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?

‘Whataboutery’ comes from a place of misogyny. An arrogant, derailing technique used to respond to a campaign, video, research study, intervention, organisation or communication that screams ‘I don’t care about women, talk about men!!’

And the proof is in the pudding for me. Because when I do all those things with a focus on boys and men, I’m a f*****g hero. But when I do all of those things and focus on girls and women, I’m a fat, ugly feminist c**t.

She argues that women tend  not to be socialised to think that the world revolves around them and that therefore when something doesn’t include them, it’s automatically against them, some sort of threat.

I have two reasons for writing this. One is an optimistic triumph of hope over experience. Maybe, just maybe, some of the men who read this site who behave in that way will reflect on this piece and stop doing so.

The other is to help women who have to put up with this sort of abuse – ie virtually any woman who expresses an opinion. Share Jessica’s piece with those who bring whataboutery to your door. Above all, don’t let it get to you, even when it feels awful.

I worry that I’ve sometimes held back from writing stuff because I just can’t be bothered facing the entirely predictable backlash. Women should never feel forced into silence, because that is exactly what the abusers want. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is just to say it and let the misogynists show themselves up.

I also think that when we come up across this sort of thing in the Liberal Democrats, we need to challenge. We need to look for it happening to others and intervene to support them. We need a clear steer from those in leadership positions that it is not ok to behave like this.

Too many of the rights and values I hold dear are under threat so the number of hoots I will be giving this year about upsetting those who would roll them back is zero.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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46 Comments

  • Assuming you are focused upon discussion on this site:

    *googles: “what about the men”+libdemvoice.org*
    Only 6 results (including this one).
    Two mention it in the original piece.
    One has the first mention of it in the comments by you mocking of that as a possible response.

    Or are you conflating this with the response:
    “why have you gendered an issue that is not gendered?”
    Pointing out that someone is analysing a problem via reducing the data sample is not an unreasonable criticism. To get effective solutions to issues it helps to first effectively identify the issue.

    “Women should never feel forced into silence”
    I would put it differently, no one should allow themselves to be silenced by hearing an opinion that they don’t like. If your opponent is wrong it is there for all to see, and perhaps you will change their minds (assuming they are open to it). If you are wrong (and have an open mind) perhaps you get a little closer to understanding and maybe addressing a particular problem under discussion.

  • Psi, surely you know that googling the exact phrase “what about the men” in an attempt to belittle Caron is doing EXACTLY what this piece is highlighting?

    Surely?

    Actually I’m not sure what would be worse: you don’t realise it, or you do realise it, and you posted that comment anyway.

    Oh well, that’s solidified in me something I was considering anyway.
    LDV is getting added to the list of sites I won’t even look at below the line anymore, because it’s just not worth the stress. If I were you, Caron, I’d seriously think about just not allowing comments at all. It works for Gadgette.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 7th Jan '18 - 3:58pm

    @Psi, I am not surprised that you choose to belittle my experience, which is not confined to the comments on this site but on responses on social media and beyond. You certainly have not identified all the whataboutery that has taken place in response to articles on this site.

    Also, Psi, on these issues it’s not about hearing an opinion that I don’t like, it’s the vicious personal attacks that go along with it, which you don’t seem to have grasped. I am a Liberal Democrat. I hear opinions I don’t like most of the time, from every tabloid newspaper all the time.

    I expect to hear diversity of opinions and I celebrate it because that is what being a liberal is all about. We recognise individual perspectives. What is not acceptable is when people derail and abuse.

    Perhaps you might like to think about the behaviour the article describes and whether you have indulged in it with your comment.

  • @Psi – that’s a very narrow way of looking for previous examples. Certainly my own experience is in line with Caron’s. If I, say, post a reminder about a training session for would-be female candidates, I often get ‘but what about men?’ responses. I don’t at least get the sort of insults Caron mentions, but that too reinforces her point given I’m a man posting under an obviously male name.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 7th Jan '18 - 4:18pm

    A reasonable article about a very sensible woman mentioned as the subject , highjacked by an initial response unnecessary,from psi,because it is defensive when he is not criticised, a further response completely unworthy, of Jennie as to allow no comments would make this the authoritarian echo chamber not the Liberal Democrat Voice, and then umbrage from Caron, who admits she gets lots worse than the defensive unnecessary we got from psi!

    I think that so much of the violence in society that finds expression in hideous criminal behaviour by men usually , to other men and women, is fanned by the nastiness online which is a form of verbal and written violence.

    Caron, says she holds back from dealing with such comments, hard to imagine in one who is so very assertive , even strict with sweeties and luvvies like me !

  • Malcolm Todd 7th Jan '18 - 5:19pm

    Well said. And it can’t be said too often.

    And I understand Jennie’s view, but so far, most of the time, LDV remains one of the few places on the internet where I can bear reading below the line. Most of the time.

  • @Lorenzo, you may wish to reflect on your comment criticising Jennie and I personally.

    Using language like “admits” is as belittling as Psi’s comment and is the sort of thing we will be getting a lot tougher with in future.

    Psi’s comment was bad enough. Just because it wasn’t sweary and abusive doesn’t make it ok.

  • Ann Higgins 7th Jan '18 - 5:39pm

    I entirely identify with this. Today I objected to the use of the C word on a Remain forum as being both objectionable and misogynistic and was told by a man who had not made the OP that I was daft, had another agenda, and some other fine insults until he blocked me. My experience as a woman of being abused by men using that word were dismissed as irrelevant. The right of men to use that word overrode all other considerations.
    I know it’s a minor example but illustrative, I think, of what we are up against.

  • Louise Harris 7th Jan '18 - 5:59pm

    I haven’t got time to write anything meaningful as I’m too busy banging my head against a brick wall.

  • James Brough 7th Jan '18 - 6:15pm

    Maybe, before belittling the experiences of others, people might want to consider that, just because they don’t find something unpleasant, it doesn’t follow that no-one else does. We might then avoid comments such as those from Psi and Lorenzo.

  • Good article. Women do suffer with abuse on the internet. If you are a woman from a BAME background or LGBT then the abuse is multiplied.
    This form of abuse must be stamped out.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 7th Jan '18 - 8:03pm

    There will be some changes to the way we moderate comments round here, helpfully illustrated by some of the comments on this thread. Those by Lorenzo and Psi are the type of things that will not get through in the future on any post. We have some work to do to make sure that these threads are places of illuminating, interesting, thoughtful, respectful debate. .

  • What exactly is wrong with the posts by Psi and Lorenzo?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 7th Jan '18 - 8:09pm

    James , that has been covered in the comments above by myself, Mark, Nick Barlow and Jennie.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 7th Jan '18 - 8:14pm

    Caron

    I must say if the word ,admit, is offensive , clearly then the comment, reasonable which is the one I wrote to describe your article is a personal attack according to you, an attack as well in saying that it is unworthy of Jennie to say you would be advised to stop all commentary on a forum , Liberal Democrat Voice.

    I find it very odd that you think when I criticised psi , that you criticise what I said, with balanced , nuance and a sense of humour.

    What is strange is that I praised the subject as did you.

    I despair at this site . And this party which you have decided me to leave.

  • Its obviously up to you and the team how you moderate, but neither comment was sweary or abusive as you put it – you considered them to be belittling and you’ve challenged them, so what’s wrong with that?

    Surely its better that views can be discussed so readers can make up their own minds? Not allowing comments like Psi’s or Lorenzo’s isn’t going to stop them having those views – but it does stop them both being aired and from being challenged – so who is learning anything?

    P.S. If possible, would you be able to edit my previous comment to remove the link that shouldn’t be there please?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 7th Jan '18 - 8:45pm

    James

    You ask about me and psi, I am being paired with a comment I criticised !

    I cannot even find anything I have ever said here that is offensive, but plenty I have said that is diplomacy !

    I have loathed the direction of travel of so called liberalism for some years, identity politics is not the problem, no platforming, is, and this is insufferable.

  • I am surprised that if someone has excluded women when discussing a problem that affects both men and women no one asks why women were excluded. I am surprised that if someone posts their research for a PhD in women studies anyone would expect men to be covered. It seems clear that people and especially women who post on the internet can face abuse because of it and some men take exception to women only related articles.

    I strongly disagree with Jennie – LDV should not stop people commenting. I am sure I am not alone in getting enjoyment from posting comments and taking part in debates in the comments sections here.

    @ Lorenzo Cherin

    If you in the past found some enjoyment posting here you should continue to do so.

    I am also concerned if the moderation policy is changed to toughen it. There is a complaints procedure if someone strongly objects to a comment. Also a person can, as I have done, flag up certain comments by commenting on them, rather than trying to get them removed (depending on how serious a person thinks the issue is and how it makes them feel). I think the current level of moderation is fine and I think it works well making this a very enjoyable site to come to every day.

  • I think the best examples I’ve seen on this site was some time ago regarding all women short lists some of the whataboutery then was comical. Like all rules of thumb it is important to ensure that the real exceptions are not missed, for example there was a piece on Radio 5 today about the chronic under recording of stalking cases where a Male is the victim. Most of the focus, quite rightly as women are otherwhelmingly the victims, has been on female victims, male victims it appears were generally dismissed but the Police.

    The truth is though that as a white, heterosexual, well educated man I am still more likely to have a good job, be paid more than an equivalent female and far, far less likely to ever be discriminated against than someone less white, less male and less heterosexual.

    Keep up the good work Caron…

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 8th Jan '18 - 7:53am

    To those asking, the reason that Lorenzo’s comment is so objectionable is that it attack’s Jennie and I personally – “unworthy” umbrage”. Showing some understanding of Jennie’s long term frustration with comments such as Psi’s and then adding that he disagreed with her proposed solution or thought that it went too far would have been a better way of approaching that.

    My reasonable point is dismissed as “umbrage” Often when women challenge men in any way it is seen as a huge thing when if a man had made the comment , nobody would have used such emotive language.

    That sort of language is why women don’t generally feel comfortable commenting on the site and that needs to change.

    And the use of the word “admit” implies that I don’t have much to complain about because I get worse elsewhere. It’s belittling.

    Commenters are going to need to think more about how their words come across in future or they simply won’t get through.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 8th Jan '18 - 8:29am

    Caron, I feel that you have misunderstood Lorenzo’s comments. He spoke positively about your article, and criticised Psi’s negative comments. I really don’t see how his response to either Jennie’s comment or yours, could be considered to be a personal attack. His remark about Jennie’s comment being “unworthy” of her, surely suggests that his opinion of Jennie and her views in general is high. To describe you as “assertive” is surely not an insult.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 8th Jan '18 - 8:43am

    Catherine, I do feel that Lorenzo was wrong to use the terms “unworthy” and “umbrage”. I also feel that he missed the point when he said it was hard to believe that I held myself back from commenting on the basis that I had been assertive with me. No attempt at all to understand things from my point of view – just judgement.
    His is the sort of comment that has driven so many women away from this site and things need to change.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 8th Jan '18 - 9:11am

    Caron, I don’t think Lorenzo’s comments suggest “judgement”. His comments on Lib Dem Voice are always very courteous. I cannot imagine anyone being “driven away from this site” by any comment Lorenzo has ever made.
    I do feel there is some inconsistency in what comments are allowed or not allowed on this site. I have seen some comments – on other articles – that did genuinely seem to be personal attacks, but the editorial team have allowed these.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 8th Jan '18 - 9:14am

    Catherine, we may not necessarily see every comment because until now most have not been pre-moderated. That may have to change, at least temporarily.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 8th Jan '18 - 11:03am

    I feel it would be a pity if all comments were pre moderated. With pre moderation, it can be a long time between a comment being made, and it actually appearing on the site – as obviously you and the rest of the editorial team cannot be expected to spend every moment of every day checking comments. Therefore it would not be so easy to have the same sort of “conversations” that are now possible, with people responding to each other’s comments as soon as they are made. It is actually only a small number of comments on Lib Dem Voice that are unpleasant or personal, and it wouldn’t seem right to put everyone on pre moderation just because of the bad behaviour of a few.

  • lynne featherstone 8th Jan '18 - 11:24am

    Having spearheaded the campaign and actions on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) during my time as a minister in the coalition government I totally support what Caron has said. Every – yes every time I said anything in any medium as to the need to end FGM – some male would respond with ‘what about male circumcision’?
    I would point out to each and every one that FGM is the equivalent to lopping off most of the male penis and that if this had been happening to men- well it would never have happened to men.

  • Mark Blackburn 8th Jan '18 - 11:32am

    Late to the party as usual but wanted to register a comment in support of Caron and Jennie – because in my local party, on a regional basis and nationally I see that bias against women, especially younger ones, again and again, and of all places the Liberal Democrat party is somewhere it just shouldn’t exist.

  • Peter Hirst 8th Jan '18 - 12:45pm

    It is obvious that the gender balance has tilted towards men doing what they want at least in the media and this needs correcting. Whether there is a more fundamental change in the balance is not as certain to me. Men and women are different with different needs, desires and wants. I don’t think society is going to alter these fundamental biological differences any time soon. What it can and should change is the unacceptable behaviour that results from these. Behaviour is caused by feelings modified by moral, cultural and legal constraints, especially when it impact on others.

  • Mick Taylor 8th Jan '18 - 1:18pm

    I have greatly reduced my reading of and my commenting on articles on LDV because I am fed up with the abuse and of the lack of tolerance, which is supposed to pervade Liberalism. I welcome the news that there is to be more moderation. It will hopefully mean more people from both genders will feel able to resume using the site.
    Of course no-one has the right not to be insulted, that’s part of free speech, but what is not acceptable is the singling out of women for abuse and misogyny.
    As a man, I’m appalled and ashamed that far too many of my fellow men neither understand this issue nor think it’s important.
    To Lorenzo. No-one is asking you to change your views. Just asking for more thought on how you express them.

  • Sue Sutherland 8th Jan '18 - 1:43pm

    One of the problems with whataboutery is that it prevents reasonable discussion about gender bias that affects men negatively. It’s quite common in men of my generation and younger to be unable to identify and discuss their feelings because they have been conditioned to feel that only anger is acceptable for boys to express. This has been linked to the greater number of men in prison. It could be argued that whataboutery itself, which comes across as an angry expression of satisfaction with the status quo, is also an example of this tendency.
    There is still so much overt prejudice against women that needs to be overcome, like unequal pay, that it’s difficult when men are so defensive of their position, but I hope that mums and grannies of small boys will help them when they are upset or frightened so they don’t have to be trapped in anger any more.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 8th Jan '18 - 2:38pm

    Catherine

    Thanks for those words of comfort, to me , they are this, as it seems I have been associated with comments and views I do not align with or ways of expressing , which are not mine.

    I read what I said as criticism of the very thing now attached to my comments, interaction unnecessary. I do not need lectures from those who clearly did not read what I wrote or do not know my years of respect for others on here.

  • paul barker 8th Jan '18 - 2:39pm

    Can I just express my complete support for this article. I have thought for a long time that we need tougher standards of moderation on LDV.
    Could I also suggest the deletion of comments that are completely off-topic & a restriction on comments about comments, perhaps one each for each thread ? Its very easy for a discussion about an article to get hijacked by an argument between commentors, often an argument about who said what or even what X meant when they said Y. This thread has been a good example.

  • nvelope2003 8th Jan '18 - 3:40pm

    Maybe it is time to ask why men behave so badly not just online but in other places. There does seem to be a very real hatred being expressed in the comments described in Caron’s article. Why is this ? Maybe it is because of rejection, humiliation or failed relationships. Everyone must have experienced this in some form but some people are more upset by it than others and take the opportunity to express it when they can ?

    Obviously crude and offensive posts should not appear but surely a Liberal site should not remove posts because someone does not agree with them or because they wish to comment on what someone else has said. We are entering difficult waters here.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 8th Jan '18 - 4:02pm

    Caron, I feel uneasy at the news that there is to be much stricter moderation on Lib Dem Voice. It is true that, as I said above, I have sometimes seen comments that seemed to be personal and offensive, and which I did feel the editorial team should have deleted. But I suspect somehow that with the new policy, some genuinely personal attacks will still be allowed, and completely inoffensive comments, like Lorenzo’s, will be censored. For this will be censorship.
    One problem is that whether or not something is regarded as offensive is very subjective – as we have seen in this discussion. At least if comments are allowed, and then deleted later if considered unacceptable, we will see which comments have been censored. With pre moderation, we (the users of the site) will have no way of knowing how many comments are being censored, and for what reasons.
    We need to remember that freedom of speech is a precious liberal principle. Of course we all have a responsibility to stop and think before making comments. We should be able to express views that are challenging and controversial, but we need to do so in a way that is kind, and considerate to the feelings of others. So in a way, we have a responsibility to “moderate” our own comments – stop and think carefully before we click “post comment”, and, if in doubt, tone a comment down. But I don’t think censorship should be imposed on us, expect in a few extreme cases.

  • Very good article.
    I am appalled at the behaviour of some of my fellow men.
    Here we are 100 years of women suffrage and inequality is still rampant in our society today.
    There is still inequality in the gender pay gap
    Only 10% women in Executive Directorships of UK top companies, I think this goes up to 30% non executive Directorships.
    The proportion of women occupying the top jobs in the armed forces, police and judiciary is abysmal.
    It seems to me that the more this gets brought to the public attention, the more some men then lash out when it comes to other issues with regards to women studies, like the ones highlighted in this article “victim blaming of women and girls in the media” It seems to act as an excuse for men to say, well women are asking for equality on other areas of life, what about men’s equalities on these issues. It is a thing I see time and time again, usually followed by unreasonable language that is justified by spouting out the phrase freedom of speech.
    Thanks for this article Caron and raising this issue.
    On the subject of moderation, maybe we could have a separate article where this can be discussed. I personally feel that LDV has a wee bit of a problem on perceived fairness when it comes to comments made between Remainers / Brexiters and some Activist / Councillors seem to get a bit more leniencies with their combative style of discussion. Maybe it would be good for us to get all this out in the open on a separate thread which could aid you when it comes to future policy?

  • Katharine Pindar 8th Jan '18 - 5:09pm

    I should be sorry if Lorenzo really did leave this site or/and our party. It was his warmth that originally led me to commit myself to contributing here. He can make caustic comments, but somehow one feels that he is basically gentle and sensitive and doesn’t bear any ill-will or malice in his criticisms. He is also quick to praise and encourage other contributors.

    I entirely agree however with the sentiments of this article and the majority of comments. The abuse and denigration of women in this advanced country is shameful. But I also would like to say something in sympathy with men. I deplore their defensive-aggressive reactions, but I think society’s expectations of them can be hard to bear. I mean the expectation that every boy will grow up to make something of himself independently, and forge his own successful path through life, contributing to society.

    There isn’t quite the same expectation of girls, because it is accepted that many of them will contribute to society by bearing and rearing children, and if that is what they do successfully, they will not be obliged by societal disapproval to have an additional career so long as they can afford not to. True, the modern expectation is that women will find work, even while bringing up very small children, and that fathers will play a very important part in child-rearing; but I think men are still judged more on their contributions to society outside the family than in it. And when women advance also in previously largely male domains, from rugby and football to engineering or political power, men may feel they have less of a chance to shine and prove themselves than before and be daunted by the extra competition, which leads some of them to display all this unacceptable fear and anger.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 8th Jan '18 - 6:09pm

    As mentioned above, a very worrisome development when the comments of Katharine, so appreciated , and accepted with real thanks, do not make a bit of difference to the tenor here, with remarks like those of Mark Valaderes , who misquotes me , as I did not say that Caron must accept robust criticism, no words sich as that were mentioned, and the comments that we would become an authoritarian echo chamber were if there was no discussion at all, merely posts from contributors, some newspaapers would therefore be more freedom loving and engaging!

    I have gone from a simple and humourous remark, to the butt of ridicule, fine, I played Don Quixote on stage, no problem.

    But to see the few comments here by me and compare it to the hundreds I made for years in kindness and warmth and liberal and democrat manner and view, and the reactions of Caron and one or two, decides me , no, this site is , like this party, suffering a dilema and crisis.

  • Sue Sutherland 8th Jan '18 - 6:09pm

    I’d just like to say that when I first started to comment on LDV posts I was quite anxious that I might use the wrong words which would lead to people thinking I’m racist or sexist etc. Illness had meant I hadn’t been politically active for years and life had moved on.
    I really don’t understand what Lorenzo has said that’s so unacceptable and I do think that Lib Dems should support freedom of speech and be wary of censorship. I was leaderof the Lib Dem group on a local council many years ago and at times it was very much like trying to herd cats. I had 3 cats at the time so knew how difficult that is. When I started reading LDV I did think that there were views which seemed to be accepted as ‘right on’, as we used to say in my youth, and if someone tried to present an opposite view they would face withering criticism. I would be very sad if Lorenzo left the party because of this discussion.

  • I agree with the sentiments of moral support for Lorenzo as expressed by Katharine and Sue above. It would be a matter of real regret to me if he felt he could no longer take part in LDV even though on occasion I do not agree with some of the more vivid and imaginative things he says. A bit of calm reflection on all sides would seem to be called for.

    I need no persuasion on matters to do with women’s rights given I have four daughters who graduated with Honours at major universities, a wife with a Ph.D. and I’m in the process of organising a blue plaque to be erected to a major woman Suffragist in Cumbria.

  • Peter Watson 8th Jan '18 - 8:08pm

    @Catherine Jane Crosland “At least if comments are allowed, and then deleted later if considered unacceptable, we will see which comments have been censored.”
    Rather than a comment disappearing from a thread (which could be very confusing), I think it would be better if text were replaced with some standard text along the lines of “This comment has been removed since it broke the rules of this site.”.
    But I share your concern about stricter moderation. If pre-moderation were the norm rather than the exception then discussion threads could become slow and unresponsive, making LDV a far less appealing place. I think the site’s editors do a great job and the tone of debate is normally very good.

    I also want to add my support to the sentiments of pretty much everybody in this thread insofar as I think there is consensus that discriminatory behaviour and comments are unacceptable, but sometimes contributors can be over-sensitive to being offended and/or under-sensitive to the offence a comment might cause.
    It’s why I’m always reluctant to dip my toes into this sort of discussion as, more than any other, it makes me feel uneasy about any mismatch between what I mean and how it sounds. Face-to-face, any misunderstandings can be fixed immediately, but on the internet things can get out of hand.

  • Phil Wainewright 9th Jan '18 - 12:38am

    I’d like to recommend any man, before commenting on this post, to first read and reflect on the entirety of Jessica Eaton’s blog post. In particular, this sentence:

    “Women are socialised … to not even possess a shred of the sense of entitlement that men have.”.

    Just stop and think about that.

    The next time you’re about to stand up for equality, think about the cultural advantage that men innately absorb as they grow up, and the equivalent cultural disadvantage that women innately absorb, and then think a lot more carefully about what actions are really necessary to ensure women get a fair crack at standing for parliament, or at having their voice heard in any forum, or to be able to further their careers without having to put up with sexual harassment.

    I read Jessica Eaton”s post before Caron posted this article, and when I saw Caron had linked to it, I thought, ‘Great, that was a really thought-provoking piece, I’m glad Caron has picked it up.’ I’m sad to now see how the comment thread has developed, and I urge everyone to not get bogged down in these comments but instead study Jessica’s original post. It really illuminates why there is still so much ground to cover before we have true gender equality in our society.

  • Ruth Bright 9th Jan '18 - 2:33pm

    Thank you for directing us to this fascinating article Caron.

    “Whataboutery” never allows for the fact that it is built into the system that “minor” women’s health conditions are often dismissed or women self-police not to seek help. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Health published horrifying figures last year about the experiences of women with fibroids and endometriosis – 62% say that they were given insufficient information about treatment options. 42% say that they have not been treated with dignity and respect regarding their condition.

  • chris moore 10th Jan '18 - 9:37am

    Hi Lorenzo,

    I’m guessing from your name and written English style that you aren’t a native speaker. I live in Spain and work in several foreign languages. Allowance should always be made for the extra difficulties of non-native speakers. Several of the comments on here suggest that some other posters have not understood this.

    Don’t leave the site or the party. You make some interesting comments.

    The slow rise towards equality of women over the last century is based on an improvement in their economic prospects vis-a-vis men. There is still a long way to go.

    The Weinstein revelations have sparked off a sharp jolt to public awareness of the incidence f sexual abuse. The discussion has widened out to include all forms of discrimination. I think it’s a very positive development.

    Within the Lib Dems, we can help things along bymaking sure a mínimum 50% of our MPs are women. All-women shortlists are a very important lever for social change.

    But let’s not all get so bad-tempered with each other that we all leave the party.

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