Tuesday, April 09, 2019

How dissing the sisterhood became 2019's new taboo. And, says a very brave KATE SPICER why it's time we broke it

I'll tell this story again:  When Mrs Thatcher was in office I read a story about her that slammed her from her hair to her shoes.  I was savagely and totally negative.  I remarked on that to my wife at the time, a wise woman.  She said: "Probably written by a woman".  I checked the byline and it was.

I have now seen so many instances of subtle female bitchiness to one another that I know Kate Spicer is exactly right.  A woman's worst enemy will always be another woman.  Female competitiveness far outstretches male competitiveness.  It is relentless

Writing my memoir, Lost Dog, I knew I had to be brutally honest. There are enough books celebrating women being amazing, or getting angry and righteous about women as victims.

How could I dare admit I have trouble trusting women, especially the powerful alpha females who are the loudest mouthpieces for feminism today?

While what they are fighting for is good, that doesn’t negate the fact that, in my experience, they can sometimes be . . . mmmmm, what’s the phrase? Right cows.

There’s a specific incident, burnt like a scar on my memory, when just such a woman shot me down after I’d told her I fancied getting married one day.

Ouch! It was humiliating. She floored me with her disgust, as she outlined why I was a pathetic failure at feminism.

Should I admit to this and the subsequent dislike I have always harboured for this well-known feminist figure (who, for the record, went on to get married several times)? Or would I be seen as a traitor to the cause?

I said it anyway.

Today, feminism is no longer an academic pursuit, explored in dense books that most of us only ever got a few pages into.

You don’t need to read all 900 pages of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex; there’s a zippy short read called We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Or, even easier, watch Beyoncé dancing in front of a 10 ft neon ‘Feminist’ sign, singing about being an Independent Woman.

Feminism is truly mass market now. No one needs to read Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run With Wolves; they can just knit themselves a pink hat.

Of course, an ability to digest dense essays on feminism doesn’t make one ‘better’ at it. It’s simply that everyone talks about being a feminist these days, but doesn’t necessarily follow through with the sisterly behaviour that today’s feminists love to shout about.

A few years ago, I watched as a dear friend was professionally stabbed in the back at work by a colleague she considered her best friend. I can’t talk to her about it because that woman is still her best friend!

This is not an isolated incident. I’ve seen this happen so many times, it’s practically an algorithm for success.

Perhaps it’s time to separate feminism from the concept of sisterhood. Fight for equal rights and equal pay, but stop pretending you’ve got every woman’s back.

There may not be a better time for a girl to be born in Britain, but if you hold up your hand and go, ‘Actually, I’ve been treated badly by a woman and I think women can be monsters too’, then you are betraying the sisterhood.

34 per cent of British women call themselves a feminist
Which is why the thing I was most afraid to do in my book was question why I found certain women so terrifying. Why don’t I trust them?

Why do they leave me skittering nervously like a cat on a hot tin roof? Why do I feel like real feminism is a club I’m not allowed to be a member of?

Nothing makes me more anxious than the thought of a female networking event. Every month I think about going to one — then look at a number of its leading lights and decide to stay in and wash out my bins instead.

The sisterhood doesn’t exist in a lot of workplaces. For some of my generation of 40-plus women who have been in the workplace for decades, dealing with a creepy male boss who makes you feel slightly uncomfortable is less stressful than a manipulative, bullying female boss.

Some female bosses of mine have been easy to deal with and supported me in incredible ways; others have left me feeling sabotaged and insecure.

On the night of my book launch, an older editor — a feminist whom I had always looked up to — came over and muttered in my ear: ‘I liked what you said about the sisterhood.’ The next morning I emailed to ask what she meant.

‘For all the talk about how having a female boss is so much better than a male boss,’ she said, ‘if your experience is the opposite, you dare not express this as it would be seen as unsisterly.’

It’s not just my generation. Millennials are extremely critical of their ‘sisters’, while shouting loudly about feminism.

Someone needs to explain to the younger generation that sisterliness is about a great deal more than writing ‘Feminist’ on your social media profile.

Sometimes the women who talk the most about sisterhood are the least trustworthy of all. It can feel like feminism is entirely about attacking other women who don’t agree with you or reflect your own idea of what is right.

I interviewed the former leader of the Women’s Equality Party a few years ago. From the get-go the interview went badly. She criticised me for not watching her on a Sunday politics show. The story I was writing was for a women’s magazine: politics wasn’t my goal.

In the end, the piece never ran. I’d tried too hard to write a smart political story to please her — a cardinal sin as a journalist. I crumpled under my interviewee’s pious and angry gaze. I self-censored myself.

I think that was the one that did for me. If I couldn’t feel sisterly with the head of a party for women, then truly I was a feminist doomed.

Yes, I actively mentor young women into work and love it. I want women to feel strong and confident. My heart breaks to see women in abusive, controlling relationships and I will speak out.

But let me be very clear. I would never hold myself up as a glowing example of female saintliness. I can be a right cow. I can be as unsisterly as the next sister. At nearly 50, I have a good bank of girlfriends. I just struggle to trust a lot of women.

The truth is the sisterhood is about as real as the brotherhood. Women are primarily human beings, and human beings can be nice, they can be nasty, they can be bitches, and they can be the most heartfelt, supportive, loving friends you ever had.

Some women will take a bullet for you and some will stab you in the back. And sometimes those women can be one and the same person.

Is it possible to separate the goal of feminism, equality, from the concept of sisterhood? I believe in a feminism without the lie of the sisterhood. How’s that? It takes the stress off us all.


A Papal ignoramus

“I appeal not to create walls but to build bridges” has long been Pope Francis’s mantra.

Most recently, when asked last Sunday “a question about migration in general and about U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to shut down the southern border with Mexico,” the pope pontificated in platitudes: “Builders of walls,” he said, “be they made of razor wire or bricks, will end up becoming prisoners of the walls they build….  With fear, we will not move forward, with walls, we will remain closed within these walls.”

Less than a week earlier, Pope Francis lectured the mayor of Rome about the need to be more welcoming to Muslim migrants. “Rome,” he declared, “a hospitable city, is called to face this epochal challenge [Muslim migrants demanding entry] in the wake of its noble history; to use its energies to welcome and integrate, to transform tensions and problems into opportunities for meeting and growth.”

“Rome,” he exulted, “city of bridges, never walls!”

The grand irony of all this is that Pope Francis lives in the only state to be surrounded by walls—Vatican City—and most of these bastions were erected to ward off centuries of Islamic invasions.

Most notably, in 846, a Muslim fleet from North Africa consisting of 73 ships and 11,000 Muslims, landed in Ostia near Rome.  Muslim merchants who frequently visited Italy had provided them with precise intelligence that made the raid a success.  Although they were unable to breach the preexisting walls of the Eternal City, they sacked and despoiled the surrounding countryside, including—to the consternation of Christendom—the venerated and centuries-old basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul.  The Muslim invaders desecrated the tombs of the revered apostles and stripped them of all their treasures.

Pope Leo IV (847-855) responded by building many more walls, including fifteen bastions along the right bank of the Tiber River, the mouth of which was forthwith closed with a chain to protect the sacred sites from further Muslim raids and desecrations.  Completed by 852, the walls were in places 40 feet high and 12 feet thick.

Further anticipating the crusades against Islam by over two centuries—and thus showing how they were a long time coming—Pope Leo (and after him Pope John VIII) offered the remission of sins for those Christians who died fighting Islamic invaders.

Such was the existential and ongoing danger Muslims, referred to in contemporary sources as “Sons of Satan,” caused for Europe—more than two centuries before the First Crusade was launched in 1095.

Indeed, just three years after the initial Muslim invasion of Rome, “in 849 the Muslims attempted a new landing at Ostia; then, every year from around 857 on, they threatened the Roman seaboard,” explains French medieval historian C. E. Dufourcq:

In order to get rid of them, Pope John VIII  decided in 878 to promise them an annual payment [or jizya] of several thousand gold pieces; but this tribute of the Holy See to Islam seems to have been paid for only two years; and from time to time until the beginning of the tenth century, the Muslims reappeared at the mouth of the Tiber or along the coast nearby.

Today, many Muslims, not just of the ISIS-variety, continue to boast that Islam will conquer Rome, the only of five apostolic sees never to have been subjugated by jihad (unlike Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Constantinople).  Similarly, Muslims all throughout Europe continue exhibiting the same hostility and contempt for all things and persons non-Islamic, whether by vandalizing churches and breaking crosses, or by raping “infidel” women as theirs by right.  As for Italy, click here, here, and/or here for an idea of how Muslim migrants behave.

And that is the point Pope Francis misses: walls should only go down and bridges should only be extended when both parties are willing to live in amicable peace—as opposed to making the destructive work of those who have been trying to subjugate Europe in the name of Islam that much easier.

Note: For more on how walls saved Western civilization against Islam, see Ibrahim’s recent book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West.


Banning Chick-fil-A is not only bigoted -- it’s illegal

Neither Texans nor Chick-fil-A should stand for such intolerance and bigotry by the government, the First Liberty Institute's Keisha Russell says.

Last week, the San Antonio City Council voted to ban the popular restaurant chain Chick-fil-A from the San Antonio International Airport. Six members of the council voted to approve a new concession space contract on the express condition Chick-fil-A be excluded.

Chick-fil-A’s sin? A history of religious activity that the city council found offensive. A Chick-fil-A has now been yanked from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York as well.

In response, First Liberty Institute has asked United States Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, to investigate the Texas city’s council for religious discrimination. The religious liberty law firm asked Secretary Chao to determine whether city officials failed to comply with the assurances of nondiscrimination required as a federal grant recipient. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has also called for an investigation.

The hostile message sent by San Antonio is clear: any business that does not agree with a local government’s – or any government’s, for that matter – preferred opinions is not welcome to do business in that city.  The problem is, of course, that the council’s action is blatantly illegal.  Indeed, San Antonio’s unconstitutional and discriminatory position should alarm everyone, no matter their religious beliefs.

Councilman Roberto Treviño, who made the motion to exclude Chick-fil-A, said of the vote, “San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior . . . Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport."

Neither Texans nor Chick-fil-A should stand for such intolerance and bigotry by the government.

Everyone, it would seem, except those who hold views contrary to his and who donate to religious nonprofits. The City Council’s allegations stemmed from a report attacking the charitable giving of the privately-owned restaurant. Yet the officials certainly cannot criticize the restaurant’s customer service or business practices. Chick-fil-A’s renowned service and hospitality (which it extends to everyone with a smile) have paid off—Chick-fil-A is currently more profitable per restaurant than McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway combined.  And they have reached the top despite being closed on Sundays.

Ironically, the City Council members are brazenly breaking the very principle of nondiscrimination they claim to value. While Chick-fil-A happily serves anyone its delectable chicken sandwiches, the San Antonio City Council has discriminated against the restaurant because of religion.

Sadly, this is not the first time government officials have been hostile to businesses that operate according to religious views.  In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court in its decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case found that the state of Colorado had violated the religious liberty rights of cake designer Jack Phillips.  Currently, First Liberty Institute represents Aaron and Melissa Klein, who were fined $135,000 by the state of Oregon and forced to close their businesses because they refuse to express a message regarding same-sex marriage that contradicts their religious beliefs. First Liberty has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Oregon’s unconstitutional actions.

Indeed, in San Antonio’s case, federal taxpayers should not be required to subsidize religious bigotry. The city council cannot operate in a way that brazenly violates the Constitution and federal law, but if it chooses to, then the federal government should pull its grant.

Americans agree that tolerance and inclusion are necessary in our diverse and pluralistic society. The government sends a dangerous message when it threatens businesses owned by religious people because they (or the organizations to which they donate) may not hold the opinions that the government prefers.

Neither Texans nor Chick-fil-a should stand for such intolerance and bigotry by the government. Anyone who stands for tolerance and equality should actively oppose the discriminatory action manifested by San Antonio City Council officials. Frankly, standing up for Chick-fil-A and any other religious organization subject to such outright discrimination would be my pleasure.


Australia: Family-friendly goat café is forced to close its doors after it's subjected to 'four months' worth of constant harassment, vile statements and threats from abusive vegan activists'

The Left have found a new excuse to harass ordinary people

A family-owned cafe has been forced to close its doors and leave staff jobless after they were relentlessly abused by vegan animal activists for months on end.

The Gippy Goat Café in the small Victorian town of Yarragon, about 110km south-east of Melbourne, closed its doors for the final time on Sunday, claiming they could no longer stand the abuse.

Owners John and Penny Gommans said they have been targeted for months.

They claim tensions have only gotten worse since activists broke into their farm and stole three goats last December.

'For the sake of our health and safety and that of our families and staff we feel that [closing] is regrettably the best option,' they said in a statement on Sunday.

'Our staff and customers have been subjected to nearly four months of constant harassment, vile statements and threats from the abusive vegan activists.

'We have personally been subjected to an appalling stream of threats of extreme violence against ourselves, our family, our staff and even their families.

'Our staff have been subjected to daily threats and harassment by phone, and we cannot in good conscience ask them to continue working under such a condition.'

The cafe offered a full menu and encouraged customers to feed the on-site goats and watch them get milked.

They prided themselves on being a local, family-friendly venue with a great relationship with many of their patrons.

Those patrons have expressed outrage over Mr and Mrs Gommans' experience. Many described the activists involved - who have not been named - as 'utterly disgusting'.

'For a business to feel like they must close their doors because of harassment is unacceptable. This is where our police and justice system needs a review.'

The couple also noted their business' name had been dragged through the mud by the same activists, who falsified negative reviews on Facebook.

'The courts have proven to be ineffectual, the enforcement agencies declined to prosecute to the full extent, so, to the thieves, trespassers and activists; you have won,' they said.

Meanwhile, the Queensland government has recently announced they will be implementing a crackdown against activists of this nature.

Police and agricultural officers will be entitled to hand out 'hefty fines' to offenders who are caught.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander went a step further, stating they should be jailed, The Courier Mail reported. 

'These are well-organised, well-funded animal extremists who will stop at nothing to get their way,' Mr Mander said. 'These people need to be fined heavily if they break the law and they need to face the risk of jail as well.'     

'Please know that your ignorant indignation, lust for outrage and the false reality you inhabit through your social media streams will prevent you from effecting any positive societal change - only harm to real human beings - and you only have yourselves to thank.'

Nationals MP for the Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath said she would 'fight in parliament to stop this atrocious behaviour.  

'Good people, innocent people working lawfully targeted in such a way is totally unacceptable and unAustralian. 'I and my Nationals colleges will work to strengthen penalties, create real deterrents and stop this type of harassment.'



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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