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We’re All Equal Now, So We Should Shut Up and Go Home

By Clementine Ford

Clementine_Ford_18966 In this edited version of her Lunchbox/Soapbox address, Clementine Ford asks why men like Alan Jones think women are ‘destroying the joint’, exposes how Hollywood contributes to assumptions that the default gender is male, and presents some damning statistics to prove that we’re not, in fact, all equal now.

To be a woman at the close of the 20th century. What good fortune. That’s what we keep hearing, anyway. The barricades have fallen, politicians assure us. Women have ‘made it’, the style pages cheer. Women’s fight for equality has ‘largely been won’, Time magazine announces. Enrol at any university, join any law firm, apply for credit at any bank. Women have so many opportunities now corporate leaders say, that we don’t really need equal opportunity policies. Women are so equal now, lawmakers say, that we no longer need equal rights legislation.

So begins Susan Faludi’s Backlash. The backlash she spoke of manifested the idea that women had been somehow damaged by all that equality. That the reality of being equal had somehow made them miserable – that newspapers fretted about how women were coping with the infertility crisis, the man shortage, the betrayal of being told they could ‘have it all’ and, once getting there, realising that having it all was bloody hard work.

Sounds familiar.

Backlash was published in 1991. And 20 years later, the backlash continues. My feminist peers and I, scrapping for our minute share of the media pie, are, in amongst the anonymous abuse, the repeated accusations of misandry and the violent threats of rape, constantly instructed that ‘equality has been achieved, so shut your mouths you hairy-armpitted feminazis!’

I mean, God. Even the insults are carbon dated.

Destroying the joint: equality in 2012

Let’s have a look at how equal we are, here in 2012. This year alone, prominent US republicans have coined phrases like ‘legitimate rape’, voted to further diminish women’s reprodutive rights, including legislating in some states to subject women seeking abortions to an internal ultrasound (which is not legitimate rape, because rather than a man in a balaclava in a park and a woman out jogging, it involves state legislators and sluts who should have kept their legs shut). And they’ve called women sluts on the radio because they didn’t like them running off their mouths about state-funded birth control. At every turn, they have frozen women out of the conversation about their own bodies and reproductive health, because, as powerful white men elected to government, they are apparently more entitled and qualified to speak on these matters than those who their decisions will affect.

903682-alan-jones

Alan Jones: ‘Women are destroying the joint!’

Our own radio shock jocks in Australia call women ‘sluts’ and ‘fat slags’ on air when discussing pack rape scenarios involving famous sporting ‘heroes’ or women who’ve given them bad reviews – recently, Alan Jones went on an on-air tirade about how disgusting it was for Australia to provide aid to Pacific nations in order to empower more women to become legislators and business leaders: ‘She [the prime minister] said that we know societies only reach their full potential if women are politically participating,’ he told listeners.

‘Women are destroying the joint!’

Our own prime minister has endured a campaign of sexist abuse ever since she took office, demonstrated most insidiously by people’s belief that they’re entitled to refer to her by her first name. To those for whom equality has not just been granted (as if it was theirs to give), but has been done so grudgingly, Gillard’s status as PM is sufficient evidence that feminism has succeeded and feminism’s continued campaign for more ‘equality’ is simply greed. The subtext is clear: ‘What more do you want?’

Men’s rights and equality as a loss

Now, aggrieved men’s rights activists are growing in numbers, and they still insist that women – all of whom have apparently achieved not just equality but actual superiority – are trying to destroy men. That in a mere 40 years, women have not just managed to quell the tide of gender oppression that has for thousands of years seen them be the victims of sexual assault, violence, forced marriage, financial dependence, sex trafficking and a general silencing of their voices, but reversed it to the point where men have now become the abused chattel, the dismissed, the voiceless.

Thousands of years of oppression. Reversed and redirected. In 40 years. Who knew it was so easy?

Of course, such a thing is ridiculous. Because the problem with the idea of equality is how difficult it is to measure. When people say, ‘equality has been reached’, what they really mean is that it is now (mostly) illegal to directly legislate in a way that disadvantages women over men. It is illegal to say that a woman can’t be made CEO of a Fortune 500 company – but does that mean she will be? No, because now we have insidious indicators of sexism. And every woman who takes on a role previously legislated (whether officially or socially) to belong to a man will now be seen by some to have stolen that ‘right’ away from men in general. To men fearful of feminism, equality is so tied up in their idea of their own rights to power that to share it can only mean relinquishing some of the things that they feel belong to them.

Orenstein

Peggy Orenstein

In Peggy Orenstein’s book Girlhood, on the matter of girls’ education, she recounts the tale of a teacher who, convinced she didn’t prioritise boys over girls like some studies suggested, tracked the number of times she called on boys to answer questions. She was astonished to see that, despite her fervent belief otherwise, she subconsciously favoured boys when it came to seeking answers and opinions. She immediately set out to rectify this, creating a system whereby she could visually track a fair alternation of the girls and boys she called on.

Within a couple of days, boys in the teacher’s class approached her to complain about the new system. They accused her of being unfair – they saw it as girls being given more at the expense of the boys, even though they were at last getting exactly the same.

The conclusion is simple, and very worrying. For these boys, Orenstein writes, equality was perceived as a loss.

Such little boys grow up to be the kind of men who believe women’s liberation comes at the expense of their own power; that for them to respect it, support it or even acknowledge it, it must prioritise the needs of men first and foremost, and ensure they never have to give anything up. Essentially, to the men’s rights activists, the only legitimate form of women’s liberation is one that has no affect on them at all because it happens in a realm peripheral to men – much like the concerns and lives of women in general.

’Asking for it’ and other excuses for rape

Frankly, there is so much evidence to offer in favour of the idea that equality is still merely an illusion. I could talk about the still-horrifying rates of rape and sexual assault, both the actual experience of it and the social impetus to provide excuses for it. I could tell you about the female judge who, in sentencing an off-duty police officer to probation for the sexual assault of a woman in a bar, told the woman that she’d hoped she’d learned a valuable lesson – that if she hadn’t have been there, this would never have happened – that if women would take more care of themselves, and not dress like sluts, drink in public, run their mouths off, then men wouldn’t be forced to rape them. I could talk about the 11-year-old girl who, after being gang raped in Texas, had the New York Times run a story suggesting she may have ‘dressed older’ and questioned why her mother wasn’t watching her.

I could question the fact that of all the approximately 30 AFL players ever accused of sexual assault, not one has been convicted. I could mention the pay gap, which is well documented and consistently ignored by people who refuse to see any gender disparity in the workplace, and like to argue in favour of a merit system – as if the majority of people being given promotions and high-paying jobs and who also just happen to be men are just naturally more meritorious than women.

I could talk about the beauty industry and the empowerment industry, and how the two have joined forces in an unholy marriage to try and convince women the world over that the most liberating choice they can make is to rid their vaginas of hair. I could talk about the co-opting of empowerment in general, and how calling every choice a woman makes ‘empowering’ by virtue of the fact she’s been allowed to make it just shows how very far we have to go.

But today, I want to demonstrate how women, in all this mass of equality we’re enjoying, are only allowed to lay claim to a certain percentage of the public space. That for most people, equality means things not being quite as bad as they were before. Women may only hold 17% of positions of public office, but don’t we know that the job of prime minister has ten magic points? We’re destroying the joint, remember.

Who makes the news?

The Global Media Monitoring Project recently produced a report called Who Makes the News? The report assessed the breakdown of gender across international news outlets – radio, print, TV and the internet. Specifically, the percentages of stories that focused on women or men as their subjects. The research covered just under 17,000 news items, just over 20,000 news personnel (announcers, presenters and reporters) and just over 35,000 total news subjects, i.e. people interviewed in the news and those whom the news was about. Basically, this was no simple Daily Mail UK study about women preferring shoes to sex.

185054-julia-gillard-q-amp-a

‘On any given week, Q and A will feature four men, including host Tony Jones, and two women. This is considered gender parity.’

Here are some facts:

In 1995, only 17% of news stories featured a woman as their subject.

In 2010, when women are equal, that figure had limped ahead to a pathetic 24% – a mere 7% jump in 15 years. Overall, the analysis showed that men were overwhelmingly more likely to be the subjects of media focus – three to one in fact – and that when women WERE the subjects of a news story, they were more likely to be presented as victims, to have their family status mentioned or to simply be photographed.

But the stats get more depressing when you examine how women function within these stories. Their greatest contribution, at 44% of exposure on the news, is to represent ‘popular opinion’, compared to men’s 56% contribution in this area.

So, in the area where men’s voices are LEAST sought out, they still dominate the space where women have been given the MOST opportunity to speak.

Women feature least in news stories as official spokespersons or experts, at 19% and 20% respectively. Compare this to stats of men’s representation in these areas: when called on as a spokesperson or expert, men feature in at a whopping 81% and 80%, their highest showing.

I realise that sounds like a lot of numbers, but put simply, this is what it means. That in 2010, when men and women have supposedly achieved equality, where women’s voices are supposedly considered equal to those of men, where women who dispute this are told to shut up because feminism’s over, and to go and burn some more bras, the very essence of what drives our public dialogue – the news cycle – is not only dominated by stories about men by 3:1 but that four fifths of people sought after to speak as experts on issues of national and international interest are men. Four fifths. 80%. I’m going to repeat that, because it goes to the heart of how equality is a lie. Eighty per cent of spokespeople and experts sought after to speak in the media and the news are men.

If you are uncritically consuming the news, as most people do, how can you possibly not internalise the idea that men’s voices carry more weight and authority simply because they are the ones you hear the most? How can you fail to link the idea that men are more trustworthy, because if they weren’t, we wouldn’t ask for their opinions so often? On any given week, Q and A will feature four men (including host Tony Jones) and two women. This is considered gender parity – any more is the ABC ‘pandering’ to political correctness, sacrificing expert voices to satisfy feminist banshees.

Equality is perceived as a loss.

Strong Female Characters and other entertainment myths

How can we expect children, who consume and internalise the messages of media in frightening levels, not to assume that public dialogue and space belongs to men when we demonstrate that to them on a daily basis?

And speaking of children, let’s talk about the world girls and boys learn about on screen. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media is instrumental in spearheading groundbreaking research into the representations of girls and women on screen, particularly in family-centric films. As the centre says, we live by the myth that family films are a kind of ‘haven’ for girls – that in a world of sexualisation gone mad and gender inequality, girls can at least find solace in seeking out Strong Female Characters (and more on that later) in the films and media they consume.

Not so.

In fact, the institute interviewed 108 content creators from the leading box office family films made between 2006 and 2009, and questioned them about female representation in these films. They confirmed their own findings: that of all the speaking roles in these films, only around 29.2% of them were female. To put that into more context, for every female who was allowed to speak in a leading box office family film made between 2006 and 2009, there were 2.42 male characters given voices.

Is this the fault of the creators? Females are also underrepresented behind the camera. Across 1565 content creators (at the time of research), only 7% of directors are female. Only 13% of writers are female. Only 20% of producers are female. As the Institute says, this translates to 4.8 working males behind-the-scenes to every one female – a fact that may explain why, in these same leading box office films, only 19.5% of characters with jobs were females. The other 80.5% was taken up by men, who, as I’ve already pointed out, were given two thirds more opportunity to speak.

Harry-Potter-Wallpaper

‘One of the most lucrative franchises of the past decade, Harry Potter, dismally fails the Bechdel test.’

’The main pirates are all boys’

A friend of mine, Emily Maguire, last year wrote an article called Girls on Film in which she recalled some of the attitudes of children in the writing workshops she facilitates. Emily talks about one of her eight-year-old students – a girl – who wrote a story about a fierce but heroic pirate called Jessica. ‘Pirates aren’t girls!’ one of her classmates protested, and several others agreed.

‘What about Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean,’ the writer shot back. ‘She’s not a main one,’ came the reply. ‘The main pirates are all boys.’

The main pirates are all boys, Emily writes. So are the main robots, monsters, bugs, soldiers, toys, cars, trains, rats and lions.

You’re allowed to include a girl in your motley group of ragtag heroes – but she’ll never be one of the main ones.

One of my favourite indicators for gender bias in the study of films is the Bechdel test. Named after Alison Bechdel, the wonderful cartoonist and author of cult classic Dykes to Watch Out For, the test is applied to a piece of pop culture and has to answer yes to the following three questions in order to pass.

  1. Are there at least two female characters?
  2. Do they talk to each other?
  3. About something other than a man?

Who would read Harriet Potter?

When you apply the test, even to your favourite films, films you would swear blind were progressive and feminist and nuanced, it’s amazing how many fail. One of the most lucrative franchises of the past decade, Harry Potter, dismally fails the Bechdel test. Does this mean that we need to strike Potter off the reading list, do away with him in a book burning frenzy, lead a feminist charge against him? Of course not. It’s a wonderful tale about good versus evil, morality, friendship and the quest to try and do what is right rather than what is easy. But because it features an eponymous hero who is male – and this is key – there would never have been any question of its universal appeal.

Harry Potter can be read by all people, because his gender is irrelevant. He can tell a universal tale, because the tales of men are seen to be universally interesting. Unlike stories about women, you don’t need to have any kind of special qualification to read about men. You don’t need any niche experience, or interest in the peripheral affairs of some strange subset of humans whose stories would probably hold very little interest for you given you don’t have their weird genetic makeup.

If Rowling – an author who abbreviated her name in part to remove the stigma of connecting the idea of femaleness to a book that was supposed to be for everyone – had written a book about Harriet Potter, a witch who saved the world, would it have had anywhere near as much universal appeal?

Of course not. Everyone knows that the main pirates are all boys.

Failing the Bechdel Test

Of the 12 films to win Academy Awards for Best Picture since 2000, only two pass the Bechdel Test. Our culture is so little interested in women’s participation that we fail to see the problem with rewarding art about the breadth and depth of the human experience that doesn’t even feature them.

When Jennifer Kessler, founder of the website The Hathor Legacy, a discussion of women in print and film, wrote the following about studying script writing at UCLA:

My scripts had multiple women with names. Talking to each other. About something other than men. That, my lecturers explained nervously, was not okay. I asked why. At first I got several tentative murmurings about how it distracted from the flow or point of the story. I went through this with more than one professor, more than one industry professional. Finally, I got one blessedly telling explanation from an industry pro: “The audience doesn’t want to listen to a bunch of women talking about whatever it is women talk about.”’

You might argue that this is oversensitivity on mine and Kessler’s part, that we’re trying to see things that aren’t there.

Disney-Tangled-Poster-1

‘The marketing campaign for Tangled emphasised the role of the male lead as sharing the spotlight with Rapunzel.’

How Rapunzel became Tangled

Well, we’re certainly expecting little kids to see things that aren’t there to save us from having to show them. In 2011, Disney Pixar released a movie about a girl trapped in a tower for 18 years with only 70 feet of golden hair to keep her company. Everyone knows this story. Everyone knows that it’s called Rapunzel. But Disney Pixar announced early on that it would be changing the title of the story to the less female-centric Tangled. Ed Catmull, president of Disney Animation Studios, said, ‘We did not want to be put in a box. Some people might assume it’s a fairytale for girls when it’s not. We make movies to be appreciated and loved by everybody.’

Equality is perceived as a loss.

What Catmull’s saying here is that if you make people think it’s a movie about a girl, they’ll think it’s a movie only FOR girls. Because why would boys be interested in watching a story that has nothing to do with them? The marketing campaign for Tangled emphasised the role of the male lead as sharing the spotlight with Rapunzel.

In their research, the Institute found that films with more than one woman working in a position of director of resulted featured significantly more women in speaking roles than films with a heavy male production quota. But of the 13 senior crew working on Tangled – the directors, the writers, the producers, the music composer and the film editor – only one was a woman, Aimee Scribner, an associate producer. And consider this: Tangled, one of the few films across any target bracket whose protagonist was a girl (in 2011, women accounted for only 11% of lead protagonists in mainstream cinema, DOWN 5% from a decade earlier) also features 35 other speaking roles. Of those total 36 speaking roles, only 12 are female. Of the ten speaking roles with actual names, only two are female.

And Disney was so concerned that this film would appear too female-centric that they not only changed the title, but repackaged the marketing to assure boys that there would be something in it for them.

When you are shown repeatedly that you are only worth taking up a certain amount of space in the cultural dialogue, you’ll start to believe that you have no right to ask for more. To have real equality, we need to be equally represented. Our opinions need to be thought of as equally important. Our expertise needs to be equally sought out as worthy and meaningful.

Equality? Hardly. Everyone knows that all the main pirates are boys. And equality is perceived as a loss.


In this week’s Lunchbox/Soapbox, From Prim to Poledance, Michelle Smith will look at girls, sex and popular culture. Take your lunch break at the Wheeler Centre on Thursday, from 12.45pm to 1.15pm.



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39 comments so far:

Hear hear!


01 October at 01:06PM

Teaching at a girls school, I am regularly disheartened by negative comments made by female chauvinist piglets regarding feminists and feminism. I will be passing this article around the faculty.
Subject: Clem is epic.

Cc
01 October at 01:15PM

Gosh, it's pretty disheartening to see everything laid out like this. I make a point of not caring about the little things, like who answers the most questions in class, boys or girls, but it's clear that these are not little things at all, but important parts of a much bigger picture.

What a great piece Clementine, really though-provoking.

JessB
01 October at 03:47PM

This is so wonderful. It's everything I've ever attempted to say when confronted by those who would claim the job is done.
Thankyou, I will be sharing this with everyone I can.


01 October at 05:46PM

This is so wonderful. It's everything I've ever attempted to say when confronted by those who would claim the job is done.
Thankyou, I will be sharing this with everyone I can.


01 October at 05:46PM

This is so wonderful. It's everything I've ever attempted to say when confronted by those who would claim the job is done.
Thankyou, I will be sharing this with everyone I can.


01 October at 05:46PM

I would like to ad a dynamic to this commentary. I am a male chauvinist pig. I have been mysoginistic and abusive to women. My participation in the intellectual genocide of the female gender has been at times with complete knowledge and intent. I am also Black and born in America. This gives me a unique insight into the damage that physical and intellectual subjugation by a ruling class can do to the self worth of a human being.

It is however a concern to me that many women who consider themselves feminists are generally very well educated white women, with white friends, who have very little understanding of their direct contribution and benefit from the genocide of people of colour and through the destruction of these peoples they have destroyed and continue to destroy the lives of women in developing nations. It is paramount that women take a greater place in our socio-economic, public administration, and corporate world in order to make our planet more sustainable.

These very same white feminist women participate in the same ugly racist stereotyping of Black men as anyone else and do not see the damage of their comments and behaviour. As a Black man everything you do is questioned in Australian society, your intelligence, your integrity, your predilection for criminal behaviour, your sexual prowess, and the size of your genitalia regularly are topics for public discourse, jokes, and banter by White Australians and feminist Australian women are by no means excluded from this behaviour.

I have offered my un-qualified apology and I have already sincerely asked for forgiveness from anyone in my past whom I have offended by my actions or my behaviour. Either through direct means or through my faith. But I do have something to add to this article as food for thought. As a prisoner of conscience and Master's degree candidate in psychology (A began my studies as a sufferer of Bipolar I). As a man it is nearly impossible to win the battle against the subjugation of women in our society. Intellectually speaking. There are so many mixed signals in the media, intelligent, capable women who promote mixed signals in their personal behaviour, and a society that only values human beings for what they are on from the exterior that this a human struggle not a women only struggle.

Women's studies and Human Rights should be taught from grade school not just to feminist women in university. Just some food for thought with a practical actionable goal.

John
01 October at 07:31PM

The thing is, growth in female power really IS loss in male power. I'd like to say it's otherwise, but it's not. You can't really expect the guys to be happy about this after pretty much all of human evolution in the top spot. How are we going to ward off full blown gender war without quietly retreating so they won't get angry? It's a disturbing prospect.


01 October at 08:31PM

You lost any right to speak about equality when you attacked and demonise those who are attempting to act as a counterbalance to the feminist movement. The only thing this article resembles is propaganda. For every issue females suffer, and they were good points, you proceeded to ignore about a dozen which society is now suffering under because of feminism.

Like how masculinity is seen as a "problem to be removed" at the age of school children.

About how it is encouraged for females to become teachers now with no effort to do the same for males to balance the number of people from each gender tutoring students.

How abuse and sexual assault against males is often either ignored or used as a source of humour, especially in forms of media. To the point where the castration of a male is only laughed at and mocked by a female audience.

About how some laws in the US have changed for the worse. One in particular allowing females the right to charge a man with rape if they have consumed any amount of alcohol, even if it was consensual sex and she was the one who talked him into it.

About how university and college applications emphases upon getting more female students even long after they make up a considerable percentage of those entering each established teaching institute.

About how unemployment rates are far higher for males than they are for females; with "stay at home dads" being encouraged as a good thing while the very thought of a "housewife" staying at home and cleaning is regarded as offensive.

About how homeless the number of homeless men is staggeringly higher for males than it is for females, yet in many countries with this problem there are far more women’s shelters than there are those devoted to men.

About how divorce courts favour women over men, allowing them to leave with far more of their former husband’s possessions than the other way around. Similarly how unemployment is grounds for the divorce with a man while it is not for a woman.

About how any research which feminists deem “offensive” causes those who research it to be blacklisted. Such as one scientist who showed produced a paper showing findings and statistics which showed that for women, the hormone transfer from semen provides a number of health benefits, including anti-depressents.

Or how about how any attempts by masculinists to counterbalance and correct where feminism has gone too far and men’s rights are suffering is scorned as being “chauvinistic” or childish?

All that and far more you simply ignore and choose to portray MRA’s as acting irrationally and out of fear of equality? I’m not sure whether to laugh or weep.
Equality has not been achieved, that is something you got right, but it is not simply the female populations suffering. Some points you made were good, as I stated, but you seem blind to the idea that females might be dominating aspects to society and equality might come from them losing power as much as males.

Next time attempt to think about what you are talking about. Or better yet, why don’t you show some of that supposed interest in equality you kept mentioning and try to discuss the problems each gender is facing.


02 October at 06:21AM

Wow, thank you so much.
You clearly explain what it is that I feel every day about the culture we exist in. Please keep up your outstanding work. You are an important voice for women; whenever my daughter and I see an article by you we read it.

Jan Dunlop
02 October at 07:15AM

@the MRA up above:

TL;DR

Clementine Ford
03 October at 12:51PM

Oh Clem how right you are. I recall my epiphany at school when I was about 10 that all was not right with the world in terms of gender bias. Yet, even today as a 45 year old die hard feminist I am aware of my own internalised misogyny scarred into my soult after a lifetime of viewing a world where me and my sisters have been conditioned to take up less space. That we may be seen (so long as we are P2K compliant) but not heard. It's really difficult to articulate but you've done an excellent job here. Never be silenced. This is a wonderfully powerful piece that's going straight to the pool room.

Sandra
03 October at 01:43PM

"Women may only hold 17% of positions of public office, but don’t we know that the job of prime minister has ten magic points? We’re destroying the joint, remember."

Considering only a very minute fraction of men are politicians and CEOs of major companies, yet are constantly told [by feminists] that they're privileged because most CEOS and politicians are men, I think a feminist is in a position to complain about people using the sex of the Prime Minister to dismiss the fact only 17% of all MPs and senators are female.

Clementine may not believe it, but there are factors that contribute to fewer women choosing to make the exact same choices as men. Sexism might play a role in some aspects, but it's hardly the main factor. Innate biologically differences play the largest role in what men and women choose to do with themselves. Women are less interested in politics, less committed than men and less likely to take the risks that are necessary to make it to the top. It's why the greatest explorers are, and always have been, men. Women's safety over danger approach benefits them in many ways, such as leading to them living longer, not injuring themselves as often and only accounting for about 6% of all workplace deaths, but they also stifle their advancement in the workforce. It's very disingenuous and selfish of feminists to complain about the negatives associated with their sex's innate biological make-up, while ignoring or ridiculing those that afflict with men.

Chris Key
04 October at 01:13AM

I do not think a feminist is in a position to complain about people using the sex of the Prime Minister to dismiss the fact only 17% of all MPs and senators are female.*

Chris Key
04 October at 01:15AM

Chris Key you have no credibility here. The adults are speaking. So scurry off back to your turd of an under construction website. Watch out you don't sustain a workplace injury on that dangerous keyboard of yours.

Sandra
04 October at 04:36PM

Thank you Clementine for this thought provoking article.. As an old die hard feminist I was gobsmacked by things I not paid attention to.. Equality is perceived as loss..... Sadly you are right

Jo D
04 October at 05:44PM

"Chris Key you have no credibility here."

Sandra's definition of credibility = Trotting out nutty anecdotes to appease her insane feelings, because logic is just an evil construct of the patriarchy, right?

"The adults are speaking."

What sort of adult makes the following comment?

"@the MRA up above:

TL;DR"

Sounds like the sort of dismissive retort that a scared, dogmatic ignoramus who lives in fantasy world would conjure up when they're confronted with facts that challenge their ideological beliefs. The saddest thing about Ms Ford's retort is it was made after she wrote an overly verbose article about tripe, yet she told the other MRA that she didn't read his response because she thought it was too long.

Can you not see the irony?

Do you not realise that you lose credibility among most folks when you behave in such a silly, hypocritical manner?

It's why feminists are, for the most part, a bunch of bitter, ageing women who blame their shortcomings on men.

I must say, you're awfully immature for a 45-year-old.

Chris Key
04 October at 08:14PM

I see my original post was removed. It obviously contained too many facts that refuted the nonsense that is taken as gospel on here. I'll post it again.

"The problem with equality is feminists, such as the disingenuous woman who penned this verbose propaganda piece, compare apples with oranges and then claim women are oppressed, tortured victims of 'patriarchy' and all men are benefitting, even though the true indicators of equality (IE. health, longevity, sentencing, state funding, special interest laws etc) prove men are the ones who are neglected.

I find it hilarious that the woman who penned this article is complaining about the media's portrayal of women in the news as victims. Feminists are always portraying women as victims and demonising men -- just like the woman who wrote this disingenuous article, which is, to put it bluntly, made up of nutty anecdotes and unrepresentative samples that cannot be extrapolated into the real world.

If Clementine is so upset then why doesn't she go to the National Organisation for Women and Office for Status of Women and tell them to stop portraying women as eternal victims of patriarchy?

Over 280 studies have found women are as violent as men in intimate relationships -- women are actually more likely to inflict physical abuse on a child and are responsible for more deaths of children -- yet the feminist groups always trot out the claim that 95% of victims of DV are women. The 95% stat is based on the conviction rate, which is down to sexism in the police force and court system: DV advocates like Anne O'Dell train cops to make sure that no more than 8% of the people they arrest for DV are women; cops routinely arrest men when the woman is the perpetator and, the courts are hesitant to take a female offender to court because social attitudes on violence, which are perpetrated by feminists and age old beliefs, make it hard to convince judges and jurors to take violence against men seriously.

There are plenty of chivalrous and feminist judges. Police officers have admitted on television that they wouldn't do anything if they saw a woman assaulting a man, but would be all over a case involving a man assaulting a woman.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics admitted that women are less likely to receive a custodial sentence when they're convicted and, serve less time in gaol when they are given a custodial sentence."

Chris – it was filtered out automatically because it was repetitive.

Chris Key
04 October at 08:16PM

Great piece.

The comments are interesting too.

I don't understand why its not time to just to put down all of the labels, all of the divisions, male, female, white, black, gay, straight.

What does it matter when all nature is based on balance and diversity of contribution.

Of course that is a utopian view, and as a 38 year old female I profoundly appreciate the value feminism has had in shaping my, and my daughter's, lives and understand everything you have expressed.

But why are men threatened when their load is being lightened, the pressure of leadership now shared? Now more then ever masculine strength, compassion and vision is called for. Men, step up, evolve, embrace and be a warrior for equality. We still need you.

Paula L
07 October at 03:53PM

Paula L,

Feminism's goal is to preserve the legal privileges that were assigned to women under Old English Law and create new rights and privileges for women only.

Whenever a woman commits a crime against men, children or society, there is a disingenuous feminist around the corner ready to vilify the victims and portray the perpetrator as an innocent victim of 'patriarchy'.

Sorry Paula L, but that's not equality. It falls under the category 'female supremacism'.

You only have to look at feminism's stance on paternity fraud -- they believe the men who are victims should not be given any legal recourse and should be forced to continue paying money to the women who defraud them -- to see that it is against the idea of men and women being treated fairly and equally. Reproductive rights is another key area. Only women have reproductive rights, yet feminists always pretend that it's a domain controlled by men. Men are bound by responsibilities that are determined by the choices women make, whereas women are given the legal right to avoid responsibility. It's a classic example of how feminists want men to be held to a higher standard.

Do I need to point out that male contraceptives were invented decades ago, but were not commercialised because second-wave feminists claimed that giving men the ability to control their fertility would oppress women who want to fall pregnant?

Your delusional thoughts of grandeur, and willful ignorance, is enough reason to write you off as an extremist. In your crazy mind, men are the inferior sex and need to kowtow to female supremacists. You more or less said as much in your second last sentence. Women like you are the reason the men's movement is growing bigger, and stronger, everyday. Men are waking up.

Chris (and everybody) – please stick to the discussion and avoid personal attacks, thanks.

  • Moderator

Chris Key
07 October at 10:01PM

Guys, don't be frightened. Yes, change is very uncomfortable and gets more so as we get older - but the change from patriarchy is so long and slow that none of us will see the full flowering of an equal society. No need for all the anger and -well - confusion among the pirates. Anyway, you've still got the Catholic Church, where the main pirates are boys, Islam the same, plenty of refuge for you. Seriously, though, I have to agree with Chris Key. Men are waking up - and that's why the backlash Susan Faludi talked about twenty years ago. That's why the pornification of girlhood''. That's why the fairy tale loses its female title. That's why any newspaper you pick up will have a huge majority of photographs, stories and reports about men.That's why I'm so pleased to read Clementine's piece - as an older feminist I was afraid women had become selfsatisfied and sleepy, lilke the men Chris refers to. Now I see that's not the case. Thank you!

Joan Seymour
08 October at 10:53AM

@Joan. Agreed. And this wonderful backlash against Alan Jones by women and men is evidence that logic and decency will win out over fearful misogynistic neanderthals with a microphone or a keyboard.

Sandra
08 October at 02:27PM

Oh god the freakin' men's rights activists; their very existence gives me a headache.

Let alone all the moronic trash that comes spilling out of their mouths.

I think a big part of the problem is with education, directly or indirectly young girls are taught that standing up for themselves, fighting for what they want and expressing themselves fully regardless of consequences are bad things.

These are things seemingly reserved for boys while girls are seen as mediators and defusors of conflict who delicately decline to put themselves forward.

Any girl who dosen't fit into this definition is labelled as a "tom boy" because she's doing things perceived as solely belonging to the realm of men.

Fix the education system, encourage free expression of girls outside of traditional gender roles and make sure that people know real equality still isn't here and we might actually get somewhere in 30-40 years.

John M
08 October at 02:54PM

Sandra & John M,

How about the pair of you validate your assinine assertions?

You don't come across as moral and intelligent when all you're able to do is dish out petty insults to deflect attention away from the points that are made by your opponents. Your inability to validate any of your asinine assertions says more about you than it does about your opponents.

Sandra and John M referring to their opponents as "neanderthals" and "morons", respectively, even though the pair of them personsify both terms with their inability to engage in rational discourse, is a text book example of irony.

John M, at least girls can participate in masculine fields. If a boy participates in a feminine field then he's mocked by both sexes. Women are more bigoted than men when it comes to enforcing gender roles.

Chris Key
08 October at 10:10PM

Check out Chris Key's views on testicular injury WHEN THAT INJURY IS CAUSED BY A WOMAN. Chris believes that the relevant section of The Crimes Act in Queensland that pertains to assault of a person is not sufficient to cover the "unique" anatomy that is the ball-sack. According to Chris Key, the ball-sack is such a unique anatomical appendage that when it sustains any injury BY A WOMAN the ball-sack needs its own special assault section which would result in any injurer of a ball-sack provided they be a WOMAN receiving a much harsher penalty to any person who injured, say, somebody's brain. Yes, forget your brain ladies and gentlemen. Forget your throat and carotid artery. Forget your eyes. You only gotta see with them. Yes people, it is the ball-sack that requires it's own section under the Crimes Act of Queensland according to Chris Key.


08 October at 11:54PM

At no stage did I say that acts of testicular abuse ought to be filed under a separate category when they're committed by women.

For anyone who wants to see what I really said, go to my page and see for yourself:

http://www.mens-rights.net/law/violence/testicular_abuse.htm

I'll repost the three reasons I gave to validate my claim that testicular abuse ought to be categorised separately to other forms of violence:

1. The unique physiology of the testes elevates their sensitivity and vulnerability [to physical trauma] to an unprecedented level. The bulk of the Human anatomy is covered by thick layers of skin, muscle and bone. The testes are one of the few areas that do not fall under this category -- the only barrier between the testes and the outside world is the thin sac of skin they're enclosed within, the scrotum and the thin Dartos and Cremaster muscles that control their movement.

Unlike many of the other vulnerable areas of the human anatomy (IE. throat, knee) the testes are far more hypersensitive and are less equipped to recover from severe structural damage. A testis can rupture when it is exposed to a kick, punch, blow or is squeezed. The affected area of a ruptured testis has to be surgically removed (debridement) and cannot regenerate, thus meaning it is lost forever. This can have a serious impact on the two bodily functions that the testes regulate: the production of the male gamete and the primary androgen, testosterone. A fractured bone or a non-fatal stab wound to the torso cannot cause this sort of devastation.

[I validated my claim by pointing out that the testes can be irreparably damaged from rather mild forms of assault, such as a backhand to the groin -- I cited news articles that cited urologists who've performed emergency orchidectomies on boys who ruptured their testes when they were backhanded in the groin.
An assault of this nature isn't going to rupture an artery or cause brain damage, is it?
Only 50kg of force is required to rupture a testis. That's not a lot of force. Death via neurogenic shock is a very real possibility when a testis is kicked, kneed, punched or squeezed. Over the last couple of months there have been at least two cases of men dying from neurogenic shock when they were violently assaulted for no legitimate reason: one was a shopowner who told a woman to not park her car in his carpark because she had no intention of shopping there; the other was a woman who objected to her neighbour cleaning his yard.]

2. A man's external genitalia represent his sexuality. Attacking the most intimate, sensitive and vulnerable area of a man's anatomy -- his external genitalia -- is an attack on his sexuality. The potential it has to damage the functionality of his testes makes it very traumatic experience that holds no comparison. The trauma can vary from functional damage to severe psychological illness. The only form of violence that comes close to resembling the side-effects of testicular abuse is rape.

3. A spiteful person can commit testicular abuse with the knowledge it will have a far more devastating effect than a blow to any other region of the male anatomy, yet walk away with the same punishment they'd receive for performing a milder form of assault on their victim

Chris Key
09 October at 01:20AM

Are you effing kidding me, Clementine? Speaking as someone probably old enough to be your mother, I have to call BS. Just because they told it to you in school, doesn't make it true. Do some research and stop parroting what others have told you. Damn. You make all of us women look bad.

Kelly McIntyre
09 October at 11:36AM

A reminder to everybody - keep your discussion and criticism to the arguments presented.

Moderator
09 October at 12:36PM

Ms Ford spoke about the news dedicating most of its time to portraying men as perpetrators and women as victims, or something along those lines. I've studied journalism, so I think I'm qualified to explain the rationale behind that trend.

The media likes to elicit an emotional response from their viewers to keep them interested enough to continue watching the program. Human interest stories are commonplace in the print media and A/V media because they serve this purpose. Human interest stories are usually based around women because women are valued considerably more than men: if a man dies then his death is not going to draw as much sympathy from the public as the death of a woman.

Only the most ardent of feminists would deny that men and women tend to be more charitable and chivalrous towards women, not men.


09 October at 10:54PM

The above comment, about people caring more about women and the use of Human interest stories to keep people interested, was written by me. I forgot to attach my name to it.

Chris Key
09 October at 10:55PM

I almost never leave a response, however I looked through some
remarks on this page Clementine Ford asks why men like Alan Jones think
women are ‘destroying the joint’, exposes how Hollywood contributes to assumptions that the default gender is male, and presents some damning statistics to
prove that we’re not, in fact, all equal now.
- The Wheeler Centre: Books, Writing, Ideas. I actually do have a couple of questions for you if you
do not mind. Is it simply me or does it look like like some of
the comments come across like they are coming from brain dead visitors?

:-P And, if you are writing on additional places, I would like to keep up with you.
Would you make a list of the complete urls of
all your public pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

Joni
24 October at 03:28AM

Why was AndyBob's excellent reply held back? There was nothing offensive in it. Perhaps Clementine held it back because you declared you were a gay man against her ideology?

Tawil
02 November at 02:27PM

Yes, Mr Tarwil. There was nothing at all inflamatory or derogatory about my comment. It simply challenged Clementine Ford's claim that we need more and more feminism, despite the provable fact that men and boys are not doing so well.

Like all cults that rely on the relentless propounding of dogma, it brooks no dissent. Of course, Ms Ford could always publish my comment and prove me wrong.

I will try again.

The author is not the moderator of this site or the comments thread. We have a system which automatically marks certain comments for us to approve. Sometimes this takes us a day or two to review. We do not seek to stifle legitimate arguments made in good faith, but again ask that everybody keep their comments on topic and refrain from personal attacks.

  • The Moderators

andybob
02 November at 02:42PM

AndyBob, the situation of censorship reminds of Ernest B Baxs’ comment written exactly one hundred years ago:

“When, however, the bluff is exposed… then the apostles of feminism, male and female, being unable to make even a plausible case out in reply, with one consent resort to the boycott, and by ignoring what they cannot answer, seek to stop the spread of the unpleasant truth so dangerous to their cause. The pressure put upon publishers and editors by the influential Feminist sisterhood is well known.”

http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/the-fraud-of-feminism/

Please see our above comments regarding ‘censorship’. Nobody is putting pressure on us; we have our own definitions of what defines a healthy and fair discussion.

  • The Moderators

Tawil
02 November at 03:00PM

Equality means fairness? Correct? That's what I was taught by my parents and throughout my education.

So when everyone is treated fairly by the court system, its enforcers including the media; only then will you have true equality. Correct?

To all women here, think of your Fathers (You wouldn't be here without one), Husbands/Partners (if you have or want one), Sons, Brothers, Nephews and friends. They are all so at risk by a severely unbalanced court system, but hey, why worry? They're only Males, right? And they deserve whatever they get, right? That's the message here isn't it?

The Men's Rights Movement is about fairness, and fairness as we all know is about ensuring that everyone no matter who they are, is treated equally by the law, its enforcers and society. The Men's Rights Movement is not about taking anything away from Women, it is about ensuring that no one is discriminated against, even if it is so called "Positive Discrimination".

Lastly, Like any rational Adult, I tend not to pay attention to others who employ Shaming language, Histrionics or Eristic argument. I prefer Socratic discussion any day.

And if any independently verified statistics exist that backup Clementine Ford's statements, I for one would like to see them!

Roger O Thornhill
02 November at 03:30PM

You're right Joni, some of the comments are coming from brain dead visitors.

Roger O Thornhill
02 November at 06:24PM

Clementine,
You said "Everyone knows that all the main pirates are boys"
An unfortunate example. One area where women will never be equal to men is physical strength. This is not what I want, take it up with God, evolution or whoever is responsible.

Back in Pirate times and pretty well everywhere else before WW2, it you wanted it lifted, moved, pulled or pushed, it had to be done manually. Now on a pirate ship you had manual force, wind and waves. You had to carry the cannon balls, hoist the sails, haul the yards, bail and pump by hand. Hard work really, with only impending death, a cat of nine tails or the threat of hanging for motivation. If you got in combat the guns were heavy and kicked, the swords were heavy, you had to climb and jump - only the strong and fit survived. For a woman to survive she had to get a lot of men to do her grunt work.

In science fiction there is scope for female heroes. In Star Trek Voyager you have Captain Kathryn Janeway, B'Elanna Torres and Seven of Nine. B'Elanna and Seven were only half human. Janeway is a credible female leader, but you don't get the feeling that 50% of Starfleet will be run by strong women. They rarely had heavy gear, their guns (phasers) looked like they were plastic, not metal and they got transported everywhere. However, when it got physical the men were needed.

In the Stargate franchise there is Dr (also rank of Captain promoted to Colonel) Samantha Carter, played by Amanda Tapping. In the first episode she made the famous (in sci-fi) speech about how just because her genitals were on the inside it didn’t mean she couldn't be a soldier. After a few cringe-worthy episodes she settled down to be as believable as anyone else in that series. But, they always needed men when heavy stuff was carried, big bad guys had to be beaten up or fast movement was required. There were other good female characters, Dr Elizabeth Weir (diplomat and administrator), Vala Mal Doran (lovable rouge who lived by her wits) and Dr Frazier (doctor). If they could have put more women in lead roles they would have, they tried with varying success.

You can go through, Firefly, Farscape, and any number of science fiction or action movies. You can’t find a majority of strong women and believable action. Plenty of female roles though. Maybe you could contrive one, but it would be contrived.

Portraying women as equal action heroes is dishonest. Sure, a minority will get through, but they will always need the majority to be men, to do the grunt, take the risks and do most of the dying. Telling girls that they can match it physically with men is doing a disservice to them and to the boys to. Rather, girls should be shown that there are opportunities open to them to do action roles, but these are arduous, they will have to try harder, be smarter and they will be constantly proving themselves (as men do).

John
03 November at 10:40PM

For f*** sake I wish all these blaster MRAs would just buzz off. No one is interested in your arguments here - take them to somewhere that gives a damn.

And I'm a man, btw.

Grant
09 March at 07:31PM

Grant,YOU GO GIRL! I understand how tewwible it is when them pesky mens deny being the complete reason for all that is evil.Again mate,YOU GO GIRL!

farkennel
29 October at 01:32PM

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