(Note that this post remains a working draft – to be continued)
Whilst browsing in Twitter today I came across a mention of a new study that sounded rather interesting. Here is a link to the tweet I saw, plus a link to the relevant page in the web site of an organisation as ANROWS (Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety Limited). It appears that ANROWS commissioned the study.
ANROWS receives substantial government funding support (in 2019/20 this amounted to $10,410,025). The feminist leanings of that organisation, are made quite clear in this paper, for example.
Let’s start with a document word search. ‘Men’ appeared 51 times, generally with words like ‘department’ or ‘women’. An exception were references to men as perpetrators of domestic violence (p3). ‘Women’ appeared 14 times, mostly within titles of reports or organisations. One exception was “the judicial officer as a powerful voice in a good position to capture the attention of the perpetrator and to denounce violence against women and their children” (p6). The term ‘victim’ did not appear once.
Next, what topics would I hope to see, and perhaps even expect to see, addressed in a project like this?
– the accuracy or otherwise of judicial officers understanding of the nature, extent and trends with regards to domestic violence – and particularly with regards to gender differences
– the virtual absence of perpetrator intervention programs for female offenders
– the shortage of refuges or treatment facilities for male victims (some with children)
– the apparent gender inequity with regards to being taken to a police station, arrest, sentencing, etc.
– gender differences in the cause and/or underlying factors common to perpetrators of abuse and/or violence
Hyper-masculinity? Toxic-masculinity? What is this masculinity thing that is painted as such a blight on society?
Why is there is never any mention of toxic femininity when (to varying extents) many of the same issues apply? Just look at my posts on for example, female violence, lack of empathy, sexual abuse by women, and damseling and the shameless exploitation of male chivalry.
The articles below all address the concept of masculinity, alternately either from a feminist, egalitarian, MHRA or another alternate position:
The words Will Smith didn’t need to say in his latest apology (2 April 2022) The female journalist implores readers to go easy on Will (for many reasons as listed). The journalist uses the term ‘toxic masculinity’ but then states that “In no way, shape or form did Smith’s actions harm the people attending the Oscars, or anyone watching at home.” Whilst it’s rare to see people being asked to show empathy for men, what’s the bet that it’s only happening here because Will is perceived to have ‘done it for a woman’? #WhiteKnight
‘Will Smith, we don’t need men to protect us’ (28 March 2022) Meanwhile, in real life and starting immediately after Will Smith hit Chris Rock, the media began exposing women stating things like “Gee, I wish I had a man to protect me like that!” #EyeFlutter
Today (30 December 2016) I noticed two articles that took a now common approach of using/portraying generally positive attributes associated with masculinity (protectiveness towards women & risk-taking behaviour) in order to mock or criticize men:
This blog post remains a work in progress and for the time being simply consists of a list of links to external resources …
Unintended effects of transgender activism, by Peter Wright (2022) Interesting article that explores ways in which trans activism may provoke a tangential but potentially positive effect on men’s access to social support, participation and greater life options.
“Sex differences in mate preferences, with women more set on earning capacity and men on physical attractiveness in the opposite sex, did not lessen in countries with greater gender equality” (5 December 2018) Link to Tweet
A PMS warning App (3 September 2016) Women have periods but men don’t. Some women experience mood swings and/or erratic behaviour prior to menses, which the people around them can better accommodate with due warning, for the benefit of all involved. This is sexist how exactly? Acknowledge an issue, manage an issue. PMS is not an invention of misogynists, it’s accepted as reality by most self-aware adults.
Queens (17 August 2015) Feminists have often stated that throughout history men have caused all the wars (cue: toxic masculinity). This study explores the notion that female monarchs are left prone to conflict that male monarchs
The paper describes the results of an international survey of university students. Overall it found that there was a higher level of hostility towards men (HTM) by women than hostility towards women (HTW) by men. This was rationalised from a feminist perspective (for e.g. womens hostility was simply a reaction against hostility by men or reacting against patriarchal subordination, etc). There were however some interesting findings such as:
Yodanis and Straus (1996) found no correlation between men’s HTW and assault of a female partner but did find a positive correlation between women’s HTM and their assault of a male partner. That is, the higher the women’s HTM, the more physical assaults against a male partner reported. (p5)
More females (59%) than males (49.1%) agreed or strongly agreed with at least one item in the gender hostility scale. Thus, close to two-thirds of the women and approximately half of the men in the sample expressed some degree of gender hostility. Examination of more extreme scores reveals that 7.2% of females and 5.0% of males agreed or strongly agreed with four or five items, indicating that a noteworthy minority of participants reported a high level of gender hostility, with the percentage for women somewhat higher than for men. (p 16/17)
An increasing amount of research has found high rates of both physical aggression by women against male partners (Dutton and Straus 2005; Fiebert and Gonzalez 1997; Fiebert 2004; Straus 1999, 2005) and sexual aggression by women (Dutton and Straus 2005; Fiebert and Tucci 1998; Fiebert 2000). Research indicates that these women possess traits similar to men who are physically and sexually aggressive (Capaldi and Gorman-Smith 2003; Medeiros and Straus 2006; Moffitt et al. 2001). Prevention and treatment efforts need to be developed to address the attitudinal and behavioral characteristics of these women, including HTM (Medeiros and Straus 2006; Smithey and Straus 2004). (p26)
Importantly the paper stated that further study was needed to tease out the different causes of hostility between men and women.
There is also a place for more direct efforts to reduce gender hostility, especially as part of sexual assault and partner violence prevention. This will take considerably more information about the nuances of gender hostility than is now available because it appears that the problems women and men have with the other sex are not identical. If so, intervention efforts should target these yet-to-be identified sex-specific aspects of gender hostility. Another complication is that individuals who possess hostile attitudes about the other sex are not likely to be purely hostile. In a sample of females and males from 19 nations, Glick et al. (2000) found that participants reported both hostile and benevolent stereotypes and prejudices toward the other sex.
This will not be an easy task because we know little about the ways in which women evaluate men (Glick and Fiske 1999). Although more is known about men’s attitudes toward women, it is important that researchers learn more about women’s attitudes regarding those who are their “strongest foes and most intimate partners” (Glick and Fiske 1999, p. 534). This can help identify gender-specific interventions that are probably needed.
An increasing amount of research has found high rates of both physical aggression by women against male partners (Dutton and Straus 2005; Fiebert and Gonzalez 1997; Fiebert 2004; Straus 1999, 2005) and sexual aggression by women (Dutton and Straus 2005; Fiebert and Tucci 1998; Fiebert 2000). Research indicates that these women possess traits similar to men who are physically and sexually aggressive (Capaldi and Gorman-Smith 2003; Medeiros and Straus 2006; Moffitt et al. 2001). Prevention and treatment efforts need to be developed to address the attitudinal and behavioral characteristics of these women, including HTM (Medeiros and Straus 2006; Smithey and Straus 2004).
The 7.2% of females and 5% of the males who agreed with four or five of the five gender hostility items may be students who are more likely to sexually and physically aggress against dating partners and others. These extremely hostile cases are those most in need of help.
I saw two items about parenthood yesterday that got me thinking about a number of the issues I have written about in this blog.
The first item I saw was an article in The Courier Mail, entitled ‘Go forth and procreate sooner’ by Belinda Seeney (“We need to support women aiming to have babies earlier to beat age-related infertility”). The second was an ABC TV documentary called ‘Cherry’s parenting dilemmas’.
A distinguishing feature of both was the total lack of any mention of the role or significance of men in the topic under discussion. It was not that the discussion was gender-neutral – it was more like men were completely inconsequential. This is indicative of a society where the ongoing relevance or value of men in parenting (and in fact, generally) is increasingly under-valued. Another feature shared by both of these stories was the privileged western societies that formed their contextual backdrop.
Most readers would be aware of demographic trends now taking place in many western countries, including for example falling birth rates, increasing age at marriage, increasing age at becoming a parent, the rise in single person households, the rise in single parenthood, etc. I want to briefly mention a few other trends or developments that I see as relevant to this discussion.
Recent/current research that is increasingly showing the critical importance of having a father actively involved in raising a child, or conversely, the negative implication for the well-being of the child where a father is absent from the household
Increasing influence of feminist ideology in western societies, and the consequent demonization of men, and negative discrimination towards them
Where do I see things heading ?
More and more women moving against feminist ideology and rediscovering the value and legitimacy of parenthood and therefore more women wishing to have children, and at an earlier age.
More and more women recognizing the value of having a man (or men) actively involved in the rearing of their children
More and more men discovering the costs and negative effects on them of parenthood and so avoiding parenthood for longer, or entirely
Continued or even worsening economic austerity making parenthood more and more unaffordable, particularly for single parents
So as things stand now, just as more and more western women are wanting to have more and more children, there will be less and less men willing to partner with them. This is not selfishness or immaturity on the part of the men, it is a rational response to both real and potential threats faced by them in relation to marriage and parenthood. We need to recognise and address those issues, issues such as bias against men in the family court system. If we fail to do so and the than those that will suffer most will be women and children. Yay feminism!
Earlier generations of Australian women were mostly empathetic to a fault. Nowadays, definitely not so much.
Empathy with the resident citizens of overseas countries
Some time ago I was reading the results of a survey of overseas travelers. It found that most travelers were disturbed by displays of cultural insensitivity by fellow travelers. Unfortunately the survey did not breakdown its results on the basis of variables such as gender.
This got me thinking about my own experiences living and travelling in Asia.
Thai culture is quite conservative but Thais will rarely inform tourists when they have crossed the border of social acceptability, unless they venture far beyond the bounds of decent behaviour. Expressions of polite conduct such as kreng jai – the Thai version of our ‘good manners’ – is highly important to them.
Mention Thailand and most people think of men behaving badly. And indeed some men do … as do some women. The difference is that those western men who misbehave tend to do so within touristy nightlife areas, in many cases within recognised ‘red light areas’. Their behaviour generally involves drunken debauchery within the confines of go-go bars or the like. There is nothing laudable about this, but at least the local Thai people in such areas tend to be inured to witnessing this type of behaviour. Outside these areas I have witnessed exceedingly few examples of western male travellers displaying overt cultural insensitivity.
In contrast I have seen many examples of western women behaving inappropriately outside the bar precincts. A common issue is that of wearing skimpy and revealing clothing in and around temples, and in public places such as markets or parks. This occurs despite the fact that any guidebook on Thailand clearly states that such clothing is considered unacceptable, as well as there being signs installed in many locations.
On this note I happened across the following comments by a female editor of an English-language magazine in Thailand:
“Then there is the trio of English lasses who were found wandering around Wat Phra Singh a few weeks back in their bikinis! It has nothing to do with cultural insensitivity or ignorance. It is just a willful refusal to give a crap. Their grandmothers would have taken a wooden spoon to their bottoms had they trotted into the local church dressed that way.”
I have never confronted anyone about this particular transgression, but from discussions in online forums the attitude seems to be “this is my style, why should I have to change to suit them?”, or they are old-fashioned/sexist and *they* should change. I have also noticed plenty of instances of western women exhibiting exceptionally intrusive, pushy and loud behaviour in public places (particularly for example during community events).
Anyway that’s what this correspondent has noticed in going about his daily business, but discussions with Thai women revealed some other issues. These were women who either ran businesses, or worked in other peoples shop-front businesses (not bar-related, I hasten to add). I must first explain that Thai women are generally in awe of western women, and in general there is no underlying animosity whatsoever.
One after the other these women told me similar accounts of their dealing with western female customers, and of their surprise, dismay and occasional anger at the rude behaviour they often encountered. This included body language (like eye rolling and pained expressions) plus clicking noises of annoyance, and rude gestures and insulting words.
As noted, these were just my own observations – what do others think? Are western women travelling overseas less inclined to observe and maintain local cultural decorum, than western men? And if so, why? Do you think it might it be related to an increasingly overdone feeling of entitlement, and of being beyond criticism/censure? That sense of feeling oneself to be a ‘special snowflake’?