So – called ‘feminists’ making feminism a laughing stock

No wonder why many women don’t want to be associated with feminism. From the abuse of ‘trigger warnings’, blatant hypocrisy and the never – ending attempts to shut down anyone who isn’t them, modern – day feminism is becoming a (unfunny) joke. The lack of condemnation against a spike of child brides in Australia becoming the latest sickening example (note: the article is only available to paid subscribers).

In the U.S.,  university students presented with a sign giving a ‘trigger warning’ for the showing of the first of a number of Presidential debates.

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(Image: via Sportsgrid)

Unlike some, I’m not against trigger warnings as a principle. I use them myself in my blogging and I also think that it’s not a bad thing. I think it’s actually good for writers to be sensitive to their readers when writing about potentially traumatic or disturbing topics. I believe that it shouldn’t prevent a writer from saying what he/ she/ they want to say, I think it can just be a nice 20 – word heads up to readers about potentially traumatic and/ or disturbing content.

In an educational context, I don’t think it’s a bad thing – it’s a good thing actually – for a teacher/ professor to be sensitive when dealing with potentialy traumatic content. I thinkit’s good forcthem to comfort students who are upset and allow students to calm themselves by leaving the classroom when needed. I remember when I was in Year 10 and we studied ‘A Property of the Clan’ and it’s movie adaptation, ‘Blackrock’, both written by the late Nick Enright. Many Austrakians would be familiar with the play and movie or at least be familiar with the real 1989 murder that inspired it. Many students – including me – were upset, angered and disturbed while studying both the play and film. The teacher at the time was very good at alloepwing the students to express their emotions and sensitive to their feelings. I don’t think it would be a bad thing if university staff did the same thing. However, there is a point when it goes too far. When ‘trigger warnings’ are used as excuses to zshut down debate or demonise someone with a different opinion, that’s when trigger warnings are being abused.

The sign above is what I consider to be an abuse of trigger warnings. Since when has a Presidential/ Prime Ministerial debate contained sexual violence or abuse? Really? Another example of, not abuse of trigger warnings as such, but political correctness gone mad is students at another university campus, tearing down posters advertising a talk by Christina Hoff Summes. She’s a feminist and a Democrat supporter for crying out loud! And yet, flyers, put up by the Young America’s Foundation at the University of California, Los Angeles, because a student said she found them ofensive and that she was practicing ‘free speech’. What I don’t get is, what’s tge wordt Hoff Sommers could possibly say. She’s a critic of the Third Wave of Feminism’ and the PC culture at U.S. university campuses, and I can ser why, quite frankly.

Hoff – Sommers, is not only a feminist and academic, but she’s one of an increasing number of liberals who are starting to retaliate against the modern Left, not dissimilar (I don’t fhink), to the rise of the Alt – Right rebelling against modern day conservate politics. They reject the totalitarianism, abuse and hypocrisy of such that now label themselves as of the Left. They include people like UK’s ‘The Spectator’ columnist, Brendan O’Neill, American commentator and comedian, Dave Rubin, Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinski, and Australia’s Daily Telegraph columnist and ‘Studio 10’ co – host, Joe Hilderbrand (he has said in the past that he was involved in Left politics at university, yet, rejects the overly aggressive and often violent nature of those on the political Left).

Back to feminism more specifically. Last week on ABC’s ‘The Drum’, ‘The Australian’s’ Senior Writer Sharri Markson clashed with writer for Daily Life blog and controversial feminist figure, Clementine Ford over Ford’s abuse a number of ‘The Australian’s’ columnists on Twitter, with Markson accusing Ford of being a ‘troll’.

Clementine Ford, to be frank, is an example of the reason why many women in particular, disassociate themselves from feminism. While she may have some valid arguments, for example, how women’s genitals shouldn’t be treated like used cars, her propensity to resort to abuse – especially on Twitter – and hypocrisy is what gives feminism in general a bad name.

 

Another point I want to make is how feminism is so selective. I’ve written about this before and I’ll talk about another example this week sometime, but that, too, needs to stop. ALL women – all races and transwomen, should benefit from the actions of feminists, not just a select few. That means trans – misogyny and  racism needs to be condemned within feminist circles. That includes not turning a blind eye to what other women go through (more on that later this week). It really should be all or nothing. Only then, I believe that feminism may stop being an unfunny joke.

 

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How Political Correctness Kills Feminism

 

I was watching the video above yesterday (if you have just over an hour and a half to spare, go and check it out), about political correctness and how it’s killing debate and harming academia in American colleges. And you know what? I actually AGREED with most of what was said.

Political correctness – at least the way it often is – does stifle debate. I agree with the overall sentiment that all the panellists kept coming back to: if you don’t agree/ like what someone’s saying, rebut it. Don’t silence it. Of course, there is a line. Not one of the panellists advocated for hate speech or inciting violence. That’s not what this was about. In regard to political correctness, one of the panelists, self – described feminist and Democrat supporter, Christina Summers acknowledged that “political correctness” , as in respecting people’s requests to use respectful language, was fine. The problem with modern – day feminism – and colleges/ Universities in general, was that people – ironically including those who were supposed to be “protected” were being attacked – sometimes violently (e.g. an African American student was being attacked for opposing the #BlackLivesMatter movement).

Another topic that was talked about was “trigger warnings”. I’ve argued that trigger warnings on blogs can be useful when writing on – line, and I still stand by that comment. However, I believe that they should be used sparingly, and should not be used to avoid mere offence. In an education context, I can see that this may be harder. Some texts do explore traumatic events, and these should not be censored. They should be able to be talked about with sensitivity. I don’t believe in throwing people who have been traumatised by abuse, etc should be thrown under the bus. But sensitivity shouldn’t lead to downright censorship.

I want to tell you a personal account. When I was at school, we studied two texts: one was a play “Property of the Clan” and the film adaptation “Blackrock” by Nick Enright in Year 10 Drama and “The Shawshank Redemption” in Year 11 Advanced English. Both texts featured rape or rape threats. I remember that our teacher warned us about the content and allowed us to process any negative emotions we felt. I remember crying during “Property of the Clan” and “Blackrock”. We still read through the whole play, but we did skip the rape scene in the movie (I think that may have been mainly because it was MA 15+ rated). I can’t see why universities can’t talk about topics such as what I wrote above, while being sensitive to people’s emotions.

One criticism that the panellists pointed out what the hypocrisy of the Left and how their, often abusive, speech isn’t silenced. Abuse should be condemned full – stop. This doesn’t do feminism or any other cause, for that matter, any favours.

Misinformation doesn’t do anyone any favours either, and gives feminism in general a bad name. If you look at the video, for example, Summers debunked the often quoted statistic that 1 in 5 female students in American colleges suffer sexual assault while on campus. She explained the methodology and how they got the result and why it was not reliable. She said that the rate was between 1 – 2%; 1 in 53. Any advocacy work relies on facts. Feminists can only expect backlash and less support if they get people to rely on false information. The rate of abuse, whether on campuses, in marriages/ relationships, etc. should be zero. Any decent human  being knows that. Lying, or at least tampering with the truth, doesn’t do anyone any favours.

 

If feminism and any other form of advocate wants to be supported, they need to be relevant and factual or risk losing public support. With speech, unless it’s outright discriminatory or incites violence, it should be permitted. Unpopular ideas should be at least up for debate. Topics like rape should be able to be talked about in an educational contexts while being sensitive to people’s reaction and experiences. Lastly, respect needs to be granted on both the progressive AND conservative sides. Verbal/ cyber and physical abuse should be condemned, REGARDLESS on where people sit on the political spectrum. It’s time feminists and the Left end the hypocrisy. It’s beyond a joke.

 

If You Want Sex, You Ask. If The Person Resists Or Doesn’t Give Consent, Game Over

I read before on another blog, it was alleged that a male MP, Gavin King partly blamed women for becoming victims of rape. This has to stop! Is it just me or is this attitude become rampant in society?

Why is it so hard for people to get that ‘no means no’? It’s not just men that have this attitude either. Women have also admitted that they think women could provoke attackers. A survey last year exposed how scarily prevalent the attitude is, with about a third of respondents saying that women were at least partly responsible if they were assaulted.

There is a flip side to this. Media personalities like former Cosmopolitan (Australian) editor and blogger Mia Freedman and Herald Sun columnist and blogger, Susie O’Brien have both received vitriolic abuse on social media for even suggesting that women should keep themselves safe when out in public. They were (wrongly) accused of victim blaming (anyone who has looked at either of their blogs would know without a shadow of a doubt that neither of them condone violence toward women, or anybody, for that matter).

We should ALWAYS put the blame of violence squarely on the perpetrators, not the victims. However,people shouldn’t be condemned for giving women tips on how to remain safe, especially if the advice is backed up (for example meeting dates for the first time in a well – lit crowded public area or having a friend with you when meeting the person. This isn’t (or shouldn’t be labelled as), victim blaming. Shouldn’t we all be open to hearing how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe?