Herbert Marcuse (1898 – 1979)
It didn’t start well. Bleary eyed from sleep I switched on Radio 4. I tell myself I just want to know what the opposition is saying. In truth it’s some sort of compulsion, a masochism…..
No, no, ….that’s surely not Alison Saunders….
Thankfully, I reached the off switch before the urge to impale myself on the nearest railings became overwhelming.
I heard the word “internet”. I didn’t catch much else. That was enough. It would be her latest wheeze to criminalise men for writing stuff. I didn’t want to know.
[Sure enough, it was…see here for our beloved DPP’s latest swathe of new criminal offences. It’ll be strictly gender neutral, of course. How could you doubt it. Oh, but the HuffPo piece considers it worth mentioning that, “Legislation rolled out in December created the offence of “controlling or coercive behaviour” in intimate or family relationships. It means domestic abusers who control their victims through social media accounts or spy on them online could face up to five years in prison.” Monomania, at all, Ms Saunders? I suppose there’s nothing to be gained by pointing out that men are, if anything, subject to rather more internet trolling than women? No, I thought not. About as useless as mentioning that men suffer almost as much domestic abuse as women, I suppose, or pointing out that the male control theory of partner abuse is false because studies show that there are no substantial sex differences in controlling behaviour].
Never mind, I thought, continuing my breakfast, I’ll immerse myself in a bit of physics. So I reached for the latest Physics World.
A special Physics World edition on Diversity! The whole issue. Apparently Francis Bacon was very dismissive of women. That was quite a while ago, though, wasn’t it? Apparently gender and LGBT minorities at CERN are not treated as well as they might be. Here’s the shocking evidence,
Truly shocking, I think you’ll agree. Though who was responsible for defacing these posters is unknown. I’ll tactfully ignore the evidence that it was (a) adherents of the Old Testament, and, (b) Germans/Swiss, because that would rather detract from the message that all UK physicists should feel guilty – and, in any case, this “evidence” would have been very easy to fake. Perhaps it was just people who are fed up with being told what they should think.
Then we were treated to the unedifying article by Physics World’s editor, Martin Durrani, doing a spot of Maoist confessional. Apparently he suffers from unconscious discrimination. Why was I not surprised. Not that I harbour any negative views of Mr Durrani (unless, of course, they be unconscious). But being politically incorrect is inescapable, as Janice Fiamengo has explained. One’s white male privilege requires no objective manifestation and to insist on one’s innocence is equivalent to a confession of guilt. For when the crime is unconscious there can be no defence.
Margaret Harris continued the theme, exploring “how small, subtle and sometimes subconscious actions can add up to create an environment that feels unwelcoming – or even hostile – to women and other under-represented groups in physics“. Microaggressions, we are told, can undermine women’s confidence, even when honestly meant as a compliment. This is disadvantaging women by a thousand tiny cuts. We must never use the word “girl” or refer to a woman’s appearance in any way. I got the memo and I believe I’ve been compliant for some decades, but the level of criticism is increasing. I humbly suggest that further hammering away at this issue may do more harm than good. Men who have been beaten up on this matter for decades are becoming exasperated. Of course, they are not allowed to say so. Which is why they are exasperated.
What seems to pass people by is that the whole microaggression, ultra-correct, intolerance culture is actually one huge macroaggression against straight white males. Well, that’s what repressive tolerance is supposed to be. This culture first invaded the business world, with the result that men are now shying away from mentoring younger women – or in extreme cases even avoiding ever being alone with a woman – for fear of accusations. And why are the numbers of male teachers plummeting? In contrast, the number of female HE staff in physics has been increasing for many years. Could it be that an anti-male culture is prevailing in teaching which is, in fact, far worse than any anti-female culture in physics? The empirical evidence provides a prima facie case, but our society will not even permit such thoughts to be spoken. This is the purpose of repressive tolerance.
Male disadvantage is a politically incorrect concept. Yet, even just confining attention to academic subjects at university the situation is extreme but ignored. In the UK women undergraduates now outnumber men by ten to one in nursing, by six to one in teaching, by over four to one in psychology, by four to one in pre-clinical veterinary science, by three to one in English, in languages and in cultural studies, by two to one in law, and by two to one in medical and dental sciences. Even in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine) overall, women now dominate men at undergraduate level by 8%.
Are students and staff in these subjects being obliged always to use the male pronoun? No? Are they carefully countering any subtle social stereotyping which might be leading to this male disadvantage? What, they’re not? Are the professional bodies and unions representing these subjects leading programmes to encourage more men into these areas? What, no again? Is the government funding initiatives to drive towards improved male participation in these academic and work areas? It isn’t, is it? But don’t get upset, the bias in these cases is in the correct direction, so it really doesn’t matter. And I’m sure it’s not being driven by any nasty microaggressions or anything like that.
And so, breakfast finished, off I go to the university engineering department. There was to be no escape. There to greet me on the main notice board was….yup, a flyer warning all us nasty male engineers of “Unconscious Bias” – courtesy of the Women In Engineering Society. They were nothing if not thorough: these flyers were all over the building. I have observed previously that these feminist campaigns are highly organised. They are often organised around a single word or phrase. It is no accident that I ran across two instances of the “unconsciousness” attack on the same day. You’ll be hearing more of “unconscious discrimination”, mark my words.
It’s a great wheeze, isn’t it, “unconscious” misdemeanours? It’s rather like the rash of objectively unverifiable crimes we now have on the statute books – such as making someone fearful. Oh, it’s all ever so gender neutral, of course. I await the first trial of a woman for making a man feel fearful. On the other hand, thanks to half a century of feminist propaganda telling us that all men are violent abusers, a woman’s claim that she was made fearful by a man will carry far greater credibility with the authorities – listen and believe. Talking of nasty violent men…
Back home and Radio 4’s pm programme. An American girl told us about her (genuinely extremely horrible) kidnapping & rape over several days – following internet grooming. Just why were they regaling us with this? Well, it was the BBC reinforcing Alison Saunder’s message about the dangers of nasty men on the internet. But not only was this an incident in the USA, it was also 14 years ago. So why this particular case? Well, the answer, of course, is that it was a particularly nasty case – and I presume they couldn’t find a UK case to match it. So instead, they merely gave the impression that such horrors – such vile men, that is – are just around every corner. And they used a 14 year old case from the USA to prove it.
And even on the Now Show, the (again American) comedienne focused her spot on David Cameron’s vetoing of compulsory Sex & Relationship Education in schools. I didn’t even realise he had. Don’t worry, though. The feminist lobby never give up. It’ll be back.