Gender Politics #4: Feminists – A Warning from History

I learnt a new word last Christmas.  I didn’t like it, I took offence at it and I gave an unfamiliar ‘Facebook friend’ a hard time for using it in mixed company on my timeline.  That word was Feminazi.

Feminazis think that “woman-only” spaces are NEEDED in a man-dominant society. Ultimately, they want that space to become the world.  Feminazis do not encourage the killing of men. They believe in their natural extinction.  Urban Dictionary

I’ve subsequently learnt that it’s a relatively well established term that has been around since the 1990’s when it gained traction after the conservative American shock jock Rush Limbaugh adopted it.

I don’t like it and, for various reasons, I don’t intend to start using it myself but over the last week I have experienced a bit more insight into why some people do draw parallels between some of the tactics adopted by the more radical wing of the sisterhood and the third reich…

fem

For a start the National Socialist German Workers’ Party famously had a relatively strict membership policy.  When Ellie Mae O’Hagan recently called for a UK Feminist Political Party, she did make it clear that approximately 50% of the country wouldn’t pass her door policy so you do begin to wonder what they might have planned for the rest of us if the started making plans behind the famous number 10 door.

Of course to get there, given their self imposed disadvantage at the ballot box, they may have to take a few short cuts when it comes to developing propaganda for the party faithful.  Last week I couldn’t help but notice some similarities between the practices of another famous totalitarian regime and (Shadow Ministry for Inequality) Gloria De Piero’s recent criticism of the current regime which was based on some seriously dodgy number crunching.

As the night of the long knives famously established, Nazi’s weren’t particularly wedded to Queensberry Rules when it came to engaging their political opponents.  I can’t be entirely certain but I certainly suspect that I have been the victim of some fairly radical censorship from the Guardian this week.  The reason appears to be that I dared to criticise their Dear Leader of the woman’s section and as a consequence of someone hitting the panic button ever since I have been blocked from submitting comments as daringly subversive as:

Why are so many radical feminists so hot to trot for this guy? (Ryan Gosling)

and

Happy birthday #EverydaySexism – is it time to come of age and start acknowledging inequalities experienced during the lifetime of men & boys also?

and

Ignorance is Strength, War is Peace, Comment is Free

The Guardian’s explanation for putting me in ‘pre-moderation’ boot camp was, to say the least, a little muddled.  When I posted my initial reaction one fellow tweeter offered this observation…

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 16.49.11

I suspect there may be more than a little truth in this.  The first of my two ‘problem posts’ generated a lot of traffic to this post before it was censored.  The post includes qualitative data to support the opinion I was expressing in the comment section, which is that Laura Bates – defender of everyday sexism appears to turn a blind eye when it comes to everyday sexism experienced by men.

Having read the Guardian’s Community Guidelines again, I’m satisfied that the Marquess of Queensberry would rule that I was punching above the belt but given that given that I was so unceremoniously bounced off the playing field without a trial, let alone right to appeal, I’m not convinced that everyone is.

I still don’t like the word femnazi but I do have more of a sense of why a former school mate working in a predominately female working environment might end up trying to convince me that such a concept might have at least a shade of credibility.

Which is why on the same day that the moderators blocked the comment below from a discussion about online bullying, I committed to posting a comment a day until such time as I am released from the special ghetto the Guardian reserves for undesirables.

In fairness, I am beginning to wonder if people like Laura Bates don’t sometimes over egg the online abuse narrative a bit. I’m not trying to detract from genuine and serious examples (quite the opposite in fact) but I do think that anyone who rushes to take offence when it suits them do.

By way on an example, let’s consider the ‘Guardian Community’ as a microcosm of modern Britain (albeit one with a serious over-representation of latté drinkers). This ‘community’ will comprise of an extremely diverse mix of people who all equally ‘believe’ they have a right to their opinion, along with a right not to be unreasonably offended.

Now most people are able to behave like proper adults but there’s always that 1% who threaten to ruin this utopia of free speech for the rest of us. This is why everyone is expected to abide by the ’10 Community Commandments’ and have faith in the invisible Guardians to enforce them. Sadly in ‘isolated situations’, someone is ‘identified as ‘a risk’, based on ‘a pattern of behaviour’ and must be placed in a ‘moderation cell’ until such time as they can either be rehabilitated or ejected into the wasteland (or as I call it, the Huffington Post).

My point is that this is that this is the position I find myself in after (at most) two seemingly innocuous on topic comments underneath a Laura Bates article. The concern that follows is that either someone out there is dangerously disengaged from the concept of reasonable offence or else the Guardians in our community really have become the foot soldiers for people who are prepared to use offence as a weapon to silence opinions that they don’t like. I find that thought extremely offensive indeed. EiB

Next | The Quota Question

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