All posts filed under: Feminism

Daily Life’s Boy-Bashing Clickbait Reaches New Low

When Daily Life came onto Australia’s media scene in 2012, I used to read it with bemusement, sometimes morbid fascination. About a year after it launched I started blogging in response to some of its articles, but since 2013, I’ve mostly ignored the publication. One gets tired of clickbait. Tabloid magazines have been around for a long time and yellow journalism dates back to the nineteenth century. Daily Life has certainly not created anything new. It is also understandable that The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age need to bolster their dwindling readership with cheap and easy commentary on the latest “hot topics”, including those that involve gender and feminism. In the context of the disruption caused by the Internet, it is not a scandal that a media company would do this. Yet since the public relations fiascos of 2014 and 2015, such as Shirtstorm, and the Tim Hunt affair, it’s also increasingly difficult to become animated by gender politics. From where I sit, the culture war is largely over. No-one serious pays any attention to …

Why Isn’t Sexual Slavery a Feminist Priority?

That Nadia Murad’s #StandforYazidiWomen campaign hasn’t captured the attention of Western feminists is an appalling oversight. Some of the most popular feminist topics on Twitter last year included equality for public nudity, sexism in the tech industry, and racial diversity for Oscar nominations. Yet the topic of global sexual slavery brings a scarcely believable absence of attention. The Yazidis, viewed as devil worshippers by their captors, were overrun by ISIS in north-western Iraq in August 2014 in the beginning of what is now being recognised as a genocide. Most of the men and older women were instantly slaughtered. Thousands of younger women and girls were taken to the Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’, where they were traded among Jihadists as sex slaves. Nadia is a survivor of this mass sexual enslavement, and now a human rights advocate. Regarding her fight, Nadia said “I am continuing to do this, with resiliency, because millions of women and girls have no rights. Their lives were destroyed, and their lives will remain destroyed if we don’t say anything. To bring back …

In Praise of Ambivalence — “Young” Feminism, Gender Identity and Free Speech

Alice Dreger, the historian of science, sex researcher, activist, and author of a much-discussed book of last year, has recently called attention to the loss of ambivalence as an acceptable attitude in contemporary politics and beyond. “Once upon a time,” she writes, “we were allowed to feel ambivalent about people. We were allowed to say, ‘I like what they did here, but that bit over there doesn’t thrill me so much.’ Those days are gone. Today the rule is that if someone — a scientist, a writer, a broadcaster, a politician — does one thing we don’t like, they’re dead to us.” I’m going to suggest that this development leads to another kind of loss: the loss of our ability to work together, or better, learn from each other, despite intense disagreement over certain issues. Whether it’s because our opponent hails from a different political party, or voted differently on a key referendum, or thinks about economics or gun control or immigration or social values — or whatever — in a way we struggle to …

Confessions of a Recovering Tumblr Feminist

When I was in middle-school, I discovered feminism. Always a voracious reader, I devoured every book on it that I could find — eagerly eating the words of feminists like Germaine Greer, Betty Friedan, and Naomi Wolf. When I was done with books, I turned my attention to the interwebs, where communities of social justice warriors congregate. Little did I know it, as a young teen, I tumbled headfirst into the rabbit hole of the social justice feminist orthodoxy — the perverse wonderland where up is down and everything is actually a manifestation of the patriarchy. Now, as a student at a women’s college, surrounded by this ideology, I’ve realized the naivety of my early eagerness. For me, feminism was an enticing religion. Raised in a home devoid of faith, I eagerly accepted its philosophy as my ticket to salvation. As I steeped myself in this type of feminism: the type that emanates from online Tumblr echo chambers and the ideological enclaves of Women’s studies departments, it taught me a number of ideas and values …

Feminism Blinds Students to the Truth About Men

As a student at Barnard, a women’s college in NYC, feminism pervades all aspects of the curriculum. As students, we’re awash in the pervasive narrative that women are always on the losing side of the gender wars. This is ridiculous. At a school where acknowledging intersectionality is de rigueur, one would expect to encounter dialogue about issues that men face too.  However, after two years here, I have never witnessed students or professors broach the topic in a positive way. What’s more alarming is how often female peers display conspiratorial glee when they make fun of and delegitimize men’s issues. Last week for example, a classmate posted a video featuring the scholar Christina Hoff Sommers to the Barnard 2018 class Facebook page. The video had legitimate talking points about male academic underachievement. However, in a  vicious effort to delegitimize the video’s claim that “male underachievement is everyone’s concern,” a fellow student sanctimoniously wrote that the concern is “not [her’s],” followed with an acronym that denoted laughter. This outright delegitimization of male issues was met with …

University Feminists Are Betraying Their Movement’s Liberal Past

University feminists are tired of tolerance. Universities are banning anyone and anything their feminist professors and students take issue with. Cardiff banned Germaine Greer; apparently, she’s the wrong kind of feminist. Goldsmiths College banned Kate Smurthwaite; she’s the wrong kind of comedian. Oxford silenced a debate on abortion. For the architects of the safe space, nothing is safe from being added to the list of the unsafe. ‘Blurred Lines’ was banned for being the wrong kind of song. The Sun was banned for being the wrong kind of newspaper. What today’s feminists value, above all else, is diversity — except, of course, diversity of ideas. Feminism wasn’t always this censorious. The university feminists of today do not reflect the motives of the classical past of their movement. The Swedish feminist — and personal heroine of mine — Margareta Momma wrote extensively in defence of tolerance during the age of Enlightenment. In her excellent essays she defends freedom of speech, freedom of religion and promotes the view that women are just as capable as men of …

Study Suggests Society’s View of Males Has Soured

“Depressing Study Finds Gender Stereotypes Haven’t Changed Since the 1980s,” proclaimed the New York magazine website the other day. The women’s site Bustle echoed the gloomy view: “Gender Stereotypes Just As Prevalent in 2016 As In The 1980s, New Study Finds, So Maybe Things Aren’t As Great As We’d Like To Believe.” Yet a closer look at the study in question shows a far more complicated picture. While some beliefs about male and female traits and roles have indeed changed little since a similar survey in 1983, there has been a marked shift toward egalitarian attitudes on some important issues. There also seems to have been a marked shift toward more negative perceptions of men — which is arguably depressing, but probably not in the way the study’s authors and most of the commentators would like you to think. The study, published in the Psychology of Women Quarterly, was carried out by psychologist Elizabeth J. Haines of New Jersey’s William Paterson University and her colleagues. Subjects, recruited online, were asked to rate on a 0-to-100 …

The Great Diversity Scam

In recent years, Diversity in STEM has dominated debate in the media. STEM fields are an “old boys club,” we are assured, and we must take measures to bring equality and fairness to them. In particular, great focus has been put on achieving a “gender balance,” despite the fact that women actually make up a majority in four out of eight STEM fields. Academics will spend hours collecting data and analysing gender ratios at different levels of education, and a lot of research grants are now contingent on an institution attaining a particular type of award, such as the Athena SWAN in the UK. Many jobs have been created to tackle these “issues.” Most large organisations—certainly universities—now have Diversity Officers, Diversity Consultants and Women’s Officers. Many of these Officers and Consultants and the like have academic backgrounds in gender or women’s studies. The point is, Diversity is just another industry now. And these people are rent-seekers who have a vested interest in solving nothing. This isn’t an argument against diversity as such. By all means, …

The Myth of “Rape Culture” at Columbia University

Last year, Columbia University become ground-zero for anti-rape activism when Emma Sulkowicz, then a senior, began carrying her mattress around campus in protest of the University’s failure to expel her alleged rapist. What ensued was a protracted saga that caused reverberations of hysteria and fear on liberal arts campuses across the United States.  Here on campus, it was the impetus for a number of rallies for sexual assault survivors. At these rallies, which I attended, fellow  students shared stories of assault and admonished the university for condoning “rape culture.” On campus, the trope of the powerless victim and the depraved predator was propagated relentlessly. Campus activists eagerly proclaimed a number of absurd statements, including that 1 in 5 women will be a victim of rape while on campus, and that drunk women couldn’t consent. As a dilettante activist in a different area of concern, I had a great number of conversations with people involved in anti-rape activism, notwithstanding the rallies I attended. With Emma Sulkowicz volunteering as tribune to be the face of the nascent …

I’m Not a Feminist—Even Though I Attend a Women’s College

As a student at Barnard College, one of the few women’s colleges in America, identifying as a feminist is de rigueur. Just like lamenting the cost of tuition or complaining about dining hall food, feminist ideology is a hallmark of the conversations here. Yet, I adamantly shun the contemporary feminist movement that sweeps liberal arts campuses like mine, and you should too. Feminism is purported to be a movement towards equality. Fair enough. Most reasonable people support that. But feminism manifests itself differently; instead of the focus on rights and equal opportunity, it is on personal victimhood, political correctness, and attacking others. And, as with all movements, the parameters of feminism are defined by the loudest voices. It is this dominant ideology that I cannot associate myself with. Contemporary feminism inculcates adherents into a cult of victimhood and exquisite vulnerability—it panders to women’s traumas and teaches them that they have been victimized solely because they are female. Women’s only sin? Living in a world dominated by the patriarchy. The remedy, especially for college students? Trigger …