Is Laura Bates Fit to speak for Feminists?

screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-20-53-51-copy

All feminism means to me is that everyone should be treated equally regardless of their sex. Laura Bates

Feminist writer Laura Bates has once again used her weekly column in the Guardian to attack the Conservative MP Philip Davies and question his suitability to work as a Member of Parliament for the constituency of Shipley.

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-22-04-24

Bates objected to Davies’ interjection during fellow Conservative Nusrat Ghani’s proposal to introduce legislation which would end the use of the term “honour crime” in official government publications.

mp

Speaking against the MP, Bates chose her words carefully in order to insinuate that his intention was to ‘intervene in parliamentary proceedings with the clear purpose of derailing measures intended to tackle violence against women and girls‘.

In her speech, Ghani had specifically referred to the fact that: “Language matters‘. This is a perspective that Bates ordinarily champions and yet was noticeably threatened by Davies’s observation that he appeared to be the only one in the entire House to take issue with the extremely gendered language set out in the Crime (Aggravated Murder of and Violence against Women) Bill.

Bates discusses Davies’ intervention as if it were the actions of a childish pedant despite also drawing attention to the fact that the specific purpose of the Bill is to address unhelpful language used to describe ‘a violent criminal act committed against a man, but more often a woman that diminishes the victim.’

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-22-30-21

It was not the first time that Bates’ blog hosts have intervened on behalf of faux feminists fears about Davies’ frank speaking approach. In August they ran an ‘exclusive’ campaign which had the clear intention of trying to derail his political career. Obviously it failed but not before it ‘inspired’ a brief metropolitan hashtag campaign which could be described as the ‘gold standard’ in nonsensical cake related narcissism.

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-08-12-26
#Letmeeatcake

What is most cringe-worthy about this non elected, but richly compensated political lobbyist’s behaviour is how closely it mimics that of a spoilt child. Like one, Bates is not interested in debate, she is only interested in getting her own way. Instead of voicing her view in an open democratic conversation, she wants to stomp her feet until anyone who thinks differently is removed before the discussion can take place at all.

She has made that clear with her sensationalist tone and sensationally disingenuous assessment of Davies’ actions and intentions. She also deftly mimics an electioneering politician’s worst cliche by cherry-picking some questionable facts and statistics in an attempt to accuse her target of using questionable facts and statistics.

She presents Davies call for the word “women” to be removed from the ‘women and equalities committee’ without further comment. As if readers should instinctively understand her counter argument and will happily ignore the fact that the ‘Equalities Office’ it was set up to scrutinise has already done exactly that.

She makes a cheap appeal to outrage by pointing to his effort to repeal the Sex Discrimination Act 2002.  Assuming that most won’t notice that this was a minor exception to the rules inserted to allow Labour to directly discriminate on the grounds of sex after an employment tribunal told them not to.

Most hilariously she promotes a guilt by association straw man argument about sharing a platform with an organisation who promote inflammatory articles. A tad rich given that the Guardian were recently caught on promoting the absolute lie that 25,000 people sent over 50,000 tweets celebrating Jo Cox’s murder. More frighteningly,  her thesis appears to hint at a preference that the criminal justice system might ignore such trivialities as DNA evidence, CCTV footage, multiple witnesses, concrete alibis, written confessions and an innocent men’s right not be incarcerated, lest they undermine the obvious feminist myth that women never lie about rape.

baileyswomenprizefictionawardsceremonyk0rvebgkowws

Whether due to dissonance or deception, she is determined to drive  a narrative which presents Davies as ‘far more interested in preventing support for women than actually advocating for men’.  From her perspective, if Davies had done the slightest research it would have become clear that the scope of protection afforded by the ‘Crime (Aggravated Murder of And Violence Against Women) Bill’ obviously extended to male victims.

For context I have included Davies’ full interjection at the end* which one can only assume Bates will have taken the time to read before essentially calling for him to be fired. Suffice it to say he clearly did his homework.

Like many modern misandric women’s rights activists, or so called ‘fourth wave feminists’, Bates ultimately does an extreme disservice to genuine concerns about everyday sexism issues by exhibiting the exact manner of cake and eat it attitude that has turned so many women away from feminism.

It’s revealing that her end of year assessment of ‘How Woman Fared in 2016‘ had room to lament Phillip Davies’ unopposed election to the Women and Equalities committee but completely ignored his female colleague’s ascendancy to Number Ten.

In the same run down she indulges her regular pastime of language policing and her theory that women are so often written out of history because of ignorance and clumsy words from men. EYEsuspect that Bates couldn’t tell you who the last British tennis player to win Wimbledon was without reaching for Wikipedia (it’s not as obvious as you think) but she was happy to hang John Inverdale for making exactly the same mistake as fellow live broadcaster Clare Balding.

Bates has exhibited an insatiable intolerance for gendered language when it suits her and yet pulls the rug from under Phillip Davies for making a stand on the exact same principle.

You have to wonder why it irked her so, in a week when most of her peers were obsessing about why the next Time Lord must be a Lady.

In 2017, male victims of  sexual and domestic violence will face dismissal, debunking, derision demonization and coercive controling silencing tactics from some of the very state funded services that should be helping them. They should not be confronted by similar pathetic behaviour in the pages of the Guardian. Equality champions are bound by an ethical code to defend the equal rights of all and when they don’t they become something else entirely. And yet here is a woman getting paid considerably more than minimum wage to attack a democratically elected member of the House of Commons for simply expressing an opinion that doesn’t sit well with the political ideology of fourth wave feminists.

Phillip Davies has clearly touched a serious nerve by asking difficult questions about a culture of gendered language closely guarded by a  movement that some suspect may have fraudulently misused a considerable amount of taxpayers money at the expense of very vulnerable women and children and men.

We have to make sure every victim is supported, and no political correctness or assumptions are made about a victim’s background which means they cannot get equal support, respect and dignity when they come forward, and that they get the appropriate support. Nusrat Ghani MP

EYEagree.

Poes Law Perfectly Personified Post-script: The day after EYEposted this piece Laura Bates blocked me on twitter.

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-21-44-47

Phillip Davies comments to the house: I am afraid that, for reasons that I will set out, I oppose this Bill as it is currently framed. For the benefit of the morons on Twitter, and for some in this House, I should make it clear from the start that obviously, along with everybody else, I oppose women suffering from honour-based violence, but it seems that I am the only one in this House at the moment who equally opposes honour-based violence against men too.

I certainly commend my hon. Friend the Member for Wealden (Nusrat Ghani) for her wish to tackle the politically correct culture that sometimes surrounds certain cultures in this country and which can be very damaging to those caught up in them. I attended a meeting organised by Baroness Cox where three very brave Muslim women explained how they had been very badly treated by sharia courts. Unfortunately, despite all the people here who claim to be concerned about women, I was the only Member of the House of Commons at that meeting, so concerned were people about the violence that those women had faced through judgments from sharia courts.

This Bill deals, quite rightly, with dangerous political correctness, as it does not get any more serious than murder. I completely agree with my hon. Friend about the term “honour killing”—there is nothing honourable about murdering someone. I would encourage her to keep making this point, as even without legislation she could make some progress. I am afraid, however, that while tackling one element of political correctness, she has opened up another politically correct can of worms.

The main reason I oppose this Bill is that it relates only to female victims and not all victims. I fear that we are going to have a rerun of the debate on the Istanbul convention that we had not so long ago in this House. We cannot let—[Interruption.] I know that people do not like any other opinions being expressed, but this is a Parliament; this is a democracy. [Interruption.]

We cannot let this trend of having laws that are unjustifiably aimed at dealing with just one gender take hold, and I will continue to oppose all Bills and motions that do that. Why do we need to have just females mentioned in this Bill? Why cannot it be for all victims of these terrible crimes? We do not have an offence of female murder or male murder—we just have murder. There are more male victims of murder in the UK than female victims of murder. If I introduced a Bill that said we are only going to care about the families of the male victims because there are more of them, I suspect that most of the Opposition Members who are complaining would be up in arms about such a Bill that focused only on the male victims of murder because they are in the majority—and the same should apply here. Yes, of course women are far more likely to be the victims of honour-based crimes than men, but they are not exclusively the victims of these crimes. As far as I am concerned, all these things are just as bad as each other.

I am no expert, but I am told that karo-kari, which is the Pakistani term for so-called honour killing, literally means “adulterer” and “adulteress”. These terms have wider definitions than their literal ones to cover all immoral behaviour, and it is quite clear that they cover both sexes and are therefore not gender specific.

In 2007-08, the Home Affairs Committee said that men are also victims of honour-based violence. In January 2015, the Henry Jackson Society published a report about so-called honour killings, where it said that

“men are also victims of ‘honour’ killings. In the cases of male victims reported in the media over the past five years, the perpetrators usually included the families of a current or expartner”.

It went on to confirm that in the UK there were 22 female victims, but seven male victims too. A report by the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit says:

“In 2015, 980 cases…involved female victims and 240…involved male victims. This highlights that men can also be forced into marriage.”

The Crown Prosecution Service report, “Violence Against Women and Girls”, says that

“where gender was recorded, female victims accounted for”

about 76%

“and male victims were”

about 24%.

This means that nearly a quarter of all the victims of these crimes are men. That is not an insignificant number, and it is not something that we should ignore. I understand that this is particularly an issue for gay men, but they would certainly not be included under the provisions of the Bill.

As we are talking about crimes taking place outside this country, we ought to look at the victims of crime over there. The Pakistani Human Rights Commission, which monitors reports of such crimes, came to the conclusion that about a quarter of victims in Pakistan were men. People might want to bear in mind that The Guardian has reported cases of male killings. The newspaper cited the case of Ahmed Bashir, who died after he was attacked with a sword and a machete in the garden of his west London home. It is very sad that the Opposition do not care about Ahmed Bashir, who was killed with a machete in his own home; it seems that that does not count because he happens to be a man. What kind of Parliament have we become? The Telegraph ran a piece that highlighted the case of another male victim of an honour-based killing. Phyllis Chesler, emerita professor of psychology at Richmond College of the City University of New York, has also written about how male victims are included in honour-based crimes.

There are other issues with this Bill, which I do not have time to go into now, but I believe that its discriminatory premise is wrong. Not all victims are female, and not all offenders are male. We should introduce gender-neutral legislation that is designed to help all victims of crime, whether they be men or women, and to punish all offenders responsible for such crimes, whether those offenders be men or women. [Interruption.] People are saying that that is what my hon. Friend the Member for Wealden said, but I am looking at the annunciator screen, which reads: “Crime (Aggravated Murder of and Violence against Women)”. There is no mention of men. It is no good saying that this Bill includes men; it does not. That is there on the screen for hon. Members to see, if they cannot hear what is happening. They clearly have not read the Bill. Some people will ask, “Why not support something that might help somebody, if not everybody?” I say, “Why not help everybody from the start?” What possible reason is there for not including men and women in the terms of the Bill?

I end where I started. Of course, we all oppose women suffering from honour-based violence, but I, for one, equally oppose honour-based violence against men. To have a strategy for dealing with one but not the other is, in my opinion, not acceptable and not justifiable.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: