Open thread: Normal service shall resume shortly


Hello strangers!

Happy to confirm that I have not fallen off a cliff, and that with kids returning to school and some kind of long-forgotten routine casually sidling up to me on the sofa, normal HetPat service shall resume shortly.

I have a couple of issues just bubbling up to the surface for proper blog posts, but in the meantime, I thought I’d welcome in the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness with a quick open thread.

To get you started, here’s a comment that sonofrojblake just left under my previous post.

Great story on the news this morning regarding boys, girls and consent.

Girl, 14, takes photo of herself naked, sends it to her same-age boyfriend. Without her consent, he shares it around. She's obviously the victim of a crime - "revenge porn" has been in the news - so as you might imagine, as a victim, she was sensitively interviewed by the school and the police tracked down and prosecuted the person(s) who distributed this image without her consent.

Oh, no hang on, that's not how it went down at all. The circumstances were the same, the actions were the same, but the photo taker/sender was male, the revenge porn perp female. Result? School interviewed the BOY without his solicitor OR EVEN PARENT present and pressurised him into admitting to taking and sending the picture. Police have pursued HIM and now he has a record for producing a distributing an indecent image of a child, a charge he will be forced to reveal to any future prospective employer - even though the image was of himself. In an interview with the BBC he mentioned that other kids at his school still have the picture and have threatened him in relation to it - apparently there's been no particular interest from the police  in pursuing those known to be in possession of the image.

In none of the coverage I've heard did anyone mention the massive double standard at work.



The story is here.

I think there are two issues muddled up here. The first is that the police have intervened in a Snapchat exchange between two teenagers, formally processing it as a crime of child pornography. This is, quite obviously, ludicrous. It is also not that unusual, and sooner or later the law is going to have to catch up with reality because we risk branding entire generations of teenagers as sex offenders.

The second point, the one that sonofrojblake makes, is a bit less clearcut, I think. There is one crucial detail missing from the reporting. . .  I haven’t seen anything anywhere to suggest the girl and boy were in a relationship, that the naked selfie was in any way solicited, invited or even welcomed. If it was – and the girl then betrayed the lad by screencapping his Snapchat and showing it to all her friends – then it would be fair to consider her as a horribly exploitative little brat.

On the other hand, if the boy had not been invited or encouraged to send the girl a naked selfie, the story would look rather different. To be blunt, sending unsolicited cockshots is quite a nasty form of sexual harassment, it is basically indecent exposure in digital format. While obviously making allowances for 14 year old idiocy, if you send a naked image of yourself to someone who has neither invited nor expected it, and they decide to show all their (and your) friends, then that seems pretty much natural (if rough) justice to me.

Feel free to disagree with me below, or share whatever else is blipping your oscilloscope this week.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. 123454321 says

    Hmmm, good point. We would need to know whether they were in a relationship. On the other hand, who knows, she might have jokingly asked for a picture of his weenie, knowing that she was going to capture it and send on. Who knows what these kids get up to! Without the officials knowing these pieces of information, I can’t see how the boy could be threatened and reprimanded the way he has been whilst the girl gets off the hook. Maybe someone already knows the answers to those questions but the news reports haven’t highlighted them. Or maybe the answers are known, but purposefully withheld due to the reverse sex situation? I wish I knew.

  2. Ally Fogg says

    yep, basically we’ve only got one side of the story here. it seems it came to light because the boy’s parents went to the BBC with it, and so it is spun entirely from their POV.

    If we only had the story from the girl’s parents it might look very different.

  3. 123454321 says

    Oh, and by the way, you mean cockshots like the ones 14 year olds constantly see splashed around on mainstream TV in their bedrooms? The ones whereby they see their 14 year old female friends giggling along in less than tentative approval. Which, in effect, could be potentially encouraging boys to think it’s ok to flash their cocks? Remember, you need to look at this from a young and impressionable person’s point of view after they have spent a life being bombarded by. You’ve heard me saying this all before so I won’t bore you! I know you don’t agree, but you might one day.

  4. That Guy says

    this part- makes me suspicious

    “However, his mother was told her son’s details – along with those of the girl involved and another teenager – had been added to a police intelligence database and could be stored for at least 10 years.”

    It seems to me that there’s a good possibility the girl and possible associate have gotten a rap on the knuckles for potentially distributing indecent images of a child- iirc this has been reported before (in different cases) that there’s a willingness to criminalise not just photo takers but those that re-distribute the images.

    I think in the above case, there’s not much merit to the double standards argument, as a) everyone gets fucked, and b) I am pretty sure similar circumstances have occurred with genders reversed. though I can’t recall a source so [citation needed]

  5. StillGjenanger says

    sooner or later the law is going to have to catch up with reality because we risk branding entire generations of teenagers as sex offenders.

    Not obvious how this one will develop, though. There sees to be increasing focus on violence, sexual coercion, etc. among teenagers as a kind of abuse that needs stamping out. And the formal definition of sexual crime among adults goes down to fairly minor actions – patting someone on the bum is ‘sexual assault’, no? For adults field is tempered, let us say, by the judgement of the victims whether a given event warrants the hassle of a police report. Minors are not generally allowed to exercise their own judgement, and ‘zero tolerance’ of anything containing the words ‘sex’ and ‘minor’ is increasingly supported.

    How can any of this possibly be squared with letting teenagers work things out for themselves without heavyhanded policing?

  6. Dunc says

    The biggest problem with sonofrojblake’s counterfactual (in which the photo taker is a girl, and is treated sensitively) is that several such events have actually happened, and not worked out as he has assumed they would. In fact, they’ve worked out exactly as this particular case has. Both boys and girls have been prosecuted as child pornographers for sending naked photos of themselves, even in cases where the photos haven’t been shared with third parties.

    I would provide links, but I’m not searching for them from a work computer, for fairly obvious reasons… They shouldn’t be especially hard to find though.

  7. StillGjenanger says

    Another interesting conflict is with child pornography laws. The actual law prohibits mere possession. The prohibited images includes cartoons (one – not from Britain – was convicted for possession a picture of Bart Simpson with a stiffie) and collections of cuts from mainstream Hollywood films, if the nature o the collection has a clear focus on child nudity or sexuality. If that is the law for grown-ups, how are you going to make it legal for minors to distribute naked pictures?

  8. Ally Fogg says

    1234etc (6)

    Woman spared jail for revenge porn. I presume men have treated the same?

    i believe there have only been about 10 convictions under that law so far, so a bit difficult to say, but this is from this week

    http://www.readingchronicle.co.uk/news/13639253.Revenge_porn_man_sentenced/

    A MAN believed to be one of the first in the country to be convicted of ‘revenge porn’ was given a six month suspended sentence by magistrates’ today.

    So it looks like your answer is “yes”.

  9. sonofrojblake says

    Quick point:

    not worked out as he has assumed they would

    I didn’t assume that a female victim would be treated sensitively. I described what I’m safe assuming most people would say should take place, since with a female victim I can’t picture anyone disagreeing.

  10. Ally Fogg says

    Dunc (7)

    i’m not sure that’s entirely true. I think sonofrojblake wasn’t talking about what happens to kids who take and share naked selfies, but the second part of this incident – what would happen if someone had an image like that which had been shared consensually between two people, and then one of them decides to show all his/her friends?

    I think if that happened, I would expect the person passing it on to others to be prosecuted, and to be considered rather differently.

    However as I say above, we don’t actually know that in this instance the photos were shared consensually which potentially changes things quite significantly.

  11. That Guy says

    on the topic of unsolicited images- Ally, what’s your feelings on unsolicited images sent by women/girls?

    I was thinking about this (has happened to a few people I know) and while I recognise on an academic level that both are not OK- thinking about the power differential and how society treats men and women I’d imagine that If I were a woman getting one, I’d think “this person doesn’t respect my boundaries, and could potentially further sexually assault me”, but If I were a man, I’d think “this makes me uncomfortable, but I can’t see it going any further if I just ignore it”.

    Do you think this is because of the power dynamic between boys and girls in school, (i.e. ‘real’) or would you say rather it’s because of the implied power dynamic, i.e. (boy is not worried about sexual assault because of the cultural erasure of boys sexually assaulted by women/girls?).

    I’m pretty conflicted about this (this is the third draft of this comment)

  12. 123454321 says

    “So it looks like your answer is “yes””

    Thanks, Ally, I’ve not looked into this one much. Glad the adults are treated equally, regardless of gender. I hope it continues that way.

  13. 123454321 says

    “…because of the implied power dynamic, i.e. (boy is not worried about sexual assault because of the cultural erasure of boys sexually assaulted by women/girls?).”

    I’d say you’re spot on with that. Don’t let it take three drafts before you feel comfortable saying it!

  14. Ally Fogg says

    That Guy (12)

    Yes, I think you’ve hit on a point I have made many a time in the past, which is that equal treatment in an unequal society is not necessarily possible, and not necessarily ‘fair’ or just.

    But in terms of seriousness of offence, this is one of those which is very dependent upon the individuals and circumstances involved. The actual wording of the law is always going to be a clumsy implement.

  15. sonofrojblake says

    If I were a naïve man, I’d think “this [woman sending me unsolicited naked pics] makes me uncomfortable, but I can’t see it going any further if I just ignore it”.

    FIFY.

    Acknowledge first that women sending unsolicitied nudie pics to men is vanishingly rare, much, MUCH rarer then men engaging in that type of harassment of women. But the corollary is that when that type of behaviour does occur, it should be of MORE concern, not less.

  16. Ally Fogg says

    But the corollary is that when that type of behaviour does occur, it should be of MORE concern, not less.

    Why?

  17. worksfromhome says

    The most recent episode of the podcast “Note To Self” is an interview with a teenager about mobile phones. It’s pretty light hearted, so no deep analysis, but sexting does briefly come up. One thing the teenager says is that boys sometimes send naked photos of themselves to girls in an attempt to persuade the girl to respond similarly. Obviously no way to tell if that was going on here without more information, but it was a motivation for sending naked photos that hadn’t occurred to me before. More generally, this also suggests that, for at least some boys, acquiring a naked photo of a girl is worth more than the cost of distributing a naked photo of yourself. This also surprised me, but perhaps it makes sense given societies’ other inequalities.

  18. 123454321 says

    “More generally, this also suggests that, for at least some boys, acquiring a naked photo of a girl is worth more than the cost of distributing a naked photo of yourself.”

    Absolutely right. But after all, when girls (and boys) are literally surrounded by male genitals in every corner of the world they look (without having to look too hard), boys (or girls) would have to dig a lot deeper to see uncensored female genitals, so it’s hardly surprising that it’s that way around.

  19. sonofrojblake says

    @18: I would have thought it obvious.

    Guys sending unsolicited naked pics to women is depressingly common. It is regarded, among many men, as relatively “harmless”. Only a tiny proportion of men will follow up this “harmless” behaviour with anything worse, e.g. stalking, assault etc. Women obviously have no way of knowing whether the idiot sending them the pics is one of the majority or one of the rarer, more dangerous ones.

    Women sending unsolicited naked pics to men is extremely uncommon. It is very much NOT regarded among women as harmless behaviour. It is therefore reasonable to assume that if a women is so devoid of understanding of boundaries that she will engage in such behaviour, there is an increased risk that she will graduate to stalking and worse. Men have no way of knowing whether the idiot sending them the pics is dangerous, but since the NON-dangerous ones are so very, very rare to begin with, the assumption of danger is reasonable.

  20. Ally Fogg says

    [21]

    i don’t think there is any evidential basis for this conversation on either side so we’re just down to personal takes on it but I strongly disagree with you there.

    You are right that it is far, far less common for women to send unsolicited naked selfies to guys, but if one did, my assumption would be that she is unusually exhibitionist and/or hypersexual, not dangerous.

    And for that matter, I’m not sure that threat or danger of actual, physical attack is really the issue with men sending pics to women. It is more an act of intrusiveness, imposing an act of sexuality, ie seeing you naked whether she wants to or not, that is a kind of offence in itself.

  21. That Guy says

    20) 123454321

    I think you and I are living in different worlds- I can go quite a while in every day life without seeing anyone’s male genitals (except my own). Am I missing something? or am I just living in the clearing of a forest of willies?

    21) sonofrojblake

    It’s interesting that you say that women sending unwanted nuddie pics is vanishingly rare- do you have any evidence to back that up?
    I’ve certainly heard of the unsolicited dick pic- there’s been enough high profile cases that I easily believe it’s a real and serious problem. BUT I’ve also had enough experience that I’d be surprised that there wasn’t a comparable fraction of the female equivalent- say, 10% of unsolicited explicit pictures are sent by women?

    DISCLOSURE-
    I’ve seen this happen twice- once when I was 14-15 a friend of mine got an unsolicited picture from a girl he barely knew of the same age, he was pretty weirded out by that.

    the second time, another friend received an unsolicited video of a co-worker touching herself in the staff toilets- the guy in question was in a relationship with another woman at the time, I think he was about 19 at the time so it’s not really a case of children anymore, but still.

    the first instance was over 11 years ago, and the second was more like seven or so years ago, so ‘sexting’ wasn’t the media bogeyman it is today- and I’d be willing to believe that since the idea has become more commonplace that there might have been an increase in these things.

    THAT BEING SAID- there’s also been an increase in the knowledge about the potential dangers of these sort of unsolicited pictures- particularly for women and girls- so maybe there’s been a decrease? I don’t know.

    What I do know, is that for something ‘vanishingly rare’ to have happened twice within my relatively small social circle means that either it’s not so rare, or that I’m a statistical anomaly- which I’ll admit, is fully possible.

    Perhaps this is related to the local penis drought?

  22. 123454321 says

    Thinking back, all the pictures of genitalia I’ve been sent, or been intentionally given a peek of by friends/work colleagues, either in seriousness or a jokingly fashion, have been of male genitalia distributed (in the vast majority) by females. I’m struggling to remember one single time someone has shoved a picture of a vagina under my nose. What’s going on here? is that a normal experience amongst other people?

  23. 123454321 says

    “I’ve certainly heard of the unsolicited dick pic- there’s been enough high profile cases that I easily believe it’s a real and serious problem. ”

    Yes, this certainly is a problem and it’s affecting far too many people, especially children, which is just not right. The boys are not entirely to blame when girls are flashing around pictures of cocks themselves. I still maintain that TV and film is a hefty influential factor on young kids (as well as adults).

    Another thing that occurs to me. If that girl who was sent a cockshot was so offended, then why didn’t she go to the teachers (or police) before sending it to her mates?

  24. Marduk says

    #23, I don’t think its ‘vanishingly rare’ at all. It wasn’t vanishingly rare back when it was polaroids and the royal mail, ask people on the fringes of the entertainment industry.

    What skews the perception of this is that you’ve got an extra group (and I think this is largely male) for whom mass mailing pictures of their junk is in itself their actual fetish. Its not unsolicited as much as as sent to complete strangers, its a different thing though really.

    But doing something stupid on a whim to attract the opposite sex? Men and boys don’t have a monopoly on that and frankly, girls have more reason to think it might work as well.

  25. sonofrojblake says

    Re: “vanishingly rare” – anecdata I’m afraid. In four and a half decades neither I nor any man with whom I’ve ever been acquainted has ever been on the receiving end of unsolicited naked pictures from a woman. Should I/they be feeling left out? I appreciate it may have happened and I wouldn’t have been told. I discount this possibility based on the wide range of other, WAY more “out there” tales I’ve been told (and had corroborated) about some of my acquaintances’ experiences. If this was a thing women did with any kind of frequency, I was sure I’d have heard about it.

    I’ve certainly had more than one male cheerfully admit to having sent “intimate” photos to unwitting recipients. I’ve known work colleagues arrested for worse.

    ask people on the fringes of the entertainment industry

    I don’t think “people on the fringes of the entertainment industry” are necessarily experiencing a representative cross-section of human reactions. Celebs (even minor celebs) seem to attract what it used to be acceptable to call “nutters”.

    my assumption would be that she is unusually exhibitionist and/or hypersexual, not dangerous

    Would you feel safe assuming that if it was a man sending them?

  26. Marduk says

    Cosmo surveyed its readers and found 90% had taken and sent nude selfies.

    Given that solicitation to send and consent to receive a picture are at best hazy even in good faith, I just don’t see how it could possibly be ‘vanishingly rare’ unless you have a strong reason to believe that young women are faultless beings who not only never misunderstand or misjudge an interaction with another person, but are incapable of being misunderstood or misjudged by a third party.

  27. 123454321 says

    “I think you and I are living in different worlds- I can go quite a while in every day life without seeing anyone’s male genitals (except my own). Am I missing something? or am I just living in the clearing of a forest of willies?”

    Oh come on, you’ve obviously never been to an art gallery, seen Michelangelo’s David, the Sistine Chapel, visited Italy, even a garden centre, watched channel 4, seen programmes like embarrassing bodies, watched 18 (even lower) rated films. Let’s not turn this thread into a derailment fest of cock vs vag trying to prove which one is more prevalent in everyday, public life. But I can assure you, when you look properly, there are far more uncensored male genitalia flying around the family orientated public space than female ones, all for our young generation of boys and girls to subliminally soak up and draw their own conclusions from – and then act as they do.

    We all make our own bed.

  28. redpesto says

    “Toys aimed at girls ‘steering women away from science careers'”

    Toys aimed at young girls are steering them away from science and engineering before they even reach school age, according to a leading British researcher.

    Dame Athene Donald, professor of experimental physics at Cambridge University, said that toys marketed at girls often lead to passive play, instead of stoking the imagination and encouraging the children to develop more creative skills.

    She also attacked schools for taking the “lazy” option of finding work experience placements for pupils that reinforce gender stereotypes. Girls looking for work experience were likely to find themselves in hairdressing salons while boys went to the local garage, she said.

    Sadly, the one good idea contained in the article – a broader and more balanced 11-18 curriculum that might encourage more girls to take up STEM subjects (and more boys to do arts) – gets lost in the ‘Barbie Must Be Destroyed!’ headlines and lashings of anecdata.

  29. Jacob Schmidt says

    Cosmo surveyed its readers and found 90% had taken and sent nude selfies.
    Given that solicitation to send and consent to receive a picture are at best hazy even in good faith, I just don’t see how it could possibly be ‘vanishingly rare’ unless you have a strong reason to believe that young women are faultless beings who not only never misunderstand or misjudge an interaction with another person, but are incapable of being misunderstood or misjudged by a third party.

    Unless most of those selfies are being sent within an established relationship. Without further information, that data does little to dispute “vanishingly rare” (cosmo readers are hardly a representative section of women anyways).

    That said, I don’t accept the description “vanishingly rare.” “Rare” (especially “relatively rare”) I would accept in a heartbeat. But time and time again, when anyone’s bothered to look, we see women engaging in more stereotypically male sexual behaviour than most guess at a glance. Women like to sleep around, though probably less so than men. Women use manipulation and coercion to get sex, though probably less so than men. Women probably send unsolicited nude photos, though probably less so than men.

    To continue trading anecdata: there are several sites that aggregate examples of men behaving like jackasses to women over the internet/ through texting. Even with their apparent purpose of mocking the poor behaviour of men, examples of women sending unsolicited nudes still pop up on these sites.

  30. Marduk says

    redpesto, I think she is right actually, it starts early and needs to start early. I see this as actually a quiet corrective to a lot of well meaning nonsense that has been put out there in recent years.

    We’ve been having a false discussion about STEM for a long time led mostly by arts graduates whose view of the loathed/envied STEM domain is that its just a school thing because it was for them. I’m sure they’d tell you that their elevation to reading English or Art at Oxford was the culmination of thousands of hours of voracious extracurricular reading/obsessive painting or whatever but its just unimaginable for them that someone else could feel and more importantly, act, the same way about maths or learning assembler or whatever it is. It leads to the odd idea you can direct people into careers years, maybe even a decade, after the horse has bolted.

    As an example, it is a huge problem for things like Physics which at university level finds maths A-level unworkably low as an admission standard to the point you have a quiet crisis going on in physics education. If you are going to make a go at being even a strong undergrad (let alone an actual physicist), that stuff can’t be the peak of your learning at 18, or by then you’ve got thousands of hours to make up that everyone else has been doing obsessively the whole time. Because people who really bloody love physics and absolutely have to know how it works have no problem with that. Probably sounds elitist in this context but if I was talking about a kid who absolutely had to master the violin nobody would have a problem with it, that is how professional musicians are right?

    Certainly there is an issue about retaining people who could be on the path, but I have to roll my eyes at Guardian pieces that think its about persuading 16 or 18 year olds to be interested in something (hey, have you ever considered being an Olympic gymnast!? You’re only 12-14 years behind in your training…).

    Its odd we think that STEM can be encompassed by a fixed school curriculum but nobody would expect a Premiership Footballer to emerge fully formed from PE lessons alone. Why do people think STEM requires so much less commitment than anything else you could choose to do? The fear of putting people off I suppose but it can go too far.

  31. David S says

    @Marduk (32)

    As an example, it is a huge problem for things like Physics which at university level finds maths A-level unworkably low as an admission standard to the point you have a quiet crisis going on in physics education.

    Hmm, here’s our opportunity to completely derail the thread. I did Physics at university about 35 years ago, and my son is currently doing Maths A Level. I can’t see why there would be a huge problem with the transition to higher education, unless university Physics has got much more difficult since my days.

    So far as I can remember, my Maths A Level covered more or less the same ground as my son’s, and my Maths A Level (ok Further Maths as well) was reasonably good preparation for the start of Uni Physics. I didn’t remember the first year of Physics at university actually requiring any particularly tricky maths. We did things like special relativity, and introductory quantum physics, which are conceptually difficult, but the maths was relatively straightforward. There was some more difficult maths later on, but we had maths lectures in which it was explained to us. What are the problems that universities have with Maths A Level now that they didn’t have then? Or do Physics academics always moan about their new students, the same way farmers always moan about the harvest?

  32. 123454321 says

    “We did things like special relativity, … which are conceptually difficult,”

    The difficult one is general relativity – involves gravity and curvature of four-dimensional space-time, which is still bollocks because ‘time’ doesn’t exist. Sorry, just sayin’

  33. StillGjenganer says

    Lots of weak points in that article.
    Cause and effect. Children are not empty computer disks. They go for the toys they want, and shops go for the toys they can sell. Unwanted but pedagogical toys will not remake our children’s personalities, but will be left to gather dust.

    Dolls etc. are not about passivity but about social interaction – and give quite as much scope for creativity as Lego ,let alone superhero figurines. If a majority of girls are not attracted by fighting, or by lonely mastery of the inanimate world, it is not a different choice of toys that will change them.

  34. David S says

    The difficult one is general relativity – involves gravity and curvature of four-dimensional space-time,

    Yeah, we didn’t get on to that until the second year. If memory serves, you need to understand tensors to do the maths for it. They don’t teach tensors in A Level maths, but they didn’t teach them in A Level maths back in the early Cretaceous period, when I was at school. The university got around that by teaching us about tensors (or rather by running lectures on tensors that I didn’t turn up to because I was a lazy spoilt brat who didn’t realise how lucky he was to be getting such an education!). If universities think that school will equip students with enough maths to get them through all three years of a physics course, then they are being a bit unrealistic. All that you can reasonably expect is enough maths to get them started in their first year.

  35. 123454321 says

    You mean tensor fields. Yeah, that and Lorentz equations etc. none of which explains why the speed of light remains constant for all observers regardless of the relative speed of the source/observer. Or what gravity actually is, or what mass is, or what inertia is… you know, the basic stuff that most people think science has got a handle of. Don’t get me started on this subject, it’s even less evolved than our ethical and cultural values, which persist with ignoring men and boys in the year 2015!

  36. redpesto says

    Marduck #34:

    redpesto, I think she is right actually, it starts early and needs to start early. I see this as actually a quiet corrective to a lot of well meaning nonsense that has been put out there in recent years.

    I’d agree that it needs to ‘start early’ too – but does that mean getting them early on ‘an academic track towards the hard sciences’ (as helpfully explained by Dr Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory), or saying ‘no Barbie until you’ve done your quadratic equations’? It’s one thing to support and encourage scientific/technological ‘play’ in kids; it’s another to assume that you can force that process in a trade-off with femininity (otherwise we’d conversely give boys My Little Pony instead of Transformers).

  37. Carnation says

    Followers of Ally’a Twitter account will have noticed he RT’d a Telegraph article asking why “speaking up about men’a issues always triggers a furious reaction”

    I think the premise is mostly nonsense but has a kernel of accuracy to it.

    So why does it trigger a negative reaction? Online, I’d suggest weary rather than furious, and, online at least, posit that this weariness is literally the only tangible outcome of the entire so-called “mens rights movement” (which has no offline/real world presence).

    Off line/real world, it’s rather more complex – patriarchal misandry? Third sector fund protectionism?

    Anyone got any thoughts?

  38. That Guy says

    @ carnation

    I’d say you’ve hit the nail on the head there- the setting up of a men’s society example given in the telegraph article is caught with both barrells-
    1) weariness- that is to say that the idea of social justice for men has been tainted by MRA bigots and now any concept of men’s rights or issues are associated with misogyny. It’s simply easier to dismiss men’s issues out of hand than waste time or energy finding out if ‘this one’ is the needle in the dung-heap. Incidentally explains why the society was only really allowed to exist within the framework of FemSoc, as a inoculation against this.

    2) The idea of men having issues is difficult to accept in a society that prizes men as the ‘default’, or even the ideal. It would require de-coupling the ‘man’ from ‘mankind’.

    I find it hard to believe that offline response to men’s issues from society at large is anything other than the logical result of issues in 2)- of course, in certain subsets of society, there’s maybe more complicated and subtle reasons. If I was to go to a women’s shelter and start talking about the problems of masculinity and maleness, the response would be (justifiably) much different and for different reasons, be it positive or negative.

    However, if we consider the hypothetical scenario that attitudes to men’s issues are shaped by some kind of partisan pro-women groups, I’d imagine a group capable of that social change would have already eliminated or changed attitudes to the many problems faced by women, e.g. rape culture, equal pay, pro-choice, sanitary tax … etc.

    considering the attitudes to these and other problems faced by women, I feel that the force that they exert on attitudes men’s issues at large is small.

    NOTE: the above makes the implicit assumption that all groups campaigning for women’s issues are ‘against’ men’s issues. I don’t believe this is the case, but the assumption is made as it over-estimates the effect on society’s attitude to men’s issues.

  39. 123454321 says

    Rape Culture? Where exactly? Can you explain this in terms of stats, in particular, an explanation of the tipping point at which something can be defined and widely accepted as a “culture”?

    Equal pay? Again, I heard recently that women doing the same job as their male counterparts were being paid more. from here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30112814
    “Hourly earnings figures reveal that, in April 2014, women working for more than 30 hours a week were actually paid 1.1% more than men in the 22 to 29 age bracket and, for the first time were also paid more in the 30 to 39 age bracket.”

    Is that source wrong then?

  40. Ally Fogg says

    Carnation ./ That Guy

    from my experience, talking about men’s issues will pretty much guarantee hostility, even if “fury” is overstating it.

    However a couple of important caveats. The first is that the hostility comes from quite a small and narrow corner, basically 2nd wave radfems and their sympathisers. It is a mistake to think that all people, all women, even all feminists will react similarly, they don’t.

    From those who do react with hostility, I think there are several factors. Certainly it is true that certain MRAs have poisoned the well to such extent that they have made men’s issues a topic of suspicion at best.

    However i think there is also a strand within feminism which considers gender relations to be zero sum – any gains for men’s interests must be harmful to women’s interests and vice versa. So on that basis, even addressing issues such as male specific mental health is considered to be a prop for patriarchy. I think that analysis is profoundly wrong, but it definitely has its champions.

  41. Carnation says

    @ Ally Fogg

    “from my experience, talking about men’s issues will pretty much guarantee hostility … i think there is also a strand within feminism which considers gender relations to be zero sum – any gains for men’s interests must be harmful to women’s interests and vice versa. So on that basis, even addressing issues such as male specific mental health is considered to be a prop for patriarchy. I think that analysis is profoundly wrong, but it definitely has its champions.”

    Well, life is too short to do a contextual analysis or research piece into it, but I would state confidently that talking about women’s issues will pretty much guarantee hostility across the board. I don’t think those talking about men’s issues have a monopoly on that. What is tragic is that those agitating for women’s issues have had huge success, whereas those agitating for men’s issues have had very little. This is why “poisoning the well” is such a tragedy – the online trash are strangling genuine advocates before they can get started.

    I accept your point that certain feminists will be openly hostile to those talking about men’s issues (and, indeed, men in general), but they are very few and don’t have much power to do anything other than snipe bitterly. The younger, hipper social justice crowd, male and female, seem far more open to those talking about men’s issues than their parent’s generation/public in general, partly because of new left politics and partly because of the breakdown/rejection of gender roles.

    And, lest we all get depressed, the times are changing. Male victims of sexual abuse are getting more recognition (even if the Tories are cutting their services), men’s mental health campaigns are being launched very publicly and many employment/employ-ability programmes are being launched that cater for men are in existence too.

    Nowhere near enough, but it is happening.

  42. avern says

    Men’s rights have met with greater opposition because misandry is more ingrained in western culture than misogyny has ever been. It’s as simple as that.

    Feminists have helped prevent misandry from being rooted out by creating and promoting the myth of patriarchy, so they are in great part responsible for the slower growth of men’s rights.

    MRAs, of course, are the only ones shining a light on these pernicious cultural assumptions. It’s hard work and takes time, but considering the enormous bigotry that men in the lower classes face, no one can expect this to be accomplished quickly.

  43. Carnation says

    @ Avern

    “Men’s rights have met with greater opposition because misandry is more ingrained in western culture than misogyny has ever been. It’s as simple as that.”

    It’s as simple as that if one accepts premises that are ridiculous. There isn’t any evidence whatsoever that “men’s rights” have met with greater opposition than “women’s rights” contemporaneously, and historically, your point is ridiculous to the point of absurdity.

    “Feminists have helped prevent misandry from being rooted out by creating and promoting the myth of patriarchy, so they are in great part responsible for the slower growth of men’s rights.”

    You are correct in one sense. Feminists/feminisms are the sole focus, indeed obsession, of the vast majority of online MRAs, so in that sense, their deluded prejudices pollute the discourse they are trying to (or pretending to try to) promote. Actual advocates for men, the ones getting results, understand patriarchal theory and their activism involves, partly, facilitating men to reject unhealthy and unobtainable societal expectations. Almost all online MRAs are incapable/unwilling to understand patriarchal theory, and prefer a lazy, tabloid version that feeds into their victim narrative but renders their message embarrassingly stupid.

    “MRAs, of course, are the only ones shining a light on these pernicious cultural assumptions. It’s hard work and takes time, but considering the enormous bigotry that men in the lower classes face, no one can expect this to be accomplished quickly.”

    This is self-serving, willful delusion and embarrassingly stupid. It isn’t hard work to spam comments threads, it’s hard work to set up a community group. It doesn’t take time to troll and dox women online, it takes time to sit with a young man who’s been beaten his whole life, literally and metaphorically, and suggest to him that acting out violently isn’t the appropriate response in life and that there’s another way.

    Sadly, for vulnerable males, there best hope for social justice is with the very “social justice warriors” denigrated as fascists by the online fools, trolls and inadequates that constitutes the best known “men’s movement” on the internet.

    (Ally, I’ve kept the First Directive in mind – happy to accept adjudication).

  44. 123454321 says

    “Actual advocates for men, the ones getting results,….”

    Carny – You claim to be an “actual” advocate of men. You accused Mike Buchanan of lack of achievement. You support the notion that all men making a noise about their invisibility should simply be quiet. What widespread results or achievements have you delivered as part of your strategy? Just curious.

  45. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    No, I haven’t claimed to be an advocate, but I have been involved in provision aimed solely at males – job creation, mentoring and education for economically disadvantaged males (paid to do this), and CV writing, computer skills and advocacy/representation for men who needed it (volunteered).

    It was rewarding and character building but ultimately I sold out and chased the money.

    Interestingly, on the front lines, the pathetic posturing of MRAs, feminists and thread commenters like you and I are of zero significance. Drink, drugs, casual violence, the criminal justice system, unemployment and social decline are what destroys males lives, not feminism.

    The only ones blaming feminism for men’s problems are the buffoons unwilling to do anything other than type words about it.

    What exactly has Mike Buchanan done to help men who need help in the UK?

  46. 123454321 says

    “and thread commenters like you and I are of zero significance.”

    Carny (all the fun of the fairground) – Nope, you’re wrong, but I think you’re a good guy who means well. Obviously we are coming from different angles using different approaches, but your refusal to recognise much of the exaggeration, hatred and protracted lies coming out of feminism ideology these days (the recent CPS saga being just one example of taking the piss), as well as the blatant disregard by the media to properly represent men’s issues, prevents us from joining forces effectively. I’m afraid the anger has built up to a point where many men (call them MRAs if you wish) are no longer willing to tolerate a slowly-slowly approach in trying to dissolve the polarity built up between men and women, much of which has been created by an overwhelming, attention-seeking feminist narrative now so firmly embedded that huge organisations like the BBC are literally scared shitless to follow their own policies around impartiality. A positive, democratic shift in society towards changing its behaviour will take into consideration the WHOLE audience and react to ALL voices. Men (many of lower, working class who have it far worse than many women) want to speak out about their point of view. They now have the tools to speak out. And, much to your disappointment, they ARE speaking out.Cultural, evolutionary shifts should be all-inclusive. Men, up until recently, have been completely overshadowed by the feminist narrative and their only place they can voice their opinions is comments sections, blogs and websites on the internet. Even then, many are censored, which builds up eve more resentfulness. For example, sites which openly voice hatred towards men, even violence, are deemed acceptable, where as many men’s rights sites responsibly raising men’s issues are labelled as hate sites and blocked by various media port outlets. I’m afraid, Carny Funfair, your position is likely to get worse before it gets better. I still think you’re a good guy who needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

  47. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    Without using metaphor, please detail what tangible outcomes have been realised for men who need help by the online so-called “mena rights movement”

    By way of example: feminists agitated for legislation preventing sex discrimination in the workplace. They won.

    Keep it punchy, just bullet points the clear, tangible ways that the mrm has helped men in the UK.

  48. 123454321 says

    Carny – I asked you: What WIDESPREAD results or achievements have you delivered as part of your strategy?

    You answer in a very localised fashion that you’ve done recruitment work but since moved on because it didn’t pay well. So you’re obviously an advocate of putting money before men’s issues. But in other words you can’t answer the question, or at least admit that you’ve done NOTHING in terms of reaping widespread benefits for men, so instead you ask what Mike Buchanan has done, and then ask what the MRM has done. Nice!

    I suppose you’d apply the same logic to the widespread recognition the suffragettes gained through their determination to have their voices listened to?

  49. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    “I asked you: What WIDESPREAD results or achievements have you delivered as part of your strategy?”

    I never claimed to be part of a strategy, let alone one that had “WIDESPREAD” achievements. I also didn’t work in recruitment.

    What I have stated, repeatedly, and truthfully, is that the entire MRM, including Mike, collectively, have achieved absolutely nothing to help even a single man in need of help. If you can point out any examples of men being assisted by activism carried out by so-called MRAs in the UK, then I will amend my language accordingly.

    But as it stands, as far as I can see, not a single man has been helped in any tangible way by the “activism” of MRAs in the UK.

    I posit that you won’t be able to do the following:

    Without using metaphor, please detail what tangible outcomes have been realised for men who need help by the online so-called “mens rights movement”
    By way of example: feminists agitated for legislation preventing sex discrimination in the workplace. They won.
    Keep it punchy, just bullet points the clear, tangible ways that the mrm has helped men in the UK.

  50. That Guy says

    @52 123454321

    I don’t feel that you are engaging in this discussion in good faith. Are you implying that unless someone a) engages in total self-destructive dedication to a cause they’ve effectively accomplished nothing? Or that b) all change short of earth-shattering societal upheaval are irrelevant?

    With this, a somewhat loose grasp of society and the creeping in of a certain MB into the conversation, I’m beginning to suspect I’m being trolled.

  51. Carnation says

    @ That Guy

    He isn’t trolling, not deliberately anyway. Like many MRAs, hyperbole and outlandish metaphor make up a large percentage of his writing.

    No offence intended 123454321

  52. avern says

    Oh, Carny. You’re like the Pavlov’s Dog of internet trolls. Predictable, nonsensical, but amusing.

    “(Ally, I’ve kept the First Directive in mind – happy to accept adjudication).”

    I’m starting with this little nugget which ironically in one sentence reveals how disingenuous you are being more than the rest of your screed. It is clear that you have no intention of explaining or arguing your position. You are incapable, in any case, as your position has zero merit. You simply want to spew invective while covering your ass, which explains your completely insincere uses of “vast majority” and “almost all.”

    “There isn’t any evidence whatsoever that ‘men’s rights’ have met with greater opposition than “women’s rights” contemporaneously, and historically, your point is ridiculous to the point of absurdity.”

    The evidence only points toward my statement: men’s rights has with much greater opposition than women’s rights. Do you actually read anything other than internet message boards? Tragically, your rants suggest that no, you do not.

    “You are correct in one sense. Feminists/feminisms are the sole focus, indeed obsession, of the vast majority of online MRAs, so in that sense, their deluded prejudices pollute the discourse they are trying to (or pretending to try to) promote.”

    Complete non sequitur. I’m waiting for the day you manage to generate a single rational point. That would be cause for celebration! That aside, what’s more interesting is the frothing, hysterical, laser-like obsession *almost all* feminists have with MRAs. Putting some focus on feminists is entirely reasonable for MRAs as the MRM is a nascent movement and the beginning stages of any movement requires challenging the dominant ideology. However, the obsession with MRAs that *almost all* feminists display suggests pathology.

    “Almost all online MRAs are incapable/unwilling to understand patriarchal theory, and prefer a lazy, tabloid version that feeds into their victim narrative but renders their message embarrassingly stupid.”

    Patriarchy theory is baseless nonsense that runs counter to all available evidence. It is misandric apologia formulated by bigots. Of course MRAs don’t “understand” it. We reject such shameless illogic. That *almost all* feminists adopt it wholesale should make them worry about their own sanity.

    “This is self-serving, willful delusion and embarrassingly stupid.”

    What a perfect description of *99.99999%* of feminist theory! One should also add “projecting” to that list.

    “Sadly, for vulnerable males, there best hope for social justice is with the very “social justice warriors” denigrated as fascists by the online fools, trolls and inadequates that constitutes the best known “men’s movement” on the internet.”

    Hahaha! You should take this act on the road. People will be rolling in their seats!

    What is clear is that the MRAs are the sole group seeking rights for men using logic and a clear understanding of ethics. Despite the bigotry that is so deeply ingrained in our culture, the future looks bright. Anti-feminism is becoming more and more popular which will make it easier for the MRM to promote its fair and commonsense arguments.

  53. 123454321 says

    “No offence intended 123454321”

    No worries Carny, no offence taken. You posed a very interesting question which demands an interesting answer but I have ran out of time (damn) so I can’t execute any more hyperbole or outlandish metaphor for a short while. I’m sure you’ll be saddened to hear that but, hey, I will be back with quadruple the vengeance, especially if it means I get called a troll !!

  54. Carnation says

    @ Avern

    Your screed was simply stupid. It was a rehash of your earlier screed. Pointless to challenge someone who childishly repeats themself and presents nothing.

  55. avern says

    Poor Carny. Your responses are becoming more and more tepid, uninspired, and low energy. I guess the soulless ideology you subscribe to is leaving you drained, a void really.

    In closing, the MRM is the only movement that supports men’s full humanity and autonomy. I’m happy to watch it thrive.

  56. Carnation says

    @ Avern

    Could you detail the ways in which the MRM is thriving? I’ll extend the same challenge to you, as I did to 123454321, and you will obfuscate, because that is your only option:

    Without using metaphor, please detail what tangible outcomes have been realised for men who need help by the online so-called “mens rights movement”

    By way of example: feminists agitated for legislation preventing sex discrimination in the workplace. They won.
    Keep it punchy, just bullet points the clear, tangible ways that the mrm has helped men in the UK.

  57. Wine.E.M. says

    Hi Ally, looking at your Twitter feed in recent weeks, I’m intrigued (and somewhat baffled) about all these generalised, disparaging comments about ‘white men’ (or retweets or endorsements of such comments). Now, first of all, I will declare an interest here, in that I am actually – shock, horror – a white man myself (*awaits the dull thud of SJW’s fainting in the background*).
    But I guess what I’m interested in is that you’ve said you want to win the trust of disenfranchised, alienated men, in speaking to and about their issues. I’m just wondering how you hope to achieve this if you’re endorsing comments which are slagging them off and putting them down quite a lot of the time? I mean, there may be some brilliantly cunning plan in all of this, which I’ve failed to recognise, but it would be wonderful were this to be explained in slightly more detail…

  58. avern says

    Carny,

    Provide evidence that MRAs have poisoned the well of discourse and “that weariness is literally the only tangible outcome of the entire so-called ‘men’s rights movement.'” Make sure for each empirical claim you cite a scholarly source. Do this now or admit that all of your claims are baseless.

    Thanks!

  59. Carnation says

    @ Avern

    As I predicted, you have failed to list a single tangible achievement of the self-styled movement you are so beholden to.

    Your attempt to obfuscate is all the more pathetic for the stated obviousness of such a childish endeavour.

    Two MRAs have been asked to list what their “movement” has achieved for men – two MRAs have failed.

    Embarrassing.

  60. avern says

    @Carny

    Once again you have proven yourself and feminism to be intellectual and moral failures. You made the initial baseless claims. First and foremost, it is upon you to provide evidence for them.

    But you can’t.

    You are incapable, incompetent, and delusional. I’m sure those qualities will haunt you the rest of your life.

    Not that I mind. It provides me endless amusement. 🙂

  61. SillGjenganger says

    @Carnation, avern.

    A little repetitive?

    Anyway, it is fair comment that the MRM has not achieved (or concentrated on) concrete achievements. But that is not really the end the story, is it? Feminism, too, has done a lot about getting a theory of women’s situation and needs, of putting it into mainstream debate, and of changing discourse. Remember there was a time when people were not ashamed to use words like ‘chairman’ or ‘he/his/him’? And where it was not obvious beyond discussion that women as a group are entitled to half the shadow cabinet posts and at least one of the top five posts? This is not all that tangible, any of it, but it surely has made a difference.

    Even in purely theoretical terms I find the MRA somewhat wanting. There is too much empty anger, and too much aping of feminism like a jealous sibling. One longs for a clear and coherent account of what men’s interests are and how they differ from women’s. But even trying to get it together is a worthwhile endeavour that cannot be dismissed just by pointing to the lack of men’s shelters and pro-male legislation achieved.

  62. Carnation says

    “Anyway, it is fair comment that the MRM has not achieved (or concentrated on) concrete achievements. But that is not really the end the story, is it?”

    No, it isn’t the end of the story, for a very good reason. The offensive, delusional, hyperbolic and puerile theory and praxis of the MRM is counter-productive. Cast your mind back to the letter sent by our very own Ally Fogg, with multiple signatories. With customary delusional entitlement, our kinda own Mike Buchanan asked why he hadn’t been invited to sign. Had he, then the letter could have been dismissed out of hand as the wittering’s of a comical minor media spectacle who was comprehensively humiliated at the polls (kudos for doing it Mike*, but you were never going to do well). But him and his weren’t invited, didn’t, and the letter wasn’t.

    That’s on a micro scale. On a macro scale, the MRM does for men’s issues what RadFems do for women’s: distracts, distorts, sullies and confuses.

    “Even in purely theoretical terms I find the MRA somewhat wanting. There is too much empty anger, and too much aping of feminism like a jealous sibling. One longs for a clear and coherent account of what men’s interests are and how they differ from women’s. But even trying to get it together is a worthwhile endeavour that cannot be dismissed just by pointing to the lack of men’s shelters and pro-male legislation achieved.”

    With this paragraph, you have proved my point. The clear and coherent account is missing, precisely *because* of the failures and failings of the MRM. Remove the online MRM and you remove the low calibre online parasites who are a vexation on the attempts of others to talk about men’s issues. And it is not just the “lack of” shelters and legislation, it is the total lack of interest in doing anything pro-active about this lack, and the paradoxical total focus and obsession on trolling women and emoting about feminism that is in its place.

    * I offered Mike a £250 bet that he would lose his deposit, he turned me town.

  63. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 70
    If you can point me to the people who do talk sensibly about men’s issues, I would love to read them. But the best – the very best – I can think of are people like Ally. Who still start from the assumption that feminist goals are also good for men, and work for ‘feminism+’. And who aim for a society where gender is for all practical purposes invisible and irrelevant. That rules them out, AFAIAC, since it makes it impossible for them to even consider whether men have any interests that might possibly conflict with feminism. If you are looking to come up with an interest organisation for men, asking the women’s movement what you should aim for is not the right place to start. So, much as I respect Ally and co. for their good work (and Ally for his unusual respect for truth and facts), I would not look to him for policies that could not already be found in some feminist publication.

    The MRM may not have found much in the way of answers, but they are at least in a position where they can ask some of the right questions.

  64. Ally Fogg says

    If you are looking to come up with an interest organisation for men, asking the women’s movement what you should aim for is not the right place to start. So, much as I respect Ally and co. for their good work (and Ally for his unusual respect for truth and facts), I would not look to him for policies that could not already be found in some feminist publication.

    there is a bit of a stumbling block there, in that ‘feminism’ is such a broad label that I would challenge you to find any position or policy on any issue relating to gender which does not appear in a feminist publication somewhere.

    Wendy McIlroy calls herself a feminist
    Camillie Paglia calls herself a feminist
    Christina Hoff Sommers calls herself a feminist.

    On that basis you would struggle to find even an MRA position that does not already appear in some feminist publication.

  65. StllGjenganger says

    @Ally 72
    Yes, that was a bit sloppily worded. But I hope you got my point.

    More interesting: Can you show me wrong on any of this:

    … people like Ally. Who still start from the assumption that feminist goals are also good for men, and work for ‘feminism+’. And who aim for a society where gender is for all practical purposes invisible and irrelevant.

  66. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    The problem with the MRM is that it *is not* founded upon a desire to support, help or enable men, it *is* founded on a puerile misreading of feminism. When an (alleged) movement is founded on hysteria and hyperbole, it is ridiculous and impossible to be taken seriously, and will attract the weak, the angry, the delusional and the damaged.

    The MRM is an anti-feminist collective of bloggers and commenter’s and that is it. Actual advocates of men’s issues, such as Ally (hope you don’t mind me saying) most likely came to gender awareness at least in conversation with feminist theory. Before feminist revolutions, gender norms were, well, the norm. As Ally once said, feminist theory provided a wealth of tools to interrogate gender (and sexuality) that one simply has to be an in curious fool to ignore. And, of course, feminist lobbying inspired a raft of legislation that has and should be used to ensure a fair deal for men where it hasn’t happened (the janitor story from some time ago for example).

    You appear to want an advocate for men’s issues who is also anti-feminist. Ally, for example, doesn’t identify as a feminist but equally recognises that reversing feminist inspired legislation or service provision is frankly stupid and spiteful, just like those who call for it.

  67. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    “The MRM may not have found much in the way of answers, but they are at least in a position where they can ask some of the right questions.”

    Is it? Who are they asking? What answers are they getting? What credability does it have?

    The most popular mra blog online recently published a video of its “activists” drunkenly engaging in a group sexual fantasy and sexually insulting feminist journalists

    You expect them to be taken seriously? Do you think they deserve to be?

  68. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation
    I do not particularly want an antifeminist. (Although, anecdotally, I used to identify myself as one. But I recanted when someone gave me a feminism primer by bell hooks. You cannot be anti-bell-hooks, she is too honest and sensible). But we have a lot of men with their various grievances and looking in vain for a way they fit into the modern world. Point 1 has to be that we look at their situation, their complaints, and make some sense of what it is all about, where we are, and what we want to do about it. Then, and only then, you go ‘in dialogue’ with competing groups, like feminists, and see what you can come up with together, and where you should maybe change over. Possibly there will be lots of overlap and little disagreement (though I am sceptical).

    But feminism is not objective science, like statistical mechanics. The entire theoretical edifice was built to match the politics of modern age women, with their attitudes, their desires, and their particular situation. Start by taking over their intellectual baggage, and you take over their conclusions, by and large. It is possible that you would end there anyway. But if you do not start with the way actual men are living their own experiences, you will never know what you want, as opposed to what other people think you ought to want.

    I admit I know little about the MRM anyway. I have not come across anything MRM that I found particularly interesting. In what little I see I find too much grievances and anger (a good and important starting point, but you need to get beyond it), and too much uncritical aping of feminism (‘they have got that, we want to have that too!’). But the experience and grievances of men are at least the right starting point, unlike the feminist literature.

  69. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    “But we have a lot of men with their various grievances and looking in vain for a way they fit into the modern world.”

    Do you think all grievances are valid? Is misreading, misrepresenting and scapegoating a responsible reaction to a grievance?

    Men suffer from a myriad of problems unique to men, of which the biggest, in my opinion, is the societal expectation of men to stifle emotions, be economically successful, physically strong and to work hard.

    Would you agree with this?

  70. StillGjenganger says

    Do you think all grievances are valid?

    No. But even if you think someone is really complaining about losing unjustified privileges, you still get better results by ‘I can see why you are dissatisfied, and it is hard, but with things as they are you need to come to terms with it.‘ rather than ‘You ought to love the current situation, you have nothing to be dissatisfied with, and you are a nasty git for complaining‘.

    Men suffer from a myriad of problems unique to men, of which the biggest, in my opinion, is the societal expectation of men to stifle emotions, be economically successful, physically strong and to work hard.
    Would you agree with this?

    No. I would translate what you are saying as ‘The problems of men are that their expectations and situation are different from the much better situation of women. If only you would become like women, guys, you would all be happy.‘. I object for two reasons.
    First that amounts to dismissing anything from the male role/culture/experience as trash. I react against that, much as an Aboriginal might react against the proposal that he discard his silly stone age culture and become a proper modern Aussie. Second I do not think the situation of men and women is identical, from which follows that the social roles that would fit them best are not the same either. Statistically I think the behaviour of the two sexes are different, biologically, much like their body sizes are (all those testosterone receptors in the brain are bound to be there for something) – but that is too controversial to build a debate on. But one pretty obvious difference is that it is women who produce the babies, breastfeed them, and so start out with more closeness and authority towards them. Another is the ‘men seek – women permit’ roles about sex. What with fear of pregnancy, men being stronger, and the extremely ingrained attitudes we start with, I really do not think that one will go away. So, in a couple, if a woman is emotional, weak, lazy, and an economical failure, she can still be an important contributor by doing the baby-minding and providing sex. If a man is emotional, weak, lazy, and a failure, he can contribute what, exactly? You are not well off in a relationship where you have nothing to bring to the table.

    So, I would say that the expectations you complain about are the male half of a division of labour, of roles. They have their cost, undeniably. But take them away and men have another problem, which is that they have nothing to contribute that women cannot do as well or better.

  71. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    “No. I would translate what you are saying as ‘The problems of men are that their expectations and situation are different from the much better situation of women. If only you would become like women, guys, you would all be happy.”

    Your translation is wrong. Some of the problems of men are their expectations of themselves, which are of course most often informed by the society that they live in. Economic problems are informed by the government.

    And, I’m afraid to say, your very outdated opinion of women and relationships is exceptionally problematic.

    “Another is the ‘men seek – women permit’ roles about sex.” Feminism allowed for far greater female agency when it comes to societal controls on female sexuality. Many men have benefited from this. It is a stereotype to say that “men week, women permit” and it’s offensive to both men and women.

    “So, in a couple, if a woman is emotional, weak, lazy, and an economical failure, she can still be an important contributor by doing the baby-minding and providing sex. If a man is emotional, weak, lazy, and a failure, he can contribute what, exactly? You are not well off in a relationship where you have nothing to bring to the table.”

    This is very, very conservative stuff. Women don’t “provide” sex, they choose to have sex with a consensual willing partner, just like men do. Also, not all women (and men) want children, and not all childcare is provided by women.

    Really, I’d have a look at the modern world – what you have written is outdated, cliched nonsense.

    I don’t mean to be short with you, but what you’ve written is really ill-informed and crude.

  72. StillGjenganger says

    Some of the problems of men are their expectations of themselves, which are of course most often informed by the society that they live in.

    Indeed. There is a male role, and, yes, that is largely enforced by men themselves. No disagreement. What difference does that make – to the fact that your recommendation is to abandon (much of) that role in favour of something based on the (traditional) female role?

    It is a stereotype to say that “men seek, women permit” and it’s offensive to both men and women.

    It is a correct, factual description of the current norms for sexual behaviour AFAIAC. Prove me wrong, if I am wrong. Whether it is stereotypical or offensive is neither here not there. Granted, social development (feminism pushed, but I do not subscribe to the ‘all change is a feminist conspiracy’ theory) has reduced the differences and greatly loosened the constraints (fine with me), but not to the point where the behaviour (or roles) of the two sexes is anything like identical.

    This is very, very conservative stuff. Women don’t “provide” sex, they choose to have sex with a consensual willing partner, just like men do. Also, not all women (and men) want children, and not all childcare is provided by women.

    I am conservative, so that is no insult.

    And whether or not you like my terminology you would surely not deny that in the real world having someone around who is consensually willing to have sex with you on a regular basis is often appreciated, to the point where it might make you willing to overlook an otherwise limited contribution to the partnership. Or that the minimal goal of finding a compatible set of genitals willing to oblige you is a lot easier to reach for a woman than for a man.

    As for childcare, your observations are not news to me. But 1) there is still a lot of demand for people able and willing to produce and care for children. 2) I do venture to suggest that while both sexes can do it, it is easier for a woman to convince both herself and a partner that looking after children fulfils both her own person and reasonable expectations in the partnership. 3) A woman who wants to have and look after children just needs a sperm sample. A man needs to negotiate both the birth and the subsequent arrangements with a woman who is better placed to force through her preferred arrangements than he is Which leaves children as a feasible life goal for a woman (but not so easily for a man) to choose for herself.

    what you have written is outdated, cliched nonsense.

    If we can have an interesting debate about these things I do not particularly care what you call me. But by the same token, your opinion that what I say is clichéd, stereotypical, or nonsense does not particularly move me

  73. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    The idea that “women permit” is embarrassing – and also a tenant of some RadFem theory, interestingly enough.

    A quick Google search provided these insights:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-women-really-feel-about-sex-survey_55f83bdde4b09ecde1d9b5e6

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/the-truth-about-women-and-sex–they-start-younger-and-have-more-partners–and-those-are-not-necessarily-men-8962997.html

    Your point of view is more in keeping with Stephen Fry’s, who rather embarrassed himself with this:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8099784/Stephen-Fry-angers-feminists-by-claiming-women-do-not-enjoy-sex.html

    Some feminist attitudes to sex – contradicting yours:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/22/sex-sexual-revolution-feminism-monogamy

    “And whether or not you like my terminology you would surely not deny that in the real world having someone around who is consensually willing to have sex with you on a regular basis is often appreciated, to the point where it might make you willing to overlook an otherwise limited contribution to the partnership.”

    I think people who do this are extremely unimaginative, sad and exploitative.

    “.. and greatly loosened the constraints (fine with me), but not to the point where the behaviour (or roles) of the two sexes is anything like identical.”

    Well, for every heterosexual sex act, one requires at least one man and one woman. So it is in that sense identical.

    We have gotten rather off-point but I am enjoying this debate.

  74. StillGjenganger says

    The most interesting and relevant bit I took out of your links was this:

    [Germaine Greer] said: “Stephen Fry is clearly under a delusion that he is an authority on female sexuality. Well, if he thinks that women are not interested in genital encounters with total strangers then he is absolutely right. But to conclude that we are therefore uninterested in sex is madness.

    “It is true that men have an interest in a kind of sex which women find infinitely depressing, and it’s true that women really don’t want to hang around toilets hoping that someone will come along and play with their bits. That is not what passion is about for us and we would be placing ourselves in mortal danger if it was.

    “Women have an idea of passion which men like Stephen can’t even begin to imagine. What women yearn for is intimacy. The fact that for women sex is an integral part of closeness doesn’t mean we are any less interested in it.’

    Near as I can see she is conceding my point. It does not make that much difference whether women (on the average, as always) are less interested in sex, or just more picky about the circumstances they will have it in. You still end up with a situation where men are often eager for sex in situations where women are not interested. Which leads to the ‘men seek – women permit’ paradigm, to men seeing sex as something that is never there when (or as often as) you want it, and women seeing it as something men keep pushing them for.

    I think people who do this are extremely unimaginative, sad and exploitative.

    People who do what, exactly? Who are more willing to go out of their way to accommodate a difficult partner if the sex part of the relationship leaves them satisfied? That was all I said, you know. Or people who can take sexual pleasure with someone willing to do nice things for them, even if she is not acting out of immediate uncontrollable excitement in every case?

  75. Ally Fogg says

    Gjenganger [73]

    Sorry, I missed this earlier

    More interesting: Can you show me wrong on any of this:

    … people like Ally. Who still start from the assumption that feminist goals are also good for men, and work for ‘feminism+’. And who aim for a society where gender is for all practical purposes invisible and irrelevant.

    It’s not the case that I start from the assumption that feminist goals are good for men. It would very much depend on which feminist and which goals. Just because something is labelled ‘feminist’ doesn’t make it right or wrong or good or bad for either men or women.

    My position is basically that gender justice is good for everyone . (While acknowledging that defining and identifying gender justice is much more difficult and complex than gender equality, which I consider to be broadly meaningless / impossible). My position is basically that a world with fewer dynamics of social oppression is better for everyone, including those who belong to the oppressive social class on any given axis.

    And no, I don’t want gender to become invisible or irrelevant, I’m not with the ‘abolish gender’ radfems. As I say in the ‘about’ section, I’d like a world where gender is never a prison and never a curse. I want gender to be a route to self-actualization and fulfilment rather than an oppressive script.

    And yes, I agree that stuff is easier said than done!

  76. StillGjenganger says

    @Aly 83.
    Thanks. Much appreciated.

    As that stands I can only agree with the principles (though agreement with your politics does not follow).

    Where I do disagree (as you probably know) is that if gender is ‘never a prison never a curse’, never a limitation to what you can do, it is too weak to make any difference and might as well not be there. Much like homeopathy: No side effects -> no effects whatsoever -> no different from distilled water -> no point.

    And, by the by, I do not think that the abolition of slavery was a net gain for the plantation owners, just overall.

    Anyway, looking forward to more from you in the future.

  77. Ally Fogg says

    And, by the by, I do not think that the abolition of slavery was a net gain for the plantation owners, just overall.

    You see I disagree with that.

    I would argue that the plantation owners were depraved and diminished by owning slaves. it embittered them as people, the cognitive dissonance required to justify slavery will have led them to adopt some quite toxic and emotionally self-destructive values that means while they may have been wealthier, they certainly will not have been happier.

    I’m no economist, but I believe there is also a good argument that slavery wasn’t even a particularly effective economic system anyway, even though that is kind of beside the/my point.

    It is a very exaggerated form of the Spirit Level debate. Even within supposedly liberal democracies, greater economic inequality results in everyone having lower wellbeing, including the rich.

  78. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally 85
    There is much truth in that, but I do think that it can be taken too far (unfortunately). It will hardly be every individual who would feel happier in the middle of an equal society than at the very top of an unequal one. Unless you include the afterlife, of course.

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