Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Attempting to challenge myths

I've been browsing the anti-feminist websites - which is always going to make me annoyed. What really bugs me - and always has done - is that these sites promote so many false ideas about women which are demonstrably not true.

  • Only men do dangerous jobs - women are fire fighters, police, ambulance drivers, pilots, miners (in America - not sure about here), soldiers etc Many men doing these jobs say they do not want women doing the job.
  • Only men are conscripted - the UK doesn't have conscription and Israel conscripts both men AND women
  • Rape is about men being falsely accused not about women being raped. 91% of rape victims are female and 99% of rapists are male - and this isn't about women? Someone posting on the Guardian said the male relatives of female rape victims suffer more trauma than the victim herself. WHAT!!!!!?????
  • All women are feminists - no definitely not. Some women prefer a traditional set up of bread winning father and stay at home mother and do not agree women are equal - that is their choice
  • All feminists want to abolish marriage - no - most feminists want a more equal relationship and want to play an equal part in raising and supporting a family
  • All feminists think men are inferior - no they don't. Very few feminists seem to hold that view these days. It was originally writers such as Valerie Solanas, Andrea Dworkin who appeared to think men were inferior.
  • Men are more intelligent than women - some men are more intelligent than some women - but this is not the case with all women and all men. We are individuals and should be treated as such
  • Any woman who complains about pornography or the early sexualisation of children is suffering from sexual jealousy. It was a male journalist who campaigned for the raising of the age of consent to 16 in 1885 - W T Stead. His supporters were male MPs - women could not vote or sit in Parliament at the time.
  • All women like dressing up for men - no this one at least, doesn't like dressing up for anyone
  • It is only ugly women who are feminists because they can't get a man - really? Women are openly feminist because they can see that women STILL aren't playing an equal part in society - it has nothing to do with looks.
  • All feminists are lesbian - rubbish!
  • All feminists are pro-abortion and try and impose their views on others - actually pro-life supporters are the ones trying to force their views on everyone else. A feminist can be pro-choice for everyone but anti abortion for herself
  • Women's health care is treated as more important than men's health care - well no actually it's just that men don't like taking part in screening programmes - especially if such programmes involve an invasive physical examination - prostate cancer - men are happy to have a blood test but not a physical examination
  • Men are only in prison because women make them commit crimes - now this is just so stupid it isn't worth bothering with - especially as it suggests men aren't capable of making their own decisions

What does concern me is the huge interest in websites and blogs whose sole aim seems to be to undermine the progress made in society over the last 100 years. They don't want women to be dependent on men but equally they don't want women to earn more than they do and anyway all laws are misandrist. You could write a book about it really - and I might just do so because the Men's Rights Movement is dangerous.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Same old, same old . . .

I look at this site from time to time www.the-spearhead.com and came across this in a comment on an article

"Women need to stop resenting men for being smarter and stronger than them. This is what lies beneath their low self-esteem."

Well that's told us then! Basically the site propagates the same old rubbish about all laws are anti-men, women are stupid and have IQs in single figures if they're feminists, you have to train women if you want to be able to live with them and have a relationship with them. In other words everything in the garden will be lovely when women accept that we're the bosses and tell them what to do. You also get regular comments comparing women with the Nazis - and also blaming female voters for voting Hitler into power - which is a new one on me!! The men apparently could see what would happen and didn't vote for him.

I always want to tell them everything would be equally lovely if they realised that women are smarter than them and that they aren't the centre of the universe any more than we are. The people who post on the site really don't want equality - or not if for any reason it reduces their power in any way. It's all right for them to have the upper hand but nor for women to be in charge - of anything.

I always think when I read this site - and others like it - that we must be getting too close to being an equal society in the West because there is such hatred shown against women. If women were really as contemptible as many seem to think these people wouldn't waste their time commenting at all because we'd all be invisible and irrelevant.

Most feminist websites and blogs that I've come across do not focus on hatred of men. They criticise the state or laws in general, they highlight areas where the sexes are treated differently but they do not propagate hatred of men - unlike many of the MRA (Men's Rights Activist) websites which are not interested in the facts if they get in the way of a good female bashing session and actively egg each other on to be as misogynistic as possible. Some MRA websites do not want anyone to criticise their point of view - most feminist sites welcome anyone's point of view as long as people are polite. Those whose comments have been deleted of course would not agree with this statement.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Carnal Knowledge

I bought a very battered copy of Sue Lees' book Carnal Knowledge some time ago and picked it up again last night just to have a quick look at it. But once you start reading it grabs you and you have to keep going. She raises some very interesting points about rape and the way it is dealt with in the justice system. The revised edition of the book was published in 2002 and many of the fears she expresses in the first few chapters have actually happened.

She was worried that by referring to rapes where perpetrator and victim were known to each other as 'date rapes' they would come to seem less serious than 'stranger rape'. She was also concerned at the trend she could see developing of treating the accused as somehow the victim of predatory females - especially if they are acquitted. The view was growing even then that any acquittal should automatically lead to the prosecution of the person who made the complaint in the first place. Just because someone was acquitted doesn't mean the accusation is false or made with malicious intent.

The law was changed many years ago to stop the victim's previous sexual history being brought up at the trial but there was still room for a judge's discretion in the case and on many occasions it is allowed as evidence. On the other hand the defendant's previous sexual history is in most cases not allowed as evidence. There are still only a few cases where more than one alleged rape is dealt with in the same trial.

The author suggests that some rapists may have changed their modus operandi in that they now take the trouble to get to know their intended victim slightly before striking knowing that any previous acquaintance between them and their victim lessens their chances of conviction.

I've only read three chapters so far but it is frightening stuff.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Both sides of a story

I like having both - or all - sides to an argument so I read web sites which are both pro-feminism and anti-feminism. I also like to know how popular the anti-feminist's arguments are. I also like to know what the far right is doing in America because we often seem to get a watered down version in this country eventually. Are my interests strange? I don't think so. Others do. But then we're all different.

I think extreme feminism and extreme men's rights activism are dangerous as all extremes are dangerous. I don't actually agree with either extreme but it's still of interest to see what they're thinking.

I've just started reading Neil Lyndon's No More Sex War which was published in the early 1990s and has sunk almost without trace. In his preface he lists several situations in which men are disadvantaged. 75% of those have been remedied since he wrote the book - which I think is encouraging. There is now a right to paternity leave; men can be dependents under social security laws; women will no longer be able to claim the state pension and other connected benefits at 60 as of this April and the age increases on a sliding scale; men getting custody of their children after divorce or separation is increasing; women can no longer expect to be supported for life except in very specific circumstances following divorce; men can be named on birth certificates even in they're not married to the mother of the child.

The book will make interesting reading I'm sure - out of date though it is.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Men's rights activism on the rise in Germany

There's an article on www.mercatornet.com today with which I actually agree. Maybe men and women in some quarters are singing from the same hymn sheet at last. The Greens in Germany have added a 'Green Men's Manifesto' to their policies.

Why have I suddenly come out in favour of Men's Rights? Because this is what they say:

'We want less pressure to perform, better health care and more quality time. We don't want to be heroes of work; we want to live. We want to share power, responsibility and duties and to tear off the corset of gender roles. We want new horizons for men in the 21st century.'

Isn't this what we all want? Isn't this what feminism has been saying for years that rigid gender roles harm everyone not just women? Feminism only happened because women wanted to throw off the chains of gender stereotypes and try something else on for size. Now men - at last- are saying the same thing.

Let's just pray they don't see the only way to get it as imposing fixed gender roles on women

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Banned from a Men Rights Activist site!!

I have been reading this site from time to time - http://www.theantifeminist.com/ and first posted a comment after the article I mentioned in an earlier post about the age of consent being an example of misandry. The owner of the site has taken exception to my mainly factual comments about the changes to the age of consent in the nineteenth century and the reasons behind them. His attitude was it is my middle aged sexual jealousy which was motivating me to comment and that the first thing women always do when they get any power is stop men having fun and turn everyone into Puritans.

He has told me he is going to ban me from his site because he knows my IP address. I have access to more than one computer all with different IP addresses and there is software which will hide your IP address so if I really wanted to get round the ban I could. He told me this in a comment on the blog Love Letters from Hell - post of March 16 2010 (link in favourite blogs).

When I tried to access the antifeminist yesterday I got a warning message saying the site had been reported to Microsoft as unsafe. He says I'm lying about it - which I'm not. What a storm in a teacup and all because I chose to post a few verifiable facts and point out that feminists with any influence were conspicuous by their absence in Victorian society in the 1870s. It's a shame really that some people aren't interested in dialogue only in laying down the law.

Monday, 12 April 2010

I came across this . . .

In my Internet browsing I came across a rival to Wikipedia - Conservapedia - www.conservapedia.com It bills itself as 'the trustworthy encyclopedia' The name should give you a clue as to where its bias lies and it reads like the world according to the right wing Christian fundamentalists. I looked up the entries on feminism and anti-feminism. The feminism article is - as far as it goes - factual but it only uses quotes from the most extreme of feminists such as Andrea Dworkin and Valerie Solanas and tries to perpetuate the stereotype of ugly middle aged mad hating women being the only ones who are really feminists.

The anti-feminist article is full of quotes from the Bible - naturally out of context - showing that it is God's will that women obey their husbands and be meek and modest and unselfish. There is a very fine line it seems between Christian fundamentalists and Islamic fundamentalists - they both want to keep women under control as though they resemble some dangerous explosive. If women were really like that as individuals then there would be no need to train them in this behaviour - just a thought . . . . .

Friday, 9 April 2010

Age of Consent part II

I came across this story today:


The child bride aged 13 died from internal injuries and bleeding from the genital area. It is the most cogent argument I can think of for keeping the age of consent at 16. The article suggests this is far from being an uncommon event.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Prostitution and sex workers generally

I'm not anti prostitution - well I don't think I am. I'm inclined to believe it should be legalised and regulated like it is in Holland. But I do have mixed feelings about it. One half of me says if men are silly enough to pay for something they can get free then women are probably exploiting men. The other half says it's demeaning to actually sell sex instead of giving it to a man you love in a loving relationship. But this is far from a simple issue and I'd be the last one to say it is. If that is how women want to earn their living then that really is their business.

If you are going to try to abolish it then you have to provide women with a credible alternative means to earn their living. I would have expected prostitution, lap dancing clubs etc to be diminishing at present because of all the women and girls apparently willing to sleep with anyone and everyone. But it doesn't seem to be the case so there's obviously more at work here than is obvious to the naked eye as it were.

I don't understand why men would want to pay for sex anyway especially as so many men these days seem to want women who conform to the stick thin large breasted stereotype and most street walkers I've seen do not conform to that at all! So it has to be something more than that. All the men I know say they wouldn't go to a prostitute anyway. I can only presume it's because men want sex with no strings and without the need to hold a conversation though some prostitutes say men just want to talk to them. Very odd - all of it - and I really must try and get my thoughts in some sort of order about it.

I don't actually think it's an exclusively feminist issue anyway - it's more something that society as a whole - both men and women - needs to look at and discuss and agree on what's acceptable.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Age of consent

I came across a post on a men's rights blog saying that the age of consent is a misandrist law because it was militant feminists suffering from sexual jealousy who got it implemented. So it's anti men. Well actually I thought it was pro children to prevent them being forced into prostitution at the age of 12 or younger.

I'm not linking to the post because I've already been accused of harassment by even posting the fact in the comments that the age of consent affects both men and women and applies equally to boys and girls; as well as that the age of consent was enshrined in law in the Victorian era - which was hardly a high point for women's rights. The age of consent was raised to 16 from 13 in 1885 - as a result of campaigning by W T Stead.

Apparently since girls mature sexually much earlier than boys it would be better to lower the age of consent - at least for girls - so that men wouldn't be criminalised for having sex with girls under the age of 16. So if we change the law so that theft is illegal there won't be so many people with criminal convictions? And they say men are the logical sex.

I can see the arguments for lowering the age of consent but there is no consistency across the world and it is as high as 18 in Turkey and Malta and varies between 16 and 18 in the USA depending on which state you're in. It is a complex issue and cannot be dismissed as being anti men since it affects women as well.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Distortions used to push a point of view

I am an occasional reader of this web site www.mercatornet.com It is, as a brief perusal of contents will show, a right wing opinion site. It is basically anti women's rights, pro life, anti choice and it seems pro Roman Catholic because the Pope supports the things they believe in. Which leaves them in something of a quandary over the current paedophile revelations.

While I agree that some of the media coverage of the scandal is sensationalist I really do not think it is widespread conspiracy to discredit the Roman Catholic Church because it supports the family and marriage and is anti-abortion.

"Only the voice of the Pope and the Church is being raised to defend life and the family. The reading of certain articles in the media shows that very powerful lobby groups are seeking to silence this voice with the worst possible defamation . . . '

When you consider that the author of this article is an Italian Sociologist of religion you can see where he is coming from. He uses statistics to try and show that the cases involving priests frequently involve children over the age of 16 - so that isn't paedophilia. He glosses over this even though it is a serious breach of trust which could scar young people for life, because, he says, it is less serious than paedophilia.

He also goes on to argue that as there are far more - not sure where his figures come from - cases in protestant denominations. So that's all right then and it's all been greatly exaggerated and is all designed to silence this voice crying in the wilderness against immorality. Or even if it isn't exaggerated all the good things the Catholic Church believes in should more than make up for a few rotten apples - which you get in any walk of life.

The title of the piece is 'Moral Panic Flares Again' and it was posted on 3 April 2010. It is one of the most interesting - and distasteful - pieces of moral wriggling on the point of a dilemma that I've seen for a long time.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The vexed question of access to children

I am half listening to a recent TV programme about the way fathers are effectively excluded in many cases from seeing their children following divorce or separation. Obviously it is not just fathers who suffer - it can be mothers as well. What I have never been able to understand is that both men and women use their children as pawns even while they are arguing they themselves know what's best for their children.

It is never going to be an easy situation but I cannot subscribe to the theory that women always lie and always seek to keep children away from their fathers. I have known several single mothers and all of them have been adamant that while they no longer love their husbands, these men remain their children's fathers. They will grit their teeth and remain civil often under extreme provocation because they believe the children need a relationship with their fathers. I'm sure not all women behave like this but I'm also sure not all men are plaster saints.

I can't help feeling the court system could be turning out better decisions than it does but I'm also sure parents need to put their children first and forget their own egos. That applies to men and women.

Equal opportunities and equal rights for women should lead to better solutions to these problems because each case will be judged on its merits and stereotypes will not govern decisions made by judges. Having said that I can't help feeling the situation would improve for many men if they played a greater part in their children's upbringing while they and their wives are still together - then in the event of a divorce they would be able to show how involved they are in their children's lives.