Friday, August 19, 2016
Why women are the worst misogynists: My high-flying mum who never helped me was a classic example, says VIVIENNE PARRY
I agree with the observations below. In my experience it takes a woman to tear another woman to shreds verbally. I remember once being appalled at an article about Margaret Thatcher. It started with her shoes, ended with her hair and criticized everything in between. I remarked what a savage article it was to my then wife. "Probably written by another woman", she commented. It was.
Back in the late Sixties and early Seventies my mother was a very successful businesswoman. She took over my grandfather's ailing TV retail firm and built it up so well she won a Businesswoman of the Year award.
So, you might imagine, in an era when feminism was all the rage, when sisters were apparently helping each other, that my mother would be all too keen to help other women succeed - as she had.
Ha! Hardly. My mother would rather have walked on hot coals than mentored another woman - even me, her daughter.
When I became the first person in my immediate family to go to university, far from encouraging me to break any glass ceiling, she was faintly appalled.
'Whatever for?' was her initial reaction. After all, I had been sent to a school that trained its 'gals' to be the wives of diplomats and doctors. Mother didn't expect me to go off and study zoology, never mind specialise in immunology and genetics.
So horrified was she at my subsequent success that even when I became a presenter on BBC science programme Tomorrow's World in 1994 she never once complimented me on it.
So why was my mother so against helping anyone of her own gender climb to the same heights as she did? Why was she so loath to laud female achievement - even when the female forging ahead was her own daughter?
The answer's rather simple: I fear my mother was a misogynist.
It may seem like a contradiction in terms - isn't misogyny, or the hatred of women, expressed only by men? Not so. As I, and many of you know, women can be more misogynistic than men.
Perhaps my mother - and I'm trying to be kind here - just wanted me to avoid the difficult life of a female pioneer. But in truth, I think she was one of those women who believed the most awful thing another woman could do was 'get above herself'.
Women should know their place - at home, with her husband and children. But obviously she herself was somehow excused those duties.
Worryingly, I believe that things have become even worse than in my mother's day, when women hating other women was restricted to muttering behind the lace curtains or the squashing of ambition in uppity daughters. Modern-day misogyny is far more violent and hateful - and it's women who are the worst offenders.
For example, why do you think there are still so few women in high-ranking positions in top companies? Because the ladder of progress is all too often kicked from under us by other women who are keen to preserve their positions, rather than letting a rival female in.
The only time I have been fired was by a woman, on a matter of principle (mine not hers). She was that most heinous of women bosses - the sort who act like a sweet ten-year-old in the presence of male bosses, but behave like a tyrant with male underlings and, when faced with women, turn into a psychotic she-devil.
This particular boss had clawed her way up to be the lone woman on the board. And believe me, that was the way she intended it to stay. She wanted to be the sole female in the room, the only recipient of the men's attention.
Wrong as her behaviour was, I can sort of understand the logic behind it. When there are so few women at higher levels, many of them think they must behave like a tigress, using every weapon at their disposal to protect their position against other 'sisters'.
'Leaning in', as Facebook boss Sheryl Sandberg exhorted women to do, clearly hasn't taken off yet. Indeed, rather than behaving like women should - encouraging, nurturing, promoting other females - many display the cut-throat characteristics for which men are so often attacked.
In this, as in so many things, my mother was ahead of the curve. When the daughter of a friend asked her for advice on how to succeed as a businesswoman, the reply was brisk and unhelpful: 'Learn how to drink a man under the table'. In other words, be more manly than the men. And she could indeed outdrink any man.
It is true that women misogynists have been seen throughout history. Queen Victoria famously denied equal voting rights saying: 'Let women be what God intended, a helpmeet for men but with totally different duties and vocations'. It's not clear how she thought being Queen Empress fitted into this world view.
And the Suffragettes did not get much support from women. Admittedly, many were turned off by their acts of militancy, such as smashing windows and setting fires. But even the less vociferous supporters of suffragism - the type who held peaceful 300,000-strong rallies - were viewed with suspicion by women in the general population.
It must have grated that the very people they were trying to liberate castigated the Suffragettes as bitter spinsters, sneering at them for being 'unnatural'. Sound familiar? This is just the kind of abuse thrown at women today, by other women.
Much of this female-on-female misogyny now occurs online, which is, in some ways, merely a technological manifestation of an ancient phenomenon.
And the more attractive the woman, the more indirect aggression she draws from her female peers. No doubt it dates from the days when we had to attract a man to the door of our cave.
It's typically directed at good-looking women as they are seen as a threat, which is possibly why classical scholar, the wonderful Professor Mary Beard - a woman beautiful with wisdom not Botox - attracted more male than female online trolls.
When I was a Tomorrow's World regular, men were invariably complimentary about my appearance. It was women who made the comments, including my favourite: 'You're so much more attractive off screen.' A masterclass in a passive-aggressive misogynistic barb, if there ever was one.
My mother, of course, found fault with every dress I wore onscreen: 'Did it have to be green? You looked like a leek' - although her insults did at least reveal that she'd been secretly watching.
Naturally, the more a woman thinks she'll get away with making misogynistic remarks, the more she'll do it. And so the internet is perfect, the female poison-pen writer's dream medium. There's no comeback, no direct confrontation, often near-total anonymity, as well as maximum devastating impact.
Professor Tracy Vaillancourt of McMaster University in Canada is well known for her work in the area of indirect aggression. She carried out fascinating research where conversations were recorded between pairs of women who had been shown photos of the same woman dressed in different clothing.
The female in the photo, when dressed plainly, was seen as a potential friend. But the more provocative her outfit, the greater the bitchiness she attracted.
But what's worrying is that today's misogyny by women goes further than mere bitchiness. Take the insults hurled at Leslie Jones, the black star of the female-led Ghostbusters movie remake. Much was vilely racist, but there were many horrible things said about her appearance - shockingly, much of it from women.
Indeed, women comprise a truly disturbing percentage of all misogynistic tweets, according to think tank Demos. Their research earlier this year revealed that half of all tweets using the words 'slut' and 'whore' came from female users, with some 20 per cent of these using the words in a highly aggressive or threatening way.
Remember the case of Caroline Criado-Perez, who campaigned to get an image of novelist Jane Austen on British banknotes? When she succeeded, she didn't get acclaim. She received 50 death or rape threats an hour for days from internet trolls. And you'd think all those must have been men, but many, including the most extreme, were women.
There are shining examples of women who don't succumb to misogyny, though.
Take Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies. Appalled at the lack of senior female medical researchers, she successfully took on the entire male medical establishment and told them none could apply for any of the £1billion research funds she controlled as head of the National Institute for Health Research, unless they signed up to a scheme to improving female representation in academia.
But actions like these are few and far between, and it's hard not to conclude that the sisterhood doesn't exist - or at least, only functions when women aren't in competition with each other, whether for promotions, partners or compliments.
Because, as any one who has been on the receiving end of a misogynistic remark could tell you, the sharp tongue of a woman always cuts so much deeper than that of a man.
Some feminist racism
The writer below seems oblivious that she is engaging in racial stereotyping. "White" is a racial term. But feminist racism is OK, I guess.
It began with a daily prayer: "God, give me the confidence of a mediocre white dude".
When writer Sarah Hagi tweeted this as an antidote to impostor syndrome, women nodded in recognition and snapped up t-shirts, bags and mugs the words were quickly printed on.
And it wasn't just for laughs; it's a genuinely motivating thought for women who regularly criticise themselves for not being better, or not being perfect.
A friend of mine called me from New York recently, for example, and said she was worried about re-entering the work force after having children and doing TV appearances again, about losing her confidence and making mistakes.
She has a PhD from Oxford, and a professorship at an American university. All I had to do was remind her of how happily her male peers accept invitations to speak everywhere, anywhere, to speak on anything at any time — and when I started mentioning some by name, I could almost hear her spine stiffen.
When I told her to carry herself with the confidence of a mediocre white man, she laughed — and has reminded me of it often since.
I have had this conversation with female friends many times, and sometimes with myself. Self-doubt is a potent force in the female brain, like a rent-protected occupant that won't leave even as we grow older, even as we pile up achievements alongside.
The problem with Black Lives Matter
Radicals once challenged racial thinking — now they embrace it
White self-loathing and black self-pity: these seem to be the only two options in radical politics these days. On one side stand white liberals, white radical students, white writers, beating themselves up over their skin colour and the ‘privilege’ it apparently grants them. ‘Our whiteness is… the colour of shame’, as the playwright Eve Ensler says. And on the other side stand black activists, black Oxford students, black writers, presenting themselves as the damaged goods of history, beat up by past events, traumatised by white privilege, and in urgent need of recognition of their pain. What both sides share in common is a depressing, fatalistic attachment to racial thinking, to the racial imagination, and a commitment to the therapeutic project of expelling inner demons (whites) or demanding validation of one’s suffering (blacks). Radicals once rejected the category of race; now they embrace it, and expand it.
The new racialism, this danse macabre between white self-loathing and black self-pity, is best embodied in Black Lives Matter. Starting life in the US as a protest movement against police shootings of black citizens, BLM has now come to Britain, where its backward views have become clearer. It announced its arrival by blocking the motorway to Heathrow. It is not remotely a grassroots campaign — its protests attract tiny numbers of people — but rather is an offshoot of the middle-class politics of the Safe Space and offence-taking that has taken hold on campuses in recent years. Its key UK spokespeople are a postgraduate geography student and a ‘black, British, queer, non-binary Muslim’ who goes by the pronoun ‘they’. These people are about as representative of the black British experience as Princess Anne is of the white British experience. Their claim to speak on behalf of all British black people by virtue of the fact that they have the same colour skin speaks volumes about the innate racialism of the politics of identity and its active suppression of difficult, divisive questions of class and experience.
The most notable thing about BLM, especially in its UK form, is how it detracts from the radical anti-racist politics of old in two profound ways: first, through promoting a view of black people as vulnerable and requiring, in essence, social therapy; and secondly, by creating, and even celebrating, racial division rather than seeking to overcome it. BLM UK, taking its cue from the raised-hands politics of victimhood pursued by BLM US, exaggerates the plight of blacks in Britain. It describes their lives as being in ‘crisis’, which the average black person is unlikely to recognise. And it promotes itself as a kind of therapeutic balm to the black masses’ alleged mental turmoil. ‘A lot of people have lost their voice, they feel powerless’, said one of BLM UK’s founders. ‘We want to give them their voice back.’ Another founder says BLM showed him ‘that my life mattered’. Where earlier anti-racist movements emphasised the capacity of black people — to run their own lives, to do politics, to live as autonomously as whites — middle-class BLM leaders talk up their powerlessness, their feeling of vulnerability, and their psychological need for a movement that can speak for them and prove to them that they’re valuable. This is therapy, not politics; and it’s highly elitist.
And where earlier radicals sought to overcome the ideology of race, BLM and its supporters — including its white supporters — wallow in racial thinking. BLM views everything through a racialised prism and openly encourages people to stay within their racial categories. BLM UK says it welcomes ‘white allies’ but warns them to ‘acknowledge your privilege’. ‘Don’t dilute’, it says. In the US, BLM has segregated some of its marches, making white people march in the background and forbidding them from speaking to the media. And at some press conferences it has segregated black and white journalists. As one report says, BLM has taken to ‘splitting up white and black members of the press’, and giving priority to black reporters. A whole new lexicography has been developed to promote this supposedly radical new segregation. ‘Check your privilege’, ‘Stay in your lane’, ‘Don’t “whitesplain” racism to me’: these are the fashionable terms of the politics of identity, which essentially say that solidarity across races is impossible because whites haven’t experienced what blacks have.
Far from challenging racial thinking, BLM UK demands we approach the world with a highly racialised mindset, that we think of people as black or white and engage with them accordingly. It explicitly eschews Martin Luther King’s dream of people being judged by their character rather than their colour because, as one of its public supporters has written previously, blacks and whites come at the world from ‘completely different planes’, meaning there is a ‘gulf of emotional disconnect’. Of course, BLM did not create this new racialism, this ‘stay in your lane’ radical politics that says we can never really understand, far less fight alongside, people of different colours. Rather, it merely embodies the now mainstream and destructive politics of identity, which has so thoroughly elevated group loyalty over universalism, and narrow individual experience over the humanist ideal of working out what we share in common and how we might achieve it, that it has made solidarity all but impossible. BLM presents itself as an edgy, independent movement, but in truth it is best understood as the militant wing of the elitist politics of identity now promoted everywhere from the academy to the political realm.
But it would be wrong to see BLM as the latest manifestation of the post-King black nationalism of groups like the Black Panthers. This has been the response of many on the right to the BLM phenomenon: to brand them ‘black supremacists’ and talk about them as a dangerous new Panther phenomenon. But those old black nationalists emphasised the power of blacks, as symbolised by their desire for guns, whereas BLM emphasises their existential vulnerability, as symbolised in their raised-hand gesture and their slogan ‘Don’t shoot’. Where black nationalists rejected white society, largely out of frustration at the failure of civil-rights legislation to improve ordinary black people’s lives, BLM is strangely reliant on white society, particularly on the white cultural elite: it needs this constituency’s white self-loathing to validate its claims that blacks are damaged by white privilege, white history and by what one BLM UK supporter calls a ‘politics of race that operates on its inherent invisibility’. Where black nationalists demanded respect for their rights, BLM calls for official recognition of their pain, making them ironically beholden to mainstream (white) society and its therapeutic machinery.
The return of the racial imagination ultimately speaks to the withering of the radical social imagination. As radicals, leftists and liberals have turned away from the politics of real, meaningful social change in favour of the politics of identity, in favour of managing society and its inhabitants rather than transforming society, so group thinking has returned and divisions have intensified. We are no longer individuals with common interests we might fight for together; rather, we’re unbridgeable racial creatures who must always acknowledge the ‘gulfs’ that divide us. If we’re black we must agree that we’ve been damaged by history, and if we’re white we must always check our privilege — that is, self-flagellate for the crimes of history. The rise of BLM really speaks to how the politics of identity violently forces us all back into the racial boxes that men and women struggled so hard to escape; how it has replaced the old racist idea that biology determines our fate with the new, nasty idea that it is history that shapes our characters and outlooks. The old racists made mankind prisoners of biology; the new racialists make us slaves to history.
Worse, this new politics rehabilitates paternalistic views of black people. Just look at how many white thinkers and writers self-consciously refuse to criticise or even question BLM, because this would apparently be ‘whitesplaining’. They think they’re being progressive, but really they’re infantilising black activists by refusing to subject their ideas and behaviour to the critical scrutiny that white radicals could expect.
Three Blacks Who Murdered White woman Because "they hated white people" sentenced
Remember Melinda McCormick, the white citizen of Pensacola who was brutally murdered by three blacks in 2013 because they "hate white people?" Of course you don't. But we do.
Despite the fact McCormick was targeted by the three blacks for death because those comprising the latter hate the former (for her membership in the white race), no hate crime charges were pursued.
Worse, the defense tried to claim one of the participants in the anti-white murder of McCormick by three blacks had an IQ in the 50s, meaning she wasn't fit for trial (it's been noted a Border collie, the smartest dog breed, has an IQ of 49)
A woman who pleaded no contest to participating in the fatal beating and burning of a West Pensacola woman was sentenced to 30 years in state prison Friday.
In March 2013, Kiesha Pugh and two accomplices entered the Mobile Highway apartment of 33-year-old Melinda McCormick, beat her with blunt instruments, stole some of her belongings, and set McCormick's apartment on fire.
Pugh pleaded to charges of second-degree murder and arson and was sentenced by Circuit Judge Thomas Dannheisser. One of Pugh's co-defendants, Anthony Pressley, pleaded no contest to murder and was sentenced to 60 years in prison. A jury convicted the third co-defendant, Gregory Williams, of murder and arson, and he was sentenced to life in prison.
All three defendants possess some degree of mental disability, and mental health professionals worked with the trio to make them competent for court. At Pugh's sentencing Friday, her attorney asked that she receive a lessened sentence because Pugh's IQ is in the mid-to-low 50s and a physician said she did not possess the "critical thinking" abilities of a typical adult.
The doctor testified that Pugh's academic level was that of a second grader and that she had the emotional and social maturity of a 10- or 11-year-old child. "She is someone who is easily led and she doesn't consider all possible outcomes," Pugh's attorney Richard Currey told the judge. "She's extremely vulnerable to peer pressure and unable to problem solve her way out of situations."
Pressley, Williams and Pugh reportedly hatched the plan to rob and kill McCormick and went to her home and attacked her with a hammer, pipe and crowbar. Pugh, Pressley's then girlfriend, claimed she participated in the murder because she was scared to refuse.
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.