From the Home Office to the Independent: crying out for gender-inclusive policy


This week has offered us a couple of vivid illustrations of why gender-inclusive policies are so desperately and urgently needed across the political and media strata.

Just to put what follows in context, please consider the story that has dominated headline news for the past four weeks. At the latest count, police are investigating allegations of child sexual abuse by 83 suspects with involvement in 98 football clubs, on the basis of reports made by (or about) more than 350 men.  One might think this alone would be enough to remind officials and commentators that boys and men are far from immune to crimes of intimate violence. On top of the raw numbers, evidence is mounting that the sport as a whole was steeped in a culture of (at best) systematic indifference to the welfare and human dignity of boys and young men in their charge.

It was into this cauldron of anguish, horror and lifelong pain that the Home Office launched its ‘Violence Against Women and Girls: National Statement of Expectations.’

If you’re new to this blog you might reasonably wonder what the issue of hundreds of boys being raped and abused by older men has to do with Violence Against Women and Girls? The answer is in the introduction to the document:

We know that these crimes are disproportionately gendered which is why the Government’s approach is framed within a VAWG strategy – our new strategy was published in March 2016. However, men and boys can also be victims of violence and abuse and the approaches set out in this national statement will benefit all victims of these crimes.

Yes, we are back on this well-trodden trail. The Home Office’s strategies for addressing sexual and intimate violence, against anyone of any gender, are wrapped up under the banner of Violence Against Women and Girls. And yes, that includes those 350 former footballers.

As I’ve argued many a time before, this is distressingly offensive and harmful on its own terms. Amongst the many psychological issues reported by male survivors of sexual or domestic abuse, perceptions of demasculation are widespread – the idea that either the survivor himself or those around him will consider him less of a man because this has happened to him. Every time a government body uses this formulation it is a painful slap in the face for male survivors.

However, there is an even bigger problem here. It is that the statement in the quoted paragraph above “the approaches set out in this national statement will benefit all victims” – is very largely false. Yes, there are some policies that are important for all survivors, irrespective of gender, but to a large extent the issues faced by male and female survivors are different and the services and policies they need are also different.  It is striking that the policies which the document imposes are often gender-specific when referring to women and girls. For instance:

Commissioners should:

  • consider whether an individual may have complex needs or suffer from multiple disadvantage and, if so, the services in place to manage these. Women and girls with learning disabilities; mental health problems; drug/alcohol dependency and those facing homelessness are disproportionately subject to domestic and sexual violence. Victims of VAWG with complex needs are likely to come into contact with other services and systems (such as mental health, substance misuse or homelessness). Commissioners should consider how these detect and respond to women’s experiences of VAWG and trauma, which are likely to be widespread amongst their female service users.
  • assess and build in access to mental health service provision for victims of all types of VAWG, effectively linking up such services with, for example, health services, Rape Crisis Centres, specialist BME women’s services or support for adult survivors of child sexual abuse

Scour the document and you will not find one equivalent example of a policy that in any way addresses the gender-specific needs of male survivors. Not one.  This strategy of nominally including male victims in a VAWG strategy serves one purpose and one purpose alone – to allow ministers and administrators to claim to be meeting the needs of male survivors while in practice doing nothing.

The morning after the Home Office statement was published, another story about sexual abuse and exploitation hit the headlines. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies published its report into disciplinary proceedings and corruption, and revealed that there had been 436 allegations of police officers exploiting their position for sexual gain in the past two years.

The data published by HMIC did not have any gender breakdown at all. It is a matter of fact that around 70% of police officers are male, and of course the large majority of offenders in any type of sexual abuse tend to be male, and the majority of their victims tend to be female. However given the prevalence of sexual abuse of boys by men in authority (and the fact that there have been some successful prosecutions of policemen recently) it is certain that some of the victims of this exploitation will have been male.

It is also well-established that wherever women are in positions of authority or power over vulnerable young men, a few will exploit that relationship sexually. We have seen this on innumerable occasions with teachers, social workers, aid workers, detention officers etc. It would be frankly remarkable if the 436 allegations against police officers did not include at least a small number of such cases. A quick Google search easily pulls out cases of female police officers exploiting a vulnerable elderly man and indeed other women.

Nonetheless the Independent yesterday saw fit to run a quite astonishing opinion piece by prominent feminist commentator Sarah Ditum tells us that it blew her mind when a news report described the victims in these cases of police exploitation as “people.”

Here’s the headline, which (for once) is a pretty fair reflection of the article that follows:

The problem isn’t that police officers sexually exploit people – it’s that men in the police sexually exploit women

You can parse that in a couple of ways. I think the kindest interpretation would be that she genuinely believes all the offenders in this story were men, and all the victims women, or at least so close to 100% in each case that it makes no difference. The less charitable interpretation would be that she accepts female officers can be abusive and/or that victims can be male, she just doesn’t think it is a problem when they are.

I’ll confess I have just typed then deleted several blunt remarks about Sarah Ditum and her track record, so let me quickly skip forward to say that in one, albeit rather oblique, respect, she is right. Sexual exploitation and abuse are gendered as crimes and social phenomena. It doesn’t help anyone to rip it out of a gendered context and refer to either the victims or the perpetrators as ‘people.’

The problem here, and it is a real one, is that the data collection by HMIC (and possibly behind that, the individual police forces supplying the data) was not gender-specific.

As someone who is involved, both as a writer and an activist, with male survivors of sexual abuse, I urgently want to know whether and to what extent there is a problem with boys and men being sexually exploited by police officers. (For starters, I have friends and colleagues who specialise in support and outreach work with young male sex workers. I will ask them when I get the chance but I am pretty sure I already know what they will say.)

Without identifying the diverse gender dynamics at play, we have no way of understanding the true picture behind these statistics, and no way of devising policies and strategies that will protect those in need.

It is far from ideal to be describing the victims in these cases simply as ‘people.’ But of course the only thing worse would be to describe them, without qualification, as ‘women.’  This is what Sarah Ditum wants and, shockingly, it is what the Home Office still does.

Comments

  1. Carnation says

    @ Ally

    Re “to a large extent the issues faced by male and female survivors are different and the services and policies they need are also different.”

    Couldn’t agree more. And as a matter of extreme urgency, a high-profile ambassador is needed to front a campaign aimed squarely at the Eric Bristows’ of this world. His commentary encapsulates a mindset that simply must be stamped out, rendered obsolete and generally treated with as much contempt as the “she was asking for it” brigade are.

    it would be relatively cheap, easy to do and effective – and it has a lot of potential.

  2. redpesto says

    I was struck by this compare-and-contrast moment via the Guardian letters page. Example 1:

    The biggest denial about sexual abuse is the gender of abusers. 99% are men. Why? And why are more than 90% of prisoners, dictators, terrorists and murderers male? Most men are not killers and abusers, but most killers and abusers are male. What is wrong with these men? “Simple education” is not enough. The answers lie deep in history and psychology, but to date no one has had the courage to challenge and explain the mindset that causes so many men, women and children to need protection from other human beings. Now that it is men from football who are coming forward alleging sexual abuse, it can no longer be seen as a problem for girls and women only, and perhaps men may now begin to ask these questions and want answers themselves.
    Sue Pearson
    Totnes, Devon

    Example 2:

    Most studies consistently place the UK within the top 10 worst countries in the world for child sexual abuse. In 2000, figures released by Scotland Yard highlighted that more than one in every 200 adults are “paedophiles”. However, with approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men raped every year within the UK, 1.4 million women and 700,000 men suffering domestic abuse, and only this year, ONS figures suggesting that 567,000 women and 102,000 men had suffered “sexual assault by rape or penetration” as minors, don’t we now need to take a hard look at ourselves?.
    Paul Dodenhoff
    Leyland, Lancashire

    The latter looks like an attempt to offer some gender-inclusive data. The former just looks like someone wanting to score points while being completely unaware of past scandals about abused boys, let alone of research into abuse and/or abusers.

  3. Ogvorbis: I have proven my humanity and can now comment! says

    The Home Office’s strategies for addressing sexual and intimate violence, against anyone of any gender, are wrapped up under the banner of Violence Against Women and Girls. And yes, that includes those 350 former footballers.

    The man who raped me, when I was in Cub Scouts almost 40 years ago, told us (the victims) that there are two kinds of people on earth — men and children. God made children to provide pleasure to men. He was teaching us to be men so that we could take the pleasure god had provided for us. If we didn’t become men, we would be children forever and men would treat us like women, girls, children. Sounds like the Home Office has a very similar, and horrific, viewpoint.

    I still have not told anyone of my experiences, my failures, in meatspace. Only on line. Only pseudonymously. Because I really do have a problem with the idea of, as you phrase it,

    Amongst the many psychological issues reported by male survivors of sexual or domestic abuse, perceptions of demasculation are widespread – the idea that either the survivor himself or those around him will consider him less of a man because this has happened to him.

    Sometimes I feel like, even though there are so many out there who suffered something similar, that we are erased. That I am erased.

    Thank you for fighting on this front.

  4. Ally Fogg says

    Thanks for the comments folks, agree with everything so far (there’s first!)

    Particular thanks Ogvorbis, for this and the comment on the last blog too.

    I’m sure you’re way ahead of me but if you ever do want to talk to someone, the organisations listed on the http://1bluestring.org homepages are a very good place to start.

  5. Ogvorbis: I have proven my humanity and can now comment! says

    Thanks.

    Took a look at 1BlueString. Followed some of the links. I had no idea that resources like this were out there (I know, I should know, but, well . . .). Made the mistake of taking a self-assessment.

    Oh, well.

    Maybe, at some point, I’ll be ready to discuss my abuse, my failures, my past, with a councilor — online or in meatspace. No idea when I’ll hit that point.

    Anyway, thanks for your writing and your activism.

  6. Phil says

    @AllyFogg

    just to be clear about something you’re not suggesting there’s anything uniquely male about the dynamics instances of coaches abusing young players, are you?

    because I’d bet all the money in the world there are more than a few female professional football players who could tell similar stories were they inclined to come forward

  7. Ally Fogg says

    Phil [6]

    No, of course, not for a moment.

    To the best of my knowledge, all the people who have come forward in the current football scandal have been male (as of course are the vast majority of young people who play football at competitive level) but I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if there were cases from girls’ teams too.

    But of course there have also been massive problems in the sports where girls are commonly involved, including tennis, swimming, gymnastics etc.

  8. Phil says

    @Ally Fogg

    I’m sure most professional sports do.

    there’s an episode of QI where Stephen fry says that if studdy any bit of the world long enough, even your own garden, you’ll eventually find organisms unknown to science. I kind of feel like looking for institutional abuse is like that, you can pick literally any large organisation where adults work with children, investigate it long enough and you’ll find it.

    when the story about football coaches broke I wasn’t shocked, I was shocked other people were shocked. “leave adults alone with children who’s hopes and dreams they have total control over and some of them abused that power by physically abusing the kids secure in the knowledge they’ll be too scared to come forward, HOW SHOCKING!!!” or “A massive corporation that ultimately only cares about profit to the psychopathic exclusion of everything else, would pay abuse victims not to go to the police/media for the sake of its own PR, HOW SHOCKING!!!”

    every time a story about institutional abuse breaks I always feel like it could be summarised with “Thing we all honestly suspected was happening anyway, confirmed”

  9. Phil says

    It’s the same thing with the Trump sexual assault allegations. a lot of the commentators harping on about that must know that a fair few politicians on both the right and left trait women (or men/children) that way, its just that in this instance we’ve been cursed with the burden of having to know about it.

  10. Ogvorbis: Damn! Still broken. says

    Phil @8:

    I kind of feel like looking for institutional abuse is like that, you can pick literally any large organisation where adults work with children, investigate it long enough and you’ll find it.

    I look at it as being akin to the African savanna. Or any other dry area with lots of animals. Predators congregate where the prey is. On the savanna, that is water holes, or fordable spots on rivers, or any other choke point for animal traffic. Child predators congregate where the prey is. Scouts and other youth groups, churches, sports teams, any place where kids gather under the auspices of adults while the parents are elsewhere.

    There are ways to minimize the risks — the Boy Scouts of America (which includes the Cub Scouts) have excellent policies in place (now, anyway) to prevent child abuse. And they work. As long as the adults actually follow the policies. But, as was pointed out over on Pharyngula many years ago, all it takes is one man saying, “C’mon, dude, we’ve known each other for years. You know I would never do that! Me and this kid are just goin’ for a walk, y’know?” and the person who wants to follow the rules ends up feeling like crap because he just, effectively and obliquely, accused another leader of child abuse.

    This is one of the reasons I am very up front about what I did, what was done to me, and what was done through me (at least on line and under a pseudonym — I still have told no one off-line). I know that predators will always congregate where the prey is. But we, as rational humans (well, that’s our Linnaean classification), we can make the conscious decision to follow the policies put in place to stop predators whether we are predators or not!

    It still does nothing to help those who have been abused. And those whose abuse is denied, or minimized, or flat out ignored. Which is a second reason I speak out. I am too afraid to seek the help I need. Maybe I can serve as a bad example and help someone else find real help? I dunno.

    Anyway, again, thanks for bringing this up. I knew that the abuse of boys is minimized, is erased, but the way that it is included in this report is frightening.

    Sorry. Not trying to be a pest. Spent too much time last night thinking about this.

  11. Groan says

    I think we have to be really honest here. The proponents of VAWG Strategy had no intention at all to address any issue for males of any age. I actually recall an interview in which such an advocate was boxed into a corner and came up with the formulation that boys were in fact girls, on air. The BBC interviewer’s face was a picture of incredulity. The Strategy was and is an effective counter to the Equality Act and public Equality Duty. As these accelerated the trend from funding campaigning organisations in favour of ones that actually provided services. Most obviously old fashioned and unhelpfully restrictive hostels( useless should a mother have boy/s over 12 for instance) and women “centres” unable to give any account of doing anything useful. There was the inevitable outcry from services used to being well funded and un monitored, particularly as they were told to introduce options that included males and to use therapeutic rather than political models. This was further speeded by the credit crunch and LAs finding they could no longer fund useless but politically expedient “services” in favour of things that are known to work. In steps the VAWG Strategy tagging together a series of essentially unrelated issues as a strategy to rescue the campaigning funding. This was done in a series of Gov. issued “Guidance” and special funds which essentially tell LAs to ignore the Equality Duty and evidence based commissioning and fund the politically well connected campaigning organisations. Each incoming Gov. has been heavily lobbies by Womensaid and Refuge to endorse the strategy and has done so. And as Womens Aids CEO said many years ago the danger of admitting that there may be males with needs is that the funding might get interrupted.

  12. Marduk says

    #11
    As the kids say “This.” I think you’re correct. We discussed a while go on this blog the inability of feminist groups, based mostly on ideological objections, to defend their funding. They couldn’t even bring themselves to form coalitions with other groups to save their own necks. As I recall, the Salvation Army (who are artful 3rd sector competitors) ate their lunch.

    The whole VAWG discourse is so plainly flawed, so bizarre and strange and the defence of it so steadfast even as it shreds reputations and sympathies, I think you have to see there has to be a serious and constraining underlying issue being uncomfortably bent around. It is deeply ironic that they’d go to such lengths to avoid Equality but then again, not surprising.

  13. Adiabat says

    Marduk (12):

    We discussed a while go on this blog the inability of feminist groups, based mostly on ideological objections, to defend their funding…The whole VAWG discourse is so plainly flawed, so bizarre and strange and the defence of it so steadfast even as it shreds reputations and sympathies

    Go back far enough on this blog and you can see us predicting the behaviour of these groups before they even did all this, based on the observed prior behaviour at the time.

    You’ll also see many regulars on this blog defending these organisations and attacking anyone who dare criticise feminist groups like Women’s Aid.

    How times have changed. I’m not even going to rub it in that these people were wrong all along and us ‘assholes’ and ‘conspiracy theory ideologues’ were right. I’m just glad that they’ve finally caught up to where many of us were 3 years ago.

    It would’ve been nice to be able to address these issues then instead of having endless threads and arguments from people who thought defending a flawed ideology is more important than helping victims. It sometimes feels like the discussion and provision of support for men have been set back years just for some ideologues’ political gain.

    P.S From OP:

    it blew her mind when a news report described the victims in these cases of police exploitation as “people.”

    I thought that feminism was “the radical notion that women are people”. 🙂

  14. WineEM says

    The lack of balanced gendered policies was demonstrated yet again the other day when we had a standard re-run of the farce that is ‘Justice Questions’.

    Once more backbench drones would demand of ministers: what special, preferential treatment does the government have underway for female offenders and prisoners, and every time, in reply, the front-bench spokesperson would go into their ‘three bags full’ routine, reassuring everybody that this ‘gender specific’ aspect was being taken care of, and still remained a top priority.

    All the while, the highly gendered problems involved in violence and suicide with regards to the general population never had this dimension explicitly pointed out at all. Of course, one blindingly obvious factor driving the high rates of self-harm and violence is overcrowding, and I think I would be right in saying that one ‘gender specific’ standard for women (apart from e.g. not having to wear uniforms) is that female prisoners should be allowed to have a single cell all to themselves, if they so desire, and don’t worry they will get too lonely without a cellmate. Now, I will freely hold my hands up and admit I don’t know all that much about social policy, but the result of putting a lot of disturbed individuals with serious problems in an overcrowded, confined space would seem pretty obvious. But there we go – apparently Rebakah Brooks wanted prison ships to solve the problem.
    Oh yes, actually, one final thing: a poster upthread talks of some ‘women’s centres’ not being held to account for their use of public money. Well, from what I’ve heard at some select committees etc. there’s no way for the ‘women centres’ used as an alternative to custody to be held to account, because it’s apparently illegal for journalists or ministers to even visit them! This is a fine thing in a democratic society, is it not: after all, people can have all kinds of views on crime and punishment, but if this part of the system is so clandestine that nobody knows whats happening in it, then how can anybody hold a view on it at all? For all we know, they could be just like some of the 1960s extreme libertarian independent secondary schools, who just ‘did their own thing’ while nobody bothered or cared.

  15. WineEM says

    @16. Excellent, that is precisely what the Women and Equalities committee needs: a straight talkin’ Yorkshireman! 🙂

  16. Carnation says

    @ Adiabat. WineEM

    Hilarious. The true face of “men’s advocates” – a mediocrity with a proven track record of discriminating against the most vulnerable men (and women) in society is held up as a champion of “men’s rights.”

    “Last year Mr Davies caused a storm after he said more women should be sent to prison in order to achieve equality with men.”

    You’ll notice that he has zero interest in supporting men, creating interventions to stop them going to prison, creating a caring environment where damaged men are given the help they need, no, he just wants more women jailed.

    How utterly pathetic. And he’s your champion.

    Ah, MRAs. The delusion is strong in these ones.

  17. 123454321 says

    Adiabat #13 – couldn’t agree more with your post. It’s good to be ahead of the curve, unlike some of the eggface-coated luddites we all know and feel sorry for around here. They still won’t listen though – head in sand, extreme ideology indoctrinated and all that. Oh well, they’ll bore off eventually, with tail between legs.

    I’m deeply saddened, appalled (and angry) with the developing football abuse story. Absolutely disgusting. But at the same time it’s positively reassuring that men and boys are now encouraged (on the whole) to speak up and announce themselves as victims. It’s sad that it has come to this, but I’m sure something positive will come out of it – the usual and unfortunate case of the primary victims having to suffer for the benefit of the overall cause and to bring about protective measures for others in the future. My heart goes out to these victims.
    It bugs the hell out of me as to why these grown men actually feel the urge to abuse young boys. What the fuck is wrong with them? I just can’t get my head around why they would find gratification in doing such appalling and abusive things to children. The only thing I can thing of is that there must be some sort of overriding, innate desire, deep within the instinctual part of the brain that is passed down through generations and kicks in where someone lacks the self control or the willpower necessary to overcome them carrying out such abhorrent acts of gross abuse. Forgive me, I really don’t want this to be taken the wrong way but I can kind of accept the idea that some men might be attracted to slightly younger women, and likewise some women being attracted to slightly younger men (using the word slightly because there is a point at which the attraction would become obviously unhealthy and in line with pedophilia) but for men to be attracted to boys (and women to girls) is fundamentally problematic from an evolutionary point of view. If these men were all gay then could that help explain things? Not sure and I’m certainly not suggesting that these abusers have any relation to people who are gay. But what the fuck is it in their brains that makes them do these things to young boys? I’ve even contemplated whether it’s down to some kind of primeval behaviour whereby the alpha males keep the younger males away from the females (and thus reducing the risk of mating with other males) by sexually gratifying the younger males themselves. I don’t fucking know what I’m talking about but one thing I do know is that these men who committed these crimes should be locked up and the key thrown away so they can’t possibly pass down their genes!! Digusting fucktards who tarnish good men with a bad name.

  18. 123454321 says

    “….he just wants more women jailed.”

    No, he wants criminals to be treated fairly and he has presented evidence that shows women are treated more leniently than men, are on our streets and present a danger. If the evidence showed that short people were treated more leniently, he’d present a similar case highlighting the disparity of leniency surrounding tall and short people. You’re doing your usual jumping up and down just because it’s a discussion around women’s privilege rather than looking at the facts – typical feminist behaviour.

    By the way Carny, have you been reading the comments across the National newspapers lately. There has been a MASSIVE surge in support for men’s issues and a VERY noticeable disregard and contempt for the failing feminist ideology. Men and women are wising up. Happy Christmas, dude!

  19. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    In comment #19, you came fairly close to describing elements of patriarchal power structures. You’re a feminist, thus you hate men, by your own rationale.

    “No, he wants criminals to be treated fairly”

    That all depends on what you think is fair. Women, it is true, have their status as mothers and their background taken into account during sentencing more so than men. This explains their lower incarceration rate. And, quite possibly, women’s comparatively tiny involvement in the criminal justice system.

    So, if you want to remove humanity from all elements of the criminal justice system, then lobby for it. But be explicit about what you want – say you want, that is circumstances to be ignored.

    However, if you actually care about vulnerable men (which I don’t think you and the MRA peanut gallery have the ability for), then lobbying *for* contextualisation in sentencing is what a sensible person would do.

    But you, and yours, prefer the tiny-minded approach, “women are locked up less often than men this is MISANDRY lock up more women.” And just leave the men to fend for themselves, huh?

    Your hero has further advanced the cause of men by lobbying for international aid to be cut!! What a champ!!

    The entire MRA online subculture is like a case study for Dunning Kruger.

    “The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher than it really is. Dunning and Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive incapacity, on the part of those with low ability, to recognize their ineptitude and evaluate their competence accurately.”

    Or, in case you’re unable to understand that, “they’re not smart enough to realise they’re dumb.”

  20. 123454321 says

    “In comment #19, you came fairly close to describing elements of patriarchal power structures. You’re a feminist, thus you hate men, by your own rationale.”

    I could just as easily talk about the innate power structures of women, the matriarchy, infanticide, female cultural manipulation around privilege etc. Never a feminist, Carny, only ever a humanist with an insightful, intuitive and perceptive understanding around humanistic operational manipulation based on greed and selfishness. Oh yeah, sure enough I can sniff ’em right out of their cosy little shit holes. The reason why I often pick on feminists is because they are the true piss-takers in today’s society where men and boys are relentlessly ignored by virtually everyone and yet they still relentlessly harp on and whine about how bad they have it.

    The rest of your post is incredibly skewed and biased. Many men have children and they don’t benefit from the same leniency. How do you explain that? Also, there are women who have partners and family at home but manage to get away scot free using their pussy pass. Completely biased and corrupt. Men are pissed all over from great heights and you persistently find excuses not to act. Why is there a policy difference between male and female inmates when it comes to prison uniform? Can’t wait for your excuse on that one!

  21. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    “Many men have children and they don’t benefit from the same leniency. How do you explain that?”

    Very easily. Mothers are usually the primary caregivers. Most men involved in the criminal justice system are from dysfunctional backgrounds and living chaotic lives, therefore unlikely to be looking after children.

    You have, again, unwittingly justified my own point of view. *You* are *not* saying that men *should* have their individual circumstances taken into consideration during sentencing, *you* are saying that women *shouldn’t*, therefore *you* are clearly *not* interested in advancing the cause of men in the criminal justice system (among the most vulnerable in society), *you* are doing precisely the thing that you furiously Chairbourne Ranger against: ignore the plight of men.

    Your use of the term “pussy pass” simply demonstrates what a chronic ignoramus you are.

  22. That Guy says

    @ 123454321

    You assume that behaviour is genetically deterministic and always evolutionarily adaptive. Both of these are not the case.

    Despite sailing awfully close to the eugenics wind, you do raise an interesting question. What motivates child abuse and what can be done to prevent it in the future?

    (As interesting as this question is, it’s eclipsed by the fact that we as a society have trouble identifying doing anything about abusers in the first place)

  23. 123454321 says

    I’ll explain what a pussy pass is for you, shall I. Men are (rightly) branded by our national newspapers as pedophiles when they actively encourage and participate in sexual activity with a minor. Fine. Women, on the other hand are hardly ever branded using the word ‘pedophile’ in the headline, even when they have committed exactly the same criminal offence. That’s got nothing to do with ‘contextualisation’ of position of circumstances; it’s a freaking pussy pass for privileged women and it provides special treatment because people have been internalised by social conditioning to treat women like special snowflakes regardless of what they have done wrong. That pussy pass is the same pussy pass handed to the judge when handing out sentences. I have seen plenty of cases where a man has been in EXACTLY the same position as a women and yet gets sent down with far greater levels of severity of punishment compared with her. Get real and stop kidding yourself. People are getting very angry and I applaud Philip Davies for speaking out about this very obvious inequality.

    “Your use of the term “pussy pass” simply demonstrates what a chronic ignoramus you are.”

    How about “vag pass” then…that better for you?

  24. 123454321 says

    #24 It’s hard-wired into the brain, I tell you, it’s hard-wired. Just like taste and other personal characteristic behaviours like having traits similar to our parents, we inherit certain preconditions that are outside of our will and sometimes they can be nurtured to shine right through, especially when willpower is low or boundaries have not been successfully planted in place via parental or social conditioning. It’s hard-wired, I tell you, it’s hard wired, just like our sexual orientation is based on biological factors predetermined before birth. What is wrong with thinking that pedophiles could potentially inherit a precondition? We all exhibit strange characteristic behaviours that we recognise in our parents, like the way we sit, the way we stretch, sometimes even the way we think. Our thoughts and actions are based around a structural architecture of the brain and not everyone is born withe the same blank canvas. It would be nice if we could scan people’s brains at birth and determine some potential correlations. But then what would you do with them once you found out that they had pedophile tendencies!!!

  25. says

    @27
    The offenders probably was very lucky to get the court to accept a no guilty plea of sexual assault by penetration:

    Cunningham and Jones continued to photograph and video Gillard as she brandished scissors and asked: ‘Put in his bum?’
    ‘Gillard parted the cheeks of the complainant’s bottom,’ said Mr McEntee.
    The video recording of the assault is then obscured by ring-leader Gillard’s head, but the victim felt the sensation of pain in his bottom.
    However, on medical examination, no damage was found.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4032056/Girl-gang-plied-football-star-vodka-stripped-naked-subjecting-bizarre-sex-ordeal.html

  26. 123454321 says

    and the top rated comments from the Daily Mail were:

    in excess of 2200 up votes and 70odd down votes:
    “Interesting that this has gone under the radar, if it was a group of men targeting a woman. This would be front page news for every newspaper & website… Talk about double standards.”

    and in excess of 3200 up votes and less than 40 down votes:
    “So when will they be jailed ? If these were three guys,this would have been top of this page”

    These women don’t have kids. Why the lack of empathy for the male victim? Why will these women be treated more leniently than men for effectively committing a serious sexual assault? With fucking scissor penetration threats (or did it actually happen? we will never know) absolutely disgusting behaviour from these women and the shameful media for not making this a top story as usual.

  27. Marduk says

    #30
    Well one of them does given she was also charged with an “unrelated” offense against a child at the same trial.
    Most likely the police found she’d left someone home alone while all this was going on.

    The thing for me is how when its footballers who are accused of exactly this sort of thing, structural explanations are provided that should make this case impossible. These theories are provided in such a way as to make them almost impossible to falsify, so when naturalistic evidence like this appears that couldn’t be more accurately calibrated and can effectively falsify those accounts, its completely ignored.

    Sometimes people are just bad people.

  28. That Guy says

    @ 123454321 26

    Your assertions are evidence-free and your use of degrading language towards women is worrying

  29. 123454321 says

    That Guy – Funny how you didn’t pull me up about my language towards men in #19. Funny that. How strange. Hmmm, I wonder why? ….walks away in deep thought scratching chin….

  30. That Guy says

    123454321

    To equate anger at a subset of people who have committed criminal behaviour with undirected hatred and bigotry is intellectually dishonest.

    If your comments here are reflective of your sincerely held views then you do more harm to vulnerable men than you can ever imagine.

  31. mostlymarvelous says

    12345…

    What the fuck is wrong with them? I just can’t get my head around why they would find gratification in doing such appalling and abusive things to children.

    I’ve decided to go with the simplest possible explanation. They’re bullies. They’re bullies and they enjoy identifying – sometimes creating – weaker individuals they can target. And then bullying them, exploiting them, using them, weakening them further, until they find another target.

    It’s a one-size-fits-all (and ultimately unsatisfactory) approach that allows us to group a whole lot of problem behaviours. Domestic violence, physical abuse of children, sexual abuse of children and young people, sexual assault of adult women, other sexual assaults, workplace sexual harassment. In the vast majority of all these cases, the perpetrators are stronger, bigger, nastier – or all three of those things – than the victims. When you add in the bonus feature of the perpetrator being, in some way, in authority or control of the victim it becomes even more apparent. (As a by the way, a bloke who does some garden/handyman stuff for us told my husband the other day – there was a reason why he didn’t want to use the protective gloves I was insisting on. The nerves in his right hand were wrecked and gloves made them virtually insensate. When he was 10 or younger (he ran away from home when he was 11 but that was because of sexual abuse by someone else) he did something that angered his father … who picked up his hand, put it flat on a table palm uppermost and put, held, the hot iron firmly on it until the kid screamed the roof down. Why do people do this shit?)

    Give a bully some authority, a title, a badge or a uniform and see what they do with that. The title is more often than not innocuous – supervisor, grandpa, trainer, dad, priest, teacher, mum, officer, boss, team leader – it depends on how the person in question responds to the power differential between themselves and others. As well as whether this power differential adds to other power imbalances, like age, status, size, weight or physical strength which a bully might already be aware of.

    As for hard wired. I’d go for early wired. Kids in an abusive/bullying or violent or chaotic* household. Kids whose parents and caregivers give a passive greenlight to abusive – knocking over 2 yr old friend’s block construction – or disruptive or violent behaviour during the pre-school years. Kids who don’t see their own boundaries respected – unwanted or too much tickling, hugging, kissing by older family members being insisted on or the No! being repeatedly ignored and over-ridden. Older siblings being allowed to torment-tease-tickle-hit smaller kids with no adult intervention or criticism. Parents who hit out randomly at the nearest kid if they think some “discipline” is required

    Get kids into pre-school early and teach them And Their Parents about basic rules of decent behaviour and introduce them to weird concepts like non-violent parenting.

    * chaotic being the universal euphemism for psychiatric/intellectual impairment or alcohol/drug addiction addling the brains and or the behaviour of the responsible adult/s of a household.

  32. Ally Fogg says

    Hey everyone, just a few passing observations from me.

    On the sexual assault by three women on that man… it is absolutely horrific, but the Daily Mail readers are entirely wrong with their ‘if this was the other way around…’ schtick.

    The sad truth is that there are around tens of thousands of sexual assaults of women by men prosecuted every year and the vast majority – including a lot of really quite horrific cases – do not make the national papers and certainly not the front pages. While you can never be sure what will catch the media’s attention, the reality is that if three men had done this to one woman it is highly unlikely it would have received anything like the extent of national media coverage that this case has had. I also saw a lot of comments saying “if this had been three footballers and one girl…” Well yes, but that is not because the footballers are male, but because they are famous. If this had been three members of the women’s national football team or whatever then it would have been all over the front pages for weeks.

    —————

    On unrelated point, brains don’t have wiring. Our brains are not hard-wired for anything. On the contrary our brains are soft and plastic and malleable (both literally and metaphorically.) We have instincts and we have evolved traits. How those instincts & traits manifest themselves in behavior within a complex social civilisation are almost entirely situation specific. Human beings are born. Human doings are made.

    ————-

    Finally, just a word to the wise. I don’t police language on this blog when I can get away with it, but I suspect I speak for a large majority of the population in saying that when I hear someone use a phrase like “pussy pass”* I just think that person might as well have a giant neon sign above their head saying “I AM A SCREAMING UNASHAMED MISOGYNIST WHO CAN ONLY CONCEPTUALISE WOMEN AS A GENITAL ORIFICE”

    I realise that this would gain one a lot of kudos around MRA forums, but as a general rule it is not a good look in civilised company. And please spare us the “But but but rationalisations. No one is buying it.

    * see also “mangina”

  33. 123454321 says

    Mostlymarvelous – nodding all the way through your post. Totally agree, but just one thing…yes, bullying is often carried out by larger, stronger, nastier people and often when they are in possession of a mutually understood level of power: teachers, coaches, people who blackmail etc. But there is a type of indirect power that envelops us all, and has to do with social acceptability, taboos, normalisation, expectations, protection etc. for example, a smaller, less physically endowed female in a domestic relationship is more able to take advantage of the fact that her victim (especially male) is less likely to call her out essentially because social norms and conditioning prevents him from acting thus protecting her from consequence and so she can take full advantage of persistently whacking him around the head with a pan knowing full well that she faces little risk of him running to the police or other family members. This is the main reason why DV reporting amongst male victims is thwarted from the outset and it’s only the communications across the internet that have managed to raise awareness and start to make a difference.

  34. Holms says

    #33 1234
    That Guy – Funny how you didn’t pull me up about my language towards men in #19. Funny that. How strange. Hmmm, I wonder why? ….walks away in deep thought scratching chin….

    To expand on That Guy’s comment, here are some obvious difference that you failed to notice:

    – Your language in #19 was not directed at men in general, but a particular subset: the paedophiles brought to light in the recent football abuse mess. “It bugs the hell out of me as to why these grown men actually feel the urge to abuse young boys. What the fuck is wrong with them? I just can’t get my head around why they would find gratification…” etc.

    Contrastingly, your language towards women in #25 (I am assuming That Guy was referring to this post rather than the stated #26, as 26 doesn’t contain language directed at women at all) directed at women qua women.

    – You were also much more cautious in your language when referring to men in #19, repeatedly using qualifiers to indicate that you were trying to avoid certain drastic conclusions; “Forgive me, I really don’t want this to be taken the wrong way” and “Not sure and I’m certainly not suggesting that these abusers have any relation to people who are gay” to make sure the reader knows you do not intend ‘splash damage’ as the rendies call it.

    For fuck sake, you even closed #19 with the observation that the paedophiles “tarnish good men with a bad name” i.e. a cautionary note against making unfair generalisations about a population from a criminal subset. Your language decisions treat known goddamn paedophiles (that happen to be men) with more respect than non-crimnal women!

    Piss off with your bias accusations, your own could not be more obvious.

    Oh but hey, now that I’m looking at #19, doesn’t the text “…but for men to be attracted to boys (and women to girls) is fundamentally problematic from an evolutionary point of view” quite handily refute the idea that all behaviour is both adaptive and the product of evolution?

  35. 123454321 says

    Ally, re the three women. You’re missing some parts of the puzzle. There is an undeniable disparity in the way the media presents similar criminal cases for men and women, no doubt. In fact, the Daily Mail (and there are many other online newspapers) appear to have policies whereby comments are moderated pending on the gender of the perpetrator. I’ve already mentioned the fact that women aren’t headlined with the word ‘pedophile’ as men are. You have to go look for yourself. It’s not that obvious until you start looking, a bit like when boat-loads of men are killed it usually refers to them as ‘people’ but when boatloads of women are killed, they suddenly become known as women. All very subtle but the behaviour of doing this harbours a more sinister meaning. Men are invariably treated differently time and time again, I’ll give you an example (there are hundreds like this):

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4036194/Body-woman-boy-seven-home-west-London.html

    Take a look at the comments. What do you notice? Well, they’re all very tame but I guess I agree with virtually every single one of them. I also understand that there needs to be some sensitivity on the matter and allowing comments through that demonstrate callous insensitivity (despite it bordering on the truth) could be construed as unwanted and pointless. I know for a fact that comments like the following are HEAVILY moderated:
    “why do some commenters feel so much sympathy towards the Mother and little directed towards the Father?”
    “if the child were still alive she’d be criminally charged with murder. Little sympathy for child murderers”
    “How can a Mother murder her own child? Disgusting”

    Even the following comments get loads of red arrows:

    “That poor Father, heart goes out to him and he’s going to need all the support he can get. Truly awful”
    “Why are so few people here sending their sympathies towards the poor Dad?”

    HOWEVER, when the sexes are reversed, the moderation policy suddenly becomes a bit different because when a MAN kills his children and then himself, all sorts of comments get through:

    “Men need to address why they are so violent. We need to stop making excuses for them.

    “Why are men so violent? We need to stop making excuses for them!”
    “Selfish bast*rd”
    “What a horrible Father”
    “Disgusting excuse of a man”
    etc.

    So you know very well, Ally, that the media treats men and women, mothers and fathers, completely differently and you will know that this relentless and biased treatment has been wearing men down over the last few decades to the point that they are now biting back hard. Yes, you make some good points about the three women and your footballers analogy but you’re completely missing the point that men are now so sick and tired of the differential treatment that they’re all wide-eyed, ears pricked up and on their haunches waiting for the next attack where they get slapped down again and again.

    As for your assertion that brains don’t have wiring..”Our brains are not hard-wired for anything.” Well, that’s just plain wrong. Yes there is an enormous amount of neuroplasticity and flexible malleability that supports our personal development based on experience and so on. But there is a huge amount of hardwiring that predates electrophysiological activity. The basic hardwiring is not that dissimilar to that of the BIOS in a computer, essentially changing the bios can have massive implications for how the overall system works. There is research to suggest that our brains are even hardwired for language as well as recent studies that show human brains are hardwired for empathy and friendship, not all the same. We can’t continue this conversation until you do the research.

    The “pussy-pass/mangina argument” is totally accepted but only stands up when you demonstrably accompany people’s references to men (I’m thinking things like “they think with their cocks” or “their brains are in their balls” or other similar phrases) with: “I AM A SCREAMING UNASHAMED MISANDRIST WHO CAN ONLY CONCEPTUALISE MEN AS FALIC GENITALS”. Have you ever done that?

    Ally – men are getting pissed with the way they are being treated. I’m thinking of our Son’s future and it looks bleak from every angle. Pussyfooting is not the answer after decades of men getting nowhere and only falling backwards.

  36. That Guy says

    @ Holms

    cheers 🙂

    @ 123454321

    Pussyfooting is not the answer after decades of men getting nowhere and only falling backwards.

    Yes, certainly, the correct path forwards is a campaign of sexual harassment, intimidation, offensive behaviour and blocking discussion of women’s issues whenever possible to help the disadvantaged men and boys in our society. I should be taking lessons from your hero and all-round great guy* Phillip Davies.

    I’m sure pre-women’s suffrage that life was just stellar for people with mental illness, men and boys coerced into or victims of violence and poverty.

    *he is not a great guy.

  37. 123454321 says

    “the correct path forwards is a campaign of sexual harassment, intimidation, offensive behaviour and blocking discussion of women’s issues”

    Show me where I’ve blocked the discussion on women’s issues. Show me where PD has tried to block the discussions on women’s issues. You can’t. And besides, are you seriously telling me that women’s issues don’t have a wide and high enough platform as it is? You wouldn’t know how to level the playing field in a million months of Sundays; you just keep piling on the shit to increase the gradient in favour of you and your beliefs. You’re too biased to contribute towards men and boys issues and haven’t a clue what equality means unless it specifically addresses the needs of women and girls. Men and boys? You just ridicule, ignore or throw garbage, abuse and man-shaming into the field. Very unpleasant and decisively underhanded foul play.

    “I should be taking lessons from your hero and all-round great guy* Phillip Davies.”

    PD is now on the “Equalities Committee” (I can almost feel you quaking in your boots). First thing he should do is get the word “women” out of its title, as it’s out of date, sexist and doesn’t reflect the needs of ALL people. It’s not inclusive, and it’s not balanced. It’s also a form of exclusion and quite frankly it stinks in today’s world. VAWG rename should be next on the list and a proper look at how the Government can properly represent their data and look after the interests the people recorded against the stats within. And you’ll be glad to learn that me saying all of this doesn’t mean that I don’t love and adore the women and girls in my family and amongst my friends and work colleagues. I know you’d love to think I am a misogynist because it’s a fantastic man-shaming tactic and a way of presenting the victim card. BORING. But quite plainly, your wrong on so many levels, plain and simple. Just wrong. I used to actively support women’s issues but clearly men and boys need far more attention than people are willing to give. Fuck off and Happy Christmas.

  38. Holms says

    Oops, errata:

    “Contrastingly, your language towards women in #25 (…) directed at women qua women” should read “Contrastingly, your language towards women in #25 (…) is directed at women qua women.”

    Also, rendies further down was supposed to be trendies.

  39. Holms says

    Oh ffs, the bold should only include the word ‘is’. Always preview! I keep saying it but I rarely do it.

  40. mostlymarvelous says

    Just a thought. I’ll admit that bullying is a particular focus of mine – tutoring kids who’d fallen behind at school gives you a lot of exposure you neither asked for nor needed to know about the horrible behaviours of some children, some families, some school teachers. (Along with learning just how completely daft, misguided and self-defeating many parents can be with their own dearly loved but wrong-headedly raised children.)

    However, putting different physical and sexually abusive behaviours into one basket isn’t my own, unprompted, original idea. It sort of developed a good while after reading the famous, infamous, Meet The Predators post on Yes Means Yes blog about non-incarcerated rapists. When people first read it, they can be a bit startled or amazed or – frequently – very relieved to read that very few men are actually responsible for the great majority of rapes. But there’s a follow-on from that …

    In the realm of being partner- and child-beating monsters, the repeat rapists really stood out. These 76 men, just 4% of the sample, were responsible for 28% of the reported violence.
    The whole sample of almost 1900 men reported just under 4000 violent acts, but this 4% of recidivist rapists results in over 1000 of those violent acts.
    If we could eliminate the men who rape again and again and again, a quarter of the violence against women and children would disappear. That’s the public policy implication.

    https://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/

    It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that people who are violent scumbags in one way are very likely to be just as bad in other ways. But the convergence here is m-a-s-s-i-v-e. The writer’s focus was on admitted multiple rapists but we could look at it from the other end of the telescope if we choose to. If police get a complaint of physical or sexual abuse within a family or sport/church/school/other group, they should take it very seriously because the odds are fairly high that a perpetrator could have more than one victim and/or more than one kind of abusive behaviours. Detect, arrest and deal with one and you could be getting rid of a lot of future phone calls, complaints and distressed children and families.

  41. That Guy says

    @123454321

    so, you scribe a diatribe about how you are shamed, and institutionally disadvantaged by a global conspiracy, and then claim that I’m the one playing the victim card?

    It seems that in addition to being impervious to reason, you’e totally inoculated against irony too!

    Also, you’d like to google what Phillip Davies has been up to in the past few hours, hard at work filibustering away the rest of his humanity for you. All the political heft of a playground bully.

  42. 123454321 says

    “so, you scribe a diatribe about how you are shamed, and institutionally disadvantaged by a global conspiracy, and then claim that I’m the one playing the victim card?”

    Just for your edification, both of those things can actually occur simultaneously, without the need for parallel universes or anything like that. No paradox there, dude. Hang on a minute though, thinking about it, feminists do want their cake and to eat it so perhaps in actual fact we are entering into the strange realms of quantum peculiarities like quantum entanglement and Schrodinger’s cat – you know, cake AND eat it,all at the same time. Yummy. Hmmm, perhaps feminist zealots, as PD describes them, are congregating from intergalactic worlds far apart and they’ve all materialising at a centrally relativistic, single, coherent spacial location here on Earth in order to suck up all the energy, spread their disorder around the universe and reach a much slicker and faster route towards maximum universal entropy. Hmmm, sounds about right, I think I could be onto something.

  43. Holms says

    That Guy is not saying your post was paradoxical, he is pointing out that it is hypocritical. Your hyperbole-laden objection is 100% off point.

  44. Marduk says

    @Ally
    My point about footballers was not that crude, also I found it in the Metro. It was about deterministic structural accounts of the bad behavior of footballers. The existence of ‘distaff’ offences, even if rare and exceptional, challenge these by existing. They require at least an alternative explanation and for my money at least, none of these alternative suggestions are especially troubling to Occam’s Razor and were usually the most parsimonious anyway, they just lack ideological support (or supporters). It is for this reason why I would anticipate they’d be especially, not less, worthy of note for the kinds of people who like to trade in structural accounts and theories.

    @MM, #44 does rather dovetail here. The blog author doesn’t know it but they are walking a very fine line here. We’ve known these things are distributed that way for a very long time. There is a whole shadow literature on this quietly cranking out Pareto and Poisson regressions (where they are also relatively rare events within samples). The police already know this and plan around it, quietly, because they know damn well they get 80% of their business from 20% of the public whether anyone likes it or not. This leads however to ideological objections. This picture is incompatible with structural accounts – “yes, all men”. It also reifies Victorian notions of the ‘criminal class’, ‘profiling’ and the like, indeed you’ve just advocated a ‘broken windows’ doctrine yourself which all good liberals know is wrong, wrong, wrong. To put it another way, there is a reason the Marcotte-reading blog authors thinks this is a surprise and criminologists don’t. Cognitive dissonance lies ahead. See how far presenting this argument gets you in the wrong circles at the wrong moment, you haven’t had an insight, you’re a denier. 8% doesn’t sound structural to me but it does sound an awful lot like the incidence of comparable disorders.

  45. Ogvorbis: Damn! Still broken. says

    I just can’t get my head around why they would find gratification in doing such appalling and abusive things to children.

    Well, I can only judge based on my experience, but my abuser told us that god had created girls (and he considered children and women (and some men) to be girls) to give pleasure to men. If the girl says no, a real man can take that pleasure. He was showing us what life would be like if we didn’t become men like him.

    I have no idea if he really believed this. If he really internalized it. No way for me to know. But, what came through loud and clear, whether he was raping me or not, whether he was making be abuse someone else, whether we were doing craft projects, whatever we did, was that he considered us to be things — things to be used, things to be manipulated.

    In one of Terry Pratchett’s book, one of the witches (I think it is Esme Weatherwax) is arguing about sin with a priest from the Church of Om, and she states that there is only one sin: treating people like things — physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, economic abuse. I think Pratchett got that right.

  46. WineEM says

    LOL, this is really good, from Brendan ‘O Neill:

    (Weirdly, when he’s hosting Newsnight he always goes back into PC-mode,
    but I guess that’s just to please Ian Katz).

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/12/white-men-dehumanising-insult-times/

    Some select extracts:

    ” He should have said that ‘white men’ has been the most dehumanising phrase of 2016, speaking to the terrifying and casual way in which the politics of identity erases those considered ‘problematic’. It’s now really easy to tell when someone is prejudiced: they use the term ‘white men’”.

    “The charge of ‘white man’, the open discussion of ‘white men’ as a problem, a scourge, a primal, furious blob, is extraordinarily dehumanising. In the classic meaning of that word: it deprives a group of people of their individual qualities in preference for treating them as a great indistinguishable mass.”

    The Jenkins thing is quite funny, because he also gave an interview about the Guardian piece to Talk Radio, and there’s a segment in it in which he is very clearly (I mean, quite unequivocally so), talking about being elderly, and the dehumanisation and discrimination dished out towards the aged. (He is not, I repeat, not, at that time, talking about the treatment of white males). The strong language and metaphors he used to take this theme on was fair enough, since we all know that the appalling way the elderly have been abused and degraded throughout history has often been truly horrific.

    The liberal Twitterati then take that section of the interview completely out of context, and twist it to say he was comparing the treatment of him as a white male to that of black people 20 or 30 years ago. Thus ensues yet another haughty, backslapping sanctimony fest, which makes out that Jenkins is just an ignorant bigot. Actually, he added so many PC-caveats in the Guardian piece and the interview that you would have thought even the thought police mob would be satisfied. (White men should be able to cope with all kinds of mockery; take it on the chin; liberal identity politics makes for diversity, which is good for society, etc etc.)

    But no, he still gets it in the neck. Flippin heck, when the liberal intelligentsia behave like such utter wallies, with their metaphorical pitchforks and lanterns, you can see why Sargon so often finds it like shooting fish in a barrel! 🙂

  47. StillGjenganger says

    I AM A SCREAMING UNASHAMED MISOGYNIST WHO CAN ONLY CONCEPTUALISE WOMEN AS A GENITAL ORIFICE” What is wrong with the good English word ‘dickhead’?

    But, speaking of English, what would be a concise, polite way to express the concept “The impunity for the consequences of their own actions, utterances etc. accorded to women merely because of their sex“? You may not believe that this concept has any basis in reality (and you may even be right), but in order to discuss it we need a way to express it.

  48. Carnation says

    @ 12345etc, Adiabat, other MRAs/Apologists

    Here are some of the bills prevented by your hero, Philip Davies MP. What an absolute charmer:

    Free hospital car parking for carers
    Making home fit for human habitation
    First aid training for children in schools
    Banning wild animal use in circuses
    Reversing NHS privatisation progress
    (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/philip-davies-filibuster-domestic-violence-a7479266.html)

    This is your champion.

    And again, I’ll remind you of the Dunning-Kruger effect: “they aren’t smart enough to realise they’re dumb”

  49. That Guy says

    @51 StillGjenganger

    What about “female privilege” you fucking moron? Like, seriously, how is it so hard to discuss (false) concepts like this without having to resort to sexualised and degrading made-up words?

  50. StillGjenganger says

    @That Guy

    Thanks. I could not think of one, and am happy that you provided it.

    I doubt you can find a polite synonym for ‘fucking moron’, though. Did you try?

  51. That Guy says

    @54

    I didn’t try because it’s an accurate descriptor. If you need to ask the internet for advice on how not to use flagrantly offensive language then frankly it’s one of the more mild epithets I could have used.

  52. 123454321 says

    Holms: “That Guy is not saying your post was paradoxical, he is pointing out that it is hypocritical.”

    God, you’re hard work. What I said was not hypocritical at all. It’s perfectly reasonable for someone (in this case MRA) to claim victimhood against someone else’s (in this case Feminists) false pre-claim that they (feminists) are in fact the victim when in actual fact their (feminists) claim as victimhood is fabricated around myths, falsities, manipulation and lies – all of which are designed to undermine with intent the position of those (MRA) defending themselves against the accusation.

    It’s always the same – VAWG as an example: Men get ignored (with intent), they get used in the stats (with intent), their names are erased from the title (with intent). Then, feminists, using the material they have engineered, very quickly and very publicly claim absolute victimhood status at the hands of men whilst at the same time actively demonstrating and supporting, via their fabrications, the notion that only men can be perpetrators and are never victims. So, yes, at this point I make no apology for scribing a diatribe that feminists are purposefully shaming men and pissing all over them as part of an institutionalised, clandestine attempt, coming in through any open porthole they can find, to gain advantage over men when it comes to victim/perpetrator beliefs. It’s always the same story. Feminists slap men down using their underhanded tactics and/or their hateful, verbal vitriol. Then men get (understandably) pissed off and (understandably) retaliate with their rebuttals, and then feminists play the victim card and proceed to shame men for attacking and compromising their presented facts and opinions (thinking VAWG again as an example). Just fuck right off.

    So of course you can have, without hypocrisy, a false claimant of victimhood playing the victim card and a true claimant who turns out to be the real victim. Many a children’s fable tell those sorts of stories! At this point I would usually inform you that you are a complete fuckwit, but as it’s Christmas, I think I’ll let you off.

  53. 123454321 says

    Ogvorbis: “and she states that there is only one sin: treating people like things — physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, economic abuse. I think Pratchett got that right.”

    Absolutely, these types of sexual crimes must be related to an unhealthy obsession with bullying, controlling behaviour and systematic mental/physical abuse of someone who is most likely groomed and perceived by the perpetrator to be a ‘thing’ – a possession of theirs which can (once the work has been done) be used as they wish because, in effect, THEY created it. An interesting thought. I’m now trying to equate whether there could be substance to the notion that bullies in the playground (early signs of controlling behaviour and treating other people as play things for their own gratification) could evolve into adult sexual predators/pedophiles in some cases. I suspect that would be far too simple. In fact it could be the exact reverse.

  54. Lucythoughts says

    #35, #44 mostlymarvelous

    I found these comment interesting and I very much agree with what you say about bullying, I think a great deal of abuse, assault and harassment is essentially bullying that takes a particular, sexualised form. In the example of the three women assailants in the horrible case upthread, they were doing what the nastiest variety of bullies sometime do, and what sexual predators usually do, which is to befriend their victim in order to isolate them and then torment them. We need to have a better picture of how these people operate and how to identify them earlier. It isn’t easy, but I think we too often look at these things from the wrong direction, focussing on what distinguishes the victims and treating the perpetrators a faceless unknowns, with no tells worth learning.

    #51 Gjenganger

    What’s wrong with the good English word “dickhead”

    That’s kind of the point, isn’t it? Dickhead is an insult. Ditto cunt or twat or many others. If you want to have a grown-up discussion about any concept a good rule is to steer clear of illusions to people’s genitals (unless you’re having a grown-up discussion about genitals in which case it would be entirely apposite). Therefore, “female privilege” is probably fine and similarly “male privilege”, because although many people will not like either concept, they’re not intrinsically offensive terms. However, “pussy-pass” or, to make up an example, “male dickheadedness,” would probably get most discussions off on the wrong foot.

    And I managed to say that without calling anyone a “fucking moron”, or to put it more politely “an individual with IQ 51-70 point, emphatically” 😉

  55. Adiabat says

    Lucythoughts (59):

    That’s kind of the point, isn’t it? Dickhead is an insult.

    No one really gets themselves worked up about equivalent terms like “dick-waving/measuring contest” though, do they? It’s actually seen by most as funny.

    This is just old-fashioned prudishness surrounding anything reminiscent to women’s genitals masquerading as a false objection to something “misogynist”. This becomes obvious when people above believe simply using the word ‘pussy’ in a bit of alliteration is “sexualised and degrading”.

    Of course it isn’t either of those things and it’s ridiculous to claim that anyone who uses terms like ‘pussy pass’ or ‘dick-measuring contest’ “can only conceptualise of a sex in such terms”. (I cringed when I saw Ally make that claim as it’s just so weak and reductive.)

  56. That Guy says

    Adiabat (60)

    No one really gets themselves worked up about equivalent terms like “dick-waving/measuring contest” though, do they? It’s actually seen by most as funny.

    [citation needed]

    This is just old-fashioned prudishness surrounding anything reminiscent to women’s genitals masquerading as a false objection to something “misogynist”.

    Is it, aye? I mean, in serious circles people are talking about scrotum successes, glans gladness and testes triumph all the time, right?
    That MRAs find themselves incapable of using grown-up language marks them out as being unable to have grown-up conversations. To contrast, what is the frequency that mainstream feminism refers to male qualities in a similarly reductive and juvenile manner?
    (spoiler alert: not nearly as often)

    That you cannot understand that the word ‘pussy’ in isolation is sexualised, and often used in a degrading context, is worrying.

  57. 123454321 says

    Well, in a world where I’ve seen decades of verbal smearing and snark comments aimed at men (from men, women and children), be it for reasons of comedy or serious verbal attack, in films, on TV, radio, family viewing times, in various social circles, using words associated with male genitals like: wanker, tosser, dickhead, scrote, cock, bollocks etc. and having been around long enough to see virtually zero challenge coming from anyone on the subject, I don’t see why it’s so hard for people to swallow a little of their own medicine when it comes to the use of names associated with female genitals. I think people complaining about the use of female genital associations while ignoring the use of the male association like to think of women as little children who need smothering with a fluffy, protective blanket. Women are grownups, aren’t they? Do they really need this sort of special consideration now that equality is our goal. This sort of thing would embarrass me immensely if I were a woman. Stop treating women like children!!!

  58. That Guy says

    @ 123454321(62)

    Allow me to paraphrase-

    Stop treating women like children!!! let me verbally abuse them with impunity, it’s good for them!

  59. Adiabat says

    That Guy (61):

    [citation needed]

    The terms are widely known short, humorous and succinct phrase that makes the point they intend to make.

    Are you just playing the [citation needed] game because you have no argument, like you normally do?

    I mean, in serious circles people are talking about scrotum successes, glans gladness and testes triumph all the time, right?

    “Have you the balls”, “He showed cajones”, “He proved himself the bigger man” (origin contended on that one though) and of course: “your argument is complete and utter bollocks”.

    I don’t know what you mean by “serious circles”, I assume you threw that in there as a get-out or a way to police “who’s allowed” to talk about serious issues, but adults generally use slang and such phrases in discussions. They don’t get upset about naughty words because they are adults.

    That MRAs find themselves incapable of using grown-up language marks them out as being unable to have grown-up conversations.

    The fact that you are a grown man who’s unable to have a grown-up conversation because someone used a naughty bit of alliteration is much more pathetic. How sheltered do you have to be that you think ‘swear words’ aren’t a part of “grown-up” language?

    That you cannot understand that the word ‘pussy’ in isolation is sexualised, and often used in a degrading context, is worrying.

    [citation needed] /s

    Seriously though, fuck off with the concern trolling. What is with you social justice types going on about how things are “worrying” and “problematic” all the time? If you have an argument to make then make it instead of pussy-footing around it with phrases like the above.

    Oh, and needless to say, the word pussy isn’t used in isolation here: you’re trying to change the frame of discussion to arguing that it’s “sexualised and degrading” in a general sense, because if you can make this claim then you can argue that it’s wrong no matter the context (it’s a common slimy social justice tactic). However you’re still wrong: the word ‘pussy’, in isolation, is commonly used to refer to cats or weakness and cowardliness, not in a “sexualised and degrading” way. Even when used to refer to women’s genitals many women prefer it to other words, while it squicks others out: You can’t claim unilaterally that the word is “sexualised and degrading”. Don’t project your own sexual hang-ups onto the word and insist, without citation, that your view is the only one that matters.

  60. mostlymarvelous says

    Do they really need this sort of special consideration now that equality is our goal.

    There’s nothing inherent in the word itself – equality – that requires anyone to accept that the standards, norms and practices of equality are those that men and men alone, or mostly, have used up to that point. It’s not much of an offer of “equality” if the terms and conditions are that women are obliged to accept whatever men stipulate as the new, neutral, equality position. There’s not a lot of equality involved in conceding, acceding to or accepting the one and only item on offer.

    Real equality might turn out to be no one at all using any crude references to body parts as descriptors of people who may or may not have those parts. Most people most of the time nowadays find themselves perfectly capable of not using offensive or insulting words to address or to refer to people with disabilities. And that’s in the face of common usages like power networks being crippled by icestorms or someone’s proposition being moronic or cretinous. We just don’t call people cripples or morons or cretins even if their condition technically meets the definition of those words.

    I reckon you might need to do a bit more thinky and quite a bit more work on the who-what-when-where-why of your “equality” suggestion.

  61. Carnation says

    @ 12345etc

    “Adiabat slaughters That Guy \popcorn”

    isn’t it amusing that two Paul Elam/Milo fan-boys find each other on the ‘net and bond. The Manosphere in action.

    It’s good that you have each other xx

  62. 123454321 says

    MM, all I know is this: we live in a world where we can laugh at men being kicked in the groin in kids’ films and on TV, we accept violence against men without the need for consequential punishment where as men are always held to account and punished. We constantly hear verbal associations in relation to men’s genitals, we buy our kids wrestling toys for Christmas, which effectively promotes and encourages gratuitous, glorified violence amongst young boys. We focus on running campaigns that support ending violence against women and girls, despite the fact that there is more violence committed against men and boys in general. We ignore DV against men by burying the stats and using them in a devious way that is designed to support highlighting even more violence against women. Women’s issues have a huge media platform from which they can broadcast their issues and yet men have very little, and when they do speak they are ridiculed, ignored, spoken over, interrupted, shamed, belittled and called misogynists – check out woman’s hour yesterday for evidence of this where Jane Garvey used snark like: “You don’t like the word women very much do you”, “men are OCCASIONALLY victims of domestic violence” and “women VASTLY outnumber men when it comes to victims of domestic violence”. I mean WTF! And people criticise ME for not debating like a grownup and pounce on me for using the word pussy-pass. Seriously, I mean fucking seriously, WTF is the world coming to!!

    “if the terms and conditions are that women are obliged to accept whatever men stipulate as the new, neutral, equality position. ”

    Women have NEVER objected to what I outlined above, as well as plenty more. It is women who have CHOSEN to cherrypick what they object to and don’t object to, usually based on what THEY think is derogatory towards women, but they care not a hoot about anything considered even remotely offensive towards men. It is women who have drawn this level of acceptability into the sand and and it is THEIR expectation that this is how we are all supposed to live. Men just go along with it because they have been trained/indoctrinated exceedingly well.

  63. That Guy says

    Real equality might turn out to be no one at all using any crude references to body parts as descriptors of people who may or may not have those parts.

    This is ultimately the heart of the matter. Adiabatic and 123454321 seem to reject wholesale the idea of making the world a better place for everyone in favour of making it shittier for women because sometimes people get called dickheads.

    These are some phenomenal linguistic olympics being played to try and pretend that the term “pussy pass” isn’t sexualised (because vaginas aren’t sexual, seemingly) and isn’t degrading (because the term ‘pussy’ isn’t negative? I remember fondly all the times I was called a pussy, and all the times I was encouraged to ‘pussy up’).

    Just imagine what all this energy could achieve if it was directed to actually help vulnerable men rather than defend mysogynistic language.

    Oh, but Doc Brown has just arrived in his DeLorean to let me know what your response is going to be! let me save you the time.

    buh, buh, wah wah CONTEXT! ah bloo bloo ALLITERATION!

    If you think the addition of the word ‘pass’ carries enough baggage to decontextualise a gendered insult, you’re delusional; and if you’re too much of a schoolchild to understand complex themes without them being introduced through singsong and rhyme, let me give you a gift- what about instead of talking about vaginas all the time, you use the terms

    “Girls Go free”
    “Lady Pass”
    “Woman Way Out”

    Took me all of ten seconds to think of those, and while still a little degrading, you don’t have to talk about anyone’s vaginas! Incredible!

  64. That Guy says

    @ 123454321

    I mean WTF! And people criticise ME for not debating like a grownup and pounce on me for using the word pussy-pass. Seriously, I mean fucking seriously, WTF is the world coming to!!

    Aye mate, but Jane Garvey ain’t on this comment thread being a big Dum Dum.

  65. 123454321 says

    That Guy said in a previous blog: “Phillip Davies is a huge wankstain”. Yes, a standing ovation please, everyone clap for the one and only, That Guy, who comes to the circus once again. Bravo! And fuck off with telling me how to address women when you yourself have absolutely zilch respect for men!!

    “Aye mate, but Jane Garvey ain’t on this comment thread being a big Dum Dum.”

    Aye, mate, but Jane Garvey was on Woman’s Hour yesterday speaking publicly to millions of people and she had no qualms about being a big Dum Dum then, did she!

  66. Adiabat says

    That Guy (71):

    Adiabatic and 123454321 seem to reject wholesale the idea of making the world a better place

    You’re assuming that your concept of what will make the world a better place is objectively the case. People disagree about what makes things better.

    I think pushing old-fashioned modesty standards on language, or trying to justify shutting people out of conversations because they don’t subscribe to your standards of vulgarity, will make the world a worse place for everyone. Everyone except you, anyway. Many people like swearing, they enjoy using colourful language and don’t subscribe to your retrograde ideas of how it works.

    As for the rest of your post, there are no complex themes to understand about your position. You’re unable to separate your childish notions that “vaginas are bit rude” from any and any and all usage of related terms, in the way that you can for testicles and someone calling something ‘bollocks’. Yours is a basic and childish view of how language works. Most importantly, it’s highly selective along gender lines.

    If you think the addition of the word ‘pass’ carries enough baggage to decontextualise a gendered insult, you’re delusional

    Now you’re just getting your usages mixed up. The term ‘pussy pass’ is unrelated to the “insult” usage of the word (meaning weak and cowardly). Your allusions to my intelligence would carry more weight if you didn’t make basic errors like this.

    instead of talking about vaginas all the time, you use the terms
    “Girls Go free”
    “Lady Pass”…

    You do realise that people who use the term ‘pussy pass’ aren’t “talking about vaginas all the time”, right? It only requires a basic understanding of how language works to understand that.

    Took me all of ten seconds to think of those, and while still a little degrading

    Jeez, “Lady Pass” and “Girls Go Free” is “still a little degrading”?! Is anything not “degrading” to your Victorian sensibilities? I’m sorry you got picked on for being a bit prissy, but maybe doubling down on it is not the best response to have?

    Loosen up man, take a load off, take that stick out of your arse and piss into the wind for once.

  67. That Guy says

    @adiabat 74

    I don’t have a problem with swearing you intellectually dishonest sack of shit, I have a problem with the reductionist sexism that you seem happy to peddle under the guise of being ‘edgy’ and ‘modesty standards’.

    and I’m sorry that my version of a better world involves treating people like fully rounded, respected human beings, you fucking scumbag, rather than spewing bile and treating people like lumps of genital meat.

    Was that sweary enough to dissuade you that this isn’t about modesty, arsehole?

  68. StillGjenganger says

    Unimportant stone cause big ripple in murky pond‘.
    If I had predicted the further development of the discussion I should have kept my mouth shut.

    @Lucythoughts
    Yes, I was a bit inconsistent here.

    I very much appreciate Allys polite and uninsulting style – and try to learn from it. I just thought he was getting a little leaden-footed. In this particular case, I think that ‘I just think that person might as well have a giant neon sign above their head sayingI AM A DICKHEAD“‘ would surely have been both grown-up and appropriate. After all, if the word ‘pussy’ keeps coming out of your mouth, what does that say about your head? 🙂

    For the rest, ‘pussy pass’ is not a word I use. For one thing, it is too gross. For another, it is group-language for MRAs, and I do not want to signal membership of a group that I do not belong to. But 1) I honestly could not think of the right word to use instead (Answer: ‘female privilege’ – thank you ‘That Guy’), and 2) I was wondering if it was the wording or the opinion that got people so upset (Answer: ‘both’, I guess).

    Hooray for constructive discussions!

  69. mostlymarvelous says

    That Guy @75

    Relieved to see the swearing. I was wondering how I could own up to being not quite a perfect model of decorous reticence in my own language use.

    I am probably the worst potty mouth in my family. Certainly worse than most of my friends. But I think I stay out of trouble mainly by not calling people names. I do use a lot of effing and blinding in general conversation at home when the news is on. With a granddaughter now aged a year and a bit, all of us are learning to keep it clean around her so her language acquisition isn’t impeded by too much baggage.

    As for sexual references, I prefer more humour than anything else. Ladyparts for some, dangly bits for others, horizontal folk-dancing for activities involving both of them.

  70. 123454321 says

    “….that this isn’t about modesty, arsehole?”

    OMG, That Guy, look what you have you gone and done? Don’t you know women have arseholes? How utterly disrespectful, you know very well that you must only use swear words that are specifically associated with men’s private parts. Geez, dude, don’t overstep the mark, you have the failing feminist reputation to uphold!

  71. That Guy says

    123454321:

    How is life being logically impaired and/or functionally illiterate?

    @77
    I’m a big fan of ‘ladyparts’, there’s something charmingly innofennsive in it’s circumspect ness.
    Itheres something kind of funny about the juvenile nature of “willies and fannies” too. But always as a set.

  72. Lucythoughts says

    #76 Gjenganger

    If I had predicted the further development of the discussion I should have kept my mouth shut

    Sorry, it’s out of the bottle now 😉

    # Adiabat; others

    No one really gets themselves worked up about equivalent terms like “dick-waving/measuring contest” though, do they?

    Those aren’t equivalent terms; in fact none of the terms mentioned have been. This just seems so obvious to me. In “pussy pass” pussy isn’t being used as an insult directed against an individual (as in twat or dickhead or wanker); it isn’t being used as an insult against personal characteristics (as in “don’t be such a pussy / dick”) or a description of behaviour (as in “dick waving contest”) it is being used as a synonym for women. Women have pussies, therefore woman = pussy, pussy = woman. That’s the insult. Try as I might I can’t think of an equivalent; not a single solitary phrase in which penis or cock or dick or any other word for male genitals is simply used as a synonym for a man, as if that was all that counted (maybe there is one, but I can’t think of it). Feminists might talk about male privilege but never about “prick privilege” or a “penis pass”, where penis = man. Maybe that is because alliteration holds no charms for them? Or maybe there is another reason; maybe they think the differences in treatment are due to gender roles, not genitalia.

    I quite like a bit of vulgarity myself but I don’t like this. I have sometimes been called a twat and, in all fairness, maybe I was being a bit of a twat at the time. I’ve also been called a hole. Enough said. Words have different purposes in different situations. Sometimes the personal insult is better; at least it is about who you are not about what you are.

    PS That’s all I have to say on this; it’s all a bit pointless anyway.

  73. 123454321 says

    “it is being used as a synonym for women”

    No, the phrase “pussy pass” is used to describe the phenomenon that women get off lighter than, or garner more benefit than men for a given situation – e.g. criminal justice, or various social behaviours like being able to smack the shit out of her boyfriend in public without risk or fear of being held to account. It’s not a synonym for women. I see it as equivalent to “man up”, “man-flu” or “grow a pair” etc. Men always get the shitty end of the stick but people’s perceptions are skewed because of indoctrination and consequential expectations around levels of acceptability. Smacking the shit out of a man is ok for them; smacking the shit out of a woman is not. Both are wrong IMHO and if you argue otherwise, you’re just being a retrograde shitbag.

  74. 123454321 says

    “How is life being logically impaired and/or functionally illiterate?”

    Very well thank you. At least I can rest easily knowing that I offer care, love and protection for ALL humans that I come into contact with and not just those whom don’t have a penis attached to them, you know, like the feminists who purposefully designed the “Women’s and Equalities Committee” to only include the word “woman” and exclude the word “men” despite the fact that men have issues too, or the VAWG report that entirely fucks up all manner of things that are logical and fair. Not as I believe in fairness, because there is absolutely no such thing. It’s how well you negotiate and how loud you make yourself heard. Something that feminist operations have done very effectively over recent decades using their powers of collaboration. All very impressive and good but not when you purposefully and persistently ignore half the fucking population with your campaigns.

  75. That Guy says

    123454321-

    Very well thank you. At least I can rest easily knowing that I offer care, love and protection for ALL humans that I come into contact with

    I can sniff ’em right out of their cosy little shit holes

    I don’t see why it’s so hard for people to swallow a little of their own medicine

    but one thing I do know is that these men who committed these crimes should be locked up and the key thrown away so they can’t possibly pass down their genes!!

    It’s one thing to be a shameless hate-filled bigot, but at least have the fucking courage to own it.

  76. Carnation says

    It’s really obvious why MRAs use the term “p*ssy pass.” They won’t like this, but it’s the truth. Reading any MRA blog and commentary quickly reveals the general calibre of the “movement” – wounded, overly sensitive men who truly believe that they are rendered helpless in the face of a woman’s sexual appeal. Their intellectual guru, the wretched Warren Farrell, based his book The Myth of Male Power on this absurd and patronising premise.

    So, they are being honest. Deluded, stupid and weak, but honest. They use sexualised imagery not from lack of respect (though, being MRAs, they don’t exactly respect women) but because it’s what makes them feel weak, threatened and disrespected.

    This is not entitlement, it’s clearly the result of a profound inferiority complex.

  77. Adiabat says

    That Guy (75):

    I don’t have a problem with swearing you intellectually dishonest sack of shit

    You do for certain words, obviously.

    It’s not “reductionist sexism” you have a problem with, as you have no problem with “reductionist sexism” when it comes to reducing men’s competitiveness to “being all about their dicks”. If you genuinely cared about “reductionist sexism” the term “dick measuring contest” should be more offensive to you because it’s reducing behaviour and removing agency, while the term “pussy pass” is not doing this. One is saying that someone’s genitals is somehow responsible for their actions while the other is merely stating that people with certain genitals are treated differently by others.

    No, you have a problem with a particular word, referring to particular body part.

    I have no particular attachment to the term ‘pussy pass’; I don’t believe I’ve ever used it before this discussion (I always use the term ‘sentencing discount’), but it’s clear to me the objection to it is solely around the lingering taboo around words associated with female genitalia. Despite all your rage and insults you’ve not really demonstrated otherwise.

  78. Adiabat says

    Lucythoughts (80):

    Those aren’t equivalent terms… or a description of behaviour (as in “dick waving contest”)

    No, the term “dick waving contest” isn’t a description of behaviour. It’s reducing complex behaviour to the level of private parts (“it’s all about their dicks”) much like the term ‘pussy pass’ is reducing the phenomenon of the sentencing discount to the same level.

    Women have pussies, therefore woman = pussy, pussy = woman

    That logic doesn’t hold. It’s more: 1) women receive a sentencing discount, 2) women have pussies therefore 3) people who have pussies receive a sentencing discount. There’s no synonymising involved, women aren’t being equated to their body parts; it’s just a bit of pointless logic resulting in a lyrically appealing term. It really doesn’t have the depth of meaning that some are projecting onto it.

    If you want to argue that it’s a bit silly and juvenile, or adding a layer of unnecessary logic, you’d have no disagreement from me (hence why I use the term ‘sentencing discount’). Just like it’s juvenile to equate men competing to them *really* arguing over dick size. But it’s not misogynist, and there’s nothing wrong with being a bit silly.

  79. That Guy says

    @ Adiabat

    I don’t belive I’ve ever said, endorsed or applauded using penile euphemisms to describe competitive or antagonistic behaviour.

    Why am I suddenly responsible for some random slight on men someone somewhere else said once?

    <blockquoteas you have no problem with “reductionist sexism” when it comes to reducing men’s competitiveness to “being all about their dicks”

    Is at best an unproven statement, and I’ll go out and clarify it. I don’t like it when men are reduced to cartoonishly hyper sexed gonads.

    Here’s the rub- the only people in this thread that have been talking about penis-insults and men are the people bringing them up as a whatabouttery defence of MRA language. There’s been no need to call out the rampant misandry on this thread because it’s not fucking here.

    The term is offensive, whether you like it or not. It’s sexist, no mater what flimsy argument you have to justify it. Women tell you it’s offensive and reductionist. You don’t listen. Men tell you it’s offensive and reductionist. You don’t listen. Even Ally, who’s up to his fucking eyeballs in gendershit every day, finds it reductionist and offensive.

    This thread and your opinions are emblematic of the childish and harmful mindset of most self-proclaimed ‘MRA’s. You have zero interest in helping men, or people, unless it involves hurting a woman.

    You are unable to parse on a basic level the idea that someone objects to the hardship a woman faces, without somehow covertly endorsing a distantly related hardship that men face.

    Even your own term ‘sentencing discount’ lays this bare. You don’t think that we should re-evaluate the harsh jail sentences for men, no- that’s the standard. You think that women should be given longer sentences to restore parity.

    I’ll leave this here- because there is no value in engaging you any further. You don’t give a shit about improving life for men, women or anyone. You just want an eye for an eye until the whole world’s blind.

  80. Adiabat says

    That Guy (88):

    You are unable to parse on a basic level the idea that someone objects to the hardship a woman faces, without somehow covertly endorsing a distantly related hardship that men face.

    Lol, you’re so wrapped up in your Feminist vs MRA stuff that you haven’t even understood what I’ve been saying: I don’t have a problem with terms like “dick measuring contest” either. Neither are offensive or sexist. Neither constitutes “hardship”. I just applied your own claims to areas you hadn’t thought of to highlight discrepencies and bias in your worldview.

    The fact that you’d rather declare yourself against ‘dick-measuring’ banter just to remain consistent, despite how ridiculous that is, rather than admit that maybe this other thing you’re worked-up about isn’t a big deal either, should be a wakeup call that maybe this framework you’re working from isn’t producing sensible or reliable results.

    The term is offensive, whether you like it or not. It’s sexist, no mater what flimsy argument you have to justify it.

    Actually no, you don’t get to decide that.

    I really don’t know how many more 2016-like events you need to occur before you lot realise that you aren’t moral arbiters who get to declare these things for everyone else based on nonsense. People are free to ignore your silly claims about things being “sexist” and “misogynist” when they aren’t.

    Women tell you it’s offensive and reductionist… Men tell you it’s offensive and reductionist.

    Seriously, ditch the identity politics stuff. It’s rotted your brain. “Men” or “women” haven’t told me anything, because the difference within those groups is so vast that they aren’t meaningful categories for anything other than for differentiating sex. No-one speaks for those “identities”.

    Individuals have made cases, many argument free. The gender of those people may be the least important aspect of this discussion.

    You don’t listen.

    But I do. I listen to arguments. You just haven’t provided any. Lucy did and I considered her point but, after deconstructing the term, concluded that using the term wasn’t synonymising women with a body part, merely crudely linking the possession of the body part to the sentencing discount in a correlative way, mostly to engage in a bit of silly wordplay.

    You seem to have serious issues with people disagreeing with you.

    Even Ally, who’s up to his fucking eyeballs in gendershit every day, finds it reductionist and offensive.

    I agree/disagree with Ally about 50/50 (eg agree with his defence of him and his mates saying “cunt” all the time, but disagree with his view on other people saying “pussy”). I think he worries too much about appeasement and appearances, but also recognise that strategically it’s a good approach to have a “good” group of MRA’s for those with influence to run to when they finally realise they can’t keep men’s equality issues on the side-line.

    This thread and your opinions are emblematic of the childish and harmful mindset of most self-proclaimed ‘MRA’s. You have zero interest in helping men.

    I don’t know how many times I have to say I’m not an MRA before I stop being a “self-proclaimed ‘MRA’”…

    Single sex advocacy groups are a bad idea as they end up promoting their own group over what’s just or what’s fair and equal. Single sex advocacy groups is how you get feminist organisations arguing against shared parenting, because it’s one area where Equality means women losing out a bit*. However I’m also fully able to see how obsessed some of you are about MRA’s, and I can see through all your obvious smear jobs.

    *Fortunately many changed their mind eventually, but only after it was pointed out how shared parenting can help women in the workplace. Hardly a noble awakening on their part.

    Even your own term ‘sentencing discount’ lays this bare. You don’t think that we should re-evaluate the harsh jail sentences for men, no- that’s the standard.

    I think all people should be confident knowing that if they ever get into trouble with the legal system they will receive the same treatment and sentences as anyone else who committed the crime under the same circumstances. If one group, based on gender or any other trait, is being treated more leniently then that it unfair to everyone else.

    The issue of whether our justice system needs to be reformed is a separate issue unrelated to that of equality for individuals in the legal system. All you’re doing there is tying your own far-left views around soft sentences for criminals into the inequality issue, and declaring that anyone who doesn’t agree with you on that issue is also against equality. It’s a bit of a sleazy tactic. It’s also transparent.

    Equality doesn’t mean blindly making men’s or women’s lives as consequence-free as possible. My interest in “helping men” extends as far as ensuring all people are treated equally and fairly and aren’t disadvantaged purely because of their sex.

    You don’t give a shit about improving life for men, women or anyone.

    Again, people disagree on what constitutes ‘improving life for men, women or anyone’. You don’t hold a monopoly on that: you just have one opinion among many about what it looks like.

  81. That Guy says

    @ Adiabatic

    Look- it’s this simple. You’d have us believe that little appears to be known of the larval cycle in the wild, but in captivity, Goliathus beetles have been successfully reared from egg to adult using protein-rich foods such as commercial cat and dog food. Goliath beetles measure from 60–110 millimetres (2.4–4.3 in) for males and 50–80 millimetres (2.0–3.1 in) for females, as adults, and can reach weights of up to 80–100 grams (2.8–3.5 oz) in the larval stage, though the adults are only about half this weight. The females range from a dark brown to silky white, but the males are normally brown/white/black or black/white

  82. Adiabat says

    That Guy (90): Lol, I always like these cute little ‘sign offs’ you guys do when have no arguments. What’s that other one… ‘Cool Story Bro’. x

    I think as a birthday present to our host here we should end this thread. 🙂

  83. mostlymarvelous says

    Hope everyone has had/ is having a pleasant day. Ours was terrific apart from the absence of mum, in hospital but not feeling ill, just not allowed to leave until all her weirdo blood tests indicate she’s really OK.

    Baby granddaughter did the oh, so adorable routine to perfection for everyone. One young cousin who’s not met her before turns out to be her new favourite person, so he’s pretty pleased with himself. (

    (“Terrific” needs qualifying. It was the hottest Xmas Day in Adelaide for 70 years, 40+ in the city, 39ish where we are. In our case, it proved that daughter and son-in-law were absolutely right to extend/ change/ renovate the house the way they did. We could sit outside under the shade of a north-facing deck and just be a bit warmer than comfortable. Inside was perfectly OK all day despite the fact that the aircon doesn’t extend into the whole of their enlarged living space.)

  84. 123454321 says

    Hey, MM, Merry Christmas to you too (and everyone else of course!). Hope Mum is ok, I’m sure they’ll kick her out when they need another bed! Still can’t imagine Christmas without a scarf, gloves and a woolly hat!

  85. Carnation says

    This is somewhat related to gender-inclusivity, so I will post here rather than in an older but more relevant article, hope that’s ok, Ally.

    It is sad but true that reactionary newspapers have built on existing misogynistic tropes to present the family court as a device misused by conniving and vindictive women to spite and punish men. As anyone unencumbered by such nonsense will know, the truth is quite different.

    These letters and the article that it relates to capture the truth – that it is a theatre in which the vindictive of either sex can and do disregard the wellbeing of their children to spite an ex: https://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/dec/27/abuse-and-secrecy-in-the-family-courts

    The family court needs reformed and properly funded. Trained, impartial staff should be able to report on parents who are not interested in the wellbeing of a child but are instead looking to harm their ex. Parents who demonstrate their inability to put the needs of their children ahead of their own desire for revenge should be viewed very dimly indeed.

    The childish rhetoric of F4J must be ignored, though their leadership of clowns will continue to feed off whatever attention they can muster. The reality is that parents and children are hurting, and an institute of the state is being used as a weapon.

  86. Marduk says

    Fake News.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/04/simon-schuster-alt-right-hate-breitbart-milo-yiannopoulos

    The impressive sounding Chicago Review of Books is 10 months old, its “staff” use gmail accounts and it is “published” using WordPress. It isn’t even the biggest book reviewing blog in Chicago on WordPress (that would be the superior Chicago Book Review).

    You’d have thought that at some point in the last week someone might have checked who they are.

  87. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    Not disagreeing with you, just curious where you got your info from?

    Also, who do you think is behind it?

    Milo is simply a caricature of the alt-right/anti-feminist “movement” – dysfunctional, narcissistic, reactive and totally free of ideological conviction. He represents their strength and the seeds of their demise. In five years time, he will be a nobody, and most likely bankrupt.

    Just like social media is a backlash/response to traditional media, there will be another backlash against the “fast-food” style “politics” that are in vogue right now. It’s just sad that it will take a massive economic shock to facilitate it.

  88. Marduk says

    98.
    Google but its part of a genre, its a thing young people do to get credits. If you look at anyone reasonably arty on Linkedin they are ‘executive editor’ and ‘director of content’ for what turn out to be blogs. I don’t think anyone is behind it, I think journalists copy and paste press releases and The Chicago Review of Books sounds a bit like the London Review of Books or the Chicago Law Review. Laziness and/or lack of resources (time, staffing levels) is the culprit.

    On the Milo issue or the MSM vs alternative media, I’m not convinced about a backlash. I think its something more structural to do with paper, television and digital, particularly with young people. What hasn’t helped is that the MSM has dithered and tried to work it both ways, which is why everyone now laughs at “serious journalism costs money” adverts attached to articles that might as well be by tumblr bloggers and often actually are. The numbers are serious and frightening however. Particularly in the US, the view numbers for mainstream news shows on TV are so low, Youtube bloggers you’ve never heard of are doing four or five times the numbers. Its less severe here but as an example you’ll hate, Sargon of Akaad (a mate of Milos) on Youtube has twice the viewers of the BBC’s Daily Politics.

    The democratisation of media is really genuinely happening, its just the people profiting from it aren’t the people who were initially getting excited about the idea. Part of the further structural reasons for that are because the ‘radicals’ became the establishment to a certain extent which is strange for everyone, themselves included I dare say. Where do you really go as an activist head of the Crown Prosecution Service? How satisfying is it really for other EU activists right now to be on the side of Tony Blair, Soros and Jean-Claude Junker? You can see there is still something wrong with the Remain campaign’s dynamics even as they could call themselves the resistance. They have huge grass roots support that seems unrousable.

    The most interesting cultural thing about the milder end of the alt-right is how much fun they make it for themselves. You can say thats ‘fast food’ but after decades of failed attempts to reach anyone under 50 (and increasingly under 60), I think it means something when you look at 4chan and Reddit and people are watching Question Time like its the world cup final. I’m not sure how wise it is to ignore that as a phenomenon or hope it will go away. Again, the problem is, its the ‘wrong people’.

    Milo is, as I keep saying, just Rules For Radicals in action. There is virtually nothing Milo does that isn’t in the book (indeed, Alinsky recommends that the organiser doesn’t acquire an ideological conviction, its there in black and white). Just as Conservatives in the US didn’t know what the Neocons were up to because they were scared to read Trotsky even for their own self defence, its depressing to me that a generation of “activists” are numbly walking into Alinksy games at Milo’s hands when they are the first people who should see it for what it is. I’d agree its open to question how long he can keep it up.

    If you want to fight Milo, you either ignore him or you work on splitting him from his supporters. Yelling at him and calling his supporters names just helps him.

  89. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    Lots of points, but one I want to come back to just now.

    “The most interesting cultural thing about the milder end of the alt-right is how much fun they make it for themselves.”

    I don’t agree. Of course, when wretches find each other, they will feel a sense of camaraderie, but literature repeatedly shows that neo-fascists/racists/alt-right are not happy, healthy, well adjusted people. They are usually from the lower societal strata, from abused and abusive backgrounds and are bought into a mindset that posits themselves against society. They might take comfort in their supposed superiority, but that doesn’t last and it’s also hollow.

    If you have Netflix, watch the NSU Complex. A former racists gives an excellent account of life on the extreme right.

  90. Marduk says

    #99
    If that were true I think it would actually be fairly reassuring as a simplifying assumption, but I don’t think its true.
    The same people opposed Bush and they don’t love ‘Stormfags’ very much either in reality. Alt-right is probably misleading aside from the fact they know certain types of imagery and words are triggering.

    What I did wonder about on this theme though was why the Guardian was trying so hard to talk up right wing “radicalisation”, out of nowhere, like it was a thing. I don’t know if you remember before Christmas but they went as far as running an obviously fraudulent article that reads like a parody. Found out yesterday, it turns out that most “Prevent” clients are white kids who said racist things in school. Fair enough perhaps, but what the hell was going on there that they were flying kites for that a few weeks in advance? Coming after the revelations that Valenti and Doyle were being co-ordinated by Hilary Clinton’s campaign managers I seriously doubt what I’m reading at this point.

    Apparently though SJWs exist (“PC-Authoritarians”) and they aren’t very happy either:
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-personality-of-political-correctness/

  91. David S says

    @Marduk (100)

    Coming after the revelations that Valenti and Doyle were being co-ordinated by Hilary Clinton’s campaign managers I seriously doubt what I’m reading at this point

    Jessica Valenti is massively irritating, but I am really struggling to understand why she is getting stick as a result of recent Wikileaks leaks, rather than Wikileaks itself. The “revelation” we have been presented with seems to be that the Clinton campaign tried to identify sympathetic journalists and encourage them to write articles that amplified Clinton’s campaign points. Er … yes … and? That is surely what campaign teams are supposed to do.

    I think that enlisting Valenti was probably a strategically wrong. She has absolutely no idea how you would change someone’s opinion on anything. But I can’t see that it is any way legally or morally wrong. You cannot say the same thing about the sources of the story about her co-operation with Hillary. They have illegally obtained details about a democratic contestant’s campaign. Those of us of a certain age will remember that there was a time when you would need to physically break into a democratic contestant’s office to do that, rather than hacking their server, and we might dimly recall that, when people did that, it caused a bit of a hoo-hah.

  92. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    “If that were true I think it would actually be fairly reassuring as a simplifying assumption, but I don’t think its true.
    The same people opposed Bush and they don’t love ‘Stormfags’ very much either in reality. Alt-right is probably misleading aside from the fact they know certain types of imagery and words are triggering.”

    Yes, and this is what I meant when I said that Milo “represents their strength and the seeds of their demise” – vacuous, empty, attention-seeking, in need of a scapegoat and most definitely time-limited.

    Another chronic and fundamental weakness in this “movement” (see also MRM) is the almost total blanket of anonymity. The only characters who actually use their own names and likeness in association with the “alt-right” are so obviously politically bankrupt that they do their alleged cause far more harm than good.

    The left shot themselves in the foot with a cannon by emboldening the “alt-right” by portraying them as actually dangerous. Yeah, Steve Bannon could be, but the Trump administration was *not* elected because of moronic meme generators, but he’s an aberration, and I predict that following the chaos of his term (or partial term) as president, the type of populist hysteria that we’re seeing now will fade away. Milo will most likely be gone by then, and I am convinced he’ll be financially bankrupt by the age of 40, but the likes of Spencer, Elam, Forney etc will still have their tiny corner of the ‘net to massage their egos and provide a meagre income.

    We live in strange times, but things will even out. They almost always do.

    Incidentally, I am still not sure how I feel about Trump’s victory. With Hilary, there would have been foreign wars for sure, with Trump… Nobody really knows. And if the price paid to prevent US wars is feeding the delusions of alt-right sad sacks, then so be it.

  93. Marduk says

    #101
    Ah, I see the problem here, its about context. If it had been a piece supporting Clinton against Donald Trump in the Guardian then fair enough, I would expect that to happen although it would scarcely require coordination. This was earlier in the campaign. Valenti’s piece wasn’t sympathetic to Clinton, it was a hit piece on Bernie Sanders accusing him of being a misogynist (this is why it was Valenti and Doyle and not legitimate journalists). That is a very different thing for a number of reasons.

    #102
    The problem with Trump is that you might be wrong. He could do OK largely by accident and just being a bit different.
    Here is a good example of what I mean: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/04/trumps-tweets-keep-us-manufacturers-on-their-toes

    Now the Graun obviously can’t be anything other than upset and angry with Trump but take a step back. The leader of the day shames corporations into socially responsible behaviour and it actually works. Isn’t that exactly the wet dream of every core Labour voter ever? Isn’t this exactly why T.Blair’s cocktail parties and Mandelson’s holidays with CEOs upset people? Isn’t this a good chunk of the Brexit vote for that matter? The Guardian’s substantive objection to this seems to be that they believe the share price of Lockheed Martin should be sacrosanct. I honestly think they have to be careful with this.

    The problem for the alt-right is that if you set up a beacon, the actual far right will turn up, I’d say there is a lot less interest in the meme already particularly since Richard Spencer’s conference. Its debatable whether card carrying party drones are more important than a flexible legion of shit posters who are going precisely nowhere. You can mock the memesters but I’ve done politics on the ground, it involved boring leaflets that people binned unread and robotic slogans. A dank meme shits all over that. I’m not sure there is a higher level of patrician debate that changes hearts and minds available. I would point out that Trump really did spend a lot less money than Clinton (who has bankrupted local politics for the Democrats as a consequence) and H.Clinton made Pepe The Frog an international issue and suggested Vladmir Putin was behind it, that did actually happen.

    I agree Clinton was absolutely the war candidate and I think its unexamined that the middle American states that turned against her are the places where kids sign up to the military in large numbers because its their only opportunity. I wonder how many actually voted Trump because they didn’t want their sons to be sent to another war. Its a hypothesis that its in neither partisan side’s interests to explore of course.

  94. Marduk says

    #101

    This is the context:

    Bernie Sanders, January 2016
    ““We’re taking on not only Wall Street and the economic establishment, we’re taking on the political establishment. So I have friends and supporters in the Human Rights Fund [sic], in Planned Parenthood. But you know what, Hillary Clinton has been around there for a very, very long time and some of these groups are part of the establishment.”

    Clinton campaign internal email
    “I think Sanders has handed us a rare and significant gift with his comments. Per our tracking, there have been 11,000 tweets on this (you can’t track Facebook chatter easily because the vast majority of accounts are private) just since late last night, and the pace is actually picking up.”

    “Working with bloggers and columnists to write about this from a racial justice and reproductive rights perspective, including a few people who joined us on a call to talk about the “Bernie Backlash” that was unfolding even before his remarks last night—current list is Elianne Ramos, Jessica Valenti (who is writing a column on this as we speak), Jamil Smith, Sady Doyle, Aminatou Sow, Gabe Ortiz, and others”

    This is the column:
    https://archive.is/INTon

    Its a totally synthetic attempt to amplify a “Bernie Backlash” contrary to values of Guardian readers and the stated values of the Scott Trust. It is not sympathetic advocacy, it is a coordinated attack on behalf of a candidate who in this country would be too right wing for the Tory party (why do people persist in pretending otherwise?), based on the twisting of words.

  95. Marduk says

    Its open to question who Valenti is working for now though.
    I think this is their biggest editorial control fuck up since they ran those transphobic articles.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/05/progressive-american-values-no-compromise-trump-presidency

    “As Americans continue to grapple with Donald Trump’s presidential win, it’s a lesson we need to remember more than ever: there’s nothing wrong with shaming people who have done shameful things. And there are few things more shameful than supporting a fascistic bigot…But there’s no sense in appealing to the “better natures” of those who have shown themselves willing to stand with hate. They’ve made their decision already, now it’s time for us to make ours.”

    Meanwhile, buried on page 300:
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/05/facebook-live-beating-anti-donald-trump

    “Four suspects have been charged with hate crimes, kidnapping and battery after a Facebook Live broadcast in Chicago appeared to show a person with disabilities bound, gagged and brutally attacked amid shouts of “fuck Donald Trump”.”
    ““I’ll torture the fuck out of you,” a man later says in the video, looking at the camera. Another male voice can be heard adding: “There’s going to be a murder here.””

    Lets all keep in mind that according to Jessica, speech can be violence, cultural climate actually causes actions, the media has a real and visceral impact on society and what is acceptable etc.

  96. StillGjenganger says

    @Marduk:

    1) Thanks for your post 96. Very useful to know.

    2) I cannot see why it changes anything that Valenti was hitting on Sanders rather than Trump. As long as she is being marginally coherent in her views (and surely she could accuse anyone of being a misogynist without being incoherent) she is just acting for her preferred (female) candidate. Unless your logic is ‘if it hits the bad guys anything is OK, and if it hits the good guys anything is unacceptable – and Bernie was a good guy!’

    3) It surprises me you are so sanguine about Trump. Sure, we do not know what he is going to do – but that includes the risk of his blundering into a war with China, giving Putin the green light to invade Lithuania, or actually building that wall. Clinton may be aggressive, but she could be relied on to be rational and sane – which puts some limits on what she might do. There is no advantage in replacing that with a trash-talking random-number-generator with a toupee that could do anything, just because you do not know for sure that it will not be good.

  97. David S says

    @Marduk

    #103 Sorry, but I still don’t see what the Clinton campaign have done that you wouldn’t expect a campaign team to do. They identified aspects of Sander’s position that they thought Valenti would oppose, in the hope that she would write an article sympathetic to Clinton and she did. This is the sort of thing campaign groups are supposed to do. As for Valenti, well she probably wrote a crap article (when did she write one that wasn’t crap) but that is a separate complaint. If the Clinton campaign had dictated the article for her, or persuaded her to say things that she didn’t genuinely believe in (which is of course different from persuading her to say things that are completely stupid!) then you would have a complaint that went beyond the usual “Jessica Valenti being dumb again” one that you could mount against any of her articles, but I can’t see that this is the case.

    #104 Yes I was aware of the context. What “stated value of the Scott Trust” is this contrary to? The values of the trust are set out here
    https://www.theguardian.com/the-scott-trust/2015/jul/26/the-scott-trust

    I don’t think there is anything that says that journalists cannot engage with political parties, or write articles that are influenced by the campaigns of those parties (so long as they aren’t saying things that they don’t genuinely believe). The paper as a whole is supposed to be free of party affiliation, but that is a different matter.

    #105 Completely agree with you on this. I don’t think Valenti is actually in the pay of Trump, but she might as well be!

  98. Marduk says

    106 & 107

    Its the coordinated bit I don’t like, there wasn’t really a story there, Bernie Sanders was not threatening to destroy Planned Parenthood and I don’t believe anybody really thought he did. I also do think its a dishonest article, if you look at Clinton’s position and Sanders’ position, he has always been consistently pro-choice to the point where he didn’t have to speak about it, she hasn’t been and Valenti does know this because she has criticised Hillary Clinton for it in the past. So what you’ve got it a lifetime’s simple and uncomplicated commitment to a position vs. Hillary Clinton’s latest statement that is different from the last time she ran for office and different from what she said two years prior to that.. Its not fair and it doesn’t usefully inform the reader.

    As to whether the offensive worked? Its Jessica Valenti so in the end it lost Clinton votes from Planned Parenthood supporters, a bizarrely acrobatic feat akin to shooting yourself in the back of a head with a shotgun.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/12/planned_parenthood_focus_groups_reveal_clinton_s_big_blunder.html

  99. David S says

    @Marduk (108)

    Its the coordinated bit I don’t like,

    It’s “coordinated” only in the sense that they identified journalists who might be inclined to amplify certain campaign points and made sure they got the information that they would need to do that. Campaigns are supposed to be coordinated in that way.

    Bernie Sanders was not threatening to destroy Planned Parenthood and I don’t believe anybody really thought he did

    I don’t either, nor, so far as I can see does Valenti, and nor has she suggested it. All she says in the article is that Sanders described Planned Parenthood as “part of the establishment”. You could only get from that to the idea that he was threatening to destroy it if you thought he wanted to destroy every part of the establishment.

    Its not fair and it doesn’t usefully inform the reader.

    Probably not, but you could say that about any of Valenti’s articles.

  100. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    I’m not sure if this will be an area of expertise of yours, but a comparison just sprung to mine.

    Trump to his supporters is what Gerry Adams is to his? Cult of personality, rather dodgy background (incomparable of course), total blind obedience, complete belief that their flawed leader is required to keep the “other” at bay.

  101. Marduk says

    106. & 110.

    I know this is a bit surprising but I think people actually like him. He talked about jobs and he talked about infrastructure (don’t underestimate the latter if you haven’t been there lately). Its mostly economic in a deep way that is more cultural than fiscal (they take him seriously not literally as the soundbite goes, I think this is correct). Look at Mark Blythe’s stuff on International Trumpism, that is exactly what I think is really going on. Its hidden but both Trump and Brexit are basically a debtor’s strike and until the left understands this (and for god’s sake, easily harnesses it, its the most classic left economic concern there is!) they are going to keep on shooting themselves in both feet.

    I think even Sigmar Gabriel finally gets it when he says he is still waiting for Merkel to tell him why a fascist government in France is better for Germany than France having an extra 0.5% GDP in their deficit.

    Brexit and Trump are actually the wake-up call, they are the least worst version of what will come if the left continues in its confusion and all they seem to be doing is doubling down. I see no lessons learned at all and indeed, a pigheaded insistence that the people who get the last year completely wrong and the best people to explain the causes and consequences from their pre-existing viewpoints. This frightens me a lot more than either Trump or Hard Brexit.

  102. That Guy says

    @110-

    Well, with luck, the flustercuck that will be Norn Iron once Brexit shits all over the progress made there would bring us back to Gerry MkII, Troubles Harder.

    Incidentally, how does one explain Brexit as a backlash against the left within Scotland?

  103. Marduk says

    112.
    It isn’t against the left, its against the neoliberal concensus of distant technocratic political classes allied to corporations of which Labour and the Democrats have certainly become.

    Corbyn, Podemos, possibly the SNP itself are all examples of Global Trumpism. A Scottish independence vote probably would be too and it would be as self-defeating as poor English regions voting to Brexit (how much deficit spending on social protection will Brussels actually allow vs. London?), but that isn’t really the point of it. The point is to yank the chain and fuck things up for the comfortable. The Guardian actually believes the discomfort of a parliament trapped into implementing a policy none of them agree with is an argument against Brexit, I’d suggest it is exactly the kind of thing that was intended. If you don’t get why these things have happened, how can you respond to them?

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/11/18/mark_blyth_global_trumpism_and_the_revolt_against_the_creditor_class.html

    He might be wrong but I certainly think we have to go deeper than the current consensus that there has been a worldwide outbreak of people losing 30 IQ points in ballot boxes. The problem with remoaning is that no lessons are being learned except by Theresa May (who I think does get it but whether she has a solution is a different issue). I haven’t seen a British PM with fear in their eyes like that in my lifetime and she isn’t wrong.

  104. Lucythoughts says

    #111; #114 Marduk

    I’m in complete agreement with what you have said here, apart from two minor points. One is this:

    The point is to yank the chain and fuck things up for the comfortable. The Guardian actually believes the discomfort of a parliament trapped into implementing a policy none of them agree with is an argument against Brexit, I’d suggest it is exactly the kind of thing that was intended. If you don’t get why these things have happened, how can you respond to them?

    I think the anger motive has been overstated while the most important motive has been understated, and that is hope. There certainly is a backlash against the neoliberal consensus, because it has abandoned the majority of the population in order to put ever increasing wealth and power into the hands of a tiny elite, but I think the public as a body is less concerned with punishing the representatives of that elite and more concerned with searching for an alternative which might actually work for them. What Trump is offering will not work for them, but he has the gumption and bare-faced duplicity to stand there and say that it will with utter self-assurance. The Brexit team were also willing to do that, in the face of all the evidence to the contrary. People are in a humour not to punish the rich (because they know they don’t have the power) but to roll the dice on their own futures. If they are offered a right wing alternative to the status quo they will take it, and if they are offered a left wing alternative they will take it likewise, but only if it carries conviction for them. Corbyn doesn’t carry conviction, although he and McDonnell are actually trying to work out an alternative economic model. What he proposes is no more (or less) dodgy than what Trump offers for the economy: Trump proposes to create millions of jobs, prevent jobs going overseas and invest in infrastructure by…. slashing corporation tax and imposing tariffs. Corbyn proposes to do the same by…. borrowing fuck-loads more money and using it to subsidise and nationalise whole sectors of the economy. Arguably, neoliberal economics has favoured borrowing fuck-loads of money and using it to subsidise whole sectors while simultaneously privatising and deregulating them, so that a century’s worth of accrued public assets have been squandered in the process… but that just goes to show that we can be sold one pup while simultaneously congratulating ourselves on our sagacity for rejecting one of its litter mates.

    The other point I kind of disagree with is this:

    Its hidden but both Trump and Brexit are basically a debtor’s strike and until the left understands this (and for god’s sake, easily harnesses it, its the most classic left economic concern there is!) they are going to keep on shooting themselves in both feet.

    I think it is actually much worse than this. The left now is like a caged tiger: they are trapped within the economic constraints that they helped to perfect, and all of the weird tangential soul-searching and internal wrangling is simply the pacing which caged tigers do because they can’t find a way out. Globally, those interests which consistently profit by neoliberalism have had a free hand for 30 years to rig the game exactly how they wanted it, and by now they have got it sewn up so tight that there is no way out which wouldn’t lead inexorably to ruin. There is a very simple reason why the “good” lefties, the ones who really care about the welfare of normal, small, flawed people and want to create a society that works for them, aren’t now coming forward with solutions: they don’t have any solutions. And unlike the Trumps, and Boris Johnsons, of this world they aren’t willing to sell you a pup while laughing at you for buying it.

    Contrary to what the above implies I am actually quite an upbeat, optimistic person and so if you would like to convince me that I’m wrong and that there is a totally viable alternative to the current impasse, I’d be delighted to be proved wrong. I’ve been looking at it from every angle that I can think of and I can’t see one. In fact, I suspect the irony is that the only “radical” solutions to the ongoing economic crisis that the neoliberal elites won’t vindictively punish you for trying, is even more extreme neoliberalism. That is why some really hard-core right wing economic libertarians in America have been cosying up to Trump so much. I fear it is going to be very bad there: the Republican party will give him his tax cuts and deregulation but not his tariffs or protections, and the cost will be borne by the public in further cuts to welfare and working conditions and the dismantling of what is left of the state sector; in exchange he will let the Republicans have their conservative social reforms. I would also bet money he gets two terms to make it stick, which seems to be saying the unthinkable in left wing circles. When people throw the dice in defiance of the bookies odds simple pride will make them follow it through rather that running home with their tail between their legs. Over here, I continue to be thankful that in the wake of the Brexit vote we got nothing worse than Theresa May. While I disagree with her about almost everything, I still think that all things considered we were so much luckier there than we deserved.

  105. Marduk says

    115
    I think this is a matter of emphasis really. I don’t believe people would vote for actual anarchists for example, but I think arguing about the economic short-term or even the medium-term, which most commentators believe is a slam dunk argument, is to be totally tone deaf. All Brexiteers hear is the howling of people they want to suffer anyway, not aided by the ongoing insistence that they are stupid, didn’t understand what they were voting for, were fooled by Boris and so on (which I do disagree with you on, I think the campaign is a complete redherring, to believe it was influencial at all is to fail to understand the vote, its just a focus for grievances, I think most Brexiteers made their minds up before mobile phones were a thing). Add to this class nastiness like insisting people in Sunderland don’t deserve their jobs except as a favour to plebs and its not going well. People voted, it was their only way of being listened to, where right or wrong, there being a movement spearheaded by War Criminal Tony Blair to ignore them for reasons that still can’t be cogently explained (unless you think the EU exists to promote inter-railing) is going to cause real and genuine problems. What really worries me is that Brexit might get blocked. Farage, Boris and pals are going to seem exceptionally cosy compared to the kind of monsters that will then enter British politics on the back of the kind of frustration that will unlock.

    There are signs this is being slowly recognised but not quickly enough. I notice northern proles aren’t being shamed with tales of the heady costs of financial institution ‘passporting’ at the same pitch for example and there is stuff like this:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/10/blunt-heckler-economists-failing-us-booming-britain-gdp-london

    As to Trump, I really don’t know, I think he has a few surprises up his sleeve. Might be anything from the New Deal to Mussolini, its that hard to tell. What you are describing is basically Jeb Bush’s platform, Republicans themselves clearly didn’t confuse Jeb with Trump so I don’t know what is going on. So far he has attacked corporations for not serving the US government very well and just now, punched Big Pharma in the balls. I go back to the point that these things taken on their merits are actions that would have Momentum swooning with pleasure if Prime Minister Corbyn was doing them, I’m confused as to how they have suddenly become corporate-supporting actions. What you need to remember about Trump is that he is wealthy but he isn’t a corporation guy and hates banks and bankers on a personal level (see Saddlebags from “A man in full”, when that came out everyone was pretty clear who it was being portrayed).

  106. Marduk says

    Also, look carefully at that graph.
    At or above 100% of 2007: London, the south of England and Scotland.
    The total absence of the word Brexit in that story is its own smoking gun.

  107. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts

    I am afraid that ‘hope’ is less convincing than anger, desperation, or refusal of the elite. Voting for the Five Star Movement is hopeful and constructive, OK, in addition to being a blow at the parasitical caste. Voting for Podemos or Syriza is likely the same (I do not know those countries well enough). But it is pretty obvious that the Brexit campaign was a pack of lies, and there is absolutley no reason for anyone to think that leaving the EU (and making the country poorer) is likely to improve things. A brexit vote is about as constructive and hopeful as buying a lottery ticket. As for Trump, it is pure guesswork what he is actually going to do. You would vote for Brexit or Trump because you feel good about those people and so would like to believe them and/or becaue you think their opponents deserve a kicking. As for Corbyn, he has made a ilfetime career of saying and feeling the right things – whille totally disregarding the very idea of making plans or achieving anything like results. You can support him because he is your kind of man, but only a desperate fantasist could convince himself that there is any hope he would actually achieve something.

    Which brings us to two more points. Likely the lack of solutions from the left (which I sorely miss, for all that I am on the right) is because of structural problems, not just liberalism gone mad. Blyth sounds interesting and atttractive because he has an explanation that makes sense, does not require total revolution – and suggests an actual solution (bring back inflation, what it sounds like). But how far dare we beieve him? Globalisation, bringing in the third world poor as competitors with western workers (enriching the former and impoverishing the latter), global supply chains that are efficient, cheap, and weaken the position of local workers, computerisation and automation threatening redundancies everywhere, creatives education, and big cities winning at the expense of everybody else, everything changing. How do you defend your ‘normal, flawed people’ in that context? Or just keep financing the ever-more-costly NHS?

    Finally, the values of the left really seem to have divorced from the values of those ‘normal, flawed people’.. The left seems to base itself on big-city dwellers, on the educated and flexible, and on minorities, ethnic, sexual and otherwise. In short on those who are happy with change, those who gain from the new order, and those who want to suppress the old norms and replace them with their own, new ones. It is consistent, progressive thought that we should welcome plumbers not only from Poland but from Botswana, and that we should have all cultures and subgoups equally (un)favoured. And that the feeings of transsexuals are way more important than having the cis-sexuals live in a world that makes sense to them? We are all humans, after all, no, and the rest is bigotry? But from that starting point how do you achieve any real solidarity with those who are not happy with the changes – whose lives and thought you anyway do not share? It is all very well to quote Gramsci and talk about the elite having to educate the masses. But the communists had a message saying that the poor deserved the things they wanted, more money and power, and there was a way they could get it. What can you offer Trump voters, except an earnest insistence that they ought to be happy about all the things that they dislike?

  108. Marduk says

    118.
    Blyth’s solution is basically that either rich people and corporations start paying their taxes or “eventually people will come for you”. He is obviously far from a commie, its more that he understands taxes in historical context as a deal capital does with the state. Any state strong enough to protect your assets is strong enough to take your assets away from you, the price of protection is taxation and some people seem to think they can stop paying the insurance premiums. He says the view of the wealthy on the state is “Can’t live with it, can’t live without it, definitely don’t want to pay for it”. This is a very basic point but look at London, nothing but Chinese and Russian money moved to a country where it won’t be seized and they don’t want to pay taxes against it. Which begs the question as to why you and I are paying to insure their assets (and indeed, have already paid out once against them in 2008) and its called jealousy or class war if we don’t keep coughing up for them (actually look at what courts spend 90% of their time on for example). He’s an Ivy League economist within the orthodoxy, when someone even like that starts sounding like a drunk Fred Engels you’ve got to wonder how far things are gone.

    There are cultural issues that also apply to the immigration question, but in terms of cost, the most expensive refugees the UK will ever accept don’t come on boats or from the camps in Calais, they enter the country only by wire transfer and demand nothing but the best.

  109. Lucythoughts says

    #118 Gjenganger

    I am afraid that ‘hope’ is less convincing than anger, desperation, or refusal of the elite.

    I don’t think these things are incompatible. Anger might say “I’m going to do this because the ensuing storm will hurt the people who treat me with contempt” but hope says “I will do this because once the storm has passed there is at least a chance that the landscape will look more promising. If I keep things as they are it will never get better, because it is in no one’s interest to make it better for people like me.” It is possible to have both of these motives at the same time. I think a lot of people feel so devalued and disillusioned by now that they are willing to take a risk and shake things up even if the odds are quite poor. Marduk is right on this point, a lot of commentators, professional and amateur, have been incredibly, offensively condescending and insulting about the people with this point of view. Almost as if they have never themselves been stuck between a rock and a hard place and asked which one they like best.

    the values of the left really seem to have divorced from the values of those ‘normal, flawed people’.. The left seems to base itself on big-city dwellers, on the educated and flexible, and on minorities, ethnic, sexual and otherwise. In short on those who are happy with change, those who gain from the new order

    I agree that this is a huge problem but I would caution against thinking about “the left” in quite this way. There are thousand upon thousands of people up and down the country who have been involved in local left wing politics, party politics or otherwise, for years and years, advocating for the needs of people in their own areas, and they have very little to do with anything you’re describing. The “left” isn’t a phenomenon confined to twitter and the pages of the Guardian is all I’m saying. However, your point is taken, and it is very much what I was talking about when I said that they are pacing their cage; for a lot of people this is the limits of their advocacy because they have committed themselves to those very structures which leave no space, no protection and no value for the ordinary working class people who the left used to represent. “Working class” became pretty much a dirty word in the Blair Message Book; it was all about the “hard working families.” Post-Brexit Theresa May has brought it back as a way of saying “we’re listening, we understand your concerns…” but she has nothing tangible to offer; she won’t sanction further spending, and her industrial and regional strategies are going to flop without serious long-term investment in infrastructure and skills. It’s sometimes forgotten that while globalisation was outsourcing the jobs, immigration was outsourcing the costs of training workers. The same 30 years which saw the soaring ascendancy of neoliberalism, the demise of the industrial sector, the rise of finance etc also saw the total gutting of further education. The tragedy is that people barely seemed to notice it was happening and so no one kicked up a fuss, but this more than anything else is what is going to bite us in the arse as we try to revitalise the regional economies. I don’t know. I think the situation could be salvaged but it would take 20 years and massive investment and where is that coming from? It’s like the old joke about getting directions: “If I wanted to get there, I wouldn’t start from here.”

  110. Marduk says

    120.

    When I talk to older people, the biggest change they always reference is in training, not the flashier issues that tend to concern us.

    The thing to remember about training is that its about risk as well as cost. When a company trains someone, they take a risk that the investment will pay off for them (that the requirement for those skills will remain). What has happened over the last three decades is a move to the state and then most recently, the individual bearing that risk. This pernicious because industry won’t even try to give guidance. Organisations complain about skills gaps but that isn’t the same thing – there was a shortage of chemical engineers according to the IoD (or similar) and then apparently too many chemical engineers two years later, a degree takes three years, thanks for playing but if you did the supposed sensible thing and listened to us, you’re screwed. Industry could move so fast because of the rate of immigration, there are a lot of eastern european chemical engineers about.

    Assuming the government can’t be bothered to subsidize training or walk business back on it, then they could at least generate good quality data and guidance. At present expecting a 16 year old to know what subjects to study makes about as much sense as forcing all pensioners to personally invest their pension money on the FTSE. This predictably leads to problems for individuals and a represents a colossal loss to the nation. Its a miracle anyone has a job.

  111. StillGjenganger says

    @Marduk 121

    Many of the ideas are interesting – but then as a non-lefty I would think that. But his way of quoting all the good points of the ‘enemies of the left’, while affirming in painful detail that he holds all the ideas of the left to be true and sacred really is an offense to reasonable discussion. In fact I am struggling to decide whether this is best described as passive-aggressive, or just as a ‘have-your-cake-and-eat-it’ exercise worthy of Boris Johnson.

    Things have consequences – logical and political. If he is solidaric with those abandoned young men and agrees on the advantages of accepting people as they are and allowing them to say and discuss what they mean – well then it follows that a lot of the identity politics and left-wing debate-control is wrong. And that the marginalised groups that hope to benefit from them cannot and should not get all they want. If on the other hand he stands together with left-wing orthodoxy and presents all those counterarguments merely as machinations of the enemy that you must find a way of dealing with to get people into the true faith – then he can continue to support fullly his allies. But to everybody else he is just a manipulative propagandist, and any solidarity or understanding from his side is so much sham. And people will notice.

    There are real conflicts here. Between the interests of minorities and of majorities, between men and women, between workers in Europe and workers in China, between racial and social groups, cis and trans. You do not get anywhere by pretending that there is one way that is the best for everybody – and that just happens to be the one you already prefer.

    To be fair to the man he surely has an opinion. But in order to do any good he needs to get down off the fence and say clearly what that opinion is.

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