Tag Archives: whataboutery

The next time you think about saying “But what about the men?”, read this

Almost every time an article appears on the internet highlighting discrimination against women and girls, there is likely to be at least one man derailing the discussion by saying “but what about the men?”

Believe me, as a woman who dares to express her opinion on the internet, I come up against this sort of attitude a lot.

Does the same thing happen when someone highlights problems faced by men? I certainly haven’t been aware of it.

However, this week blogger Jessica Eaton wrote a thought-provoking piece about the different reactions she has had when running projects aimed at helping men and  women.

Five years ago, she and her family set up a charity aimed at supporting adult men with addiction and mental health problems. They have done some amazing work in that time. When she writes about it, does she get abuse for not doing work for women?

I can’t tell you about the hundreds of messages or tweets we get asking ‘what about women?’ – because it’s never happened.

I don’t have any stories about the times we got sent a tonne of abuse when we conducted research with general public in the community about male mental health stigma – because it’s never happened.

I can switch over to the TEF twitter account right now and write literally anything about men and nothing bad will ever happen. Our Facebook page has thousands of followers and we never get threats, abuse or whataboutery.

That’s great and as it should be.

But what about when she does stuff aimed at helping women, including the research for her PhD thesis which is about victim blaming of women and girls in the media and other studies aimed at supporting women who have been victims of violence? That’s a completely different story.

I did one study where there was a free text question at the end and a whopping 9% of respondents chose to use that box to criticise me for not researching men. I say whopping because the free text box didn’t even ask them a question about that and 63 people still managed to use the box to whack in some ‘whataboutery’.

Not only that but a further 14% (over 90 people) left comments that were just plain nasty or abusive. One guy told me that my work was shit and he hopes I fail my PhD. And then left his full name and job title. He was an academic at a university. In my field. He even put some kisses on.

Why does she think this is happening?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 46 Comments
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