Donna Luff (2000)
'British 'Moral Right' Women and Feminism'
Sociological Research Online, vol. 5, no. 1, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/5/1/luff.html>
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Received: 28/4/2000 Accepted: 22/5/2000 Published: 31/5/2000
"Yes, well it is moral and it is a moral side and we do have a moral position. Now I'm not uncomfortable with that at all, I have a moral position. But I would want to say everybody has a moral position, if you take the meaning of the word moral literally which is just a word used to mean way of life. I don't think it's actually possible to be amoral that says we don't have a moral stance. We all have moral stances. And we have a particular moral stance, the FPA, they are indignant about people who disagree with them. That's not neutrality. And we are locked into a beliefs' and values' conflict. And the sooner we're honest about that the better" (CARE 1, my emphasis, quoted in Luff, 1997).
"Feminism is self-defeating: it basically aims at aping male characteristics, and inevitably leads to radical sterility: whether religious, moral, artistic, human or sexual. It is prompted by a spirit of bitterness and resentment and tramples down upon the "mystery of femininity" characterised by sacredness, receptivity, openness to the divine" (Kelly, 1992:5)
"With regards to non-Christian feminist views, that'd be a bit more dodgy because I personally think, I believe strongly in the family and I'd be quite happy to take on the traditional woman's role in the family. And I'd be quite happy to give up my job to bring up the kids. But if it was right then I would be quite happy for my husband to give up his job to look after the kids. So I don't know, I suppose it depends on your definition of feminist really " (CARE activist 2, my emphasis, quoted in Luff, 1997).
"A woman's right to be equal under law and in the church I think. That's probably how I'd see it. So basically a woman's right to determine how she lives her life and determine the role that she takes, and to be free to adopt the role that she wants for her life. And to be seen as equal in doing that, so equal pay and equal status. Not to be prejudiced against, I don't know if that's the right word, not to be put down in any way" (CARE activist 2, my emphasis, quoted in Luff, 1997).
"I suppose extreme feminism is where a woman says that she doesn't need a man to be fulfilled, I suppose that's taking it to extreme. But I don't think for me personally I wouldn't go along with that. So things that are sort of anti-men" (CARE activist 2, quoted in Luff, 1997).
"It's partly to do with being Christians, our minds have been freed from stereotypes, and I believe that the stereotyping of a woman having to be at home with the children and the man working is just the western middle class capitalist idea and has got nothing to do with the Bible nor with Christianity" (CARE 4, quoted in Luff, 1997)
'We feel different, we act differently, there's tremendous differences. There's no such thing as equality between men and women. I mean there isn't, physically, psychologically, emotionally we're not equal. I mean that's very clear. So to say that the roles have to be equal, I mean it's almost contradicting nature' (Family activist 1, quoted in Luff 1997)
2This of course is a increasing dilemma for feminists themselves, as "feminisms" have proliferated. There are also important debates around the use of "feminist" for Black women, with some Black women preferring "womanist" (see Hill Collins, 1991; Bhavnani, 1993 for discussion of related issues). Many of the women therefore tap into a wider dilemma of what feminism is in the current context.
3In thinking of how to express this idea I was struck by De Hart's discussion (1991) of Phyllis Schlafly's idea of "benign discrimination" in relation to the Equal Rights Amendment in the USA.
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