The last great masculine delusion: What even Grayson Perry doesn’t get


In many respects the first episode of Grayson Perry’s All Man was one of the finest pieces of television I have seen this year. As a straight-up slice of documentary-making it was compelling, insightful and deeply moving. Even the doubts I felt about the initial structural conceit – Perry sets himself a challenge of creating works of art to represent his journey of discovery – was swept away by the reactions of his contributors, particularly the mother of a young suicide victim, to the two pieces he made.

The intellectual content was also unusually rich. The linkage of the rise of hypermasculine mixed martial arts cage fighting in the North East with the collapse of coal and other heavy industries is pertinent and important, so too was his characterisation of masculinity as a protective shell, a suit of armour that men use to protect ourselves while simultaneously weighing us down and restricting us, preventing change. These are points that I and many others of like mind have been making for a long time, but beautifully expressed here.

“I am beginning to frame masculinity as a callous, if you like, on men, to protect them from the hardships of working in very heavy industries so when they need to change, to be flexible in the modern workplace, to be emotionally resilient, they struggle because that carapace that they’ve built around them shatters or snaps or folds. It doesn’t bounce.”

With all deserved praise duly paid, there was a crucial point missing from the programme and it was this: Masculinity is a political construction. The nuance of this was revealed in the closing remarks, when Grayson Perry talked about men needing to relent, needing to let go, needing to change, as if the only force that was preventing that happening, or which could cause it to happen, was men’s own stubbornness, men’s own choices, men’s own shortcomings.

To illustrate this in practice, imagine for a moment a documentary made in the same tone about ideals of femininity, one which examined serious issues such as the gender pay gap or the lack of women in politics, boardrooms or in science and technology, and did so by going to meet ultra-feminine working class subcultures in the nail salons of Essex or Liverpool or amongst the trophy wife yummy mummies of Cheshire or Buckinghamshire. Imagine this documentary concluded that what women really need to do is to learn to let go of their gender roles, learn to change, learn to relent, basically just pull their socks up and behave a bit more like men do.

I’d imagine such a documentary would be roundly castigated for being naïve and simplistic, and the film-maker, rather than being applauded for sensitivity and insight, would be (at least metaphorically) soundly beaten around the head with copies of Naomi Wolf’s Beauty Myth and Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique.

Is the situation here so very different? I don’t think so.

There is no doubt that men, or paradigms of masculinity, need to change. Tragic suicide rates are the most salient and inescapable illustration of this, but see also patterns of male violence and criminality, rates of alcoholism and addiction, untreated depression, social isolation and all the other topics that crop up on this blog, just for starters.

But for men to change, first of all society has to change, not the other way around and that is not a personal project but a political one. This is a key lesson that men can learn from feminism (and you don’t need to be a feminist yourself to agree.)  This is not to deny individual agency or personal responsibility for one’s choices, but the bottom line is that the circumstances of a single man are a lifestyle choice. The circumstances of ten million men are a political outcome.

Part of this is the basic sociology of hegemonic culture. What that means in essence is that the collated trends of human behaviour that we call a culture is not a random mutation. It has been shaped in specific ways to provide value to the powers that be. Traditional working class masculine gender roles  (risk-taking, violence, stoicism, protecting and providing) were obviously desirable to a society that primarily needed working class men to spend their lives risking life and limb on the fields of battle or agriculture, hauling steel over furnaces or ripping up coal from the depths of hell and playing their designated role in preserving the nuclear family (read yer Engels). If society continues to produce men with those values it is because at some level society still wants men with those values.

Of course none of this is a deliberate, conscious choice. David Cameron’s cabinet does not sit around planning how to best produce the next generation of compliant, long-suffering cannon fodder. Instead these processes are woven into the nap of society, permeating everything from education to entertainment and is as evident in the policies that are neglected as those which are adopted.

This week the Guardian carried an interview with Grayson Perry. At the bottom of the piece was a list of twelve suggestions for how men can change themselves to survive the modern world. I found this striking. Nowhere amid this was a single suggestion for ways in which public policy could change, society could change, culture could change. (I’d happily churn out a list of suggestions myself, everything from parental/fatherhood structures to educational policies to a strategy on violence against men and boys, but that is not the point here. The point is that we have not even started to ask the question.)

The bitter irony here, of course, is that this notion that men have the power to change themselves is the ultimate patriarchal delusion, one that even Grayson Perry seems to be buying into. At the same time as identifying and bemoaning men’s inability to admit vulnerability, weakness or needs, this atomized, individualised recipe for transformation merely recycles the same disease as a prescription. In other words, programmes like this condemn men for imagining they can solve their own problems by just pulling their socks up while at the same time suggesting that everything would be better if they just pulled their socks up.

As a society we find it really easy to understand that women are products of the culture that moulds them – consider all the concerns about Disney princesses, pinkification, gendered toys etc. We find It really easy to agree that women need help and support to be liberated and fulfilled, to have full opportunities in their life, education and careers. We find this easy because we are steeped in patriarchal values. For the exact same reasons we (as a society and individually) tend to fail dismally in recognising that the exact same is true of men. Men are not masters of their own destiny. We cherish the delusion that men are in control of their own destinies, when by and large they are anything but.

I welcome Grayson Perry’s careful consideration of modern masculinity. It is helpful that what he says can be heard. However we must recognise that what he is doing is identifying problems. Developing solutions is not a matter of art or psychotherapy, but of politics.

Comments

  1. Adiabat says

    Nice piece Ally. It seems that in the last year or so it’s become fashionable in certain circles to attack masculinity and the men who are happy to follow a more “stereotypical” expression of masculinity. Which is a perfectly fine and acceptable thing to do.

    I suspect this is a reaction to the rise in interest in men’s issues in general: A way to address men’s issues while at the same time blaming men for them.

    P.S I also wonder just how easily Perry would “bounce” if the economy changed in such a way that he couldn’t do what he’s been trained for and is good at, and he had to pursue a career in heavy industry. It’s got very little to do with “masculinity”.

  2. redpesto says

    Fogg:

    The nuance of this was revealed in the closing remarks, when Grayson Perry talked about men needing to relent, needing to let go, needing to change, as if the only force that was preventing that happening, or which could cause it to happen, was men’s own stubbornness, men’s own choices, men’s own shortcomings.

    It’s a bit like the argument that says there aren’t enough female physics students because of sexism, but the lack of male midwives is either not an issue or the result of men being too dumb to take the opportunity. The Radio Times interview with Perry by Justin Webb made the same mistake when Webb starts wondering why the young unemployed men of Skelmersdale (next week’s ep?) aren’t curing cancer or performing brain surgery – as if their social and economic circumstances weren’t a factor (especially, suspect, in contrast to Webb’s).

  3. says

    You make an important point here, Ally. Changing society is political. But the men’s rights movement approaches things from the right and often seems more focused on anti-feminism. And while it’s not feminism’s role to address men’s issues – that’s up to us – some branches of feminism may oppose addressing men’s issues for various reasons. My point is that I hope work like yours helps nudge things toward a proactive shift is societal attitudes.

  4. nrjnigel says

    It is indeed dispiriting that this “pull your sock up” narrative is trotted out all the time by those who’d be shocked if the same advice were proffered to women. As someone whose done and interested in martial arts and has watched MMA I think its still a pretty minority sport. So I sincerely doubt every other young man in Newcastle is a cage fighter. Certainly isn’t so here in Manchester. Far more representative would have been sunday footballers. Though not denying the history of Lancs. is also the history of gruelling industry too I can’t help feel Perry lazily pedalled a caricature of “the North”.

  5. Marduk says

    Not much to disagree with here.

    I always find it difficult to understand why people who believe in deterministic structural accounts of hegemony think it would only apply to one group and not another, a selective hegemony is no hegemony at all. Marx didn’t think this and its hardly an overlooked topic in art either. Some people just don’t seem to be able to understand it though, its like they have a “right and wrong” mental block.

    I think we have a double problem in British society because of Empire. People laugh at George Osborne’s fetish for hard-hats but they might as well be pith helmets. He and his chums were literally born to rule, he should really be a colonial officer somewhere. Deprived of an empire to govern they can’t help themselves but treat large parts of the UK as if they were unruly natives in need reform.

  6. StillGjenganger says

    From reading his interview, it is not only politics that he does not get. He is also missing any consideration of where men want to go, and whether it is the same place women want to go. So, ‘feminists are our friends’? Surely that depends whether we share their goals. ‘We should welcome gender fluidity’? Well, having lost the old role, should we really welcome the lack of a replacement? ”We should look to the future, not the past’? Well, do we see a desirable future? Do we really have a lot to gain from these developments? Or is this just a case of embracing the inevitable? And adapting to the goals that economic development and the women’s movement have decided we should pursues?

  7. says

    Spot on. It’s what you’re not allowed to say on the mass media, because, as we all know, really, if society is to change the underlying economy must change too. And that opens up an old can of worms that today’s establishment would like to keep shut.

  8. Marduk says

    #9

    I think those are all fair points and deserve consideration.

    Even when looking to a different future, its still a lot of “should” going on. Arguably things are changing a bit anyway, its just nobody likes it so it can’t count. It seems at regular periods now there is much lamenting about a ‘lack of ambition’, ‘video games’, ‘refusing to grow up’ and ‘underemployment’. This is portrayed as a moral panic about character, but I can’t help noticing it also impacts other people’s economic situation. Even if you don’t believe it, its interesting to entertain the idea that man in his liberated state, finally free of protestant work ethic, is not a clean-cut sharing caring Diet Coke man but basically a bit of a slacker that is going to disappoint everyone but himself.

    On reflection I do also think that Grayson Perry is dangerously close to peddling some 90s-style dangerous myths about mental health. What if men don’t want to “open up”, there is good evidence this doesn’t always make things better actually and implicitly blaming people for imbalances in their brains is very cruel and totally the wrong way to think about things like this. Indeed, it just perpetuates the the bullshit non-response that the lack of services suitable for men isn’t an issue, its that men need to be more like women to “deserve” them or they can shut up.

    The risk in this debate is that you just end up being herded by a different set of interests and you’re getting less an agenda for actualisation than someone getting their lobbying in early.Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    PS. The amount of “sponsored from around the web” pseudo-porn on this blog is becoming ridiculous

  9. Lucy says

    ‘These are points that I and many others of like mind have been making for a long time, but beautifully expressed here.

    “I am beginning to frame masculinity as a callous, if you like, on men, to protect them from the hardships of working in very heavy industries so when they need to change, to be flexible in the modern workplace, to be emotionally resilient, they struggle because that carapace that they’ve built around them shatters or snaps or folds. It doesn’t bounce.”’

    There’s an elegance to Rachel Cooke’s turn of expression too:

    “Unusual, clever and articulate, Grayson Perry is catnip to journalists. We regard him as A Good Thing. Unfortunately, with this comes the danger that we attribute to him a great but unwarranted sagacity; that, beguiled by his ideas and his sincerity, we don’t subject him to the scrutiny we apply to others, believing he is mostly right, most of the time. Here’s an example. I watched 45 minutes of the first film in his new series, about masculinity and what it means today (Thursdays, 10pm), before I realised that, unnoticed by me, he’d moved from a wholly admirable position of tender curiosity to what I would characterise as the false certainties of off-the-shelf psychobabble.”

  10. Lucy says

    “Part of this is the basic sociology of hegemonic culture. What that means in essence is that the collated trends of human behaviour that we call a culture is not a random mutation. It has been shaped in specific ways to provide value to the powers that be. ”

    Who were men.

    “Part of this is the basic sociology of hegemonic culture. What that means in essence is that the collated trends of human behaviour that we call a culture is not a random mutation. It has been shaped in specific ways to provide value to the powers that be. Traditional working class masculine gender roles (risk-taking, violence, stoicism, protecting and providing) were obviously desirable to a society that primarily needed working class men to spend their lives risking life and limb on the fields of battle or agriculture, hauling steel over furnaces or ripping up coal from the depths of hell and playing their designated role in preserving the nuclear family (read yer Engels). ”

    The same values and roles were ascribed to upper class men. The aristocracy won their wealth and positions on the battle field.

    And the same is true of every single culture and mammalian species in every part of the world, ever.

    The stiff upper lip was a Victorian, English, middle and upper class invention nurtured in boarding schools. Not that I’ve ever seen much evidence of men bring in control of their emotions, the world is littered with rubble and billions of dead people as evidence of that.

    “If society continues to produce men with those values it is because at some level society still wants men with those values”
    Or alternatively society has had to accommodate those natural masculine traits and is increasingly less willing to do so.

  11. Lucy says

    “There is no doubt that men, or paradigms of masculinity, need to change. Tragic suicide rates are the most salient and inescapable illustration of this”

    So if men recognised their emotional range and shared them with one another and adopted some of the paradigms of femininity this would change? Would it?

    Because the paradigms of femininity don’t appear to be working given that FOUR TIMES as many girls and women as boys and men try to kill themselves.

    Unless you consider an unsuccessful suicide attempt where the victim can be resuscitated to be a hegemonic success.

  12. Lucy says

    “Part of this is the basic sociology of hegemonic culture. What that means in essence is that the collated trends of human behaviour that we call a culture is not a random mutation. It has been shaped in specific ways to provide value to the powers that be. ””

    You make it sound like the powers that be became the powers that be via some other means than risk-taking, violence, stoicism, protecting and providing.

  13. Lucy says

    I thought one of the most pertinent points was made by the mother of the man who killed himself who said that she believed he wanted to be dead at that moment, but that he didn’t want to be dead forever.

    In other words that male suicide can be impulsive, and can be as emotionally inconclusive as female suicide or what Mike Buchanan likes to disparagingly term the female kind. a cry for help.

    Which supports my view that the main reason male suicide is higher than female is not because men are in more psychic pain than women (they aren’t, women are attempting suicide in epidemic proportions) but men are more likely to choose violent and impulsive means to deal with that pain. Whether you consider this violence and impulsiveness to be primarily, uniquely imposed on them by societal expectations, or primarily a product of biology I suppose is up for debate.

  14. Lucy says

    “stoicism, protecting and providing”

    So the historic ideal of womanhood: the Virgin Mary or the the steady, loyal sweetheart chastely waiting years for her lover to return from battle, the obedient, self-nagating wife, the self-sacrificing mother, didn’t carry the cultural expectation and social burden of stoicism, protection and providing?

    Societies weren’t just hewn from the hell of the underground coal mines (which girls and women worked in too btw), but also in the hell of domestic servitude.

    I notice there are no banners, parades or services for them. I saw women worshipping at the altar of the male myth in Durham Cathedral, I doubt men would ever return the favour.

  15. Lucy. says

    Knock knock:
    Q: what’s the difference between a man dressing up as a parody of a woman and a white person blacking up?
    A: women don’t get violent when they’re insulted so who cares?

  16. says

    In 1842 employing women as coal miners was made illegal. Housework is boring but it’s dead easy compared to most of the jobs men had to do during the industrial heyday. A lot of the old miners I grew up with had fingers, thumbs, hands and arms missing. It’s the qualitative difference in the nature of the work that made men and women very different during this era, not how ‘oppressive’ the work was to the imaginary ‘free spirit’.

    In the 18th century most working-class women were as physically tough and durable as the men, but, of course, on average, not as strong and therefore incapable of high productivity in many physical occupations. Women survived in physical occupations that valued dexterity rather than strength. The occupational gender division was created by a simple calculation of surplus value. Women had no unions and banners because the majority were pragmatic, culturally conservative and anti-political. They weren’t ‘barred’ from politics by males and indeed a few were actively involved, but the majority weren’t interested.

    This changed in the 20th century when a lot of physical work became automated. Now, with a few exceptions, women and men can compete in the same labour markets. Capitalism has now got us all exactly where it wants us – atomised, competitive wage-dependent debt-peons with no substantive politics. Feminism, once a movement with some radical pretensions, has now become neoliberalised, little more than a cultural and legal advocate for women who want to increase their competitive edge in labour markets. If you look at Gloria Steinem’s history as a CIA agent, you can see the sort of feminism that the establishment wanted to promote from the early 1960s. The establishment won. Nancy Fraser thinks that feminism can reclaim its radical roots, but, like anything else trapped in neoliberalism’s quagmire, the more it struggles the deeper it sinks. If we are to regenerate the real politics that Ally advocates the first thing we must do is transcend identity politics and throw it in the dustbin of history along with all the other failures.

  17. Marduk says

    18.
    Racism and transphobia in one joke huh.
    You’re a rare breed Lucy, you aren’t a feminist – even a little bit – you just hate men, that isn’t the same thing.

  18. That Guy says

    @ Lucy 18

    Usually I find your comments challenging and interesting but this one is just banal racism. Show some empathy.

  19. Adiabat says

    Lucy (13):

    “Part of this is the basic sociology of hegemonic culture. What that means in essence is that the collated trends of human behaviour that we call a culture is not a random mutation. It has been shaped in specific ways to provide value to the powers that be. ”

    Who were men.

    I think when your approach to analysing an issue, in this case a class-based analysis along gender lines, is producing such silly results as men shaping men solely to provide value to men, with no regard for the well-being of the men men shape, it’s a sign that there’s something wrong with your approach.

    The same values and roles [risk-taking, violence, stoicism, protecting and providing] were ascribed to upper class men. The aristocracy won their wealth and positions on the battle field

    This is a good point however. Maybe those values are simply good values for a society to instil in people? Perhaps they are what make a society/culture robust, and we’ve lost something by not promoting them anymore.

    Now we have generations put on drugs in classrooms, companies wasting hundreds of millions on bureaucratic red tape and pointless ‘initiatives’ (instead of, perhaps, a pay rise for the workers), and a load of students at universities who can’t seem to handle a different opinion without calling it “violence” and needed safe spaces and counselling. What values does society now promote and reward that produces results such as these?

  20. Marduk says

    22.

    The aristocracy did not “win their wealth and positions on the battlefield”. They spent an awful lot of money trying to convince people of that, its why we have museums full of portraits of people wearing ornamental armour and standing around with stallions, but it isn’t true.

    As to whether those are even bad values, not necessarily. People don’t like it but the Paglia stuff is relevant here. People at least need to be able to rebutt it properly rather ad hominem.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “risk” is probably the most important topic for contemporary feminism to deal with. Which is why there is zero discussion of it probably. Society may not need violence but it needs risk and it needs people who will take risks. How inconvenient. No wonder they have no class analysis, the neoliberal project has been not about money as is popularly assumed but something far more powerful, it has been all about trading risk and moving risk around society.

    I get the feeling eventually I’m going to have to write a book or something.

  21. StillGjenganger says

    @Marduk 23

    The aristocracy did not “win their wealth and positions on the battlefield”. They spent an awful lot of money trying to convince people of that,

    I think you are getting this one wrong. First, Lucy is quite right that the stoicism etc. was an upper class value as much as a lower-class one. Second, armored knights were largely upper class (they had to be, considering what the horse and the armour cost), kings and earls fought in the battle line, dueling and tournaments were the important pastimes of the ‘knightly classes’. Certainly the chivalric splendour was invoked for prestige long after the reality was past, but even so I gether that the uppper classes provided their share of the cannon fodder, on the Somme and elsewhere (if as officers rather than privates).

    Anyway, Ally got it wrong with his comment about roles being formed by ‘the powers that be’. Society is all of us (which is why we can consider what changes we want). Socciety is a stable, self-maintaining system, where the norms form us, and we pass them on and police them, in large part because agreed bahaviour norms makes life easier for evereyone. Anyway, those social roles reflect not only biology, but basic social facts. Violence was endemic in a society of scarcity with a weak state, and that took centuries to reduce. Stoicism, risk-taking and endurance were needed to deal with the hardship, risk, and danger that was unavoidable in farms, mines, ships, and workshops right up till modern times.Openness and sensitivity are not necessarily the best way of dealing with an environment that regularly kills and maims people around you – or yourself. The family was a necessary economic unit that required more than one person and a division of labour to function properly; housekeeping and childcare was a crucial, skilled occupation.

    The big question is what we want to do now, when the hard labour is done by machines, jobs and working groups keep changing, and a single woman armed with disposable nappies, frozen dinners, and vacuum cleaners can bring up a family on her own without any need for men.

  22. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally

    It would be very interesting to see your list of proposed polotical changes.
    And (as you may guess) I would be even more interested in seeing what kind of socirty you want us to end up in – and why.

  23. Ally Fogg says

    Gjenganger

    It’s not really about specific policies, more about the kind of thinking that goes into policies across the board. Someone asked the same thing on a Reddit thread so I’ll just copy & paste:

    The short (and evasive) answer is that it would vary from case to case, country to country etc but the unifying principle is that restrictive, so-called “toxic” constructions of masculinity are actively encouraged and reinforced by all kinds of social, political and cultural habits. Anything that reverses that would come under my list.

    So, to take one example, the stereotype that “real” men are not good at caring, at empathy, at emotional intelligence etc etc etc. We can probably all agree that this is harmful. How could this change?

    It could change by getting a lot more men visibly involved in caring, nurturing, emotionally engaged roles. So one policy that would make a difference would be a sustained governmental effort to get many more men becoming primary or joint carers of children, many more men becoming teachers, childcare workers, nurses, social workers etc etc etc. The absence of such efforts is in effect an acknowledgement that the powers that be don’t particularly want men to be doing these things. Why? Because the powers that be, deep down, don’t really think men should be doing such things.

    A second example. Our society has a real problem in conceiving of men as vulnerable, men in need of help, men as victims. At present governments (and indeed the UN etc) define sexual and gender violence as “violence against women and girls” (as happens in the UK through VAWG funding & judicial policies, and in the US through VAWA).

    This policy has the direct effect of confirming that the state does not really consider it possible to be both a man and to be a victim of rape, child abuse or domestic violence.

    See also the different narrative around sentencing and prison reform policies for men and women (something which has been a big issue in the UK for years and which HRC brought up in her campaign the other week). The thinking that (effectively) says women prisoners are all delicate, damaged little snowflakes while imprisoned men are basically savage beasts is a vivid example of how the authorities are constantly reinforcing patriarchal stereotypes.

    These are just a few examples but we could be here all day because that type of thinking is simply assumed in all types of policy making which go towards cementing such values in culture.

  24. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally

    Thanks.

    It will not surprise you to hear, though, that I disagree. Not with the ‘victims of violence’ and the ‘men in prison’ points, those I follow, but with the caring. I’d say that 1) it is not the case that the state does not want men to be carers, just that society (all of us) does not see that as a paritcularly male pursuit, and the state is indifferent, at least to the point that it does not go out of its way to change the status quo. 2) The difference in the attitude to caring represents a gendered division of labour in society. Declaring that this is by definition ‘toxic’ and calling for a massive state effort to reverse current norms on this point, I understand as a claim that any difference between genders (at least any difference that makes a difference) is wrong, and that the final goal is a society where the two genders are indistinguishable. Which I would disagree with.

    But then we have had this discussion before – I write this mainly for the other debaters to disagree with.

  25. Marduk says

    24.
    I don’t dispute that, the aristocracy (aka the ‘ruperts’) are still at it today leading working class men (and boys) into harms way. But that isn’t how they got anything, aristocracy doesn’t work like that, its designed to be as stable as possible and has nothing to do with merit or achievement in any sphere, its about who your dad is and how many other siblings you’ve got. The idea you deserved it and you’ve got a big painting of you waving a sabre around or whatever is the same as the rather tiresome attempts to portray David Cameron as one of the greatest minds of his generation.

    “Noblesse oblige” is self-justifying PR, not an account of how things work.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noblesse_oblige

  26. Lucythoughts says

    Steve Hall #19
    This is tangential to the discussion but, although I agree with much of the import, I disagree with enough of the specifics that I’m itching to write you a long reply.

    “Women survived in physical occupations that valued dexterity rather than strength. The occupational gender division was created by a simple calculation of surplus value.”

    I disagree with you in thinking that surplus value was the key factor in the gendered division of labour in the industrial period. Women and girls were scattered across a large proportion of industries but the great majority were employed in a few key ones: textiles, clothing production, food preparation (confectionary, tinning, preserving, curing…) and production of household goods. These were industries which had arisen from what had historically been women’s home industries so it is hardly surprising that recruiting large numbers of women to work in the new factories (going back to the 18th century) seemed appropriate. Crucially, they could also be hired for incredibly low wages because even pitiful wages were an increase on their previous earning potential (from spinning, seasonal work etc). Although technical factors like strength or dexterity were clearly critical in some occupations, I don’t believe that they were the primary drivers in the gendering of occupations once the factory system had brought so much work within the scope of women’s strength. In fact, you see weird incongruities in the ways in which men and women were employed and the ways they were paid, which speak more to social factors than logistical ones.

    “Women had no unions and banners because the majority were pragmatic, culturally conservative and anti-political. They weren’t ‘barred’ from politics by males and indeed a few were actively involved, but the majority weren’t interested.”

    Firstly, it simply isn’t true to imply that women were willingly received into unions; this was very patchy and inconsistent. There were some great success stories of men and women unionising together, the obvious example being the Lancashire cotton workers, but let’s be honest about how it came about: the gut reaction of men’s unions was to keep women out of the trades; very understandable, they undercut wages. However, in industries like textiles they might as well have been pushing water uphill. Eventually the brighter ones realised that their best move was to bring the women workers into the unions and in some, like Lancashire, that was embraced with a whole heart. However, in many other areas, even this was very partially done, for example, only including those women who were employed in parts of the process where men also worked (like weaving) and excluding those where only women worked (like carding or preparing fibres). The result was not a complete success and inclusiveness was very variable. In industries, like metal work, where women and girls were a fairly small minority, they generally weren’t welcomed into unions, which remained men-only. There was simply no incentive to give them house-room.

    The second point you make is about why women didn’t get heavily involved in unionisation: I broadly agree with what you say but it far from the whole of the story. Practically, women were unable and unwilling to pay union fees from extremely small wages. Women in female industries quite often formed unions briefly in response to some crisis of bad practice by employers, but they quickly fell apart due to lack of funds. Also, they were scared of losing their jobs; most were easily replaceable and they knew it. Where women and men unionised together, most women were unwilling to dedicate the time to union activities outside of their working hours. A lot of them had housework to do at home after their 10 hours in the factory, and they didn’t need the extra hassle. But undeniably, the social factors were the main ones here: going off to union meetings wasn’t what women “did”, or at least only a few particularly feisty ones, and most women workers were young, probably planning to work for a few years and then get married and they didn’t see the point in investing their time into something which wouldn’t be part of their long term future.

    “Housework is boring but it’s dead easy compared to most of the jobs men had to do during the industrial heyday“

    Again, I think you are taking an unreasonably simplified view. Firstly, there is a tendency to think of women as primarily housewives but consider, the average age of marriage for a women was around 28 years old, so a large proportion of women were working for 10 to 15 years before marriage. Around 75% of women and girls in this age group were employed. Many of them returned to work as married women, or did piece work at home, and a greater number did so as widows. In total about a third of people employed in factories and workshops were women and girls.

    Secondly, married women dropped out of employment for one fairly obvious reason: maternity, and the large increase in home-based work which accompanied it. Nature’s division of labour, if you like. Housework was not just “boring”, it was also extremely arduous and physically demanding but to get the scope of how grindingly exhausting it actually was, you have to factor in the constant physical debilitation a lot of women were functioning under because of frequent pregnancy and childbirth combined with chronic malnutrition and the absence of medical care.

    To make a general point (not aimed at you specifically) I don’t like the tendency in gender-politics to view history as a point-scoring exercise. When making comparisons between the conditions of life of working men and women I am very uneasy with the urge to classify them as “better” and “worse”, particularly based on very modern notions of those concepts. I think “terrible” and “differently terrible” is more accurate. Many men did work in extremely dangerous occupations, and a fair few women did too. And let’s be fair, many men also worked in skilled occupations which were not extraordinarily dangerous and were fairly lucrative, so it was a mixed bag. Equally, life at home ranged from pretty okay to inconceivably awful for women.

    So which is worse? 12 hours a day in the baking sun digging out rubble with a shovel? Or 12 hours a day sewing by dim gaslight in a damp, freezing cold cellar full of carbon monoxide? Or blacking grates and lugging buckets of water whilst seven months pregnant for the fifth time, severely anaemic and living on a diet of adulterated white bread and tea? None of those are extreme examples either, but rather commonplace ones. Why should we put relative values on the quality of lives we can barely imagine? It isn’t wise or honest and it isn’t respectful either, especially from the smug comfort of our ideological armchairs.

  27. Lucythoughts says

    Gjenganger #27
    I can see where you’re coming from. The reason I am uncomfortable with the concept of hegemony is that it seems to lead in a circular fashion to a place I don’t want to go. As I see it, it goes like this: 1) we are all conditioned by hegemonic constructs which maintain the status quo to the benefit of the powerful elite (probably true); 2) we are so immersed in these constructs that we don’t know they are there or else believe that we actually want them or are choosing them voluntarily (hmm, okay…); 3) therefore correction cannot come directly from the common people (because of our conditioning) but has to be guided by an intellectual elite who are tuned in to the nature of our hegemonic oppression and gently imposed upon us for our own good (oh dear…).

    Welcome, hegemony mark 2; don’t worry, you really will thank us later.

  28. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts, 30.

    Sounds about right.

    I’d put it that the idea of hegemony is getting it wrong. I would see it as s a self-stabilising kind of system. Of course some groups will do better than others, and of course the winners will push hard to keep the system unchanged, but everybody has a stake in the system because they get at least something, and because that is how they grew up and know how things work. That does not make it impossible to see and desire possible changes. What with changes in the job market, in wealth and in the opportunities for a family, and after the wars showed that women could work in much kore high profile jobs, ‘hegemony’ did not prevent women in general from getting the idea that they couild have much greater opportunities, or from working for it.

    As for ”believing that our conditioning is something we actually want’, well it is. Humans are formed from imitating what they grow up with. It is not meaningful to distinguish between what we ‘really want’ and what we have learned to want. But again that does not prevent us from seeing opportunities for positive change, if we can see it is realistic and worth the (perfectly real) cost in abandoning our current accommodation. The ‘intellectual elite’ can provide understanding, show that other ways are possible, and try to convince. But ultimately it is up to people themselves what they want, and ‘gently imposing’ anything is just one more form of coercion.

  29. says

    Lucy, I don’t disagree entirely with most of your points. I could be counterfactual around the details here and there, but it would be a waste of time because the problem is that you have fundamentally misunderstood my point. I wasn’t making an ethical comparison around the categories ‘better’ or ‘worse’, I was merely saying that the types of work, generally speaking, were qualitatively different. Your claim that the emergence of the factory system relieved men of tough, dangerous physical work is only partially true (I say partially because men were allocated the heavy work even in factories) but of course right up to the 1980s many men worked in heavy industry, mining, construction, fishing, agriculture, estates and other ‘outdoor’ industries – plus of course frequent military service – that required a level of strength and physical durability and presented a level of danger from which women were exempt. Hence my example of the law excluding women from coal mining in 1842. You provide appropriate the examples of the typical distinction yourself with sewing and shifting rubble – mind you, many male jobs were a lot worse than shifting rubble, try shaft-sinking or shaft-cleaning at ‘the pit’. I once saw a guy at a steelworks vaporised in a pot of white-hot pig iron, and another one fall from a 200 foot cooling tower to smash his back and be bent double backwards as he fell into the dust-catcher with his innards pouring out all over the place. The board in the time-office told us that there was one serious accident and death like this per month – and this was in the 1970s, not the 1870s! It was this excessive physical strength, toughness and danger in many types of men’s work that made these men what they were – ‘hard’. And of course competition for jobs meant that a reputation for excessive strength, toughness and durability – the willingness to face such danger and perform heavy work productively without complaining – would secure employment, so the ‘identity’ became organically socialised and culturalised on the ground in the context of the labour market. It was affirmed and nudged along by masculinist hegemony, but this was not its generative or principal reproductive mechanism. Women did not need the physical strength or have to endure anything like the danger, even though many of their occupations were arduous in different ways – boring, repetitive, tiring, fiddly and so on. It is the need for excessive physical strength and the willingness to expose oneself to extreme danger that made many males what they were, and what some of them still want to be because they simply don’t fit into the modern labour market. The way feminists distort history is every bit as bad as traditional male writers did (and still do). The gender war has created an epistemological disaster zone in which our understanding of ourselves and our lives is constantly hindered.

  30. Lucythoughts says

    Steve Hall
    A brief reply because I suspect we’re simply talking past each other (I don’t know if I need to point this out but I am a different Lucy from the one you were talking to before – just so you know you aren’t continuing a conversation but having a new one).

    Firstly, I didn’t say that the factory system relieved men of dangerous physical work, I said that it admitted women into a wide range of industries where they had not been previously employed. Naturally, men were allocated most of the tough physical jobs; although you read accounts of women and younger boys and girls doing work which seems inconceivably strenuous, like carrying weights of 70+ pounds up and down the factory all day long for example, but this was little compared to many of the male jobs, no argument there.

    Also, your examples of workplace deaths are very grim indeed and certainly not the first I’ve heard. I picked the examples I did precisely because they were ordinary. Of course shovelling wasn’t the worst work men did and sewing wasn’t the worst women did either. I don’t dispute the danger or endurance involved in men’s occupations, I could share some horror stories in this area myself, but it isn’t in dispute. Also, I don’t dispute the affect it had on shaping male identity. What I do dispute is the “women were exempt from these dangers” and the characterisation of women’s industrial position as primarily “boring”. The dangers faced by women were different; while men were facing the risks of sudden and horrible injury, women were largely suffering from chronic damage to health. The risks were less dramatic and certainly less extensive but they were there; we think of women’s industrial jobs as pretty safe but, for example, women carding flax (another textile process for anyone who doesn’t know) had a life expectancy of about 13 years. They died of respiratory disease caused by the inhalation of dust. There were similar problems in lots of other industries and that doesn’t go into the women working in the white lead industry, making phosphorous matches, carding asbestos and loads of other dangerous trades. I am not saying that the levels of danger, industrial poisoning or anything else were the same, they weren’t, but neither were they insignificant and they shouldn’t be glibly dismissed.

  31. foggfan says

    In many respects the first episode of Grayson Perry’s All Man was one of the finest pieces of television I have seen this year.

    And in many respects it wasn’t. Grayson likes dressing in women clothes, knitting and sewing, teddy bears. He is weird (that’s allowed), but an outlier. Selected to present a series on masculinity, but a tiny percentage of men behave like that. A personal opinion, fair enough, but political nevertheless.

    It would also be interesting to see a series by Tracy Emin, for example, on female stereotypes (I rely on the Guardian here): Valenti, Cossett, etc. All good looking, optimally ‘made up’, optimally angry. (And some, at least, eager on clean bedrooms or dirty ones). Emin never looks like them.

    In the early days (2nd gen) it was different. Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan were not conventionally (or, indeed at all, according to some narratives) attractive; Steinem, glamour puss, now and then, Greer, also. Then. Although she has failed , physically, to keep up. Intellectually, she is miles ahead, is still amusing, annoying, and provocative (check YouTube). On the other hand, Greer did not marry a succession of rich men.

    Finally, there is is the endlessly witty and charming and provocative Milo Yiannopoulos. A series by him on ‘What it means to be gay?’ Fat chance on Brtish TV. He is right wing, and therefore wrong. On the other hand a debate between him and Owen Jones would be fun. Wouldn’ it?

    [Finally this system’s preview system is terrible–or perhaps I don’t know how use it. Advice welcome. But my comment, looks little like I would like it to. On the other hand, it’s free.]

  32. Holms says

    ^ Say rather that he espouses the crudest stereotypes with little thinking behind them, and is therefore wrong.

  33. DudeBros4Ally (Wine.E.M.) says

    Flippin’ heck, some very strange things happening in the American election, with a huge gender split emerging amongst voters (perhaps predictably, many men, especially white, working-class men voting for Trump, and women voting for Hillary).

    “The gender gap is massive [in some areas] and currently benefits Trump,” Brown said. “In Pennsylvania, Clinton’s 19-point lead among women matches Trump’s 21-point margin among men. In Ohio, she is up 7 points among women but down 15 points with men. In Florida she is up 13 points among women but down 13 points among men.”

    This touches upon a point I was going to hint at on the previous thread: we know that some parts of a liberal elite establishment have abused their power in the most horrendous, despicable fashion in the context of identity politics (I think this is something that even you would tacitly accept, Ally, especially since you wish to bring about change with regards to gender issues, and quite often make an effort to go against the grain of establishment and received wisdom). In this area, then, men’s issues have often been dismissed deliberately (and let’s face it, often enthusiastically so).

    So the danger, here, perhaps – well, so I would suggest, anyway – is that the reaction against this phenomenon may end up being just as terrible, if not worse (think Trump and some aspects of the politics of Milo), and though in some quarters a backlash may be passionately yearned for, it may end up being the wrong sort of backlash, which ultimately does more harm than good.

  34. Ally Fogg says

    Lots of interesting comments above, thanks everyone.

    Fascinating exchange between Lucythoughts & Steve. I do actually think you’re very much on the same page, just making slightly different points, for what it’s worth.

    Steve:

    And of course competition for jobs meant that a reputation for excessive strength, toughness and durability – the willingness to face such danger and perform heavy work productively without complaining – would secure employment, so the ‘identity’ became organically socialised and culturalised on the ground in the context of the labour market.

    This is such a good point and one I fully intend to steal and use repeatedly.

  35. Ally Fogg says

    Lucythoughts (30)

    The reason I am uncomfortable with the concept of hegemony is that it seems to lead in a circular fashion to a place I don’t want to go. As I see it, it goes like this: 1) we are all conditioned by hegemonic constructs which maintain the status quo to the benefit of the powerful elite (probably true); 2) we are so immersed in these constructs that we don’t know they are there or else believe that we actually want them or are choosing them voluntarily (hmm, okay…); 3) therefore correction cannot come directly from the common people (because of our conditioning) but has to be guided by an intellectual elite who are tuned in to the nature of our hegemonic oppression and gently imposed upon us for our own good (oh dear…).

    I agree with your points 1 and 2 here but not (quite) about 3.

    I don’t think a hegemonic analysis says that our conditioning etc has to be guided by an intellectual elite, it is more the case that the intellectual elite has to be recognised and challenged for what it is as part of the process of “correction” or whatever term one prefers. Gramsci argued that part of the socialist programme had to be pressing for cultural change upwards, so the masses, via trades unions, workers associations etc, would challenge the organic intellectual class. I think the Internet has made that more possible than ever.

    But what hegemonic analysis does suggest, I think, is that it is not enough to just hope that individuals will, en masse, change their values and cultural habits in a specific desired way. That has to come from a process of dynamic engagement between all classes or sections of society.

    I wrote about some of this stuff in a blog a few years ago

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2013/06/03/oh-ye-cannae-shove-yer-gramsci-off-a-bus/

  36. 123454321 says

    “while men were facing the risks of sudden and horrible injury, women were largely suffering from chronic damage to health.”

    I think you’ll find that men faced risks of sudden and horrible injury AND suffering from chronic damage to health, but not in that order of chronology because death by sudden horrible injury would end their suffering at a much earlier age than women.

  37. 123454321 says

    Also, as Steve suggested, men don’t complain as much due to employment competition etc, therefore less data and stats for chronic suffering amongst men, so the picture gets skewed, as usual.

    We all know what the percentage is for workplace deaths relating to men and women but it would be interesting to get hold of a data graph showing the positional change over, say, a few hundred years.

  38. Lucythoughts says

    Ally #39
    Thanks for the link; I read it with interest. I understand what you and Gramsci are aiming for, I even rather like what you are aiming for, but hegemony is a relative of the weeble; it might wobble but it will never fall down. The well-meaning intellectual will always cry “I represent the oppressed peoples!” and when asked “which ones?” the answer is inevitable: “the ones who agree with me!” We are frail, self-deceiving creatures who tend to identify the problems which match our solutions at least as often as the other way around. You seem to have fallen into the bear trap when you say “it is not enough to hope that individuals will, en masse, change their values and habits in a *specific desired way*…” So, perhaps, someone has to dynamically engage with them in order to steer them toward the conclusions we have already reached? I suspect that the modern day organic intellectuals have just found newer slicker methods of getting their stakes into the game.

  39. Lucythoughts says

    123454321 #40 and #41

    Firstly, you may be surprised to learn that not all men actually died of industrial injuries, thus wiping them off the demographic map before their chronic ill health could become apparent. Many did, in fact, suffer from chronic ill health. When they were too ill to work, their wives (if they were married), wherever possible, went back into the factories and attempted to manage both their 60 hour working week and their burden of housework while bringing home less money than a family could actually survive on. If they got sick and were unmarried, they probably ended up in the workhouse.

    Secondly, your assertion that we only know about women’s sickness because they complained and men didn’t… what can I say? Who the Hell do you think working-class women in the industrial revolution had to complain too? If anything we have far more information on the conditions of life of working men than of women.

    But, at the risk of offending, this is exactly the kind of shit I was talking about back in #33 (last 2 paragraphs). Social history is a fascinating and humbling field of study that offers some real, significant insights; it is NOT a political football to be knocked about in the childish, hysterical game of gender one-downmanship.

  40. StillGjengnger says

    @Ally
    I re-read your Gramsci post. The problem in the analysis is that the various trans-activists, no-platformers etc. are no more part of ‘the people’ than Julie Bindel or Germaine Greer. At most they are part of the 1% – of transsexuals. That makes it a conflict between the intellectual elite and the wannabe intellectual elite; for the bulk of ‘the people’ both groups are equally foreign and domineering. I suspect the reason you back these aggressive young voices is that however unrepresentative they may be they are kindred souls, broadly part of your own (intelectual elite) movement.

    If we are talking about bringing culture and ideas from the population up to the elite, there would seem to be a crying need to engage with the huge numbers of often poor people who end up voting for the likes of UKIP and Donald Trump. I absolutely cannot understand why anyone would vote for either, and would devoutly hope that the needs and desires of these people could be addressed rather more constructively than UKIP etc. does. But these are people with real grievances, real interests – and the left (be it Blair or Corbyn) seems neither to understand them, nor to care for them, nor to have anything to offer them that they are interested in. It certainly does not do the trick to tell them that they care about the wrong things and ought to be wanting something else, and that the most important fight for the moment is the promotion of trans rights and gender flujidity.

  41. 123454321 says

    Lucythoughts,

    In the last two paragraphs of 29 you call up the fact that men left the home in order to do all of the risky and dangerous jobs, thus alluding to the fact that it was men who created the infrastructure and laid the foundation to help create a better home life environment for their families and help alleviate the “inconceivably awful” situation for women, which is correct. I think that’s pretty much how the story went, in general. I stand by the fact that men were far more vulnerable to workplace injury, work-related chronic health issues and ultimately death, although I recognise that women accounted for the stats too. Today, 98% of workplace deaths are men and I doubt much has changed over the last few hundred years (I’d really appreciate being corrected if I’m wrong).

    Is it too much to ask for the limelight to be redirected to men and boys and talk for one moment about the serious aspects affecting them, such as workplace deaths (historic or present day) without constantly having to bring in the feminist narrative using counterarguments to include women doing housework and having to work under a dim light! So I agree with your statement: “it is NOT a political football to be knocked about in the childish, hysterical game of gender one-downmanship.” but when I see the issue of male workplace death stats being turned into “chronic health” and then somehow “housework”, I’m afraid you’ll make me bite and these types of limelight-hogging arguments are exactly why there is a growing backlash against feminism.

    All I’m saying is that men and boys have suffered far more in terms of workplace health-related problems and fatalities – men account for most of the stats, particularly at the more extreme end. I recognise that women have suffered too, but women get far more recognition in society for their suffering, e.g. through gender studies or mainstream media etc.

    It’s a bit like the way youngsters of today are still constantly bombarded and indoctrinated with the women/no vote topic without referring to the fact that millions of men went to war and didn’t get the vote. Also the fact that it was only a few years between all men getting the vote and all women. Misguiding, manipulative, selfish and boring. When are people going to start recognising the plight of men and boys without stealing the limelight! Oh well, I guess no time soon, especially as all the Government money goes to women and girls. The indoctrination continues….

  42. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    In terms of lethality, what percentage of premature deaths do those in the workplace account for? In simpler terms, how serious is the problem? Is it just the gender disparity that upsets you, or is it the health & safety aspect that upsets you?

    Can you, for example, extrapolate – is there a gender disparity in the percentage of people assaulted or otherwise physically abused at work?

  43. Carnation says

    @ StillGjenganger

    “If we are talking about bringing culture and ideas from the population up to the elite, there would seem to be a crying need to engage with the huge numbers of often poor people who end up voting for the likes of UKIP and Donald Trump. I absolutely cannot understand why anyone would vote for either”

    The reasons for this are myriad, but a major impact is the reactionary media positing the average person as being under attack from “political correctness.” We live in a society where a right-wing, multi-millionaire (Clarkson) physically abuses an employee and is venerated for doing so, whilst his victim is vilified. But Clarkson is portrayed as a loveable rebel, a stalwart against the “loony-left” and politically correct brigade when he is, basically, a crass bully, abusing his position and good fortune.

    Variations of this theme are seen across the media spectrum. Farage and Trump, likewise, despite their gilded lives, are seen as “fighting” political correctness.

    You couldn’t make it up…

  44. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 48

    That is the trouble. The Gramsci point (as I understand it) was that the elites had to understand and learn from the great masses in order to properly represent them, and lead towards a better world. You are not trying to understand and learn, just to explain away why they are not following your script. ‘The masses are thinking the wrong things because they have been brainwashed – nothing to come for here’. You may be right to a greater or lesser extent, but with that attitude you will not learn anything from those masses, and you will never get to represent them – just to exhort them to agree with you.

    To avoid this getting personal: I had occasion to look at Italian politics at one point. I was pretty horrified at Berlusconis rise, and firmly believed that anyone voting for him had to be either stupid or dishonest. I still think that I had a point. The problem is that he got a majority. Dismissing the majority of the Italian population as stupid and dishonest is not leading you anywhere. And in order to convince people that they should vote for someone else, you need enough understanding and sympathy to see where they are coming from, and to offer them somthing that helps and makes sense, in their terms. Which neither I nor (rather more to the point) the Italian left was able to do.

    I am conservative myself, as it happens, but I think it is a big problem that there is a large section of society that was once represented by the left, but now has no one who understands their position, or sympathises, or can be said to represent them. Not just in the UK, but across Western Europe, at least. As someone said about a Scandinavian Labour party: “We have all these candidates who are bright and sincere, and well-meaning and energetic. They all have relevant university degrees, they all get relevant experience as parliamentary assistants and such like, and they all have little in common with the people they want to vote for them. If you are supposed to be the party of the working people, it would really help if you had some candidates who had, at some point, actually worked.

  45. 123454321 says

    “In simpler terms, how serious is the problem? Is it just the gender disparity that upsets you, or is it the health & safety aspect that upsets you?”

    Just one single fatality, just one person (regardless of gender) not returning home to their loved ones at the end of a working day is one too many. So, YES, the problem is fucking serious and it appears to be even more fucking serious in terms of risk if you’re a male. The H&S issue AND the gender disparity issue upsets me, the H&S issue because it’s completely unacceptable to not return home from work due to an avoidable accident or due to unnecessary risk taking overlooked by employers. The Gender issue – because you know very well that if 98% of women were being killed at work it would be all over the media like a rash and the problem specifically targeted by the Government as ‘an issue that affects women disproportionality’ and therefore requires strategy and funding. We’d probably see something like HAWW (Harm Against Women in the Workplace). But no such luck for men!

    “Can you, for example, extrapolate – is there a gender disparity in the percentage of people assaulted or otherwise physically abused at work?”

    What a cunning way of changing the direction of the subject. You move away from workplace deaths and harm inflicted as a direct result of the workplace physical environment to talk about assaults and abuse which could effectively occur anywhere.
    Regardless, I’d guess that far more men are affected by assault or physical abuse at work. But they either take it on the chin or conceal the issue due to reasons Steve mentioned earlier. The media are also far less likely to report the story as something huge and it certainly would’t be regurgitated along with accompanying stats like they do at primetime on Woman’s Hour for female-related abuse.

    Mind you, there was a woman in the news this week who actually signed a contractual agreement to wear the work attire stipulated by the company as compulsory (in line with customer-facing smart dress values) and afterwards went public complaining that her high heels were uncomfortable – would that be classed as an assault on women? Ever seen a guy do that to a company because he has to wear a tie in stifling hot weather, or having to wear trousers with no option to wear shorts? Men don’t complain as much as women about abuse. Simple as.

  46. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    “Regardless, I’d guess that far more men are affected by assault or physical abuse at work.”

    No, you’re wrong.

    “Mind you, there was a woman in the news this week who actually signed a contractual agreement to wear the work attire stipulated by the company as compulsory … and afterwards went public complaining that her high heels were uncomfortable – would that be classed as an assault on women?”

    No.

    “Just one single fatality, just one person (regardless of gender) not returning home to their loved ones at the end of a working day is one too many.”

    I absolutely agree with you. But at 142 deaths (both sexes, 2014/15), the numbers are statistically insignificant, whilst being, of course, tragic and avoidable.

    Smoking, drinking and driving kill men at higher rates than women. State intervention is possible to reduce all of those things, and workplace deaths.

    I support much (much) higher taxes on alcohol and tobacco, far heavier penalties for workplace neglect and more traffic police.

    Do you support the same?

  47. Lucythoughts says

    #46 123454321
    I’m not going to engage with you any further as you seem determined to misunderstand and distort. History doesn’t have a limelight; women’s industrial history was brought up, not by me, and as I know probably more than the average amount about the subject I contributed some information and my personal conclusions. Some people might be interested, who knows? If it offends you then I would suggest that is because you are so preoccupied with your own agenda that you see attacks upon it even when they do not, in fact, exist.

  48. 123454321 says

    Carny#51

    “No, you’re wrong.”

    Really? Can you show me the evidence please, evidence which proves convincingly that the workplace abuse hasn’t accumulated from the fact that more women tend to complain, where men simply let go. So for example, if a woman gets slapped on the bum (just a simple example), she is more likely to complain, whereas a man (same offence in the workplace) probably wouldn’t. Plus there is far more awareness raised in the media about female harassment so women feel they can come forward and speak without feeling embarrassed. The usual story, which sits behind the fact that more women get recognised as suffering rater then men.

    “But at 142 deaths (both sexes, 2014/15), the numbers are statistically insignificant, whilst being, of course, tragic and avoidable.”

    Insignificant, huh! So at what point to you rate the figures to be significant, dude? How about, say, the number of women killed by their partners each year? Does that figure become significant to you? I’m guessing it suddenly does. Hmmm, I wonder why!

  49. 123454321 says

    Lucy thoughts

    “I’m not going to engage with you any further”

    That’s a shame because I think you have some really interesting things to say. Not that some of what you say doesn’t require challenge once in a while! I know it’s hard to swallow but are you sure your own opinions haven’t been drawn out from some kind of agenda that you probably aren’t even consciously aware of. It’s very easy to be led by a large crowd. Be cutting edge and think about men and boys. Not many others do. They take the easy path and just move with the crowd (full of feminists, by the way!)

  50. says

    @Carnation and @123454321

    Carnation: “Can you, for example, extrapolate – is there a gender disparity in the percentage of people assaulted or otherwise physically abused at work?”

    123454321: “I’d guess that far more men are affected by assault or physical abuse at work.”

    Carnation: “No, you’re wrong.”

    Jesus Christ – how about just looking it up!

    UK:

    The 2014/15 CSEW found that 1.1% of women and 1.3% of men were victims of violence at work once or more during the year prior to their interview.

    http://www.hse.gov.uk/STATISTICS/causinj/violence/index.htm

    US:

    Males accounted for about 63% of victims of workplace violence

    http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/wv09.pdf

    Both the UK and US numbers quoted above are for non-fatal workplace violence.

  51. Euphoria says

    I find this article puts it’s finger on the issues I have with Perry. It appears he considers himself able to speak for both you men and us women and judge our shortcomings all in the name of populism.
    I find the Julei Cope series really misogynistic, he appears determined to take revenge for all the misdeamonors he suffered in his childhood, and which in turn have entitled him to sit in a postition of priveldged judgement on the rest of us. He appears to have become emotionally fixated on his 7year old self and unable to grow beyond and into a fully formed adult, this despite being married to a pyschotherapist.
    His parodies of little girls through his alter ego Claire is truly disturbing. As he ages does it not become just another misogynist who delights in undermining those of us who aren’t hyper attractive and struggle to ‘make the grade’ that this culture demands of as stated above not just women but increasingly men as well.
    I see him as the problem and not the solution to society being at ease with people in all their shapes and forms without being exposed and dehumanised as Essex Women surely are in a House for Julie?

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