Thursday, 13 October 2011

Yin, Yang Yang, Yang, Pt. 1

Why We Should Never Forget Why The Telegraph Is Heinous, & The People That Make It Happen.

While I was browsing, researching for some piercing ammunition for parts 2 and 3 because I believe that you should make no generalisations when it comes to Sociology, Psychology, indeed any 'ology', my eye was drawn to an article by Neil Lyndon of The Telegraph from back in August 2010, where with the righteous glee of the troll under the bridge once he'd spied a goat, he leapt with vicious impudence upon the whole Feminist movement, titled 'Feminism? Forget it Sisters' upon the basis of one study by Dr Catherine Hakim of The London School of Economics, which suggested that 'men do slightly more work than the women they live with when employment and domestic work are measured together.' 

Before I begin my diatribe against the specific content of the article, the openly abusive user comments that feature underneath, the strange absence of rebuttal but inclusion of comments which suggest there had been some, but they had been deleted, and the gems I uncovered from searching this treasure trove of hateful men who have no concept of irony, let alone Feminism *breathe....* I want to hit you with some statistics straight off the bat, where I will try to bring in as little of my opinion as possible.

  1. Women do two-thirds of the world's work, yet receive 10% of the world's income and own 1% of the means of production.  - Robbins, Richard H. Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism (Allyn and Bacon, 1999), p.354.
  2. Women are paid 22.6% less per hour than men. - Banyard, Kat, The Equality Illusion, The Truth About Men and Women, (Faber and Faber, 2010), p.2
  3. Women working full-time are paid on average 17% less than men, which is the equivalent to men being paid all year and women working for free from the end of October. - Office of National Statistics, 2007 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 7th November 2007.
  4. 75% of part-timers are women, and women working part-time earn 37% less per hour than their male counterparts. - Fawcett Society, Not Having It All, How Motherhood Reduces Women's Pay and Employment, 2009 
  5. Women in waged work with young children do 46 hours a week of housework (childcare, cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, gardening/DIY) compared to 25 hours by men. (ONS Omnibus Survey, 1995)
  6. 1.2 million people hold down two waged jobs, two thirds of them are women. (Guardian, 4th January 1999)
I have more statistics. Believe me. I include only these because I don't wish to labour my point, or indeed include a shortened version of my GCE coursework which was on the impact of motherhood on professional women for which I was awarded the highest mark that had ever been awarded at my school for Sociology coursework (bragging? Yeah, and?) so I'll go into what Mr Lyndon now believes. Which, I have to say, seems uninformed by any of these, and the countless other statistics into the £739bn that is contributed to the UK economy every year by unpaid work (ONS, 1997) by primarily women.

Beginning with unfathomable hyperbole, Lyndon stands tall as the patriarch (he attests does not exist), proclaiming, 'The long night of feminism may be about to end. A glimmer of light is flickering in the encircling gloom'. So firstly, Lyndon already has made the claim that Feminism has been going on too long, which, if rather crudely we pin that point as the days of Wollstonecroft gives the cause, at tops, 250 years of debate in all of human history. Secondly, he implies that the work of millions of women, political, sociological, humanitarian, personal, that create the meaning of the word 'feminism' could be knocked down with a feather upon the basis of Hakim's work. He also strongly suggests that in a world with Feminism, the world has been cast in gloom, and by turn, that it must have been so successful and pervasive, that women now inherit the Earth, with men truly as second class citizens. I haven't come across any evidence that suggests this. He attempts a record for the most amount of fails in 21 words.

Let me also talk to you a little about Ms Hakim, to draw you a picture of the work she has done.

Catherine Hakim. 'Attractive wins and ugly loses in today's rat race.'
Aside from the study which Mr Lyndon cites - a study so good he neglects to include its title in his article - you may have come across Hakim's work 'Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital' (Penguin, 2011), which argues the case that to get ahead, women should not rely on their intelligence, talents, qualifications and charisma to smash through the glass ceiling, but to use their sex, or 'Erotic Capital'. She argues that past the age of 30, male sex drive increases, whilst female's dwindle, and so to address the 'male sex deficit' women should paint themselves to impress their more powerful male colleagues, and in doing so, women will be able to have everything they want. Hakim has another fan at The Telegraph, Bryony Gordon, who believes her work should: 
'be read to young girls as part of the national curriculum... sick of women feeling they have to do themselves down, and wear their body issues as a badge of honour. If that's feminism... count me out'.
Gordon, who, to save on the ever increasing length of this post, I am quite obviously not a fan of, is one of Hakim's only advocates brand of 'red-top Sociology' (Yasmin Alibhai Brown). Culturally insensitive, Sociologically incorrect and Psychological nonsense, Hakim seems to support moves from the likes of The Bank Of England which emerged in February 2009 that it had run a seminar entitled 'Dress For Success', where women were told: 'always wear a heel of some sort - maximum two inches; always wear some sort of make-up, even if its just lipstick.'. Hakim's 'research' is hardly groundbreaking, with Naomi Wolf recognising (not advocating) the phenomena 20 years ago as 'The Professional Beauty Qualification', where she argued that women's appearances are conditioned as part of professional success; Hakim, is simply abhorrent enough to claim it is a tool that represents some sort of liberation and acclaim for women. Studies have revealed in fact, that if an individual (primarily women) view their bodies as inanimate objects to be used to manipulate or please onlookers is harmful to the individuals; proving a direct correlation between the more a girl does this, the lower her self-esteem is. (Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualisation of Girls') For more reasons why the woman is a moron, check out Jezebel's '3 Reasons Why 'Erotic Capital' is Bullshit'.

Now, reader, you are aware of who Hakim is, let us return to Lyndon, who believes her work points out a 'self-evident truth' that men work 'slightly longer', 'mowing lawns, cleaning cars and fixing shelves'. All tasks I am not only able to complete, but have many times, and more to the point, is hardly remarkable. Another small point, completely personal to myself, but something which I would be unsurprised to hear echoed in many other people's lives, is that although in my family, my father does tend to complete these tasks in the home, he chooses to do them, and in fact, enjoys doing them; for as long as I can remember my dad's 'pottering' has been his principal hobby, and far from being a cruel taskmaster, demanding him to fix his bike, or make a home-made belt, my mum would enjoy having him spend more time with the family than doing these tasks which according to Hakim, redresses the balance with women's cooking, cleaning, child-rearing, pretty much any repetitive, necessary, and with the exception of the latter example, joyless tasks. I would like to point out, nevertheless, that a phenomenological approach to Sociology unless backed up by statistics are unreliable, as it is the greater trends that point to cultural conditioning, and the wider experience of the group being analysed. Phenomenology is the precise approach Lyndon takes, talking about 'all my adult life', 'Our is not an unusual arrangement', 'In our home', and 'Only people blinded by ideology - as feminists have been - could fail to see that millions of men and women are working harmoniously'. 'Blinded by ideology', that's a pretty intriguing idea, since every respected Feminist uses qualified research, and not only that, but their work is consistently reinforced by un-ideologically affected statistical bodies. Men and women can work together harmoniously; but for the majority, this is not the case. Perhaps Lyndon is 'blinded' by his small London elite of right-wing self-righteous middle-class white friends.   

Most offensively however, Lyndon's summarizing remarks extrapolate what he believes to be Hakim's indomitable fortress of truth to hope for some more studies: 
'What next? Might a respectable study soon reveal that, contrary to what we are always told, one in four men does not batter the women he lives with? ... Might the entire edifice of lies that comprises modern feminism now be about to crumble?'
Not wishing to repeat the statistics of another recent blog of mine Who Need the 'Rule of Thumb'?, where I included numerous studies on domestic violence, we need to remember a few things unaffected by opinion. The police in the UK receive a telephone call every minute related to domestic violence. (Stanko, 2000) The majority of domestic violence, like rape, goes unreported, less than 24% is reported (Walby and Allen, 2004). On average, a woman will be the victim of domestic abuse 35 times before she leaves her oppressor. The biggest cause of death in pregnant women in America is murder. Domestic abuse is no more prevalent in terms of class, race, minority, but it is predominantly a crime against women. If Lyndon believes that scientific research and evidence are 'lies', then one has to wonder what in his mind makes truth?

Clearly, I am not a reader of The Tele-youmustbehavingalaug-h (not the snappiest, but really? Not a redtop?) so in sheer bafflement I often enjoy reading the comments of those who do, and the readers of this article really must be seen to be believed. 'Little' writes that Feminists:
 'often leap to making stuff up and generally manifesting antimale nastiness. 

Even more perversely, many feminists are Leftists whose hostility to their own society trumps anything else, so they embrace a dopey multiculturalism that further victimizes Islamic women. (They think "Oh goodie, I can add 'anti-Muslim' to the list of vices I accuse my countrymen of!" without even thinking well what are these Muslims exactly standing for?)'
Yuh huh. So proud of his views, 'Guest' writes:
'Times sure have changed. I wish I was alive when women tended to the house. Nowadays their police chiefs, don't like to cook and seem to be more attracted to women than men.'
I don't trust someone who doesn't know the correct use of 'their', 'they're' and 'there'. 'NickBris' informs me of something I was unaware of, that:
'Most probably, feminists create at least 70 percent of all hate in the western world. More hate comes from the feminist movement than any other form of hate that’s existing in the western world.'
I never knew that my sisters and I were more hateful than terrorists, more hateful than dictatorial political forces, than war, but 'most probably' so.

An  interesting trail that resulted from this snooping came from the very first comment featured, by 'Andrew64', where he trail blazes the cause of the most under-represented group in society, men. Advertising his Facebook group 'Representing Men', Peter Leckie of Liverpool looks for equality for men, a group of people, he believes, have missed out on all the benefits women get in society, a 'glimmer of light' in the 'encircling gloom' of Feminism I am sure. So far have women been given preferential treatment, or 'positive discrimination' as he calls it, men are now the new underclass, and so he wishes to bring them all together to stop this happening, keeping men on top. Because that's equality. COUGHING FIT.

Added by Leckie to the group's photo's. Stop that funding! Business is for men!
It was searching - admittedly not for long, as by this point my eyes were widening to the point of matchstick capacity - that I found something depressingly repetitious, the inclusion of women on the group page, seeking approval from the men in the group by distancing themselves from Feminism. One such woman wrote on the wall:
'It's good to know that I'm not the only one who bloody hates feminists. It's stupid. Women have more rights than men nowadays and they still insist on whinging.'
It's obvious to point out that this is patently untrue, what is more curious is that this woman believes to have lived such an unoppressed life that she cannot even see in her own life where inequality still exists, even if she  refuses to take an interest in the lives of others. It is these types of people for whom I affirm my own Feminism even more strongly, that women exist who do not simply reject the title of Feminist - which should only mean someone who recognises that society is unequally biased towards the interests of men, and that equality should be something to strive for - but that it is so dismal a concept that one must proclaim the anti-Feminist cause.

Even more concerning than the comments, is the youtube blog of 'SuepMy', which I include below:

SuepMy's diatribe uses powerful rhetorical devices such as the wiggle fingered inverted commas technique when she breezes past the 'evidence' Feminists use, whose 'truth' she believes is 'prioritised'. Well SuepMy, I guess that would be, as I have already stated in this blog, because there is hard evidence for it. Like Lyndon, Leckie, and all the other anti-feminists I have talked about in this blog, she adopts a phenomenological and generalised approach to - wiggle fingered inverted commas - prove her point.

Taking on the subject of domestic violence, something which should never be done without evidence and sensitivity, she argues that Feminism has 'hijacked' the subject with the belief that 'only men are violent'. Nonsense. Statistically speaking, violent crime is predominantly caused by men, and when women commit violent acts in relation to domestic abuse, again, statistically, it is in reaction to it. However, this excludes acts of IPV in lesbian partnerships, but to say that 'only men are violent' is just another myth of Feminism which aims to devalue the entire liberation movement. Domestic abuse is a system of controlling another person whom the the perpetrator believes to have vulnerabilities, using them to assert control, and both men, women  and transgender can be the perpetrators; however, the majority of which are men.

A conclusion she draws from the 'American studies' she paraphrases, is that 'men are presumed guilty before innocent' in cases of domestic abuse. More nonsense! Well done! 3.5% of domestic abuse cases result in a conviction. (Women's Aid) If you're right SuepMy, then you must believe that either 96.5% of survivors are liars, or that they rush to the courts with no evidence or thought. She also claims that valid excuses exist for domestic abuse, psychological reasons, and that these are ignored. There is never an excuse for domestic abuse. A common misconception is that the majority of men who commit acts of domestic abuse come from abusive families, and this holds the damaging implication that if they do, they have no choice but to repeat history. The abused do not always become abusers, and abusers can get help. It is their choice to do so or not, and with charities such as Respect offering support with just that, to try and justify the actions of perpetrators devalues the torment survivors have gone through.

She uses her blog to then try and hawk her own treatment for 'rage management', arguing that all the domestic abuse organisations out there have got it wrong, and she has the solution, and I won't lie to you, by this point, I can barely listen to her voice any more, a flaccid over-rehearsed self-important whine that just won't stop. So thankfully I can. When I started training with WAIS, part of it has been 'myths and stereotypes' where although I was aware of the stereotypes out there, I also had not particularly had to put up with them, and therefore employed a kind of derealisation to the whole dialectic, something which was shocked out of me when I encountered this particularly repugnant lot. As T.S Eliot wrote in The Cocktail Party (1949):
 'Half of the harm that is done in this world/ Is due to people who want to feel important.'

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