Dealing with mens issues – The current situation in Australia

This view of the current situation in relation to addressing mens issues in Australia has been compiled by one who is relatively new to the field. As such it may contain some errors or omissions, so please feel free to contribute further information or correct any inadvertent mistakes.

Australian men’s issues have both a physical and online footprint that is vastly smaller than is the case for women’s issues. There are a number of reasons for this, but the primary one is the enormous disparity in government support in relation to the two. Pro-feminist media bias in combination with feminist tactics of shaming and censorship has also proved quite effective in stifling male activism and lobbying up to this point in time.

Of those Australian organisations and sites dealing with mens issues that do have some public profile, almost all have a health focus. Most of these organisations/sites appear to be rather introspective and self-effacing in nature, i.e. essentially to keep under the feminist radar and to avoid jeopardising whatever pitiable amount of funding or government support they might receive.

Those few mens programs that do attract funding, for example the men’s shed movement, only manage to do so as they are seen as somewhat twee and posing no threat to the achievement of feminist objectives.

Government agencies: I am not aware of any federal or state government agency that deals specifically with mens and boys issues, nor even a dedicated section within a government agency. This is a huge point of difference in comparison with the situation with women’s and girls issues.

Of those government agencies that do address specific men’s issues, the most prominent are agencies dealing with mental health and with domestic violence. With regards to the latter at least, the primary emphasis is on ‘educating’ and ‘treating’ male perpetrators of acts of violence and abuse. Whilst some claim to offer services to male victims, any mention of such services is virtually confined to the ‘fine print’ within relevant web sites.

The way that domestic violence web sites are worded gives the impression of a distinct pro-female and anti-male bias (example). Given that men are already less likely to reports acts of abuse against them, one could suggest with confidence that the character of domestic violence web sites acts as a significant disincentive to come forward.

I deal with the issue of government agencies and ‘not-for-profit’ organisations that ignore or downplay men’s welfare in this other blog post.

Mens studies: As you can see in this thread, an attempt was recently made to establish a men’s studies course in Australia. This was met with a furious feminist backlash and was shelved. One of those who spoke against the initiative was Michael Flood, a staunch feminist who misrepresents himself as a spokesperson for the Australian men’s rights movement. The only remaining part of that initiative was, I think, one or two subjects on men’s health being made available.

Mens health: Men’s health advocates comprise a mix of individual counselors, universities, and non-government organisations. Their stance towards men’s rights varies between one of neutrality to a ‘deer in the headlights’ stance brought about through their concern that any perceived association with MRA could threaten their political acceptability and hence access to government funding. The latter position is demonstrated by the charity discussed in this other blog post. There are, however some virulently anti-MRA outliers such as Michael Salter, Michael Flood, and more recently some character by the name of Joshua Roose (an example of his unfortunate mindset).

The level of government funding for Australian mens health issues/organisations (as with men’s issues/organisations generally) is miniscule in comparison to that allocated to women.  I recently also became aware that funding for The Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre had been slashed.

Here is the web site for Men’s Health Week (11-17 June 2018)

Some of the better-known men’s health organisations/spokespersons include:

Mens Health Australia
Australian Men’s Health Forum
Australian Institute of Male Health and Studies
Centre for Advancement of Mens Health
Men4Life support group
Men’s Health Clearinghouse
The Shed Online (an initiative of Beyond Blue)
Dr Elizabeth Celi
Inspire change counselling
Jasmin Newman
Philip S Hunt

Fathers issues (incl. divorce, custody, etc):

Dads4Kids
Lone Fathers Association
Australian Brotherhood of Fathers (See related article here)
Dads in Distress support services
Fathers for Equality
‘Dads on the Air’ radio program
Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)

Men’s rights activism:
The most popular online forum for sharing news and information is Reddit Mensrights
Mens Rights Agency
Mens Rights Sydney and Mens Rights Melbourne (with a further group formed in Brisbane in early 2015)
Australian Men’s Rights Association

A couple of other recognised spokespersons on mens/boys issues outside the realm of politics are:

Dr. Greg Canning is the Australian liaison for the US-based organisation ‘A Voice for Men‘, and has written many articles and submissions on men’s issues. ‘A Voice for Men’ also now has its own Australian committee.

Greg Andresen works for the ‘One in Three’ organisation which advocates for male victims of domestic violence, and is the Australian liaison for the US-based organisation ‘National Coalition for Men‘ as well as being an active advocate for men’s health.

Australian politics and gender issues:

An argument put forward by feminists is that men can’t possibly be discriminated against because most politicians are male. This point was addressed in a comment I came across online:

“Men in power do not act in the interest of other men. They are widely influenced by women and their lobbying efforts, and are more likely to act in the interests of them.” (Source: http://time.com/2949435/what-i-learned-as-a-woman-at-a-mens-rights-conference/)

This is certainly the case here in Australia, where most of our politicians, from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on down … are too busy cowering in fear at the thought of being labelled misogynists to contemplate representing the interests of 50% of their constituents. You can see some of Malcolm Turnbull’s unfortunate early comments on gender matters here, here and here. One ray of hope, however, might be foreign minister Julie Bishop.

I can’t help wondering what could be achieved if only we had an Australian politician with the tenacity and courage of Philip Davies in the UK (see this example of his efforts). Philip’s pioneering efforts with gender equality are also discussed in this article.

Meanwhile other MP’s like Tim Watts (Australian Labor Party) are pathetically eager to champion feminist causes and/or push men under the bus (see related reddit discussion here).

There are a few exceptions to the rule:

George Christensen, Federal Member for Dawson: Of the hundreds of state and federal politicians paid for by us taxpayers, George is the only one with the guts to come out and openly support ANY fathers/mens/boys issue. George is currently chairing a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Child Support Program. Here is a speech by George concerning family law, and another paper regarding the issue of child support. And this is what George gets for speaking up on these issues.

Senator John Madigan (Independent) and George Christensen launched the Parliamentary Friends of Shared Parenting on 16 June 2015 … “We need to end parental alienation because every child deserves a meaningful relationship with his or her mother and father.” Feel the hurt from this feminist journalist as she bemoans the fact that these politicians dared to corrupt public policy by (shudder) listening to men.

Another federal parliamentarian, Bob Katter has also previously expressed concern regarding anti-male bias within the family court system.

Labor’s Member for Greenway in Western Sydney, Michelle Rowland, has asked a parliamentary inquiry examining the child support system, to consider whether custodial parents should be accountable for how they spend child support money (Source)

Senator Cory Bernardi dared to suggest that it might sometimes be appropriate to use a headlock on a violent woman during an incident of domestic violence, and was publicly accused of encouraging violence against women. In June 2016 Cory was also criticized for tweeting a link to an article by Roosh V concerning social justice warriors.

Victorian MP Graham Watt is another one to watch after attracting media attention for refusing to give misandrist DV lobbyist Rosie Batty a standing ovation. See this article also (including readers comments)

Senator Mitch Fifield warrants an honourable mention for his refusal to accept a sexist slur offered by Katy Gallagher.

In Queensland, Opposition Corrective Services spokesman Tim Mander accused Labor of exceeding its party’s gender quota system in relation to appointments to the Parole Board.

See also my posts in relation to the views of both the major parties and minor parties in relation to feminism and gender-related issues.

By and large the only Australia politicians with the courage to challenge the feminist orthodoxy are ex-politicians, as discussed in this other blog post.

One person to keep an eye on going forward is Augusto Zimmermann, who is Law Reform Commissioner at the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia. Dr Zimmermann has been proposed as a possible replacement for Gillian Triggs at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The Australian media:

The MSM in Australia is a lost cause for the time being, with very few journalists willing to be seen to question feminist orthodoxy. Those that do, know full-well what they can expect. Some examples might include Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine and Rita Panahi.

Where are things up to in Australia at the moment amongst the general population? Well I would liken the situation with most men to frogs being boiled in a pot. The temperature is going up slowly and steadily and guys just aren’t noticing how hot things are. The temperature in this case being the increasing anti-male bias in the media, in the law, in politics, etc.

Further, and contrary to the notion of patriarchy, men’s own innate behaviour is such that they lend themselves to being taken advantage of. For example, the default setting for most men is to help and protect women rather than criticise them. Men are also very reluctant to been seen to portray themselves as victims, and would prefer to internalise problems and deal with them on their own (rather than for example join a men’s group).

Most men (and women) have little knowledge of the mens rights movement, and consequently the views of many reflect the deeply biased picture painted in the mainstream media, i.e. MRA as being violent, as being ‘rednecks’, as being ultra-conservative, and as being ‘woman-haters’. By the same token, most men (and women) are equally ill-informed about the true nature of feminism and so accept the benign ‘dictionary definition of feminism’ as portrayed in the media.

Nevertheless, however, many men are reaching the inescapable conclusion that the pendulum has swayed far beyond the mid-way point with regards to the rights of women vis a vis the rights of men. They also recognise that there is also a widening gap between the respective rights and obligations of men and women.

Many men are increasingly unhappy and dissatisfied in their interaction with women. Many men have also either suffered considerable psychological and financial trauma as a result of divorce, or know friends who have been shattered in this manner. (And coincidentally or otherwise, women have also become increasingly unhappy.)

As a consequence whilst the majority of Aussie guys remain unwilling to take collective action, or to identify as an MRA, I am seeing many more men and women expressing their views in the online world in response to media articles that have an anti-male bias (example 1 / example 2 / example 3).

Another telling indicator is the huge number of visitors to MHRA sites like ‘A Voice for Men’ versus the relatively small number who are actually registered members. This suggests to me that there are a lot of people ‘sitting on the fence’ at the moment awaiting a tipping-point, whereupon we will see far greater and more organised expressions of assertive (yet assiduously non-violent) activism.

Further background material

The trumpet blasts of the monstrous regiment (26 September 2016)

It was great to see fitness advocate Michelle Bridges bravely speak out for male victims of domestic violence on the Studio Ten TV show, despite the fact that the comperes made their own pro-feminist views abundantly clear (10 November 2015)

http://www.australianmensrights.com/Fathers_Rights-Australia/Rise_of_Australian_Fathers_Rights_Groups_Worries_Australian_Feminists.aspx

Feminism: Past its use-by date? (1 August 2014) An ABC radio interview with Australian feminists and anti-feminist activist Janet Bloomfield (plus readers comments)

A lesson from the U.K. for Australian political parties thinking of wooing feminist voters (14 November 2014)

 

Men’s studies = bad/negative but Women’s studies = good/positive

Regarding men’s studies 

Firstly, let’s begin with details regarding all the men’s studies centres in Australia: <sound of crickets>

Now, picture this if you will … the University of South Australia considers establishing a number of new courses related to men’s health and well-being. Feminist writer gets wind of this and writes an article dumping on the idea (see articles listed below, and be sure to look at the readers comments). The University gets scared and back-pedals at 100 mph. Bye, bye, men’s studies course – which would have been an Australian first.

Conclusion? Clearly every university should have women’s studies courses because they are a wonderful and necessary initiative. Mens studies courses should, however, be opposed on the basis that they are redundant and wicked and can only serve to foment misogyny and advance the cause of the patriarchy. (Oh, and the same goes for student clubs/associations that focus on men’s issues.)

The solution? For feminists? Obstruct the creation of men’s studies courses, whilst (to avoid accusations of one-upmanship) rename women’s studies centres as gender studies centres. But there was no sudden move to jointly address male issues. No, they simply carried on exactly as before with an overwhelming gynocentric focus interspersed with the occasional message from some male feminist ally such as Michael Flood. Note the example here as to how well this new approach works out.

But back to what happened at the University of South Australia, a story which is told in the articles linked below and in accompanying readers comments:

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/lecturers-in-worldfirst-male-studies-course-at-university-of-south-australia-under-scrutiny/story-fni6uo1m-1226800150348

http://www.avoiceformen.com/allnews/university-of-south-australia-pulls-plug-on-male-studies-program/

http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/paul-elam-vs-michael-flood-on-male-studies/

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/concern-over-stifled-debate-on-male-studies/story-e6frgcjx-1226807161232#

http://guardianlv.com/2014/01/mens-rights-course-controversy-in-australian-university/

http://judgybitch.com/2014/01/14/male-studies-we-dont-need-male-studies-because-reasons/

University of Sydney Board blocks formation of men’s group (26 September 2014) Also addressed here, here and here, and with an even more patronising article about the proposal here

University: Lads, blokes and jocks not welcome (7 October 2014)

Resurrected from the void: video of feminist opposition to the Simon Fraser University Men’s Center (12 October 2014)

And as for overseas examples of Men’s Studies Centres? Well these tend to feature the examination of men and masculinity through the feminist lens. This article talks about one such place,  the Stony Brook University ‘Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities’.

Regarding women’s studies 

Let’s now have a look at a listing of women’s studies centres in Australia that were in existence when I first uploaded this post*:

Australian National University – Gender Studies M.Phil and Ph.D in Gender, Sexuality and Culture Australian National University – Gender Relations ProjectCentre for Research for Women (4 Australian universities)Edith Cowan University – Women’s Studies Major Flinders University of South Australia – Women’s Studies Programme Graduate Diploma in Gender and Development and an M.A. in Women’s Studies Macquarie University – Women’s Studies, Gender and Sexuality Program MPhil and PhD in Women’s Studies, Gender and Sexuality  Monash University – Centre for Women’s Studies and Gender Research M.A. and Ph.D in Women’s Studies; Masters Qualifying Program University of Adelaide – Gender Studies M.A. and Ph.D. in Gender Studies University of Melbourne – Gender Studies M.A. and Ph.D in Gender Studies University of New England – Women’s and Gender Studies M.A. and Ph.D. in Women’s and Gender Studies University of New South Wales – Women’s and Gender Studies Program M.A. (By Research) and Ph.D. in Women’s and Gender Studies University of South Australia – Research Centre for Gender Studies University of Sydney – Department of Gender Studies MPhil and Ph.D in Gender Studies University of Western Australia – Women’s Studies M.A. and Ph.D. with concentration in Women’s Studies University of Wollongong – Master of Arts in Women’s Studies M.A. in Women’s Studies Victoria University – Gender Studies

(*It is likely that this list will be out-of-date by the time you read this, i.e. there will be even more of these courses out there)

Women’s Studies and Diversity: Where Are the Men? (23 December 2016)

University students doing courses on topics such as rape and misogyny are ‘to be given deadline extensions to help them recover from the upset of lectures’ (28 November 2016) UK

Undoing insularity: A small study of Gender Sociology’s big problem, by Charlotta Stern (Econ Journal Watch, Vol 13, No. 3, September 2016)

Oh, Academia: The best and worst of gender studies papers (28 June 2016)

Apparently my school needs a Women and Gender Studies program “Because two thirds of our student population are female” (6 February 2016) Reddit discussion thread and linked article

What Women’s Studies Teaches (15 January 2016)

How Gender Feminism became the new Creationism (18 December 2014)

Gender bias and science (16 December 2014) Ireland

Shut Up, because Rape (2 October 2014)

Womens and gender studies in Ireland and beyond (16 August 2014)

University shuts down women’s studies centre after ‘How to be a Lesbian’ controversy (19 May 2014) Don’t miss the humorous readers comments

Nordic countries defund gender ideology (12 March 2013)

Why do so few men take gender studies courses? (20 November 2012)

You can’t deny it: Gender studies is full of male-blaming bias (14 September 2011)
10. Myth: Women’s Studies Departments empowered women and gave them a voice in the academy
Fact: Women’s Studies empowered a small group of like-minded careerists. They have created an old-girl network that is far more elitist, narrow and closed than any of the old-boy networks they rail against. Vast numbers of moderate or dissident women scholars have been marginalized, excluded and silenced.

(Essential reading: everything by Camille Paglia; Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge–Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales from the Strange World of Women’s Studies; and Christina Hoff Sommers–Who Stole Feminism? How Women have Betrayed Women)

The Girl Hunt: Urban Nightlife and the Performance of Masculinity as Collective Activity (2007) An example of the great stuff produced by those working in the field of gender studies.

And some news from North American, Canada and the U.K

Only University Men’s Officer in U.K. Forced to Step Down After SJW Harassment (26 October 2018)

Hungary bans gender studies from universities (10 August 2018)

Camille Paglia Says that Women’s and Gender Studies Departments Should be Defunded (18 October 2017)

College Gender Gap: Women Earn More Degrees AND Get Special Treatment (31 May 2017)

Public university gave $296,498 to gender equity, LGBTQ centers — $0 to Students for Life: suit (18 May 2017)

University students union blocks move to set up Men’s Rights group (16 May 2017) UK

All-Female Social Groups May Keep ‘Gender Focus’ for at Least Three Years (29 March 2017) USA

Barbara Kay: A man who’ll stand up for the rights of other men (and boys) on campus and in society (21 March 2017)

Should men’s rights groups be allowed on campuses? Panel discussion on CNBC (19 March 2017) Video with related Reddit discussion thread here.

‘Men’s issues must be recognised by universities to address falling numbers’ (12 May 2016) UK

Notable & Quotable: Women, Men and College Degrees: ‘Maybe it’s time to stop taxpayer funding of hundreds of women’s centers’—gender equity in higher education was achieved 30 years ago (1 May 2016)

Columbia should offer a men’s studies course (27 April 2016) See also readers comments. Related Reddit discussion thread here

Change.org petition to Suspend Social Justice Courses (April 2016)

The persecution of Sage Gerard at Kennesaw State University (KSU) (11 March 2016)

University Refuses to Grant Recognition to Men’s Issues Group after Feminists Say it Makes Women Feel Unsafe with related reddit discussion thread here

RSU rejects men’s issues group application (29 October 2015)

Toronto’s first ‘men’s centre’ aware it might ruffle feathers, but insists it isn’t a simple ‘men’s rights association’ (14 November 2014)

George Washington University grad student interviews Sage Gerard (16 October 2014)

Queen’s University incites hatred of male students—Administration looks the other way (16 October 2014)

http://www.thenativecanadian.com/2014/04/hissy-fit-by-cat-loving-feminists-at.html

http://theeyeopener.com/2013/03/new-rsu-policy-challenges-new-mens-issues-group/

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/02/04/barbara-kay-ryerson-drags-mens-issues-group-through-the-wringer/

http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/why-is-discussion-of-boys-and-men-opposed/

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