Always a horrible waste »« Everyday sexism at the Beeb

Rushdie the radfem

Salman Rushdie’s in India and he talked to the BBC there. I transcribed most of it.

The bigger question India needs to ask itself is about gender relations, is about how men think about women, and actually to an extent how women think about women because again there’s a lot of oppression inside families by matriarchs of daughters-in-law.

And many women bring up these boys, you know? And don’t teach them proper ways to behave.

Rajini Vaidyanathan: What appals you the most about the way women are treated here?

Well just the brutality of it, the easy brutality of it, and the fact that mostly people get away with it.

It’s nothing to do with what clothes they wear, with whether they go out in the evening – it’s to do with the way men behave towards them.

He cited the disppointing reaction from politicians, gurus, the police.

Unless these attitudes change – and I think young people have to demand that they change -

Vaidyanathan: What would your recommendation be?

Well first you’ve got to start talking about it the right way. You’ve got to stop criminalizing women in this situation and shift the focus to how men think about women.

You’ve got to start changing the terms of the conversation.

He’s talking about culture, ideas, discourse – what confused people label “radical” feminism. It’s not radical. It’s core feminism.

 

Comments

  1. sheila says

    One wonders how confused, confused people really are.

    In most cases, about as confused as they wish to be, IMHO.

  2. jose says

    I’ve encountered more than a few cases where the moment you point out male violence, originated by the way men are raised, since birth, to be violent and competitive and always get their way and treat girls like crap (the traditions of pulling hair or skirts come to mind), you’re told that you just hate every single individual man and you should acknowledge that sometimes women are bad too and it’s not a matter of male violence, simply violence done by some individuals that just incidentally happen to be male. Roles don’t exist, only individuals. So we don’t have a class problem here, or a gender role problem, each individual case is different and shouldn’t be treated like they have nothing else in common beyond the fact that one individual hurt another individual, regardless of sex.

    I’ve been told that on feminist forums. Women have told me that. It’s a defanged approach, crippled from start because it makes us blind to the cause of violence.

  3. says

    jose: the deliberate blindness you speak of also comes from libertarians pretending to have an answer to racial issues while opposing any meaningful policy to address any injustices. It’s a slick and very clever means of deception, misdirection and manipulation that reactionaries seem to be systematically injecting into nearly every debate about issues of social justice.

  4. Aratina Cage says

    One wonders how confused, confused people really are.

    Your comma is confusing me.

    And I would guess that Rushdie is about to get his own band of never-weary MRA followers.

  5. don1 says

    It seems as though every time there is a discussion on violence against women there are several claims that the commenter has a buddy, usually a grizzled war veteran, who is constantly physically abused by his small but maniacal wife or girl friend. so it can’t be a man problem.

  6. Acolyte of Sagan says

    He’s talking about culture, ideas, discourse – what confused people label “radical” feminism. It’s not radical. It’s core feminism.

    In my opinion, ever so ‘umble though it may be, it’s not even that: it’s basic human behaviour. I’m not one for quoting from fiction as a rule, but when it comes to humanity then as far as I’m concerned it ought to be ‘all for one and one for all’, irrespective of any real or imagined label attached to an individual or group. It’s what comes out of the mouth that matters, not the specifics of who the mouth is attached to.

    Don1, you’re right, just as a racist will deny being racist because s(he) has a black friend or colleague. That doesn’t alter the fact that domestic abuse does happen to men as well as to women, and as such isn’t just a ‘man problem’, but the statistics clearly show that it’s mostly just that, and probably almost exclusively that in India, Afghanistan, Egypt, etc. etc..

  7. Matt125 says

    @8

    Uh, no. Rushdie’s comments were, as I expect from him, sane, rational and humanist. It seems to me that Ophelia decided to erect the radfem strawman at the end of her post to try to make a dig at her opponents. All decent people should find no problems in agreeing with Rushdie said. It is the same as what Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Christopher Hitchens and others have said for years.

  8. says

    Matt125 –

    First, who are you? I like to know these things when commenters fit a certain pattern.

    Second, it seems to you incorrectly. You’re wrong. It’s not a strawman. Some of the anti-feminist or self-described “equity” feminist crowd do indeed say that good, “equity” feminism as opposed to evil radfem is about equal laws (including the vote) and nothing else.

    And what on earth do you list “Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Christopher Hitchens” for? I haven’t said anything about them here. What Rushdie said is actually much more relevantly similar to what Meera Nanda and Maryam Namazie and Asma Jahangir (who may be the next interim PM of Pakistan) and Gita Sahgal have said for years. Your collection of dudes have nothing to do with anything. I wasn’t talking about them.

  9. Matt125 says

    I’ve commented on your blog before about Noelplum99. I am not an MRA, I am not an anti-feminist, and I am not someone who has ever sent abuse or threats to anybody on your side of the argument. I’m just not sure why you brought up radfem when it seems to have nothing to do with what Rushdie said. I gave that list of guys because they’ve been getting a hard wrap from some bloggers here lately. I assumed your use of ‘radfem’ may have been aimed their way, but I am happy to withdraw that now you have clarified.

  10. says

    Ok, fair enough. It’s another one of those times when I’m relying on background knowledge and then forgetting that not everyone has it. Sorry. Bad habit!

  11. Matt125 says

    I would still like to know who might call Rushdie ‘radfem’. AVfM probably, but that’s kinda obvious. That’s why I accused you of strawmanning. If there’s something missing here I’d be interested to know what it is. I also realise this is probably not the best time considering Jen’s new blogpost.

  12. says

    I didn’t say anyone would call Rushdie “radfem” – although it’s not all that difficult to think of people who would, in one language or another. The people he’s talking about, for a start. But I didn’t say that; look again.

    If you’re going to be belligerent and make accusations, then read attentively.

  13. says

    It WAS a bit of a weird word to use here. Based on the usual suspects who self-identify that way (as opposed to the long form “radical feminist”, oddly) – Julie Bindel, Suzanne Moore, Julie burchill, etc – I was expecting to hear that Salman Rushdie had suddenly and unexpectedly come out with a huge screed against trans women.

  14. doubtthat says

    @Matt125

    I’m just not sure why you brought up radfem when it seems to have nothing to do with what Rushdie said.

    If you were to go to an MRA site or one of the more vocal anti-FtB hang-outs and argued that the way to stop the violence against women was to “…start talking about it the right way. You’ve got to stop criminalizing women in this situation and shift the focus to how men think about women…You’ve got to start changing the terms of the conversation.”

    I promise that within five replies to your post someone would say, “get that radfem bullshit out of here.”

    “Radfem” is used as a pejorative by MRA’s and folks of a similar ilk. The point of the original post is that there really isn’t anything radical about the position expressed there by Rushdie, but a point that has long been made by feminists.

    It also highlights the fact that when a respected man makes the point, there’s little to any push-back, but if a notable female feminist – Rebecca Watson, Ophelia, Amanda Marcotte – said the same thing, they would instantly have 500 e-mails, tweets, and facebook posts aimed at them calling them horrible names and detailing the vile things people needed to do to them to shut them up.

    To be clear, she wasn’t calling Rushdie a “radfem.” She was pointing out the silliness of people who apply that term to very common sense positions.

  15. doubtthat says

    Bah, don’t know why I wrote that. It says that right in the damn post.

    I’m tired, sorry. Unnecessary reiteration.

  16. theoreticalgrrrl says

    “Rushdie’s comments were, as I expect from him, sane, rational and humanist. It seems to me that Ophelia decided to erect the radfem strawman at the end of her post to try to make a dig at her opponents. All decent people should find no problems in agreeing with Rushdie said. It is the same as what Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Christopher Hitchens and others have said for years.”

    ROFLMAO!!

    Yes, when a man says it, it’s logical, sane, humanist.

    @Matt125, she was making the point that when she says the same thing, as she has for years, she is treated quite differently.

    “All decent people should find no problems in agreeing with Rushdie said.”

    Yes, that’s exactly Ophelia’s point. So why on Earth would these men be her ‘opponents’?

    The only beef I have with Rushdie is that he signed that petition in support of child rapist Roman Polanski. I’d like to know how he justified that. Why does Polanski get a pass on child abuse? Or is child rape only bad when people you don’t like do it.

  17. 'dirigible says

    “I was expecting to hear that Salman Rushdie had suddenly and unexpectedly come out with a huge screed against trans women”

    Because that’s what radical feminism means to you?

    That’s genuinely frightening.

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