Thoughts on Feminism 154


This is not a blog you should come to, if you want to encounter a neatly packaged bunch of received political ideas that conform to any convenient label. If you can only stand views that do not offend the “right” or the “left”, or which stay within the confines of the “politically correct”, then go read elsewhere.

Recently I have taken on the shibboleths of ultra feminism, in response to a series of articles published in the Guardian by feminist writers on the Assange and DSK cases, and on Kenneth Clarke’s remarks on rape. The writers in question – including for example Eve Ensler and Zoe Williams – self-describe as feminist writers. I am not applying the description to them.

My views on these matters plainly cross what is viewed as a boundary of acceptable or conventional thought for some of my regular commentators. It is therefore sensible of me to set out those views in a logical form here, so we can identify areas of agreement and disagreement, and try to consider with each other whether any of us wish to reconsider our views.

First, on feminism in general. I recognise that there is a power imbalance in society to the detriment of women. The glass ceiling still is firmly in place. Alpha male behaviour is still overly rewarded by the cutthroat system on which our political economy is organised, to general detriment. We really do have a society where male sociopaths dominate; Tony Blair is its poster boy.

I think that palliative measures on female equality, for example on equal pay, have been a good and important thing. But they have not even achieved their limited objective, nor succesfully tackled the difficulties of women in achieving power and promotion. I do not believe, in any sense, that women’s lack of power in society is because they should rightly be concentrating on subsidiary roles, either as homemakers or in the workforce.

But I believe that palliative measures have done pretty well all they can to improve this situation, and that no fundamental change is possible unless we reform our society itself to one which operates on a more cooperative model and in which consumption, wealth and waste of resources are not the primary goals. Then aggression and selfishness will not be rewarded as they now are.

I do believe that there are differing masculine and feminine personality traits, and that it is true that cooperative and empathectic behaviour is viewed as more feminine. But there is of course massive overlap within male and female populations, and there are many men who are also disadvantaged within the present system by their more societal attitude – just as there are female Rebekah Brooks (Update I can see I am going to have to keep doing this as it is very difficult to reason with feminist ideologues. In response to a comment, I am plainly putting forward Rebekah Brooks here as the female equivalnet of Tony Blair who I cite above, the ultra-succesful sociopath. I am not saying that all career women are like Rebekah Brooks.)- but a balance of disadvantage lies currently with women.

But- when it comes to sexuality itself, I think that sexuality is a wonderful fact of existence, which should be celebrated in full. I applaud any form of pleasure giving cooperation, that does not harm others, between consenting adults. But I do not regard sex as in any way sacred or mystic.

I believe that sexuality is just another human trait which people should be able to use, if they so choose, for economic gain, just as they can use their muscles or intellect in other ways. I therefore have no problem with prostitution, striptease, or advertising images. The coercion and violence which often accompanies prostitution could largely be remedied (as with drugs) by legalisation and regulation. If people wish to sell their sexuality, I believe they have a right to do so.

Nobody should ever be forced to.

Rape is a terrible crime. I believe that it should receive a very long jail sentence indeed. My view is that custodial sentences – as opposed to other punishment – should be reserved only for those who are a danger of committing violence to others. Non-violent crime should be punished in other ways. Rape is a violent crime and society should rightly be protected from rapists by long jail sentences. However, Kenneth Clarke was right; every crime can have aggravating or mitigating circumstances, even murder. There is nothing sacramental about rape that makes it different to murder and mystically unified, incapable of being worsened by use of a weapon, death threats, duration of offence etc.

For some feminists rape is not just a disgusting and violent crime, but a totemic act, indicative of wider male domination of women in society. There is some correlation (though not absolute) between this view, and sex-negative feminism, which views the act of penetration itself as an act of male dominance, and regards feminine heterosexuality as in itself tending to enforce a submissive role in society. This feminist tendency is completely opposed to the use of female sexuality by women for commercial gain, and thus virulently opposed to prostitution, stripping, advertising images, etc.

These sex-negative feminists have what I would call a dog-whistle response to allegations of rape, tending to an immediate presumption that the man must be guilty – this blog has previously pointed to a number of such articles on both Julian Assange and DSK, of which yesterday’s really badly researched article by Liz Willams can stand as an example – in which they are undoubtedly arguing that the man is guilty. They also argue for a lower standard of proof in rape trials than other criminal trials.

I have an extreme aversion to this line of argument. It is extremely unfortunate that rape will always be, in most cases, a hard crime to prove, for reasons which are obvious. But plainly false allegations of rape do exist, and the evil of false conviction is so great we have to continue to give the benefit of doubt to the defendant. If that principle disappeared in rape trials, other categories would soon follow.

The political establishment frequently uses sexual allegations against threatening dissidents to discredit them. That was done against me, it is what was done by Murdoch to Tommy Sheridan, it is being done against Julian Assange, and there is strong reason to believe it may be what is being done against DSK. Here are some facts I did not refer to yesterday.

The suite which Diallo entered after the alleged rape was empty and adjoined DSK’s suite, with a party wall. She had entered it twice with her electronic keycard before going to DSK’s suite, and she entered it again after the alleged rape. She had consistently lied about what she did after the alleged rape, and only admitted she had entered the adjoining suite after shown the electronic keycard record. She then changed her story to say she had returned and cleaned it – which begs the question, what had she done in there the previous two times?

This is important because the keycard records show that the hotel general manager himself had entered, rather surprisingly, that same adjoining suite that morning, before the alleged rape. As the records do not show when someone left, we do not know if he met her in there, or if he was in there during the consensual or forced sexual encounter next door. What we do know is that he telephoned the Elysee Palace before the alleged rape was reported to the police, and briefed Sarkozy’s aides.

Why I get so completely infuriated with the Enslers and Williams of this world is that they don’t stop to think why Assange or DSK or Sheridan might suddenly find themselves exposed to this kind of attack. Has the far left just gained in the Scottish Parliament its most important electoral positions in the UK for decades? Is Wikileaks threatening the whole edifice of US official secrecy, illegal killing and duplicitous foreign policy? Is the IMF being steered gently leftwards at a time of huge currency crises for the West?

The ultra, sex negative feminists cannot even start to consider that they ought perhaps to consider if there is a wider context. If the accusation is sexual then they automatically obey the dog whistle.. Of course the woman is telling the truth! And they fill the columns and airwaves to the delight of the right extablishment, whose obedient attack dogs the ultra feminists have become.

That is, of course, why the allegations are always sexual. They do so much more damage, in so many ways. The strange thing is, that if DSK or Assange had been accused of anything else, like robbing a Post Office (remember Peter Hain?), people like HarpyMarx would be extremely suspicious. But throw in a bit of sex, and the stupid idiots dance immediately to the right’s tune.


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154 thoughts on “Thoughts on Feminism

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  • Jon

    Aw, Jimmy, we were 95% of the way there, and you fell at the last hurdle! Connecting your recent statements together with logic, I surmised that you felt all women are misandrists. That would of course be such a ludicrous conclusion that it would discredit pretty much your whole thesis, so of course it is no surprise you need to dodge it.
    .
    If anyone is interested in how you backed yourself into this particular corner, they can read our conversation on the previous thread – I think it speaks for itself.
    .
    We’ve been here before though: on “DSK and the rush to judgement”, you also slipped away and evaded the questions put to you. You’d made a number of unsubstantiated claims about false rape allegations, but were unwilling to provide sources. And, of course, your posts were peppered with a selection of misogynist assumptions (“Where [sic] you taught maths by a woman?”, “Were you taught logic by your auntie?”, etc. ad nauseum). As I said at the time:
    .
    > Your dilemma is that you have a passionate cause, but are not willing to argue
    > cogently and respectfully in its service. Instead, you presume that everyone will
    > reject your view and lash out at anyone who engages with you.
    .
    As for “a mangina believes that all women are feminists”, I’ve never suggested that all women are feminists, as far as I recall. I believe quite the opposite, in fact: see my comments on “The Derek Walcott Scandal”, where in May 2009 I critiqued women who blindly perpetuate the capitalist meme of ideal beauty.

  • JimmyGiro

    Jon equivocated: “Your dilemma is that you have a passionate cause, but are not willing to argue cogently and respectfully in its service.”
    .
    If true, the dilemma would be yours; consistent with your need to equivocate. For anybody who is passionate about anything, must by the nature of passion, have no equivocations in that regard, or respect; hence no dilemma.
    .
    Jon further equivocated: “Instead, you presume that everyone will reject your view and lash out at anyone who engages with you.”
    .
    Equivocators, like all manginas, are not all the people, nor indeed are they all of the critics; but all manginas, are all equivocators; as they have to be in order to support a regime that would regard their own gender as superfluous to function, and hence untermensch. Like turkeys voting for Christmas, the mangina has to reassess reality by redefining in morally relativistic, and hence ambiguous comprehension, so as to become the sacred martyr of their chosen oblivion. As fools, you become to the church of Marxist-Feminism, ‘King for a day’; a delusion prior to your willing sacrifice, and betrayal of humanity, which your egos have outgrown, in Faustian contempt of mankind and your status as ‘mere men’.
    .
    It is therefore pertinent, and purposeful, to reject out of hand, the drivelling equivocations of traitors to the human race. For anybody that cannot see the evil of ubiquitous misandry (a la the display of Sharon Osbourne et al, on CBS’s “TheTalk”), or the holocaust of Ritalin abuse of boys, must be ambivalent toward the human condition, hence traitors to the human race.

  • Jon

    Jimmy, splendid word-smithery; I should pay to hear such a show!
    .
    I am confused as how you find my two quotes equivocatory, however. I think each of them are rather clear. But perhaps you believe my general argument to be an equivocation, in which case I should be thrilled to hear what specific part you found wanting.
    .
    Meanwhile, to make non-specific allegations of a deliberate lack of clarity whilst repeatedly avoiding questions yourself reminds me strongly of the pot and the kettle. Here now is your latest foe, waiting to defeat you either with, on your part, an error of logic or an absurd conclusion: are all women misandrists? I feel that a yes or no would suffice, though I am always open for a question to be questioned, if a clear reason can be given.
    .
    Whilst you are pondering upon your clear and non-evasive reply, I trust that the puce of your keyboard rage won’t clash with my brown jumper!

  • JimmyGiro

    “Whilst you are pondering upon your clear and non-evasive reply, I trust that the puce of your keyboard rage won’t clash with my brown jumper!”
    .
    In order to be of any pertinence to any moral position, the mangina would need to engage with the very reality that their terms are designed to evade; hence, nothing clashes with the ambivalent mind of the equivocator. Moral relativism is the hallmark of the equivocator, and is the chosen survival strategy of the mangina, whilst he waits for his own ‘female’ transubstantiation.

  • JimmyGiro

    In their pursuit of moral oblivion, the manginas have no desire for a specific comprehension of reality, owing to their over-riding need of perpetual ambivalence. Since they are neither wholly men nor wholly women, they bring to all discussion only the default weapon of bigotry; for if they risk a meaningful standpoint, then their foundation of equivocation would collapse, along with their very pertinence they feel toward, and within, the human race.
    .
    “Cutting and pasting again, Jimmy – I do wish the board owner would clear up his own mess, sometimes.”

  • Jon

    Ha, this is fantastically entertaining, really! JimmyG, your wonderful lexicon and complex subclauses are truly wasted in the service of such patent nonsense! Shall we have a tally, to add glee and schadenfreude to my check mate?
    .
    * When I criticised your position that, if rape cases secure a conviction rate of 6%, it must be the case that the false claim rate is 94% – we didn’t get a straight answer from you;
    * When it was put to you (by several people) that the medical establishment, probably due to its capitalist element, will cheerfully mis-prescribe drugs to women as well as to boys, we had no answer from you;
    * When your disingenuous examples of ‘feminist’ are shown to be anything but (particularly Harman, Clinton and now – best of all – Sharon Osborne) we have no answer from you;
    * When I ask you whether, to bring your recent sub-points to a logical conclusion, you believe all women to be misandrists, you press play on the Marxists-Feminist Quote Box [++], and we have no straight answer from you, on several occasions;
    * When you accuse me of believing that all women are feminists, I show with evidence where I have said something to the contrary, and you ignore this without conceding the point;
    * When you accuse me of equivocation, you are cagey about what particular statement of mine you find equivocal.
    .
    Need I go on? If you want to play, you can either engage with the debate, or concede gracefully. I suppose we have the advantage that if you do neither, we can assume you have given up, and onlookers here can derive splendid amusement from the intriguing new ways you have discovered to avoid the question. You, sir, are an expert of the highest order!
    .
    [++] Computer says: Two Tits Good, Two Balls Bad! Femi-nazi! Brown shirted mangina equivocating terrorist! Gender traitors! (etc, ad nauseum, or until it explodes under the CPU load of its masculine digital rage).

  • Herbie

    The culture of misandry that is so readily evident in media and indeed in public policy is the key to all this.
    .
    Feminism, at least in the sense that Jon and Tech understand it, isn’t that important. It’s ancilliary to this misandry. It enables and provides a vehicle and so on but it’s not the cause in itself, even though many feminists exhibit misandry themselves.
    .
    I don’t believe that feminists will ever control the world but they’re certainly an assistance to those who do.
    .
    That’s the point.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “traitors to the human race” Jimmy Giro.
    .
    Are you suggesting that we all are in the pay of aliens from the Planet Mangina (in the Femi-Nazi-Marxi Cute Cat Quadrant of the Andromeda Galaxy)?
    .
    Now, here’s a question:
    .
    Do you enjoy Orangina?
    .
    Well, on the plus side, unlike Alfred and his pals of the Rabid Right (interestingly, the current deluge hereabouts) at least you seem to suggest/ acknowledge that humanity is all one ‘race’. And that is something. Btw, what are your views on the hypotheses of the Far Right and what are your thoughts on the massacre in Norway, Breivik, Geller, the EDL, etc.? Give us your thoughts, O Giro.

  • technicolour

    herbie: “I don’t believe that feminists will ever control the world but they’re certainly an assistance to those who do.”

    that was presumably why Heseltine warned the Greenham Common women that they could be shot on sight when peacefully invading the base; why the founders of Greenham Common had their mail intercepted and their families threatened; why Anna Politskvaya was shot by the state; why Petra Kelly was found dead under as they say ‘suspicious circumstances’; why the Daily Mail consistently attacks feminists; why the Sun presents women as a pair of tits, and on and on and on.

    You are right, Herbie, in that the ‘ordinary man’ is also constantly laughed at and belittled by *advertisers* (when not being expected to be some kind of razor wielding god); and that relationships between the genders are now commodified in the right wing press to the point where cynicism and suspicion rule. JimmyGiro is adding his dose of bile too, though less successfully, on this board at least. One wonders how he treats the women around him. But for an understanding of ‘feminism’ which I fear you are currently lacking, I suggest you go and look at the history and the cultural conditions which fostered it and what feminists are ‘against’ – violence being one of the main issues. No feminist has ever killed anyone, to my knowledge. Incidentally, women, and feminist women, were, like most men, overwhelmingly against the illegal attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq; not surprising, but hardly, again, supporting an agenda of the state.

  • Herbie

    The point really is that Greenam Common feminism and the other mostly positive feminisms to which you refer are not the ascendant form of feminism. Feminism has always had an element of misandry, often forceful but sometimes careless and casual.
    .
    It is this aspect of feminism which is now in the ascendant.
    .
    You mention the Daily Mail, a paper that is aimed at women. The Daily Mail will always attack positive feminisms but has no problem celebrating that misandrist aspect of feminism, and does so quite explicitly. This is of course why very obviously reactionary women can claim to be feminists.
    .
    Naomi Wolf describes it as “pimping feminism”, but it’s all sadly a damn sight worse than that. Feminism has simply been incorporated by the powers that be to their own purpose. That’s often what happens.
    .
    There’ll still be, of course, those feminists who take a progressive approach but they’ll be sidelined in favour of reactionary feminism and most observers will not understand the difference, since it’s the most vulgar form and aspects of a complex discourse that are highlighted.

  • Jon

    Hi Herbie,
    .
    Well, if we’re talking about moderate sex-positive feminism (or plain liberalism, as some would have it), I think Technicolour presents a good historical reason for its importance above. For the avoidance of doubt some of my thoughts on it appear on this blog, a good while ago [http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2009/05/the_derek_walco/#comment-261371], where I set out my concerns that I think feminism sets out to solve.
    .
    Can you provide any source material for the suggestion that feminism (presumably the misandrist rather than the sex-positive kind) is being deliberately cultivated to aid the establishment?

  • Jon

    Ah, your post to Technicolour crosses with mine. I applaud your recognising progressive feminism as a positive thing. It seems to me that you should therefore steer clear of claiming to oppose feminism, and instead you should say you oppose reactionaries, or whatever more appropriate phrase. Otherwise you’re in danger of being on record as opposing everyone who is fighting predominately for women’s rights, which I suspect is not what you want.
    .
    Of course capitalists will not object when the likes of Clinton is described as a feminist, but that label having been bestowed no more makes it true than it tars genuine feminism with Clinton’s right-wing brush. I would struggle to believe that Clinton cares passionately for the women of Afghanistan – for obvious reasons – as would anyone who describes themselves as progressive.
    .
    I would caution against mistaking powerful/aggressive females for feminists in general, in fact. I suspect that is the mistake Jimmy makes in analysing the misandry of the talk show video – it pains me to have to say that Sharon Osbourne is not a feminist, since it ought to be quite obvious!

  • Frazer

    HarpyMax
    I have read your blog..spent 3 hours trawling through all your crap…I must say that you are incredibly boring and so biased that you make Craig look cool.
    Please take your views and shove them where the sun don’t shine…

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Well, Jimmy, you haven’t told us what you think of Breivik. If you’d prefer, feel free to respond on one of the threads about the mass murder in Norway. Come on, Mr G, spot the question and give us your thoughts, man!

  • Jon

    Hi earwicga,

    Craig didn’t probably put it the right way, but I think the point that there are lesser and greater versions of the crime is the point being made – much like murder. I don’t think there is anyone here that would seriously suggest rape is not an awful crime.

  • Jon

    I’ll have an Orangina if you’re buying, Suhayl. And don’t tell Jimmy I’m wearing a pink T-shirt today! Now where did I put my mankini, it’s here somewhere…

  • Herbie

    The BBC is now a disgusting propaganda outfit which likes to trade on its comparatively virtuous past.
    .
    I just hope you’re not being too complacent with regard to the direction feminism has taken.
    .
    I’d be more convinced were I to hear more criticism by feminists of misandry in media and other places. They certainly seem well able to organise when there’s the slightest whiff of misogyny about.
    .
    It’s the casual misandry of someone like Laurie Penny which might give rise to concern, for example. She’s young, new, left and mainstream feminism. So when she’s at it, it appears misandry is central to mainstream feminism.

  • Jon

    Herbie,
    .
    Would you regard Laurie Penny as someone who is co-operating with the Establishment covertly? Or, has she been co-opted without her knowledge?
    .
    Can you give an example of her misandry which you believe is reasonably representative of mainstream feminism?
    .
    Thanks.

  • Herbie

    The issue there is simply that Laurie Penny has engaged in casual misandry. She’s young, new, left and a mainstream feminist, is she not?
    .
    If she engages in it and feels easily and indeed casually enabled to do so then that would be a concern, would it not? She surely knows what contemporary feminist theory is about, doesn’t she?
    .
    Surely it would suggest that her friends and contemporaries see no problem with it too?
    .
    I didn’t see her criticised for it.

    “I’m probably looking for a female researcher, and if you have a background in feminism or activism, all the better. However, any males who wish to persuade me that they can do the job just as well, I’m open to all suggestions.”

    http://pennyred.blogspot.com/2011/01/filthy-assistant-required-please-help.html

  • JimmyGiro

    Herbie,
    .
    http://www.sossandra.org/erin-pizzey
    .
    When Erin Pizzey, a pioneer in women’s shelters, voiced none inflammatory criticism about feminism, hijacking the shelter movement, she was given death threats from the same women who later would be fronting the anti-abuse campaigns.
    .
    Erin Pizzey’s story will tell you everything you need to know about the actual mentality and tactics employed by these Marxist-Feminists.

  • Herbie

    I knew about her story. It certainly does appear that those fronting contemporary feminism are not quite the sweetness and light that Jon and Tech would like to present them as.

  • Jon

    Herbie, if I “present” feminism at all, my intention is to persuade you not to chuck the women’s-rights baby out with the sexist bath-water. I hope you don’t think, or intend to imply, that I am out to misrepresent what feminism is about.
    .
    The only Penny column I’ve read was about her being on an anti-cuts demo, and the resultant police violence. It was a great and honest piece, read by hundreds of thousands (Guardian website, I believe). But you’ve found somewhere on her blog, read by a few hundred people, a casual comment in which she makes a joke at the expense of men. I found it mildly ironic, but nevertheless one of her commenters pulled her up on it. I suspect you’re expecting her to be perfect, but – well – she’s human. On one reading is a silly thing for a feminist to say. Her greatest worry should be giving ammunition to her anti-feminist enemies, but should the Left be disowning her? Not on this evidence, no.
    .
    I’ve told jokes that are sexist, but I’m certain I’m not sexist. To my shame, I have probably told jokes that are racist, but I’m certain I’m not racist. If we classify Penny’s aside as misandrist, are we to assume she hates men through and through? Again, not on this evidence.
    .
    Does she have published, serious pieces where men are the target of hate or vitriol? Craig put up some pieces which he felt could be so categorised, but even he overstated their misandry, in my view. (The Ensler piece was an unreadable stream of consciousness, and I’m not sure why the Guardian saw fit to publish it, but that’s another problem).
    .
    I am really open to your perspective – I tried with Jimmy and largely received avoidance, as I’ve previously evidenced – so if you want to persuade me, as a left/liberal, that misandrist thought is taken seriously in the mainstream, I am all ears. Jimmy’s position is that “they” have taken over the schools and the health complex, presumably at someone’s behest, and I just don’t see the proof.
    .
    Whilst talking with Jimmy over the years, I have given way on various sub-points, such as the casual misandry in advertising. I find it frustrating too, and Technicolour has noted its existence. So moderate pro-feminists are agreeing that misandry exists, and that it is unpleasant. But the jump from that to the idea that men need to be replaced/removed/defeated, and the control of major institutions, is presently without evidence, as far as I can see.

  • Jon

    I’ve read the Angry Harry website, and it is irredeemably awful. The writer’s chief defence to his vitriol is a parallel of the racists’ complaint: “They call me misogynist, no freedom of speech these days, etc”. Of course, such a response would be very useful to genuine misogynists, regardless of what one thinks of this particular writer!

  • Herbie

    Jon
    .
    That defence would not have much traction were the issue misogyny by a male leftist.
    .
    I’m sure you’d agree that nothing short of the most abject apology, resignation and long lonely exile would suffice.
    .
    But anyway, it’s the discursive culture of misandry that is the worry. Often it’s dismissed as trivial, as of course casual misogyny was dismissed in the past, but it’s precisely that cultural misandry which eases the path to institutional misandry.
    .
    I agree that it’s the extent to which that has happened which is of course the central concern.
    .
    I suppose the real question then becomes to what extent do we see misandry in the institutions of Health, Employment, Education, Law and the family etc.
    .
    Perhaps Laurie and her new intern might like to research these issues for us. I look forward to it. I’d like to think there may even be research funding available for such important work, though I do have my doubts.

  • Jon

    > That defence would not have much traction were the issue misogyny by a male leftist.
    .
    That’s a fair point. I’ve acknowledged the cultural double-standard to Jimmy several times, and above too, but it falls far short of providing evidence to the questions I’ve put forward.
    .
    My question still stands, of course: do you have better evidence to show that Penny is a man-hater? Such as, an article, or a considered piece on her blog, etc?
    .
    > I agree that it’s the extent to which that [i.e. institutional misandry] has happened
    > which is of course the central concern.
    .
    Well, that is the question: “is there institutional misandry, and if there is, to what extent has it entered the institutions?”. Which is why I was interested in your view as to whether feminists are co-operating with the Establishment covertly, or whether they have been co-opted without their knowledge. For the prescription of Ritalin to in reality be an establishment plan to drug boys, the conspiracy would have to be huge, and completely secret – without any whistleblowers in the whole of the country. Is this your thesis?
    .
    Incidentally, what do you make of the Angry Harry website? Do you support that project?
    .
    > of course casual misogyny was dismissed in the past
    .
    Indeed, but then you aren’t comparing like with like. Misogyny reinforced (and reinforces) male dominance – whereas misandry appears to be a hollow capitalist replacement for female emancipation, as I’ve noted to Jimmy in the past.

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