feminist Club if we consider the different goals the club and its online platform aspire to: creating a safe space for marginalized people, fostering open debate about feminist issues, and mobilizing people in, and advancing the fight against, among others, sexism and racism. Taking into account the latter two ideals, we will discuss whether, and if so how, norms to make spaces safe may risk turning them instead into orthodox and closed spaces.

(Sources for preparation of the meeting will follow asap, you can find the event on Facebook and on Radar.Squad to keep up to date) 

Becoming an Active Feminist! Upcoming Events

Preaching to the feminist choir
On the discussions on our Facebook page, there is certain topic that regularly resurfaces. Every once in a while people will critique online feminism, and I totally understand why. In our Facebook group, a lot of people post articles, pictures, videos, about feminist issues. The online discussions that follow are valuable. It is nice to see that people share these posts with others. Hopefully, some people are educated, grow and maybe also start calling themselves feminists. But a lot of the time, it can feel like preaching to the own choir. So shouldn’t our feminism be aimed more towards the outside? Shouldn’t we run to the streets and protest? Every so often someone will exclaim this in the Facebook group. Gathering likes within a feminist facebook group will hardly change the world right?

I think that sharing posts and reading up on feminist issues can be great. It’s very nice to find like-minded people. It gives a sense of belonging, knowing that you’re not the only one out there who thinks a certain way. Activism can take place online. We’ve seen that in the past when we collectively complained against sexist posters and more recently against an online campaign by health insurance company OHRA (in Dutch). And sharing articles is what got me personally involved with feminism. Without tumblr and twitter, I may have never been as active as I am now.

But going to streets does create change! For some examples, check out these articles on recent protests in Europe:

  1. The protests in Poland which resulted in the rejection of a new law proposal to ban all abortions.
  2. In the UK women’s rights groups blocked bridges, demanding a reversal of the budget cuts of specialist services for PoC survivors of domestic violence. (read more)
  3. In Iceland there is a recurrent protest were women leave their work early, to protest the wage gap.

These protests show that going to the street works. It also shows that one protest is not enough, however, they’ve gotten results.

So what can you do?

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Discussion Night #4: Feminism and Labour

On the 29th of November we are organizing another Discussion Night. This time we will be discussing feminism and labour.
We will be meeting at Atria. Participation is free. We will have a money-box in which you can put a small donation, so we can keep on providing materials and keep the website running.


To prepare for the evening, or just to learn more about feminism and labour, we have put together the following text and have provided a number of links to useful information. It is very much appreciated if you look into this before attending our discussion night.


We hope to see you there!

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