LibLink: Alex Cole-Hamilton: No such thing as a right to sex

Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has written a powerful column in the Edinburgh Evening News in which he takes apart the awful “Incel” movement’s bizarre and misogynist arguments.

He lays bare some of the stuff these people believe.

A warped political ideology has germinated in the dark chatrooms of this scene. There are lengthy and rambling discourses which amount to a deranged manifesto, preaching the need for a “global redistribution of sex”. This involves a sexual caste system where women will be forced to have sex with incel men as a punishment for being promiscuous or if they use too much make-up.

There’s no such thing as a right to sex, he points out:

Because there’s a fundamental difference between needs and wants. You need shelter, clean drinking water and access to healthcare, these are your rights. You may want sex, but no human rights lawyer is going to take the fact you aren’t getting any to Strasbourg.

Put simply, if something you want requires the enthusiastic consent of another, then you don’t have a right to it

And education about this is vital:

Whether we’re considering rape or harassment, we need to change our culture and that starts with how we raise our young people. We need to equip our children with an understanding of what an appropriate, respectful relationship looks like. Teaching young people about birth control and STDs is second nature nowadays, but when, as parents or teachers, we awkwardly ask them to carry a condom, we need to have the confidence to, in the same breath, make it clear that obtaining enthusiastic consent is just as, if not more, important.

You can read the whole article here.

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  • Sue Sutherland 12th May '18 - 2:27pm

    “You need shelter, clean drinking water and access to health care, these are your rights”. I would add enough food to this list. Does the party include these in any policies concerning a Bill of Rights? The last time I was involved in any discussion about a Bill of Rights I tried to get a Right to Shelter included in the proposals but was sat upon quite heavily by the great and the good who wanted a Bill of Rights to be purely legal and political. This was a long time ago so I was glad to see Alex Cole-Hamilton’s definition because I can’t see how you can exercise those rights without shelter.
    If we haven’t policies which state this I think we should be considering them, especially as the Tories are enacting policies which deny people’s right to food.

  • Geoffrey Payne 12th May '18 - 11:59pm

    I am naturally sympathetic to anyone, man or woman, who can be described as incel. But it is the wrong choice to align with the alt right as some of the men do. The alt right in theory they tell us not to be sympathetic with victims, and their hero Donald Trump is more likely to describe them as losers. The alt right jargin describes victims as “snowflakes”, people who wilt. They are not your friends. In practice the alt right are also hypocrites, often wingeing about unfair media coverage, being the good snowflakes that they are.
    If they persuade you into becoming rapists then you are likely to end up in prison and become incels once again. Better to seek help instead, and learn to have positive non-coercive relationships.

  • Geoffrey Payne’s point, seems to resonate with my thoughts on this. Whilst I fully agree with Alex Cole-Hamilton’s statements, I wonder if what we are seeing is just another example of the same process that with other stimulants can result in someone being radicalised. Hence whilst we should provide deterrence, perhaps we also need to investigate ways to help people cope and thus fall into this mindset.

  • OnceALibDem 13th May '18 - 1:35pm

    “I am naturally sympathetic to anyone, man or woman, who can be described as incel.”

    Why and what is the nature of this sympathy. I’m not sure what this ‘incel’ concept is. I’m involuntarily not centre forward for Newcastle Utd? Because I want to be and it is only a rigged system that prevents me.

    I’m not digging into the darker recesses of the internet to find this out but is this about men who actually aren’t involuntarily celibate but actually can’t get with the women they see as particularly desirable (to put it in less delicate terms, why don’t hot women fancy me). Because my guess would be that it is.

    Though actually Alex is wrong on this, “Teaching young people about birth control and STDs is second nature nowadays, “. As it stands at the moment academies and free schools (ie state funded) AREN’T required to teach SRE. A third of girls are not told about periods by their parents and 10% receive no preparation at all before their first period and there are a lot of criticisms of SRE – eg an OFSTED report in 2013 saying it required improvement in a third of schools.

    A lot of surveys of young people say they didn’t find their SRE particuarly useful and there is a big disconnect of a divided between primary and secondary schools based on the (widely incorrect) idea that pubery is something that doesn’t happen to primary school pupils.

    That will change soon (ish – it seems to be taking a very long time) with all primary and secondary schools being required to provide age-appropriate education from Sept 2019 – which will include consent. There was a consulation on this which closed a few months ago.\

    There is a really good HoC library document on the development of changes (including quite a big shift in government attitudes) –

  • It is very important not to dignify this stuff with the term “ideology”.

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