Good Men Project write to Elliot Rodger

The Good Men Project continue their official policy of misogyny by publishing an open letter to Elliot Rodger. I’ve included the whole text below because you genuinely wouldn’t believe me if you didn’t read it for yourself.

Darrell Milton writes to Elliot Rodger about, among other things, why being a 22-year-old virgin is not a big deal.

 I tried watching Elliot Rodger’s last video this morning. I have been putting it off because I assumed it would be disturbing. And although it goes for about six minutes, I couldn’t get through the whole thing because I think the guy was a loony and his words were making me feel really uncomfortable.

 

Because it’s totally acceptable to use disablist language and complain about actually listening to misogyny making you uncomfortable. Try living with it FFS. Like women do every single freaking day – misogyny which the Good Men Project perpetuates on a daily basis with the woman-hating drivel they post (and not just that horrific article written by a rapist who argued his right to get drunk was more important than him not raping women whilst drunk).

I haven’t written an open letter on my blog before, but I thought this time I would. This is not just to Elliot Rodger, but to all of those young people, both young men AND young women, who feel that their life is over simply because at the age of 22 they are still virgins.

Excellent, so how about starting by not writing for the Good Men Project who believe women are nothing more than fuck-toys.

Before I start my letter, here are the opening lines of his video, and it’s the only bit I could watch before turning it off…

This might be pernickety of me but as a general rule of thumb it’s a good idea to watch the whole video before making assumptions about what the man may or may not have said.

 

“Hi. Elliot Rodger here. Well, this is my last video. It all has to come to this.

Tomorrow is the day of retribution, the day in which I will have my retribution against humanity, against all of you.

For the last eight years of my life, ever since I hit puberty I have been forced to endure an existence of loneliness and unfulfilled desires all because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men but never to me.

I am 22 years old and still a virgin. I have never even been kissed by a girl. I have been through college for two and a half years, more than that, and I am still a virgin. It has been very torturous.

College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure, but in those years I have had to rot in loneliness. It’s not fair…”

There is plenty more of this depressive crap. But that’s all I could stomach. I feel sorry for him, I really do. I don’t know all the variables behind what makes a guy go mental just because he’s still a virgin, but what I have learned in my 40 years is this: How your life is at 22 is not how your life will always be. So I thought I’d write this letter… ***

If only Darrell had watched the whole video and not just the first bit, then he’d know that Elliot wasn’t just upset at being a virgin. It’s usually much easier to know the “variables” when you’ve actually bothered to listen to what Elliot said.  He was in a homicidal rage at still being a virgin and blamed women for it instead of the fact that clearly no one wanted to sex with him because he was an abusive narcissist. Plus, the whole misogyny and racism. Elliot wasn’t homicidal because he was a virgin. The fact that you assume that speaks volumes about you.

And, really Darrell, could you not have spared a teeny tiny bit of sympathy for the SIX people Elliot murdered? Or the 13 he gravely injured?

Dear Elliot, You should have given it time. You really should have. So you were still a virgin at 22, I know guys who were virgins well into their mid to late twenties and one that I know who lost his virginity after he turned 30. These men are very happy in their life now, all being married, and all having kids (so I guess they had sex, dude).

Again, with the virginity thing as if having sex would have cured Elliot from being an abusive, violent narcissist. Really Darrell, you aren’t making yourself sound like a good man. Hell, your obsession with Elliot’s virginity is as concerning as Elliot’s obsession with it.

Leaving high school or going through college still a virgin isn’t a big deal. I’m sorry Hollywood made you think otherwise. Movies like American Pie, Superbad, The Girl Next Door, Sixteen Candles, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Weird Science, and the 1980′s classic Porky’s aren’t based on reality. You DO NOT have to lose your virginity by any set time or period of your life.

I can’t recommend highly enough watching the WHOLE video and reading his manifesto because, Darrell sweetie, you’ve missed the point of them completely – at a truly embarrassing level.

I know that you pined after that blonde girl you had a crush on. Mate, I’m sure you’ve heard the expression before, and I’m sorry to go all cliché, but there’s plenty more fish in the sea. As I wrote in a blog post 10 days before your murderous rampage, maybe the perfect person for you, your (to go all Disney) one true love, isn’t living in Santa Barbara. I think you needed to get out of there.

Guess what Darrell – there may be literally billions of women on the planet but neither Elliot or you deserve to be in a relationship with them. In fact, it’s pretty clear from Elliot’s manifesto that he was absolutely not a man to date because he was violent, abusive and wanted to kill them. Generally speaking, most women don’t want to date men who want to kill them. Strange as that may sound to you.

Travel. Meet new people. Back pack through Europe. Meet a nice Norwegian girl who thinks like you, enjoys the same music you like, will share her pickled herring with you, whatever. (Actually, I wonder if you actually knew the things that you liked yourself. I mean besides “hot chicks,” I’m pretty sure your manifesto would have been filled with things you hated rather than things you actually liked).

I may get a little repetitive here but, really Darrell, read the fucking manifesto because you sound like a complete fucking dickhead at this point.

I’m not going to lie; sex is great. Well, it can be. It can also be a bad experience both for guys and girls. For me, making love is more important. Maybe my mindset is the product of all those women’s magazines I used to read waiting to see the doctor or dentist (or at the mechanic, come to think of it), but having sex with someone you are in love with is the most awesome part of sex. Don’t look for someone to simply fuck. Look for someone to love. That’s what you should have been doing.

Shall we review the: “Elliot isn’t entitled to fuck any woman he wants  because he was clearly violent and abusive” rule. “Making love” does not cure men of being abusive dickheads. The fact that you seem to think this will help Elliot’s violent tendencies in any way shape or form makes me fear for your partners.

You said girls have never been attracted to you? I bet you’re wrong. I bet there were plenty who thought you were a decent guy (back when you were) and that’s all that mattered to them. But maybe these girls didn’t fit your ideal woman. Sure you have to be attracted to someone to some extent, but I am a firm believer in what I call “love goggles.”

You know what I’m going to say here don’t you, Darrell: you haven’t read the manifesto or watched the video and you’re talking complete fucking shite. Elliot had a long history of violent and abusive behaviour. He was a misogynist. At no point was Elliot ever a “good man”. Your inability to understand this from just watching the first minute of the video makes me worry about your comprehension skills.

Love goggles are like beer goggles only unlike beer goggles, they don’t wear off when you’re sober, they only stop working when you fall out of love. When you find your true love, those love goggles turn into love contacts and they adhere to your eyeballs so that someone society deems average is the most attractive thing on this planet. That’s love mate. That’s what it can do to you.

Honestly, I can’t even here.

I know this letter has been written too late for you, but I hope that all the other wannabe Elliot Rodgers out there can read this and learn from your mistake. You didn’t need to go there. You didn’t need to kill innocent people just because things weren’t going your way.

Holy shit. I am so glad you aren’t in charge of public health policy or the psychiatric care of any individuals. What you’ve just said is exactly what Elliot thought. He thought it was a “mistake” that no woman wanted to have sex with him. It wasn’t a mistake. He was a violent man and he is precisely the kind of man who would have abused his partner and then killed them if they tried to end the relationship.

Mass murder is not a fucking mistake. What the fuck is wrong with you? Seriously, seek some help yourself.

And sure, in cases like this, there are many people who will take to social media and say what I just said but add “You should have just killed yourself, you selfish prick” or something like that. No, that’s wrong. Seek help. Talk to your friends. Talk to your parents. Talk to a professional who can help you. Heck, talk to me. I will listen and I will repeat what I said above as many times as you need to hear it.

Jesus Fucking Christ, you are the LAST PERSON ON EARTH any man thinking what Elliot thought should speak too. I can’t tell if you’re just really fucking stupid or as dangerous as Elliot but you need help. Immediately: for stupidity and being a male violence apologist.

There’s nothing wrong with being a 22-year-old virgin. But there’s plenty wrong with being a 22-year-old murderous arsehole.

And there’s plenty wrong with a man who genuinely believes that Elliot killed 6 people as a mistake because he was upset at being a virgin.

Get your head out of your ass. Get a therapist and grow the fuck up Darrell.

 

This isn’t a “prank”. It’s just another part of the spectrum of male violence

An 18 year old called Jacob Dowdle has been expelled from school after shoving a creme pie in a teachers face. The expulsion came 2 days later after a video of the incident was posted online. The police have also questioned Dowdle about the incident. Dowdle threw a pie in a teacher’s face and was expelled (on the last day of classes) but will be allowed to sit his A-levels. I’d have thought a fairly normal response from a school to a student being an ass (and I checked with the teenager – she agrees with me on this and, by definition, this is  weird because she’s a teenager) but a bunch of people have started a petition because “boys will be boys” and holding them accountable is just mean.

Granted, Dowdle’s attack isn’t the worst thing a student can do to a teacher but it is being minimised and dismissed as irrelevant. We’re supposed to pretend that Dowdle’s behaviour is normal because he’s a “kid” and kids do stupid thing. Well, kids do do stupid things. Problem is, Dowdle isn’t a kid – at 18 years old he’s an adult. He has the right to vote, to drive and to drink alcohol and yet we think he shouldn’t be held accountable for harming his teacher. Dowdle made a choice and he needs to face the consequences of that decision. He isn’t being sent to prison for 20 years or banned from taking his A levels. He’s not being allowed to return to a school where he assaulted a teacher – not banned for life from having an education. Banning him from a building is hardly going to ruin his life.

The “boys will be boys” rhetoric is very dangerous. It is used constantly to minimise inappropriate behaviour in young boys. Instead of raising our boys to be thoughtful, considerate and to understand that there are consequences to their actions, we tell them that it was just a “prank” and that everyone will get over it. Well, I don’t want to get over it. I don’t want to live in a culture where an 18 year old is allowed to vote but not held accountable for his actions. I don’t want my children to attend schools where the teachers are having to worry about whether or not a male student will behave like a jackass. I want my children to attend schools where sexual violence is non-existent and bullying is dealt with appropriately.

I’m sick to death of the “boys will be boys” bullshit and I am so fucking bored of this idea that boys aren’t responsible for their own behaviour. That men can’t be held responsible for their actions.  Ched Evans doesn’t think he’s a rapist because he’s spent his whole life being told that he can do whatever he wants to whoever he wants whenever he wants. His fans believe they have the right to be as abusive and nasty as they want because they are men and men get to be assholes. Elliot Rodger killed 6 people because he believed he had the right to kill them. And, men rape and abuse women every single day because they believe they have the right. Dowdle’s action are part of the spectrum of male violence and he is being forgiven for his actions just as every other man is.

This school has made it very clear to their students that they will not tolerate the “boys will be boys” bullshit. Frankly, I’d like to write them a thank you letter.

<thank you to Karen Ingala Smith for tweeting this article out and raising her concerns this morning>

 

 

 

Footlocker EU helpfully reminds us what sexism looks like

In the kindness of their hearts, Footlocker EU has helpfully reminded us poor women exactly what sexism looks like and that even women who play football aren’t really allowed to play unless they also pass the patriarchal fuckability test.

Being an athlete, of any level, is unbecoming for women.

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Thanks to @LynnCSchreiber for bringing this to my attention.

Gaslighting, Rape T-Shirts and “rational men”

This is an old t-shirt which was pulled by Asda after feminist campaigning. The image is currently doing the rounds of Facebook.

asda bee

This comment was left by a man on a friend’s wall after women had explained they felt it was a reference to rape:

I think wen I read this it is joke implied, the joke implied has no reference to rape, ive thawt about this for quite a wile before makin my commment I still as a rational thinkin man cannot see how it implies to rape, ya must hav a twisted mind for that to come to mind before ya see it as the joke of ur too ugly for a woman to go with you

I wasn’t overly polite in my response to the d00d:

I would assume the man not only thought rape was a joke but I would immediately place on the list of potential rapists. Stats are pretty clear that at least 1 in 60 men commit rape (and that’s without including non-reported rapes). I in 2 women experience some form of sexual violence in their life and 1 in 4 women are raped. Men who wear these t-shirts are telling rapists that it’s ok to rape women – that no doesn’t actually mean no and getting a woman too drunk to consent isn’t rape (see Ched Evans’ defence).

As for the “rational thinking man” comment, who do you think commits rape? It’s not men who are mentally ill. It;s your average “rational thinking man” and erasing women’s experiences of sexual violence because you don’t think its a problem is why rape culture exists.

The D00d did not like being challenged:

Men who wear these t shirts are tellin men rapists its ok lmfao wot planet do u live on, I like how you can only quote the stats about men raping and women being raped, go get sum morw google info and switch it round the other way before makin a comment like that, its not just men that rape ppl, its not just a woman that has experienced sexual violence,

I thought we were having a “rational conversation” so I responded with this:

 Neil – are you in the UK because if you are, you are extremely ignorant of the law on rape and sexual violence. You may want to read the legislation before spewing clearly fallacious statements. And, yeah, I can quote statistics. I can quote stats from research done by Scotland Yard, the FBI, the EU and the UN which is where my information came from. Where does yours? 

Neil had claimed women could rape too which is not the legal definition in England and Wales as rape requires the insertion of a penis. The number of men who claim to know more than women about rape always seem a bit confused about the legal definition.

When in doubt, always claim the FBI and UN are secret feminist organisations:

Only a prick wud say that, oh ive been on Scotland yard and eu and fbi firstly I am in uk secondly you dont kno me thirdly, ya say I dont care about womens safety, well ur wrong, and u dont kno me so dont try and commment as tho you do, and all I fuckin sed was I dont think this T Shirt says rape is ok, so why dont yoy stop gettin on my case about it seems you dont like it that sum1 has the balls to stand up and giv their opinion, its fuckin wankers like you that go around makin shit comments about a person wen u dont kno them at all

And, then some other d00d comes along to defend his mate with this shit:

 Its amazing isn’t it that when the target audience to who this top is projected to comment on it and can see the irony in it. Nowhere does this slogan say rape is OK at all!!! How about you actually read it from the wearers point of view. What if it said buy HIM another beer? Would that be saying male rape is OK?

ell I m off to asda to buy one now anyway. I think its is well funny and I hope to bump into all of you lovely ladies when I’m wearing it. Although I can promise I won’t be buying you any drinks.

This is gas lighting. Telling women their experiences of rape are irrelevant and that their response to being triggered by a t-shirt with a rape joke is them being oversensitive. Because the viewpoint of the wearer – THE MAN- is more important than the women who find this t-shirt offensive. The threat is the final statement isn’t implicit because the male writer knows that women will be afraid to challenge him because he may hurt them.

These men are just as dangerous as those who commit rape and murder. They give permission to rapists and murderers  to commit crimes against women and girls because we aren’t important. Men’s rights to wear a t-shirt with a rape joke is bigger than women’s right to walk down the street without experiencing sexual harassment and threats.

The Rise of Fascism is the Fault of those who “abstained”

The people who chose not to vote are as responsible as those who voted for far-right parties

I wrote this in conversation on twitter with friends and I stand by every word. Those who chose not to vote are as responsible for the rise in Fascist and racist parties as those who voted for them. We have known for months that the far-right and fascist parties were mobilising in an attempt to become mainstream and, yet, many didn’t bother to vote, including feminists.

Voting won’t result in the complete destruction of the capitalist-patriarchy. It never will, We all know that. That doesn’t mean we can’t prevent the worst of our so-called options from taking power. We have allowed our elective representatives to be drawn from a group of racist, homophobic, disablist and misogynists. Not voting let UKIP take the EU seat in Scotland. It lead to the rise in votes for fascist parties across Europe. In Croydon, a Tory-led council has voted to charge children who need specialist support with reading £3500 for a right to education supposedly guaranteed under the Education Act. Councils across England and Wales are controlled by parties who don’t think specialist services for women are needed. This has led to the closure of women’s aid and refuges in many counties. It has also decimated specialist services for Black and Ethnic Minority women.

We can’t change the world by voting but not voting helps no one. If you chose not to vote in the last election in some ridiculous attempt at “protest”, all you’ve done is allowed those in power retain power and give them a clear mandate to continue policies which will harm women and children.

You’re responsible for allowing local councils to continue closing refuges, slash social work budgets to help families and vulnerable people and erode our education system. It has allowed racists to dictate immigration at the national and EU level.

Not voting isn’t cool or revolutionary, contrary to the drivel spouted by Russell Brand, it’s simply the only way to keep the worst of the worst out of the decision making process on the continuation of the NHS, education and specialist services for women.

Just to be perfectly clear here: fascism is a movement of the middle classes. It’s electoral support, regardless of nation or time, has always required the middle class vote to gain power. The idea that fascism is somehow tied to poverty and the disenfranchisement that goes with it is a convenient myth for those who are in power. After all, the Republican party in the US and UKIP and the Tories in the UK have policies which do not differentiate them from mainstream fascist parties (look at how the Republicans fight to disenfranchise poor, African-American communities). They are the acceptable face of fascism  – and, increasingly, are being given space to espouse fascist ideologies, much like the Nazi party in the early 1930s. We are repeating patterns of scape-goating which allow fascist  parties to gain power and which give those right-wing mainstream parties permission to become more fascist.

 

Men respond to discussion of male violence with abusive language

Men responded to my post on the Santa Barbara shootings with their usual aplomb:

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And then we have the “Whatta about meeeeee!” whiners:

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Because the brutal murder of 6 people by one man in a culture of systemic violence is all about one dude with hurt feelings.

We need to talk about systemic male violence not the “work of a madman”

Note: I will no longer be publishing any comments which erase Rodger’s responsibility for committing mass murder or want to pretend that misogyny doesn’t exist.

 

UPDATE: I wrote this when the media was reporting 6 women murdered by Rodger. The victims are as follows:

I have left the post as written because this is still a case of misogyny and male entitlement.

 

6 women have been murdered* and 7 more injured in Santa Barbara in a drive by shooting late Friday night which is currently being attributed to a man called Elliot Rodger.** Rodger got into his car and proceeded to shoot to death 6 women and injure 7 other women. Rodger was also killed Friday night but we do not yet know if his gun-shot was self-inflicted or from a police officer on the scene.

Sheriff Bill Brown has already referred to this mass shooting as ““the work of a madman” and suggested that we will soon learn “how disturbed this individual was”. Despite there being no evidence, as yet, that the perpetrator suffered a mental illness, and the statistical unlikelihood that a perpetrator of such extreme violence does have a mental illness, the police officers investigating the crime and the media reporting it are assuming that Rodger must be mentally ill. After all, “normal men” don’t murder women every single day (unless of course we count the 2 women a week murdered by current or former partner; women and girls brutally murdered by men during home invasions and robberies; the women raped and murdered in war zones and disaster areas; or any of the hundreds of thousands of examples of fatal male violence against women and girls every single day). The media is reporting that Rodger has Asperger’s Syndrome as an excuse for his killing but there is no clear evidence of a link between  Aspergers and such extreme forms of violence. Whether or not Rodger’s has a formal diagnosis of one of the very few mental illnesses which has links to perpetration of violence is to be seen, however, assuming that a man who murders women must be “mentally ill” is to ignore the real pattern of fatal male violence.

The media narrative in play is not one of open investigation of the brutal murder of 6 women but rather a poor, depressed man driven to murder because of sexual inadequacy and the refusal of women to have sex with him.  Granted, Elliot Rodger’s “confession video” is all about how girls aren’t attracted to him and how he will “punish them”. Rodger’s video is a performance of male entitlement . We live in a culture where men feel entitled to own and control women’s bodies: where men are raised  to believe they have the right to full access to women’s bodies whenever and wherever they want. This mass shooting of 6 women by one man is part of a culture of toxic masculinity. It is part of the spectrum of male violence against women and girls that includes everything from young boys pulling girls ponytails when they are 5 to snapping bra straps when they are 13 through to street harassment, domestic violence, rape and murder. This mass shooting of women to “punish them” is not unusual. We have seen it in the massacre of 14 women at a Polytechnique in Montreal. Every time a man brutally murders one women – we ignore or make excuses. When a man murders many at once – we make better excuses for them.

So far, media coverage has gone for salacious and unnecessary facts whilst erasing the clear evidence of misogyny. The Telegraph has gone with this headline:

California drive-by shooting: ‘Son of Hunger Games assistant director’ Elliot Rodger suspected of killing six

Obviously, the movie the perpetrator’s father worked on is more important than the 6 women murdered. Business Online went for crass with:

Business Online Forum For Sexually Frustrated Men Reacts To News That Mass Shooter May Be One Of Their Own

As if Rodger’s “sexual frustration” is a valid excuse for murdering women or his membership of an anti-pick up artist website ‘real’ evidence of his misogyny (as opposed every other think Rodger did on a daily basis which would have demonstrated it) . USA Today used a more factual headline but focused exclusively on language which blames women for Rodger’s crimes. Much of the media has insisted on pointing out that the area where the 6 women were murdered was “a known party area” insinuating that the victims were somehow responsible for being in the wrong place which caused their deaths rather than the Rodger’s choosing to kill them.

The media have taken great pleasure in quoting from Rodger’s youtube video where his hatred of women was quite clear:

the crime of living a better life than me

love you, to be loved by you, … i’ve wanted sex, I’ve wanted, love, affection, adoration. You think I’m unworthy of it and that’s crime that can never be forgiven. … You denied me a happy life and in turn I will deny all of you life.

What is also clear is Rodger’s entitlement to women’s bodies; not that the media is discussing this. Instead, there is some rather gleeful coverage of Rodger’s status of virgin and all the mean, nasty girls who refused to have sex with him driving Rodger to commit mass murder. There is no real question that actually Rodger was never entitled to have sex with any woman he wanted; that no man is entitled to have sexual access just because they desire it. This is nothing less than rape culture being perpetuated by a media desperate to make excuses for a violent man.

I’ve watched the video several times and I have yet to see the media refer to this quote:

I hate all of you sexually active men.

After all, Rodger didn’t kill any men and suggesting that he might have wanted to might cause unnecessary panic. It’s perfectly normal for men to kill women who “reject” them or who “make them jealous”.  Men don’t deserve fatal male violence; women do. Within our toxic culture of masculinity, it is perfectly reasonable for men to kill women. It isn’t for men to kill other. They do kill each other but it’s a problem that requires studies.

The mass murders committed by Rodger will remain mainstream news over the next few weeks covered by global media. It will not differ from the coverage for the last 24 hours: Rodger *must* be mentally ill regardless of any evidence to the contrary; that this is an “abnormal” event which is not linked to the clear spectrum of male violence against women and girls experience every day. We will hear lots of coverage of Rodger’s celebrity friends who will express shock and horror despite the fact that Hollywood, as with the rest of the world, is riddled with violent men who make the choice to harm women. We won’t hear very much about the 6 women who were brutally murdered or the 7 who are injured. We won’t hear of Rodger’s pattern of violence against women and girls – and there will be a pattern. We won’t hear about it because his friends, family and acquaintances will have minimised his behaviour over the years – just as they minimised the behaviour of all other men.

We live in a world of systemic male violence against women and girls. Rodger is no different than so many men who believe they are entitled to sexually access the bodies of women and girls and who blame women and girls for saying no. Rape culture means women and girls aren’t allowed to say no and any woman or girl who does deserves what happens to them. We will hear excuses for Rodger and we will hear lip service to the term toxic masculinity but no real attempt to actually deal with the problem of male violence.

Questioning toxic masculinity means questioning our capitalist-patriarchy. And, no man who has power within our culture is willing to change anything that might interfere with their power.

Men who kill choose to kill. Men who rape, assault and torture women choose to do so.  Rodger isn’t abnormal or mentally ill. The video he released on YouTube is the same justification given by millions of men who choose to harm women: it’s women’s fault for believing they are human too.

This is misogyny: the crime, the media coverage and the men desperate to excuse a killer.

UPDATE: I’ve not changed the text since I first published it. This is information released overnight:

  • police have confirmed that Elliot Rodger was the perpetrator.
  • he stabbed 3 male roommates in his apartment before beginning his shooting spree
  • he then headed to a sorority but was denied entry.
  • Rodger then shot two women  on the street
  • he drove away shooting one more male victim
  • and then shot himself
  • there is a document written by Rodger here detailing his plans

 

*The names of the victims have not yet been released. I will post them as soon as they are.

**I’ve seen Rodger’s name spelt as Elliott, Elliot and Eliot. I’m using the spelling given in the Telegraph which is the first coverage I’ve read.

These are the women murdered in Montreal by Marc Lepine

  • Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
  • Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
  • Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
  • Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
  • Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
  • Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
  • Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
  • Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
  • Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
  • Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
  • Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

 

The Suffragettes were racist & other mind-boggling historical facts

Election time: when women tweet out how they are voting because the Suffragettes fought for the right of women to vote. And, when men come running over to shriek “OMG, the suffragettes were racist”  as if women didn’t realise that the White Supremacy didn’t just start last week. I get so fucking bored with this silencing tactic – because that’s all it is: a silencing tactic. It’s another way of telling women to shut the fuck up. After all, I have yet to  hear anyone in the UK bang on about how the Reform Act of 1832 was a bastion of anti-racism and anti-colonialist discourse.

We all know the Suffragettes were racist. We know it for the same reason we know that white people are inherently racist: we live in a white supremacist culture where it is very, very difficult for white people to identify and challenge both their own white privilege and the structural racism that they perpetuate daily (even if they are aware and trying to challenge).  This is hardly shocking news unless you are a) quite happy being racist or b) a nincompoop. The history of the world is one of racism, violence, misogyny and those in power engaged in constant warfare to maintain that power. The movements for suffrage (whether for all men, women or the right of people of colour) have all been problematic (to understate the issue.) Suffrage movements have always excluded certain groups of people in order to extend power to some. The Suffrage movement for women was no different, yet it is the only one which features constant references to racism. Male enfranchisement, across the globe, has always excluded those deemed “inferior of race” from the British Empire to the US Civil Rights Movement to South African Apartheid and beyond. Yet, we only talk about the Suffragettes (and feminists) as racist.

Why aren’t we talking about the male suffrage movements of the 19th and 20th century as racist? Why do we only recognise racism in the American and South African contexts when the British Empire was founded on racism (and our wealthiest residents living off the fat of slavery and colonialism to this day).

The Suffragettes were racist. Homophobia, disablism and classism weren’t exactly issues they were right-on about either. This is the reality of world history. Only now, in the 21st century, are we seeing progress on issues of racism and even then it’s pretty much non-existent. You only need to look at the Republican’s desperate attempts to disenfranchise African-American voters in the last US election to see how little progress has been made – and that’s without getting into the legacies of colonialism and unfettered capitalism across the globe.

Those in power have very little interest in allowing Sub-Humans access to power structures. They never have and they never will. Men have a vested interest in shutting women up and, whilst I recognise the Suffragettes were far from perfect, their campaigns made it possible for more categories of Sub-Humans to vote – and the definition of ‘sub-human’ remains historically and locally contextualised. Extending the franchise and encouraging those without power is the only way we can cause change with a capitalist-patriarchy. It’s not a great way of causing change but it’s the only we have and we do need to thank those who fought for our right to vote – even if they don’t represent our values.

I’m grateful to those men and women who fought for the Reform Acts of 1832, 1867, 1884, 1918 and 1928. I’m grateful to the women who fought for our right to vote in the 20th century. I’m grateful to the Famous Five of Canada who took the fight for the recognition of women as persons all the way to the British High Court in 1929. All of these were far from perfect but it is because of them that the vast majority of people domiciled in the UK have the right to vote: regardless of sex, gender, ethnicity or faith.

Our political structures are still dominated by rich white men who refuse to share power. We need to do better but crapping on the campaigns that came before us means we’re not focusing on the real problem: the capitalist-patriarchy. We can’t destroy it if we’re too busy complaining about how a group of women a 100 years ago exemplified the racism of their period when we neglect to point out that so did the men!

The right to vote is a precious gift and we can use it today to keep racists like UKIP and the BNP out of power. Surely this is the legacy we want to leave from the Suffrage movement – women defeating racism through the democratic right to vote in spite of whether or not those who campaigned for women’s suffrage would support us now?

Fathers 4 Justice are everything which is wrong with our culture

Today, Ending Victimisation and Blame (Everyday Victim Blaming) published a brilliant article by Jean Hatchet on the government’s new plans to charge the mother for the father’s financial abuse of their children. A refusal to pay maintenance, deliberately falsifying revenue to decrease maintenance and hiding assets are financial child abuse. Men who do this prefer their children to live in poverty rather than supporting them and our government is colluding with them.

This is the response from a member of Fathers 4 Justice* (who claims to be a teacher):

you know … just because you’ve been rejected by every man in your life, doesn’t mean we’re all the same.

… a sexist, bigoted loon

… just because you’ve been rejected by every man in your life, doesn’t mean we’re all the same.

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This is Fathers 4 Justice. Their members replicate this abusive behaviour all over the net as I wrote about here and other women have documented here, here, here, and here . These are not silly men who miss their children and run about dressed as Batman. The refusal of the organisation to deny the behaviour of those who issue violent threats (like shooting me in the head) and those who post misogynistic, homophobic, disablist language like above shows clearly what Fathers 4 Justice cares about. And, it isn’t their children they claim so desperately to miss.

*These tweets are from the same man. I have copied some and screencapped others based solely on my ability to remove the names of their targets of harassment.

 

The Tories hate children: Or, no/ poor access to education is state-sanctioned child abuse

Cynical Croydon charging children £3,500 for remedial lessons

I would have thought that a party which prefers children to live in poverty than hold their fathers responsible for financially supporting them can’t get any higher on the “Who hates children the most” game.  Turns out, I was so beyond wrong I might as well have been on a different planet. The Tory-led council of Croydon have come up with a brilliant plan to punish children who need extra support. They’ve privatised learning support for remedial literacy, put it in a new building and are now going to charge children a whopping £3,500 for the privilege of learning to read. A government which does not give every single child access to appropriate educational services is committing state-sanctioned child abuse.

EVERY SINGLE CHILD HAS THE RIGHT TO AN EDUCATION .

This includes any extra support they may need to help them. Requiring children to pay is horrific.

It is unbelievable that we live in a country where a child who needs extra support is expected to pay. And, let’s be honest here, this is a punishment for parents who are guilty of the heinous crimes of being poor, speaking English as a second language or having a child who is not “normal”.

No country which punishes children rather than supporting them is civilised. And, every government which believes it’s okay to force children to pay to learn is participating in state-sanctioned abuse. A child who goes through a state education who cannot read has been failed by everyone.

I know the language of abuse seems almost hyperbolic but, really, a child who lives in the UK who has to pay for support from the state education system is being set up to fail. A child who can not read is severely oppressed by the state. What is forcing a child to live in poverty because she/he has no basic literacy skills but abuse?