Don’t tell us we don’t need feminism any more


9:02 am - March 8th 2011

by Sian Norris    


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Last year, Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn published their game changing book, Half the Sky. In it, they talk about the 107 million missing women.

These women are missing because of femicide, because of lack of healthcare, because of domestic violence and because of trafficking. These are the women who we don’t hear about on the news.

They write:

in normal circumstances women live longer than men, and so there are more females than males in the world. Even poor regions like most of Latin America and Africa have more women than men. Yet in places where girls have deeply unequal status, they vanish…Every year at least another 2 million girls worldwide disappear because of gender discrimination.

These are the women whose stories are too terrible for our ‘compassion fatigue’ society to deal with. These are the women who are forgotten, whilst bored commentators dismiss feminism as a lost cause because, after all, we have equality now don’t we.

It is estimated that three million girls across the world will be affected by female genital mutilation this year alone, according to the UN. For those of you who don’t know, FGM involves cutting a woman’s clitoris and sometimes sewing up a woman’s vaginal opening until marriage – this is also called infibulation.

A few weeks ago I spoke to Nimko Ali, one of the founders of Daughters of Eve, a charity that supports girls in the FGM community. She believes that FGM is about a disgust of women’s organs, a desire to control women, that all starts with a fear and disgust of women’s sexuality.

It is tempting to think this is a problem for ‘over there’. But this is completely wrong. This is a problem for all women, and it is something we should all be involved in the fight against.

This disgust, this fear of women, women’s bodies and women’s power affects every woman across the world. The oppression of women across the world is a fight for all of us.

Still not convinced? Here’s some more numbers that might change your mind.

Across the world, sixty million girls will be sexually assaulted on their way to school.

A girl in South Africa is more likely to be raped than finish her education.

One in three women in the world will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime.

One in four women in the UK will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

Two women a week will be murdered in the UK by a current or former partner.

About six women who work as prostitutes will be murdered in the UK every year (British Journal of Nurses).

Three million women across the world are left incontinent with fistulas that are caused by rape, or lack of care during pregnancy and labour. Women with fistulas often find themselves treated as outcasts, unable to get or access the healthcare they need. And they are the women who survive childbirth.

The maternal mortality rate is actually getting worse in some parts of the developing world; the number of African women who die in childbirth has risen from 205,000 in 1990 to 261,000 in 2005.

These are all big problems. And this is the tip of the iceberg in a world where women do two thirds of the world’s work, earn 10% of the world’s income and own 1% of the world’s property.

Think of this and tell me that we don’t need International Women’s Day. Hear these women’s voices and tell me that we don’t need feminism.


Sian Norris blogs here and tweets from here.
Representation of women in the media website

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About the author
Sian Norris is an occasional contributor. She is a Bristol based writer who likes to write short stories and muse on feminist debates.
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Reader comments


Nikolas Kristof and his ‘white saviours’ approach to international development and suffering:

http://africasacountry.com/about/

we don’t have to believe every word by every ‘saviour’ …

Good article.

I await all the tedious “Whataboutthemen?* responses.

*tm – EnemiesofReason blog

3. So Much For Subtlety

The problems with claims like these is to distinguish the sensible from the nonsense. There is no denying that the women of the world have problems. Especially, as the article says, “… in places where girls have deeply unequal status”.

So take this:

“One in three women in the world will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime.”

Is there any particular reason to think this is true? Not that I can think of. I would be interested in a source.

“One in four women in the UK will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.”

Which makes Britain an amazingly safe place for women. Especially compared to the other end of the spectrum in a place like the West Bank, half of all women experience domestic violence every year.

“Two women a week will be murdered in the UK by a current or former partner.”

That’s 100 a year more or less. Yes, that is too many. But there are some 30 million women in the UK. Some 13,000 people die in accidents alone each year. I think that some of the problems on this list are bigger issues than this. Again, Britain is an amazingly safe place for women.

“About six women who work as prostitutes will be murdered in the UK every year (British Journal of Nurses).”

About six too many. But again, you include this in the list with fistulas? FGM? There are some 100,000 prostitutes in the UK according to Wikipedia. That makes a death toll of roughly 6 per 100,000. By way of contrast farmers are dying at about 9.7 per 100,000. See this source:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/agriculture/hsagriculture.htm

It is not an exact comparison, but it will do for now. Britain is an amazingly safe place for women.

“The maternal mortality rate is actually getting worse in some parts of the developing world; the number of African women who die in childbirth has risen from 205,000 in 1990 to 261,000 in 2005.”

The number of African women has also increased. The rate may not be getting worse.

“Think of this and tell me that we don’t need International Women’s Day. Hear these women’s voices and tell me that we don’t need feminism.”

We may need Women’s Day but we also need a sense of perspective. Britain is not a place where women have deeply unequal statuses. They do not disappear much either. It might not be too much of a stretch to say that Britain doesn’t need it much, at least not compared to most of the rest of the world.

4. Planeshift

“It might not be too much of a stretch to say that Britain doesn’t need it much, at least not compared to most of the rest of the world.”

It might also be the case that our problems are significantly less than in the rest of the world precisely because we’ve had several decades in which feminists have campaigned for changes to the law and changes in attitudes towards women.

I don’t think the question is “Do we need feminism?” it’s “What kind of feminism do we need?”

I’d also be interested in how many of the statistics about women can also be mapped to issues of class and socio-economic standing.

QRG – there are issues with that book but i think it is a good resource to see the numbers and hear the women’s stories. i have issues with its missionary standpoint and reluctance to see western impact etc

So much for subtlety

Until zero women are beaten, until zero women are murdered or raped by their partners, until zero women are raped for money, i will continue to argue that 1 in 4 and 100 women a year are too many.

Also, FGM happens in the UK.

8. So Much For Subtlety

4. Planeshift – “It might also be the case that our problems are significantly less than in the rest of the world precisely because we’ve had several decades in which feminists have campaigned for changes to the law and changes in attitudes towards women”

It might be. But then Latin America is not so bad for women either and I don’t think feminists have had decades of success there. Nor do I think that women were disappearing en masse in the UK in the recent past.

It may well be, though, that feminism has done it works and is not now needed. It may never have been needed. Either way I think it is important to draw a distinction between serious issues and less serious ones.

Not to mention questions about claims like this:

“A few weeks ago I spoke to Nimko Ali, one of the founders of Daughters of Eve, a charity that supports girls in the FGM community. …. It is tempting to think this is a problem for ‘over there’. But this is completely wrong. This is a problem for all women, and it is something we should all be involved in the fight against.”

There is an FGM Community? Even so. Until recently this was a problem for over there. I don’t see why this is a problem for all women as opposed to all human beings.

“This disgust, this fear of women, women’s bodies and women’s power affects every woman across the world. The oppression of women across the world is a fight for all of us.”

Nor do I see how the disgust of women’s bodies in Africa, by Africans, in any way affects women, or even people, in the UK. How does it affect the women of Bhutan?

@5 One thing is for sure, we don’t need that post-feminist bollocks. Stripping is empowering? Please…

10. So Much For Subtlety

7. sianushka – “Until zero women are beaten, until zero women are murdered or raped by their partners, until zero women are raped for money, i will continue to argue that 1 in 4 and 100 women a year are too many.”

Then you will be waiting for Godot along with the Pope until human hearts change. We cannot prevent all murders. And as long as there are murders, people will murder those nearest them by and large. Also since we have a changing definition of domestic violence it is unlikely to ever go away completely.

But the point remains, Britain is not like the Congo. We should celebrate how well we do.

“Also, FGM happens in the UK.”

Yes but no. FGM may well take place in Britain, although it is so private it is hard to tell, but it is not happening in the mainstream community, but in a few recently arrived migrant communities.

11. Flowerpower

….in the FGM community

Is this phrase meant to be some poor-taste joke?

Brillaint piece, I was shocked when I reas “A girl in South Africa is more likely to be raped than finish her education. ”

Also, I know the term Godwins law, and I see #2’s response quite often, not saying much except to whinge about what they predict a person may say in an attempt to bum lick the OP. Is there a term for this?

@11 – that is the phrase used by the charity who support women who go through FGM. I respect the language that they use.

@10 so, just because it happens to a minority of women, or women we don;t know, we should just not care? Jeez.

@ 1

““One in four women in the UK will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.”

Which makes Britain an amazingly safe place for women.

Really? No, really? You think a one in four chance of being physically assaulted by someone you have trusted enough to share a life with is “amazingly safe.”

You think that a proper response to the continuing problems that women face in Britain is to say “Think yourself lucky that you aren’t routinely facing rape as a strategy of warfare”

@13 exactly.
I also didn’t include stat that 100,000 women are raped every year according to BCS and Home Office stats.

For other stats and references please check:

Living Dolls by Natasha Walter

The Equality Illusion by Kat Banyard

Half the Sky by Kristof and Wudann

http://www.unfpa.org/gender/violence1.htm

http://weareequals.org/blog/james-bond-supports-international-women%E2%80%99s-day/

sorry, meant @14 – exactly.

Also, FGM happens in the UK.

Evidence please? And not just an isolated case.

Indeed there is little evidence provided for any of the statistics cited in this piece.

<i.Across the world, sixty million girls will be sexually assaulted on their way to school.

That’s a lot!!!!!

Have they been counted individually or does the figure come from a computer model?

Why is it that we are required to suspend our disbelief where feminism is concerned more than in relation to any other topic?

Of course there are real gender issues facing women both at home and abroad but there are ways to address these other than by hysterical rant.

Just one point:

“The maternal mortality rate is actually getting worse in some parts of the developing world; the number of African women who die in childbirth has risen from 205,000 in 1990 to 261,000 in 2005.”

I don’t have the numbers but might this not be due to the population increase rather than a worsening mortality rate? For example, and these are just ball park figures, if there is a mortality rate of 100 in 1000 with a population of a million then 100,000 will die a year. If the population then doubles to two million and the mortality rate halves to 50 in 1000 then you’ll still have 100,000 dying a year.

Just a small point on what is a very good post on a very important topic.

@2 Only 17 comments so far and I can only say; good call. Sigh.

17/pagar: Have they been counted individually or does the figure come from a computer model?

Welcome to the 17th century, where the invention of statistical methods has made it possible to examine a population without having to ask every single person.

(and actually, given the general rates of rape and sexual assault, and the world population of around 7 billion, it doesn’t seem an implausibly high number anyway. Sadly)

Of course there are real gender issues facing women both at home and abroad but there are ways to address these other than by hysterical rant.

The correct response to any major problem is of course emotionless detachment. Only this puts you in the correct frame of mind to start ignoring the problem.

If the original post was a “hysterical [1] rant”, then every politician more interesting than John Major spends their entire career making hysterical rants.

Just how meek and dull and dry would an address of the topics in the original post need to be to satisfy you?

[1] From “hysteria”, the Victorian belief that possession of a womb drove people mad. We’ve mostly moved beyond doctors inducing “hysterical paroxysm” as an attempted cure, but not apparently beyond the underlying belief.

Just noticed the logo up top has changed for international womans day. Another good call.

We don’t need feminism any more.

Whatchagonnado?

@17 according for forward around 6100 girls will be affected by FGM. The women i spoke to from Daughters of Eve says these figures are out of date and that in her experience, the numbers are much higher. It is difficult to get stats on this issue because it is so hidden and because no-one has been prosecuted.

I have provided links to the places where i found most my stats, and the books that quote others in my comment above. Word limit meant the refs were removed from the piece itself.

Just because YOU don’t know someone who has been affected by an issue does not mean it doesn’t happen.

I love how you call my piece a ‘hysterical rant’. Doesn’t take long for the sexist language to emerge does it.

These stats come from the UN, from a range of women’s organisations and from the Home Office.

I am not asking you to suspend your belief ‘for feminism’. I am asking you to respect that violence against women is a huge problem, on a huge scale, and that calling me hysterical for giving a damn that women are being raped on a huge scale is never going to achieve anything.

The facts are there. Women’s lives are being destroyed by violence. we are sitting by, trading insults online.

I find it so sad how people are more willing to make smug points about whether they believe statistics, or believe the stories, rather than engage with the issues and try and change things.

Finally. Whoever said Latin America is safe for women please can you give me the EVIDENCE for this? Because look at Juarez. Look at Nicargaua. At Guatamala. Violence against women is universal.

http://www.forwarduk.org.uk/
http://www.unfpa.org/public/
http://www.amnestyusa.org/violence-against-women/justice-for-the-women-of-juarez-and-chihuahua/page.do?id=1108394
http://www.halfthesky.org/
http://www.stopthetraffik.org/humantrafficking/problem.aspx
http://www.thepixelproject.net/
http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/crime-prevention/latest-crime-statistics
http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/…/Rape%20-%20The%20Facts.doc

Happy reading!

24. Shatterface

Lee: ‘I don’t think the question is “Do we need feminism?” it’s “What kind of feminism do we need?”

Precisely – there are complimentary and conflicting forms of feminism, penetrated (if I can use that term) by other discourses such as ‘race’ and class, and which variously acknowledge different degrees of agency or autonomy to those on whose behalf they claim to speek.

We’ve also seen how ‘disposable’ feminism can be when the likes of Gita Sahgal raise awkward questions, or when the ‘wrong kind’ of feminists raised the possibility Julian Assange isn’t quite a saint.

Sian Norris, do you think prostitution and stripping are empowering to women? What about p0rn?

@cim

The correct response to any major problem is of course emotionless detachment. Only this puts you in the correct frame of mind to start ignoring the problem.

The correct response is rational analysis and debate. This allows you to determine the scale and impact of the problem and the potential solutions to it.

Or, of course the alternative is to imagine a problem based on one’s own predispositions and predilections and then dream up phony statistics that seem to exaggerate its dimensions.

Having created the imaginary elephant, you can then ride it into places like this where the listeners will generally put your irrational argument and strident tone down to ill treatment at the hands of the patriarchy.

@ blanco

Your question in no. 24 feels to me exactly like the time when, as a small child, I picked up a ringing phone and heard a man ask me what colour my mother’s knickers were.

Are you interested in an answer or do you just like humilaiting women by stamping your right to be sexually intrusive towards them?

Another thing that the question in no 24 reminds me of:

Aged 19 I saw my elderly male doctor because of insomnia. “Do you sleep better after an orgasm?” he asked. I took him at face value for just long enough to give a truthful answer, before seeing the appalled look on the attending nurse’s face as she heard his question, and the shifty leering look on the doctor’s face.

Just two little examples of the routine humiliation that women are taught from childhood that they have to endure with good cheer. Good training for the world of online misogyny, I suppose.

@Claire

Does that mean you don’t find p0rn/stripping/prostitution empowering to women? Because I don’t either. But with self-declared “feminists”, you never know, so I had to ask.

Also, your litany of tales makes me wonder if you saw my comment and went far beyond either its content or its intention in ascribing a whole bunch of aspersions to it. I.e. you were taking out your frustration at various episodes on an unrelated source.

30. Shatterface

‘Aged 19 I saw my elderly male doctor because of insomnia. “Do you sleep better after an orgasm?” he asked. I took him at face value for just long enough to give a truthful answer, before seeing the appalled look on the attending nurse’s face as she heard his question, and the shifty leering look on the doctor’s face.’

I suffer from chronic insomnia and have been asked the same question, as well as how much I drink and if I take drugs. And to the orgasm question is ‘yes’ because the endorphins released help you sleep.

You “have to ask” do you? I thought it was way off-topic, and that the absence of good reasons for asking was suggestive of the presence of bad resaons.

@29 .Yes. That was the ‘face value’ he was relying on.

pagar/25: The correct response is rational analysis and debate.

None of the original post strikes me as irrational in its analysis. “Here is a problem. Here are some statements from people affected by this problem. Here are statistics outlining its prevalence.” What makes you consider it not rational?

(That the standard for what is “rational”, in analysis, has changed dramatically over the last 100 years, and will probably change again in future, makes me rather wary of privileging society’s current definition of “rational” over other useful forms of response anyway).

Of course there are real gender issues facing women both at home and abroad but there are ways to address these other than by hysterical rant.

Well done for the sexism there pagar – though its not surprising that you get hyped up about other things, but when a woman lays out some stats that you don’t want to confront – you accuse her of a “hysterical rant”.

35. Chaise Guevara

Good post overall, although I’d like a source for the one in four UK women experiencing domestic violence (it’s mainly that I’m not sure about the word “experiencing”; if it means the same thing as “being the victim of” it seems shockingly high).

One bit struck me as a bit unfair, though:

“These are the women whose stories are too terrible for our ‘compassion fatigue’ society to deal with. These are the women who are forgotten, whilst bored commentators dismiss feminism as a lost cause because, after all, we have equality now don’t we.”

I rarely hear people in the UK dismiss feminism as a lost cause. They exist, but they tend to be idiots commenting on Have Your Say, the sort of people whose opinions make you want to laugh or cry depending on how dark you take your humour.

And I certainly don’t think, as this article seems to suggest, that just because conditions and rights for women in the West have improved greatly over the last hundred years or so, that the plight of women in oppressive societies across the world is now somehow irrelevant. FGM, male-only voting rights, countries where women can’t even leave the house without a male escort… I don’t see how you could dismiss that just on the basis that these problems (generally) don’t exist for women in the West, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a view put forward.

On cim and pagar’s discussion of being rational versus being dispassionate, the American philosopher Martha Nussbaum has written lucidly — and from a deeply respected position within the (historically male, dispassionate) Anglo-American philosophical tradition — on the necessity of adopting an engaged, passionate stance in the investigative pursuit of our responsibilities to one another: on the poverty and incompleteness of the illusory ambition of dispassionate knowing. Love’s knowledge, she calls it. International Women’s Day seems a good one for celebrating her achievement of a central inclusion of emotional intelligence within political and moral philosophy.

And in any case, the original post is highly analytical, not remotely ‘hysterical’.

@ Sunny

Well done for the sexism there pagar

What sexism?

Are you proposing to censor language again?

but when a woman lays out some stats that you don’t want to confront

What stats? Where are the links?

I’m asking for them so we can have an evidence based discussion rather than be assaulted by a polemical diatribe.

pagar:
Are you proposing to censor language again?

Not proposing to censor anything – just highlighting your attitudes.

I’m asking for them so we can have an evidence based discussion rather than be assaulted by a polemical diatribe.

If I remember correctly, you wrote an article for us ages ago, ‘against multiculturalism’, that was a polemical diatribe based on no facts or evidence. The facts are above, you just don’t want to acknowledge them.

pagar i have given you heaps of links.

accusing a woman of being hysterical for daring to voice an opinion backed with evidence that you don’t wish to acknowledge is sexist.

As Cim said, i have given you statistics, backed up with links in my comment, coupled with women’s voiced experiences and how those stats mean that i believe feminism is needed. Where is the rant? Where is the hysteria? Why are you afraid of these stats?

Chaise Guevera – yes it is horribly high isn’t it? 25% of women will experience DV (i don’t like to write ‘be a victim of’ as some women identify as survivors and i do not wish to speak for them) and according to Bristol Uni and NSPCC this goes up to 1 in 3 teenage girls. The 1 in 4 stat is from the Home Office. I have cited a list of references and links in a couple of comments for you all.

Blanco – your point is completely derailing but no, i don’t think the sex industry is empowering and yes, that is for another time and place.

Claire/Sunny/Cim – thank you for your thoughtful comments.

Chaise/34: I’d like a source for the one in four UK women experiencing domestic violence

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crime/violence-against-women-girls/ cites it to the British Crime Survey 09/10. http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs10/hosb1210.pdf – table 3.14 is the relevant one.

(Note that this is since the age of 16, which isn’t quite the same as “lifetime” – the prevalence rates for under 16 are even worse, though)

@18
Good point and i will look more into the stats for maternal mortality rates. I also saw this earlier, that a woman dies in pregnancy and childbirth every 90 seconds on the we are equals/annie lennox twitter feed: http://www.weareequals.org

42. Chaise Guevara

@ 37 Sianushka

Have you got a link for the UK domestic violence one, though?

43. Chaise Guevara

(Sianushka, ignore me @40: Cim’s posted the link)

@ 38 Cim

Christ. As close to 1/3 as it is to 1/4. I admit that’s a lot higher than I would have guessed.

Oh dear, the old “if you say ‘hysterical’ to a woman it means you’re being sexist”

Does that mean Rowan Davies, Ellie Mae O’Hagan, and any other number of women writers who call men “Neanderthals” are guilty of a similar sexist crime?

‘Think of this and tell me that we don’t need International Women’s Day.’

Well, there have been a hundred of them – what have they achieved?

@QRG – Another take on the awful Half the Sky http://bit.ly/BwEqs

‘With a tagline like “Saving the World’s Women,” we knew to be suspicious of the recent New York Times Magazine cover story on global women’s rights. Reading on, our suspicions were confirmed.

Women’s rights here are portrayed as a “cause” that seemingly came into vogue only in the 21st century and only once its turn came up after slavery and totalitarianism. ‘

That is pretty much what I feel about IWD as well.

46. Chaise Guevara

@ 43 Blanco

“Does that mean Rowan Davies, Ellie Mae O’Hagan, and any other number of women writers who call men “Neanderthals” are guilty of a similar sexist crime?”

I think it means that if you disagree with a woman Sunny likes, you must be a nasty old chauvanist.

@46 @43 @pagar

the thing is though, if you look at the etymology and the history of the word hysterical you would learn that it is sexist. it is based on the idea that women are irrational and our out of control wombs float around our bodies making us silly and incapable of sense or rational argument. it’s one of the reasons it took so bloody long to get the vote.

so when you write this is a hysterical rant, you are using age old sexist beliefs to undermine my argument. you are saying ‘silly women, so irrational, so wrong, so incapable of having adult, manly debate’.

hence why i and sunny said it was sexist.

and i think calling men ‘neanderthals’ is sexist too.

I’m pondering the use of ‘hysterical’. I think it is fair to say that its usage today does still carry strongish traces of its historic use — which was a spurious diagnosis of an alleged condition that enabled people to discount anything a woman said as being a product, not of reason or observation, but of disfunction.

It is a case of an ad hominem attack being built into the nature of language itself.

I’m not sure that ‘Neanderthal’ is comparable. It is certainly an insult; but it isn’y a sexist on ein the same way as ‘hysterical’. Except of course if you forget for a moment that there were as many Neanderthal women as men.

49. JSlayerUK

These comments make for painful reading. I wonder if some people above actually believe what they’re saying or just get a kick out of being contrary.

Good article.

50. Chaise Guevara

@ 47 sianushka

“the thing is though, if you look at the etymology and the history of the word hysterical you would learn that it is sexist. it is based on the idea that women are irrational and our out of control wombs float around our bodies making us silly and incapable of sense or rational argument. it’s one of the reasons it took so bloody long to get the vote.”

so when you write this is a hysterical rant, you are using age old sexist beliefs to undermine my argument. you are saying ‘silly women, so irrational, so wrong, so incapable of having adult, manly debate’. ”

I’m aware of the etymology, but that’s a hell of a conclusion to leap to, especially given that most people aren’t aware of the etymology and use it in its modern sense – irrational and over-emotional – which is gender-neutral. Counter example: “silly” once meant “holy”, but if I call someone silly they shouldn’t take that to mean that they’re especially pious.

Sunny’s only justification for accusing pagar of sexism is his use of a single word, and that seems to be based on a usage of that word that nobody uses outside of a historical context. If you click over to the thread about blood donations (as I happened to do after replying to blanco), you’ll see that someone called Jim is being accused of hysteria in the last few posts. I doubt Jim is female.

Don’t get me wrong – “hysterical” is, in my experience, still more often used to describe women than men, and as such it’s a word I use with caution. But that doesn’t mean Sunny’s justified in using it as an excuse to accuse Pagar of sexism, especially as he appears to have deliberately misinterpreted Pagar’s meaning to do so. Making unfounded accusations against people who disagree with you just shuts down the debate – or at least derails it.

I think it means that if you disagree with a woman Sunny likes, you must be a nasty old chauvanist.

What an idiotic response Chaise Guevara – its a shame you have you buy into blanco’s victim complex.

Ellie, Rowan etc never call all men neanderthals, as blanco tries to imply. They refer to specific people who hold such attitudes. Pagar on the other hand is calling Sian “hysterical” and saying she should have an “evidenced based discussion” for… erm, putting up some stats up there.

What is it about feminist articles that makes some of you numpties to start frothing at the mouth. Grow up a bit.

52. Chaise Guevara

@ 51 Sunny

“What an idiotic response Chaise Guevara – its a shame you have you buy into blanco’s victim complex.

Ellie, Rowan etc never call all men neanderthals, as blanco tries to imply. They refer to specific people who hold such attitudes. Pagar on the other hand is calling Sian “hysterical” and saying she should have an “evidenced based discussion” for… erm, putting up some stats up there.

What is it about feminist articles that makes some of you numpties to start frothing at the mouth. Grow up a bit.”

Hardly frothing at the mouth – I’m just questioning whether it’s fair to call Pagar sexist based on his comment. I think the OP is a long way from hysterical, but that doesn’t excuse throwing accusations of bigotry about.

Also, I’m not too hurt to be told to “grow up” by someone whose idea of debate is call other people “idiots”, “numpties” and indeed to accuse them of “frothing at the mouth”. Beam in your own eye, mote in my own, and so on.

I didn’t think Blanco was assuing Sian et al of throwing the word “neanderthal” around, and if he was that would indeed be a ridiculous claim to make without evidence.

The entire tenor of the original post managed to confuse two issues – feminism and criminal activity, at least in the context of Britain (in some parts of the world feminism is clearly seriously needed to get all assualts recognised as crimes either de facto or de jure). I have serious doubts whether most crimes such as domestic violence or even rape derive from some strange conviction that men are superior – they may derive from an even stranger (and more difficult to evidence) conviction that the perpertrator is superior to the victim, but this cannot be taken to equate with deliberate oppression of females. I suspect if this were otherwise, there would be deliberate reeduction programmes built into the criminal justice system for a start.

Furthermore, since crimes against women are clearly recognised as a serious issue (after all, one of the predominant crimes which is specifically against women allows anonymity of accusers), it is hard to see what feminism seeks to do here, at least domestically – indeed, feminism often seems to resort to turning out the statistics of the sort produced above rather than stating how it intends to deal with the problems (perhaps I should know what feminists would like to do, but I have to admit feminists seem to prefer to argue with me than to explain their way forward – which may be my fault…). It is perhaps worth asking what is the feminism that we apparently still need. If it is the idea, equating to female equality, sure we need it – and many countries seriously need it (although whether western feminists are the people to deliver feminism in Saudi Arabia is an interesting question); but if it is a particular form of politicised movement drawing upon the idea of feminism, we may or may not need it – if your movement has clear ideas of what it supports and what it want to achieves, it is probably still relevant. If (and this is not intended as a dig at the original post, since the author was not addressing this issue) your movement exists merely to recount injustices, why should we listen to you anymore. Most of those who commit the crimes against women are also likely to commit crimes against men, property, animals etc – they are likely to be violent types who do follow social norms. So they are a wider problem than just one for feminists – and the solution to female genital mutiliation for example is quite simple – society and government as a whole have to oppose the conditions in which it happens (which are, to be fair, replicated patriarchical societies – exactly the sort of places which require feminism). If only women do it, the dominant men in these microsocities can continue imperviously – as they seem to have done to some extent under a multicultural doctrine.

In summary, there is no doubt a place for feminism. I wonder whether there is a place for feminists who seem to prefer harranguing social liberals about not doing enough rather than focussing on the old men with beards and the (quite possibly – this is rhetorical effect here) illiterate thugs who are the cause of the problem.

And for what it’s worth, my solution is simple – destroy the labels. Do not care is someone is male or female – make that as old fashioned as caring if someone is Protestant or Catholic (I know it still happens, but no-one seems to bother to defend it). Make society more liberal, more open and make the excluded not the women but those who want to control others, whether through holy writ or flying fists.

I think sianushka writes in a very over-emotive way like we all should feel somehow upset on behalf of women as a whole because of e.g. rape.

but stats on rape of men just do not exist properly. rape was only made illegal in the UK in 1994 and there is hardly any proper research on it. In heterosexual relationships women have ways of terrorising men that may not involve coercive sex but is still just as upsetting and could be called ‘abuse’ or ‘violence’.

sianushka’s blinkered view of gender that always paints women as victims is very very tedious I find. I know my view of gender is tedious to many feminists. But still. I am sick of being lectured like this.

I’m just questioning whether it’s fair to call Pagar sexist based on his comment.

Given that pagar himself is quite polemical on issues (he’s not responded to my comment about his articles on multiculturalism)… on an article which explicitly lists a lot of stats while asking them to be evidence based – yeah I think there are strong grounds to question whether pagar really cares about the issue in question or trying to downplay it.

I didn’t think Blanco was assuing Sian et al of throwing the word “neanderthal” around

I didn’t say he was accusing Sian. He was trying to play moral equivalence…. or as I prefer to call it – trolling.

56. Chaise Guevara

@ 55

There you may be right – it’s not really possible for me to say. But he was right about the OP not being evidenced-based – none of the claims were sourced to start with, and the links didn’t really come in until after he’d labelled the post “hysterical”. Poorly researched, exaggerated and just plain invented stats get thrown around on every issue, so it’s not unreasonable to want sources. Now that the sources are in, the facts in the OP look pretty solid.

If you think he’s playing silly buggers, then fair enough – but it’s better to address this directly than throw around unsubstantiated accusations, surely?

@56 i did provide a list of sources with the original article, but they weren’t included when the post was published.

@57,

So Sunny, responsible for the site (and presumably the publication?) criticised pagar for questioning the veracity figures that he himself directly or indirectly had been responsible for not putting up to support the article.

Brilliant.

59. Chaise Guevara

@ 57

Fair enough, although Pagar presumably wasn’t to know. Like I said, from what I’ve seen of the links posted since, the data do look pretty solid. I admit I was suprised by the domestic abuse stat, for example, but I see no reason to argue with Home Office data (so instead I’m going to get depressed).

Which makes Britain an amazingly safe place for women. Especially compared to the other end of the spectrum in a place like the West Bank, half of all women experience domestic violence every year.

This feels a bit like claiming that a single mother on the dole is amazingly well off, especially compared to starving kids in the Sudan. Yes, I’ll agree that (a) Britain is much better than a raft of other nations and (b) domestic abuse is a fact of life but, like theft, murder and the flu, that we’re better off than most and that we can’t extinguish them don’t mean it’s not still a pretty bad state of affairs.

If there’s anybody who isn’t getting sufficient benefit of the doubt around here, it’s got to be blanco and pagar. Sure. Also, I just fell out of a tree and have never even seen the internet before, much less this particular site or any of the people commenting here.

We need a term for the form of concern-trolling which isn’t actually trolling as such, because it’s motivated by a sincere (if misguided) concern that the trolls aren’t being given enough slack. Something with a hint of Stockholm Syndrome about it…

Related: is there anything more depressing than a LibCon comments thread under any article about feminism?

Related: is there anything more depressing than a LibCon comments thread under any article about feminism?

Musing on all the things you could have been doing instead of reading it…

63. Chaise Guevara

@ 61

Perhaps we need a word for the habit of dismissing absolutely any comment you don’t fully agree with as “trolling”?

@Chaise Guevera the thing about home office data is it only includes those incidents which are reported. I believe though I do not have proof-because research is not carried out, that men who suffer domestic violence and sexual abuse in relationships especially with women just do not report it.

I know of men who have suffered quite bad abuse including from their partners’ fathers and have not reported it.

I know this is anecdotal but the evidence can’t be there if people don’t come forward!

65. Chaise Guevara

@ 64 Quiet Riot Girl

If someone was drawing attention to the disparity between male and female victims in the Home Office data (it’s about a 1:2 split), I’d probably argue along the same lines. My guess, for what it’s worth, is that domestic violence against men is more common than generally assumed, but not as serious on average as that against women.

However, the stats are being used to support the claim that 1/4 women in the UK become victims of domestic abuse – the Home Office data backs that up regardless of how accurate the rates are for male victims.

I see what you are saying. But I don’t know if your hunch is right or not. Or mine. We will never know whilst it is so much more acceptable for a woman to be considered a ‘victim’ of domestic violence than a man. I have suffered violence in a relationship and been to court about it. But I wish I wasn’t a ‘statistic’ that can be used by feminists to figuratively beat up men with. It doesn’t help me or other people make sense of and improve their relationships in my opinion

Sian,

You write, “This is a problem for all women”

I would rather hear that it’s a problem for all people. Perhaps it’s a slip, but there used to be a common thread in feminism of claiming women’s issues for women alone. I hope we’ve moved on from that, because those of us concerned about fairness and promoting better lives should all be concerned.

68. Chaise Guevara

@ 66 QRG

Agreed. The news story about Yvette Cooper accuses the Tories of trying to get rid of the idea that violence against women is a contravention of human rights. The story itself is painfully low on detail, but the way it’s phrased does make you wonder why on earth anyone would feel the need to include “against women” in that sentence.

@61 In answer to your final question:- I got directed to Roissy’s blog once, I don’t recommend it, it’s soul destroying, especially once you realise there are toss-rangers actually gaping in awe at his writing.

‘is there anything more depressing than a LibCon comments thread under any article about feminism?’

A CIF comments thread under any article about feminism.

watchman – if you scroll up, you’ll see that pagar’s accusation of a “hysterical rant” was posted after Sian’s post with supporting info.
Even then, he didn’t question individual stats – he accused the OP of having a hysterical rant and demanded some evidence based discussion, as if the piece had no stats whatsoever.

So its not clear what you’re trying to imply here.

Also Chaise Guevara – I’m quite amused at your attempts to be holier-than-thou now.

This is what you said above: “I think it means that if you disagree with a woman Sunny likes, you must be a nasty old chauvanist.” – the implication is so obvious I don’t even have to spell it out. If I defended a male writer here for his points – I look forward to you writing – “oh Sunny is only doing this because its a man he likes”.

You may want to consider the fact that I like to step in and defend LC writers when they’re being pilloried by idiots who don’t bother engaging with the substance of the article. It seems that includes you too.

72. Chaise Guevara

@ 71 Sunny

“This is what you said above: “I think it means that if you disagree with a woman Sunny likes” – the implication is obvious that I don’t even have to spell it out. If I defended a male writer here for his points – I look forward to you writing – “oh Sunny is only doing this because its a man he likes”.”

Oh dear. Could I perhaps remind you that the context of my comments was your unsubstantiated accusation of sexism? So it was you, in fact, who brought up the OP’s gender by claiming that Pagar was only calling her hysterical because she’s a woman?

I’m not sure what the so-called “obvious” implication is, but I can think of at least two straw men you could have in mind. Would you be so kind as to spell it out (preferably without insulting me again for asking that you do so)?

“You may want to consider the fact that I step in and defend LC writers when they’re being pilloried by idiots who don’t actually bother engaging with the substance of the article. It seems that includes you too.”

Sigh. I am engaging with the substance of the article. Currently chatting to QRG about it, was talking to Sian and CIM about it earlier. Your efforts to defend OP authors are generally commendable, Sunny, I won’t deny that. But you should probably address what people actually say, rather than making bizarre attacks on Pagar and then childishly insulting me when I defend him. Do you really think calling people who disagree with you “idiots” adds anything to your point?

@ Sian

@56 i did provide a list of sources with the original article, but they weren’t included when the post was published.

Ahh…… then my apologies.

Perhaps you could put them up again?

I’d also like a link to your claim that FGM happens in the UK because I would have thought it would be unlawful?

Finally, if you were offended by my description of the OP as a “hysterical rant” and construe that as sexist I apologise once again- that was not my intention. There are also many men guilty of hysterical meanderings on this site.

@ Sunny

Given that pagar himself is quite polemical on issues (he’s not responded to my comment about his articles on multiculturalism)… on an article which explicitly lists a lot of stats while asking them to be evidence based – yeah I think there are strong grounds to question whether pagar really cares about the issue in question or trying to downplay it.

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/03/15/against-multiculturalism/

My article on multiculturalism was not in any way polemical but was a “think piece” intended to generate a discussion on the problems caused for liberals by the concept of cultural relativism and over 300 people contributed to what was generally a useful discussion.

The reason you remain irritated by it is because it was published when you were on holiday and the clear implication, from what you say above, is that you would never have allowed it to be posted.

I believe you would not have done so because you understand very well that there are no real answers to the logical anomalies that underpin your position on the issue.

@ Sunny

if you scroll up, you’ll see that pagar’s accusation of a “hysterical rant” was posted after Sian’s post with supporting info.

Did you actually read Sian’s links?

They had nothing to do with the stats quoted in the OP.

I think this kind of rhetoric is actually ‘hysterical’ like Johann Hari’s article he reposted online today about rape and domestic violence.

It is a constant barrage of ‘statistics’ and evidence about how awful men are to women. It doesn’t change anything. It is almost as if feminists would be upset if women were no longer beaten and even killed by their partners-what would they have to wring their hands about then?

Life is full of violence. We are not going to end violence. Yes we should draw attention to it and support those who suffer its consequences. But maybe we all could do with looking at how we conduct our relationships before we run amok blaming whole swathes of the population for what is, unfortunately, a sad fact of life.

75.

Just another right wing woman who hates her own sex.

Why do conservative woman hate themselves so much? If it was left to them we would still have no vote, never mind anything else.

Judging by the full on attack that is happening to woman from the Christian right wing in America right now, we need feminism more than ever. Never mind all the other woman hating religions around the world. Not that we will get any help from the tory Stepford wives.

Life is full of violence. We are not going to end violence. Yes we should draw attention to it and support those who suffer its consequences. But maybe we all could do with looking at how we conduct our relationships before we run amok blaming whole swathes of the population for what is, unfortunately, a sad fact of life.

Violence is a fact of life. So are death, illness, exploitation and dreadful music. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t work to limit them.

I’m kind of late to this discussion (awesome piece btw Sian), but what I’d like to pick up on is all the people below the line demanding “citations”, “facts” and “evidence”. Surely if, as some of you think, this is just a hysterical rant, and feminism a conspiracy theory driven paranoia based on man hatred, you don’t want our citations?

I mean, if I’d read an article I profoundly disagreed with (for example something about government cuts in the Daily Mail), the last thing that’s reassure me is to read the sources that were presented as evidence – I would be inherently distrustful of them, even if I didn’t already know that the Taxpayers’ Alliance wasn’t to be trusted.

So here’s a link for y’all: http://www.google.com

Go out, find information from the UN archives, from the CIA Factbook, from the Home Office, from academic papers, from the NOS, heck, even from respected media outlets, that contradicts Sian’s statistics. Prove us wrong. Do the “rational” thing you’re so keen on.

Or else admit that you’re just a derailing bunch of shitsucks whose dick-shrinking terror of women is such that you can’t even read about the horrific things women can go through and still be better people than you.

Hi Sally I’m not right-wing or Conservative or Christian. I am probably so left-wing I fell off the cliff ages ago.

Hi BenSix Yes but I don’t think feminists approach is limiting violence. I saw a woman smacking her child in the park at the weekend. It broke my heart but what can I do? I don’t think shouting at that woman will help. Or quoting statistics at her about how corporal punishment is not the answer to behavioural issues with kids.

But that’s what feminists do to men.

Or else admit that you’re just a derailing bunch of shitsucks whose dick-shrinking terror of women is such that you can’t even read about the horrific things women can go through and still be better people than you.

I knew we’d get an evidence based discussion eventually 🙂

“I’m not right-wing or Conservative or Christian. I am probably so left-wing I fell off the cliff ages ago.”

Yea, and the moon is made of blue cheese .

I smell trolling of the worst kind when I read this “I know of men who have suffered quite bad abuse including from their partners’ fathers and have not reported it.”

Yea sure you have love, and there is a big fat pig flying over my home right now. When trolls start telling us they are more concerned about male rape than woman rape we know they are not to be taken seriously. Run along and make hubbys tea dear.

82. Chaise Guevara

Shh, pagar! This is no place for “evidence” or “facts”!

83. Chaise Guevara

@ 75 QRG

“But maybe we all could do with looking at how we conduct our relationships before we run amok blaming whole swathes of the population for what is, unfortunately, a sad fact of life.”

What do you mean by that, exactly? Everyone would probably benefit from examining their own conduct, but I don’t think a battered spouse figures particularly high on that list.

Fascinating how the tory trolls move their position so easily. A couple of weeks ago they were telling us that rape of a woman was the worst crime in history. But then they were talking about the founder of Wikileeks so they had a different agenda.

New troll position on rape is …..fine unless it is someone they don’t like, then rape is bad. Or something. Trolls do spin like tops when they have too.

85. Chaise Guevara

@ 84 Sally

Any chance that you can highlight a single post in this thread that even approximates to the notion that “rape is fine unless someone I don’t like does it”?

I’ve come late to this discussion so I’m not about to try and reply to all of the posts I would like.
Why is it that when violence against women is discussed on LC, we get ‘what about male victims of domestic violence or rape’.?
I’m sure Sunny would be happy to consider any poster writing a piece on male victims of rape and domestic violence, and we can comment.
This thread is about violence against women.

@ pagar – a couple of links for you then you really need to take MariaS’s suggestion and bugger off:

http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/9339
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/feb/06/female-circumcision-sister-fa?INTCMP=SRCH

@Elly – you have really excelled yourself on this thread. One day you are going to go full-circle and end up where you left. I hope the journey seems worth it when you get to the end.

Not the suggestion by MariaS, but the suggestion by MarinaS.

@ Chaise Guevara

‘Shh, pagar! This is no place for “evidence” or “facts”!’

They are in the OP. If you wish to argue against what is in the OP then do so, with facts. Continual whining that you don’t like what is in the OP therefore it can’t be considered to be true is absolutely pathetic.

89. Chaise Guevara

@ 88 Earwigca

“They are in the OP.”

Nope – apparently they were, but Sunny removed them. They’ve since been reposted in the thread, thanks to eeevil people who eeevily asked to see some sources.

“If you wish to argue against what is in the OP then do so, with facts.”

I’m not arguing with what’s in the OP. Did you bother reading my comment before replying?

” Continual whining that you don’t like what is in the OP therefore it can’t be considered to be true is absolutely pathetic.”

If I see anyone doing that, I’ll tell ’em.

90. Chaise Guevara

@ 86 Jojo

“Why is it that when violence against women is discussed on LC, we get ‘what about male victims of domestic violence or rape’.?”

Possibly because they matter too. What offends you about that? I could understand if people were saying “the female victims don’t matter, what about the men”, but I’ve never seen anyone do that.

well Chaise G, my experience of domestic violence as the ‘battered’ victim was one of the most instructive things in my life that made me completely re evaluate how I conduct my sexual and emotional relationships, especially with men.

92. Chaise Guevara

@ 91 QRG

You’re being obscure. What you’re saying sounds very close to victim-blaming, but you haven’t actually said that and I’d prefer not to straw-man you.

thanks earwigca I didn’t realise you were scrutinising me so closely. But I appreciate the interest and critique!

well I am not blaming anyone. But I am not sure I want to go into too much detail about personal experience of violence when people are being so …you know… on a blog thread.

But I think power in relationships is complex. There is such a thing called ‘masochism’ that affects a lot of people. This is not to blame the person who suffers non-consensual violence. But it is worth examining as I have done.

95. sianushka

Ok, here are some stats on fgm in the UK as requested earlier today.

An estimated 66k women in the UK are affected by FGM, with 24k young girls at high risk http://bit.ly/bdBlb3

96. Chaise Guevara

@ 94 Quiet Riot Girl

“well I am not blaming anyone. But I am not sure I want to go into too much detail about personal experience of violence when people are being so …you know… on a blog thread. ”

Can’t say I blame you.

“But I think power in relationships is complex. There is such a thing called ‘masochism’ that affects a lot of people. This is not to blame the person who suffers non-consensual violence. But it is worth examining as I have done.”

Well, I’d put consesual masochism into a completely different category. But if we’re talking about a more complex situation where the victims secretly wants to be hit, I don’t see that excusing the attacker.

97. sianushka

@67(I think) good point about saying ppl. Yes we should all.care about fgm whether we are men or women.
Pager, lots of things are unlawful in the UK. Ppl break the law every day, and they break the law against fgm too.

I didnt say anything about excusing ‘attackers’ I just said that to understand gender violence we could do well to try and understand ourselves better.

90 @CG

You bet that violence against males matter, I’ve got two sons.
As I’ve said, if anyone wants to post about it, we can then make comments and possibly suggest something helpful which doesn’t start with ‘what about women’

100. Chaise Guevara

@ 98 Quiet Riot Girl

“I didnt say anything about excusing ‘attackers’”

I’m not claiming you did! It’s just that your implication was still a little unclear – I was trying to respond to two different interpretations of it, so to speak.

“I just said that to understand gender violence we could do well to try and understand ourselves better.”

Almost definitely.

why do we have to talk about gender violence separately? why do we need to always separate men from women? and what does that say about people such as trans women and trans men who often get left out of both identities or at least marginalised by the binary?

This is what bugs me about feminists going on about violence against women. I understand it is a problem but why does it have to be considered in isolation?

102. Chaise Guevara

@ 99 Jojo

“You bet that violence against males matter, I’ve got two sons.
As I’ve said, if anyone wants to post about it, we can then make comments and possibly suggest something helpful which doesn’t start with ‘what about women’”

But there’s no rule that says you have to stick to a rigidly defined “correct” topic in an internet thread, or any conversation. It’s fairly natural that, if you talk about violence against women long enough, someone will raise the topic of violence of against men. If Sunny did post a piece against male victims of domestic violence, or whatever, I’m sure the reverse would happen. Nothing wrong with that either.

There’s a couple of more specific issues at stake here too. If you talk about something that harms both genders, but in a context that excludes one of them, someone’s likely to ask why that exclusion is happening. Often there’s a good reason for it. But if people object when someone even raises the fact that the other gender is affected by this too, the message that comes out is “those victims don’t matter”.

Secondly (and I should point out I haven’t seen this in this thread, but you were talking about threads in general), when the topic of sexual violence against women is raised, often you’ll get one or more person demonising men en masse as a result. One reaction to that is to tell these people to fuck off, of course, but another is to point out that the sword cuts both ways.

Unfortunately, we’ve developed an internet subculture where the very mention of violence against men is met by cries of “WHAT ABOUT TEH MENZ!!” from people with debateable agendas, and that tends to derail any chance of a sensible conversation. Dealing with violence is not a competition, and attacking people for bringing up the “wrong kind of violence” for the thread just makes people turn on each other, and with good reason.

103. So Much For Subtlety

60. BenSix – “This feels a bit like claiming that a single mother on the dole is amazingly well off, especially compared to starving kids in the Sudan. Yes, I’ll agree that (a) Britain is much better than a raft of other nations and (b) domestic abuse is a fact of life but, like theft, murder and the flu, that we’re better off than most and that we can’t extinguish them don’t mean it’s not still a pretty bad state of affairs.”

Every now and then it is important to point out that a single mother on the dole *IS* amazingly well off compared to starving children in the Sudan. Not every day but it is a basic fact that everyone needs to keep in mind.

It is unfortunate, yes. We should do, within reason, what we can to limit that violence. And actually we do a very good job. Domestic violence figures are high, it seems, partly because we have a low threshold – which is good. But even better, in the West you are usually dealing with one-off incidents. Few people, male or female, cannot have had a flaming argument when young that ended with a push or a shove or even a slap. They are now life time victims of domestic violence. As opposed to half the women on the West Bank who are beaten every year. That is, in the West it has declined, or perhaps is low, in frequency, intensity and virtually all other measures. We ought to take time out to congratulate the population of the West for being so co-operative.

104. So Much For Subtlety

13. sianushka – “I respect the language that they use.”

Perhaps you shouldn’t.

“just because it happens to a minority of women, or women we don;t know, we should just not care? Jeez.”

I am impressed by your ability to draw utterly irrational conclusions from things I said. That takes some skill. Would you like to try again?

14. Claire – “Really? No, really? You think a one in four chance of being physically assaulted by someone you have trusted enough to share a life with is “amazingly safe.””

Yes. One in four in a lifetime. By any international comparison that is what it is. Remembering how we define domestic violence.

“You think that a proper response to the continuing problems that women face in Britain is to say “Think yourself lucky that you aren’t routinely facing rape as a strategy of warfare””

I think the proper response to the problems women have worldwide is to say that British women have few of those problems and, generally speaking, do quite well. Why do you think that is not a sane response?

105. So Much For Subtlety

102. Chaise Guevara – “Unfortunately, we’ve developed an internet subculture where the very mention of violence against men is met by cries of “WHAT ABOUT TEH MENZ!!” from people with debateable agendas, and that tends to derail any chance of a sensible conversation.”

Perhaps. But I tend to think that when people from one identity community use dodgy statistics to attack people from another identity community, some people from that second community may well respond emotionally. And if they are not particularly fluent speakers, they may respond incoherently.

But that does not make the first attack sensible or justified.

SMFS –

Domestic violence figures are high, it seems, partly because we have a low threshold – which is good. But even better, in the West you are usually dealing with one-off incidents.

Can’t argue or agree (I don’t know how it’s classified) but those are interesting points so I’ll mooch off to find out.

101,102
Is it helpful to lump the two together, I have sons and a daughter and believe me the issues with regard to them being potential victims of violence are quite different. My sons have had more problems within the public sphere and if I am honest, I have more concerns when my sons are out in the evening than my daughter. She knows that there’s safety in numbers and not to go off alone.
@CG There’s nothing like a bit of hyperbole.

Stepford woman “This is what bugs me about feminists going on about violence against women.”

Yes dear, you have told us that already. You are much more concerned about men than woman. Concerned trolling at its worst.

When it comes to feminism, I tend to agree with Stephen Pinker in his ‘The Blank Slate’ book. Well worth a read for anyone who wants to think seriously about feminism.

whatever Sally. Your feminism is doomed if you treat genuine critique the way you do. If I was Sian I wouldn’t be too delighted having your kind of support for her post.

Oooh hello. I just got dragged into an argument.

Well, I don’t remember calling all men neanderthals. In fact, I think I’ve spent most of the day celebrating International Women’s Day with men more than women.

But isn’t it interesting that this article on feminism (which incidentally, I do agree with, but feel uncomfortable with the tone) is largely populated by men telling women why they’re wrong…

Ellie mae how do you know the gender identity of the people on this thread?

Nothing like an article on feminism for smoking out the woman hating trolls.

114. Charlieman

@86 jojo: “Why is it that when violence against women is discussed on LC, we get ‘what about male victims of domestic violence or rape’.?”

Like you, I am a late comer to this thread and have not been encouraged by the quality of past debate (some good points amidst rudeness).

The stats indicate that one third of domestic abuse complaints come from men. The difference between one third and one half is one sixth (1/6 or 0.17 or 17%).

If domestic abuse complaints from men amounted to 0.05% (say), it would be fair to conduct a debate primarily about female domestic abuse. Given that male abuse reporters are a significant minority at 33%-ish, they cannot be disregarded as a side issue.

I generally support the idea that sex, sexuality and race are pertinent aspects to police investigation. Investigators weave around the allegations to attempt to discover facts, which are presented before a magistrate or judge. That system more or less works to identify gay bashers.

However, I am never comfortable with any self-reporting survey. Which is the entire basis of the British Crime Survey. It is about blunt questions and blunt answers, on a piece of paper.

Do women living in an oppressive household complete their BCS form accurately? If we assume that they are unable to report honestly, it means that more women would report domestic abuse than is recorded by the BCS.

In the absolute case of domestic abuse, it will not be reported in the British Crime Survey because the survivor will be too afraid to report it.

I’d suggest that the BCS is asking the wrong questions. And that we should be looking at other surveys that investigate domestic abuse.

Well, pagar, as it happens I am engaging in evidence based argumentation. The evidence of you being a one-liner expert, big on the bitchy sniping and small on the actual doing of research and supporting your quibbles with data, is neatly laid out right on this here webpage.

For which, you know, thanks, man. One of the most frustrating aspects of feminism is convincing people just how small minded and hateful some people can be when faced with the pants-wettingly scary claim that women are people. Props for doing my work for me.

116. Chaise Guevara

@ 107 Jojo

It can be helpful to lump them together when we’re talking about the same kind of violence. I certainly don’t see any purpose in artificially separating them, nor why you object to the idea of considering both at the same time. But if you want to dismiss what I’m saying as hyperbole, fine.

117. Chaise Guevara

@ 105 SMFS

“Perhaps. But I tend to think that when people from one identity community use dodgy statistics to attack people from another identity community, some people from that second community may well respond emotionally”

You’ve got me the wrong way around, I reckon. When I complained about the “WHAT ABOUT TEH MENZ” thing, I was talking about the people who post that line as an attack on anyone concerned about men in the gender debate.

118. Chaise Guevara

@ 111 Ellie Mae

“But isn’t it interesting that this article on feminism (which incidentally, I do agree with, but feel uncomfortable with the tone) is largely populated by men telling women why they’re wrong…”

Yeesh. That’s only ironic if you think “feminism” means “all women automatically being right all of the time”. If you think feminism gives women special debating rights, or that it’s somehow hypocritical to support feminism but argue with a woman, you’re espousing a very strange version of feminism indeed.

119. Chaise Guevara

@115 MarinaS

“One of the most frustrating aspects of feminism is convincing people just how small minded and hateful some people can be when faced with the pants-wettingly scary claim that women are people. ”

People can indeed be small-minded and hateful. Why, on this very thread someone suggested that anyone daring to suggest that statements should be backed by facts is probably one of “a derailing bunch of shitsucks whose dick-shrinking terror of women is such that you can’t even read about the horrific things women can go through and still be better people than you.” I hope you join us in standing up to this sort of hateful small-mindedness.

Riot Girl, I’m going to indulge your question for just a moment – I hope you read and reflect on what I write, rather than disappoint my trust by simply coming back with another “yes but *why* can’t we just talk about the men”, mmkay?

Not all violence is the same. There is violence perpetrated in war, impersonal, mechanised, massive in scale and usually with no personal/individual element. There is economic violence, equally impersonal, that leads people to work in sweatshops in terrible conditions or do dangerous, deadly jobs like mining and so on because that is their only route out of starvation; or the de-facto slavery of agricultural workers who are tied to systems of company scrip etc.

There is the systemic violence that is generated by the drug wars: it can be more personal in nature when it comes to turf wars & local conflicts, but in essence it is the result of the drugs policies of the wealthy Western nations and how the developing countries that produce the drugs we demand but fight against react economically to this unbalanced reality.

These are just a fe examples – there is violence that is climate change based, resource oriented, political violence and probably more that I don’t know about because I’m not a scholar of systemic violence.

Now, there is also interpersonal violence – violence that exists between individuals on a one-to-one basis and that, while influenced by systemic and societal factors, only responds to those tangentially and is more heavily influenced by local conditions. So, we’re talking about a bar fight, a robbery, a punch up after a football match, that sort of thing. These types of violence are characterised by happening mostly in the public sphere and by being perpetrated mostly by men on other men.

Gender based violence is different in that the population of perpetratos is sharply deliniated from the population of victims: while the majority of those who inflict intimate partner or family violence are men, the majority of victims are women, closely followed by children. It is also characterised by mostly happening in the private sphere and away from social scrutiny. In certain parts of the world it is explicitly normalised, and was also explicitly normalised in the west until relatively recently (e.g. recognition of rape within marrige as an offence not being given until the 90s IIRC).

There are all kinds of things about gender based violence that are unique to it: there’s an inherent imbalance of physical & economic power between vitims & perpetrators for example; or the fact that our justice system is exceptionally ill equipped to deal with violent crimes that happen away from sympathetic witnesses; or that it is heavily influenced by religion & tradition, and atitides to it can often rely on implicit & almost unconcious stereotypes or beliefs.

This is not hte place to discuss all these issues; I only outline them to show that there is indeed a lot of difference between interpersonal violence and gender violence. Let’s say that one is football, and the other is cricket. It’s all well and good to say that cricket is important and valuable, and we should care about it and discuss it – but on the day of the World Cup Final, woul you really come onto a football fan website, and leave a comment on a thread discussing a football related issue to ask why we’re not talking about cricket too?

Chaise Guevara, ZOMG, I know! Because what is more reasonable that to ask that a list of facts be backed up by facts?

Feminists are so stupid, you know what I’m sayin’?

122. Chaise Guevara

@ MarinaS

“Chaise Guevara, ZOMG, I know! Because what is more reasonable that to ask that a list of facts be backed up by facts?”

I think you need to think about the difference between “fact” and “statement”. This should help: just because someone says something, that doesn’t make it true. This getting through to you at all?

But by all means keep ranting about those shitsucks and their bigoted desire for evidence.

Thanks Marina but men and women are not football and cricket they live together in the world. There is no separation like between two sports.

I understand what gender violence is.

I have suffered gender violence myself. I have no desire to use my experience to lecture people with. I want to learn how to change how men and women relate to each other in their relationships. And maybe even in discourse such as this.

Genuine question QRG – why do you not conduct the research on male violence that you keep hoping for? I mean, it is clearly a very serious issue and you keep asserting that people – feminists in particular – don’t care about it or don’t take it seriously.

I’ve read your blog and you have some interesting points to make, but I don’t ever see you make them elsewhere – you simply turn up and start talking about how you do not want to be lectured, feminists’ approach is inadequate, etc. Whether or not this is true, certainly the LibCon feminists at least live their principles and physically participate in work to improve the lot of women. To borrow a (slightly rephrased) saying I’ve been hearing a lot recently – why don’t you show rather than tell?

You said:

I believe though I do not have proof-because research is not carried out, that men who suffer domestic violence and sexual abuse in relationships especially with women just do not report it.

I know of men who have suffered quite bad abuse including from their partners’ fathers and have not reported it.

I know this is anecdotal but the evidence can’t be there if people don’t come forward!

It sounds like you have some case studies there, surely? (Not that I can claim to be any sort of expert on how research of this nature is conducted). I for one would love to know more about the scale of violence against men in the UK – anything that reduces the prevalence of non-consensual violence in society is fine by me.

KJB How do you know what I do in my life?

I don’t know what you do in yours. You could be Nick Clegg for all I know!

If you are,maybe you could fund that research as I can’t afford to do a national study of violence against men out of my own pocket.

Thanks!

KJB How do you know what I do in my life?

I don’t know what you do in yours. You could be Nick Clegg for all I know!

If you are,maybe you could fund that research as I can’t afford to do a national study of violence against men out of my own pocket.

Thanks!

I didn’t profess to know ‘what you do in your life’ – based on what you say about yourself, you have a PhD in Gender Studies, and evidently you’re not doing this research, because as you yourself have said, it’s not being done. So… surely, given that you keep complaining, and you’re quite eminently academically qualified, why aren’t you researching this?

I’m not Nick Clegg, nor am I the head of a university department, but you might want to ask one of them about funding you? I mean, you must have got that PhD somehow, right? In all honesty, had I the riches to be funding higher education, I’d be putting it towards a PhD for myself first, frankly, but after that I’d happily have sent some your way!

Chaise Guevara, I refer you to my original comment: if you want to not be a shitsuck, satisfy your (non-bigoted) desire for evidence by using your God-given Google access. We are not a homework service, and “but how do you knoooooow?” is not a legitimate form of rebuttal.

In the time you’ve taken to childlishly derail the argument here, you could have fact checked every claim Sian made twice over; the fact that there still hasn’t been so much as a single link pasted into a single comment is all the evidence – and I use the word advisedly – I need that you and your ilk are time wasting dilettants, not legitimate interlocutors. HTH. HAND.

I understand what gender violence is.

Boy, was that a wasted twenty minutes.

129. Charlieman

@127 MarinaS

Your language is bullying; your arguments do not contribute towards debate.

You wrote: “Boy, was that a wasted twenty minutes.” And, boy, was that not a contemptuous expression.

You say: “…the fact that there still hasn’t been so much as a single link pasted into a single comment is all the evidence…”

What is a link? It’s just somebody presenting an argument which may be backed up by good research or by something that is hollow.

Sian’s links @23 point to international cases of female discrimination and violence against women and exploitation. The UK links point to social disorder; they do not demonstrate systemic abuse of women in the UK, and thus it is wrong to list them alongside links to evil perpetrated in other countries.

The number of links in favour of your argument switches few minds.

If we are serious about addressing discrimination and abuse in the UK, it has to be on UK terms. But don’t ask me to take the British Crime Survey seriously; data, please.

Chaise Guevara: Sigh. I am engaging with the substance of the article.

You are? I think you may have fooled everyone… you stepped in to defend pagar who made even more foolish “attempts at engaging with the article” – so its not clear what your actual point is.

I do however see that when I defend the point the writer is making, you step in with the idiotic accusation that I must be doing it because “I like” the writer. Do you seriously have nothing more intelligent to add other than such lame accusations? You usually make some good points on this blog. You’re writing like a right idiot here.

pagar – I’m not irritated by your article because it was published while I was away. Don’t flatter yourself. I frequently publish articles here that I don’t agree with. But your article wasn’t some nuanced attempt at bringing out differences. It was a mis-informed article that relied on straw-men about what multi-culturalism means, so you could knock them down and feel better about it. I’ve read lots of criticisms of multi-culturalism. A lot of them are better than yours.

So like I said, don’t flatter yourself into thinking you wrote some nuanced article while the writer here is being “hysterical” because she included some facts you didn’t like. If you want to prove them wrong – go ahead. Otherwise its concern-trolling.

As earwicga says above – you’re just whining. And so is chaise guevara.

In the time you’ve taken to childlishly derail the argument here, you could have fact checked every claim Sian made twice over;

Exactly. Both of you are just concern-trolling and starting an argument in a thread where its still not clear what you are actually arguing for or against. You’re just arguing for its own sake.

Charlieman/114: However, I am never comfortable with any self-reporting survey. Which is the entire basis of the British Crime Survey. It is about blunt questions and blunt answers, on a piece of paper.
Do women living in an oppressive household complete their BCS form accurately? If we assume that they are unable to report honestly, it means that more women would report domestic abuse than is recorded by the BCS.

The BCS domestic and sexual abuse questions are completed in such a way that only the interviewee knows what they put. It’s done on a laptop, and even the interviewer isn’t able to see what answers the interviewee puts in that section. There are other steps taken to make honest reporting more likely. (I think there’s a bit about the methodology in section 3 of the BCS report, which I’ve already linked) What specifically about the methodology are you criticising?

That said, the only question you raise is whether the figures are possibly too low, and 1 in 5 people (lifetime) and 1 in 20 (annual) is already an extremely high rate. If it’s an underestimate, then that just makes things even worse. If it’s not, the problem is already incredibly severe.

(Incidentally, the fact that the annual rate is only a quarter of the lifetime rate suggests that many people are being victimised repeatedly in this way, which reflects other research findings, and contradicts SMFS’s guess that it’s mostly isolated incidents)

77/BenSix: Indeed. Looking at table 3.16 of the BCS report, it appears that the rate of domestic abuse is decreasing, with a statistically significant drop in almost all categories since the 2004/5 survey. This is not an unsolvable problem or a fact of life.

132. Chaise Guevara

@ 130 Sunny

“You are? I think you may have fooled everyone… you stepped in to defend pagar who made even more foolish “attempts at engaging with the article” – so its not clear what your actual point is.”

I think I’ve made my point fairly clear: I object to unfounded accusations being thrown at people just because you disagree with them. It would be a bit like me stopping at this stage in the conversation and saying “oh, you’re only arguing with me because you’re racist”. It’s unhelpful and unreasonable.

“I do however see that when I defend the point the writer is making, you step in with the idiotic accusation that I must be doing it because “I like” the writer. Do you seriously have nothing more intelligent to add other than such lame accusations?”

I mean you like the points they’re making rather than like them personally. But apologies if I’ve got your motivation wrong: why ARE you throwing around unfounded accusations?

“You usually make some good points on this blog. You’re writing like a right idiot here.”

In other words: normally I agree with you, but now I don’t, so I’ll call you an idiot. Grow up, Sunny.

thanks KJB but getting funding for your own research is near impossible in this day and age. But I will keep looking for opportunities.

also most gender studies departments are run by feminists, who do not acknowledge the need for research into violence against men.

134. Chaise Guevara

@ 127 MarinaS

“Chaise Guevara, I refer you to my original comment: if you want to not be a shitsuck, satisfy your (non-bigoted) desire for evidence by using your God-given Google access. We are not a homework service, and “but how do you knoooooow?” is not a legitimate form of rebuttal.”

It’s a fair question, though. Anyone who makes a lot of statements but refuses to back them up with evidence (let me know if you’re having trouble distinguishing between those two concepts!) can’t really expect to be taken seriously.

As it happens, Sian posted the evidence after people requested it, because unlike you she doesn’t expect people to do her homework for her. Also, because she’s interested in the topic and not just here to call people “shitsucks” because insulting people on the internet makes you feel tough.

“In the time you’ve taken to childlishly derail the argument here, you could have fact checked every claim Sian made twice over; the fact that there still hasn’t been so much as a single link pasted into a single comment is all the evidence – and I use the word advisedly – I need that you and your ilk are time wasting dilettants, not legitimate interlocutors.”

What argument are you accusing me of derailing? I don’t disagree with the OP. I just take an issue with childish trolls who think evidence is a bad thing and go around insulting anyone who’s interested in it. Trolls who claim to be feminists, but actually just use that as their code-word for hating the world and holding most people in automatic contempt, and unfortunately make feminism look bad in the process. Trolls who have probably contributed nothing but bile to any comment thread, or indeed real-world conversation, in their lives.

“HTH. HAND.”

ROFL.

I have to echo Chaise G here, Sunny.

It is clear that the most nasty comments came from whoever called men ‘shitsucks’.
But you don’t care about that, for some reason. I would not have that kind of language go un-commented on, on my blog.

I don’t know why you feel the need to support feminist writers so protectively here, maybe it is some kind of patronising ‘paternal’ instinct. But it doesn’t do the women involved, or the debate any favours.

It is unnerving how very very often online exchanges that start from a feminist perspective become a “discourse about the discourse” instead of a discussion about the initial subject matter. The feminist perspective is challenged and defends itself, and the subject matter is lost.

Of course there is nothing wrong, in the case of individual discussions, with such challenges about feminism. The worrying thing is the accumulation, the seemingly near inevitability of the challenge across all discussions (an exception being in the predominantly female environment on Mumsnet, where feminist discusion manages to proceed at least sometimes on its own terms — but even there it has retreated into its own explicitly named talkboard, from once having seemed to have been a consensus across Mumsnet).

Taking a very broad but plausible definition of feminism, it is something like (1) a normative claim that men and women ought to be treated equally, plus (2) an empirical claim that, at least to some extent, our societies still bear significant residues of a systemic tendency to allocate less favourable treatment to women.

That doesn’t seem like a very very controversial dual claim. And yet feminism has this status of something essentially contested, something routinely forced onto the back foot. Why?

Claire a) Because splitting the world into these two homogenous groups of ‘men’ and ‘women’ is not something I think is helpful in terms of understanding inequality.

b) Because I disagree with this statement and do not think ‘our societies still bear significant residues of a systemic tendency to allocate less favourable treatment to women.’ across the board or even in broad areas such as ‘violence’.

Therefore I contest the basis of any feminist argument. Sorry if that is irritating for you but it is what I believe!

137
In view of your stance that you contest any femenist argument, I take it you are going to stop commenting on this thread, as we are already aware of your future postings.
I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules about discussing violence in terms of men or woment or about both groups, however, there is no rule that says the original poster can’t indicate that they are taking a particular perspective.
Or is it only you that is allowed to determine the rules and the content?

139. Chaise Guevara

@ 136 Claire

“That doesn’t seem like a very very controversial dual claim. And yet feminism has this status of something essentially contested, something routinely forced onto the back foot. Why?”

I think because it can mean almost anything depending on who you ask. You have feminism that seeks gender equality, and feminism that focuses only on women’s perceived needs. You have feminism that thinks the sexualised portrayal of women is patriachal objectification and feminism that thinks stripping is empowering. You have feminism that is concerned with moral issues and feminism that invokes a kind of mysticism.

There’s nothing worse than getting into an argument about what “proper feminism” is (although I’m in danger of doing so with someone further up the thread who appears to think that feminism means men shouldn’t argue with women). I think that “feminism” ultimately means the opinions any self-proclaimed feminist has on gender issues.

140. Chaise Guevara

@ 138 SteveB

“Or is it only you that is allowed to determine the rules and the content?”

Can you actually provide an example of QRG attempting to do that? From my experience she’s been arguing AGAINST the people who’ve tried to dictate what can and can’t be discussed on this thread.

@ Sian

Regarding FGM, I have read the report you linked to and, as so often with such things, there is no real evidence- it just records the prevalence of FGM in immigrant groups then extrapolates based on the numbers that are now in the UK. No account is taken of the possibly “civilising” influence of living in a country where such religious and cultural practices are less prevalent.

However I have done some more reading and I am quite prepared to accept that you are correct- that FGM does happen in the UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/jul/25/female-circumcision-children-british-law

The scale of the problem is unclear- the above article estimates 500-2000 per year (they haven’t a clue) and it is easy to understand why it would be a difficult figure to estimate.

But what is more difficult to understand is this.

The UK Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 makes it an offence to carry out FGM or to aid, abet or procure the service of another person. The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, makes it against the law for FGM to be performed anywhere in the world on UK permanent residents of any age and carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment. To date, no prosecutions have been made under UK legislation.

Nio prosecutions?

Surely at some point a doctor or healthcare worker must have come across evidence of FGM when examining a girl born in the UK? That should be all the evidence required.

Why has it not been reported to the police?

Why has no victim reported the crime themselves?

Or have such crimes been reported but not prosecuted?

Then why?

I hope the answer has nothing to do with cultural relativism.

And, whilst there is no equivalence, since we are on the subject of carrying out barbaric genital mutilation of children in primitive cultural ceremonies, can we ban male circumcision too?

140
Post 137 just about says it all
@139 You correctly identify that feminism isn’t all about hating men, in fact marxist feminism analyses society in terms of class and culture. Making sweeping statements such as rejecting every femenist statement really does finalize any further debate.
The OP has indicated that they are analysing all types of violence against women from a feminist perspective which leaves any comments wide open to any of the feminist theory which analyses societal relations from a woman’s perspective.
Consequently, adding in the male perspective derails the essence of the thread which the original poster intended, even this post about the discourse of the discourse has been determined by those who continue to try and add the male perspective.
.

143. Chaise Guevara

@ 142 SteveB

“Post 137 just about says it all”

It doesn’t, though. I read that post before replying to you, and at no point in it does QRG attempt to set the rules of anything. She just says what she thinks – like the rest of us are doing.

“@139 You correctly identify that feminism isn’t all about hating men”

Understatement of the month. Hating men is a very small branch of feminism, one that I would hesitate to call feminism at all (although see above about futility of arguing about the “true” nature of feminism).

“Making sweeping statements such as rejecting every femenist statement really does finalize any further debate.”

QRG said contest, not reject – although I should probably let her answer for herself here.

“The OP has indicated that they are analysing all types of violence against women from a feminist perspective which leaves any comments wide open to any of the feminist theory which analyses societal relations from a woman’s perspective.
Consequently, adding in the male perspective derails the essence of the thread which the original poster intended, even this post about the discourse of the discourse has been determined by those who continue to try and add the male perspective.”

Are you saying that men shouldn’t comment in this thread at all? Surely you (assuming your name reveals your gender) are being hypocritical by giving us your male perspective?

I don’t think there’s anything sacred or special about the perspective of either gender – I think both men and women’s thoughts are equally worthy. I also don’t see what’s wrong with moving away from the “essence of the thread which the original poster intended”, assuming you even KNOW what they intended and don’t just assume something that suits your own preferences.

A comment thread invites discussion and debate. It does sound like you, not QRG, are the one who wants to determine what is and isn’t a “valid” opinion on this thread.

143
You are taking my comment out of context, I never inferred that men cannot participate although until I read post 137 I had decided that I would not contribute on this thread.
Men can be feminists so it’s not hypocritical for men to comment, but I liken the comments @137 to someone attempting to analyse society in terms of a liberal perspective when the debate is asking for a class perspective. Of course there are no rules about an internet discussion but totally derailing the thread by challenging every post that someone writes, in effect, trashing the essence of the thread, is, at the very least, unfair.

145. Chaise Guevara

@ 144 SteveB

“Men can be feminists so it’s not hypocritical for men to comment, but I liken the comments @137 to someone attempting to analyse society in terms of a liberal perspective when the debate is asking for a class perspective. ”

I don’t follow you – it’s ok for men to comment, but you don’t like QRG saying that it’s ok for men to comment?

“Of course there are no rules about an internet discussion but totally derailing the thread by challenging every post that someone writes, in effect, trashing the essence of the thread, is, at the very least, unfair.”

Who’s doing that? The problem is that you object when a post you like is “challenged”, but evidently have no problem doing the same to other people’s posts. Isn’t it just as unfair (i.e. not at all) for you to “challenge” QRG? In fact, you did more than that – you asked her to leave the thread.

So what you’re doing is setting up a two-tier system: this is the approved version, based on SteveB’s ideals and his interpretation of the OP, and comments that agree with it are welcome. Comments that disagree, however, are suspect and unfair. That’s no way to conduct a sensible conversation.

the reason I continue to argue with feminists even though I have made it clear I dont accept feminism as ‘valid’ is:

a) Feminism claims to speak for me as a woman, and I should be able to challenge that

b) Feminist articles tend to be about things I think are very important e.g. gender violence, the way we perceive men and women, the economy, sex, etc

c) Feminism tends to assume it is the ‘correct’ way to analyse gender. I am offering other ways to do that.

Hope that is allowed!

Oh hey, Quiet Riot Girl, I didn’t mean only men could be shitsucks! You’re such an awesomely talented troll, it’d be totes unfair to deprive you of the same epithet.

We’re cool, man. We’re cool.

Claire at #136:

That doesn’t seem like a very very controversial dual claim. And yet feminism has this status of something essentially contested, something routinely forced onto the back foot. Why?

It’s an awesomely controversial dual claim. Once you start really thinking about the implications of it, so many things begin to unravel – the legal system, the way education is set up, our most basic assumptions of gender identity, the structure of the workplace – that it’s literally mind boggling.

Sometimes I can’t honestly blame people for being terrified of the implications of treating women as equals; that it makes them angry and they want to reject it is almost natural when you imagine the profound differences that implies to society, from how we go on dates to what stories are told in the movies we watch to what the pressing issues on the political agenda are. No private or public sphere of life is untouched by the radical – in the true sense of the word – notion that women are people.

None of this means we have to tolerate stupidity, obtuseness or the dishonesty of a-priori rejecting any “evidence” that doesn’t support people’s comfortable notions. It just means we can selectively engage with the ones who are ore open to being engaged with (i.e. not the obvious trolls) while trying to ignore as best we can the deafening noise machine of the people who wants the debate to just not be had, ever. Inasmuch as we owe anyone this conversation, it’s to ourselves, not to them.

There you go Sunny – someone on this thread is calling people ‘shitsucks’ and ‘trolls’ and you are quoting her as the voice of reason. I think you are losing the thread here.

Sorry, pressed submit too quickly

Some more evidence against the claim made earlier that latin america is safe for women, as in, vawg is not a problem there

http://www.thefreshoutlook.com/index.php?action=newspaper&subaction=article&toDo=show&postID=4590

@ 141

Well, one of the reasons the girls might not report the crime to the police is because they are living in a community that does not exactly enable this to happen. The issues surrounding FGM are very complex. Having spoken to one of the founders of Daughters of Eve at length about the subject, FGM is not exactly presented to women in the community as against the law. A lot of women grow up thinking that being cut makes them a woman, that not being cut is disgusting. She told me that the language used to describe an uncut woman is one of disgust. So saying ‘they should just report it to the police’ isn’t an answer. Luckily, groups like Forward and Daughters of Eve are working to educate and empower young women around these issues. My friend tells me that in the community she works with, she has met a handful (literally, count them on one hand) women who have NOT been cut. It is very very difficult to get accurate numbers on this precisely for some of the reasons i cited above.

One of the ways we can change this though, and again this comes from my friend, is by talking about it. Lets get conversations about FGM out there. Talk about in schools, so young women grow up learning that their natural bodies aren’t disgusting. FGM is so hidden, and treated cautiously out of a fear of ‘oh well, it’s culture’. Cultures change, and sometimes they change because of outside pressures. 100 years ago, women in China had their feet destroyed in the name of culture. But this stopped, cultures change. Today, women lose their clitorises in the name of culture. Lets talk about these issues openly, lets end the silence around FGM and perhaps the next generation may be safer.

I refer you to this article about why and how we can make sure this happens:

http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2011/02/this_generation

153. Mr S. Pill

Sigh. The thread is so predictable, even before QRG got stuck in with her groovy post-modern/deconstructionist way of looking at things (that probably apply to a handful of academics in a gender politics seminar and, err, that’s it).

As Earwicga points out the only more depressing thing than comments of a LibCon feminism thread is comments on a CiF feminism thread, but in my opinion the very fact that discussions get derailed so often validates the original title of the OP – we need feminism (or feminisms) for that very reason.

There’s a lot of bad temper in this thread so I’m going to stay out of most discussions, but thankyou OP for highlighting a lot of important problems – education, as ever, is one of the greatest weapons against inequality.

On male circumcision – i don’t agree with any children going through non medical surgery without their consent. But i don’t think MGM and FGM are equivalents. They just aren’t. Removing or cutting a girl’s clitoris, and sewing up her vaginal opening are not the same as what happens to boys. I think both issues need to be explored and i think questions need to be asked about why we give children non-medical surgery without their consent for spiritual or cultural reasons. But i think we disrespect and do both issues a disservice by trying to equate them because they are not the same.

no sianushka they arent the same. But thats the first time I have heard a feminist mention male circumcision- and only when pressed by someone else. things dont have to be ‘the same’ for them to be considered simultaneously.

Mr S Pill, Claire, Marina, Sunny, Cim – thank you for supportive comments. I am glad you enjoyed the article and took something away from it.

157. Chaise Guevara

@ 154

Agreed. On balance I reckon we should ban male circumcision without adult consent, but it’s not comparable to FGM, and not something I can get particularly worried about. It’s depressing when people conflate the two to make a cheap point.

Marina’s comments weren’t very supportive to the rest of us sianushka. But if you think it is supportive to call people shitsucks that is fine!

@ Sian

I take your point that women from communities where FGM is practised are unlikely to report the crime themselves but that does not excuse their gynaecologists or midwives who must see the evidence.

This specific crime has been on the statute books for 25 years and there has not been a single prosecution.

Why?

To make inroads in stamping it out we need to be able to answer that question.

I welcome your support regarding male circumcision and agree that the male and female versions are not, in any way, equivalent.

Indeed I say this @141 so it is not a “cheap point”.

160. Chaise Guevara

@ 159 Pagar

“Indeed I say this @141 so it is not a “cheap point”.”

I should clarify that I wasn’t talking about you when I said that – I remember you saying they weren’t equivalent. But I have seen plenty of people suggest that it’s somehow sexist to campaign against FGM but not male circumcision.

146
Feminism is a political ideaology just like liberalism or conservatism and if that’s not your thing then you are free to follow your own idealogical beliefs, feminism isn’t about imposing any views on to individual women. As with most political ideals it tends to analyse the macrosocial. Well done if you do not suffer from the violence that the OP discusses, you’re very fortunate. And yes I know other groups suffer too, but that’s another debate, citing the problems that other people/groups do in response to the debate isn’t very helpful, also we can all read that you don’t like feminism one post is sufficient.

162. Watchman

S.Pill @153,

If you think QRG’s take is ‘groovy’ postmodernism, can I ask you why that is a problem? And if it is an academic position, perhaps you should take it seriously – that means it is reaserched and thought out, not (as you seem to imply) unreal and disconnected (an odd point of view considering you were agreeing education is the answer).

There seems to be an underlying argument behind QRG’s reasoning that violence is violence, and the actual identity of the victim comes second. It is one that I have also argued, coming from a very different direction. Someone who thinks with his fists in one situation is likely to do so in another, and is likely to teach that to others who seem him as an authority or role model. That seems fairly uncontroversial. If we can (and here I break from QRG’s pessimism) break the train of thinking that using force to get what you want/deal with something you cannot face up to (such as your wife not doing as you want) then violence against women will stop, as will violence against men. I actually think the focus on violence against women so ignores the root cause of all violence (ignorance and inability to negotiate) that it is possibly counterproductive in that in gives the idea that women may be sacrosanct but other subjects of violence (men, animals, property, transsexuals, whatever…) are fair game; certain sorts of violence becomes passively accepted because they are not publically condemned if you want. And therefore violence itself continues, and those who practice violence as a response will still be violent to women, because violence is their response, even if they know it is wrong.

I agree that education is the way to go though. Learning to respond to things reasonably and not with violence is a key skill of education – but perhaps not in our present system.

163. Watchman

jojo @ 161,

If you divide violence up into violence against groups, how do you ever hope to deal with the real issue, violence itself? Surely feminism as an ideal has a desire to deal with violence full stop? In its early history feminism was generally a pacifist movement after all…

161 I have suffered domestic violence I have stated that a number of times.

163
It is futile looking at any behaviour in a vacuum and violence is not unique probably all groups in society suffer it and many individuals don’t.
Females tend to suffer more from domestic violence in the home while males (especially young males) tend to suffer from violence in public areas.
It is clear, that given this observable difference, there are different reasons why it occurs, feminism looks at the violence suffered by women without denying that men also suffer.
Behavioural psychologists have also found that the way of inflicting violence is cultural as well as gender-based, eg men don’t tend to pull hair and women don’t tend to use their fists (yes I know there are some exceptions)
Lumping all violence together would overlook much of the difference in place, relationship, gender, culture and there would be little chance in finding ways to stop any violence.

166. Watchman

Jojo,

You seem to be suggesting that there are different reasons for using violence in different spheres, and that different genders use violence differently. I wouldn’t disagree (although I would caution that the space between spheres and the distinction between genders are moveable and currently probably dissolving).

However, that ignores the key fact that all these things are still violence. By focussing on only one aspect of it, you risk failing to deal with any aspect, because if your reaction is to be violent, you are likely to respond that way to anybody, even if the chances of violence towards women (for example) is lessened by focussed campaigning. Campaigning against violence as a whole, making the act itself socially unacceptable, is surely going to be more effective than focussing on only one head of the hydra.

By focussing on only one aspect of it you risk failing to deal with any aspect

You know, I’ve read this entire thread and I really don’t get the feeling that discussion of or concern for the plight of men is in danger of being neglected or forgotten by anyone any time soo. Don’t know about you.

(And just to forestall complaints about how it’s a wider problem and no research is done, I went and ran a few searches on Google Scholar; there are reams of research, and heaps of criticism of the gender-based violence paradigm, so work is being done in the academic & policy sphere too.)

I also struggle to envision how you would write every article or opinion piece on the topic in such a way that it always includes every aspect of violence while leaving scope for a discussion of the details. There’s an implicit assumption in what you say that in order to have intellectual legitimacy any discussion of, for example, how to support people who can’t leave violent relationships because they don’t want to leave the children behind (in reality often women) would have to give mention of victims of pub brawls (in reality often men).

It’s not workable, and it’s not how real academic discourse (usually tightly focused on specific details) works. It’s a way of broadening the terms of the conversation so much that it is no longer useful for any individual subject of it, and to me that sounds like a way – on this day of all days, on this article of all articles – of closing off and limiting debate rather than fostering and encouraging it.

if your reaction is to be violent, you are likely to respond that way to anybody

Rubbish. Violent abusers (and bullies in general) are very good at (a) picking their targets, and (b) disguising their behaviour. That’s how they get away with it, and why so many people are always so surprised when that nice Mr So-and-so from down the street beats his wife to death one Friday night.

It is unnerving how very very often online exchanges that start from a feminist perspective become a “discourse about the discourse” instead of a discussion about the initial subject matter

Indeed Claire. Its a good attempt at trying to avoid the original discussion, as pagar is trying his best to do.

Chaise Guevara: I object to unfounded accusations being thrown at people just because you disagree with them.

Aww diddums. You, pagar and QRG must be completely hurt and shocked that your attempts at trying to trying to hijack the thread by accusing the writer of “hysteria” have been called out.

A general point to everyone.

Even though strongly feminist articles like the above are continually hijacked by idiots who want to turn them into a discussion about whether the writer is “hysterical” or not (despite giving no evidence to support the assertion) – I will continue publishing such articles.

The idiotic comments are annoying, but reflect society. I don’t don’t think people should be put off from contributing to CIF or this blog simply because its attracts such comments. These attitudes needs to be challenged. It would be a shame if women ended up writing such opinions just in safe spaces.

170. Chaise Guevara

@ 169

“Aww diddums.”

Wow, that’s me crushed.

“You, pagar and QRG must be completely hurt and shocked that your attempts at trying to trying to hijack the thread by accusing the writer of “hysteria” have been called out. ”

I’d be pretty shocked if that happened, given that I never called the writer hysterical and in fact told you that I thought the opposite. Still, never get facts get in the way of a good rant, eh? I’m really not sure why you define “talking” as “hijacking” when you disagree with the person doing it. Time to invest in a dictionary, perhaps.

You really have been pathetic on this thread, Sunny. You’ve been utterly incapable of engaging with anyone, instead deciding to repeat the word “idiot” and its variants about 100 times as if repetition will make it true. Diddums indeed.

171. Watchman

Sunny,

The writer is not hysterical in the sense of being very funny or having a now discredited mental condition associated with females (unless pagar was being malicious, which seems difficult to prove, you were the one who brought that meaning up). Whether she is hysterical as in shrill and overblown in the tone she takes is presumably a personal judgement? Can’t say I see it myself, but if you publish something you cannot tell people how to read it. After all, some people apparently find my well-worded and balanced prose irritating, which is hardly my fault (what do you mean I could just write more clearly…).

I have to say, having debated with all three, that pagar, Chaise and QRG are not the most obvious bunch of allies I’ve ever encountered. Their one common theme seems to be a failure to stick to the agreed feminist line on such threads, which is hardly a bad thing is it? For all I may disagree with you with almost malicious glee at times (sorry…), enforcing conformity is not a fault of yours.

172. Watchman

Dunc,

Rubbish. Violent abusers (and bullies in general) are very good at (a) picking their targets, and (b) disguising their behaviour. That’s how they get away with it, and why so many people are always so surprised when that nice Mr So-and-so from down the street beats his wife to death one Friday night.

Hmm. I never said that people react with violence regardless of consequence. If nice Mr So-and-so (who may have been put in a bad state of mind by his unfortunate name, although that is no excuse) does commit violence, it is because he is capable of believing violence is the answer. If he does not commit violence when faced with another man belittling him because of his name, that may be because the rational side of him points out that violence will achieve nothing, in this case. I suspect you are thinking of violence as a blind rage into which people fly, but for those who are prepared to use violence, there is always the calculation – it is way of asserting power if you like (and that is pretty much the feminist understanding I believe) and is therefore only worth deploying when something can be gained such as dominance. I suppose we could create a separate category for those who have never grown out of violent tantrums and have no rational reason for violence, but that is particularly rare I would have thought.

My point is that those who are prepared to be violent will be violent when it suits them. At best campaigning against a particular manifestation of violence reduces the chance of that form of violence happening relative to the chance of violence overall, and even that seems questionable considering that most campaigns are aimed at protecting easier targets for violence.

167
Thank you MarinaS, I just posted something similar but my comment didn’t go through for some reason.
As they say ‘the devil is in the detail’

172
When I was a child my parents smacked me (sometimes quite hard) and I knew of several boys whose father used a belt as punishment, sometimes coming to school with broken skin and worse in full view of the teachers. Thankfully, this is not tolerated now (although some will still suffer behind closed doors) and my own parents (now grand-parents) would probably report me if I was to use physical violence on my own children, we can change attitudes and behaviours but it has to be targetted in the right way.

@ Sunny

I apologised directly to Sian above if the use of the adjective “hysterical” caused offence.

That was not the intention. However I am not prepared to withdraw it as to do so would be to allow putative language fascists to determine the words we are permitted to use.

I have to say I did find the tone of the OP strident and emotional rather than helpful. Blaming men, in general, for all the ills that afflict women may be therapeutic for the writer and exciting for the supporters but it does little to improve matters. Knowing that 60 million girls worldwide are raped on their way to school does not help me prevent a single one of them.

So let’s start small.

Let’s start by prosecuting one of the animals that amputates the clitoris of a little girl. Let’s throw them in jail for 14 years. That might stop some abuse. Because it is clear to me that our whole system- social services, police, health services, prosecutors etc are colluding in allowing such crimes to take place.

That would be productive feminism.

The Male Privilege Checklist, always worth a gander.

Pagar @ 141

Surely at some point a doctor or healthcare worker must have come across evidence of FGM when examining a girl born in the UK? That should be all the evidence required

Why has it not been reported to the police?

That cannot be right though Pagar, can it? No health professional could be expected to report such findings to the police. Everyone has the right to be treated in confidence. It is a fine line admittedly, but if a young girl/woman (whatever) attends a doctor and the doctor breaks the patient’s confidence, that may not lead to that patient’s life improving. In fact, it may lead to other potential patients refusing or being ‘forced’ to refuse treatment in the future.

To be honest, Pagar, I have never heard of a single person within the ‘Right on’ community condone FGM under any circumstances, far less, ‘cultural relativism’ or a misguided nod to ‘multi-culturalism’. If any evidence that a blind eye was turned to this practice for those types of reasons then, I believe, that it would be roundly condemned. I make for the possibility that people have refused to press for police involvement for more pragmatic reasons, but Christ almighty, I am glad that I will never be put in the position of having to weigh up the consequences of phoning the nick and getting Mr plod involved in that minefield.

I am not hurt Sunny. I just think you are being a bit dim.

I was a contributor to LibCon who got some really good responses to my articles.

Now I am an ‘idiot’ hijacking threads? But I haven’t changed so what has?

179. Mr S. Pill

On the “do we need feminism” question, I’ve just read this
http://uk.jezebel.com/5780022/media-blows-it-with-pathetic-gang-rape-coverage

In summary: an 11 year old girl was gang-raped, and the press are reporting on what she was wearing, how she acted on facebook, what was her mother doing letting her out etc etc.. y’know, the old blame the victim trick. On an 11 year old. And this isn’t some obscure press clippings, this is the NYT and similar.

Don’t need feminism?

@ Jim

No health professional could be expected to report such findings to the police. Everyone has the right to be treated in confidence.

Not so where there is suspicion of a crime having been committed. Even injuries to children that could have been accidental are routinely reported.

With FGM there are three possibilities.

1) It’s not happening.

2) It is happening but the crime is not being reported.

3) It is being reported but not prosecuted.

Which is it?

Partly, it is because the communities where it is widespread are often insular, making it hard for police to gather evidence for a successful prosecution. Partly it is a failure by teachers and health professionals to recognise or acknowledge the symptoms of mutilation, and report cases, although the law obliges them to do so. But largely it is the result of queasiness on the part of officials to intervene against a traditional practice that some immigrant communities consider an important component of their identity. In other words, a fear of transgressing against cultural sensitivity has led to a softly-softly policing approach and wider social denial.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jul/25/female-circumcision-editorial

181. So Much For Subtlety

177 Jim – “No health professional could be expected to report such findings to the police. Everyone has the right to be treated in confidence.”

180. pagar – “Not so where there is suspicion of a crime having been committed. Even injuries to children that could have been accidental are routinely reported.”

And pagar quoted the Guardian: “Partly it is a failure by teachers and health professionals to recognise or acknowledge the symptoms of mutilation, and report cases, although the law obliges them to do so.”

Just to reinforce one of pagar’s point. Notice, Jim, that reporting such child abuse is actually a legal requirement in Britain these days. We have long since left the Catholic origins of the medical profession behind. Doctors have a duty and a legal obligation to denounce.

182. So Much For Subtlety

179. Mr S. Pill – “And this isn’t some obscure press clippings, this is the NYT and similar. Don’t need feminism?”

Yes but if you read carefully it is likely there is another factor – race. None of them are reporting the race of the victim or the race of the attackers. It does not take a lot of imagination to see that the newspapers have an issue here. It may well be that the anti-racist agenda came into conflict with the anti-sexist one and the girl lost out. What liberal paper wants to be seen saying bad things about Black men and their sexual practices?

Not to mention there is another story here:

So far, 17 suspects have been charged, ranging in age from a middle-schooler to a 27-year-old. Seven are high school students, including two members of Cleveland’s state-ranked basketball team. Another is the 21-year-old son of a school board member. Several have prior criminal records for drug sales, aggravated robbery and manslaughter.

How the f**k does anyone that young with convictions for manslaughter or drug sales end up outside prison in order to do this to a child?

183. SpiderComeHome

QRG @178,

“I am not hurt Sunny. I just think you are being a bit dim.

I was a contributor to LibCon who got some really good responses to my articles.

Now I am an ‘idiot’ hijacking threads? But I haven’t changed so what has?”

Please QRG, I suggest that it may be a good idea for you to address your ‘trying to please daddy’ rhetoric that you continuously spew all over any feminist discourse on the internet.

Your problems are not feminist’s problems.

I’m really not sure why you define “talking” as “hijacking” when you disagree with the person doing it. Time to invest in a dictionary, perhaps

Yeah sure chaise – its just me who has a problem with your output on this thread right? Why not scroll up and read through the thread? Time to invest in some glasses perhaps?

@179 I just clicked through, wow, you really have to hate women to try and pass a gang of rapists of an 11 year old girl as the victims of their own actions. I cannot believe the NYT went with this angle, and yet there it is…

Well I’m gonna be depressed for the rest of the day. sigh.

186. Chaise Guevara

@ Sunny

“Yeah sure chaise – its just me who has a problem with your output on this thread right? Why not scroll up and read through the thread? Time to invest in some glasses perhaps?”

Do you really need me to tell you why “look, someone else agrees with me!” is not actually an argument?

But I’ll wait with interest for you to show me where I called the OP “hysterical”. I mean, I must have done so, right? Otherwise you’d just be throwing around accusations for no reason again.

Ho hum.

@175

No where in my article did i blame men, although, to be fair, it is kind of ok to blame SOME men for violence against women seeing as it is SOME men who commit the violence. but apportioning blame was not my intention.

Instead, this post was to raise awareness at the levels of violence against women and girls. To raise awareness to the people who say ‘we don’t need feminism anymore, we’re all equal now’ that actually, when you get down to brass tacks, there are yawning inequalities and one of the first steps in challenging this is to actually know it happens. Commenters on this thread have admitted knowing that they had no idea that 1 in 4 UK women will experience DV in their lifetimes. How can we hope to tackle this if people don’t even know it happens? Most people don’t know about the levels of FGM, or that a South African girl is more likely to be raped than finish her education. But if we don’t know these things, how can we change them? How can we stand together and say enough! unless we know it’s happening in the first place.

I’m not going to apologise for being emotional about vawg. When you see, for example, your best friend destroyed by a violent partner, when you hear the stories of the women in the Congo, when you hear that another woman you know has been raped, emotion is, in my view, the correct response.

It is difficult with a strict word limit to express everything in a blog post. On IWD, i hoped to raise a tiny bit of awareness about what is happening to women across the world. God knows the mainstream media aren’t going to do it for me – women getting attacked in Tahrir square anyone?

On another note I think it would be good if someone wrote an informed article about domestic violence against men for this site. It is a subject we need to hear more about.

Pagar @ 180

I agree that there is and should be a requirement to notify the police when evidence of a crime has been committed, but in cases like this it is not always as easy at that. By the time you have examined the child the abuse has already taken place. My original statement was regarding older woman turning up at smear tests, pre natal clinics etc, when the ‘child’ had moved onto to being a fully grown woman rather than a ten year old, unable to fully understand the implications of police involvement.

Looking at it pragmatically, it could be reasonably argued that the child is unlikely to suffer further attacks. Unlike, say, evidence of sexual abuse or beatings. Obviously, it goes without saying that in cases where the child’s life is in immediate danger, the course of action is clear; get the child out of there and without too much ceremony either. Once the child, or children are out of the house, then collecting evidence and prosecution of the defendant should be relatively straightforward. I can see that in the case of a young child presenting with evidence of FGM that removing that child may cause the Social Services a bit of a dilemma concerning resources. I mean with regard to placing an otherwise happy child in care, collecting evidence etc. There are no circumstances where I would feel that we should shrug our shoulders and accept that is ‘part of the culture’ or any other shit like that.

To be fair, though, obviously, if a child DOES present the evidence of FGM I think that the authorities have a duty to remove her sisters from such a household before any abuse takes place.

To be perfectly honest, Pagar, my knowledge of FGM and it’s cultural position in society is limited to what I have read in various web sites (like this) and have not exactly a lot of first hand knowledge of the subject and whether or not it is routinely reported or evidence found. My gut instinct (FWIW) is that children who are under threat of suffering FGM are unlikely to be receiving the type of examinations necessary to find such evidence.

Pagar @ 180

I should add that I am not too sure what the full implacations are for the seemingly under-reporting of this crime is. If it is not happening then we can ease off a little and not worry, but:

If there is a lack of evidence because we are not reaching these young girls.

Or

The evidence is turning in examination rooms, yet people are deliberately ignoring it, because of ‘cultural’ reasons.

Either way it is a pretty desperate position.

190. Chaise Guevara

@ 189 Jim

My guess – and it is only a guess – is that girls who have had FGM inflicted upon them aren’t taken for examination in the first place; or, if they are, they’re taken to doctors (official or otherwise) who their parents know will be sympathetic. I find it hard to believe that doctors en masse aren’t reporting this sort of thing simply because they’re afraid of being accused of cultural insensitivity.

No my problems are not feminism’s problems Spider…

but feminism is my problem. I challenge its rhetoric whenever it produces untruths about gender.

And Daddy told me I am doing the right thing.

This says it all really – from the Male Privilege Checklist:

31. I can ask for legal protection from violence that happens mostly to men without being seen as a selfish special interest, since that kind of violence is called “crime” and is a general social concern. (Violence that happens mostly to women is usually called “domestic violence” or “acquaintance rape,” and is seen as a special interest issue.)

Thanks for the link, Cylux. I needed that reminder to cleanse the palette after this thread.

It’s like White Hostory Month, isn’t it? We don’t need one because almost all our official history is white history.

We don’t need special discussion about violence against men, QRG et al, because almost all discussion of crime is discussion of violence against men – and by men.

And when we try to take just one article on 1/365th of the year to talk about something other than violence against men, what happens? “What about teh poor menz”-style pearl clutching. Honestly, sometimes it’s like some men and their handmaidens are spoiled toddlers, throwing a tantrum at bedtime because mummy and daddy might do something fun that doesn’t include them.

193. Chaise Guevara

@ 192 MarinaS

“We don’t need special discussion about violence against men, QRG et al, because almost all discussion of crime is discussion of violence against men – and by men.”

OK, most violence is committed by men, no argument there. But what do you mean when you say that almost all discussion of “crime” refers to violence against men? What’s your basis for saying that?

Also, while the Male Privilege Checklist is generally pretty solid, it doesn’t make sense to say that violence that mainly affects men is called “crime” and violence that mainly affects women is called “domestic violence” etc. Domestic violence is a kind of crime. And a crime involving violence against men would also be called “assault” or something like that.

I’m sure there are men out there who are scared of getting mugged and think more needs to be done about it, while not caring about rape and domestic violence, because they assume it won’t affect them. I also don’t doubt that some of those men also resent state resources being spent on addressing these issues because they see it as “their” money being spent on women’s “special treatment”. But that doesn’t mean that society as a whole doesn’t consider violence against women a crime.

@193 It’s worth pointing out that the list is American centric (indeed it admits to being such), so attitudes might be worse over the pond. The main big example would be the tea-party inspired “it’s okay to murder abortian doctors bill” that made the news. However I would remind you that raping your wife was not considered a crime till the 1990s in this country, it takes more than a couple of decades for systematic attitudes to change throughout the populace.

195. Chaise Guevara

@ 194 Cylux

“It’s worth pointing out that the list is American centric (indeed it admits to being such), so attitudes might be worse over the pond.”

Good point.

“The main big example would be the tea-party inspired “it’s okay to murder abortian doctors bill” that made the news.”

Ok, but people who kill (or wish they could kill) abortion doctors think they’re taking revenge upon murderers, that the doctors’ “crimes” justify the use of violence. Appalling as this is, it’s not the same as thinking casual violence is ok. While I realise that feminism comes into the abortion debate, the fact that some extremists shoot abortion doctors (of either gender, obv.) is not particularly relevant to whether or not violence against women is considered a crime.

“However I would remind you that raping your wife was not considered a crime till the 1990s in this country, it takes more than a couple of decades for systematic attitudes to change throughout the populace.”

True enough, that one hadn’t occurred to me. But that still doesn’t mean that domestic abuse and so on are not considered crimes in this country, because they quite patently are. Domestic abuse is illegal; police often discover it because a neighbour overheard it and called them; men known to beat their wives are considered to be pretty much the lowest of the low by most of society.

Trends don’t change overnight, and of course there are a few dickheads who think spousal abuse or rape is ok, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that this attitude is built into our culture, or America’s. It used to be, but now it’s the preserve of a few lunatics.

It used to be, but now it’s the preserve of a few lunatics.

You might want to review the stats given in the OP and in the rest of the thread. If it’s just “a few lunatics”, they must be busy. We’re talking about two murders a week and one in four experiencing domestic violence at some point in their lives here. I find it hard to believe that’s all down to “a few lunatics”.

Dunc,

That is a few lunatics and a lot of pretty sane people who are prepared to use violence on occasion.

Jojo at 174 made the interesting comparison with the chastisement of children and how that is less violent now, albeit in my view only because the rational calculation is that it will be seen as socially unacceptable and possibly get you in to trouble (and also, to be fair, it doesn’t work particuarly well…) – violence is not eliminated, just made less likely, and the violent types will still strike out. But it also reminds us that so many of us grew up with the threat of violence as a norm – and that this norm is still part of our thinking in some ways. I don’t think all the violence you cite is the work of insane people, but of people who still have a way of thinking that justifies them using violence, even if it only a quick slap or the like (I believe the domestic violence figures cover a wide range of abuses). The mistake is to assume violence is irrational and out of control – in most cases it is something you choose to commit, hence the fact that you can be punished for it.

Incidentally, the quarter of women experiencing domestic violence should hopefully mean less than a quarter of men use domestic violence (assuming that people have multiple partners and that a man who uses violence once is more likely to use it again – and hoping that women who experience domestic violence leave that man anyway), which I would estimate was a marked drop over the last two generations, although we have no real way of measuring this. Note that 150 years ago though there would be an expectation of domestic violence, and not raising your hand to your wife was considered a remarkable display of self-restraint. So whilst we have a way to go yet, the journey so far (and not just by feminism, although it has clearly had a part) has been successful.

198. Chaise Guevara

@ 196 Dunc

“You might want to review the stats given in the OP and in the rest of the thread. If it’s just “a few lunatics”, they must be busy. We’re talking about two murders a week and one in four experiencing domestic violence at some point in their lives here. I find it hard to believe that’s all down to “a few lunatics”.”

Two murders a week, at a guesstimated rate of one murderer per murder, comes out at 100 people committing murder a year. That’s two senseless deaths a week, but 100 out of a population of 60 million is definitely a “few”.

I concede your point RE domestic violence, though. Watchman’s right to point out that the number of abusers is presumably much smaller than the number of people abused, but that’s still a lot of people using their fists. On the other hand, how many of the people who committed abuse know that what they did was wrong and would concede that their own behaviour was unacceptable?

Two murders a week, at a guesstimated rate of one murderer per murder, comes out at 100 people committing murder a year. That’s two senseless deaths a week, but 100 out of a population of 60 million is definitely a “few”.

Yes, it’s only a few who go the maximum extreme of murder, but that rather strongly implies that they are drawn from a very much larger population of people who have similar underlying attitudes, but aren’t actually killers.

On the other hand, how many of the people who committed abuse know that what they did was wrong and would concede that their own behaviour was unacceptable?

If repeated surveys are to be believed, not nearly enough. We consistently find that about 20% of the general population regards domestic violence as justifiable under some circumstances. I suspect that figure gets a lot higher when you restrict your population to actual abusers.

That is a few lunatics and a lot of pretty sane people who are prepared to use violence on occasion.

You you agree that these attitudes are not just “the preserve of a few lunatics”, which is what I was disagreeing with. Fine.

200. Chaise Guevara

@ 199 Dunc

“Yes, it’s only a few who go the maximum extreme of murder, but that rather strongly implies that they are drawn from a very much larger population of people who have similar underlying attitudes, but aren’t actually killers.”

That entirely depends on the motive – it’s not always going to have implications for gender attitudes. The domestic abuse rates seem far more concerning to me.

“If repeated surveys are to be believed, not nearly enough. ”

Well, that turns up a BBC survey saying about half of people (53% of men, 45% of women) think that domestic violence is a private issue that the couple should sort out themselves. Which is pretty fucking scary, yes.

well we all know what happens in the Handmaid’s Tale don’t we Marina?

The biggest joke here is not me, or feminism, but Liberal Conspiracy, because it shows that the ‘left’ haven’t got a clue when it comes to what is really going in gender politics and changes to gender relations. You are living in about 1982 as far as I can tell in terms of how arguments about men, women and people who identify as neither are presented. The future of the Left? Haha.

QRG,

There is a pretty coherent argument that the left, in its current dominant British incarnation with its fixation on labels and groups, is not the best way forward for feminism anyway. One of those victories of the old left, which in a way made the old left pointless, was that there is hardly anyone who would deny women have equal opportunity – even in such once bastions of sexism as the Conservative party. And this means that the attachment to the left of many feminists is perhaps self-defeating, for any equality the left earns for them will be earned not as equals and people, but as gendered females, as one identifiable (and overlapping) group amongst many. Perhaps some of the feminists on here want to be equal but differentiated, but since by definition differentiation of women means that you are normalising men, that surely defeats the object of feminism?

I would suggest not getting bitter at the opbrium though – that you are able to think differently and express yourself neither as the slave of a man nor as part of the accepted (in some feminist eyes) ‘women’s movement’ is surely proof that feminism has had its great successes. It allows you to be an individual – and I get the feeling that one or two commentators on here are rather put out by you expressing your own personality (if I was of a left-wing poetic bent I might have been so stupid as to use femininity there) rather than doing as a woman properly should and bowing to the received wisdom of feminist dominance.

In fact, we could argue that we need feminism to protect feminist thinkers from feminist dominance…

We could Watchman, but that argument looks a bit dodgy to me! The dominant viewpoint in feminism like you say is that there are the right and the ‘wrong’ types of women. And I am very much the wrong type of woman.

I benefitted from the basic tenets of feminism of the 1970s that I grew up in: supporting girls and women’s autonomy including education opportunities and the idea that we can think for ourselves and be creative just like men.

But times have changed whereas feminism hasn’t. Except it has got more arrogant and more stuck in its ways and less intellectually robust.

Chaise #193

OK, most violence is committed by men, no argument there. But what do you mean when you say that almost all discussion of “crime” refers to violence against men? What’s your basis for saying that?

Eh? I don’t need a “basis” for saying that when we discuss a topic that affects mostly Group X, we are discussing Group X. It’s a syllogism.

it doesn’t make sense to say that violence that mainly affects men is called “crime” and violence that mainly affects women is called “domestic violence” etc. Domestic violence is a kind of crime. And a crime involving violence against men would also be called “assault” or something like that.

It doesn’t make sense to you because you’re confusing count nouns and mass nouns. “Crime” like in the sentence “the incidence of crime is on the rise” is not the same as “a crime” in the sentence “if a crime has been committed the perpetrators will be brought to justice”.

It makes perfect sense to say that while the social discourse of Crime(tm) (mass snoun) tends to be dominated by the concerns of men, crimes (count noun) against women are seen as a special category that is marginalised and often ignored.

The whole point of people like pagar, QRG et al is to keep it marginalised, invisible in a sea of discourse that doesn’t address it; the hand-waving suggestion is that if we take care of Crime(tm) then crimes specifically against women will also disappear. However, it’s a catch-22, because as Sian says above, if you don’t talk about a problem then you don’t know it it’s there to be fixed in the first place.

(As in the above example of FGM – it has not gained enough exposure in amongst all the other discourse about integration of immigrant communities & crime, so now when we do try to raise conciousness people jut flat out refuse to believe us, because “surely if it were true we’d have heard about it by now. In my experience, btw, any sentence that begins with “surely” in a discussion like this is 99% likely to be flat out wrong. Just sayin’.)

But times have changed whereas feminism hasn’t. Except it has got more arrogant and more stuck in its ways and less intellectually robust.

Dude, could you please just make one solid argument, actual suggestion, fact based statement or substantiated criticism? I am so bored with this hipster sniping from the margins business. Do you realise you’ve just more or less said you liked feminism before it got signed to a major label and sold out?

Listen, just do it do piss me off, OK? Imagine the pleasure you would experience at the thought of me impotently gnashing my teeth when you confound all my criticism by saying something like “this is what I, QRG, propose we do to reduce violence of all kinds, this is the research that I have to support my assertion that the gender based discourse is harmful, and here are 3 initial practical suggestions for how I think my program could be carried out”.

I mean, if it actually made sense, I might have an ambulism! Wouldn’t it be worth it?

207. Chaise Guevara

@ 205 MarinaS

“Eh? I don’t need a “basis” for saying that when we discuss a topic that affects mostly Group X, we are discussing Group X. It’s a syllogism.”

Fair enough – I read what you wrote as meaning something else.

“It makes perfect sense to say that while the social discourse of Crime(tm) (mass snoun) tends to be dominated by the concerns of men, crimes (count noun) against women are seen as a special category that is marginalised and often ignored.”

Certainly, but the idea that crimes, or indeed crime, against women is discounted as “domestic abuse” or whatever still doesn’t make sense. It’s like saying “how dare you say it’s murder, it’s a crime!” The rather bizarre “point” made in that article doesn’t in any way back up the idea that crimes against women are marginalised.

“The whole point of people like pagar, QRG et al is to keep it marginalised, invisible in a sea of discourse that doesn’t address it; the hand-waving suggestion is that if we take care of Crime(tm) then crimes specifically against women will also disappear. However, it’s a catch-22, because as Sian says above, if you don’t talk about a problem then you don’t know it it’s there to be fixed in the first place.”

I can see why you think that could be an effect. It would, as a random example, be possible to reduce crime rates to 50% without making any difference whatsoever to rape. I’m not sure why you seem to be attributing it to them as a motive, though.

No Marina it wouldn’t. Because I don’t wish ill of you.

Here is some of my writing about rape/sexual violence/gender:

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/the-opposite-of-rape/

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/further-adventures-in-rape-culture/

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/rapevictim/

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/challenging-rape-myths/

Here are some suggestions for change:

Getting rid of the term ‘rape’ in law and changing it to different degrees of assault/intimate partner violence and sexual assault

Stopping the constant crap talked about ‘rape culture’ and objectification of women as some kind of violence against all women

Removing the anonymity of complainants in sexual assault cases

Govt commissioning joined up research into gender violence and sexual assaults against men and women

An encouragement by— educators, sex educators, journalists, sex writers, bloggers, film-makers, writers— to people to discuss power dynamics in all relationships.

Support for people especially those living in poverty especially in families. eg.increased childcare, home liason social workers, creches, counselling services attached to GPs

The abolition of marriage.

There you are.

also decriminalisation of sex work, and more support for sex workers who suffer a lot of sexual violence/assault.

210. Chaise Guevara

@ 208

Why abolition of marriage, out of interest? And do you mean outright banning it, or just removing its legal status?

It doesnt really matter does it I am never going to get what I want. I can’t even have a conversation with feminists let alone affect Government policy!

I think marriage reinforces traditional oppressive gender roles which are one of the root causes of gender violence…

Well, I’ve read you blog posts & thought about your proposals QRG, and I have to say that I agree with a lot of what you say, and even when I strongly disagree with your conclusions I think you have the facts just about bang on.

I have do admit that after 208 comments and 3 days, I’m exhausted; and I don’t really have the spoons to give a point by point reply to every aspects of your comment or your blog posts that they deserve. Which is a shame, because if you’d come in earlier with these thoughtful suggestions we could have had a really great conversation rather than all this pointless sniping back and forth. You really had something to contribute here, girl! I don’t know if Sian is reading this any longer, but I can guarantee you she would have loved to discuss your thoughts around financial support for primary carers, proper prosecution of sexual assaults, the dissolution of normative marriage, trans issues…

Anyway. Not to score points, but here I am, a paid up member of the “feminists”, whoever they are, and I agree with you on lots of stuff! I realise that you may have had, shall we say, robust encounters with other feminists before, as have I! (You want to hear real bile, just try admitting you’re a meat eater on IBTP! 😉 ) My point is, I luuurrrve it when women disagree. I love it when feminists disagree. We’re people – feminism is the radical notion that women are people! (I should totally get that tattooed on) – and people disagree.

In fact, liberals tend to disagree with each other more than conservatives, because, to generalise for a moment, they tend to value intellectual freedom and sceptical thinking more than group loyalty and shared values, so it’s natural. I don’t think our spats and disagreements should alienate us from one another, never have, never will. So, you know, give feminists another chance an’ all. If it helps, I think Melissa McEwan is a bit of a windbag, even though I agree with her on almost everything. I’m a complex human being like that… 🙂

None of this invalidates the higher purpose of our ideology, which is to have the humanity of women recognised and their human rights granted. It’s the same fight we’ve been having since Mary Wallstoncraft first called bullshit on the idea of universal human right for-men-only, and whichever narrower lens we choose to look at the specific undelying issues through, we’re all pulling in the same direction, even as we bicker.

The one thing you and I probably disagree most on is rape culture – its definition, its existence, its effects. And, like I say, I would love to have that conversation with you some day. Preferably over a beer. Or failing that over on my blog, or yours. We’ll see. For now, good night and good luck, and thanks for restoring a tiny bit of my faith in human nature. 🙂

Thanks Marina.

I appreciate that! I won’t go on either . I think Sian is aware of my writing on this subject but maybe she will come back and take another look with fresh eyes.

Best,

QRG

197
The point that you make about the number of men who abuse their partners ie one in four possibly needs putting to the fore when discussing domestic violence. I feel uncomfortable listening to this particular discussion because it does make me feel defensive, as a male, however, you are quite right, it does not mean that one in four men will abuse a female partner, it means that abusive men are more likely to lose their victims and find others.
As far as violence being the norm in the not so distant past, I remember being in one particular environment where a young girl was being discussed who was living with a violent man, A middle-aged woman in the group suggested that she must have done something wrong for him to hit her.
It’s clear that cultural values have, in the past, legitimized male violence against women and children, in my school, it was the male teachers who dealt out the caning, and I believe that the old reform schools were run by males.
There will be some residual bits of this culture which is passed down through families, it’s how to address it is the difficulty.

215. Derek Brake

I was a proto- feminist, radical extremist, in the 60’s then I got married!

I’m back after an absence of 40 years, hey lets kiss ass girls. (whoops Freudian Slip should have read kick ass)

Were there any shrines erected to Valerie Solanis, and what about Andrea Dworkin! met her, liked her loads.

Live in Bristol, keep me informed about any subversive activities, in particular violence perpetrated towards women, and anybody in the LGBT community. Finally I was a close friends, with Pat VT West & Monica Soo-Trickey both radical feminists.

Love and Peace

Derek


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