For the Uninitiated: PHMT Aka What about teh menz?

What about teh menz?: is a term used by radical feminists to ridicule men’s issues and exclude the male perspective in discussions about gender equality or social issues of concern to both sexes.

PHMT (Patriarchy Hurts Men, Too): See ‘what about teh menz?’

menz

These terms are employed by feminists to describe behaviour they view as silencing or derailing tactics drawing attention away from  important discussions about issues important to women.

Radical Feminist: “Domestic violence is a big problem for women.”
Second voice: “Not just women. 40% of domestic violence is experienced by men.”
Radical Feminist: “Oh noez! What about the menz! lol

Feminists argue that interjecting male perspectives has the effect (intended or otherwise) of silencing women’s voices on important issues such as domestic abuse, rape and reproductive rights.

The difficulty with this justification becomes apparent when the concept of ‘gender equality issues’ is interpreted as synonymous or interchangeable with the concept of  women’s issues’ and exacerbated when it is interpreted as interchangeable with ‘feminist issues’.  In the later context particularly, it can be used to intimidate and silence men and women who might otherwise contribute perspectives and political opinions not automatically aligned with the preferred feminist narrative or point of view.

A good example of how such behaviour can significantly impact on public policy making can be seen in recent discussions about domestic abuse.

In December 2013 Woman’s Aid reported that domestic abuse services were at breaking point because of Government cuts, with their chief executive Polly Neate highlighting the fact that ONS figures estimate that over a million women had experienced domestic violence in the previous year.  Ministers responded by saying that they had “ring-fenced” £40m to fund “specialist local support services and national helplines”.

nate

We cannot afford to lose the services we have spent 40 years building up.  Polly Neate, Women’s Aid

In May 2014 the Mankind Initiative ran an awareness campaign highlighting the fact that the exact same ONS figures estimated just under a million men had experienced domestic violence in the previous year.

Polly Neate’s response to this campaign was to argue that the ONS figures she had herself relied on six months earlier were in fact misleading.  She warned that campaigns such as these could influence important decisions that affect survivors at a time when female victims were being turned away because of a lack of space and funding.  Adding that, ‘it still surprises me that often when I am talking to someone about the lifesaving work that we do at Women’s Aid, the response that I usually get is ‘but what about the men’?’

The two largest domestic abuse charities in the UK receive state funding to deliver the UK’s National Domestic Violence Helpline which is a twenty four hour free phone service which provides help to female victims of domestic abuse only.

Both charities only employ women, do not include men in their equal opportunity statements and support interventions based on the feminist theory that “domestic violence is the result of patriarchal ideology in which male perpetrators are encouraged and expected to control their partners and that women are victims who are violent only in self-defense

The Mankind Initiative do not receive any state funding.  The state do provide some funding to Respect who were initially set up in 2007 to work with male perpetrators of domestic abuse but now also offer support to male victims.  Their phone-line is open during working hours, weekdays 9 to 5pm.

12 organisations currently offer refuge or safe house provision for male victims in the UK.  A total of 17 spaces are dedicated to male victims (with an additional 46 available to victims of either gender). For female victims, there are nearly 400 specialist domestic violence organisations providing refuge accommodation for women in the UK with c4,000 spaces for over 7,000 women and children.

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