Archive for December, 2011

Don’t Tell Me What To Do!

Posted: December 30, 2011 in Feminism
Tags: , ,

I read this article by Helen Lewis in New Statesman, feeling like I’d read it before, it was so familiar:

‘The battles that remain involve telling people — often, but not exclusively, men — that I don’t like things they like, and I wish they didn’t like them either. I’m sorry, I know that you enjoy sexist jokes on TV panel shows, but they make me uncomfortable. I’m sorry, I know that you read lads’ mags, but I find them deeply depressing. I’m sorry, I know that you don’t think it’s a problem that women are under-represented in parliament, in science and in the media, but it is.

As a bleeding heart liberal, I feel hugely uncomfortable with trying to dictate other people’s tastes — and I certainly wouldn’t try to “ban” jokes or magazines or adverts or toys (or whatever) that I disagreed with. But fundamentally, feminism is about trying to change people’s minds. It just is. I am a killjoy.’

This sums up for me, how feminism ALWAYS assumes that its only project is to convince others that it is right, and to encourage (or coerce) people to do things how feminism wants them to be done.

There is no sense that a debate needs to be had, that feminists could learn from people who don’t share their views, that there can be compromise and discussion.

It’s my way or the highway.

But liberal feminists like Lewis tie themselves up in knots, claiming to not want to tell people what to do, but wanting people to do what they want them to do anyway, and sometimes lobbying to make their view Law.

I asked Helen in the comments if she, as a feminist respected the fact that I, as a woman, had differing views to her, in the name of independence. She said she did but I am not sure I believed her because deep down she knows she is right and I am wrong.

Photo via Lorraine Gamman:

Post script: This is Helen Lewis’s comment on men ‘contributing’ to feminist debate:

An Ode

Posted: December 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

[redacted]  is by far my favourite blog,

It helped me see the light of day, through the thickening fog

Of feminist myths that I was brought up to think were right and true

And it taught me about metrosexuals – those brilliant modern dudes.

I read that website every day: it’s my go to guy

For everything on gender and men, the what the how the why.

But now Mark’s blog is broken, and I am all at sea.

Where else can I find wisdom on masculinity?


Your silence is deafening…


fading / fade-out

Painful ordeal in which the loved being appears to withdraw from all contact, without such enigmatic indifference even being directed against the amorous subject or pronounced to the advantage of anyone else, world or rival.

– Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse


h/t @fennerpearson



I had an argument on twitter yesterday – call it a discussion- about gender and power and ‘oppression’. My position, that men do not have ‘more power’ than women, and that women are not ‘more oppressed’ than men, as a group, was laughed out of town. I was told that I was ignoring the ‘facts’ and denying the ‘objective’ truth of the situation.

I also chatted to a friend online who told me he’d received Warren Farrell’s The Myth Of Male Power as a Christmas gift. When I was still a feminist, I remember a working class man I worked with talking about this book. It was the first time I’d heard the word ‘misandry’ spoken out loud. I’m ashamed to say that I dismissed the man’s points, and went home to look up Farrell – deciding he was a misogynist and anti-women, anti-feminist, without even reading his book!

I still haven’t read the book but I am a lot more sympathetic to its themes, and the way it describes some of the injustices men face in a gendered society. For example, as regular reader stoner has pointed out, the selective service for men in America:

”In post offices throughout the United States, Selective Service posters [reading “A Man’s Gotta Do What A Man’s Gotta Do] remind men that only they must register for the draft. If the Post Office had a poster saying “A Jew’s Gotta Do What A Jew’s Gotta Do…” or if “A Woman’s Gotta Do…” were written across the body of a pregnant woman…” 28

I am also reminded of Mark Simpson’s work. In fact, I think he mentions Farrell in Male Impersonators. In that book he also includes an incredible chapter about the miners’ strike in the UK in the 80s and its aftermath in the early 90s. He writes:

‘But it is a Star leader that makes explicit the reduction of ‘the workers’ to the ‘real men’. In a crude style not without resonance on the left, it jeers: ‘If Labour cannot do better for the miners, the founding fathers of the movement, it will prove conclusively that the party is now fit only for polytechnic lecturers, leftie lawyers and twittering* women teachers – NOT the workers’.’

The bitter irony is that media eulogies of the miners have only been possible because they are now so weak, and traditional masculinity so enervated. The Mirror offered a poster of an attractive, exhausted young miner slumped on a bench in a locker-room,posed in a sweaty singlet with a ghostly winding tower super-imposed, emerging from his leg as a kind of hazy memory of the phallus. In inviting pity, this male image also invites the gaze in a way that would have been impossible without the very changes in gender roles that it seems to lament.’

I don’t have a BIG POINT to end on. I am probably left with Foucault, as usual, and the idea that ‘power is everywhere’ and much more complex than we allow for.


Thanks to stoner and White Mischief for input.

*twittering has another resonance now which brings me back to the start of this post!

Metrosexy Christmas

Posted: December 23, 2011 in Metrosexy, Writing


THANKS for making QRGHQ a vibrant hub of gender discussion and metrotastic observations.

NOTE: I usually link up to Mark Simpson’s blog but it has a bug at the moment so I won’t. I don’t recommend clicking on links to his blog just now. I hope it recovers in time for the new metrosexual year! You can still buy his books at Amazon Kindle – Metrosexy and Male Impersonators are both going cheap.

Don’t forget the QRG writing awards – winners announced in early January, and I am still accepting nominations:

h/t Law and Sexuality:

The frankly annoyingly feminist Sociological Images referred to a recruitment video for the priesthood featured at NYPriest website.

The gender studies academics at S.I. said:

‘Usually, a male-dominated occupation wouldn’t be in need of having its masculinized character stressed so openly. However, the child sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church in the U.S. and elsewhere have damaged the image of the priesthood. Not only did many priests sexually abuse children, but many of the abused children where boys. Had the abuse involved primarily girls girls in late childhood or their teens, the public may very well have expressed revulsion and disgust, but we also have cultural narratives available, such as the idea of the sexually precocious Lolita who entices men against their better judgement, that are often used to at least partially justify or explain adult men’s sexual attraction to or abuse of even young girls’

This really got my goat for two key reasons:

1) They are using hypothetical examples of girls being abused saying if it was girls being ‘sexually abused’ by men priests, people would come up with spurious justifications for it. And yet, the main reason this sexual abuse ‘scandal’ in the priesthood has been newsworthy is that the men doing the ‘abuse’ got away with it for years and years. It’s classic oppression olympics with girls and women always winning the gold victim status medal, even when they are made up examples!

2) The feminist analysis of ‘real men’ being used to ‘sell’ the priesthood is reductive and wrong. It ignores how men don’t just compare themselves to women but also to each other, and how the manly ‘real men’ discourse is fraught with tensions around homosexuality (which is a big part of sex in the priesthood) and how machismo is actually very camp.


Oh, and 3) ‘Fishers of Men’? is that what they call it now 😀

The Man Who Got Away

Posted: December 21, 2011 in Feminism, Masculinities