An article by Ruby Hamad has leapt to the front of the field in my ‘Foolish Feminist Articles of 2016’ competition. It’s entitled ‘Why do so few men turn up to hear women speak?’. That’s the question, but we don’t have to read too much before we realise that Ruby already knows the answer … men don’t attend because they are disinterested or even contemptuous of women’s issues.
I beg to differ as I think that many men are keenly interested in women’s issues, if only because in most cases these are actually shared issues. It might surprise Ruby to learn that many advocate s for men’s rights were originally very supportive of feminist principles … prior to realising the chasm between dictionary feminism and feminist strategy/priorities IRL. In terms of showing contempt for the opinions of people of other genders, well with feminists I’d say that’s very clearly a case of ‘pot-kettle-black’.
The focus of Ruby’s article was a particular event, the All About Women Festival. “It’s a full day of talks and discussions about ideas that matter to women and provides an important platform for women’s voices … So, invite your friends, your colleagues, your best friend or your sisters.”
Ruby notes “It is astounding to me that men think they have little gain from an event such as this. Men need to hear first-hand what the world is like for women. Men need to listen while women speak.”
Anyhow let’s move on to consider the real reasons why men might have avoided this event, and other similar events in general. I’d also heartily recommend that readers consider the opinions of others as expressed in two related Reddit discussion threads here and here.
The first and most obvious answer is that men/men’s groups weren’t specifically invited to attend the event, a feminist event which is clearly presented as being about women and women’s voices. It’s hardly surprising that men might be disinclined to attend for fear of causing upset by intruding on a womens safe space. In other words some men may not have attended the event out of respect for women.
Secondly, feminist’s have a history of telling men who attend their events to keep their mouth’s shut, even in the case of men who identify as feminists. Why then would men wish to attend an event where they would be denied the opportunity of full and active participation, or perhaps even singled out for abuse?
Here’s one of countless examples of that occurring:
“Professor Tompkins praises Jill Johnston (author of the 1973 classic Lesbian Nation: The Feminist Solution) for being “what was then called a ‘ball-buster’: a take-no-prisoners, man-hating dyke”:
There’s even a key scene in the film when she gets really mad at a man in the audience and gives him an intense ball-busting dyke response to what simply seems to be his presence. She says: “Like, I feel a hostile male element in here and it’s bothering me…I don’t mind guys being here but I feel a hostile male element and, um, that’s making me, that’s making me agitated.”
When the young man attempts to engage her she explodes at him: “You better get the f–k out of here or I’m going to kick you right in the balls and get you out of here so fast man…. I don’t like your generalizations, man…. So sit down, shut up, or get out. I feel a hostile male vibe in here, and I don’t like it….You don’t feel it and I feel it. You feel something different than I feel!” (Source)
Thirdly, feminist’s themselves rarely attend events discussing mens issues unless to deliberately disrupt the proceedings, and usually after their earlier attempts to have the event cancelled failed (using lobbying and misinformation campaigns). Go ahead and google on ‘feminists disrupt mens event’ to rustle up some examples (here’s something to get you started). Clearly the notion that ‘women need to listen while men speak’ doesn’t fly. Can’t feminists just be grateful that men don’t stoop to reciprocating feminist’s own actions?
Fourthly, feminists, both individually and collectively, routinely use many and varied forms of censorship to block and silence men who endeavour to reach out to women to tell them what the world is like for men. Details in this blog post.
Does anyone else think the underlying message of this article is that feminists have ‘all rights and no responsibility’ when it comes to presenting their case?
And in case anyone thought that only Australian feminists would be sufficiently detached from reality to complain about men not wishing to attend feminist events, here is an example from the northern hemisphere:
“Soraya Chemaly of Women’s Media Center remarked toward the end of a panel about women in the media: “It’s mainly women in this room. Probably we don’t need this information.”
Yes, I’m sure women know it all already. Gee, I bet that event would have been loads of fun if the other attendees were all as arrogant as Soraya.
In closing Ruby, maybe this article provides all the answers you need.
Men, please stop hijacking women’s issues (18 October 2017)
The Feminist Far Left Is Making More Enemies Than Allies, by Claire Connelly (16 March 2017)
Dear men: Here is your engraved invitation to join the Women’s March on Washington‘ (14 January 2017) See related Reddit discussion thread here
Munk Debates: The End of Men, by Leslie Loftus (21 November 2013)
How a feminist debate was derailed by asking all men to leave (4 December 2012)