A Tale of Three Petitions

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Eye on Media Misandry

Kudos to the New Statement’s teenage ambassador for feminism June Eric-Udorie for extending some love to her brothers and hoisting the distress flag for Survivors UK a charity helping male survivors of rape and sexual abuse who have lost all their funding.

Whilst her awareness raising is commendable, one Schofield Scooby sleuth inspired cursory glance at the internet left me less than convinced that her motivations are entirely charitable.  In her article male rape charity has had its funding slashed zero where are all outraged the men she appears to appropriate the plight of rape victims primarily for the purpose of taking one long pop at that much maligned creature, the Male Right’s Activist.

Fair enough as far as it’s fair enough, some ‘MRA’s’ can be assholes but then again so can some feminists. The difference is that while both are essentially terms for diverse collectives of people advocating sex equality, only one gets ridiculed and demonised in the mainstream media on a depressingly regular basis.

Eric-Udorie’s thesis is essentially that 5 times as many people have taken time of their day to sign a petition calling for Bahar Mustafa’s job than have protested the funding cuts.

Which in reality is a bit like me suggesting that Feminists aren’t really interested in female representation in STEM subjects because less than 200 people have signed Connie St Louise’s petition demanding that the next President of the Royal Society be elected from a female only short-list.

It’s possible that St Louise’s petition has garnered so little support because most self identifying equality champions understand that it would take a change in UK equality law before the Society could comply with her demands (openly at least).  It’s possible… but I think it’s more likely that the main reason it hasn’t had much traction is that, unlike her tweet about Professor Tim Hunt’s ill judged quip about female scientists, apart from one obvious exception  no one has pushed it into the mainstream media.

The same logic applies to comparative coverage given to the two petitions under June Eric-Udorie’s microscope.  As she recalls, Bahar ‘Mustafa created an event and asked that men did not attend because she wanted to create a safe space for black and minority ethnic women’ and as most acknowledge there was a bit more to the story than that, which is why it generated so many column inches.

I am outraged and we all should be. Survivors UK run a vital service for men who have been affected by sexual abuse and if it shuts, this will affect countless men in London.

I’m always being told that feminists don’t give a shit about issues like male rape or suicide. In fact, our detractors contend, feminists don’t give a shit about men. In case you missed the memo, feminists hate men. At least that’s the impression that we get from anti-feminist men and MRAs, mostly active on the web where they moan about men being oppressed because obviously, being a man is so hard these days.  June Eric-Udorie – New Statesman

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When I was her age I thought that Bono had the answers to the world’s problems and look how that worked out, so for that reason alone I don’t want to be unduly critical. That said, there is a specific reason that I decided her article merited inclusion in a project documenting the phenomenon of glass spotism.

The contradiction apparent at the heart of June’s preferred narrative essentially define’s why I committed to blogging about this specific subject.

Obviously her criticism of tactics employed by people like J4MB’s Mike Buchanan is not entirely unwarranted but dismissing and attacking an entire burgeoning movement as this new wave of ‘networked feminists’ so frequently feel the need to do, is ultimately just as ignorant as portraying anyone who self-identifies with the extremely broad ideological church of ‘feminism’ as necessarily anti-men.

I’m sure some of the people who attack men’s rights causes so venomously are genuinely anti-men but I sincerely believe that most have much more cynical and logical reasons for doing so.

Women’s right’s activists are primarily concerned with addressing issues faced by women. Fair enough but especially during times of austerity and squeezed resources, the relatively new phenomenon of men and boys necessarily organizing and engaging within the established infrastructure and language of identity politics is something clearly seen as extremely threatening to both the resources and the profile available to causes concerned primarily, or more often exclusively, concerned with the advancement of women.

If feminism is at it’s most fundamental is about the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes, then clearly you can’t be a feminist without supporting equal rights for men. Consequently if you embrace or engage in the sadly all too popular pursuit of rubbishing or dismissing everyone associated with advocating for the rights of men then, in my humble subjective opinion, you need to reflect on how this might contribute to projects like Survivors UK when their funding applications are overlooked by the powers that be.

It seems that if men and MRAs aren’t writing, and let’s be honest, complete bullshit, they are attacking women. Yes, there are issues that predominantly affect men but surely it’s a no brainer that both men and women suffer in our patriarchal society – one that prizes masculinity and expects only three things of women: to get married, get fucked and have babies. June Eric-Udorie – New Statesman

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