Monday, 1 December 2014

A History of the Domestic Violence Movement

Must-see presentation by Erin Pizzey at the “Ideology to Inclusion” Conference, Sacramento, February 16th, 2008.

Erin begins with the early history of the domestic violence movement, and her efforts to open the first shelter for women and children in 1971. The early history of the feminist movement in England is discussed, and the ensuing battle between advocates who conceptualised domestic violence as a human and family issue rather than a gender issue, and those who used the movement as a means of funding and advancing a radial political ideology based on Marxist teaching. This presentation describes in detail the importance of this ideological split, and how the needs and wishes of women themselves have often been ignored. The presentation ends with a general descriptions of where we are now and suggestions for the future.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Gender Studies: Exam Time

Ms Dworkin's class finally get to debate a real life anti-feminist (with special mystery guest star!). The ending is priceless.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

An Open Letter to Emma Watson

Dear Emma Watson,

I was not raised a celebrity. I can say that my life has been very different from yours. I am a woman living in America. I have not attended a fine University like Brown as you did. I have known abuse, I have been molested. I have known hardship and depression. But there is something you should know. I don’t need feminism.

Maybe you can’t understand why this might be so. How someone like me who has in the past been suicidal and faced such turmoil could say that I do not need something that is supposed to help the whole world.

I want you to know that I am neither religious nor someone politically conservative, and I say this because many have accused me of this stance for merely disagreeing with feminism. Your idea of feminism is certainly beautiful, but it is not the reality of the woman’s movement today nor was it the reality of the past.

That is what saddens me. When I was younger I got it into my head that I needed to be strong and empowered and eventually I got there, but when I finally met other feminists I did not see a group of strong self-reliant women infront of me. I saw women who wanted others to do the work for them.

They did not understand that empowerment is something that only you can bring to yourself. People can talk all day about women doing great things. People can give them thousands of dollars of grant money, but it all means nothing if these women won’t do the work themselves. Therein lies the problem of the feminist ideology. It preaches that we must empower women but never asks women to empower themselves or demands that they become capable and self-reliant.

I don’t think that many in the west disagree that women are deserving of all the rights and privileges of men. The truth is far more sinister. I don’t often hear men say that women don’t deserve these things by any stretch of the imagination. The majority of people I hear saying that women are oppressed are feminists.

I don’t see it in the actions of men in the population save for the percentage of the population that engages in violent crime. There will always be meanspirited people. There will always be some people that commit violent acts against their fellow humans, and that is not gendered. Feminism can not fix these things.

You can not fix the portion of humanity that does not care about others and do not care if people are harmed. They are not people that can be persuaded.

The reason that women detach themselves from the label of feminist, has nothing to do with the idea of women’s rights being radical. It isn’t, it makes logical sense. The problem lies with the actions of feminists and actions going beyond achieving the privileges men have. There are man-hating feminists and the narrative that men can stop things like sexual assault is what starts it.

When you say that men can stop sexual assault on their own you are imagining men as one big group that congregates together and can stop the socipathic individuals that predate on others. Sexual assault is not a mistake, or a lapse in judgment. It is not something learned or taught to rapists by society. It is instead a rejection of society. It persists in spite of those who preach equal treatment.

This narrative erases victims of female predators who operate like male sexual predators and exist in greater numbers than you would expect. The problem is that because feminism preaches that men are the abusers that can stop rape, it erases men and women who are victimized by women. Even worse, these women do not face jail time equal to that of their male counterparts. That is not equal treatment and that is not justice.

Painting women as victims does not help them to be seen as the equals of men. It makes them appear weak which is contrary to that which feminism says it wants to accomplish. Because of that you have female predators out of jail after only a few months ready to prey on their next victim.

This is not the story that modern feminism wishes to tell. It is not the story that it wishes to acknowledge. It won’t mention women in “oppressed” countries rising to the occasion in spite of everything. It won’t mention that women in these “oppressed” countries enter STEM fields in greater number to those of the west or that many of them are strong in their own right. Feminism didn’t make them so.

Instead feminism preaches, Look at those women, they are victims, we have to get men to save them. Is that not the worst thing you could do? Are you not continuing gender stereotypes in assuming that men need to be the ones to empower women? Is it not harmful to tell a woman that she is not strong enough on her own, and that she needs all these other women to empower her?

Women won’t identify as feminists because the women within feminism rely so much on the sisterhood that they do not pursue self-reliance. These women do not heal when they’ve been victimized because the sisterhood tells them that it’s fine to live as a perpetual victim instead of a survivor.

These feminists do not live up to your lofty ideals. The feminists who govern these groups are often corrupt and profit directly from keeping women victims. They profit from the narrative that men are the aggressors and women are victims.

If you are looking for gender equality in them you will not find it. This is the problem. The majority of women feel alienated from modern feminism because it is not providing the equality that many of them so desperately crave and it ignores the women who use this ideology to further their own ends.

Instead it is the cause for much of the disparity. Policies meant to help women, fail in one major respect. Because they often assume women in general to have a kind of moral superiority. It does not assume that women can act immorally in ways that are equivalient to men. Laws like the Violence against women act in the United States presume men to be the aggressor even when men are calling to report violence against them by their partners.

If you want to help women to be seen as equal to men, we must acknowledge that they are just as capable of vice as their male counterparts and must face equal consequences. If you want real equality, you must dismantle gender bias against men and benevolent sexism against women perpetuated by the legal system.

Women must be willing to take the higher paying dangerous jobs men take. They must be willing to be held accountable and we must be willing to hold them accountable in the way we hold men to be accountable.
We must acknowledge that the disparity mentioned most often by feminists can be accounted for, by things like life choices and economic mobility. Poverty accounts for much of the problems of third world countries. War brings poverty and violence to these countries, harming men and women in different, but equally horrific ways. Yet women are the ones most likely to receive money and aid.

Child brides arise out of necessity first in impoverished countries. Families can not afford to feed all of their children and as a result are married off young to keep families afloat. In the minds of those parents they are making certain that she is fed and clothed. You want to help women? Then acknowledge that the problem is a toxic mix of ignorance, tradition, and crippling poverty in countries that are often war-torn that drive these problems and not a lack of chivalry.

It is difficult for women to even dream of a future when their families can barely afford to feed them. How can women get ahead when their clothes are rotting off their bodies and their brothers are being drawn into war because it’s their only hope of making some kind of change.

Feminism can not put food on their tables or stop those wars. Because it is attempting to treat the symptoms of these problems and not the disease. You want to help people? Then wake up! We don’t need chivary! We need honesty! Life is hell for the impoverished, it cultivates victims and criminal behavior.

Those people are in pain, and the discussion as to how to help them begins when we have honest discussions about how men and women both suffer in equal degrees, but the source is this toxic mix of human problems that we’ve yet to solve. Some of which we may never solve. Treating the symptoms is failing.

We must approach the source and come to creative solutions, because as it stands people are dividing themselves over the belief that everyone can be an oppressor or that people are being oppressed in the first world. The wage gap has long since been debunked. Single childless women often out earn men because they make different choices now. They can wait longer to have children due to technological advances, so they make career orientated decisions that allow them to get ahead.

The greatest determination of poverty for a woman is how many children she has and when she has them. Women often make work decisions based upon wanting to spend time with her children. So she’s more likely to take time off to tend to her sick children, to leave work early to pick up the kids, or to get them to things like soccer practice.

This all adds up and that is a major contributor to the disparity in the wage gap and not gender discrimination. When you compare many of the well paying jobs men take to something like being a kindergarten teacher, there is an obvious difference in pay. The studies speaking of a massive pay gap rely on lifetime studies which don’t account for differences in job, whether these women have children, or choose careers that pay less but make them happy.

The key to aiding this problem may well be in making birth control available to men and women and allowing them to choose when to be parents. That will also reduce the population in many problem areas and make it possible for people to do better with the same amount of resources. But it will be difficult and many religious groups simply will not allow it.

But you will likely find the key to aiding poverty stricken people is in advancing science and technology overall, and in safe, effective, affordable, and readily available birth control methods for men and women. The recognition of science and it’s continued progression is the only thing that can move us in that direction.

So I ask that instead of funding campaigns to promote chivalrous behavior in men, that you fund the people that will make that line of reasoning obsolete. I ask that you fund science and technology.
Thank you for your time and I hope that you will consider what I have written.

Rachel Marie Edwards

This piece originally appears at 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

TIME Magazine: 5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die

by Christina Hoff Sommers

If we're genuinely committed to improving the circumstances of women, we need to get the facts straight

Much of what we hear about the plight of American women is false. Some faux facts have been repeated so often they are almost beyond the reach of critical analysis. Though they are baseless, these canards have become the foundation of Congressional debates, the inspiration for new legislation and the focus of college programs. Here are five of the most popular myths that should be rejected by all who are genuinely committed to improving the circumstances of women:
MYTH 1: Women are half the world’s population, working two-thirds of the world’s working hours, receiving 10% of the world’s income, owning less than 1% of the world’s property.
FACTS: This injustice confection is routinely quoted by advocacy groups, the World Bank, Oxfam and the United Nations. It is sheer fabrication. More than 15 years ago, Sussex University experts on gender and development Sally Baden and Anne Marie Goetz, repudiated the claim: “The figure was made up by someone working at the UN because it seemed to her to represent the scale of gender-based inequality at the time.” But there is no evidence that it was ever accurate, and it certainly is not today.

Precise figures do not exist, but no serious economist believes women earn only 10% of the world’s income or own only 1% of property. As one critic noted in an excellent debunking in The Atlantic, “U.S. women alone earn 5.4 percent of world income today.” Moreover, in African countries, where women have made far less progress than their Western and Asian counterparts, Yale economist Cheryl Doss found female land ownership ranged from 11% in Senegal to 54% in Rwanda and Burundi. Doss warns that “using unsubstantiated statistics for advocacy is counterproductive.” Bad data not only undermine credibility, they obstruct progress by making it impossible to measure change.

MYTH 2: Between 100,000 and 300,000 girls are pressed into sexual slavery each year in the United States.

FACTS: This sensational claim is a favorite of politicians, celebrities and journalists. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore turned it into a cause célèbre. Both conservatives and liberal reformers deploy it. Former President Jimmy Carter recently said that the sexual enslavement of girls in the U.S. today is worse than American slavery in the 19th century.

The source for the figure is a 2001 report on child sexual exploitation by University of Pennsylvania sociologists Richard Estes and Neil Alan Weiner. But their 100,000–300,000 estimate referred to children at risk for exploitation—not actual victims. When three reporters from the Village Voice questioned Estes on the number of children who are abducted and pressed into sexual slavery each year, he replied, “We’re talking about a few hundred people.” And this number is likely to include a lot of boys: According to a 2008 census of underage prostitutes in New York City, nearly half turned out to be male. A few hundred children is still a few hundred too many, but they will not be helped by thousand-fold inflation of their numbers.

MYTH 3: In the United States, 22%–35% of women who visit hospital emergency rooms do so because of domestic violence.

FACTS: This claim has appeared in countless fact sheets, books and articles—for example, in the leading textbook on family violence, Domestic Violence Law, and in the Penguin Atlas of Women in the World. The Penguin Atlas uses the emergency room figure to justify placing the U.S. on par with Uganda and Haiti for intimate violence.

What is the provenance? The Atlas provides no primary source, but the editor of Domestic Violence Law cites a 1997 Justice Department study, as well as a 2009 post on the Centers for Disease Control website. But the Justice Department and the CDC are not referring to the 40 million women who annually visit emergency rooms, but to women, numbering about 550,000 annually, who come to emergency rooms “for violence-related injuries.” Of these, approximately 37% were attacked by intimates. So, it’s not the case that 22%-35% of women who visit emergency rooms are there for domestic violence. The correct figure is less than half of 1%.

MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.

FACTS: This incendiary figure is everywhere in the media today. Journalists, senators and even President Obama cite it routinely. Can it be true that the American college campus is one of the most dangerous places on earth for women?

The one-in-five figure is based on the Campus Sexual Assault Study, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice and conducted from 2005 to 2007. Two prominent criminologists, Northeastern University’s James Alan Fox and Mount Holyoke College’s Richard Moran, have noted its weaknesses:

“The estimated 19% sexual assault rate among college women is based on a survey at two large four-year universities, which might not accurately reflect our nation’s colleges overall. In addition, the survey had a large non-response rate, with the clear possibility that those who had been victimized were more apt to have completed the questionnaire, resulting in an inflated prevalence figure.”

Fox and Moran also point out that the study used an overly broad definition of sexual assault. Respondents were counted as sexual assault victims if they had been subject to “attempted forced kissing” or engaged in intimate encounters while intoxicated.

Defenders of the one-in-five figure will reply that the finding has been replicated by other studies. But these studies suffer from some or all of the same flaws. Campus sexual assault is a serious problem and will not be solved by statistical hijinks.

MYTH 5: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for doing the same work.

FACTS: No matter how many times this wage gap claim is decisively refuted by economists, it always comes back. The bottom line: the 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week. When such relevant factors are considered, the wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing.

Wage gap activists say women with identical backgrounds and jobs as men still earn less. But they always fail to take into account critical variables. Activist groups like the National Organization for Women have a fallback position: that women’s education and career choices are not truly free—they are driven by powerful sexist stereotypes. In this view, women’s tendency to retreat from the workplace to raise children or to enter fields like early childhood education and psychology, rather than better paying professions like petroleum engineering, is evidence of continued social coercion. Here is the problem: American women are among the best informed and most self-determining human beings in the world. To say that they are manipulated into their life choices by forces beyond their control is divorced from reality and demeaning, to boot.

Why do these reckless claims have so much appeal and staying power? For one thing, there is a lot of statistical illiteracy among journalists, feminist academics and political leaders. There is also an admirable human tendency to be protective of women—stories of female exploitation are readily believed, and vocal skeptics risk appearing indifferent to women’s suffering. Finally, armies of advocates depend on “killer stats” to galvanize their cause. But killer stats obliterate distinctions between more and less serious problems and send scarce resources in the wrong directions. They also promote bigotry. The idea that American men are annually enslaving more than 100,000 girls, sending millions of women to emergency rooms, sustaining a rape culture and cheating women out of their rightful salary creates rancor in true believers and disdain in those who would otherwise be sympathetic allies.

My advice to women’s advocates: Take back the truth.

Christina Hoff Sommers, a former philosophy professor, is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She is the author of several books, including Who Stole Feminism and The War Against Boys, and is the host of a weekly video blog, The Factual Feminist. Follow her @CHSommers.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

The way the police have treated Cliff Richard is completely unacceptable

by Geoffrey Robertson, QC

People believe that where there’s smoke there’s fire, but sometimes there is just a smoke machine.

By treating Cliff Richard as though he were a bank robber or a mass murderer, the police from Thames Valley and South Yorkshire, aided and abetted by the BBC and a Sheffield lay justice, have blasted his reputation around the world without giving him the first and most basic right to refute the allegation.

Last year, apparently, a complaint was made to police that the singer had indecently assaulted a youth in Sheffield a quarter of a century ago. The police had a duty to investigate, seek any corroborating evidence, and then – and only if they had reasonable grounds to suspect him of committing an offence – to give him the opportunity to refute those suspicions before a decision to charge is made.

But here, police subverted due process by waiting until Richard had left for vacation, and then orchestrating massive publicity for the raid on his house, before making any request for interview and before any question could arise of arresting or charging him.

Police initially denied “leaking” the raid, but South Yorkshire Police finally confirmed yesterday afternoon that they had been “working with a media outlet” – presumably the BBC – about the investigation. They also claimed “a number of people” had come forward with more information after seeing coverage of the operation – which leads one to suspect that this was the improper purpose behind leaking the operation in the first place.  This alone calls for an independent inquiry.

The BBC and others were present when the five police cars arrived at Richard’s home, and helicopters were already clattering overhead. Police codes require that “searches must be conducted with due consideration for the property and privacy of the occupier and with no more disturbance than necessary” – here, the media were tipped off well ahead of time, and a smug officer read to the cameras a prepared press statement while the search was going on.

The police, by choosing to raid the property in broad daylight where they must have known its occupant was away, deliberately chose to defame him. Police codes also insist that “the officer in charge of the search shall first try to communicate with the occupier” but of course no such attempt was made – Richard first heard of the search when his lawyers called him after watching it on television.

Why was a search warrant granted? The law (the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act) requires police to satisfy a justice of the peace not only that there are reasonable grounds for believing an offence has been committed (if so, why had he not already been arrested?), but that there is material on the premises both relevant and of substantial value (to prove an indecent assault 25 years ago?).

Moreover, the warrant should only be issued if it is “not practicable to communicate” with the owner of the premises – and it would be a very dumb police force indeed that could find no way of contacting Cliff Richard. The police Codes exude concern that powers of search “be used fairly, responsibly, with respect for occupiers of premises being searched” – this search was conducted without any fairness or respect at all, other than for the media who were given every opportunity to film the bags of “evidence” being taken away.

This in itself is an interesting example of how historic English liberties – the rule against “general search warrants” achieved by John Wilkes in the 18th century – are now ignored. Although there is a section of the law headed “Search warrants – Safeguards” and a provision which requires police when applying for a warrant to actually identify the article they are looking for, this is routinely ignored. Here the police searched for five hours and took whatever they wanted.

This behaviour is unacceptable. The lay justice system has long been the Achilles heel of our civil liberties: many of these amateurs simply rubber stamp police requests. It is not known who issued this warrant (although the High Court has held that the identities of JPs should be made public).

What qualifications did he or she have and what steps were taken to protect the occupier’s privacy? What justification did the police give for this general search, with world-wide publicity? Was there any questioning of the police, so as to ensure that they could identify what they were looking for, and that it had “substantial value” for a prosecution? How was the Justice of the Peace satisfied that this whole exercise was not an improper means to publicise an uncorroborated allegation against the singer, in the hope of “shaking the tree” to attract further allegations which might give it some credibility? It is time that police were required, other than in emergencies, to obtain search warrants from circuit judges, who are alert to civil liberties.

What will happen now? If the outrageous treatment of Paul Gambuccini and Jimmy Tarbuck is any guide, Cliff Richard will remain in a cruel limbo for 18 months or so until the police and the CPS decide whether to charge him. This has been one of the most intolerable features of other high-profile arrests for "historic" offences, namely the inability of police and prosecutors to deliver Magna Carta’s truly historic promise that justice will not be delayed.

The CPS has taken up to 2 years to tell journalists like Patrick Foster that they will not be prosecuted, after unnecessary dawn raids, and publicity every time they are bailed. This lack of care for their liberty is amoral, because it subjects them to drawn-out psychological cruelty. If the CPS cannot decide whether to prosecute 3 months after receiving the police file, it should not prosecute at all.

A case like that of Cliff Richard could not happen in most European countries, where time limits prevent prosecutions of most sexual offences after a lapse of 10 years. Certainly after 25 years, fair trial becomes very difficult, as memories dim, alibi witnesses die and records disappear.

That does not necessarily mean that a prosecution is unjustified, especially in the case of those in positions of authority (priests, teachers, politicians etc) but it does require extra vigilance by law enforcement authorities to ensure that those under investigation do not have their names prematurely besmirched, and that they be given a fair opportunity to refute allegations before they are brought to court.

The police behaviour is also in plain breach of the privacy provisions of article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. But this case involves good old English civil liberties, laid down not 25 years but 250 years ago, in the course of a battle between John Wilkes and the government of George III. The Chief Justice then declared that an Englishman’s home was his castle – which must come as news to the South Yorkshire and Thames Valley police.

It is clear from their behaviour that an Englishman’s home is no longer a castle – even when, in Cliff Richard’s case, it is.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Feminist Or Sexist?

Really good video on the present-day insanity of feminist beliefs and actions by The Amazing Atheist

Sunday, 17 August 2014

More Yewtree Witch Hunts

I am going to have to try harder than I already am to avoid newspaper headlines - finding out today that even Sir Cliff is being dragged into the Yewtree witchhunts is genuinely making me feel suicidal. All of Britain seems to have become a Kafka novel, with all men featuring as the protagonists.

In case you somehow haven't realized yet, we live in an age now in which any man can have his whole life destroyed in the worst way imaginable on nothing more than the unsubstantiated word of any person with a grudge he's ever even shared an elevator ride with or, heaven forbid, had consensual sex with.... forty years after the alleged fact.

Seeing each individual bewildered old man going through this unimaginable ordeal is so sad: They cannot quite grasp why the world has turned so crazy and are unable to identify or articulate what machinations have brought it about. So the puppet show continues, and none of the children watching see who is pulling the strings .

The two most important factors in all this repugnant nightmare are the ones almost no-one is mentioning: firstly that Britain is unique in all of Europe in having no statute of limitations when it comes to allegations of sex crimes. This is why we aren't hearing of any similar scandals coming out of France or Germany, or the USA for that matter. This has led to a grossly unjust loophole that only recently has been exploited to bring utterly unfounded accusations with no accompanying physical evidence of any kind to court 40 years after their alleged occurrence and end in convictions.

The second thing is that there has been a 40 year campaign by feminists to expand the definition of rape and sexual assault to include pretty much any physical contact whatsoever, if the woman so decides. They have been wildly successful in their attempts to redefine male sexuality as inherently predatory, pathological and abusive.

This works to the benefit of feminism itself, since it helps to further demonize men and hence draw in more donations, political influence and apparent justification for the otherwise blatant obsolescence of their hate movement. It also benefits the state, because by turning one half of the population against the other half, it fatally weakens any sense of unity and kinship that could otherwise pose a threat to whatever their plans for us are.

But it doesn't help us. All it does is make fundamentally necessary human contact more and more frightening and alien, and all of us more and more isolated and alone. I've said it before many times and before all this is over I'll have said it many times again: Feminism is a force of oppression, not liberation. It has done more damage to simple, natural human relationships than any other force in human history, and it's nowhere near finished yet.

But the bovine masses don't care, they'll lap the newest 'paedo' scandal up and scream for the heads of those accused, too stupid to realize any one of them could be next. Or their fathers, their brothers, their husbands, their sons. But if they don't speak out against it now, maybe they deserve what's coming. Maybe you do too.

Aw, I can't write any more about this. It's all so black and hopeless, and heartless beyond belief.

See you all in Hell, if we're not there already.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

On Robin Williams (1951 - 2014)

It's really not often that I cry. In fact, I really can't remember the last time I did, unless it was when my father went into hospital with cancer, which would make it around 2 years ago now. But I woke up today to be told that Robin Williams has died, and it surprised me to find that was my first reaction. I'm not talking big, body-heaving sobs - no cries to God, no wailing or gnashing of teeth. Just a fairly steady brimming up of the eyes, making it hard to see as I write this, and occasionally a stray one that gets away by rolling down my cheek.

I didn't actually know the man, of course. I'll grant you that. But he's in me somewhere nonetheless, and searching myself I find he feels closer to me in some odd ways than all but my closest friends, and there are words he's said up there upon the glowing screen that have meant more to me, and made more of an impression upon me, than anything from the mouths of all my family.

When Leonard Cohen was asked once "what's the greatest myth about fame?", he replied "That it's worthless", and this moment would seem to bear that out. The best thing about fame, when it's earned, is that the very best part of yourself lives on after your death, and you wander on through the dreams of strangers.

Robin Williams first entered my life, I would guess, around the age of 8 or 9. I remember we had some visiting Canadians come stay with us awhile, and they would quote every now and then from a funny TV show we hadn't yet seen on any of our 3 British TV channels."You haven't seen Mork & Mindy?" they said. "Oh, you'll like that". And a year or so later I found out they were right: I did.

Isn't it funny how that is all I actually remember of that couple? I've not remembered their names, their faces, anything else they said, and couldn't even a handful of years later. Their existence is entirely gone from my consciousness, other than that they foretold my encountering a man I'd never meet.

Like most 20th century television, Mork & Mindy was an assembly-line product, hurriedly written, produced and hammed up onscreen by a whoop of hacks who were not then, and never would be, good enough to make it in the movies. But Williams himself was incandescent, something entirely new, and as a child the character of the alien Mork exiled to earth lit up my imagination just as much as Superman and Star Wars had done a year or two earlier.

Every week he'd report back to his home planet 'Ork' about what he'd seen of earth, how crazy it all is here, but also how puzzlingly beautiful the best parts of us are too - the senseless acts of beauty, kindness, selflessness and mercy that raise us up above the mire and make us human at all.

Mork made him a household name around the world, but only as a clown - though a very funny one, and his Live At The Met stand-up special is still one of the top ten greatest of all time (I can still recite just about every line if you start me off, and there's an awful lot of them). But none of the attempts he made to get into films worked out the first few years of trying - the roles never seemed to quite fit him, being either too harrowingly sombre and serious to take from such a karazy comedian, or else silly, shallow, one dimensional cartoon characters (literally, in the case of Popeye).

That all finally changed with his role as army DJ Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam. Here at last was the perfect balance of crazed ebullience and deep, boundless compassion that it seems to me now was present in all his best work, all the way back to Mork, and he built on this and surpassed it effortlessly in his next and greatest role, the schoolteacher all of us wanted but never got, John Keating in Dead Poets Society.

I remember watching this film as a teenager and it speaking to me as profoundly as any film I'd ever seen. I can recall how strongly I identified with the character of Neil, the boy who'd rather take his own life than live one without a dream, being slowly smothered by a lie, and Mr Keating's explanation of poetry might well be the thing that turned my hand to such endeavours in the first place, it's certainly still the standard I judge the essence of my own and others creations against today:


Like the music I first discovered and fell in love with around the same time, Dead Poets Society showed me a window of possibilities outside of the lumpen, utilitarian working class drudgery of my youth, a world of higher ideals, nobler passions and deeper, holier truths.

It truly is one of the greatest films of all time, but in a lot of ways it simply was a better remake of GM,V, and to repeat it again presumably couldn't be done without falling into cliche - lightning had already struck twice, after all. He was never to find a role that fit him so perfectly again, although you could say he reprised it to some degree in his supporting part in Good Will Hunting.

After that peak he somehow lost the ability to be as funny as he was, maybe his schtick had grown too familiar to us for it to keep working, or maybe the weight of age and life experience made 'zany' too hard and embarrassing to pull off. Maybe he just stopped taking cocaine, I don't know. Either way, for the most part he settled into an unhappy routine of dividing his time between cloyingly sentimental family films and too-dark-for-comfort adult roles, and never seeming quite right in any of them. Seeing him interviewed in his later years on TV, he never seemed too pleased with what he'd done, or what he was doing, or for that matter who he was. He drank a lot, I am told, but what was actually going on inside him is probably impossible to say. He was as much a mystery to me as I am to you, and you are to me. The boundaries of our bodies set us apart like plots of land but, through the unfathomable voodoo we call art, the deepest and most worthy parts of ourselves proceed regardless, and go on to find and commune with one another somewhere beyond our allotted 6 feet of space and Google co-ordinates. Beyond time, beyond space, and even beyond the grave, for it is in our secrets we are most alike.


His last great film, for me, was Bobcat Goldthwait's older, sadder, wiser 'World's Greatest Dad', the kind of small, original, thoughtful, funny movie it's pretty self-evident now he should have made a lot more of in the time he had left.

But you know what? He made enough. He seized the day, he added his verse and we all read it. And people will still be reading it long after we're gone too.

Carpe Diem. O Captain, my Captain, goodbye.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Response To Feminist Criticism of #womenagainstfeminism

Youtube user Monica Edwards on the feminist responses to #womenagainstfeminism. Really good, concise restatement of the antifeminist position and with constructive suggestions for the 'good' feminists who want to do something about it.

As she says, "I keep hearing the same arguments over and over, and if they still aren't working, feminists need to step up their game."

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Dear Feminists: This Is Why You Are In Trouble

The ongoing kerfluffle over the site #WomenAgainstFeminism, displaying selfies of a number of attractive young women who are all holding placards declaring why they don’t need feminism, has gone beyond the usual shame-and destroy tactics that the feminist establishment usually employ.  Instead what has happened as these women quietly but publicly disagreed with the status quo ideology and dis-identified themselves as feminists is remarkable.  Some have likened it to the feminist Berlin Wall crumbling, or an anti-feminist Arab Spring. 
It is telling that it took young women rebelling against feminist ideology in a public sphere to get prominent (and obscure) feminists all over the world to listen – if only for a moment – to the same things that most folks in the Red Pill/MHRA/MGTOW/PUA/OMG community have been saying, some of us for decades.  But when opinions that issue from the mouths of men are ignored or discounted simply because of our gender, when feminism refuses to engage in any meaningful dialog with those it purports to change, then its own unwillingness to participate in a debate it claims to want demonstrates the disingenuous nature of your ideology.
The shock and disgust displayed toward these young women by feminists is appalling.  They are treated as vapid and ignorant, young, dumb, and desperately seeking male attention by those who would dismiss their well-articulated positions.  The irony of this escapes not even thefeminists, themselves.  Some are even leaving their association with feminism.
But ladies, this is what the problem is.  Let me mansplain something to you, because you clearly missed something.  I’ll go ahead and do it in patronizing and patriarchal tones, so that you have an opportunity to scoff derisively as you read it, desperate for a hint of misogyny – us white male dissidents understand our role in your ideological drama, and I would hate to disappoint.
Over and over in these face-palming critiques I keep reading of your utter horror as you saw one young woman after another (apparently) mis-understand what feminism “is about”, I hear you complain bitterly that these women are getting it wrong.  Feminism isn’t about (insert tragic misdiagnosis here) it’s about equality.  You quote the dictionary, chapter and verse, you quote great feminist minds of the past, inspirational voices who led you to realize what feminism “is about”.
Only, not everyone agrees with you.  And that’s making you batshit crazy.
There’s an understandable amount of schadenfreude in the Manosphere over this, but believe it or not, I’m not gloating.  I’m just vindicated.  Many of us predicted this sort of thing would happen, and gosh darn if it didn’t.
You see, the thing that is driving you crazy is that feminism is an ideology, but it also functions, in many social ways, like a cult or religion.  And while your intellectual inner circle has been preaching equality for years, regardless of the strides or gains you may have made, the fact is that your ideology’s public image has been tarnished badly in the meantime.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but you made the same mistake Republican candidates traditionally make.  In an effort to appease the loudest voices, and maintain the appearance of unity, you have allowed those voices to dictate the direction of the entire group – or at least its perception by the public.
There’s a reason that only a small minority of women identify as feminists these days.  The ideology has become so loaded with baggage from the culture wars of the past that adherence to it involves picking up that baggage . . . and that’s something that most women just don’t want to do.
Worse, two decades of systematic targeting of masculinity, in all of its guises, has managed to alienate nearly all men from your banner.  There was a time, in my fuzzy youth, when I may have identified myself as a “male feminist”, because I believed in equality too . . . but I believed in full equality: draft cards, equitable sentencing, and equal custody and all, and those were issues that feminism, alas, did not see as germane.
They sure as hell were germane to me.  And to a lot of other guys.
Over the years, individual feminists and feminist-oriented groups made it quite clear that men were not welcome – we were part of the problem, and the more we tried not to be, the more you lashed out at us as individuals and as a class.  Whether you intended to or not, feminism as a movement became associated with the callous disregard of masculine values and the blanket disrespect for male issues.  You couldn't even let a bunch of guys get together and talk about male homelessness, suicide, and social issues without protesting and making death threats.  Classy, feminism.
We were supportive, once upon a time.  But what did we earn from that support?  You called us part of "The Patriarchy", taunted us for our perceived privileges, and never spared the opportunity for shame and guilt about our gender.  We supported your reproductive freedoms and your right to own your own bodies, and you called us participants in “rape culture”.  When we threw up our hands and realized that there was no way for you to be happy with us, you called us “misogynists”.
So we left.  There’s a reason that “male feminists” of any note are as scarce as hen’s teeth any more.  No one wants to be a male feminist.  You savage them with particular delight, when they persist in being male, and no man wants to be seen publicly working against the best interest of his gender.  Congratulations, ladies.  You’ve made “male feminists” an endangered species.
Like the Republicans, you’ve played to your base and alienated the mainstream.  People don’t associate feminism with positive values, anymore, and it’s not just Red State hicks and Southern politicians who feel that way.  Feminism was the ideology that spurred millions of women to divorce and break up their families, and many of us carry the scars of that decision.  Feminism made men fearful to even speak to women, much less relate to them in a professional manner.  While you may see the resulting domination of women in corporate positions of power as gratifying, understand that it was done at a price.
You may see feminism as responsible for great strides in American and World history, and I can’t deny that.  So was Marxism, the ideological model feminism chose to co-opt – the one that equated men with the oppressing class and validated some feminists’ need to hate men as a class.  A lot of us take that personally.  Feminism’s unequal treatment of gender issues across the board has grown so egregious that protecting the virtue of 200 little African girls results in a global awareness campaign, while the brutal deaths of hundreds of boys in the same conflict earned no attention by feminism.
You can claim that feminism isn’t about hating men and punishing boys, Ladies, but the fact of the matter is that this is precisely how feminism is viewed by a broad plurality – if not a majority – of the men in America.  Not the progressive pals you keep around you to remind yourself you don’t technically hate all men, but the dude who changed your oil, mowed your lawn, stocked your groceries and passed you on the freeway, all of them have a disdain for feminism, as an ideology, that they would likely never speak to you about.
You've attacked male sexuality with bloodthirsty abandon, belittling the "male gaze" and objecting to "objectification" - without understanding that objectification is as important to male sexuality as emotional context is to female sexuality.  Your relentless fight against "rape culture" has put you at odds with every heterosexual man in the country, as you rampage for the right to only be approached by attractive men, and demonize unattractive men by their "misogyny".  Feminism has been responsible for more male sexual guilt than the Catholic Church.  But you don't know that, because we stopped talking to you a long time ago.
Because speaking to feminists about feminism when you disagree with the culture that has sprung from the ideology is akin to speaking to a cult member.  Every stay-at-home mom who decided to spend her best reproductive years making a home and building a family with a loving husband has been called to task for her choice – “you could be so much more”, “why are you letting him keep you isolated?”, “don’t you want to prove you can make something of yourself?”, these are all the catty, snide little ways feminists have promoted your ideology.
In seeking equal opportunities for women, feminism has denigrated the role of wife and mother that so many women desire.  Voicing a preference for Blue’s Clues over Black’s Legal Dictionary gets a woman pilloried in our post-feminist society, as you well know.  By placing careerism over the desire for a family, feminism has inadvertently doomed hundreds of thousands of successful career women to childlessness, as the “good” men they plan on settling for after they’ve established themselves in careers seek less-driven mates to be the mothers of their children.  The frustration among the professional class of feminist is palpable.  Yet feminism teaches them that it is men’s fault, or the fault of the Patriarchy, or ageism, or whatever rationalization is in vogue at the moment.
Those rationalizations, as thousands of women are discovering, don’t keep you warm at night. 
But not only has feminism alienated men of good will and mothers, feminism has consistently besieged one of the most hallowed areas of femininity: marriage.  In its efforts to protect women in abusive relationships, feminism has waged an unrelenting war against one of the pillars of femininity.  No, not all women want to get married – but for those who do, and there are a lot of them, feminism has successfully weakened the institution to the point where feminism has become the antithesis of a happy marriage.
Just watch how apologetically a feminist announces her engagement.  I had that pleasure, recently, and watching this woman squirm while she had to admit to her equally-feminist friends that she wanted a husband – not that she needed a husband, but (like a handbag or a new car) she wanted one – was an awkward moment.  Of course, she could not bring herself to actually say the word, “husband” – she said “partner” – and she instantly declared that she would not take his name.  Go girl.  I felt humiliated and emasculated on her bridegroom's behalf.
But while I quietly congratulated her on her marriage, the fact is that feminism, regardless of its vaunted goal of equality, has consistently tarnished and weakened an institution that a majority of women hold sacred . . . and they have muddied the waters of non-feminist women considerably by their approach. That hasn't garnered feminism any positive public relations.
Men are reluctant and fearful to marry now, thanks in part to feminist-inspired pro-divorce culture, ala Eat, Pray, Love.  Feminism’s successful war on the patriarchal expectation of sex in marriage has removed the insulation married women once had from the Sexual Marketplace, making their husbands prey to predatory women and devaluing their own sexual contributions.  When feminism made it clear that a husband had no native right to his wife’s body, it also undermined the marital exchange to the point where she can no longer be certain of his fidelity.  Feminism is synonymous with divorce, not happy wives, in the real world beyond the ivory tower. 

(It might be helpful if feminism stopped treating the term "wife" like a death sentence.  Requiring a woman to apologize for her marriage and her husband, and then imposing a lot of humiliating restrictions that are going to be harmful to the marriage, doesn't win you many allies.  Feminism has made it possible where a little girl can grow up and be a great feminist anything . . . except a good wife.)
Feminism did itself no favors by encouraging the sassy self-esteem of two generations of girls.  While claiming white men had unearned privilege, feminism pushed the unearned privilege of white girls to the breaking point.  Many folks are anti-feminists not because they object to the ideals of feminism, but because they object to the conduct of feminists.  Young women who feel that they are entitled to pretty much anything they want, who trade on their feminism with threats of legal action or scandal to get their way, these women aren’t ‘empowered’ – they’re ‘bossy’.  That would be one thing if they were also highly competent and productive, but those are not qualities feminism has emphasized in its application.
The writings of the Women Against Feminism are telling: to them (and to the rest of us) feminism is a bunch of angry women screaming shrilly about how the rest of the world needs to pay attention to them and give them what they want, in a judgmental, demanding way.  The rest of us don’t dislike feminism because we hate equality, we dislike feminism because for many of us some of the most unpleasant and difficult-to-work-with people we know are feminists.  
We see them not just as unhappy people, but people who have invested in their unhappiness to the point where they will only be happy when the rest of the world is just as unhappy as they are.  You want to see feminism perceived in a positive light again?  Create a way for a woman to be a happy feminist.  That’s going to be difficult with an ideology that, practically speaking, sees half of the human race as an enemy, but give it a shot.  Y’all are creative.
Start by trying not to insult and demean anyone whose opinion you don’t like.  Feminism loves to call people names, from ignorant to backwards to stupid – and feminists excel at invective.  Tearing someone down verbally is a high feminist art, and most of us have been the object of that scorn at one time or another, deserved or not.  When you cannot have a discussion with a feminist without her snorting about your perceived privilege, or having her try to shame you into working against your best interest, then engaging in any kind of productive dialog is challenging. And demanding.  And usually self-defeating.
So mostly we just . . . don't.  We ignore you.  We turn our backs on you and mostly we just don't entertain a feminist perspective in any sort of positive way anymore.
As a man I have been called a plethora of vile names and had my character attacked by feminists, even what were supposed to be reasonable, academic discussions.  Feminists have a kind of argument cycle that they go through, I’ve observed, in which my intelligence, education, upbringing, and decency are first brought into question before they launch into outright misandry and emasculation.  At least half of such discussions end with them questioning my manhood – when I know for a fact how they would have reacted had I questioned their womanhood.
I’m a big boy.  I’m not intimidated by shrill women who think their ability to “be strong” and “compete” lies in their willingness to insult another human being.  They have said things to me that, had we truly lived in world of equality, would have required them to settle the matter through seconds and over pistols.  But because feminists tend to hide behind "don't hit me, I'm a girl!" when they decide to engage in such verbal bloodsports, most wise men just . . . walk away.  We're men.  We know feminism hates us.
But the things that you’ve called these Women Against Feminism have been nothing short of vile.  This is what you have to say about these beautiful, intelligent women who disagree with your political ideology.  Women with three advanced science degrees are called “stupid and uneducated” because they dare to disagree with feminist ideology.  Women who have made conscientious choices about their lives are being castigated and threatened.  Women who have made up their own damned minds are being called idiots by other women in a fit of misogyny the Manosphere could never muster.
It is in your reaction to #WomenAgainstFeminism that you reveal yourselves, collectively: Feminism has hit the Wall.  No one is responding to your "nice" voice anymore, because you've burned all your bridges.  Now your very daughters are rejecting your ideology and recoiling in horror from the idea of a "feminist" life.  Yes, feminism is associated with misandry and reactionary man-hating, female entitlement and anti-male ideology in the minds of most people. 

EDIT: A few choice comments:

Emily Shire of The Daily Beast, stating that the movement’s criticism of feminism is “inane, unintelligent, and useless.”

Feminist writer Rebecca Brink published a satire of the campaign on her blog, calling Women Against Feminism “a crock of bullshit based on a misunderstanding of feminism and an ignorance of data and history.”

But like the 35 year old woman who is still trying to rock a miniskirt, you still think feminism is about equality.  No, it is not about equality, and hasn't been for a long time.  What you think feminism is and what it does in the real world are two entirely separate things, and your association with an ideology that is, in effect, anti-male, anti-marriage, and anti-freedom of thought is not doing yourselves any good.
There's some hope that feminism will redeem itself - plenty of women are offended at the things being done in the name of their gender, and want to re-claim the now-poisoned title of feminist.  But until feminists collectively take a good, long, hard look into the mirror and hold themselves accountable for the sins of their sisters in the name of their ideology, don't count on a hell of a lot of support from the victims of feminism.  We're not inclined to be charitable about that sort of thing.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Women Against Feminism

Women Against Feminism: Are These Bitches Crazy?
by Jim Goad

Every time I hear that we live under a “patriarchy,” I close my eyes, click my heels, snap my fingers, and wish that it were true. But when I open my eyes, it’s obvious that men in the West are demoralized and in a pitiful state of disarray. Men have very little group consciousness, if any, these days. Conversely, it is quite clear that women are in a state of Peak Hive Mind and will eagerly devour the babies of any female who does not goosestep in lockstep with third-wave grrl-power feminism.

Or maybe it’s already the fourth or fifth wave. It’s hard to keep up. I’ve been hoping that sooner or later, one of these waves would have drowned them all. But alas, all my hope seemed in vain.

Then, suddenly, like a herd of silken-maned pink ponies galloping toward me in the distant horizon across great barren salt flats that have been scorched in the war between the sexes, comes a fledgling mini-movement calling itself “Women Against Feminism” to give me a fleeting, and perhaps ultimately false, sense of hope for the future of gender relations.

“It is no coincidence that modern feminists embody all of the character traits that cause ‘misogyny’ in the first place.”
Granted, they ape the same banal sort of “placard selfie activism” that infects much of modern online social-justice inanity these days, but I can overlook that for the sake of the message these gals hold on their little handwritten posters:
I don’t need feminism because…I’m tired to be, as a woman, represented by some hysterical hipster whores.

I don’t need feminism because I can hold my own beliefs without an army of angry vaginas backing me.

I don’t need feminism because I don’t think it’s necessary to belittle an entire gender in the name of equality.

I don’t need feminism because our sons are not inherent rapists and our daughters are not perpetual victims.

I don’t need feminism because it reinforces the men as agents/women as victims dichotomy.
Why, it’s almost as if I’ve died and gone to Muslim paradise!

Howard Bloom’s book The Lucifer Principle goes into great detail describing how social movements that initially claim to merely seek “equality” morph into insatiably power-hungry predatory super-organisms once their alleged oppressors are willing to grant them equal treatment. While those making the concessions may think they’re doing so in the name of “fairness,” groups who are on the ascent tend to smell blood instead. Once even a semblance of “equality” is achieved, the mask falls off and it becomes a naked drive for power. They never seem sated by equality and keep moving the goalposts, ultimately becoming every bit as oppressive and intolerant as their former masters.

Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys, distinguishes between “equity feminism”—i.e., the idea that women should be treated equally to men—and its malignant successor, “gender feminism,” which is essentially a folk religion in which women wear angel wings and men are saddled with devil horns. Sommers describes herself as a feminist, as does Camille Paglia, but the latter-day gender feminists consider them traitors to the Holy Cause. Nearly every gal in the “Women Against Feminism” camp seems to have no beef with equity feminism but has become nauseated with the incessant ball-busting and finger-wagging that characterize latter-day gender feminism.

It is no coincidence that modern feminists embody all of the character traits that cause “misogyny” in the first place. They see rape everywhere, consider penises no better than assault rifles, deride masculinity in all its manifestations (except when women act butch), and brook no dissent in their quest to shout down, shame, hunt, mock, malign, and even jail anyone who dares to dissent. This is especially true when it comes to other women. It’s a given that they hate men; but hell hath no fury like a radical feminist scorned by another woman.

Latter-day feminists—who are an entirely different and far more hostile breed than those of only a generation ago—will naturally deny that they seek anything beyond equality, but these squaws speak with forked tongue. If they cared even one lone curly pubic hair about equality, they wouldn’t openly pooh-pooh glaring statistical gender disparities in suicide, homelessness, education, prison sentencing, workplace deaths, custody disputes, spousal support, and longevity. They wouldn’t loudly deny the existence of false rape accusations and the currently unmentionable ubiquity of female violence toward men. They wouldn’t dub sexually aggressive women as “empowered” while slamming men who merely make suggestive comments as rapists.

They’ll bitch about a paucity of female physicists while overlooking a surfeit of female psychologists, nurses, social workers, and especially teachers. And you never seem to hear them complain that there aren’t nearly enough female coalminers, janitors, or sanitation workers.

They’ll even disingenuously claim that this illusory “patriarchy” harms men, too, which would make it a rather inept patriarchy, no? What’s the purpose of having a patriarchy in the first place if it doesn’t benefit men?
In 2001, novelist Doris Lessing bemoaned the castrating vagina dentata hose-beast into which feminism had metastasized:
We have many wonderful, clever, powerful women everywhere, but what is happening to men? Why did this have to be at the cost of men?... The most stupid, ill-educated and nasty woman can rubbish the nicest, kindest and most intelligent man and no one protests. Men seem to be so cowed that they can’t fight back, and it is time they did.
Mein Gott, ’tis like a balm for my beleaguered, testosterone-addled soul to see all these egg-laying mammals who “get it.” It’s like a splash of fresh female pheromones to behold women who have no problem with being women and with men being men. They see essential gender differences as a biological reality and not a false “social construct” that needs to be smashed beyond recognition. They realize that women are human and thus can be every bit as nasty as men. They don’t allow themselves to be frightened into silence by a small screeching cabal of power-crazed, gynocentric shrews with a clearly malicious anti-male “vagenda.” They view men not as a born enemy but a potential dance partner. They understand that female happiness need not be predicated upon male misery.

So are these “Women Against Feminism” chicks crazy? No, not one tiny bit. It’s what they’re fighting that’s insane.

Original article here:

Thursday, 24 July 2014

TIME Magazine on Women Against Feminism!!!

The charge that feminism stereotypes men as predators while reducing women to helpless victims certainly doesn’t apply to all feminists—but it’s a reasonably fair description of a large, influential, highly visible segment of modern feminism.

The latest skirmish on the gender battlefield is “Women Against Feminism”: women and girls taking to the social media to declare that they don’t need or want feminism, usually via photos of themselves with handwritten placards. The feminist reaction has ranged from mockery to dismay to somewhat patronizing (or should that be “matronizing”?) lectures on why these dissidents are wrong. But, while the anti-feminist rebellion has its eye-rolling moments, it raises valid questions about the state of Western feminism in the 21st Century — questions that must be addressed if we are to continue making progress toward real gender equality.

Female anti-feminism is nothing new. In the 19th century, plenty of women were hostile to the women’s movement and to women who pursued nontraditional paths. In the 1970s, Marabel Morgan’s regressive manifesto The Total Woman was a top best-seller, and Phyllis Schlafly led opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment. But such anti-feminism was invariably about defending women’s traditional roles. Some of today’s “women against feminism” fit that mold: They feel that feminism demeans stay-at-home mothers, or that being a “true woman” means loving to cook and clean for your man. Many others, however, say they repudiate feminism even though — indeed, because — they support equality and female empowerment:
“I don’t need feminism because I believe in equality, not entitlements and supremacy.”
“I don’t need feminism because it reinforces the men as agents/women as victims dichotomy.”
“I do not need modern feminism because it has become confused with misandry which is as bad as misogyny, and whatever I want to do or be in life, I will become through my own hard work.”
Or, more than once: “I don’t need feminism because egalitarianism is better!”

Again and again, the dissenters say that feminism belittles and demonizes men, treating them as presumptive rapists while encouraging women to see themselves as victims. “I am not a victim” and “I can take responsibility for my actions” are recurring themes. Many also challenge the notion that American women in the 21st century are “oppressed,” defiantly asserting that “the patriarchy doesn’t exist” and “there is no rape culture.”

One common response from feminists is to say that Women Against Feminism “don’t understand what feminism is” and to invoke its dictionary definition: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” The new anti-feminists have a rejoinder for that, too: They’re judging modern feminism by its actions, not by the book.

Consider the #YesAllWomen Twitter hashtag, dubbed by one blogger “the Arab Spring of 21st Century feminism.” Created in response to Elliot Rodger’s deadly shooting spree in Isla Vista, California — and to reminders that “not all men” are violent misogynists — the tag was a relentless catalog of female victimization by male terrorism and abuse. Some of its most popular tweets seemed to literally dehumanize men, comparing them to sharks or M&M candies of which 10% are poisoned.

Consider assertions that men as a group must be taught “not to rape,” or that to accord the presumption of innocence to a man accused of sexual violence against a woman or girl is to be complicit in “rape culture.” Consider that last year, when an Ohio University student made a rape complaint after getting caught on video engaging in a drunken public sex act, she was championed by campus activists and at least one prominent feminist blogger — but a grand jury declined to hand down charges after reviewing the video of the incident and evidence that both students were inebriated.

Consider that a prominent British feminist writer, Laurie Penny, decries the notion that feminists should avoid such generalizations as “men oppress women”: In her view, all men are steeped in a woman-hating culture and “even the sweetest, gentlest man” benefits from women’s oppression. Consider, too, that an extended quote from Penny’s column was reposted by a mainstream reproductive rights group and shared by nearly 84,000 Tumblr users in six months.

Sure, some Women Against Feminism claims are caricatures based on fringe views — for instance, that feminism mandates hairy armpits, or that feminists regard all heterosexual intercourse as rape. On the other hand, the charge that feminism stereotypes men as predators while reducing women to helpless victims certainly doesn’t apply to all feminists — but it’s a reasonably fair description of a large, influential, highly visible segment of modern feminism.

Are Women Against Feminism ignorant and naïve to insist they are not oppressed? Perhaps some are too giddy with youthful optimism. But they make a strong argument that a “patriarchy” that lets women vote, work, attend college, get divorced, run for political office, and own businesses on the same terms as men isn’t quite living up to its label. They also raise valid questions about politicizing personal violence along gender lines; research shows that surprisingly high numbers of men may have been raped, sometimes by women.

For the most part, Women Against Feminism are quite willing to acknowledge and credit feminism’s past battles for women’s rights in the West, as well as the severe oppression women still suffer in many parts of the world. But they also say that modern Western feminism has become a divisive and sometimes hateful force, a movement that dramatically exaggerates female woes while ignoring men’s problems, stifles dissenting views, and dwells obsessively on men’s misbehavior and women’s personal wrongs. These are trends about which feminists have voiced alarm in the past — including the movement’s founding mother Betty Friedan, who tried in the 1970s to steer feminism from the path of what she called “sex/class warfare.” Friedan would have been aghast had she known that, 50 years after she began her battle, feminist energies were being spent on bashing men who commit the heinous crime of taking too much space on the subway.

Is there still a place in modern-day America for a gender equality movement? I think so. Work-family balance remains a real and complicated challenge. And there are gender-based cultural biases and pressures that still exist — though, in 21st century Western countries, they almost certainly affect men as much as women. A true equality movement would be concerned with the needs and interests of both sexes. It would, for instance, advocate for all victims of domestic and sexual violence regardless of gender — and for fairness to those accused of these offenses. It would support both women and men as workers and as parents.
Should such a movement take back feminism — or, as the new egalitarians suggest, give up on the label altogether because of its inherent connotations of advocating for women only? I’m not sure what the answer is. But Women Against Feminism are asking the right questions. And they deserve to be heard, not harangued. As one of the group’s graphics says: “I have my own mind. Please stop fem-splaining it to me.”

Cathy Young is a contributing editor at Reason magazine.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter - Mannish Boy

Just found out Johnny Winter died. Never a great fan, but I've always loved this tune he did back in the day with Muddy Waters. It’s like a hallucinogenic distillation of the purest, most concentrated male energy: a midnight ritual, punctuated by all those call and response screams from the possessed, held somewhere in the Delta just on the border of space and time.

Damn sexy stuff.


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Almighty Wage Gap™ - A Comprehensive Analysis

by idetesteverything

Okay, friends. Today’s lesson is going to be on the mysterious wage gap, and you and I are going to debunk this once and for all, and then some (you’ll know what I’m talking about soon). So sit down and buckle up, because we’re in for a long ride.
Just so you know, we’ll be debunking myths by switching perspectives a lot. And this is obviously US-centric for the most part. Try not to get lost!

Let’s start with the primary argument some feminists tend to use.

"The Wage Gap™ is a result of sexism!"
Explanation: This claim (usually made by the media and politicians) asserts that the origin of the evil wage gap is rooted in this ubiquitous discrimination all women supposedly face during their jobs.
Something obviously sounds wrong here, but it’s not what you think.

It’s time for a history lesson.

In 1963, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, which stated the following:
I AM delighted today to approve the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits arbitrary discrimination against women in the payment of wages. This act represents many years of effort by labor, management, and several private organizations unassociated with labor or management, to call attention to the unconscionable practice of paying female employees less wages than male employees for the same job. This measure adds to our laws another structure basic to democracy. It will add protection at the working place to the women, the same rights at the working place in a sense that they have enjoyed at the polling place.
This Act granted working women the same rights as that of the working man, thereby enjoying the right to equal pay.

Next year, Congress passed Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in which Section 703(a) defines the following employer practices as unlawful:
(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or
(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Essentially banning discrimination of wages based on sex.

So wait, why are all these companies so eager to commit an unlawful act by paying women less? How are they getting away with it?

Well… maybe they aren’t getting away with it - because they’re not committing an unlawful act.

That’s right, it’s time to switch perspectives here.

If their acts are lawful, meaning men and women are being paid the same wages, then where’s the cause of the Wage Gap™ originating from? Why are women still earning less if they’re doing the same job as men?
Maybe they’re not doing the same job… well not to the same ratio anyway.

See, the Wage Gap™ simply reflects the median earnings of all men and women classified as full-time workers. Technically, the only scenario in which there would be no wage discrepancy is when
  1. The workforce is split up equally amongst the two sexes. 50/50
  2. The number of women working the same job should be absolutely equal to the number of men working that job.
According to various studies and news articles however, men and women tend to gravitate toward different industries.

According to anti-feminism-pro-equality
Top Five Jobs Women Take:
  1. Secretaries and administrative assistants
  2. Registered nurses
  3. Elementary and middle school teachers
  4. Cashiers
  5. Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides
Top Five Jobs Men Take
  1. Construction
  2. Engineering
  3. Law Enforcement
  4. Firemen
  5. Electricians
Lets look at the yearly salaries for women’s top five jobs:
  1. $50,220 X
  2. $67,930 X
  3. E: $51,380 X [] M: $51,960 X
  4. $20,370 X
  5. N: $24,010 X [] P:$26,880 X [] HH: $20,170 X
Now lets look at the yearly salaries for men’s top five jobs:
  1. $28,410 X
  2. $119,260 X
  3. $55,010 X
  4. $45,250 X
  5. $53,030 X
Additionally, taken from Payscale’s infographic based on the official report released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics

You can view the full infographic here: [x]

Clearly, we can see that women simply tend to choose lower-paying jobs.

Above is the most common and primary argument used to disprove the Wage Gap™ hypothesis: that it is not rooted in sexism, but in women’s choices and preferences.

However, I do agree with feminists who say that the inclination for lower-paying jobs doesn’t completely explain the cause. This is true, as there are actually several other factors involved.

I’ll be listing them all, sometimes in response to feminists’ rebuttals to the aforementioned primary argument.

"What about women working the same jobs as men? The wage gap exists there too!"
Okay, so let’s look at this from a different angle. If a man and a woman are working the same job for the same wages, then where does the discrepancy occur? They’re both supposed to be earning equal hourly wages, right? That’s supposed to be the full-time wage.

So if a man works x hours a week and earns y salary, then a woman should also earn y salary for working for the same x hours a week.

Unless, of course, the woman works less than x hours a week.

According to the Wall Street Journal, men are about twice as likely to work 40 hours in one week, while women are twice as likely to work for about 35-39 hours a week.

Taken from last year’s official report released by US Bureau of Labor Statistics itself:
In general, employed women work fewer hours per week
than men. On average, women worked 35.8 hours per week in 2012, compared with 40.8 hours for men.
Warren Farrell, who spent about 15 years going over U.S. Census statistics and research studies found that the wage gap exists not because of sexism, but because more men are willing to do certain kinds of jobs. "The average full-time working male works more than a full-time working female," Farrell said.

"Women are actually forced to take lower-paying jobs because they got rejected when they applied for higher-paying jobs!"

One factor that has not been counted in this claim is the kind of college degrees majority of either sex chooses.

Here we have common majors for each gender taken from

"As the above tables show, men are more likely to choose majors that lead to higher incomes. Only two majors common for women pay a national median pay over $60,000 (Nursing and Occupational Therapy), while 10 of the 15 common majors for men pay at least $60,000. The average pay across all of the common majors for men is $61,700, which is 35% higher than the average pay across the common female majors ($45,600).

"Therefore, as women tend to choose majors that lead to lower income, examining national median pay differences for all jobs across genders may just be reflecting these differing major choices. The above pay figures show that women commonly choose majors that come with lower salaries, thus leading (in part) to a lower national median pay for women.”

Women tend to participate in fields that pay relatively less on average. Keep in mind that these majors pay less to both men and women, and women simply focus on these majors on a much greater scale by numbers as compared to men.

Leaving the job market during pregnancy
When the mother comes back to the job (market), she’ll have lesser work experience than most other men of the same age. Lesser work experience means lower chance of getting picked over other people with the same degree of education and age but with higher work experience.

Job options narrowed down to those that offer flexible hours
See, a woman with children will ideally prioritize her children, yes? So she’ll need to look for a job that offers flexible hours.

Unfortunately, not all jobs offer flexibility. So that diminishes job options to mostly flexible jobs. Usually, jobs that offer flexible hours will pay less, ceteris paribus, than those which don’t.

Married mothers as primary providers vs Single mothers
Married mothers opting to be the primary providers, will earn more than single mothers. (Joint filing vs individual taxes, being one of the reasons)
This here leads to another discrepancy: because 63% are single mothers, whereas the rest 37% are married mothers, yet married moms earn way more than their single counterparts.

Moreover, in case of married mothers, the total family income is higher when the mother, not the father, is the primary breadwinner.

"Men earn more than women in female-dominated fields!"

Actually, this goes both ways.

According to Forbes, women are earning ~8% more in male-dominated fields while holding only 3% of such jobs. Some researchers even claim that both sexes fare better when they are in the minority in any chosen field.

Inversely, there have been instances where women have earned more in female-dominated fields as well
On the opposite end of the spectrum, women also make more in a few female-dominated education and healthcare jobs. Female teacher assistants earn 105% as much as male peers. Women are 92% of the field and earn a median of $474 a week, compared to men’s $453.
Women also earn more than men in higher paying jobs like occupational therapists, dieticians and nutritionists, and life, physical, social science and health technicians.
Other factors also include physical strength, which is needed for jobs like construction. Women are generally built with lesser physical strength than men, so job options in heavy-labour fields become diminutive for most.

There are also some psychological differences between men and women that can lead to a discrepancy. For example, women tend to prioritize childcare over profession, so they might drop out of the job market if they decide to start a family. This happens due to the biological instinct of a mother to nurture her children, so we cannot entirely place the blame on society.

That is why 57% of female graduates of Stanford and Harvard left the workforce within 15 years of entry into the workforce.
According to Bloomberg
And there’s no reason to think that women will ever, on average, have the same preferences as men about combining employment and parenthood, or that they will want to become librarians and truck drivers at the same rate as men.
And according to some studies that show that brains of women and men are structurally different, they reported that
Among the differences, men tended to have larger volumes in brain regions understood to be associated with survival instincts, memory and learning, while women tended to have larger volumes in areas of the brain dealing with emotions. This reinforces some commonly held gender stereotypes about the historical roles of men and women.
Another study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that
[…] colleagues found greater neural connectivity from front to back and within one hemisphere in males, suggesting their brains are structured to facilitate connectivity between perception and coordinated action. In contrast, in females, the wiring goes between the left and right hemispheres, suggesting that they facilitate communication between the analytical and intuition.
For instance, on average, men are more likely better at learning and performing a single task at hand, like cycling or navigating directions, whereas women have superior memory and social cognition skills, making them more equipped for multitasking and creating solutions that work for a group. They have a mentalistic approach, so to speak.

Right now, along with our primary argument, we’ve covered some other factors that result in the Wage Gap™ which far outweigh and even diminish the case of it simply being a consequence of discrimination against women.

In conclusion, in order for there to be a gender pay gap, you need to have one gender being paid more than another, ceteris paribus.

But we’re not done yet, folks!

Some people claim that these facts aren’t ‘good enough’ and choose to attack from a more subjective point of view. They bring female socialization and gender roles into the mix, despite neither of these being measurable factors. Some have rejected the idea that women choose to work jobs that offer more comfort, low risk and high flexibility out of their own free will and instead argue that women have been raised and influenced by society to develop an inclination for jobs that coincidentally(imo) have low pay. Examples provided below.

"Women are socialized into taking low-paying jobs!"
Okay, let’s look at this from another angle. If taking low-paying jobs is indicative of socialization then what kind of job would not be seen as a result of socialization?

High-risk jobs? Because, considering the risk factor, they tend to pay the highest of salaries? You can thank Brobama Obama and your fellow feminist friends for that, because they would rather build ‘human bridges’ instead of actual ones.

Human bridges? Meaning careers based in sociology, liberal arts or psychology. In fact, they appealed to Brobama Obama to introduce stimulus packages for women that would add jobs for nurses, social workers, teachers, and librarians.

Higher availability of the aforementioned jobs in favour of women means that these jobs will become more lucrative to women seeking employment, regardless of whether they’re ‘ideal’ or not.
You see, in this age of unemployment, you tend to reach out for any job that’s available. And if the position of a teacher is more easily accessible (thanks Brobama!), as compared to that of say… an engineer, then an astute, goal-oriented woman might choose the option that’s within reach, forgoing one interest for another. Of course, that’s not always the case but it’s still a likely outcome.

Another similar argument put forward by some feminists is:
"Women take jobs for low pay because they are groomed to be submissive and to believe that they are not worthy, intelligent, strong, etc!"

Tell me, dear friends, do you think a woman choosing to work as a kindergarten teacher is a sign of subservience? When in fact, she’ll probably find higher job satisfaction in that field of work than working in the more stressful environment faced by a surgeon?

Here, see what made Cosmo’s list of Best Jobs for Women. All of the options indicate a high level of job satisfaction. This is probably the only time Cosmo is ever gonna be relevant to the discussion. Ever.
Just because we have different lines of work that are dominated by either sex, it doesn’t mean that women choosing to work in a female-dominated field, sometimes for lesser pay, is a display of subservience. If anything, it’s a matter of convenience to choose a job with higher satisfaction levels than whatever’s supposed to be the so-called ideal job for your “strong, independent woman” archetype.

Moreover, if women are conditioned from birth to believe they are not worthy or intelligent then why do they tend to secure equal or even higher scores in subjects like math from a very young age? The conditioning clearly hasn’t affected their level of intelligence, nor their display of said intelligence in standardized tests, it seems. Does an off switch magically appear while they’re filling out college application forms?

The Wall Street Journal says
While feminists suggest that women are coerced into lower-paying job sectors, most women know that something else is often at work. Women gravitate toward jobs with fewer risks, more comfortable conditions, regular hours, more personal fulfillment and greater flexibility. Simply put, many women—not all, but enough to have a big impact on the statistics—are willing to trade higher pay for other desirable job characteristics.
— Thoughts —
However, I do agree that all these factors I mentioned and the primary factor altogether may not be 100% of the cause for the Wage Gap™. Yes, some studies even suggest that anywhere from 5% - 40% of the cause of the difference remains unattributed.

Although, just because 5% to 40% of the cause is supposedly unknown, workplace discrimination itself cannot be accurately measured. So while there’s a possibility that discrimination can be a factor, it still doesn’t determine how major or minimal of an impact it has on the Wage Gap™.

I have yet to see any actual case studies regarding workplace discrimination against women that can be considered as hard evidence and has a quantitative function.

As a variable, discrimination/sexism itself can neither be measured, nor can it be controlled. So while it most certainly remains a possibility, there’s no reason to claim that it is a critical factor as compared to the actual factors I’ve posted.

Interestingly enough, a research piece from the economists at the New York Federal Reserve reported, in a survey
What does the phrase “treated poorly in jobs available…”
mean to you
Females reported: Women might be subject to jokes in strongly male-dominated fields, but men are more likely to be subject to worse treatment by female coworkers in strongly female-dominated fields. Poor treatment of women by men is much less socially acceptable than the reverse.
If discrimination really is a widespread issue then it affects both sexes and not just women.
I suppose socialization and gender roles may affect your choice of career to some degree, but altogether that is purely arbitrary. It varies case by case and cannot be measured as a quantitative variable, so we cannot determine the extent to which it affects career choices.

There is no way to figure out if the career choice a woman makes is due to her being conditioned by society. Since this logic of gender roles applies to men too, yet we have men working in female-dominated fields.

If you want to go down the “society is evil” route then you must realize that it’s not a gendered issue. There are men who would be affected by it as well.

While I won’t outright reject these possibilities, I won’t count them as important factors either.
The Wage Gap™ issue needs much more evidence before it can be proven, rather than assertions.
Disclaimer: Regardless, I do think it’s a great idea to encourage more young girls to participate in the science and IT fields and inculcate leadership qualities… but they should not be forced to show interest.
We should not ignore biological differences between many girls and boys that occur right from infancy.
According to a study done by Cambridge University,
Results showed that the male infants showed a stronger
interest in the physical-mechanical mobile (physical-mechanical object) while the female infants showed a stronger interest in the face (social object). The results of this research clearly demonstrate that sex differences are in part biological in origin.
However, we can’t ignore the notion that environment might play an important role too.

For example, it is reasonable to assume (as a possibility, not as a fact) that a kid growing up in a household full of lawyers might also go down that route due to heavy exposure to the field (opportunity to attend court trials, for example) at a very young or developmental stage.

But if the same child grows up to become a social worker instead, then is it because of socialization and adherence to gender roles, or is it simply due to some sort of mental inclination towards social education, as an expression of a certain personality type (pedagogic ENFJs, I’m looking at you)? Notice that I didn’t mention the gender of the child.

Either way, biology or the environment certainly can influence someone’s personality and decision-making ability but there’s no way of knowing which can be the bigger determinant simply by looking at their career choices.

Social influences are not a deciding factor, so we should respect a person’s career choice as a result of him/her exercising the ability to think independently. Saying that society influences women to be servile is disrespectful to those who didn’t go for the job suitable for the “strong, independent women” archetype simply due to a difference in personal interests and goals… so it’s not really helping your cause at all.

What’s interesting to note is that those who are in opposition or critical of a woman’s choice (to take jobs that offer relatively low pay) generally tend to be the ones who abstain from entering scientific or tech fields, both of which are higher-paying.

Not that I’m implying anything. :)

Another Disclaimer: Whatever’s mentioned under —Thoughts— is just that - my own opinion. You can either agree with it, or we can agree to disagree. Or we could discuss it privately if you’d like. Preferably as mature adults, thanks!

Sources(It’s advisable that you go through all of them before coming at me with a rake):
Equal Pay Act of 1963
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
It’s Time That We End the Equal Pay Myth
Women in the Labor Force: A Databook by US Bureau of Labor Statistics (It’s over 100 pages long so have fun)
Majors by Gender: Is It Bias or the Major that Determines Future Pay?
The ‘77 Cents on the Dollar’ Myth About Women’s Pay
Study Shows That Numbers Of Working Moms Have Increased: Is That A Good Thing?
IRS Announces 2013 Tax Rates, Standard Deduction Amounts And More
Breadwinner Moms
The 15 Jobs Where Women Earn More Than Men
Women In Tech Make More Money And Land Better Jobs Than Men
Young Women’s Pay Exceeds Male Peers’
Female U.S. corporate directors out-earn men: study
Women CEOs Beat Men in Pay in 2009
Don’t Blame Discrimination for Gender Wage Gap
Obama’s 77-Cent Exaggeration
Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Staff Reports
Young women now earn more than men in the UK
Women In Science: No Discrimination, Says Cornell Study
Let’s be real about the lack of women in tech
An Analysis of Reasons for the Disparity in Wages Between Men and Women - CONSAD report (warning: 95 pages!)
Men’s and women’s brains found to be different sizes
A meta-analysis of sex differences in human brain structure
Sex differences in human neonatal social perception - A Study by Cambridge U.
Children Less Than A Year Old Already Favour Gender-Typical Toys
Brain Connectivity Study Reveals Striking Differences Between Men and Women