Few of those reading this would be unfamiliar with the feminist proclivity for labelling a plethora of issues as ‘gendered’. Like many terms it doesn’t mean much without considerable qualification. And even then it may not mean much. But if something can’t be portrayed as being gendered then feminists and their beloved narrative lose traction.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘gendered’ as “reflecting the experience, prejudices, or orientations of one sex more than the other.” The problem though is that in real life there are relatively few things that only (or even predominantly) affect one gender. In most situations both genders wield a significant influence and/or are significantly affected. We’re all in it together. One topical example would be online harassment.
Let’s now look at an even more contentious issue, child abuse. Most non-sexual child abuse and neglect is perpetrated by women. Most sexual abuse of children is perpetrated by men (although there are still plenty of sexual abusers of children who are female). So is child abuse gendered? And in terms of framing remedial action, is it more or less productive to attack child abuse as a gendered issue?
Ginger’s article tells us that most abuse takes place in institutions, yet makes no mention of the abuse of disabled men/boys. She then provides some examples of incidents of abuse involving male perpetrators in non-institutional settings. The actual gender mix of perpetrators of abuse, in either institutional or non-institutional settings, is left unstated.
In the absence of further details it’s highly likely that readers would have assumed that most victims of abuse were female, and their abusers male. Such is the inevitable outcome of persistent gender bias in the media on top of decades of gynocentric conditioning.
This is despite that fact that there are certainly instances where research has found most perpetrators of abuse to be women. One such example can be found in the Adele Mercier incident, whereupon a feminist academic wrongly denied female perpetration of institutional abuse.
This selective presentation of statistics – only showing the extent to which women are affected, and in the absence of comparative statistics for men and boys – is extremely common in feminist literature. This problem is discussed further in a separate blog post about feminist research and their misleading use of statistics.
The source document for the 90% abuse claim was a submission by the Australian Cross Disability Alliance. I found the relevant reference in the section entitled ‘Incidence & prevalence data on gendered disability violence‘ (page 37). Despite asserting that the abuse was gendered, this section provided no comparative statistics whatsoever in relation to the abuse of men/boys.
How is that appropriate in terms of either compassion or academic rigour? I mean, is this a case of just ‘trust me, I’m a feminist’?
I then took the matter up with the author of the article in a series of exchanges on Twitter including the following:
Look, don’t get me wrong, the most important thing here is to effectively reduce the incidence of child abuse. The rest is second-order stuff. But I honestly don’t see that goal being significantly advanced via the blinkered and self-serving approach taken by feminists. As with domestic violence, framing a solution to half a problem translates into no solution at all.
Oh, and colour me surprised – see below for how this episode ended.
How could anyone take feminism seriously when one is constantly reminded how infantilised its followers have become?
I came across an article some time ago that detailed the results of a study that looked for any bias shown by Human Resources (HR) personnel when recruiting new staff.
“… we’re talking about the human resource professionals who, thumbing through resumes, act as the gate-keepers to employment around the world. Are they men or women? Because sadly, oh-so-uncomfortably, it matters.”
The researchers detected a significant incidence of bias. They found that, for example, more attractive men where often selected in preference to less attractive men whilst less attractive women were chosen in preference to more attractive women. The researchers considered and disallowed the ‘dumb blonde’ stereotype (i.e. attractive women as being more likely to be stupid) as a reason for this discrimination.
“So the cause of the discrimination must lie elsewhere. Human resources departments tend to be staffed mostly by women. Indeed, in the Israeli study, 93% of those tasked with selecting whom to invite for an interview were female. The researchers’ unavoidable—and unpalatable—conclusion is that old-fashioned jealousy led the women to discriminate against pretty candidates.”
It is becoming increasingly apparent that gender discrimination that may have begun as bias demonstrated by particular individuals has become a systemic practice.
It should come as no surprise that the domestic violence industry, for example, features many organisations that include few or no men in either their boards or their ranks of employees (some examples here). In June 2021 one such organisation, Women’s Safety NSW, advertised two positions – Policy Officer and CEO. They state “We are hiring a Policy Officer to join our team of fabulous women! If you are passionate about women’s justice, safety and wellbeing please click the link to read more.” Both ads featured the proviso that “Women’s Safety NSW considers being a woman a genuine occupational qualification for this position under s 31 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)”
“Are lawsuits like these a good thing, or are they going to stall efforts to move towards more diversity in Silicon Valley?” (Because fighting discrimination is only OK when it’s the right kind of discrimination, huh?)
Can anyone suggest other sources that explore this issue? I would be particularly interested in any studies that looked at HR staff displaying discrimination against older job applicants. In my experience most HR staff are not only females, but younger females, and I think it’s quite likely that they display an equal or greater degree of bias against older job applicants (as they appear to display against men).