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We need to talk about the F word… closely followed by the V word.

Written By: - Date published: 1:43 pm, December 19th, 2014 - 70 comments
Categories: families, feminism, human rights, sexism, Social issues, uncategorized - Tags:

Earlier this week a press release came out from Waikato University, announcing my appointment as Writer in Residence there for 2015. It must have been a quiet day on the news front at the NBR, because writer Nick Grant slapped together an inflammatory little piece entitled ‘Hager named Waikato University’s 2015 Writer in Residence’ . No doubt designed to stimulate the trolls, it  insinuated that both myself and Nicky were bludgers off the state, undeserving because we have the audacity to accept money from Creative NZ while speaking out against the present government. A nasty little piece in itself, but there was also a casual put down right at the start, introducing me, not in my own right as an author of nine novels, but as “Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager’s younger sister”.

Now, to many, this isn’t an issue. But you’d be surprised by the number of comments I got back about the inherent sexism of this remark from women colleagues, friends and family. I, however, am not surprised. Women live with this kind of virtually invisible sexism every day. And god help us if we speak out against it – we get accused of everything from man-haters to that evil F word (usually uttered through the spittle of pent up fury)…  ‘FEMINIST’!

For instance, remember the vitriol poured upon the poor woman who sparked the resignation of CERA boss Roger Sutton? The tsunami of angry and hostile comments from men to articles such as Philip Matthews ‘Sexism: We can’t escape it’ is quite astounding – and certainly intimidating to anyone who considers speaking out on such issues. When Debbie Hager, a senior tutor and PhD student at the School of Population Health, University of Auckland (oh, and incidentally my older sister!) wrote a piece in the Herald in 2013 about the way our supports for women are being eroded by the current government (‘Celebration? It’s a national day of shame’) the site was inundated with angry and abusive comments by men.

Internationally, we’ve seen similar storms of abuse against women daring to speak out against the gaming industry, for instance. See ‘Trolls drive Anita Sarkeesian out of her house to prove misogyny doesn’t exist‘ and ‘Sexism, Lies and Video Games: The Culture War Nobody is Winning‘ for an overview. Yet, despite all the publicity, commentaries and outrage, how did one media outlet follow up this serious issue? Why with this: After ‘Gamergate:’ The Five Most Sexist Video Games of All TimeYes, folks, click through and watch – just in case you hadn’t already seen these gross exploitative images, here they are for your viewing pleasure… gah! So, in fact, nothing has really changed.

Then today, scrolling through Twitter, I followed a reputable link declaring High Ability Women in the Arts . It says: ‘A list from ranker.com – Many of these women “are members of the high IQ society Mensa International…others on this list are just some of the smartest female celebrities, proving so by being multilingual, earning degrees from top universities, and/or studying and working in all sorts of complicated academic fields.” Great! An empowering story for once… oh, hold on… the accompanying photos are so-called ‘glamour’ shots – near naked shots that totally undermine the positive message – and totally unnecessary. What were they thinking? How could this be viewed as acceptable? Or could it, in fact, be more sinister? Yet another subtle way to put smart women down?

My mother was a feminist, joining the fight for women to have access to contraception, abortion, financial independence, government support in times of need. She empowered her daughters to believe we had as much right to agency in the world as men. I saw how hard she and her peers fought on our behalf, and I want to acknowledge the benefits my generation and my own daughter’s generation have gained from women in the past fighting for equal rights. But it is growing increasingly obvious that there is a conservative backlash at work now, insidiously undermining the gains past feminists have made. And one of the worst things they have managed to achieve is the smearing of the word ‘feminist’ itself, so much so that young women are now heard to say they are not feminists and (even more bizarrely and depressingly) that ‘we are equal.’

So, just for the record, here’s my take on FEMINISM, that most contentious of F words:

Feminism is a reaction. A position. A belief that women should, by right, be entitled to all the same ‘privileges’ as men: fair pay, high quality free education, control of their own money (and bodies), freedom to choose who to love and how to act. Freedom of movement, association, dress, beliefs. Respect as an equal. Opportunity. Equity in decision-making. A voice.

It is not about hating men – never has been, though I can understand the anger and frustration that from time to time erupts. Nor is it about wanting to be like men, heaven forbid! It is about acknowledging the value of our differences and our strengths, and allowing women to use our differences to add value. And it’s about acknowledging that literally BILLIONS of women live under the iron fist of men, with repression so deeply entrenched into the structures of society that many still can’t even see it, or refuse to, or don’t want to (for fear of losing something, when in fact they’d gain.)

This, of course, brings me to that other word – the V word. Violence. We need to talk more about this too. Several years ago I wrote a resource about Violence Against Women from a global perspective for Amnesty International. Rape as a weapon of war, partner abuse, the aborting of female foetus’s, sexual violence, trafficking, slavery, female genital mutilation… All these huge, ugly issues that we, in little old NZ, somehow think we are immune to… when we really aren’t. We continue to have terrible statistics around violence against women. Women die on far too regular a basis here, often at a time when they are supposedly protected by the law. They are controlled. They are abused. Sometimes they are  driven mad.

But until we can openly and honestly discuss the deep core of male privilege in this country such crimes – and such outpourings of misogyny as those seen above, will continue. Until our young people are led by example, seeing the male adults around them respecting women and allowing them equal agency and respect, nothing will change.

Now, I can hear some among you muttering ‘but women can be violent against men too.’ Yes, that’s true. But, sorry guys, that’s a red herring. Sure, there are a small percentage of cases where the roles are reversed. But this is tiny compared to the damage inflicted on women by men. Of course, my sympathy goes out to men being abused, and I hope they are treated fairly and assisted with their plight. But to claim that women are somehow unfairly advantaged by targeted funding and services is yet another way of down-playing the issue and undermining our status as equal partners with equal rights.

So what’s the point of all this? Well, with Christmas just around the corner, in houses all over the country women are living in dread. Festivities switch to fist fights. Toddy turns into violent binges. Christmas drinkees turns to rape. Families are fractured. Rape Crisis and Women’s Refuge bulge at the seams. Therefore, in the absence of the robust debate we still need to have around how we fix such inequalities and shameful goings on, at least try this: pass some money on to Women’s Refuge  or your local Rape Crisis. The women who work there are the real face of feminism – women working to support women – working for a fairer world.

And if you hear, or read, or see a blatant act of sexism, point it out! Refuse to acquiesce. Refuse to condone it by your silence. Educate your kids. Look inward and winkle out your own assumptions and stereotypes. Be the change.

70 comments on “We need to talk about the F word… closely followed by the V word.”

  1. Clemgeopin 1

    A well written thought provoking article.

  2. Bill 2

    If

    Feminism is a reaction. A position. A belief that women should, by right, be entitled to all the same privileges as men: fair pay, high quality free education, control of their own money (and bodies), freedom to choose who to love and how to act. Freedom of movement, association, dress, beliefs. Respect as an equal. Opportunity. Equity in decision-making. A voice.

    Then of course, we have to bring ourselves to the C word. Colour. (There are others, but just the one will do for illustrative purposes)

    See, when feminism is couched in terms of attaining the privileges of men, then not only is it ignoring other areas of discrimination, but it’s utterly failing to address the entire concept of privilege. If you and I are to be privileged (as your definition of feminism suggests), then we are to be privileged… in relation to who?

    Rather than seeking privilege, doesn’t consistency and any wish to avoid charges of hypocrisy, through, for example, being seen to play a part in recreating systems of oppression; don’t these things demand that we simply undermine privilege in all its multifaceted forms and seek to develop structures or systems that pre-empt its re-emergence?

    • mhager 2.1

      I don’t disagree with you – should have put ‘privilege’ in inverted commas (and will go back and do so now!) And, of course, there are other issues such as colour, ethnicity etc. But, given women are roughly half the population of the planet, surely this makes the issue THE most prevalent form of discrimination? And, while it would be nice to tear down all the systems and rebuild with fairer structures, for now we are still living within them, and much can be improved without such radical change (and I like to think that, should women be given a fair share of power, we would move towards more equitable systems as a result)

      • Bill 2.1.1

        I’m not one for elevating one form of systemic discrimination or oppression over another. So in response to the numbers argument, all I’ll say is that if half of the worlds’ population are women, but (I dunno) 90% of the worlds’ population aren’t ‘pinky coloured’, then wouldn’t colour be THE most prevalent form of discrimination? Unless we take economic oppression into account, at which point we might be looking at something north of 95% of humanity suffering systemic discrimination – with many of that number suffering multiple systemic oppressions.

        As for it being nice to ‘tear down all the systems…’, no it wouldn’t. What would be nice if every reform led to a demand for further reform, which led in turn to further demands, and if that (‘this/and’) was the default position of people who sought a better world, rather than the pervasive ‘either/or’ mindset that says we have reform or radical change.

        We have both. Or we just go round and round in circles.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1

          And if you hear, or read, or see a blatant act of sexism [or as Bill says, any other form of discrimination], point it out! Refuse to acquiesce. Refuse to condone it by your silence. Educate your kids. Look inward and winkle out your own assumptions and stereotypes. Be the change.

          Words to live by.

        • mhager 2.1.1.2

          thanks for this – very true and rational.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.2.1

            I was trying to figure out a way to restrain myself before, perhaps I succeeded too much – I hate the idea that there are hierarchies of privilege, and that concentrating your energies on one aspect somehow diminishes the worth of your effort.

            I’m struggling to understand Bill’s argument. It’s clear to me that Mandy used the word privilege in passing, rather than as some sort of grab for “white” privilege.

            Understanding one form of oppression – recognising unfairness in one sphere – these skills are manifestly transferable.

            • batweka 2.1.1.2.1.1

              I also didn’t read the post as suggesting that women be elevated to some special status at the expense of others. More that feminism focusses on the politics of being female and that that inherently necessitates an analysis of gender privilege and dynamics. It in no way implies that any gains are to be locked up for women alone. In fact it’s a marker of contemporary feminism that the fight is for ‘equality’ for all beings.

              Likewise, I didn’t read the post as saying feminism wants equality with men on men’s terms.

              Having said that, I think Bill and CV’s points are useful in making the distinctions overt rather than assumed.

              “Understanding one form of oppression – recognising unfairness in one sphere – these skills are manifestly transferable.”

              +1 And all movements and individuals vary in how successful they are with this.

              • karol

                Yes, weka, that’s my understanding, too.

                And I also agree with Mandy that there is a backlash against feminism (both the f word itself and the goal for an end to the subservient treatment of women in diverse areas of life.

            • Bill 2.1.1.2.1.2

              Well, seeing as how in my original comment to the actual post, I didn’t say that Mandy had elevated feminism, but rather that privilege and discrimination were being provided with a free pass, then I don’t see what it is your agreeing to disagree on.

              The elevation of feminism came in at comment 2.1 – But, given women are roughly half the population of the planet, surely this makes the issue THE most prevalent form of discrimination?

              I responded to that at 2.2.1 and then I read it as Mandy acknowledging and stepped away from assigning more importance to one form of systemic oppression/discrimination.

              • weka

                I took your 3rd paragraph of original comment (starting with the word see) as talking about elevating feminism at the expense of others.

                • Bill

                  Just re-read it and it still reads as being about privilege being relative and always predicated on discrimination or oppression.

                  The only phrase within any sentence of that paragraph that alludes to anything other than that, is basically an obvious but, I felt at the time, necessary aside to Mandy having referred to the privilege of men. I mean, would women aspire to attain the privileges conferred on non-pink men in western societies?

                  Anyway. It seems that we who are commenting, agree that there was no elevation of feminism within the post.

                  • batweka

                    To me “when feminism is couched in terms of attaining the privileges of men…” is largely synonymous with elevating women at the expense of others. Which is why I don’t think equality with men is a particularly worthy goal on its own, although I understand and support initiatives within the current paradigm that improve conditions for women.

                    I don’t want to nitpick your comment 🙂 I did think the issues you raised were important and agree generally with the idea that heirarchising discrimination is counter productive.

                    “I mean, would women aspire to attain the privileges conferred on non-pink men in western societies?”

                    Yes. I think that many women, like most people, aspire to attain the privileges of whatever class they are within whether that be ethnicity, socioeconomic, sexual orientation etc and that for women this is usually gendered as well. eg Māori women struggling within their own communities to attain or maintain privilege that Māori men have (albeit the issues are often different than for non-Māori)

                    • Adele

                      Kiaora, Batweka

                      As a Māori woman, the only problem I have with our Māori men is when they act towards me as if they are Pākehā. The usual response is always in a Mother Earth type way by telling them to go fuck themselves.

                      That Māori women take on as a cause celebre an external analysis of our worldview and then redefine our traditions as sexist is an annoyance. It is a debate shaped by external influences and therefore rests uneasily with many if not most Māori women including myself.

                      There has been a huge shift in recent times whereby operational leadership of Iwi Māori and Māori organisations now rest with women (CEOs). Māori men still occupy traditional leadership roles but effective roles are now with women.

                    • batweka

                      Kiaora Adele, thanks, that’s pretty much how I understood it but didn’t feel I had the words/experience to express it very well.

                      Pākehā feminists in NZ owe a lot to Māori women and Māoridom, both for the reminder that gender plays out differently in different cultures and for providing good models of how things can be done differently.

                      I didn’t know about the last paragraph. That is very interesting indeed.

          • Bill 2.1.1.2.2

            And thankyou to you too for what you just did before.

  3. ianmac 3

    Thanks for the heads-up Mandy.
    As a male I once declared my self as a feminist for all the reasons Mandy said. The group of women I was with said I wasn’t allowed the label. Could only be a supporter of feminism. Oh well.
    Wonder why Nick Grant cannot recognise the huge talent of Mandy, in this case or the talent of the Hager family in general?
    A threat perhaps? Jealous perhaps? Small minded perhaps?

  4. Richard@Down South 4

    I’m a white male, 40, and a feminist… i believe people should have the same opportunities regardless of sex, race or age… People should be treated with respect. What I’m against is misandry and the corruption of feminism

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      Dear brother in oppression: fuck off, cry baby.

    • Murray Rawshark 4.2

      Yeah Richard, I got really angry once when a lesbian separatist collective told me I couldn’t go to a party at their house. Except that I didn’t. I figured out that was their space and they didn’t even tell me. Talking about misandry is as feeble as talking about reverse racism.

      • weka 4.2.1

        Especially in a conversation partly about the backlash against feminism and women’s human rights.

  5. Colonial Rawshark 5

    Thanks for posting on The Standard, Mandy. We have some really good writers here now! lol

    My first thought is that if Deborah Hill Cone or Jane Clifton had won the Residence, the NBR and that dickhead Grant would have been very positive and effusive. So yes there is definitely a privileged ‘in-club’ dynamic going on here. But it’s only peripherally to do with gender.

    Secondly, why would feminism want to use male power, privilege and societal participation as the standard and the datum for women to achieve. Really? Especially when it has been shown that the male exercise of privilege and power is bringing our civilisation to the brink.

    Thirdly. The true violence is the systematic warfare and poverty (itself an insidious form of violence against people) which is being wrought around the world by the corporate state in our name. Patriarchal regimes, dictatorships and massive corporations are propped up by these monies and activities while most of us turn a blind eye. And we each benefit immensely from that. That’s real privilege. Today, you and I can fill up our cars for maybe $6 less because Russia’s economy and society – which 140M Russians depend upon to live – is under attack by the western power elite. Are we really ready to give up our privilege, our incomes and our standard of living if that is the cost of stopping imperial violence across the globe?

    I’m going to fill up the tank this weekend and I’ll donate the $6 I save to a local charity. I’m going to have the privilege and satisfaction of helping those disadvantaged this Christmas in NZ, albeit knowing that its being done at the cost of an entire country and its 140M peoples under economic and societal attack.

    As Bill suggested and I agree – it’s time we started at looking at levelling the playing field in more ways than one.

  6. Stickler 6

    One thing the Internet has done for women is allowed them to glimpse the vitriolic sewer that sloshes around in the minds of too many men.

    In the past, women have extended men too much credit for being sentient , rational human beings. We have assumed too much goodwill on their part. We were wrong to do so.

    Reading the comments on any article about the disadvantage of the female half of the population, in any media outlet on the Net, reveals such hatred, such revenge fantasy, such bitter determination on the respondents’ part to hang onto their male privilege, that it should act as a rude wake-up call to any female reader.

    If your daughter and her young friends are complacent about the minuscule progress women have made towards equality, particularly non-western women, I suggest she reads not just the features and news items concerning women, but the comments that follow them. With any luck, her awareness might soar.

    (Of course, I also suggest that if she should find a man with a thoughtful, decent, fair, considerate and appreciative attitude towards women, she spoil him to bits. There are a few human ones out there – but she may need a searchlight and a bloodhound to find them….)

    • mhager 6.1

      Fortunately my daughter isn’t complacent at all – and is more than capable of calling out sexism or other bad behaviour. And good idea – I’ll give her a searchlight for Christmas!

  7. Tom Jackson 7

    And one of the worst things they have managed to achieve is the smearing of the word ‘feminist’ itself, so much so that young women are now heard to say they are not feminists and (even more bizarrely and depressingly) that ‘we are equal.’

    Through my job I end up talking to many of these women. It’s not as bad as you suggest. They believe in equality between the sexes, abortion rights, that it is appropriate for women to be career oriented and not have a family, etc. They identify “feminism” with the cultural studies version of feminism promoted by the small number of radical feminists who dominate the feminist movement and who spend more time assailing perceived heretics and promoting evidence-free theories than they do actually helping the majority of the world’s women.

    And I see Grand Theft Auto being had up again. Sigh.. From the article:

    There’s also the issue of the way that all women behave in “GTA 5.” They’re portrayed as stupid, vapid, whiny, desperate beings.

    Anyone who has played GTA knows that everybody in the game is portrayed as a stupid, vapid, whiny, desperate being. GTA is a dark humoured and misanthropic satire of contemporary America. They’re out to mock and belittle everyone, and they do (including gamers).

    Yes, you can murder and rob a prostitute, because you can murder and rob anyone in GTA. If you like, fire up Twitch.tv and you’ll find a significant number of women streaming GTA V (the top GTA stream when I looked this afternoon was a female player). I guess people could try and lecture them about how self defeating this is, but I can imagine what they would say…

    • karol 7.1

      They identify “feminism” with the cultural studies version of feminism promoted by the small number of radical feminists who dominate the feminist movement and who spend more time assailing perceived heretics and promoting evidence-free theories than they do actually helping the majority of the world’s women.

      Can you identify some of this “small number” and give examples of these “evidence-free theories”?

      Otherwise your comment just looks like a backhander that adds to the undermining of the “f” word.

      • Tom Jackson 7.1.1

        I could point out some contributors to this blog, but that would be unkind. I’m sure you already know who I’m talking about.

        Otherwise your comment just looks like a backhander that adds to the undermining of the “f” word

        All heretics must burn, eh?

        Bad social science does more to undermine women than the “men’s rights” clowns.

        Ask yourself. How many gay people do you know who don’t want to be seen as supporting gay rights? How many people of colour don’t want to be seen as opposing racism?

        Not many I would think.

        Yet Mandy is right: women increasingly do not want to be identified as feminists.

        • batweka 7.1.1.1

          Oh right, the backlash against feminism is feminism’s fault.

          “Yet Mandy is right: women increasingly do not want to be identified as feminists.”

          She didn’t say that.

          • mhager 7.1.1.1.1

            I do think it’s true that there’s an orchestrated movement to put young women off identifying as feminist – look at a website such as http://womenagainstfeminism.tumblr.com/ and it’s clear these young women haven’t been good information about what feminism means. All part of the conservative religious Right, I suspect – but certainly distasteful and worrying

            • batweka 7.1.1.1.1.1

              yikes, that tumblr needs a content warning.

              Tom is trying to run the line that certain kinds of feminists have ruined feminism and that this means that more women don’t want to identify. He didn’t specify young women, he shifted to saying women in general, and has used generalised nonsense slurs about feminists (radical, academics) without being clear about what he actually means. He’s also implied that some of the women authors on ts are these evil feminists but when asked refused to clarify who he meant.

              I think he is wrong about women in general being less willing to identify as feminist, and that you are right that there are specific issues for younger feminists.

        • karol 7.1.1.2

          TJ, no I don’t know who you are talking about, except that it could be me.

          I have an background in “cultural studies” – which included some study and teaching of gender and feminism.

          You mention TS contributors, but previously you referred to

          They identify “feminism” with the cultural studies version of feminism promoted by the small number of radical feminists who dominate the feminist movement and who spend more time assailing perceived heretics and promoting evidence-free theories than they do actually helping the majority of the world’s women.

          You haven’t named any such radical feminists who allegedly dominate the feminist movement.

          Cultural studies generally can get misinformed negative attacks- ditto “feminism”. So I really want to know what counts as “evidence-free theories”. I know a few feminist theories on various issues. All are grounded by “evidence” relevant to the theories and issues – and some are theories of noted radical feminists. I don’t necessarily agree with everything they say/write – but that goes for all social science theories, and my disagreement with them doesn’t mean they have done “bad social science”.

          Also, there are TS commenters on various (non-feminist) topics and issues that could as easily be described as “promoting evidence-free theories”.

          Bad social science is hardly something distinctively done by “feminists” and it is not something usually done by most “prominent” feminists.

  8. Corokia 8

    Thanks Mandy for another great post. When current Minister of Women’s affairs announced that she is not a feminist, it clearly showed how far backwards we have moved in some ways in the last few decades.

    I’ve recently heard Australian feminist Jane Caro (on youtube at the Festival of dangerous ideas 2014) well worth a listen. She’s funny and really good. A couple of great quotes from her…

    “I believe we will only have true equality when there are as many mediocre women in positions of power as there currently are mediocre men. ”

    “If we really do promote on merit, as so many claim, then merit is astonishingly concentrated among white, middle-class, private school-educated men.”

  9. batweka 9

    Given the events of the past month (eg Sydney hostages, Ferguson, #gamergate, terrorism legislation), here’s a timely look at one aspect of how society prioritises and categorises terror. It’s an article from a journalist who covered the Montreal massacre in 1989. Despite the gunman targeting successful women engineering students, the media at the time almost blanketly refused to talk about the crime as being gendered.

    Twenty-five years later, as I re-evaluate my stories and with the benefit of analysis of the coverage that massacre spawned, I see how journalists— male and female producers, news directors, reporters, anchors — subtly changed the meaning of the tragedy to one that the public would get behind, silencing so-called “angry feminists.” We were “social gatekeeping,” as filmmaker Maureen Bradley later asserted in her 1995 film, Reframing the Montreal Massacre: A media interrogation.

    http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/page-how-i-sanitized-the-feminist-outrage-over-the-montreal-massacre

    It’s also blooding interesting to look at that again in the light of #gamergate.

  10. r0b 10

    Thank you Mandy.

    The juxtaposition of this post and the preceding caption competition is informative. There is Key, making fun of a man who was trying to acknowledge sexism and the damage that is too often created by males.

  11. batweka 11

    .No doubt designed to stimulate the trolls, it insinuated that both myself and Nicky were bludgers off the state, undeserving because we have the audacity to accept money from Creative NZ while speaking out against the present government.

    As an aside, is this a recent phenomenom? (criticising left wing people for critising the govt when they have accepted public funding). Kim Hill ran this line in the interview with Tom Scott (@Peace) recently. While I don’t believe that Hill is part of the Dirty Politics cabal, it struck me as an odd thing to do in that interview, and now seeing the same line being run against the Hagers I wonder if this is straight out of the Crosby Textor/DPF playbook. Anyone think it’s a recent thing or has it been going on for ages and I only just noticed? Where did it come from?

  12. Scottie 12

    Thankyou for the post.

  13. Murray Rawshark 13

    Great post. We all have a lot of work to do.

  14. Ann 14

    Thanks for writing this Mandy. You put into powerful word what so many women (some men too, though not nearly enough!) think and feel. You peel away the bullshit and expose the raw guts of issues like this. Thank you.

  15. karol 15

    On the “v” word. There was an article of few days ago about the increasing amount of family violence being perpetrated by young men, and to a lesser extent by young women.

    Anna Pearson on Stuff:

    An increasing number of younger men are using violence against family members – “mostly mums” – a specialist family violence agency says.

    Of about 190 men listed on family violence police incident reports in North Canterbury in a 12-month period, 23 were aged 15 to 19.

    The majority, about 30 per cent, were aged between 20 and 29, and five were under 15.

    […]
    Ramon York, a Rangiora-based ReachOut worker, said he had observed an “enormous increase” in family violence cases involving younger men.

    “There are far more young people coming up on the [incident reports], that is young boys and girls who are acting out against their mum or their brothers and sisters . . . mums mostly.”

    “It’s quite often in that close, intimate circle.” Crime victim statistics released by police show several people over the age of 80 were assaulted by their children, male and female, in the last four months.

    Half a dozen girls aged 10 to 14 were assaulted by their boyfriends.

  16. Saarbo 16

    Great post and comments. Thanks all.

  17. RedLogix 17

    Welcome mandy. It’s terrific to see a diversity of new voices at The Standard.

    I’m hopeful over time we will see some fine debates – gender issues being as fraught and complex as they are these days.

    • greywarshark 17.1

      Red Logix
      I hope we don’t get smothered by debates on gender issues. A very few would be enough. And there is about as much light seen from them as results from discussions with PG Tips.

  18. Rolf 18

    From what I can see, hear, and have experienced, it is rather men who should, by right, be entitled to all the same ‘privileges’ as women, as control of their own money (and bodies), freedom to choose who to love and how to act. Freedom of movement, association, dress, beliefs. Respect as an equal. Opportunity. Equity in decision-making. A voice. That is not the case today. Ask any man who been raided in a separation by clever lawyers.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 18.1

      🙄

      Clever lawyers are only available to women on Planet Rolf?

      • Adele 18.1.1

        Kiaora Unknown Bloke

        In legal separations involving children, men tend to be at the losing end of judgements made. It has nothing to do with clever lawyers and everything to do with Judicial perceptions on the relative roles of men and women in raising small children.

        No matter the clever argument – it comes down to general perspectives on who is better equipped to look after a baby. And the chances of a Court giving a girl child over to her Dad, is well, probably not that high.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 18.1.1.1

          Yeah, Adele, I don’t think that goes anywhere close to validating Rolf’s false narrative of poor oppressed blokes, does it?

      • Rolf 18.1.2

        Seems to be the case, and clever law are only available to clever lawyers, and clever judges in secret courts love clever lawyers. It’s a very tilted system biased towards men.

  19. this may be of interest..

    “..2014: a year of brave – inspiring – young feminists..

    ..From a seven-year-old who took on a supermarket to the girls who stood up to authority against violence – racism – and inequality –

    – these girls make the future look bright..”

    (cont..)

    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/womens-blog/2014/dec/18/year-of-brave-youg-inspirational-feminist-role-models

  20. Well hell, I’m so glad Labour has a leader now who doesn’t care about this kind of adolescent Marxist drivel and is more interested in jobs for workers.

    • look..!..it’s the tr*ll of xmas past..!

      • George Hendry 20.1.1

        +100 🙂 Phillip.

        • Redbaiter 20.1.1.1

          Not trolling.

          The Labour Party needs to get away from this kind of navel gazing extremist nonsense and focus on improving the lot of the working class.

          I have recommended this change of course for some time now, on this blog and elsewhere.

          It is why I have said for sometime that Little should be leader. And if Little stays away from this divisive boilerplate Marxist rubbish and all that goes with it he will defeat Key at the next election.

          • phillip ure 20.1.1.1.1

            of course..!..of course..!

            ..you have a/that long history of wishing the labour party well..eh..?

            ..thought of offering yrslf as an adviser for little..?

            • Redbaiter 20.1.1.1.1.1

              The other thing Little needs to do is put some distance between Labour and the loopy Greens and quell the voices of green party infiltrators in the Labour Party.

              I have said it before, but the only real strategy for Little is to go right, and free the Labour party from all of the extreme left baggage that drags it down in the eyes of middle NZ.

              That will leave John key, who has embraced so much of that left wing rubbish, stranded like a shag on a rock.

              Little should pay me for this advice, because it is good advice. He will beat John Key easily if he takes it.

              • it may be disturbing for you..

                ..but did you know you are in lockstep with mike williams..?

                ..he also advises ignoring the poor/missing-million..

                ..and lurching to the right..

                ..’williams and redbaiter..sitting in a tree’..

                ..eh..?

              • The Labour Party needs to get away from this kind of navel gazing extremist nonsense and focus on improving the lot of the working class.

                You do know the working class is a Marxist concept, right? And that the stuff in the post has about as much to do with Marxism as the average Jimmy Swaggart sermon does?

                Also: if Little does improve the lot of the working class, it’ll be through measures to promote and enable wider unionisation of the workforce. Are you sure you want him doing that? I certainly do, but it’s hard to picture you wanting it…

                • Redbaiter

                  I have no problem, with unions and have often stated this in the past. As long as membership is completely voluntary, then fine. I am aware that sometimes there is a need for the worker to have a means of representation that is greater than just his own self.

                  I think it is important for the country that we escape the clutches of the Progressives of both Labour and National and anything that helps in that regard I’m OK with.

                  I do not agree with extreme left concepts designed to eventually collapse and destroy capitalism and or democracy.

  21. Jenny Kirk 21

    Thanks Mandy – I tried to write a comment much earlier in support of your post – but something (or someone, possibly myself !) had bunged up my computer setup, and I couldn’t get it through.

    You’ve put into words all that I’ve been thinking re modern feminism, the lack of knowledge among younger women, the even greater lack of knowledge and acceptance of women’s equality among quite a few men, and the pervasive acceptance of violence in our society. So thanks for this post. It’s well worth the effort you’ve put into it. Great stuf !

  22. Andrew Welsh 22

    I am sorry for being a man…

  23. Ann 23

    What I find incredibly sad and frustrating is when I hear women say ‘I’m not a feminist…BUT….’ Would love to see this change to ‘I am a feminist…AND…!’

  24. venezia 24

    Andrew Welsh… you need to follow up what it is you are sorry about as a man. Just as David Cunliffe did – only that bit was not reported. If it had it would have highlighted the violence against women he was referring to. Classic put down by the media.

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