Saturday, 29 May 2010

I have just finished laughing . . . is always good for a laugh and/or for making me absolutely blazing mad. An article posted there on 27 May called Feminism and the SAD (Standard American Diet) made me laugh but it also made me seriously angry. The gist of the theory is that Americans are all fat because of feminism.

The theory is that the second wave of feminism told women to stop cooking for their families and got women into the workplace doing low paid jobs producing fast food for the masses. Ergo Americans were fed on fast food and got fat and developed serious health problems. This wouldn't have happened if feminism hadn't existed.

Yes, well . . . . words almost fail me.

Especially as the whole argument is based on a fallacy - that feminism told women not to cook for their families. Even Betty Friedan didn't say that! The women she talked to who were happiest with their lot in life were those who worked part time or full time at a job which made them feel they were contributing to society in a meaningful way whilst still having time to keep their houses and families to the standard which was acceptable to everyone. In fact she found that those who were good organisers often had more time to themselves even after working full time and cooking for their families.

The theory also overlooks the role of men. The article states that men couldn't cook because they were too busy earning money - which is a cop out in my opinion. It's basically saying men don't want to do household chores because they would somehow emasculate them and as for cooking - well men will only do this if they can do it on TV and make millions out of it.

I personally don't agree with that idea but it seems to be what the article is saying. In fact it suggests men stood by and let this happen without doing anything about it themselves because it was 'women's work'. The sub text of the whole article is that women should go back to the home and stay away from things they don't understand because that way all the ills of an overweight population will be solved by a bit of home cooking. One of the comments suggested that the guy writing it would probably have been 3 inches taller than he is if his mother hadn't been a feminist . . . .

Riiiight! So it's the old ' Not me Guv, the other guy did it' excuse.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

2 boys and a girl

I am of course referring to the recently concluded trial at the Old Bailey of two boys for sexually assaulting a girl. Most of the coverage of the story and the public reaction to it is frankly disgusting but I'm not sure I can get my own thoughts in any sort of rational order. Part of me says was there a mountain made out of a molehill? Were they just satisfying the curiosity many children feel about each other's bodies? Another part of me says whatever it was it shouldn't have happened and the children need to be told that it is not acceptable behaviour.

Should the girl be prosecuted as well? In my opinion - no she shouldn't. Her story was consistent right up until the end of her cross examination by the defence barrister. Of course many people are saying women learn to lie about rape at an early age without taking into account the way barristers question witnesses. Most of us could be tricked into contradicting things we were absolutely sure of and it is probably a major area of concern for our adversarial system of justice. The jury were obviously convinced by the rest of the evidence and there was medical evidence as well - which I gather from seeing only one reference to it - has not been widely reported.

As for those saying that the case only went to trial because the mother insisted - well words fail me! The CPS does not ask the victim - or anyone connected with the victim - whether trials should go ahead. If they did a lot more cases would go to court than do now. They clearly felt there was enough evidence for a conviction - and their decision was correct in the light of the jury verdict.

Whether or not children should be tried in adult courts - with or without wigs and robes - is another issue and should not be used to confuse debate over this particular case.

If you don't show children at an early age what behaviour is acceptable and what is not they grow up to be adults who attack others.

Strange story - and strange reactions

The known 'facts' of the story are as follows:
  • A woman phones a female friend and tells her she has just been raped by a friend of her husband.
  • Said friends tells a man who knows the husband in question and the alleged rapist
  • Husband goes round to the man's house with a friend and a brick and a mallet and beats the man unconscious.
  • The police - not unnaturally - arrest the two men

The 'full' story is on As it correctly states no one knows what happened. What I really take issue with is the suggestion in the article that if the woman was lying she should be arrested and charged with assault. I had to read it twice and both times my reaction was WHAT!!!!!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The English Marriage

The English Marriage: Tales of Love, Money and Adultery by Maureen Waller is interesting reading. It traces the history of marriage in England from Medieval times to the 1960s. Long after Europe reformed ins marriage and divorce laws England's laws were still heavily dependent on the rules of Medieval theology. The status of married women was little better than slaves or lunatics. All their property, until the late 19th century, belonged to their husband and they had no status in law as individuals.

It was very difficult for anyone to obtain a divorce. The poor didn't bother and simply walked away from the marriages and probably committed bigamy at a later date. The rich - because land and money were involved - resorted to law. A woman could be divorced for a single act of adultery. But if she wanted a divorce herself she had to prove cruelty as well as adultery.

When husbands were allowed to beat their wives, starve them and keep them shut up it was virtually impossible for a wife to prove cruelty. There was no doubt who was in charge until the 19th century when women started fighting back and several pieces of legislation improved their lot in life. Paradoxically widows had the best of it as they had virtually the same legal powers as men.

It is always difficult to look back on history and try and judge the events of the time through the eyes of the time. But comparing marriage and divorce in England with the same laws in other countries it is easy to see the English legal treatment of women was draconian even by the views of the times. Financial arrangements before marriage did seek to secure the income of wives if they were widowed in the main but that was all. There was no way out of an impossible marriage if you were a woman.

It was not until 1839 that women could expect to keep custody of children under the age of 7 after divorce - and then only if they successfully petitioned the Lord Chancellor and could prove they were of good character. Husbands would use access to the children as a bargaining counter in divorce or separation negotiations as access was wholly decided by the man and not the courts. Maybe we have gone too far in the other direction now.

Anyone who thinks women have never been oppressed and it's all a feminist con needs to read this book as the individual stories were taken from court records and the correspondence of the individuals concerned and at times show a horrific picture of the treatment of women by the law.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Accused in rape trials to be anonymous

Having read Sue Lees' Carnal Knowledge I can only think this is a bad thing. It will be the only crime where the accused has a right to anonymity. As rapists are getting more sophisticated and taking the trouble to get to know their victims before striking this will mean that these serial rapists are even more likely to get away with it. The conviction rate for rape where the victim knew their attacker is very small - I'm not going to quote figures because I have not looked up the latest ones and I don't want to post incorrect data. Stranger rape is more likely to result in a conviction - provided the accused is identified and caught.

At the risk of going against my own sex I would almost say it is better to have no anonymity for accused AND victim rather than losing the chance to have other victims come forward when the accused is publicly named. Many women waive their right to anonymity in any case - so will this proposed change mean that the rapist would also be named? Not enough information available yet I think.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


Not an easy subject and I don't think there's ever going to be an easy answer to the problem. The law in the UK allows abortion up to 24 weeks gestation. Up to that time it is highly unlikely the foetus would survive outside the mother, though there are and have been exceptions. How do I feel and think about it?

I think women need to take responsibility for their own actions and for contraception if they do not want children. I also think men must take some of the responsibility -i.e. if they know they do not want children why aren't they insisting on using a condom - regardless of what the woman says about her contraception method?

Contraception - in the UK - is easily available - and free if you visit a Family Planning Clinic. There should be no excuse for not using it. If you don't want to go medical about it - buy condoms (male or female) from a chemist. If you're not sure how good the contraception you used was - them make sure you get the morning after pill. We've all been carried away by the passion of the moment - but at least do something about it the next day.

I would not ever have been prepared to have an abortion - unless I'd been raped, the foetus had abnormalities, or my life was in danger. But that is MY choice, no one else's. However I am in favour of abortion being legal - because ultimately it is about personal choice and personal circumstances. But with personal choice goes personal responsibility - to use contraception wherever and whenever possible.

I can't see how men can ever have any legal say in abortion. That is not just because I'm female. How can someone say to another individual - I am ordering you to carry that child for me and then put your life in danger by giving birth to it? There is no equivalent situation in which a woman could place a man. Yes it's not fair on the man - but then if he had insisted on using a condom (or not having sex) there would have been no conception anyway - which is where personal responsibility comes in again.

I hear too many men saying - 'It wasn't my fault - she told me she was on the pill.' If you'd only just met her, was it wise to trust her to that extent? What about disease? Wouldn't you have been safer using a condom anyway? Condoms, by the way, when used properly are more than 95% effective - very little lower than the Pill - which isn't 100% effective anyway - especially with the low dose pills usually used these days.

Just a few thoughts . . .

Sunday, 16 May 2010


Reading feminist blogs and websites and also reading men's rights sites I am left wondering at the differences between the two. Feminist blogs and websites generally discuss issues such as the sexualisation and objectification of young girls and women; the way rape victims are treated by the courts; the difficulty of juggling work and home life; the rights and wrongs of abortion; pornography and sex workers; and lately the small number of women in the Cabinet formed by the Conservative/LibDem coalition government in the UK. Most of these subjects could not be affected by legislation as you cannot tell people how to think you can only legislate for how they behave. They are cultural issues.

Men's rights sites tend to concentrate on the stupidity of women, the lack of respect for men and the misandry of most laws - though they do not go into specific details the reader is expected to agree with this statement without supporting evidence otherwise they are a troll. Men's rights sites also frequently mention the so-called paedophile hysteria permeating society - i.e. hardly anyone is a paedophile whatever the papers say and women do it to so that makes the men who do it somehow less guilty.

What I'm trying to get at is that the feminist sites are rarely agitating for a change in the law but men want laws which remove inequalities between them and women repealed as they see them as disadvantaging all men. The men's sites come over to me - in many cases - as petulant and childish. They don't discuss things reasonably and the moment they start throwing around insults - mainly taken from gay culture - the discussion degenerates rapidly.

The feminist sites - such The F Word - moderate comments and while they allow many different opinions they don't allow the discussion to get out of hand. Rape and abortion are the two subjects which usually cause most angst here. Most discussions I've seen on feminist blogs are polite even if there are differences of opinion. Unfortunately many are gate-crashed from time to time by people throwing four letter words around and refusing to discuss anything rationally. yet the first accusation many men level at women is that they won't discuss things without resorting to insults.

There are areas where men are disadvantaged; why shouldn't men have custody of their children following divorce?; why shouldn't there be health screening for men? But these don't seem to be things which the men's rights sites are agitating for - they are just useful weapons to attack feminists with. So don't men need to get their act together and campaign for things which would make a difference to them on a day to day basis?

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Strange ideas

Feminism - in my opinion - is about women having more choice of roles than mother or housewife. There are obviously many other concerns which spring from that but that is the basic tenet of feminism. It follows from that - though it is rarely mentioned - that different roles should also be available to men. There has always been the tacit assumption that as men are in charge and if they want to change their gender roles they can do so - though I think someone forgot to tell many men that they can change roles.

I have very little time for the idea that a man should always be the breadwinner in a family. I see it as a joint responsibility and a joint decision - just as childcare and housework should be a joint responsibility. So no I don't, and never have, seen a man, any man, as a walking wallet to be exploited. Do intelligent, thinking women still think like that? Maybe some do but I would think most don't.

Chivalry - why should anyone lie down and let me walk all over them? I don't want that. In my opinion this side of chivalry is outdated. But common politeness - which is usually described as chivalry is still relevant and should be practised by both sexes - holding doors open, helping with heavy bags, giving up a seat on public transport if someone needs it etc. This should not a male/female issue but a polite/rude issue. I have never asked a man to pay for all the costs of a date and frequently have paid them myself.

Feminism - at its best - is not about women having priority over men or preferential treatment. It is about equality. The problem here is one of perception - many men think if others are gaining power they must be losing it - what is often referred to as a zero-sum approach to the problem.

Violence - as I often seem to be saying these days - is not a male/female issue. Both can be victims or aggressors. But you can't get away from the fact that there are more men in prison for violence than there are men and much of the violence is men attacking other men.

Men do dangerous jobs - but that doesn't mean all men have to do dangerous jobs. There are women who join the armed forces, the police and fire service. Women are not allowed on oil rigs - not sure how that squares with discrimination but there we are. Men do dirty jobs - but so do women. I think jobs such as care assistant, cleaner etc - that are traditionally regarded as women only jobs can also be regarded as dirty and dangerous - but these seem to be overlooked and underpaid and men don't want to do them. Should men get preferential treatment because they risk their lives at work? I would say such jobs ought to be well paid because of the risk. But then so should nurses - who risk attack by patients - as do care assistants.

So why are so many men against feminism? Why are so many men - on the Internet and in ladmags - demonstrating such misogyny? I would have thought men would benefit from feminism as it removes the automatic assumption that men should provide the money in all situations. Feminism encourages women to provide for themselves and not to assume men will provide. Many men seem to want women to get out of the workplace because they're taking men's jobs. But they don't want to support women financially themselves.

Now some - and this article was written by a woman - are saying Christianity is against men and is pushing men out of the Church. I don't quite get it myself.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

No More Sex War

I am still reading Neil Lyndon's No More Sex War published in 1992. I'm finding it interesting but extremely irritating. It comes over as very petulant. I've read about 60 pages and all he seems to do is criticise comments made by high profile women about men - mainly taken out of context. He suggests the media is against men whereas I would say today that much of the media makes its living from criticising women - whatever choices they make in life. He criticises Germaine Greer for famously saying she is surprised women do not realise how much men hate them. A brief trawl of the Internet using search terms such as Men's Rights Activism or Anti-Feminism will soon make anyone realise how true that statement is decades after it was first made - many men do hate women.

He talks about male violence and suggests correctly that men do not have a monopoly on violence. But he fudges the issue of the majority of violence involving males assaulting other males. I do not like the way some women seem to be turning to violence but then I don't like men being violent either. In fact I dislike violence and think it's the worst possible way to solve any argument. I do not think it is only men who are violent in any setting - whether domestic or public and I suspect the majority of people know women can be violent too.

Monday, 10 May 2010


Why do some men insist on doing what they criticise feminists/women for? I'm talking about things such 'All women lie and are incapable of telling the truth; never trust a woman she's always after your money; all women make false rape allegations etc.

And yet the men who make these sort of statements are the same ones who criticise feminists for supposedly saying all men are potential rapists; all domestic violence victims are female. So if women generalise about men - that's bad but if men generalise about women that's all right because it's true. Talk about double standards.

Then there's the well known research that shows from IQ tests that there are more men at the top and bottom of the scale than there are women. This is a statement of fact in line with some research and I have no problem with it. But can you really equate that to the statement that the average man is more intelligent than the average woman? That to me is an inference too far. This research should be qualified in the following way:
  • IQ tests measure how well you can do IQ tests
  • The whole population - or even a large proportion of it - has not been subjected to IQ tests
  • IQ tests were devised to measure a particular type of intelligence. This is not the only type of intelligence
  • The research is not an excuse for excluding women from the top jobs in any field because an individual women can still be more intelligent than an individual man.
  • The research does not prove that all men are more intelligent than all women - the graph would look like two bell curves that never met if that was the case.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Manhood Academy

Reading this site is quite interesting at the moment ( the owner of the site sounds as though he is a pretty reasonable guy even if I don't always (ever?) agree with him. He is currently trying to stop trolls probably from a site called Manhood Academy 101 while at the same time maintaining freedom of speech. As anyone who has ever had anything to do with any Internet forum will tell you it is a completely impossible task as moderators need to delete posts which could bring the weight of the law down on them.

On balance I'm beginning to think that comments which are just a stream of abuse are less dangerous than guys who post comments like this:

My personal opinion is that I will not allow any woman to live in my house that does not sign a binding contract with me which waives all rights including the right to life. I will not allow any woman to live in my house that I could not kill with impunity.

Basically this Manhood 101 site would definitely condone the above comment. I have not registered on the Spearhead though there are women who post on there though I do read it regularly because there are some interesting articles on there - whether or not you agree with them. But Manhood Academy was criticised at length by Paul Elam - one of the more reasonable MRA people - for advocating using pain against women as a way of disciplining them and making them bow to a man's authority. They say they don't mean physical pain but their idea is making the women feel bad if she upsets the man so she won't do it again. This is not treating women as equally valuable people as men - this is treating them as inferior and setting men as the only arbiters of behaviour because women are not capable of being responsible for their own behaviour.

This sort of thing is dangerous and if it gains too much support could overthrow all the equality legislation the Western world - supported by both men and women - has managed to put in place. The 1970's were never like this. Andrea Dworkin was pretty extreme though she is always quoted out of context. But the above quote makes Germaine Greer look like a pussy cat - with claws removed.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Zoo affair

How can advocating slashing a girl friend's face when you've split up with her so that no one else will want her, be acceptable? Those of you who haven't come across this story yet won't know what the fuss is about. The magazine Zoo aimed - I think - at young men answered a reader's letter about trying to get over the break up of a relationship. The answer was to go out with your mates and get drunk and smash up as many things as you can or slash your girlfriend's face so that no one else will want her. The magazine editor has published an apology on their website blaming it on a production error and saying the magazine will make a donation to Women's Aid.

The Guardian quite correctly suggests the whole magazine is very similar in tone and this particular item was only slightly worse than the rest of its normal content. The suggestion by apologists is that it was tongue in cheek advice and shouldn't be taken seriously. Suppose a women's magazine problem page suggested castrating a man you'd split up with - would that be treated as a joke? I very much doubt it and nor should it. So why is it acceptable to joke about physically attacking a woman?

Saturday, 1 May 2010

You can't be raped if you wear tight jeans

This was the verdict in an Australian court. Apparently the woman had been wearing skinny jeans and the judge and the jury believed they couldn't be removed without the wearer's co-operation. Really?? I can think of several ways to do so - especially as they are usually stretch fabric otherwise the wearer wouldn't be able to get them on or off.

The woman only weighed about 7st so even if she'd been struggling it wouldn't take a very strong man to overpower her.