Sunday, June 07, 2015
No wonder men don't want to get married!
Feminist-inspired divorce laws have tempted many women to turn marriage into prostitution
When a Russian ex-beauty queen walked away from court this week after being awarded £1.2million and £320,000-a-year maintenance following a bitter divorce battle, she said it was a victory for all women.
Ekaterina Parfenova Fields, 42, has never worked and doesn’t intend to. She was married to Richard Fields for ten years and had two children with him before he left her to pursue the woman who became his sixth wife.
Mrs Fields had demanded £75,000 annually for holidays, £50,000 for nannies (even though she’s a stay-at-home mum) and £60,000 for clothes and personal pampering.
Between them, this deeply unsavoury couple spent £1.2million on legal fees, leading the judge to say it wasn’t a divorce, but a boxing match.
Mrs Fields insists her fight for justice was on behalf of abandoned mothers and children everywhere.
Others — and I include myself among them — see it instead as a stab in the heart for those bedrocks of society: marriage and motherhood.
For even though the money involved is eye-watering and the protagonists risible, the same legal principles apply to any marriage that produces children and ends in divorce.
The assets are invariably split down the middle and the breadwinner, still usually the man, rightly has to support the children and pay his ex-wife a maintenance allowance often for life.
Is it any surprise that the moment the story appeared on MailOnline yesterday, it was awash with comments from men insisting there was no point getting hitched if you’re clobbered for life when the marriage breaks down?
‘Don’t get married chaps,’ said one. ‘No wonder men don’t want to commit to marriage these days,’ commented another. ‘After such a short marriage why should he have to fund her lifestyle after divorce?’ asked a third, adding: ‘Why any man gets married now is beyond me.’
The average age men marry today is 36.5, while for women it’s 34. Men are leaving it later to commit because they realise what’s at stake if it goes wrong.
The inevitable consequence is that the age women marry is also creeping up. Yet only this week, a senior NHS fertility expert warned women should not wait until they’re 30 to have a baby — for they might find it’s too late.
A divorce like this Russian beauty’s is not only making it more difficult for women to find a husband, it’s also putting at risk their chance of settling down in time to have children. What kind of victory for women is that?
The ASA: Torquemada meets "No More Page 3"
The Advertising Standards Authority has become a censorious tyrant
Guardians of moral decency have always had a penchant for policing flashes of women’s flesh. Whether it was Victorian moralists expecting all women to be draped from head to toe, or the British Board of Film Censors in the mid-20th century calling on filmmakers to ‘reduce to an absolute minimum’ any shots of women’s breasts and thighs, or Mary Whitehouse railing against a 1970s TV show in which a woman is shown ‘shaking her breasts before a man!’, controlling the depiction of women’s bodies has long been on the to-do list of prudes and censors. Yesterday’s ruling by the UK Advertising Standards Authority suggests this top-down urge to cover up the ‘wrong’ kind of women’s flesh is still alive and kicking.
The ASA has banned an advert for Yves Saint Laurent on the basis that the model in it appears ‘unhealthily underweight’. Showing thin female bodies is apparently ‘irresponsible’. The ad, which appeared in Elle, featured a model lying on a floor in YSL clobber, her hand running through her hair, her chest (but not breasts) visible through a slit in her dress. With all the forensics with which a BBFC suit might once have timed how long a woman’s nipple appeared on screen, and whether its appearance was culturally justifiable, the ASA castigated both ‘the model’s pose’ and ‘the particular lighting effect’. It said the lighting meant the model’s ‘rib cage was visible’. It even policed what the model was wearing, drawing attention to ‘the contrast between the narrowness of her legs and her platform shoes’, which combined to make her legs look ‘very thin’. Showing such a lithe body is wicked, it seems, so the ASA decreed that the ad ‘must not appear again in its current form’. That is, it’s banned: a woman’s body has been hidden after officials decided that it was unacceptable, unpalatable.
This isn’t the first time the ASA, which enforces advertising codes in Britain, has used a metaphorical black marker to scribble out the ‘wrong’ kind of woman’s body. It’s currently investigating whether those Protein World ads that caused such a fuss in April, with their image of a model in a yellow bikini asking ‘Are you beach body ready?’, were ‘socially irresponsible’.
In 2011 it banned an online ad for a bikini — after receiving just one complaint! — on the basis that the model’s ribs were ‘highly visible’. (Censors were once outraged by highly visible nipples or vaginas — now it’s highly visible ribs or collarbones.)
Last year it banned a lingerie advert for the hipster clothes store Urban Outfitters, on the basis that there was a ‘significant gap between the model’s thighs’. Old moralists crushed images of buttocks or boobs; new moralists outlaw images of thigh gaps and thin legs.
Strikingly, the ASA justified all these bans on images of women, not on sexual grounds, but on health grounds. Where once images of women’s flesh were considered ‘morally corrupting’, now they’re described as ‘socially irresponsible’. The fear of the breast and bum, and the impact they might have on men’s minds in particular, has been replaced by disgust for the thigh gap or the pronounced collarbone, and the impact such flesh (or lack thereof) might have on impressionable girls and women.
But whatever the justification, whether it’s the sexuality or svelteness of women’s bodies that is being policed, and whether this censorship-of-the-female is done to placate God and encourage moral control or to promote public health, the result is the same.
In fact, both the instinct and the impact of the old censorship of sexual women and the new censorship of thin women are the same: the instinct is to define what kind of woman’s body it is acceptable to show, and the impact is to patronise the public, reducing us to the level of children whose eyes must be guarded against either big breasts or thin chests.
The mission creep of the ASA has been astonishing. This is a body that is supposed to keep an eye out for dodgy claims in ads — this tincture will cure your impotence! etc — yet which in recent years has become a kind of cross between Torquemada and No More Page 3.
It banned a TV ad for the fruit drink Oasis on the basis that its slogan — ‘for people who don’t like water’ — might ‘discourage good dietary practice’. A measly 32 people complained about that ad.
It banned a TV ad for hair products, which featured models dressed as nuns, on the grounds that it was offensive to Christians (it was to 23 of them, the number of complaints received). It banned an ad for a supermarket which showed a girl taking the salad out of her hamburger before eating it, on the grounds that it ‘disparaged’ healthy eating. Disparaging good health! Imagine that. It’s the equivalent of blasphemy in these five-a-day, chip-dodging times.
The burger episode followed by the YSL episode shows just how screwed-up is the ASA, and the rest of British officialdom. On one hand they panic about children being encouraged to eat ‘junk food’, and on the other they strictly police images of skinny women. It’s a kind of schizo-censorship: ‘Don’t show people enjoying burgers — the stupid public might feel free to get fat!
Oh, but being thin is really bad, too. So don’t show thin people, either.’ With such mixed messages from the self-elected overlords of public morality, it’s no wonder some kids have body-image issues.
With its growing forays into the policing of female imagery, the ASA’s true censoriousness is becoming clear. For what we can see in these health-justified clampdowns on fashion ads and posters with bikini-clad women is the crashing together of the old moralism and the new moralism, an unholy marriage of the Victorian instinct to hide ‘bad’ women’s bodies with the new PC urge to educate the public about the right way to eat, look and, fundamentally, be.
Across the West, we’re witnessing a shift, a scarily seamless one, from an older era in which censorship was justified as a means of controlling our sexual desires or political thoughts to a new era in which censorship is designed to protect apparently isolated, vulnerable individuals from the harm of ill-health or any challenge to their self-esteem.
The Victorian-style censors who wanted to hide away sex and sauce have been usurped by left-leaning, feministic censors who want to cover up what they view as sexist imagery, or unhealthy imagery, or esteem-rattling imagery.
The end result? That, alarmingly, we still live in a world in which women’s bodies are considered disturbing, deviant things, and in which all of us are infantilised by those who think they know what we should be allowed to see, hear and talk about.
Limbaugh: American Left Has Made Christianity Its No. 1 Enemy
Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show on Wednesday that the American Left has made Christianity its "number one enemy." Limbaugh made the observation and explained it after playing an interview of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) by David Brody of CBN. In that interview Rubio suggested that mainstream Christian teaching was under assault from the left.
“You think Rubio's got a point there?" asked Rush. "You better not sweep this one away. You better not think this one was a little over the top. He is right on the money. This is exact. In fact, I would even go further. I think mainstream Christianity is the target, and has been for I can’t tell you how long. And before I was born, it's been, Christianity has been the biggest enemy of the American left, or any left – organized religion in general – but Christianity is the number one enemy of these people.”
“You notice, they’ve made friends with militant Islam,” Rush went on. “The left will not stand for any criticism of Islam, right? You start drawing cartoons of the prophet, they’re the first to jump on your case, right? Democrats and the left, they're out condemning any criticism of Islam."
“They’ve sided up, why?” asks Rush. “Well, Islam has an enemy. In their mind, their enemy is Christianity. So there’s a commonality there. And I don’t care. Folks, maybe this is just another one of those things you’re just not supposed to say, but I’m sorry. It’s undeniable.”
“Okay. Okay. Tell me I’m wrong,” urges Rush, “when I say that the left has formed an accord with Islam. Tell me I’m wrong.”
"Militant Islam says you can't draw pictures of the prophet," says Rush. "Democrat Party, you can't draw pictures of the prophet. You can't criticize Islam. And they go out of their way not to. We can't call them terrorists. You know the drill."
“Christianity it’s open season,” says Rush. “You can say anything. You can do anything. You can mock anything. And Christians are just supposed to take it. And the reason we’re just supposed to take it is we’re the majority. The majority just has to understand, minorities feel offended. They’re going to always be hit on, ripped apart and so forth. You just have to take it. It’s part of being a majority. And that is a relevant factor. I mean, majorities are hated by the people in the minority.”
“The problem for us is,” states Rush, “that the minorities we’re talking about here, most of them are really tiny, and yet they’re winning. They’re bullying their way around. It’s incredible. And Marco Rubio, here, is right on the money.”
What Abercrombie and Fitch Can Teach Us about the Same-Sex Marriage Controversy
When I was a young teenager, Abercrombie & Fitch was one of the “it” brands. Everyone in school wanted to wear it, and it was absolutely used to signal that one was up-to-date on recent trends. As the child of two schoolteachers, I learned very early in my life that paying $50 for a t-shirt I’d grow out of in six months was an absurd expense that would not be paid (you can imagine how well this line went over with a 12-year-old girl).
A few years ago, former Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries and the company came under fire when Business Insider published a piece containing comments Jeffries had made in 2006. In the interview, Jeffries stated that he didn’t want fat or “uncool” people wearing the brand. In fact, the store carried ladies pants only up to size 10 and didn’t carry any women’s sizes above a “large.” Jeffries stated:
"We hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t want to market to anyone other than that."
In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and lots of friends. A lot of people don’t belong, and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.
The company came under scrutiny once again after a lawsuit regarding its aesthetic guidelines, or “look policy,” for its employees, dictating everything from hair color to nail length. The outrage was immediate and intense. A variety of celebrities and talk shows discussed the story and called for a boycott of the brand. Another group began giving Abercrombie & Fitch shirts to homeless people.
Then, miraculously, something amazing happened. In 2013, Abercrombie & Fitch, in a complete departure from its standing practices, started stocking larger women’s clothing. Although the company continues to defend many of its policies for employees, it’s clear that Abercrombie has caved to the pressure and now encourages even “uncool” clientele to buy their products.
So why should we care about a change in policy for some clothing company?
We should care because it’s a marvelous example of market forces at work. The CEO of Abercrombie chose to indulge his preferences, what some have called “fat shaming” or “fat-bias.” He chose to restrict his company’s product to particular groups and exclude others. As a result, he not only eliminated a potentially large source of revenue, but turned many potential customers away from his brand as they found the policies offensive. Jeffries’ firm suffered the consequences as a result. Their popularity waned, their profits declined, and eventually Jeffries stepped down as CEO.
Often when discussing issues of discrimination and exclusion, there are immediately calls for government to “do something” to remedy it. “Congress should pass a law,” “government should ban,” “retailers should be required to…” The list goes on and on.
But note here that Congress didn’t have to pass a law stating that Abercrombie & Fitch had to create clothes for larger women or let chess-team captains shop in their stores. No committees needed to be formed. No bureaus were created to advance the cause of “ugly people.” Instead, it was individuals, their choices, and profit and loss incentives that put a check on poor business decisions. Jeffries and Abercrombie made choices that cut against many people’s ideals—and suffered the consequences.
Such a case and the logic behind it are important to remember when discussing a variety of current issues. Several weeks ago, I discussed one such issue surrounding same-sex marriage. In particular, I made the argument that businesses should be allowed to serve whatever clientele they wish. That is, if a bakery or photographer has moral or other qualms about providing their services to a same-sex couple, they should be allowed to decline their services. I made the case that vendors choosing not to serve same-sex couples would suffer the consequences of such a policy, whether positive or negative.
The case of Abercrombie & Fitch is one example of how the market enforces social norms. If people think discriminating against overweight, ugly, or “uncool” people is wrong, then letting a company like Abercrombie demonstrate its preferences against these groups unleashes the wrath of the consumer. In the same way, allowing vendors to openly indulge their preferences on same-sex marriage will let market forces work. Those who find such policies offensive won’t buy, and those who agree will continue to support the business.
So perhaps it’s time to stifle our moral outrage and quit calling on the government to “fix” these kinds of problems and instead let the market do its job.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.