Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Who’s really being silenced in the gender debate?

A Feminist tries to squash debate of men's issues in the British parliament.  

Feminists have no perspective.  They cannot see that men have hardships too.  They think their own hardships are unique.  They are narcissists.  There are some women who think that being a stay-at-home wife and mother is a great racket and that men have the harder time. A hormonally deranged feminist would be totally unable to comprehend that.

The truth is that "men" and "women" are mostly inadequate generalizations when it comes to privilege or lack of it.  It all depends on individual likes and dislikes.  As the old saying goes:  "One Man's Meat is Another Man's Poison".  Feminists are basically misfits lashing out mindlessly -- seeing in others faults that are really their own

The past week has seen a perfect case study in the casuistry that underpins much of the public discourse around gender politics.

On Tuesday last week, Tory MP Philip Davies went before the Backbench Business Committee, which is tasked with considering proposals for debates in parliament, to call for a debate on International Men’s Day to match the International Women’s Day debate that has been held in parliament for the past decade.

Davies said he hoped it would be an opportunity to discuss a raft of inequalities that disproportionately affect men and boys, from educational underachievement and fathers’ post-separation contact with their children to men’s healthcare and the crisis of male suicide (now the UK’s biggest killer of men aged under 45).

As Davies was making his pitch, committee member and Labour MP Jess Phillips was caught on camera rocking backwards and forwards on her chair with derision while clamping her hand over her mouth to suppress snorts of laughter. She listened to Davies outline issues, such as male suicide and male-specific cancers, and then said: ‘You’ll have to excuse me for laughing, but the idea that men don’t have an opportunity to ask questions in this place is a frankly laughable thing… as the only woman on this committee it seems like every day to me is International Men’s Day.’ She added: ‘When I’ve got parity, when women in these buildings have parity, you can have your debate. And that will take an awfully long time.’

Phillips’ comments prompted a handful of intelligent articles criticising her response; but the footage also prompted vile threats and abuse on social media. In no time at all, editors, who’d collectively shrugged their shoulders at a female MP sniggering at male suicide, were falling over themselves to run stories framing Phillips as the latest victim of online misogyny; while ranks of fellow MPs who’d also responded with a collective ‘meh’ to the contempt she’d shown her male constituents, suddenly sprang into action behind the hashtag #IStandWithJessPhillips.

By Sunday, Phillips was presented across the media as the latest embattled female politician bravely fighting to be heard against a culture overwhelmingly hostile to outspoken women. Most of these reports barely even mentioned the sneering veto she’d imposed on men’s voices, which had caused the uproar in the first place.

At the centre of this dismal mini-saga is a single, poisonous casuistry: that because there are more men in positions of power, men’s needs are given unfair prominence and women’s voices are silenced. Therefore, so the argument goes, only women should be allowed a special platform to voice their concerns. But, although there are indeed more male MPs than female MPs, when it comes to talking about gender, neither side shows much interest in addressing issues that affect men. In fact, Davies aside, when was the last time you heard any MP, male or female, call for urgent action on, say, the crisis in boys’ education, or in support of fathers’ post-separation relationship with their children? As Davies succinctly put it: ‘There’s a very big difference between men raising issues and the raising of men’s issues.’

By contrast, from prime minister David Cameron’s pre-election audience with Mumsnet to Harriet Harman’s Pink Bus to Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg’s feminist t-shirts to Samantha Cameron’s girls’ summit with Michelle Obama, both male and female politicians consistently engage in high-profile discussion of issues that affect women.

But this isn’t just about the dead hand of political correctness stifling discussion. Rather, a bias in favour of women’s issues is now built into the mechanisms that address gender across government departments and embedded in the quangos and third-sector organisations that are instrumental to delivering policy.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

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