I am an oppressor

I’m just back from having a read over at the Guardian of Julie Bindel’s latest rant. Here’s a quick summary:

  1. Lesbianism can (and should) be a political choice
  2. All men are evil

Now, number one on that list, I happen to agree with. At least the “can” part.

Seems like a bit of a strange choice to me – why not just love whichever sex or sexes you happen to love, and not stress about it?

But I can see that if you dislike men and the patriarchy that much, you might want to restrict your relationships to women. Fair enough. Good for you.

But then we get to the second point. I’m taking evil as shorthand for violent oppressors here – please feel free to substitute the second phrase for the first if you feel it too strong. I don’t.

Here’s a few phrases to show why that’s the message I’ve taken from the article

“I also suspect that it is very difficult to spend your daily life fighting against male violence, only to share a bed with a man come the evening.”

Personal opinion, no evidence to back it up – but we’ll give her a pass on that one, as it’s obviously flagged as just her own thought.

“We live in a culture in which rape is still an everyday reality, and yet women are blamed for it, as it is viewed as an inevitable feature of heterosexual sex.”

Um. Hold on, you lost me there.

Rape is viewed as an inevitable feature of heterosexual sex? When did that happen? By who?

A vague generalisation without a source is useless.

As, for example: Piers Beckley is viewed as a better writer than Julie Bindel.

Without further evidence, it’s positively misleading.

“Domestic violence is still a chronic problem for countless women in relationships with men.”

And for women in relationships with women. And men in relationships with men.

Well, lookee here, it’s some academic research: Apparently 40% of women in this survey had experienced violence in a same-sex relationship. Or this research gives a figure of 22% for women experiencing domestic violence in same-sex relationships.

(There’s more research here, if you want it.)

Either way, it’s not the “none” implied by the article.

Assuming that domestic violence moves only one way – from men towards women – doesn’t help. Broken Rainbow provides help and support for LGBT people threatened by domestic violence.

“Domestic violence is still a chronic problem for countless women” is true. But when you add the words “in relationships with men”, it begins to look like wilful misinterpretation.

Then again, it doesn’t seem that Julie believes that academic rigour is necessary in order to make bold claims.

I, however, do.

Some people in the comments section have labelled the piece hate speech against men – and I actually think that’s a fair call. Especially given her past form (trannies, in this instance).

Because it’s basically: Men are evil. Become a lesbian. And there’s no justification for the first of those two sentences contained in the article.

However, I don’t believe that censorship is sensible, or just. I think anyone from the BNP, Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Theorists, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all should be allowed to say whatever they like.

But if what you say is basically stupid, then you deserve to be mocked. That’s the corollary of Free Speech. And that’s why I’ve taken an hour out of my day to mock this piece, which is truly stupid, and does not reflect well at all on either the writer, or whoever at the Guardian thought it worth publishing.

But then again, I would say that.

I’m an oppressor.

11 Replies to “I am an oppressor”

  1. Men can be feminists. In my experience however, most aren’t, even those that call themselves so.

    But men in general aren’t the enemy. The system is. The system is mainly made up of men and that’s where the line gets blurred – between men/system/enemy. But women also make up the system – by actually being in the government and by actually letting themselves down by writing shit like Julie Bindel.

    The idea I don’t stand for women’s rights because I fuck fellas (well one fella) is not only ridiculous, it’s secondary-school-standard-simplistic: I’d expect better in a Key Stage 3 essay from a 15 year old, never mind a national newspaper. IMHO she’s as bad as the women who let men walk all over them – just on the opposite end of the scale. Worse in a way, since she gives the men who are a problem ammunition.

    Christ, we actually agree on something Piers. Shall we mark it in the diary? What as?

  2. PS. Reading that back, my comment on women in government *could* be read wrong as it’s ambiguous: women SHOULD be in the government I reckon, there should be more than there are at present – but of the ones there already, more should be working directly for the rights of women.

  3. Piers, I confess that I’m disappointed in you. I can’t believe you spent 30 minutes writing this when the original article didn’t really deserve more than about 30 seconds.

    To quote a far better man than me (namely Mike Troubled Diva) the article is “Almost laughable in its wrong-headedness. She’s nothing if not consistent.”

  4. It is sad that some women think like this. I am not a violent person. I’ve never lifted a finger towards man, woman or child, but some people will form an opinion that I am the bad guy without knowing anything about me.

    Actually it is science fact that men are aren’t actually needed any more. A cell from a female’s favourite other female will suffice. Put them all on an island somewhere and lets see if the perfect non violet society emerges.

  5. Many in Germany, Britain and Europe, many Jews, thought that Nazism was stupid and unsubstantiatable; that it would be a passing movement, that it would be swept away through mockery, rational thinking and clear reasoned debate. Censoring was seen as unnecessary; they weren’t ‘dangerous’.

    Then they got elected.

  6. I’m sure that the lesbian community would question the sincerity of people who claim to share their outlook ‘because they read it in a pamphlet’… and just as much because of a newspaper article.
    I understand that papers are losing sales like the clouds shed rain, but is would-be controversial material really going to draw readersback?
    J

  7. Reports of declining newspaper sales are apparently a little exaggerated: in the UK between 10 and 11 million newspapers are sold a day. The ‘Golden Age’ of newspaper sales has long since passed- well before the internet came along. While some papers (e.g. Express, Mirror) have been losing readers the biggest sellers The Sun and Mail (5.5 million sales daily combined) are gaining readers. These figures do not count online editions which frequently carry the same comment sections as the physical editions.

    My suspicion, echoed by several commentators, is that the rise in sales is due to the decontextualized nature of 24 hour television and online news where events are merely reported as they unfold no matter how erroneous they might be (as happened on 9/11) while the daily and weekly newspapers can aggregrate the quality and accuracy of reports without the tyranny of the minute by minute news agenda.

    The disadvantage of this is that, while the television news channels are required to be unbiased (except they actually mainly carry a liberal bias- not left-wing as the Mail and Sun claim!), the papers are mainly sewn-up by a minority cabal of hard-right wingers primarily pushing their pro-business, pro-profit, anti-everything-else agenda.

    Sorry that got so damn long… and is way off-topic.

  8. Fuck, where do I start?

    1. Lesbianism is a choice just like playing tennis wrong-handed is a choice. Dear Julie, please give that one a go and let me know how you get on.

    2. “I also suspect that it is very difficult to spend your daily life fighting against male violence, only to share a bed with a man come the evening.”
    I can kind of see her point. If you’re up front and personal with the extremes of human behaviour on a daily basis, it’ll be a bit hard not to ignore (and fear) the potential for such behaviour in people close to you. I only take issue with pointing this general human condition at men and violence.

    3. “We live in a culture in which rape is still an everyday reality, and yet women are blamed for it, as it is viewed as an inevitable feature of heterosexual sex.”
    Same as above – all human actions e.g. ironing and running can be taken to an extreme; not everyone does, should or can. While the extreme is definitely possibly and visible, it is by no means the norm. I agree that rape is an everyday event unfortunately but the rape arrest and imprisonment stats suggest men are more likely to be blamed for it. Women can be blamed for rape by judges but very rarely and usually at the cost of a public dressing down from the same newspapers that feature semi-naked women. Irony is a b!tch.

    4. Take it from an ex-statistician: most research around crime stats aren’t worth the eyeball time spent reading them. That goes double for anything which could involve personal honour (e.g. blackmail, solicitation, domestic violence or rape esp. male rape). Rape is probably the most under-reported crime but sadly I don’t think we will ever know for sure.

    5. Peace demos rarely stop wars and I think mocking rarely shuts journalists up. If that was the case, Richard Littlejohn would asking if you wanted fries with that. The best solution is usually to ignore the stupid arses as obscurity (and, hence, lack of readers) is quite a more powerful argument to that article’s commissioner.

    6. Can I be the first one to introduce Jon Peacey to Godwin’s Law? :) Ta.

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