Yet another case of two steps forward and one step back. In two earlier posts in this blog I described how members of the ‘Sunrise’ TV show purposefully stood their ground against strident feminist criticism. I had hoped that they would keep the positive momentum going with some segments about the excesses and mistruths of the contemporary feminist movement. Unfortunately that was not to be the case. Well, at least not yet. (Postscript: Pleased to see ‘Sunrise’ step up with this interview with MRA Paul Elam on 5 July 2014 … kudos to ‘Sunrise’)
I just watched a segment on ‘Sunrise‘ – an interview involving Michael Kaufman of the ‘White Ribbon Campaign‘ and Sunrise’s resident ‘White Knight‘, Andrew O’Keefe . The segment came across as something of an attempt by ‘Sunrise’ to win back some street-cred with pro-feminist viewers. It’s sad that they feel the need to curry favour with a movement represented by this, this and this.
The ‘White Ribbon Campaign‘ is a pro-feminist organisation whose goal is to stop violence by men towards women. They ignore violence by women, and for the most part they ignore violence by men towards other men. They do acknowledge problems that disproportionately affect men like suicide and homelessness, but claim that these are a reflection of the pressures of gender stereotypes imposed on boys and men (i.e. be a man!). The solution, they say, is for men to be comfortable showing what are seen as feminine attributes – and then they would not have to hurt women. The ‘White Ribbon’ crowd thus conveniently choose to ignore more potent forces such as the increasingly toxic environment in schools and universities for male students, the pervasive anti-male bias in the media, etc etc.
By all means please do address the problem of violence – violence by people of all genders. And by all means address the imposition of negative gender stereotypes – again, by people of all genders. But by focussing entirely on violence by men towards women, the White Ribbon Campaign reinforces the prevailing stereotype of men as brutes and women as victims. That being the case, they are as much part of the problem as they are part of the solution.
One of the outcomes of this telescopic view of ‘domestic violence = mens violence towards women’ is the trivialising of the other dimensions of intimate partner violence (i.e. womens violence towards men, male on male violence, and female on female violence). This bias is a pervasive influence across society, and is discussed and demonstrated in another blog post which includes links to videos showing public reaction to male and female actors playing out different scenarios of partner violence.