This is why men can’t be feminists:

This is a comment left on  A Room of our Own: A Feminist/ Womanist Network in response to my paper for the Women’s Spaces and Feminist Politics; yesterday, today and tomorrow conference.

This is why men can’t be feminists: because they write patronising drivel:

Dear Author:

I was looking for an email address on your website to contact the owner of this site and the lady who made this speech. I am a 25 year old male, and a women’s studies grad at UcLa. I originally chose this major because it seemed like an easier gateway entering law school, but it actually ended up being one of the best decisions I have ever made. I totally respect and understand your desire to have a forum only for women, but what I found out through my 4 years of study was that men, especially young women, often feel disinterested in feminism and misogyny because they get this “we hate men” vibe. When I first started at ucla, a lot of young women raised an eyebrow at me in classes and didn’t know what my intentions were in terms of why I chose this major. But the truth is that there are a lot of men who are absolutely interested in healthy discussions about feminism and gender problems. I believe that it is absolutely essential for men to be involved in order to make positive changes. If only women talk about these problems and men are left out of the circle, it’s only repeating what has been going on for the last 3-4 decades. I hope that you offer men the opportunity to discuss these issues in a healthy and supportive environment, and I apologize for any abuse you have endured from men online. Thanks for your time and best of luck to you.

Yeah, that “we hate men” vibe is such a problem for feminists what with the whole insisting rapists be held criminally liable and fathers financially responsible for their children. Seriously, if this what 4 years of Women’s Studies taught this dude, we’re fucked.

Mansplainers Arrive!

I haven’t read Rebecca Solnit’s new book but it’s on my wish list because her essay on what is now known as mansplaining is absolutely bloody brilliant. I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t experienced mansplaining at some point. The utter arrogance of men who think they know more about absolutely everything than women never ceases to amaze me – one prolific mansplaining, abusive dickwad on Mumsnet swears blind that women are totally over-reacting to child birth with their use of the word trauma because he’s seen his wife give birth twice and she was fine. This level of fucknuggetry is hardly strange or surprising.

These comments have been submitted to my blog in the past few days, whilst they aren’t as abusive as Larry is on MN, they aren’t exactly an example of men respecting women’s boundaries and intelligence.

First:

Madame – I have never heard of The Good Men Project nor what it is they represent, but it is quite obvious that you disapprove of it. The open letter seemed critical of Mr. Rodger and his thought “process” (?), as well as the acts he committed. Maybe calling him a “good man” meant that there was nothing unusual about his appearance (just going by the photos) which would make any of us fear him. I would also hope that any male virgin at the age of 22 would not feel the pressures to do such a thing.

 Second:

I have spent the last hour or so reading your blog and while there was much I felt I would like to comment on I realised that I would not be allowed enter the discussion due to my gender. So failing being able to engage in discussion on these topics I would like to comment on your comment policy, to you alone if not to your readers.

I encourage you to open your mind and challenge your views regarding the shutting down of challenging discussion. Challenging our views is what makes us wise, how can you learn new things unless you are willing to admit you may have been ignorant?

I refer to a quote from one of history’s great leaders

“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”
― Marcus Aurelius

i urge you to revise your comment policy to increase the legitimacy of your writing as it stands your blog reeks of disillusionment unless you are prepared to engage in meaningful discussion and contemplate that you may be wrong on some issues.

Thanks for reading, you can email me if you wish to discuss.

My first reaction to these comments was to snigger at the total lack of self-awareness, but, like Solnit states in her canonical article, men’s disrespect of women’s intelligence isn’t just some dude on the internet whinging about being denied the right to comment on a women’s blog. It’s about the systemic silencing, derailing and gaslighting of women. It’s about ignoring women’s knowledge and taking credit for their work.

How to spot a dumbass man:

When they try to post this crap on your blog:

Human rights not female rights. Quit abusing men! BTW, its not ok call men radical like its bad when your agenda is radical. Work on enjoying men, not attacking them. Women are as abusive as men, make a wold that peaceful, not. I notice you have no objections to misandry but you wont allow Misogyny. that’s about what I expect. As a good person I wont allow either. Men can be good, can you? I’ve seem plenty of women abuse men….

We need to stop using the word rape because it hurts men’s feelings.

At least, that is what Oliver Wright is claiming in a nasty piece of click bait in the Independent* today. We need to stop using the word rape because it confuses the menz and gives them sad feelings.  So, we need to replace it with “non-consensual sex” so rapists don’t feel upset about being labelled rapists. Because it’s the sad feelings of men that we need to work on in order to deal with low rape convictions. Not the systemic nature of sexual violence and rape. Or, the fact that the Metro can list anal rape as “bad sexual etiquette”. Or, the fact that the media prints rape myths on a daily basis as truth. Or, the fact that police use rape myths in their annual Christmas “don’t be stupid enough to get yourself raped” campaigns despite the ONLY risk factor for being raped is being in the presence of a rapist.

Suggesting that the best way to deal with low rape convictions is to change the term is a simplistic answer to a complex problem by someone who has clearly not bothered to do any research into rape, male violence and the criminal justice system. A quick phone call to any number of third sector organisations, Alison Saunders who is the current director of  public prosecutions, or, you know, Rape Crisis would have been more than enough to learn why this suggestion is so incredibly harmful. Frankly, reducing rape to a “unpleasant crime” shows just how little Wright understands the issue.

The basic problem with Wright’s article can be summed up by his concluding paragraphs:

The attrition rate for rape cases at early stages in the criminal-justice process shows that too many are getting filtered out early – mainly because police and prosecutors don’t think that there is any chance of getting a conviction. But with a less emotive charge, that could change.

Because the truth is this: it is not the term rape that is important, it is getting justice for the victims of the crime – whatever it is called.

Changing the name of rape to a “less emotive” one doesn’t change the fact that rape is the one crime that the vast majority of people believe victims bring on themselves. It doesn’t change the fact that many men, and a lot more men commit rape than are ever convicted, are rapists. A generous study on this issue puts rapists at 1 in every 60 men. This does not include street and sexual harassment.

We don’t need to change the word rape. We need to stop men raping. Changing language won’t deal with the number of men who are rapists. If anything, it will just give rapists more wiggle room to whine about how they didn’t understand consent as if it’s difficult to know that a woman saying no or freezing doesn’t want to have sex.

Frankly, if we’re going for simplistic ways to end rape, I’d vote for a law which bans men from having any kind of sexual contact until they can prove that they aren’t too stupid to understand consent.

* Clean link.

 

And men, I am no longer publishing comments by you on this blog so don’t waste your time writing rape apologist bullshit on here. I don’t want to hear how you’re not a rapist because you misunderstood. You’re a rapist because you made the choice to rape someone.

Men who need cookies are not feminist allies.

Everyday Sexism are running a hashtag tonight called #EverydayAllies about the men who stand up for feminism.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 20.43.33

I get what they are trying to do, but, come on. Men who actually give a shit about sexism and misogyny don’t need a freaking hashtag.

And those men who do, aren’t allies. They are in it for the blow jobs and cookies and we need to ignore their shit. We don’t need to be giving them a hashtag. We don’t need to be wasting our time on crap like this. We should be directed our energy at other women: praising their work. Celebrating their accomplishments.

Feminism needs to be by women for women and about women. Anything less is just replicating the very same patriarchal structures. FFS giving men cookies for not being an asshole isn’t feminism. It’s expecting them to act like humans: not assholes. Which isn’t really a very high standard to hold them to. Most 5 year olds get it.

Let’s hear about #AwesomeFeminists not men who are in it for a blow job.

Feminism, Men and Women-Only Spaces

The demise of feminism is back in the news again. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Katy Perry have both made public statements about how unnecessary feminism is to their personal lives. Suzanne Venker has not only declared feminism dead but claims that there is now a war on men.   Ironically, this death of feminism has coincided with very public demonstrations of feminist activism, as well as increased public debate on the issue of the inclusion of men within the feminist movement. 


Yet, the debate over the inclusion of men within feminism movement has always been important. It has never stopped being important. It has only re-emerged in the mainstream British press due to the backlashto the women-only RadFem 2012 conference in London in June; as well as the no-platforming on the Manchester Women-Up North Conference who chose to have one session for FAAB-women survivors of sexual violence only.


I support women-only spaces. I think they remain fundamental to the success of feminism as a political movement dedicated to the liberation of women. Yet, no one ever seems to ask feminists why they believe women-only spaces are important or why the exclusion of men from *some* feminist events is necessary for revolution. No one asks why feminists are moving back to women-only organising or why feminists are increasingly identifying as political lesbians or lesbian separatists?  Why are women-only spaces, once again, becoming so important? No one asks why there is such a backlash to thought of women-only organising? When people do ask, they don’t appear to be hearing the answer.


Whilst the inclusion of men within the movement is necessary, they do not need to be involved at every meeting and conference. There are thousands of ways that men can be, and are, involved with feminist activism that doesn’t require them encroaching on women-only spaces. They can help financially support women’s organisations like Rape Crisis, Shakti Women’s AidWomen’s Aid, Nia, or Southall Black Sisters. Men can join activist groups like Object, UK Feminista, Fawcett Society, and Abortion Rights. Men can fundraise by holding car washes and bake sales. They can join the White Ribbon Campaign and help to raise awareness about male violence against women and children.


The most important thing men can do to help the feminist movement is to challenge sexism every time they witness it. They have to challenge every rape joke. They have to challenge every man who minimises domestic violence. They have to step up every time; not just once in a while but every time they witness sexism. Sometimes this means they have to challenge themselves and recognise that their own behaviour is sexist. Sometimes it means accepting that they won’t be allowed into every feminist space. As a white, heterosexual feminist it would be hypocritical of me to demand to be allowed into feminist spaces for Black, Ethnic and Minority Women. It would be equally hypocritical for me to demand entry into a feminist space for lesbians-only, just as it would be hypocritical for me to demand entry into a room of male survivors of sexual violence or testicular cancer. Campaigning for women’s liberation to bring about the destruction of the capitalist-patriarchy and the creation of true equality does not mean every person deserves equal access. It means hearing the specific needs of specific groups and taking those into account. Like kindergarten, it’s about learning fairness.


We need men in the feminist movement. We need men who understand the real long-term effects of male violence. We need men who listen. We need men who support without dominating. Male domination of speech, both in public and private, has been well proven in research for thirty years now. Dale Spender wrote about it in The Writing of the Sex? in 1989. Andrea Dworkin wrote about male silencing tactics in her classic text Intercourse:

“Men often react to women’s words – speaking and writing – as if they were acts of violence; sometimes men react to women’s words with violence. So we lower our voices. Women whisper, Women apologize. Women shut up. Women trivialize what we know. Women shrink. Women pull back. Most women have experienced enough dominance from men – control, violence, insult, contempt – that no threat seems empty.”

Margaret Atwood wrote about men dominating classrooms in early 1980s. There have been countless studies in education and within the workplace that demonstrate the silencing of women’s voices within the presence of men. The largest global study on violence against women found that it was the feminist movement that had the biggest impact on tackling the issue; much of this was accomplished with women-only spaces. This is what men need to recognise and understand.


The main reason why I believe women-only spaces are integral to the feminist movement is because the silencing of women’s voices never stops. Sometimes the only way to stop the silencing is to uninvite men and that’s the lesson men need to take from this. If they insist on attending, whose voices are they really silencing?

Published in the Huffington Post here.

Father’s Day: The Patriarchal Whiny Prize.

My feelings on the capitalist-patriarchal conspiracy which is Mother’s Day are quite clear. It was a fob-off for women who do most of the work most of the time. So they get one insipid little day a year to go home to visit their Mummies (and all the work that goes into it). It is patriarchal obfuscation at its finest: one day a year. Despite doing all the shit work. And, that’s without getting into the issue of whose responsible for mothers-in-law. Here’s a hint: not usually the person with a penis they gave birth too.

Father’s Day, on the other hand, is just the kind of stupid prize men give themselves in self-congratulatory hypocrisy because, God forbid, women get something men don’t. (See also International Men’s Day in response to International Women’s Day). Giving yourself a prize for doing nothing is totally a male response. And utterly pathetic.

Here’s a couple of tips for men on Father’s Day:

Stand up and be a father.

Do 50% of the parenting.

Do 50% of the scut work.

Do 50% of the shit work.

Get up in the middle of the night with your sick kids.

Take the day off work when your kids are sick.

You don’t ‘baby-sit’ your kids. You are a parent.

You don’t get rewards for acting like an adult. You shouldn’t get one for being a parent.

Pay maintenance. Not paying maintenance is child abuse.

You show up for contact. There is nothing more important than your children. You skip contact to watch football, then you are a shit father.

Domestic violence makes you a shit father. Abusing your partner in front of your children is child abuse.

If you can’t name your child’s teacher, best friend or medication, you are a shit father.

If you can’t name your child’s favourite toy, you are a shit father.

If you need to be told what time your child’s school starts or the names of their after-school activities, you are a shit father.

Parenting is a 24/7 job with no breaks or overtime. If you don’t understand that, then don’t have PIV. Children deserve real fathers; not neglectful arse wipes who care more about their cocks than they do their children.

What Men can do to destroy the Patriarchy

I am rather bored by all the men who claim that the only way to be feminists is to be allowed into every possible women-only space and mansplain’ where feminists went wrong. It’s an unbelievably obnoxious silencing technique and an amazing display of white, male privilege. [Yeah, I’m looking at that sub-section of whiny-arsed men on Mumsnet who insist on telling women that birth trauma doesn’t exist because they’ve seen their wives give birth and it was all fine.]

This is a partial list of organisations that men can be involved with to help defeat the patriarchy, either through activism or financial support:

The White Ribbon Campaign: run by men to end male violence against women.. They organise marches on December 6th to raise awareness of violence against women. I notice the whiners who demand the right to march on women-organised Reclaim the Night marches are never committed to helping organise men-only marches. Too much like hard work?

Object: runs campaigns against the sexual objectification of women. They fought to have lap dancing clubs rezoned under English law as sex establishments and not cafes. They are currently running campaigns to end Page 3 in the Sun and challenging the demand for prostitution which is, basically, rape.

Stop Porn Culture: Make Love, Not Porn

UK Feminista: A Movement of Ordinary Women and Men campaigning for Gender Equality

SCASE: Scottish Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation

Fawcett Society

Organisations that men can help financially support to destroy the Patriarchy:

Rape Crisis (England/Wales)

Rape Crisis (Scotland)
Women’s Aid (Scotland)
Womankind Worldwide

Women’s Environmental Network
Or, and this here is just a wee suggestion, men can stop raping women, physically assaulting women, raping prostitutes and using porn. Challenge any misogynistic, racist, disabilist and homophobic language. All of which will help to destroy the patriarchy.

The Patriarchy hurts Men too Shocker

Obviously, this is only a shocking piece of information if you follow Pat Robertson’s understanding of feminism and, as such, are mostly likely clinically stupid. Anyone in possession of basic critical thinking skills would find it perfectly obvious that some men are also victimised by the patriarchy. Hyper-masculinity, as a social construct, is damaging and destructive to men. The answer to the damage caused by hyper-masculinity is feminism. It is the destruction of the harmful sex/gender binaries of man/woman. It is an end to the racist, disabilist, homophobic and misogynistic capitalist-patriarchy which privileges white wealthy men at the expense of everyone else.

It also requires everyone acknowledging that the violence experienced by men in the patriarchy is caused by other men. Men are victims of rape. They are raped by other men. Men physically assaulted in the streets are assaulted by other men. Men are over-represented in the prison population because men commit more crimes than women.

If men want to stop being victims of the patriarchy, then they need to stop whinging about feminism and stand up and do something. Men are over-represented in politics and industry. It is men who vote against extended paternity leave and men who assume that childcare is the preserve of women. That is the reason women get main residency in cases of divorce: they do the vast majority of the childcare before. Men are also the main perpetrators of domestic violence against women and other men. Men are the perpetrators of rape in war. Men are the perpetrators of most wars and not just because they are over-represented as front-line soldiers. It is men in charge of governments and industrial-military complexes who make the decision to go to war. It is these same men who commit genocide and massive human rights abuses against civilian populations.

If men want to end the culture of hyper-masculinity, then men need to stop purchasing porn. They need to stop “buying” prostitutes, which really is just a euphemism for rape. Men need to stop raping. Men need to stop going to lap dancing and strip clubs. Men need to stop buying lad mags. Men need to start tackling homophobia and misogyny in sport. Men need to start taking responsibility for childcare and housework. Men need to start taking responsibility for rape culture. The reason there are more rape crisis centres for women is because women fought for them. If men are worried about male victims of rape, then men should get off their arses and start lobbying for them. Or, considering the vast majority of wealth in the world is in the hands of men, men can just pay for rape crisis centres for men and women. Women are the first to be physically hurt in economic crises. Women are held responsible for infertility, birth control, abortion and children.

As Suzanne Moore’s critique of David Benatar’s The Second Sexism makes clear: the problem is the competition victimhood created by middle class white men who are hysterical at the thought of losing all of their privileges in a sex/gender equitable society. The backlash against feminism isn’t because it’s gone too far. It’s because the men who are privileged by the Patriarchy are too selfish, arrogant and ignorant to give up their power. We need to stop trying to write hierarchies of victimhood and privilege and destroy, once and for all, the the capitalist-patriarchal structures which constrain and violate our humanity.