A Safer World For Everybody: Discussing International Men’s Day in the House of Commons


Three weeks ahead of International Men’s Day, this morning the House of Commons hosted a brief yet highly significant discussion. Philip Davies (yes, him again, I know) placed a question to the Women and Equalities ministerial team, asking how the government planned to mark International Men’s Day this year.

In response, the minister began her remarks with the most predictable, tedious, hackneyed and ignorant quip imaginable. Yes, you’ve guessed it:

“I think women could be forgiven for thinking every day is International Men’s Day.”

Ah hurr hurr hurr stitch my bloody sides, no one has ever said that before. Yawn.

But hold on. After that, something interesting happened. Lots of interesting things happened. I considered how to write about the ten minutes or so that followed, but I think the best approach might be to type up the most interesting transcripts and add a few words of commentary as we go along, a sort of nearly-live-blog. The brief exchanges brought up a whole raft of what might be called the FAQs of IMD and crystallised where the debate has got to in 2016, for both good and ill.

Davies got things going by quoting the Prime Minister Theresa May:

‘I recognise the important issues that this event seeks to highlight, including men’s health, male suicide rates and the underperformance of boys in schools, these are serious issues that must be addressed in a considered way.’

This is, to my knowledge, the first time a British PM has acknowledged the purpose of and need for IMD and so is, in itself, significant. Caroline Dinenage (education minister) took up the question from there.

“The role of the government’s equalities office is to tackle inequality wherever we find it, and as parents of sons up and down the country we will all be conscious about the issues he has mentioned and the Prime Minister has mentioned. However, I am also aware that there are parts of the world where girls are routinely subjected to genital mutilation, forced marriage and sexual violence and for me, Mr Speaker, equality is not a zero sum game.”

The ‘However’ there is significant. The only way it can make sense is if, contrary to her protests, she actually does believe that equality is a zero sum game. Why else are we talking – almost immediately – about women and girls in response to a question about IMD? In fact the two sentences above are a total non-sequitur. If she doesn’t believe that talking about issues faced by men and boys somehow detracts from or otherwise impacts upon issues facing women and girls, why is it even there? More significantly, the minister might need to learn that there are also many parts of the world where boys are routinely subjected to genital mutilation, forced marriage and sexual violence and the fact that this apparently has not occurred to her is the best argument imaginable as to why we need IMD.

Next up, Labour MP Chris Matheson:

Would the minister agree with me that International Men’s Day would give an opportunity for men who are fathers of daughters to express concerns such as why those daughters might have to wait another 30 years for equal pay or to give men the platform to express concerns as to why there continues to be a problem in this country and abroad of violence against women and girls?

 

CD: He is absolutely right that International Men’s Day in the UK does take a very gender-inclusive approach and therefore believes that issues affecting women and girls are also resolved… He is absolutely right to say that while focusing on the very important issues that International Men’s Day raises, we must never forget all the women around the world who are suffering every single day.

It’s a minor and very personal point, but allow me a quick moment of self-congratulation that the phrase ‘gender-inclusive’ has made its way into Hansard for the first time.

A little later there was a similar exchange involving another Labour MP, Liz McInness

LM: “International Men’s Day aims to promote gender equality and highlight male role models, and yet in the UK two women a week are killed by a partner or an ex-partner and we clearly need urgent action to tackle deeply ingrained and damaging inequality. Does the minister agree with me that we need to support campaigns to tackle misogyny and sexist attitudes and that men have a crucial role to play in this?”

CD: “Mr Speaker I couldn’t have put it better myself. She is absolutely right to point out that last year 81 women were killed by violent partners or ex-partners and in fact 19 men were killed by violent partners or ex-partners as well. That is why this government is absolutely committed to tackling violence against women and girls and it is of utmost importance we put more money into this than ever before and we will not rest until this happens.

In these two exchanges, I think we see the most common prevailing attitude on the left towards International Men’s Day. In essence it says “Yes yes, we understand that boys and men have problems but they’re not as important as the problems faced by women and girls so we shouldn’t be talking about that, we should be talking about this instead.”

The hivemind of the Internet, many years ago, came up with a name for this. It’s called ‘whataboutery.’ It is a rhetorical technique that seeks to derail and close down a debate which someone does not want to happen and turn it into the discussion they do want to be having. It is probably true to say that whataboutery of this nature is most commonly used (at least online) by antifeminists attempting to derail and close down discussions of women’s oppression and make it all about men, so it is rather ironic to see it flipped in an attempt to block any consideration of male-specific issues.

But you know what? I am more than happy to take up the challenge from the likes of Matheson and McInness. Can we use International Men’s Day to talk about male violence and the damage men cause? Hell, yes. Let’s talk about how we brutalise boys and young men into cultures of violence, let’s talk about how we define masculinity in terms of our capacity to inflict and tolerate beatings, not just against women but primarily against other men and boys. To Mr Matheson and Ms McInness I say this, if your most pressing concern for men these days is men’s own violent behaviour then please do, use the occasion to host a debate, write an article, run a stall, whatever you like. IMD is for you as much as it is for me. As it happens there are many pro-feminist groups such as White Ribbon campaigns which do indeed use IMD for just this type of event. Seek them out, support them. IMD is for everyone.

Likewise if your concerns around gender equality are around the gender pay gap or workplace rights, feel free to host discussions about workplace cultures, about long-hours, the protector-provider constructs of masculinity, the problems men have accessing equal parental leave etc etc, all of which directly account for much of the gender pay gap. IMD is for everyone. Knock yourself out.

On top of that, (unlike the minister perhaps) I genuinely DON’T believe equality is a zero sum game. On the contrary, the lives, happiness and wellbeing of men and women are interconnected, intertwined and interdependent. I believe men gain in all sorts of ways when women are liberated from the constraints of gender inequality and oppression. At the same time when we begin to liberate men from their disproportionately unaddressed mental health problems and social isolation, their dependence upon drinking & drugs, their poisonous workaholism, their educational and economic underperformance, their violent cultures of masculinity etc etc etc, then the winners are not just those men, but the women and girls with whom they share a life, a family, a neighbourhood, a society. I say it again, International Men’s Day is for everyone and has the potential to benefit everyone.

So, personally I am more than happy for people of all political perspectives and persuasions to mark IMD how they want to, or to ignore it if they prefer. What I cannot willingly accept is a disingenuous ploy to close down any discussion of men’s issues under a thin disguise of concern for women.

Though it grieves me somewhat to have to lower myself to this level, I feel this is the point to actively address the pitifully ignorant and offensive ‘joke’ with which the Minister began this discussion. “I thought every day was International Men’s Day?”

Here’s the thing about men. As a gender (relatively speaking and globally) we have a lot of power. We have a lot of platforms. We often have loud voices. But as every mental health professional will tell you, as every doctor will tell you, as more than a few wives and girlfriends will tell you, one thing men tend to be absolutely terrible at is speaking about our own problems, admitting to our own vulnerabilities, confessing our own weaknesses. This is true of men as individuals and it is equally true of men as a gender.

The truth is that International Men’s Day really is just one day of the year. It is just one day when we actively encourage men, women and institutions to think, speak and act about male-specific issues. And as someone very firmly on the left, it genuinely pains me that so many of those with whom I would like to stand, shoulder-to-shoulder seem determined to actively prevent us having that conversation.

But let me end on a very positive note.

There was one other question raised by an MP today.  Philip Hollobone MP asked a slightly odd question, but it garnered the most heartwarming response we could have hoped for.

PH: “In seeking ways to celebrate International Women’s Day, no doubt the minister has looked around the world to see which countries do this best. Which countries around the world celebrate International Men’s Day the best and will she take note from their example?”

CD: “I am aware that there are 60 countries around the world that celebrate International Men’s Day and there are various different ways that they do that, focusing on men’s heath and wellbeing, highlighting discrimination against men and any inequalities they face, improving gender relations and gender equality. This creates a safer world for everybody, Mr Speaker, and is always to be commended.”

Creating a safer world for everybody. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Comments

  1. Carnation says

    Perhaps the fact that a clown like Philip Davies asked the question caused the reaction that it did? He’s not interested in the welfare of vulnerable men (or “social justice), his voting record proves it, he’s just against anything that is progressive for anyone.

    With people like his calibre on board, anyone doing anything in the cause of men can and will be deemed to be part of a reactionary lunatic fringe.

  2. 123454321 says

    Carnation – that, for a first comment, was entirely pointless and incredibly unhelpful. It’s WHAT is being said and not WHO is saying it.

    Ally – it sounds like you’re beginning to get a feel for where the blockages are and I hope you understand now why the anger has built up to mountainous heights of frustration. There can only be a handful of reasons for this relentless empathy gap: ignorance, white knightism, female supremacy, inherently prewired protector, biased victim recognition behaviour, lack of investment, lack of male collaboration ? Perhaps a little mix of each? I think all of the above.

  3. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    I wouldn’t expect anything else, but you are absolutely missing the point.

    The fact that Davies, and the likes of Mike Buchanan, posit themselves as advocates for men is truly ridiculous and will be seen as such. They are crude anti-feminists, not interested in increasing support for men, but decreasing support for women.

    Ask them, if you’re wondering.

  4. 123454321 says

    “Here’s the thing about men. As a gender (relatively speaking and globally) we have a lot of power.”

    Well, actually, I think women hold far more power than men. Virtually everything men do…they do it for their families. Just because men have put themselves forward to volunteer for the position of evolutionary world-shapers, going forth to sculpt our entire infrastructure – often at their own detriment and expense – that doesn’t mean MEN hold the power. It just means that they did what they did in order for us to advance. It’s all about how you define power. I’ve talked about this before. Power should be defined by outcome, NOT by source of action. It all depends on benefit/disbenefits at point of outcome. Men didn’t ‘oppress’ women, they ‘protected’ women. And it looks like they still do, judging by the hellishly outlandish responses to Phillip’s question.
    The sad part is that I can almost understand the pathetic responses from men who have been thoroughly indoctrinated to react like this. But women? I would have thought they’d be keen to exhibit their feminist, baseline compassion and empathetic view towards their fellow human beings by granting them some recognition, especially as their responses are 100% likely to directly affect their loved ones. Disgraceful and hypocritical at best, they should be though rally ashamed of themselves and this is exactly why I’ve said feminism needs to grow up and stop being so selfishly childish! Really disgusted in this. Right at the top of the political hierarch as well! Hats off to Theresa, though, for striking a tiny flint stone of hope.

  5. 123454321 says

    Carnation #3
    “They are crude anti-feminists” – But you’re a crude anti-MRA, so moot.
    “not interested in increasing support for men” – FALSE
    ” but decreasing support for women.” – FALSE

    Let’s get to the point. The people opposing Phillip’s question and jumping down his throat are doing so using the most ridiculously conjured up logic one could possibly imagine (whataboutery as Ally said), coupled with devious diversion tactics designed to throw you straight off the intended trail. I can see straight through this lot and they’re nothing short of pathetic and incredibly selfish people, using this sort of response behaviour. They only get away with it due to one or more of the reasons I listed above, and why people allow them to get away with this is completely beyond me and my power of comprehension, somewhere out towards the infinitesimal reaches of the universe – probably where these people belong with their far out, archaic standpoints! I just hope their Grandchildren get to listen to these types of debate recordings 30 years from now without judging them too harshly for their incredulous stupidity and lack of grasp around the meaning of positive evolution, ethical standards and moral inclusion. What a wonderful and virtuous bunch of leaders we have running the place!! Give us more women leaders, more….MORE!

  6. Marduk says

    Hollobone’s gambit was an extremely clever satirical reference to the rampant whatboutery which clearly shamed Dineage into giving a sensible answer (for that reason it does not warm my heart alas). Nice to see someone in Westminster is still capable of this kind of rhetorical dexterity.

    Almost disappointed somehow that Jess Philips missed the opportunity to disgrace herself as usual.

  7. Koken says

    Marduk – Can you explain that one for the uninitiated? I had no idea what he was getting at.

  8. David S says

    The imminent arrival of IMD and Movember has got me thinking about why we choose to view certain problems in a “gendered” way. The criterion usually seems to be whether the prevalence of the problem among the general male population is different to its prevalence among the general female population. For example we imagine that suicide might warrant a gendered approach because there are more successful male suicides than female ones, and that domestic violence might warrant such an approach because women are more likely to be victims than men. I think this is wrong on two counts. Firstly the general male, and female, populations are often the wrong ones to look at and, secondly, prevalence is the wrong thing to look for. If anyone wants to do anything about those problems the question is more like “In the populations that are the target of this intervention, does knowledge of a person’s gender give us useful information that we would not otherwise have?”.
    This could be illustrated by thinking about the interventions used to prevent suicide. First, there are interventions targeted at the general population, such as the adverts for the Samaritans that you see on the top levels of multi-storey car parks. I’d guess that more men take note of those adverts than women, but that information is of no use. There are no separate male parking areas, and there is no sensible way of making the adverts gender specific. Other interventions involve more restricted groups, for example the group of people who actually ring the Samaritans. If you have such a sub-group then, clearly, information about general populations is potentially misleading, because it isn’t the general male or female population that you are dealing with. Nor is information about prevalence useful. It might be the case that, among those who ring the Samaritans there are still more men than women, but that isn’t in itself useful information because each call is with an individual person, not an entire gender. Nor would it necessarily be useful to know about differences in the way men and women deal with the problems that have led them to phone. For example, it might be the case that men are more likely to bottle up their problems than women, but if you have been talking to someone on the phone you probably get to know whether they are inclined to bottle things up anyway. The only case where gender would provide useful information is where it provides information that you would not have acquired without knowing their gender, and I am not sure how often that happens.

    My own feeling is that if, say, you feel that men have problems because they bottle up their feelings, then the sensible thing is to think of interventions that would engage people who bottle up their feelings, and not be surprised if that gets more attention from men than women, rather than trying to engage men in the hope that the intervention will attract attention from people who bottle up their feelings. Similar observations would apply to problems such as domestic violence, and its putative causes.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t have IMD, or Movember. The problems that they deal with are real problems, and addressing them in a slightly odd way is better than not addressing them at all, but I’ve always felt that there is something a bit odd about these male-centric interventions and, up to now I’ve never been quite able to put my finger on what it is. I’m still not sure that I have, and I would be interested in people’s thoughts on my little ramble.

  9. Mouguias says

    I don’t know much about Philip Davies, but clearly the man is making more for public exposure of men & boys’ issues than any other European politician I can think of. Last year we got Jess Philips scoffing at male suffering, this year the minister acknowleges that IMD makes valid points and that men have real problems. No small feat. I mean, I can’t imagine any public officer in Spain saying such things. I regard myself sort of left wing, but the left has utterly and shamefuly failed to us all in this subject so, if it is some mean righ-wing villain who does the job, kudos to him.

    “whataboutery of this nature is most commonly used (at least online) by antifeminists attempting to derail and close down discussions of women’s oppression and make it all about men”

    There is an important distinction to be made, here. When feminists jump into “What about…” as in your example of today, the idea is to withold any effort or resources from being used to benefit men & boys, because “women have it far worse”. As you put it, they believe this is Zero Sum game. When antifeminists use this tactic, on the other hand, they are trying to undermine feminist narrative, which claims that men are always privileged and women are always victims, and that “patriarchy” systematically favours men and disadvantages women.
    When a feminist brings up female genital mutilation and claims that these atrocious rituals are nothing but “men controlling female sexuality”, it is absolutely legitimate to point out how equally horrible ceremonies are performed on boys across Africa and beyond, as part of “passage rites”, and that exactly the same excuses are used to justify these rites in their male and female variants. “Whataboutery”, in this case, is not about withdrawing resources from women, it is about providing context to debunk an utterly one-sided and dishonest approach.

    I think you have had a brilliant idea, in the last lines of your entry. IMD could be promoted as “pushing men to the doctor” because yeah, we don’t know how to take care of our own problems. If we fit men’s issues into this old stereotype who knows, maybe we would make it all more palatable to the public. If we convince feminists that this is all about how stupid we are and how unable we are to help ourselves who knows, maybe even they will jump in.

  10. 123454321 says

    How many times do I have to say, once people get a grasp around the fact that if men aren’t encouraged to respect THEMSELVES, there won’t be a hope in hell chance of getting them to respect anyone else, including women!! It’s just so unbelievably simple and yet so frustratingly hard to get this concept across to politicians (especially the feminist variety) who persistently demonstrate the ‘whataboutery’ put-downs and scapegoatisms that we are all familiar with. I can tell you that NOTHING else will work other than getting through to these ostriches how obtusely childish and ignorant they are when they effectively ignore half the population. If (even as a little test or proof of concept) they were to devote some attention to men and boys for once, they might discover that the world would indeed start to become a much better place for everyone. But, no, they’d rather continue with the same old head in the sand, gimme, gimme, gimme more behaviour as they watch their Son’s and loved ones perish amongst them. As long as THEY are ok then I suppose their covert little strategy is working – yay for them!
    These bigots need to be called out. They should be exposed for what they are and people need to stop pussyfooting around them. No one wants to tread on the toes of women’s issues but FFS, helping men WILL help women and girls – hugely. And this doesn’t mean that we ought to start injecting loads of money into patronising and demeaning consent or ‘teach boys not to rape’ classes. It means that we treat men and boys with the dignity they deserve and make it an all-inclusive, joined up approach.

  11. OirishM says

    123454321, #10:

    “How many times do I have to say, once people get a grasp around the fact that if men aren’t encouraged to respect THEMSELVES, there won’t be a hope in hell chance of getting them to respect anyone else, including women!!”

    Yes, this is a good general principle to bear in mind.

    I first noticed this dynamic in the genital mutilation debate. FGM gets blamed entirely on men (even when female family members are the perpetrators of it). Meanwhile the notion that most men in those cultures get circumcised and are just expected to put up with it is treated as irrelevant.

  12. Nwestman7 says

    It’s supposed to be International Men’s Day, men’s issues first. Anything else is just more feminism.

  13. mostlymarvelous says

    Anything else is just more feminism.

    That limits thinking from the start. I learned this the hard way a long time ago when my union started a campaign in favour of part-time work. We were public servants and it was either standard hours or nothing.

    I had constant conversations with the blokes I worked with – at my desk, in the lift, in the queue at the coffee machine – everywhere I went in the office. When it came time for the monthly meeting of delegates and this topic came up, I was completely blown away by all the old and young blokes from other agencies who snorted dismissively about this being just a “women’s issue” – in more modern terms, a gender issue. I was a bit lost for words, I wasn’t prepared. All the blokes who’d been asking, suggesting, querying, nagging me, looking for a start date for a part-time work provision weren’t in the least interested in it for family reasons or on behalf of the women they knew.

    What we, all of us, in my particular line of work wanted was the option to cut down the number of years it took to get our various degrees while working full-time and studying part-time. We wanted to reverse it to study full time (or very nearly) and work part time to reduce the total number of years it took to get the qualifications we wanted. A bit less pay for a year or two with a pay-off of years of evenings and weekends not lost to studying and writing assignments looked like heaven – along with the prospect of earlier promotion to jobs where specific qualifications were obligatory rather than optional. The fact that the proposal was initially advanced by women for the main purpose of allowing people to choose less work time and more family time was a mere side issue in the eyes of the union members in my department – but it dazzled the eyes of other men who saw only that the proposal was initiated by women.

    It’s far better to look to the outcomes you want and see if they’re described unnecessarily in terms of being exclusively or primarily for men or women. Go on from there.

  14. Nwestman7 says

    Like I said, more feminism is not required.
    We need to talk about the issues affecting men – ‘and go from there’.

  15. That Guy says

    This is the interesting! Firstly, Am I the only one who noticed the sly classification of ‘men being killed by their partners’ under the familiar VAWG umbrella in the main article?

    Also, @8 David S-

    This is a thing that is already done! CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) is running a ad campaign that highlights the male tendencies to bottle up feeling and harmfully ‘masculinise’ so many elements of their lives. It appears in publications with a typically male demographic (The Viz, to name one).

    I have to agree, Phillip Davies is a huge wankstain, but giving MPs a free pass on important issues because the person who raised it is a amoral careerist backbench seatwarmer would mean that nothing would ever get done on any topic.

  16. Lucythoughts says

    #8 David S
    Ally discussed this in his thread on “gender inclusivity” not so long ago and I guess what you are proposing is a gender-neutral approach. As I see it, this approach for targeting services basically says, we should aim our service at the broadest model of generic “people” to begin with (cast our net as wide as possible) and then when we have some people in front of us, switch to a totally individual model of service provision. That is noble in itself (and MildlyMagnificent just gave a really interesting example of why it is best in a lot of circumstances). In practice, when it comes to suicide prevention at least, I believe it falls down in some critical respects. Men and women very often experience mental illness in different ways; they create different kinds of internal narratives to explain their symptoms to themselves and to other people, placing a construction on their experience which fits overall with how they view themselves. In extremis, they also express their distress differently. It isn’t a case of all men do X, all women do Y, but there are some pretty significant trends: for example, they have different risk factors and often develop different coping strategies. The huge hurdle is in recruiting people who really need help into appropriate interventions. This might be simply getting people to go to their GP or contact a helpline, or it might involve setting up interventions which are tailored to the typical need and behaviours of a target group. Gender is very much a factor to consider and integrate into prevention strategies.

  17. David S says

    @Lucythoughts (16)
    Thanks for picking up on my comment. I was beginning to wonder if anyone had noticed it. I wasn’t really arguing for a gender-neutral approach to problems, or any particular approach for that matter. What I was trying to get at was what criteria a problem would have to meet in order to merit some kind of “gendered” approach, in the sense of an approach where gender informs the way people try to address the problem. My point was that its not sufficient to observe that some problem is more prevalent in one gender or the other, even if the difference in prevalence is quite big. Nor is it sufficient to observe that the problem presents differently in different genders. The information about prevalence or presentation has to be useful in some way, and this is not as obvious as it seems because, in circumstances where you know someones gender, you may have other information about them that renders the knowledge of their gender irrelevant.

    Your suggestion that different genders tending to express themselves differently in extremis could be used to illustrate this.What you say might be true, but the knowledge that it is true would only be useful to a person who is trying to help someone and who knows the gender of the person they are trying to help, but who does not know how they express themselves in extremis. If the reason why someone needs help is precisely because they have reached that “in extremis” stage, then its pointless to use gender to infer their behaviour at that stage, because anyone trying to help would know how they behave. I’m not trying to say here that a gendered approach shouldn’t be taken – I’m no expert on mental illness so I wouldn’t know – I’m just saying that whether it should doesn’t hinge on the criteria that everyone seems to think it does.

    If you like maths, then what I am trying to get at has some similarities to the difference between prior and conditional probabilities, or perhaps between conditional probabilities that have different conditions (if you aren’t interested in maths then skip this last paragraph!). If you are concerned about something, call it X, that might happen, then what matters is not necessarily the probability of X happening given that someone is male, as opposed to the probability of it happening given that they are female – you could call those P(X|M) and P(X|F). It is instead the probability of X happening given the gender of the person and all the other things that you would know about them in a given situation. It could be that P(X|M) and P(X|F) are very different but that, once you take into account all the other things that you are likely to know about someone, the difference between conditional probabilities that involve gender disappears. For example it might be that the probability of someone experiencing an industrial accident, given that they are female, is much lower than the probability of such an accident given that they are male. However that the probability of an industrial accident given that someone is female and a construction worker might be pretty much the same as the probability of it happening given that they are male and a construction worker. So if you were, for example, organising some kind of workplace safety scheme then knowledge of gender would be of no use.

  18. David S says

    @ThatGuy (15)
    What you say about placing ads in VIz sounds sensible – at least so long as it actually is true that men are more likely to bottle up their feelings, and that Viz does have a male demographic (Mrs S used to be a fan, and I have known a few other women who read it). It would fit my criterion of a situation where you know someone’s likely gender, and don’t know much else about them (other than they have a taste for toilet humour). However such situations might be relatively rare, as compared to situations where you either don’t know someone’s gender, or where you do know their gender, but also know a whole load of other stuff that renders the knowledge of their gender irrelevant. As I said to Lucythoughts, I am not arguing against gender-informed approaches, I am just pointing out that they only make sense where gender actually does inform, in the sense of giving information that you wouldn’t have already had, and that such situations might be rarer than we imagine, even if we are thinking about problems that are markedly more prevalent in one gender than the other.

  19. mostlymarvelous says

    That Guy

    Am I the only one who noticed the sly classification of ‘men being killed by their partners’ under the familiar VAWG umbrella in the main article?

    Those men are not necessarily killed by their partners. They are victims of family violence. They might have been killed by any family member – parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, spouse, partner, in-law. Some of them might very well have been killed by a former partner of their current spouse or partner.

    There’s nothing ‘sly’ about it. It’s just daft.
    The definitions and legalities are much the same as in other countries. Family violence is family violence. We all understand that the most common kind by far is a woman being killed by her current or ex-husband or partner. But there are also honour killings where a man and/or a woman can be killed by any disapproving family members. Families are also nearest at hand when one member has a violent psychotic episode or is badly affected by certain drugs. Men are also killed by their partner’s ex-husband or previous partner.

    The fact that there’s a bit of a lag or drag showing in the legislation or some involved personnel is something that happens in all kinds of public policy. In this case, the stats are collected on the basis of ‘family violence’ but various officials use the old formulation of Violence Against Women when presenting reports and discussing options. It’s well worth nagging them about getting their act together, but it ‘s not worth much real angst about the fact that they’re like this.

  20. Phil says

    “I think women could be forgiven for thinking every day is International Men’s Day.”

    I think she’s conflating helping men with promoting masculine ideals

  21. WineEM says

    Gender politics certainly plays a fairly strange role in public life, in the sense that it’s not ‘respectable’ to talk about (unless of course you’re a white, late middle aged lady on Radio 4), and yet appears to be a constant presence in the media and political realm.
    There were speculations that Trump vs Clinton could become the first ever ‘gender politics’ based election, and although there is a huge chasm in terms of which gender is voting for which candidate, it’s a theme that Trump and Conway have never really brought up.
    Now, I suspect this could all have been rather different, for we know that his former (i.e. resigned) campaign manager Paul Manafort very deliberately and consciously used these types of anxieties in the primaries for political gain.

    For example, it was a tactic to ask a survey question of primary voters (just before they voted), along the lines of ‘are you at ease with a woman being the main breadwinner in the family’? And interestingly, even when many said they had no problem with this at all, it was clearly a ploy to stir up anxieties in favour of what might be called the ‘politically incorrect’ candidate. (Intriguingly, this also looks to mirror tactics Manafort used in Ukraine elections, when he managed to get Yanukovych, ‘A kleptocratic goon, a pig who wouldn’t take lipstick,’ into power).

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/04/paul_manafort_isn_t_a_gop_retread_he_s_made_a_career_of_reinventing_tyrants.html

    To quote further from Slate:

    “At the same time, Manafort understood how to accentuate divisions in the Ukrainian electorate. He had overseen Reagan’s Southern strategy; he understood the power of cultural polarization. His polling showed that Yanukovych could consolidate his base by stoking submerged grievances. Even though there was little evidence of the mistreatment of Russian language speakers by the Ukrainian state, he encouraged his candidate to make an issue of imagined abuses to rally their base.”

    So I guess perhaps a similar danger in the UK would be for somebody like Raheem Kassam to import the Milo Breitbart culture wholesale into British political life, using understandable and legitimate frustrations and annoyances to further (some rather unfortunate) aims.

    As mentioned in the OP, if nobody on the left seeks to address and recognise these concerns (and let’s face it, there is no equivalent MP to, say, Davies on the left), then others will almost certainly seize the opportunity to fill this vacuum.

  22. Marduk says

    #22

    Hah, you’ve given me a pathway to connecting this otherwise offtopic comment…

    https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/18566

    Given how much they love Wikileaks, when is the Guardian going to address the fact it was publishing columns coordinated by Hilary Clinton’s “Director of Content and Creative” Lauren Peterson to generate a backlash against Bernie Sanders? Jessica Valenti and Sady Doyle are mentioned by name.

    Someone keeps hard-deleting out of the database (as opposed to moderating) any comment that mentions it here which is an editorial action rather than a community action:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/31/the-podesta-emails-show-who-runs-america-and-how-they-do-it

  23. WineEM says

    Actually, have I put forward my Manafort theory on here before? If so, sorry about that, can’t quite remember! :) Anyway, one thing I certainly have mentioned is that Dinenage, when she was a prison minister, showed a studied and deliberate indifference to Davies when he raised the issue of prison uniforms (men having to wear them and women not).

    I mean, honestly, with that kind of attitude, the transition from a feigned to a genuine interest in equality is not gonna be that rapid!

    Oh yes, and here she is very ostentatiously showing off her boobies, while banging on about the wholly fictitious ‘gender pay gap’. I mean, like, Jesus! :)

  24. WineEM says

    @23. Oh no, all those trendy millennials are going to desert the Guardian en Masse! :)
    And the paper seemed like such a fine, upstanding publication.

  25. 123454321 says

    Gosh, I think her brain must have fell out of her mouth and disappeared down her cleavage. Good excuse, I suppose, for completely missing the facts behind the nonexistent “gender pay gap”.

  26. Marduk says

    #25
    Just checked and they are still conscientiously deleting comments.
    Which is wrong because they are completely on topic and relevant to the article which discusses how the Podestra emails expose an all-too-cosy establishment and mild corruption. Including the press in this is no great stretch.

    Could be that they are hypocrites and weasels who should give their Pulitzer prize back with an apology for wasting everyone’s time. Alternatively, and the hard-deleting makes me wonder, its possible that Doyle and Valenti are actually in real trouble and they want the comments gone because they might affect some sort of internal disciplinary/legal thing going on.

  27. That Guy says

    I am so glad that a self proclaimed MRA in this thread has resorted to criticising the attire and slut-shaming. Keep up the good fight, asshole!

  28. WineEM says

    @28

    “resorted to criticising the attire and slut-shaming.”

    Hey steady on, Ms Dinenage may well be lacking at times in decorum and modesty, but I think it’s quite out order for you to imply that she could be a slut! :)

    Oh cripes, here we go: Liz Truss just now in the Commons “next year we will be bringing out a strategy on women offenders” Like, how many do you need? And why on earth did no-one think of this before!

  29. WineEM says

    And then Sam Gyniah in Justice Questions as well: “In addition to modernising the women’s estate, we are also looking at diversion tactics to make sure that they do not end up in the criminal justice system in the first place”.
    Like, what will it take for feminists to stop throwing mud at Philip Davies, and simply admit that he’s been telling the truth all along?
    If there is an IMD debate in the commons chamber, let’s hope this will also be addressed.

  30. 123454321 says

    “I am so glad that a self proclaimed MRA in this thread has resorted to criticising the attire and slut-shaming. Keep up the good fight, asshole!

    “Phillip Davies is a huge wankstain” said someone earlier.

    Pot… kettle…fucktard.

  31. That Guy says

    If you think these two are equivalent then you are mentally deficient. But that’s a given, isn’t it?

  32. 123454321 says

    Oh yeah, you’re right of course. It’s perfectly ok to call a guy a ‘wankstain’ in this day and age, especially as the word ‘wanker’ is clearly derived via the manipulation of verbal mechanics with an underlying intention to isolate all the ‘wankers’ out there (you know, those men who are isolated from society because they can’t get a girlfriend – the conversations Lethe was putting forward recently in another thread), and yeah of course it’s ok to blend semen stains into a join word, well, because that comes from a ‘guy’ and, well… just…yuck (I don’t suppose we’ll ever catch you using female sexual fluids in blended words, will we, That Guy!) Whereas it’s absolutely frowned upon to joke about a woman who CHOOSES to make a public video with half her tits hanging out while she talks with utter ignorance about the gender pay gap (of COURSE women earn less over a lifetime because they don’t work as many hours, doh! – I mean what do you expect exactly?). Give me just one example in the UK where a female with the same qualifications, experience, competence, age, location etc. doing exactly the same job as her male counterpart gets paid less within a professional organisation. And if you can then I suggest that you report it, because it’s actually illegal. In actual fact, you’re more likely to find that female graduates in their 20s are paid MORE. But yeah, right, I’m mentally deficient – cool call, dude! I really admire women for having to juggle a career alongside a family but after all, it was feminist-driven narratives that wanted to get women out to work (that’s fine), but now women are paying a hefty price because it’s impossible, as Philip Davies recently said, to have your cake AND eat it!

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