A Halloween wishlist (with added Friday open thread)


I don’t think it is traditional to make wishes on Halloween, but fuck ’em, I am hereby creating a new tradition. When this weekend is done I shall blow out the candle inside my pumpkin lantern and make some wishes as follows:

I wish Philip Davies MP had not requested a debate for International Men’s Day on the grounds that women have one on March 8th and so it is “only fair” and “in the interests of equality” that men get one too. There are many, many good reasons for debating male-specific gender issues in Parliament and elsewhere, not least the fact that they have never once been raised there. We cannot properly understand and address the crisis of male suicide without first acknowledging that it is a gender issue. We cannot properly understand and address the specific needs of male victims of sexual or domestic violence without first acknowledging the gendered processes involved. The same goes for boys under-performance in education, men’s under-engagement in health and social care services etc etc etc. There are countless good reasons to argue for a debate on men’s issues in Parliament, but “women have one so we want one too” is the logic of a sulky entitled toddler shouting “boohoo snot fair.” Had Davies taken a different tack, perhaps we would have no need for this wish…

I wish Jess Phillips MP had not laughed when Davies said there was never an opportunity to raise male-specific issues. Her logic, she explained, was that Parliament is full of men, and they could raise these things any time they want. However Phillips is neither ignorant nor stupid. She knows full well what International Men’s Day is for, why it exists, and what the related issues are. She knew full well that in laughing at the suggestion that Parliament might need a specific occasion to discuss issues like those above from a gendered perspective, she is in fact laughing at male suicide. She is laughing at men’s unnecessarily early deaths. She is laughing at boys’ failure in schools. I very much doubt her laugh was rationally conceived or considered. Instead it was a kneejerk reaction to the suggestion that there might be any need to discuss male-specific gender issues at any time under any circumstances. These points are very well made by Glen here. It’s a minor point, but…

I wish the Telegraph had not titled that piece with the phrase “men’s rights” which appears nowhere in the article. Glen, like me, prefers the phrase ‘men’s issues’ which is a lot more accurate, descriptive and carries less baggage. For what it is worth, it was not used by Philip Davies either. Much more importantly, however…

I wish the knuckleheaded misogynist hordes of Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and 4chan could, just once, surprise us all by NOT responding to a story like this by sending direct or indirect death threats, rape threats, grotesque insults and abuse or just generally piling-on like a gleeful witch-hunting mob.

I wish they could understand that every time this happens they do a thousand times more damage to the causes of men and boys and their needs than the likes of Jess Phillips could ever do. They have successfully diverted this story from being about Parliament’s wilful neglect of male-specific gender issues to become a much bigger story about how a feminist MP cannot even express an opinion without being subjected to a tsunami of violent threats and abuse. Simultaneously, they have successfully steel-plated the association between men’s issues, International Men’s Day and misogynistic hatefests. Good going, you utter, utter arsewitted scumbuckets. I despair.

And finally, on a (mostly) unrelated note, I wish I knew what a certain Zach Stafford had been smoking before he came up with this doozie, and more importantly where I can get some. Yes, constructs of masculinity are an important and contentious topic, and re-imagining how we could construct masculinity is (in my humble) one of the most interesting and demanding social challenges of the 21st century. But this guy seems to think we can just turn manhood off, like a switch. Leaving what, exactly? He doesn’t say.  Nor does he appear to have really considered what gender actually is, where it comes from, the socioeconomic and hegemonic functions in society or, well, anything beyond his sense that men are terrible, because reasons. Still, it appears we are in the season for unrealistic wishes, so fair play.

We haven’t had an open thread for a while, so do please use the space below to argue with any of the above, to tell us all your Halloween wishes or share whatever else is on your mind,

Guisers welcome.

Comments

  1. That Guy says

    I wish that the next smug nofunallowed whiner that tries to tell me that ‘halloween is a US import’ is forced to eat nothing but raw neep for the next month.

    The guardian comments section on any halloween article demonstrates a disdain for any culture north of Manchester I haven’t seen since the heady days of the Scottish referendum.

  2. Paul Inman says

    To give Phil Davies his dues (and I don’t give credit to tories lightly), despite opening with “in the spirit of equality” he did list a long list of reasons why the debate would be justified.

    Jess Philips’ response has got me seriously questioning why I should continue to pay money to the Labour Party each month. Twice if you count the donations my TU gives to them. I will certainly be writing to them about her attitude.

  3. OirishM says

    I wish Philip Davies MP had not requested a debate for International Men’s Day on the grounds that women have one on March 8th and so it is “only fair” and “in the interests of equality” that men get one too. There are many, many good reasons for debating male-specific gender issues in Parliament and elsewhere, not least the fact that they have never once been raised there. We cannot properly understand and address the crisis of male suicide without first acknowledging that it is a gender issue. We cannot properly understand and address the specific needs of male victims of sexual or domestic violence without first acknowledging the gendered processes involved. The same goes for boys under-performance in education, men’s under-engagement in health and social care services etc etc etc. There are countless good reasons to argue for a debate on men’s issues in Parliament, but “women have one so we want one too” is the logic of a sulky entitled toddler shouting “boohoo snot fair.” Had Davies taken a different tack, perhaps we would have no need for this wish…

    Why not? That wasn’t Davies’ entire approach, he did raise the issues facing men that don’t get discussed in parliament. And even if that were the entirety of his approach, it is so often how equality issues are raised – by noticing a disparity in what is and what should be available for all and calling attention to it. The fact that parliament is male-dominated doesn’t mean men’s issues get raised all the time – men are overrepresented as MPs, yes, but they are still expected to represent everybody. Women get special timeslots for gender issues affecting them, why shouldn’t men? Are we going for equality here or special treatment?

    I wish Jess Philips MP had not laughed when Davies said there was never an opportunity to raise male-specific issues. Her logic, she explained, was that Parliament is full of men, and they could raise these things any time they want. However Philips is neither ignorant nor stupid. She knows full well what International Men’s Day is for, why it exists, and what the related issues are.

    I can’t say I buy her responses on twitter that she is totally behind men’s issues, she doesn’t seem to think they are real and approved of a tweet comparing men’s issues and women’s issues with a matador and a bull respectively.

    I wish they could understand that every time this happens they do a thousand times more damage to the causes of men and boys and their needs than the likes of Jess Philips could ever do. They have successfully diverted this story from being about Parliament’s wilful neglect of male-specific gender issues to become a much bigger story about how a feminist MP cannot even express an opinion without being subjected to a tsunami of violent threats and abuse. Simultaneously, they have successfully steel-plated the association between men’s issues, International Men’s Day and misogynistic hatefests. Good going, you utter, utter arsewitted scumbuckets. I despair.

    The people spinning that narrative are also to blame here. Take the Independent’s article:

    http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/the-abuse-an-mp-got-for-saying-we-dont-need-an-international-mens-day-debate-proves-her-point-perfectly–ZyB4DwB_dx

    It’s whataboutery, for one, which feminists generally have no time for, so why should anyone else – and Implying that the actions of a handful of wankers call the need for IMD into question has about as much logic as saying that Phillips’ callous dismissiveness of men’s issues in favour of women’s issues means feminism is invalid.

    We can do more than one thing here – we can condemn pointless threats on her and counter the needless politicising of the occurence of online threats.

  4. tbtabby says

    I wish Christmas would stop trying to muscle in on Halloween. Stores can’t even wait until November 1st anymore before they switch from Halloween displays to Christmas displays. And I also wish they would realize that bombarding us with Christmas for months is only making Christmas less special.

  5. Holms says

    I wish Philip Davies MP had not requested a debate for International Men’s Day on the grounds that women have one on March 8th and so it is “only fair” and “in the interests of equality” that men get one too.

    Ugh, wow. With that one cluelessly phrased request, he has now made ‘men’s issues debate’ the new ‘waaaaaaah why can’t we have a white history month’ whine.

    I wish they could understand that every time this happens they do a thousand times more damage to the causes of men and boys and their needs than the likes of Jess Philips could ever do.

    This exemplifies what I consider to be the defining difference between men’s issues advocates vs. MRAs. Acting like the vilest shitheads ever every time a feminist talking point pops up inevitably leads to the association of said behavior with men’s issues, to the point where a sober, level headed advocate is assumed to be just another one of the shitters. Grats, idiots.

  6. aesopstortoise says

    The way Philip Davies requested a debate was perfectly fair and civil, your criticism of him is snide. Jess Phillips gives the lie to the oft stated assertion that feminists ‘do care’ or ‘are working’ on men’s issues, and then she gets to play the victim card instead of addressing her own double standards. “… knuckleheaded misogynist hordes …” Really? Any public figure with an internet presence is open to trolling, it isn’t worse for women, and the trolls themselves, well, the only pair I know of that got convicted were one man and one woman.

  7. StillGjeganger says

    Zach Stafford seems to think that we should all be like women are – after all they are so much better and nicer in every way. Not completely unheard of among the various white ribbon and male feminist brigades, but rarely seen in such pure form. You could even make a parallel with the frequently heard idea that all those privileged white people should shut up, really really listen, and generally limit their political participation to serving as amplifiers for the minority members that are the only ones worth paying attention to. To me opting to be an imitation woman rather than a possibly reformed kind of man makes him about as deserving of respect as a Jewish Nazi.. But hey, it is his life.

  8. says

    Any public figure with an internet presence is open to trolling, it isn’t worse for women

    Maybe so, but misogynist trolls make it a lot harder to advocate for men’s issues. I wish they had some vague idea that they are *not* helping the cause of men by going around sending rape and death threats constantly. Then again, if they had that self-awareness, they wouldn’t act like that in the first place :/

  9. Pete says

    @Gunlord.

    It’s because the people sending rape and death threats don’t care about men’s issues, so don’t care if they’re harming the cause.

    On the other hand, a feminist is allowed to get away with opening an article in a major news publication with “Men are pretty terrible people,” so maybe it is just that people have no self awareness whatsoever.

  10. Carnation says

    Serious question:

    Do the “misogynistic hordes” actually care about men’s issues? As in, concerned about them enough to do anything?

    My guess is that they couldn’t care less.

  11. Holms says

    #10 Carnation
    Yes, it is most likely just a convenient rallying banner and thin excuse for their awfulness.

    #6 aesopstortoise
    Any public figure with an internet presence is open to trolling, it isn’t worse for women, and the trolls themselves, well, the only pair I know of that got convicted were one man and one woman.

    No, being a public figure is not an excuse to threaten them, which I see you’ve euphamised as mere ‘trolling.’ Yes, it is assuredly worse for women, don’t be ridiculous. And dear god, you must be being deliberately obtuse if you think the torrent of abuse against feminists / feminist talking points is an even split between men and women.

  12. aesopstortoise says

    “misogynist trolls make it a lot harder to advocate for men’s issues”

    The problem with trolls is that until you have properly identified them you don’t know what their motives are. Isabella Sorley and John Nimmo, who were convicted for tweets against Caroline Criado-Perez, did not appear to be threatening her for ideological reasons.

  13. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally.
    Very nice argumentation of yours over on the ‘Germaine Greer – marketplace of ideas’ thread. I am not going to sabotage you by going over there and agreeing with you, but hopefully I can do it here without causing damage.

  14. mostlymarvelous says

    Seeing as this is an open thread, I can brag.

    I’m now a granny! I’m 68 and it’s bloody wonderful. (And I’m not complaining I had to wait so long. My first child didn’t arrive until I was 34, so I can’t blame her for doing the same, now can I?)

  15. Lucy says

    “We cannot properly understand and address the crisis of male suicide without first acknowledging that it is a gender issue.”

    Do you mean the gendered issue that women are four times as likely as men to attempt suicide and that advances in modern medicine mean it’s easier to survive an overdose, drinking bleach, starving yourself to death or setting yourself on fire these days? Or are we going to neglect to mention that again?

    Four times more women want to die, and try to.

    Four times.

    Four times.

  16. Ally Fogg says

    Lucy, two points.

    The first is that they are two separate issues. Women and girls self harming, attempting suicide or dying by suicide is a serious, dreadful issue that warrants as much attention and intervention as we can possibly give. Every one is a horrible incident for the individual involved and for their families, friends and loved ones.

    If there was a blogpost or internet thread about the issue and some MRA came charging in saying “why are you talking about this when FOUR TIMES as many men die as suicide as women. FOUR TIMES” then that guy would quite rightly be castigated for derailing the discussion, attempting to divert attention away from women and girls in need, would be mocked with “boo hoo what about teh men?” style parodies and would be reasonably considered to be utterly lacking in compassion and care for some people who desperately need compassion and care.

    All of which applies unconditionally to you right now. You really should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

    The second (and actually unrelated) point, is that what you say isn’t even true. It is based on ignorant misreading of (now long out of date) headline statistics, not on any understanding of the dynamics of self-harm and suicide.

    It is wrong for lots and lots of reasons, but the most significant is that most uncompleted suicidal actions by men never turn up in the statistics. In brief, if someone takes an overdose and then changes their mind and calls an ambulance, then that shows up in the statistics. If someone spends six hours sitting on the top of a bridge or staring at a noose and then changes their mind, that does not show up in a statistics. So because men and women tend to use different suicidal methods, women’s aborted suicide attempts are much more likely to be recorded.

  17. Jacob Schmidt says

    Ally

    If someone spends six hours sitting on the top of a bridge or staring at a noose and then changes their mind, that does not show up in a statistics.

    Should it show up? If a woman spends 6 hours staring at a bottle of prescription drugs, then changes her mind, that won’t show up in the statistics either.

  18. Ally Fogg says

    My point is really that any statistics for so-called ‘suicide attempts’ are pretty much meaningless.

  19. says

    If someone spends six hours sitting on the top of a bridge or staring at a noose and then changes their mind, that does not show up in a statistics.

    Should it show up? If a woman spends 6 hours staring at a bottle of prescription drugs, then changes her mind, that won’t show up in the statistics either.

    Meaningless is a pretty strong word here Ally.
    In fact these things do show up in statistics based on self-reporting of suicide ideations on the form of suicidal thoughts, suicide planning and suicide attempts.
    Here is one large study from the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6013a1.htm

    Suicidal thoughts:
    3.5% of the adult male population and 3.9% of the adult female population had suicidal thoughts in the past year.

    Suicide plans:
    1.0% of the adult male population and 1.0% of the female population made suicide plans in the past year.

    Suicide attempts:
    0.4% of the adult male population and 0.5% of the adult female population attempted suicide in the past year.

    And again we see the pattern (as we have with rape and CV) that when men are asked they report a higher rate than previously thought and what statistics based in police and health services would indicate. What I get from that is that men don’t ask for help. I think a large part of why they don’t ask for help is because they’re discouraged to do so by our society, by our society’s reluctance to address male issues – MP Jess Phillips is only one example of this reluctance.

    I listened to this from the LBC radio program on male suicide today with tears in my eyes and reflecting on how I’ve never told anyone who knows me about my thoughts on dark days on how it would be better if I stepped in front of the commute train.

  20. Ally Fogg says

    Thanks Tamen

    Wholeheartedly agree. You will get something useful using survey approaches on suicidal ideation, but that is different to counts of so-called “suicide attempts.”

    But I hadn’t seen those CDC stats before, so thank you.

  21. 123454321 says

    ….enters comedy show.

    So women can ask for stuff on the grounds that men have it (happens all the time). But men can’t ask for something on the grounds that women have it? And women can employ the phrase “women’s rights” whereas men shall only be allowed “men’s issues”.

    Alrighty, ahem, that sounds like equality, almost….well, perhaps on some other planet, after all the universe is massive and there must surely be another planet containing martians at least as dumb as us.

    turns around and exits comedy show….

    …pops head back in to say that I agree with all the rest.

  22. 123454321 says

    “They have successfully diverted this story from being about Parliament’s wilful neglect of male-specific gender issues to become a much bigger story about how a feminist MP cannot even express an opinion without being subjected to a tsunami of violent threats and abuse.”

    I’m with you, Ally, on the fact that these airheads who make violent threats are a complete disgrace and do men’s RIGHTS no favours. Yes, these callous dimwits have diverted the story onto themselves alright, but I can’t help wondering whether there would have been a story in the first place without the followup online abuse. And it was hardly an “opinion” Jess demonstrated right there. Even if it was, it was drenched with ridicule and convulsions of snide laughter – not a very professional approach if you ask me and bordering on the offensive! Imagine if the sexes were reversed in that scenario. Also, why does everyone assume the threats were made by men?

  23. HuckleAndLowly says

    Philip Davies is right to request a debate on International Men’s day. I think Ally is wrong to wish that he didn’t frame this as being “in the interests of equality”. There is a fundamental inequality here : issues specific to women are addressed in the house of commons in the Women’s day debate, and in the monthly “Women and equality” debates; issues specific to men have no forum or debate where they can be discussed. Davies is right to point this out. It is important that parliament has an equal chance to at least hear about both sets of issues. It’s worth noting that he wasn’t even asking for an equal amount of debate: all he was asking for was a single “men’s day” debate in a year, not a debate every month.

    Seeing Jess Phillips laughing continuously through Davies’ presentation of issues related to male suicide, and victimisation gives a depressing insight into her world view. It’s especially surprising because she previously worked in providing services for victims of domestic violence: I would have thought some degree of empathy would be evident.

    My impression from watching the committee meeting clip is that Davies’ request for a debate on men’s issues is going to be rejected, because he had no Labour supporters on his proposal (which seems to be necessary for a proposal to be accepted). I wonder would any Labour MPs be brave enough to back this proposal?

    Phillips’ concluding remarks at the end of the discussion are quite tone-deaf. She finished by saying

    I absolutely care about men’s issues. When I’ve got parity, and when women in this house have got parity, then you can have your debate. And that will take an awfully long time.

    In other words, she says: “I care about issues such as men’s suicide; but I think that me getting more political power, women in general getting more political power, is more important than that”.

    It’s hilarious that her response on Twitter (in the linked Telegraph article) to accusations of misandry is equivalent to “I’m not racist! some of my best friends are black.”

  24. sonofrojblake says

    any statistics for so-called ‘suicide attempts’ are pretty much meaningless

    My wish would be that any time the words “suicide attempt” appear in any media, they are autocorrected to “attention-seeking self-harm”. We are fragile creatures and our continued existence is balanced on a knife-edge of dependence on oxygen, water, food, blood circulation and physical integrity. We are trivially easy to kill. When I hear “I thought about killing myself” I’m sympathetic – yup, been there. When I hear “I tried to kill myself”, I just think “No, you really didn’t.”

  25. Ally Fogg says

    that is an incredibly cruel, dismissive, ignorant and unhelpful comment, sonofrojblake.

    It is certainly the case that there is no clear definition of what a suicide attempt is, but the single strongest predictor of a completed suicide is a history of previous uncompleted suicides.

    The phrase “attention-seeking” is just about the most horrible term anyone can use in this context.

  26. Marduk says

    #29

    There is something to be said for “cry for help” as a gender difference though.
    The ratio between attempts and ‘success’ between men and women is attributable to something surely and the idea that it is female narcissism about methods that ‘leave a beautiful corpse’ always seemed to me more offensive than enlightening.

    It is argued that different genders use different methods but this is manifest in “attempted suicides” not in completed suicides (i.e., there are effective methods and non-effective cry for help methods, not male and female methods).

    Women issue cries for help because they know someone will care.
    Men kill themselves because they know nobody does.

  27. That Guy says

    @28sonofrojblake

    What the fuck is your problem? Are you completely devoid of empathy- or just playing a game to see how much harm you can cause in a single comment?

  28. Adiabat says

    123454321 (26):

    not a very professional approach if you ask me and bordering on the offensive

    Of course it was. Most people would find her behavior deplorable and she would be forced to defend her sexist and bigoted opinions. This could adversely affect a few agendas currently being pushed by the press and activists.

    That’s why we’ve had this “tsunami of threats” new story constructed out of what appears to be two down-voted comments on an unknown sub-reddit.

    She’s now immune to any and all criticism of her comments.

  29. 123454321 says

    “In other words, she says: “I care about issues such as men’s suicide; but I think that me getting more political power, women in general getting more political power, is more important than that”.”

    Bang on the nail, Huckle. That’s what feminism is about, nothing to do with equality.

  30. 123454321 says

    Andrew Neil refusing to acknowledge the validity of the request for men’s issues to be discussed, instead taking the safe route in proclaiming that there are enough men in parliament and also diverting the discourse towards those moronic threats, spending far more time on those points rather than daring to criticise Jess for her unprofessional outburst and refusal to acknowledge that men need political space to talk specifically about men’s issues too.
    Oh well, at least Andrew’s strategy will keep him in the Beeb’s good books and still sitting pretty with all those feminists out there. I mean, really, does Andrew have any other choice when you think about it.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p036tnrv

  31. sonofrojblake says

    @That Guy, 31:
    28: “When I hear “I thought about killing myself” I’m sympathetic – yup, been there.”
    31: “What the fuck is your problem? Are you completely devoid of empathy?”

    Reading comprehension fail.

    @Ally, 29:
    You’re sufficiently dismissive yourself carefully to use the phrase so-called and put scare-quotes around the words “suicide attempt”.

    My own opinion on the matter is a bitter result of experiences which include a university acquaintance who, apparently out of the blue and without any known history of “attempts” very efficiently and certainly completed a suicide, and a family member for whom “attempting suicide” became for a time practically a hobby. I acknowledge that first-hand sight of the effect “attempting” has on relatives and others close to the so-called “attempter” has withered any empathy I might feel if I knew less.

  32. Holms says

    So women can ask for stuff on the grounds that men have it (happens all the time). But men can’t ask for something on the grounds that women have it? And women can employ the phrase “women’s rights” whereas men shall only be allowed “men’s issues”.

    Partly because it reeks of that “we need a white history month – wait why are you laughing at me” silliness, and partly because the term has been effectively tarnished by the actual Men’s Rights people.

  33. 123454321 says

    “Partly because it reeks of that “we need a white history month – wait why are you laughing at me” silliness, and partly because the term has been effectively tarnished by the actual Men’s Rights people.”

    Nice excuses. But an infinitely selfish and puerile counter argument which self destructs the few scarcely remaining pillars of feminism. Crumble, crumble….no wonder the ceiling is caving in on feminism with lame excuses like that demonstrating undeniable self-importance and bigotry. No wonder people are feeling such anger and resentment. One rule for one…and always an excuse….dear oh dear.

  34. 123454321 says

    “None of your assertions have any merit.”

    In your worthless opinion, Holms, coming from someone who thinks that female human beings can have “rights” but male human beings can’t because the females got in there first and so any application of the same terminology being applied to men shall be promoted as part of the feminist indoctrination agenda to be viewed as tit-for-tat and not real equality? Really? Oh, sorry, forgive me once again I forgot I’m arguing with a feminist who ranks female special privilege way above that of any male. *** walks away slapping myself several times around the face as a bring-me-back-down-to-earth-reality-check *** Women can have rights but men can only have issues? Seriously, will it always be this bad for men and boys?

  35. Marduk says

    You’re wrong about that. When different groups have widely different behaviours with widely different outcomes and come from widely different demographics, it is a respectable position in epidemiology and public health to hold that they might actually be different and might require different services. That is neither incorrect nor ‘ignorant’. ICD-10 has an x-code for parasuicide from next year, you’re going to hear more about this in the future. And it will be a good thing too. What you also have to understand is that if you are harming yourself for instrumental reasons, the best way of averting crisis is to help you with those reasons. That isn’t actually what happens to people who hurt themselves without intent and end up on a psychiatric ward as attempted suicide. In fact it is the last thing they’ll do and its not some unsolvable mystery therefore as to why they keep doing it over and over again. They are getting the wrong response in the wrong setting.

    —-

    Anyhow, I see Eaves is now gone, we’ve discussed this several times in the past:
    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/womens-blog/2015/nov/03/the-demise-of-womens-charity-eaves-should-worry-us-all

    Not glad to see them gone, somewhat glad public money is no longer being pumped into their non-core activities (i.e., housing charity = good; politics on the public’s dime = bad). JB writes a very partial article but at least admits her interest in the matter.

    Looks like their ideological position on obeying the law of the land (Bindel rolls her eyes and talks about inferior generic services…such is her real commitment to equality apparently) and their use of funds for political campaigning and faux-research did for them. Sorry Julie but it was, when 21 feminist academics write a joint letter pointing out in detail the flaws in your methodology and protocol, calling them “pro-prostitution” — when they aren’t anyway not that it has any bearing on methodological issues — and storming off in a huff isn’t an adequate response.

  36. WineEM says

    (Oh sorry, should make clear, all the placards say “I am a feminist”. Just realised that particular picture isn’t a very well defined close up!)

  37. Holms says

    coming from someone who thinks that female human beings can have “rights” but male human beings can’t because the females got in there first and so any application of the same terminology being applied to men shall be promoted as part of the feminist indoctrination agenda to be viewed as tit-for-tat and not real equality?

    This is a blatant mischaracterisation (or non-comprehension) of what I said on that topic.

    Oh, sorry, forgive me once again I forgot I’m arguing with a feminist who ranks female special privilege way above that of any male.

    Who are you referring to here? It can’t be me, because I have never said that, nor do I recall ever describing myself as a feminist.

  38. Ally Fogg says

    Yeah, I watched that whole video when it came out and ‘dinner party from hell’ is a pretty good description.

    Absolutely nobody comes out of it well. The whole thing is the most astonishing trainwreck it kind of makes for quite compelling viewing in its own way.

  39. That Guy says

    (transplant from other thread)

    Did anyone read this? Am I also the only person who felt uncomfortable reading it?

    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/nov/04/its-good-to-be-genderqueer-but-dont-forget-the-sexual-radicals-who-paved-the-way
    It reads like 50% “Back in my day….” Pythonesqe bragging and 50% veiled transphobic sneering.
    I’m not even really sure what the point is, other than to show support for words like “shemale” and “tranny”, provided you paint yourself with enough progressive credentials beforehand.

  40. Marduk says

    Important piece in the Graun today:
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/nov/07/why-men-lose-friends-in-their-30s

    This is a very common problem and one that has lots of very serious implications.

    I don’t think “make the effort” is enough though. This reminds me of people who tell divorced people off for not “making the effort” shortly before they find out their partner is leaving them.

    Unusually, this seems to be a middle class problem (in the non-satirical sense of that) and its to do with patterns of life. It has lot to do with geographical and occupational ‘mobility’ that is increasingly required. Taking notes from the Shedding movement, if men make friends side-by-side rather than face-to-face, the current pattern of capitalism is really messing us up.

  41. Ally Fogg says

    That Guy [52]

    I agree entirely. The bit about Jayne County reminded me of the people who say “well if Chris Rock calls them ‘n*gggas why can’t I?”

  42. mostlymarvelous says

    I need to know more about the UK and men’s services, particularly for mental health.

    In Australia we have
    1) Beyond Blue for men. https://www.beyondblue.org.au/resources/for-me/men
    [Davo’s] Man Therapy is standing by for you like a mate with a full set of spanners and enough firewood to bbq a buffalo.
    Love it! It was at the top of the page when I opened it. Might be different for others.
    2) https://au.movember.com/
    3) http://www.mensheds.org.au/
    4) https://www.mensline.org.au/
    5) http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/index.cfm
    6) for farmers http://www.aghealth.org.au/blueprint/index.html
    7) The R U OK movement. https://www.ruok.org.au/

    The Man Therapy television ads are good fun as well.
    Davo https://www.mantherapy.org.au/davos-mantherapy
    Dr Brian Ironwood https://www.mantherapy.org.au/?theme=brian

    Obviously the UK has Lifeline, Black Dog and similar general services, but what about men specific services?

  43. Ally Fogg says

    The big one is CALM – https://www.thecalmzone.net/ which deals with mental health and suicide prevention, particularly with regard to young men.

    There are a long list of others with specific services. Can I ask what this is about and I can maybe suggest some others?

  44. mostlymarvelous says

    Not really. I see so many comments that there are no specific services for men’s health and well-being that I’m never sure how seriously to take them.

    (Especially for the UK, where a lot of people seem to think that if you can’t get it thru the NHS then it’s not really available or ineffective.)

    Or maybe I spend too much time reading BTL at The Grauniad.

  45. Marduk says

    #58

    The point about the NHS is not exactly without truth or merit. If you’d asked me a few years ago, that is what I’d have said (I may have said it here), it is failing young men spectacularly. However, that was based on experiences maybe 20 years ago. Recently I’ve had cause to help a number of young men access services and its been far more responsive and took them seriously rather than treating them with hostility (time wasting is a great sin in the NHS), derision or with “man up” style advice. It probably also helps that there is a younger generation of GPs out there who have had very different training in this area. I wish they would be open about this though, I’m sure bad experiences in the past are a big contributor to older men not seeking help. This is critical because I think there is an issue around British people seeing the NHS as the be all and end all, its not entirely incorrect either. If the gatekeeper basically tells you to fuck off, it doesn’t matter whatever other exciting initiatives are going on, you aren’t going to be exposed to them.

    We have Movember as well but I’m not sure if its just mental health is this year’s campaign (its a fund raising thing right?) and there have been efforts to launch the ‘shed’ movement here but I’m not sure how well its taken off.

    There are lots of little helplines if you search, but I think that is besides the point in a way. I think its generally agreed that Australia is the world leader in this kind of thing (hence the attempts to import Australian ideas) so I doubt the UK would compare so well. A thing Australia has done particularly well is not just the services but the publicity around the issues and how to get help and lots of sportsmen talking about it etc. I was in Oz this year and it was every street corner, every sporting event, TV ads, even on beer mats. This is very much not the case here where the existence of CALM is sadly treated like an official secret (not their fault) and that probably explains a lot.

  46. That Guy says

    @ 59 Marduk

    WRT CALM- it’s definitely becoming more visible, at least where I am.
    I think the first publicity I remember seeing for it (other than having to seek it out via google etc) was via the Officers/Gary Numan single ‘petals’ which iirc was in aid of CALM.

    Over the past year or so they’ve been advertised with full page spreads in the Viz- and there’s been a number of billboards up the past several months throughout my nearest city.
    (the billboards I’m not a fan of, since looking at them I thought it was some kind of TOPLAD advertising gimmick for lager or something and took me several takes to realise who it was for).

    Obviously, CALM doesn’t have the same level of public awareness as Samaritans, but that takes a long time to build, but I’d go so far to say that around me, CALM is publicised much more than any other equivalent service I’ve heard of.

  47. mostlymarvelous says

    We have Movember as well but I’m not sure if its just mental health is this year’s campaign (its a fund raising thing right?)

    The items mentioned on the front page of the Australian site for this year’s Movember are 3 physical health items, prostate & testicular cancer and physical inactivity, plus the one that never goes away, mental health. But I don’t know if that’s for Oz only or if they have the same priorities worldwide.

  48. Marduk says

    #59

    Yes, I didn’t mean to condemn it. Its just qualitatively different in my sampling of Australia. Its not about one charity, its about where the culture is and agencies/government making it more of a priority.

    #62 MM, seems the same then:
    https://uk.movember.com/
    I don’t recollect hearing much about mental health in prior years but maybe its just me.

    ———-

    Speaking of where our culture is…
    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/nov/08/is-there-anything-worse-than-a-man-who-cries

    According to her Twitter feed it was “supposed to be funny” so we’re to understand that it is actually just badly executed satirical writing. What I question is whether this is a fit subject (particularly on Remembrance Sunday, one the most challenging days of the year around grief and trauma for some of the most vulnerable men in society and just on the back of some heartbreaking suicide statistics being published) and whether Eva Wiseman was the right person even if it is. I’m getting a bit tired of this in the Guardian. Its not that I don’t understand Swiftean irony (which is how they try to fend criticism off), its just why it is it very sensitive issues for men can only be written about in a jokey way and of course the missed opportunity for someone else to write something more useful on the subject.

    Mangan thought the idea of the ‘shed’ movement was so funny she wrote the same article twice.
    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2007/nov/03/weekend.lucymangan1
    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2011/nov/30/women-need-sheds-more-men

    She didn’t mean any harm, its just bantz right?

    And of course the annual shit show of their international men’s day coverage (literally back in 2009).

    This is more a house style than an isolated incident and its all just a bit much.

  49. mostlymarvelous says

    Its not that I don’t understand Swiftean irony …

    Yup. It’s all very well for editors to encourage people to submit humorous, ironic and satirical pieces. The big problem with that approach is that the standard of wit as well as the writing itself has to be very high if it’s to be successful. The trouble with The Guardian is that it’s not a satirical magazine with a stipulated editorial-quality policy so there’s no benchmark set which would reject pieces which don’t meet that standard. That piece on men crying was clearly in the not-good-enough category by anyone’s standard. (I kept on waiting for the segue into a feminist comment about toxic masculinity inhibiting men’s and boys’ emotional expression. It never came.)

    I also note some pretty shallow reading here. Saying that Men’s Sheds have been going for a few years in Australia is a hell of an understatement. The “original shed” in South Australia began 20 years ago a couple of kms from where I now live. http://www.the-original-shed.org.au/ The country-wide association of these individual local and statewide associations and getting some government funding – with the bonus of bulk-buying cheaper public liability insurance – is a sign of them coming of age, not of them getting started.

    I might say that men’s sheds are a particular favourite of mine. They’ve been selling wooden toys at community fund-raising events since my kids were in primary school. More importantly, they’ve been a great boon to men who’ve been retrenched or retired from skilled trade jobs and given them the opportunity to use and to teach their skills to others – with the added bonus of raising money for various charities that each group chooses to support. And, of course, the more of them that got started, the more public health folks noted that here was an ideal focus point for promoting community programs of checking blood pressure, diabetes, prostate health and, eventually, men’s mental health.

  50. Ally Fogg says

    That Wiseman piece was such a train wreck.

    The important thing about writing satire, or writing with deep irony, is that you should be able to unpick the irony and satire and understand the sincere point beneath it.

    When you unpicked that one, all that you were left with was a general sense that she thinks men are rubbish because they can’t cry and basically it is all their own fault if they end up topping themelves.

    In other business, I vaguely thought about blogging about the female violence programme last night, but really don’t have the time or the energy. In brief, I thought it was pretty shit. Lots of reasons, but the principle one is that their initial premise, that female violence is on the rise, is almost certainly not true.

    All violence is declining. According to the CSEW male-perpetrated violence is falling fast and female-perpetrated violence falling slightly less fast. As a result, women are becoming a slightly larger proportion of the total of violent criminals. They also told us at the beginning that they would be investigating why women are becoming (sic) more violent. Then they made absolutely no effort to answer that beyond some crap about Jaegerbombs.

    The interview with Simon Smith was good. He came over really well. but other than that it was just a really badly missed opportunity I think.

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  53. Marduk says

    #65

    Well, there is the issue around capping in the CSEW but (a) I think the uncapped data are important, but not directly to CSEW where they still distort it quite badly – ideally they should publish both series though, uncapped as a supplement, you’re talking about a shift generated by only ~150 women and ~50 men in the sample and although Walby talks about “sophisticated modern statistical approaches” making this OK, there is no evidence of them in what she has published herself and certainly the general reader is not going to detect their presence or understand the relevance of technical footnotes. In fact (b) if you look at the Walby report on this (and not the Graun’s constant misreporting of it, as usual), an interesting feature that nobody has noted as far as I can tell is that it shows persistent female domestic violence exists in society (the cap/uncap ratios, despite the way this has been reported in the press, are 1.7 vs. 1.6 so basically the same).

  54. Marduk says

    To clarify, while it shows the prevalence between men and women varies, proportional to that prevalence, the pattern of that domestic violence is demonstrated to be almost exactly the same. In particular, repeated and persistent IPV is commonly (in fact, almost without exception) claimed as a male-only pattern of behaviour, this is shown not to be the case. We already know that it doesn’t actually vary much by severity once weapon use is factored in. So the argument that male violence is special and that female violence is somehow different are not supported by data. In turn this should lead us to question theories that predict a difference that isn’t there.

  55. Marduk says

    Links:

    Dodgy reporting (…talk about one-eyed):
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/09/violent-against-women-massively-understated-statistics-agency-told

    “Her work has found that the total number of violent crimes soars by 60% when the cap is removed. But this increase is concentrated on violent crime against women by partners and acquaintances, which rise by 70% and 100% respectively.”

    Er, no it isn’t. When you remove the capping rates rise roughly consistently across men and women (that 60% rate = 70% increase for women, 50% increase for men).

    Study report:
    http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/72272/4/Violence_Society_Research_briefing_1.pdf

  56. WineEM says

    Psst, Ally, you know one of my favourite things of all time is to bring a smile to your face…
    Well, you know this Tory MP Helen Whately that you’ve been ‘fanboying’ over on your Twittersphere page, https://twitter.com/AllyFogg/status/667339774122975232
    she’s also someone who recently spoke out very strongly in favour of cuts to tax credits during that debate as well. Just thought you might like to know! 🙂

  57. Marduk says

    I would just like to register my extreme amusement that Germaine Greer was in lurve with Martin Amis to the tune of thousands of words of purple prose. K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

    Widely regarded as one of the most sexist people in literature Amis is only really surpassed by his father, the Darth Vader of misogyny and his brother’s godfather who somehow surpassed that to deliver Emperor Palpatine levels of the same. If only they’d married, the Christmas dinners would have been fascinating.

    That said I respect Marty’s silence on the topic, when the Daily Mail (yes, the Daily Mail) starts screaming that you are a misogynist it must be terribly tempting to say you’ve asked an expert and she was ok with it.

  58. WineEM says

    Oh yes, sorry, the thing about the Jeremy Corbyn picture, it wasn’t so much just holding up a sign saying “I am a feminist”, which would be pretty irritating in itself, but nothing greater than that. It’s more that it has been the only response he chose to express, as Labour Leader, in reaction to the Jess Phillips/Phillip Davies debate. Indeed, immediately after that disagreement, he issued a statement on his Twitter page condemning internet abuse, but there were no thoughts or ideas at all about the very substantive points that Mr Davies raised before the Backbench Business Committee.

    So this does answer the question I posed specifically during the Labour leadership campaign: was Jeremy Corbyn simply naive and uninformed, and that was the only reason why he chose to make gender issues exclusively ‘women-only’ in his manifesto; or, instead, was he driven by a sort of instinctive blinkeredness and bigotry, which makes women particularly worthy of ‘special attention’. Well, he has now made this clear, has he not: as always women have problems, but men are problems.

    This is further compounded by Corbyn not being honest about his rationale and motivations: during the leadership race, he kept on justifying his focus on women’s equality with the words “I want to make sure that everyone should be treated the same way as everyone else”. Those were the exactt words he kept on using at his rallies.

    But we now know that’s not on his mind at all. His politics are angled towards a chivalrous preferencing of women over men, there is simply no hiding this now. So much for a ‘new politics’ based on reason and evidence. In this domain, he clearly couldn’t care less for such things at all.

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