Male sexism in the blogsphere

I though it worthwhile hauling out these two comments from women as a separate post.
They were in response to a plea I made for female comment to my post Abortion at home about the Women on Web site for on line abortion material.

It’s hard to identify gender if you use pseudonyms. So I invited women to identify themselves as such if necessary anonymously. to test the provenance of comment on the subject of abortion, where gender is of course very relevant.

These comments speak for themselves. Fair comment? Are they typical? If fair and reasonable and they ring utterly true to me, they expose a big, big problem
of male behaviour.

I’m female, have never used a pseudonym on Slugger, but rarely participate simply because any thread I’ve ever read here that has been about ‘women’s issues’ has been completely taken over by men who are deeply misogynistic and have absolutely no intention of engaging in any real debate or of being willing to stand back and actually let women be heard.

Several years ago I wrote an abortion article which was posted on Slugger and I received a significant amount of abuse in the comments as well as on my blog, and ‘dead baby’ pictures and threats to my personal email address. I find it to be a scarily accurate reflection of Northern Irish men in general…although it is somewhat more liberal these days.

Thanks for this post though – at least Women on Web are an organisation I can donate to without feeling like my money will be wasted.
Posted by joanne on Jul 11, 2008 @ 06:07 PM
#

Okay, I admit it. I’m a woman. But part of the reason I am reluctant to ‘fess up is because I have had a certain amount of bile in the past over it as well as condescending tones in many posts. The blogosphere is not gender-neutral. I think you’ll find that everywhere, not just in our little corner of the world.

There seems to be an assumption that because contraception exists, everyone knows where to get it, how to use it, etc. It’s not true for benefits, money advice or anything else. The prudish tendency to pretend no one has sex here means that people are not very savvy about how to be careful. Look at the number of A&E;units in Northern Ireland which refuse to give the morning after pill. That’s taking responsibility and yet, refusal to give this drug means that more women may be forced to seek an abortion if they become pregnant.
Posted by Animus on Jul 11, 2008 @ 06:25 PM

  • Napoleons nose.

    I’m a woman and I don’t think these comments are typical of the average female in N.Ireland. Being a retired BBC employee Brian you will know the effectiveness of playing the devils advocate, and this post-if you read between the lines- is saying that all women agree with abortion. Where’s the devils advocate in this post? Or a balanced POV? You want us to stand by and let some gals winge?????

    Abortion is not a womans issue its a human issue, and anyone who thinks men are not affected by it are totally off the radar. If women are to be treated equally, then either speak up or shut up, theres no point in going around saying the boys wouldn’t let us talk……

    Damsel in distress doesn’t work for me. I’ve carried children in to this world, and their father was right there beside me, I consider myself a competent female able enough to get my point of view accross whether it be to men or women or mixed company.

    Stop whinging and say your piece.

    As to the abuse. Don’t publish your personal e mail on the web. Anything posted on your blog that is offensive to you, delete it. Move on, or report it to the cops – whatever, but don’t whinge.

    Stop attacking other women and men for having a different point of view.

    Men stand back and let them speak…..

    Dome a favour

    some of us fought for equal rights – sat in the cold on greenam common, stood and marched beside men through thirty years of trouble, and now you want us to shut the hell up and muzzle the men so you guys can whinge your point of view.

    Get stuck in or go away.

  • Mark McGregor

    I’ve gotta agree with the above. You publish and fuck the begrudgers. When I fist started to blog on Slugger I went through a period of contemplation and discussion with Mick on using my real name. I got some terrible crap in my inbox and it worried and pissed me off for a long time.

    You either decide to stand up and have your say or walk off the field of play. Once you walk or make a bigger issue of your treatment than presenting your thoughts you’ve lost the argument by default.

  • Napoleons nose.

    I have used various names on slugger. I know Mick, and the reason I use various names is because I don’t post often and then I forget the last name I used;-) I’m not joking either!! Thats forgiveable at my age.

    It’s true many of the bloggers on slugger are men. Where’s Fritz??? Having said that, If I had a passion like these women mentioned I’d contact mick whose e mail is available and state my case.

    I can’t get over this post, I really can’t. A classic example of male guilt, then they wonder why they sting at the feminist backlash and have very little rights in family court.

    Pity the man who can’t see his children because some vindictive female won’t let him see his kids, and uses children as pawns. Not that it’s all women who do that, and in some cases they need to keep kids away, but…..

    There are many POV out there, all of them a version of the truth….if these gals want their version accross let them get on with it.

  • Brian Walker

    No, Napoleon’s nose, no ” classic example of male guilt” here and I’m as unapologetic about my view as you are about yours. I found the two comments I posted truthful and moving; if you disagree, fine, that’s your business. My original POV was in the “Abortion at home” piece. Posts invite comment and I was interested to see if there would be an authentic reaction from women, it’s as simple as that. The fact of your comments makes my point.

  • Napoleons nose.

    If fair and reasonable and they ring utterly true to me, they expose a big, big problem
    of male behaviour.

    Thats not male guilt?

    They expose a big big problem of male behaviour?

    Sure they do Brian, they got a guy like you to pick out their comments and question male behaviour. What moved you about their comments? Did you want to ride to the rescue of our damsels in distress.

    All you did Brian was put women down. Do you think women my age reared families, worked hard outside the home, got out there and tried to be counted should be flattered in some way by this? Let me tell you this, I’m the equal of any man. Not physically-I’ve sons can lift me from one spot and put me down on another. I like your gallantry. It’s nice to see a gentleman. But not in this arena.

    The only problem posed is why you would highlight them in the first place. What ever moved you is misplaced. This is a human issue, that affects men as well as women and society as a whole. I condemn it with every fibre of my being. Sure I understand some people get into a plight, as in rape cases. I’m not opining on the women who chose it, nor judging them, but I sure as hell won’t be emotionally blackmailed by them either.

  • joeCanuck

    Where’s Fritz???

    I assume you meant Fitz. When she stopped blogging here she intimated that one reason was that she just couldn’t stand the vile abuse she received in her inbox after (I think) her comments on abortion and women’s rights. Hope I’m not misstating her.

  • Brian – While I think you had the best of intentions in posting this, I doubt it will have the effect you might have hoped for. As you said, you specifically asked for women to respond in that particular post and while I can’t speak for Animus, I certainly didn’t anticipate that my words would end up in a separate post to be picked apart and for me to be accused of emotional blackmail. I wasn’t having ‘a whinge’, I’m no damsel in distress, and I don’t need anyone jumping to my defense. You asked why more women don’t post on Slugger, I told you why I don’t post on Slugger. I have no idea how that managed to prompt three ranting, vitriolic, and really quite unintelligible responses from Napoleons nose!

  • LURIG

    Are there no dishes to wash, socks to darn or childer to put to bed?

  • Pete Baker

    Brian

    Some thoughts on this.

    The simple truth is that there are a lot of disturbed, and disturbing, people out there.

    Some of them have access to computers.

    So on particularly emotive subjects, like abortion, those people may appear to be overly represented in online discussions.

    Yes, Slugger has a majority of male bloggers. But we’re not exclusively male. And Mick has repeatedly attempted to recruit female bloggers to the team.

    The comment zone is, with respect to the very many valued contributors to discussions here, a different beast entirely.

    Another simple truth is that to post on a high-profile blog it’s beneficial to have, or quickly develop, a thick skin.

    Because there will be critics. Whether deserved or not you will receive criticism, abuse, and delusional comments directed at you personally.

    Or you will if you’re asking appropriately awkward questions.

    One key thing to learn is which conversations are worth having.. and which are not.

    But it’s important not to generalise on the basis of any apparent online over-representation.

    For me, blogging is, inherently, a very individual thing. Most of the time I’m exploring what I think about any particular topic in my posts.

    Any other conversation comes later.

  • Brian Walker

    Joanne,thanks for your comment. As everybody knows, you have to take your chances in a blog, and risk of getting your Napoleon’s nose bitten off. Women remain under represented in the discussion; its not condescending to say so, its just a fact.

  • Garibaldy

    But are women under-represented because of the sexism of male bloggers? Or the sexism of men (not necessarily bloggers) who expect to have their tea made, and their cleaning done? Or do women have better things to do, and are less nerdy?

  • Napoleons nose.

    One key thing to learn is which conversations are worth having.. and which are not.

    It makes sense to me, that if someone blogs a post they ought to be able to defend what they have written. If you personally as a blogger post up and then decide it’s not worth engaging with the commetariat thats fine. But if the conversation is not worth having why would you post on it. Surely experience would dictate that threads can go off on their own – but if you can’t defend what you write why bother?

    Women remain under represented in the discussion; its not condescending to say so, its just a fact.
    How do you know if they are using pseudonyms?

    So on particularly emotive subjects, like abortion, those people may appear to be overly represented in online discussions.

    Who is that aimed at? It can’t be me, this is my first post in any of the abortion threads. Brian can check IP’s if he likes. He has one up which he took the comments from, and another on the RC church (I think its him at least),
    and this one. What if people do want to overstate their case? Does that mean they are disturbed, or interested in the subject, or passionate in their beliefs? I really do have a problem with anyone analysizing behaviour on the basis of a blog post. Why anyone would bother going to a therapist when so many can analysise by remote without a medical degree always amazes me.

    Brian I was not intending to bite of your napoleons nose, I enjoy your posts, and read them all the time. As I said before I don’t comment much, mainly read, all I did was simply take issue with you as regards highlighting one particular point of view.

  • Napoleons nose.

    this is my first post in any of the abortion threads.

    should say these are my first posts in any of the abortion threads.

  • Napoleons nose.

    Where’s Fritz???

    I assume you meant Fitz. When she stopped blogging here she intimated that one reason was that she just couldn’t stand the vile abuse she received in her inbox after (I think) her comments on abortion and women’s rights. Hope I’m not misstating her.

    Joe, I’m extremely sorry to hear that.

  • Pete Baker

    Nosey

    “If you personally as a blogger post up and then decide it’s not worth engaging with the commetariat thats fine. But if the conversation is not worth having why would you post on it. Surely experience would dictate that threads can go off on their own – but if you can’t defend what you write why bother?”

    My point was that some of the criticism is not based on factual analysis of what has been posted. And therefore not worth responding to. There would be an endless cycle of pointless ‘conversation’ otherwise.

    “Who is that aimed at? It can’t be me, this is my first post in any of the abortion threads.”

    I can re-assure you that I was not directing any of my comments at you personally.

    It was a much more general comment about blogging. And how it helps to have a thick skin.

  • Napoleons nose.

    Thanks pete I’m glad we cleared that up.

  • Mick Fealty

    I do, from time to time, take flak about the lack of women on Slugger. I don’t have an excuse for it. It’s certainly not inevitable. Probably one of the most influential blogs in the States is run by a woman: Huffington Post. There are some excellent Irish women pol bloggers too. Maman Poulet, Sarah Carey, Fiona de Londres, Red Mum and the Swearing Lady of Galway Town come to mind. Funny enough, they are all based in (though not all from) the south.

    The funny thing is that just being there, makes a difference. I don’t just mean in terms of blogs, but in general. The fact that more women turn up in a place makes it more congenial for other women. In my experience that works the other way too, more women generally means less men.

    I suppose it requires some committment to take possession of the space and not allow yourself to be pushed off it. Come to think of it, we could do with hearing from more women on this. [Mick shuts up and goes to bed]

  • Dave

    Women are bored by politics, and I think they have more sense than men in that regard. Boredom is probably a saner response to political discourse. If that comment is deemed sexist, then too bad. It think it is generally true – as most generalisations are (another generalisation). Anyway, as a wise man once observed (without looking at this thread), no man could possibly hate a woman as much as women hate each other.

    I’m very surprised that hate mail is sent to Bloggers on Slugger, and to quite a few it seems. I used my actual email address when I posted as The Dubliner, and I never received any emails. I never expected any kind emails, since I don’t engage in any personable way. But I exchanged argumentative words with quite a few other posters on threads due to my forthright views on various subjects, yet I never experienced any unpleasantness in my inbox. If I failed to wind the hatemongers up, I fail to see how the polite Bloggers of Slugger managed it but obviously they did.

  • Brian Walker

    Napoleon’s Nose, thanks for the gentler words to make your point. And Pete, thanks too. Great reflections, the voice of experience.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>I have no idea how that managed to prompt three ranting, vitriolic, and really quite unintelligible responses from Napoleons nose!< >If I failed to wind the hatemongers up<

  • Napoleons nose.

    Mick, Brian, women don’t find politics boring. I love politics, but please don’t do the positive discrimination bit. If women are at the back of the bus on slugger, or you feel they are even hesitant about getting on the bus, the one thing that would make me step off the slugger bus is for some man to go all gentlemanly and get up and give us his seat.

    No matter where we are on that bus, even if we are only waiting for it, it’s better we earn our place on merit, and not have it given to us by a bloke, no matter how good his intentions.

    I don’t want anything not earned. I have no respect for a woman who would get anything from positive discrimination, or lying on her back for it.

  • Animus

    A couple of points: I didn’t expect to see my post as part of another, so that’s a bit of surprise, which is where I think Napoleon’s Nose’s comments spring from. But she also displays an attitude that what’s good enough for her should be good enough for everyone. Male guilt is a bit different from a bit of reflection.

    I don’t want contributors to write me off simply because I’m female. Feel free to criticise my opinions on their own merits. Someone wrote in response to a previous post several months back that I had no value for life and shouldn’t have children because I am pro-choice (oops too late!), and it was because I’m female. Calling me a hateful b*tch is not commenting on my opinions, it’s personal. I hasten to add it was not that many contributors, but it does make one think it’s not worth arguing with imbeciles. I do know that Fitz was receiving some very nasty mail and comments – my personal information is not here, and it’s one reason I wouldn’t consider becoming a regular blogger.

    I agree with Garibaldy that blogging, particularly political blogging, does tend to attract a certain nerdy type. I am very interested in politics, and probably a nerd as well, so happy enough to wear that label. I work in a somewhat political environment in my job and am accustomed to being talked down to and treated like a doll; one of the benefits of anonymity is that if people don’t know me, they can’t rush to judgement. I like that.

    The blogosphere reflects society; we still live in a pretty sexist world. I don’t there is any harm in recognising that. We do need more women to give as good as they get. Right, better check and see if there’s any ironing to do.

  • Napoleons nose.

    But she also displays an attitude that what’s good enough for her should be good enough for everyone.

    No not really. I merely state that my position is that if women bloggers are to be on slugger they ought to have earned their stripes rather than be given the opportunity through positive discrimination. If others are willing to accept something less, it’s an open forum, they can say so openly or anonymously. I agree with you that women should give as good as they get, and am sorry you have been the object of personal abuse. But I’d hasten to add that that is something that cannot be erased on the internet, and it would be a sad day if slugger were to become so PC correct that it stifled any freedom of banter.

    I’ve been a regular commentator here for a long time, I’ve never suffered high levels of personal abuse, some a little over the top banter came my way which put me off a little, and I’m sorry to see Fitz gone. I’m glad to see Brian and new bloggers come, it can get a little parochial here and he’s refreshing and new.

    I’d sure hate to see women get positions simply because they are women. Firstly they’d end up getting their ass whupped if they didn’t know their stuff, and secondly who wants to read a drama queen.

    Roll on the day the lady comes along until then this is a fine site and there are a few tough old birds already here. Keep her lit!

  • Comrade Stalin

    This is a very interesting discussion. I’m sorry to hear that some people stopped blogging because of the abuse that they were sent, in particular the part about people being sent “dead baby” pictures. As other have said, the only way to deal with it is just to delete the offensive mail and don’t let it get to you. I have been contributing to discussions on the internet for the last 12 years or so (before blogs were invented, you had Usenet and mailing lists) and I’ve had everything, including death threats. I wouldn’t try to argue that the death threats were serious, any idiot with a keyboard can send one, but at the same time you never know with these things. I started using anonymity when people began posting personal information about me.

    I can’t say a lot about the abortion thread, but it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that a noisy minority of the pro-lifers are more than passionate about their cause; they’ve got mental problems. People who oppose the Iraq war, for example, generally don’t send pictures of dead people to those who support it. I don’t know what it is about the abortion issue that brings this kind of vile behaviour to the fore.

    On the issue of representation of women, it reminds me of a slightly-related issue which I heard about recently, a rather sad story. A video of a certain former MP, whom I won’t name, clearly in a state of mental breakdown, has been circulated on the internet over the past few weeks. It turns out that a lot of the women who were elected in 1997 as a consequence of being on Blair’s all-female shortlists had a hellish time in parliament. There is the obvious problem that parliament is a kind of male-dominated and rather chauvinist place, but also there’s the less obvious problem that these poor people essentially came out of nowhere, had no support base, power base, or allies in their local associations or throughout their party, and on top of all of that a lot of them were simply crap politicians who weren’t very good at it, essentially elected by accident. Instead of local allies, they ended up with enemies who undermined their work, because they were selected ahead of people who had put many years of hard work into their local party and who felt that they were more entitled to the seat.

    It turns out now, over ten years on, many of these people lost their seats, and have had to struggle with marriage problems, and in more serious cases, alcoholism and even death. An effort to use positive discrimination here not only backfired, but it completely ruined the lives of these unfortunate people.

  • Dave

    CS, the success of Margaret Thatcher destroys the bogus impression that women are excluded from positions of power in British politics by a culture of male chauvinism. If a woman has the ability to do the job, there is no ceiling to her progress. There is no way to circumvent this fact. The social engineering that you referred to by Tony Blair shows the folly of attempting to by-pass the evolutionary dynamics of the political marketplace wherein only the best will prosper by attempting to promote weak individuals to positions of power that they are ill-designed to cope with or manage.

    Incidentally, I’m always a bit suspicious of attempts (usually done by pro-abortion fanatics) to depict those who respect the right to life of the unborn child as being of a mentally unstable ilk. The obvious propaganda outcome of that ad hominem tactic is to discredit the message by discrediting the message. It could be presented that those who believe that the unborn child is the disposable property of a particular gender are of the morally and mentally questionable ilk.

  • Dave

    Err… “discredit the message by discrediting the messenger.”

  • Comrade Stalin

    CS, the success of Margaret Thatcher destroys the bogus impression that women are excluded from positions of power in British politics by a culture of male chauvinism.

    Not really. The vast majority of MPs are men. I wouldn’t say that women are systematically excluded, though. But the stories of the hard time those women got when they came to parliament are sad.

    The social engineering that you referred to by Tony Blair shows the folly of attempting to by-pass the evolutionary dynamics of the political marketplace wherein only the best will prosper by attempting to promote weak individuals to positions of power that they are ill-designed to cope with or manage.

    Positive discrimination is misguided and wrong, there we agree. The arguments about “evolutionary dynamics”, on the other hand, do give me slight cause for concern. Evolutionary dynamics, in other words the status quo, do have to be bypassed and challenged, otherwise reform never happens. Equality of opportunity, and civil rights, have never come about by people just sitting there and waiting for it to happen.

    Incidentally, I’m always a bit suspicious of attempts (usually done by pro-abortion fanatics) to depict those who respect the right to life of the unborn child as being of a mentally unstable ilk.

    What part of “noisy minority”, which I very specifically included in my contribution knowing that someone would respond just as you did, do you not understand ?

    The obvious propaganda outcome of that ad hominem tactic is to discredit the message by discrediting the message.

    People who send pictures of abortions through email or the post are disturbed, and it’s not unreasonable to expect that people will draw their own conclusions from that. That’s the bottom line.

  • 0b101010

    Seems to me this post is claiming women are too precious to deal with the same level of abuse that men get in fora. How very progressive of you brave defenders.

    Believing that anyone should “stand back” to let another be heard, on whatever differential you think qualifies, is a complete and utter nonsense — a dangerous nonsense that relies on, and actively reinforces, discrimination.

  • 0b101010

    People who send pictures of abortions through email or the post are disturbed

    I actually agree completely but, as we sit here considering them zealously disturbed and perhaps dangerous authoritarians, take a small moment to consider again what they must think of people who promote abortion. It’s very easy for me to see that a vicious minority would have no issue confronting people with the physical results of their beliefs if they consider support of termination to be active support for murder.

  • Dave

    CS, I don’t think it helps to use evolutionary dynamics as another word for the status quo when, by proper definition, it actually means the opposite: evolution is change, not stasis. The upward mobility that others seek must come about by their ability to succeed in a competitive marketplace wherein the best will succeed by ability that is tested against the competition. In the example you cited, it was clear that there were tragic consequences for those who were promoted to positions by Blair’s social engineering that they lacked the ability to cope with. They were not tested by a competitive environment, being protected from it; and were that not the case, then they would have realised long ago that they could not succeed in that environment ad would have moved onto careers that were better suited to their ability. Blair’s social engineering did not help them: it harmed them.

    In regard to Margaret Thatcher, her success shows that it doesn’t matter if the environment is predominantly male: what matters is exceptional ability. She had that ability and she succeeded. Likewise, Ms Clinton is an exceptionally intelligent person who was not hindered by a political environment that is also predominantly male. This is fact. Those who have the ability to succeed will succeed. The fact that so few women have succeeded in politics has nothing whatsoever to do with the male gender.

    Lastly, I referenced “usually done by pro-abortion fanatics” in regard to my suspicions rather than stating “usually done by you”, so unless you include yourself in the former category, relax. People who send “send pictures of abortions through email” are fanatics. That is not to their credit. However, it doesn’t alter their argument in any way. Indeed, it’s also possible for those who are pro-abortion to send such pictures in order to discredit those who are anti-abortion. There are plenty of fanatics from that ilk too. In both ilks, it is important to distinguish between all and some and also to distinguish between the message and a particular messenger.

  • Animus

    Dave, wrong on so many counts. This is like saying that because a few people like John Prescott succeed that all working class people have an equal shot at becoming deputy PM. When we see how over-represented Oxbridge grads are within the upper eschelons, we can either say that it’s because only the smartest get there on merit or we could ask why others don’t make it. There was an interesting discussion of this specific class issue in the Guardian a few months back. Privilege breeds privilege, whether that relates to race, class, or sex and to pretend otherwise is foolhardy at best and extremely limiting both to individuals and to society at large.

    Another example: a thinktank looking at the City argued persuasively that more women and older men should be taken on as staff. It isn’t merit that keeps people out, it’s a culture. And recently we’ve seen how damaging that sort of homogenous environment has led to high-level losses.

    Regarding physical results of abortion, blah blah. Many of the posters/photos those people carry are actually factually incorrect. For a woman who has had a miscarriage, I find that deeply offensive and undermines their cause. And I find the assertion that pro-abortion people might send the photos to discredit others frankly ridiculous. Perhaps the murderers of abortion doctors are also secretly pro-abortion? Pull the other one. I also dispute the term pro-abortion – no one is pro-abortion. There are certainly enough fanatics on the anti side they don’t need any help. Most people on either side of the abortion debate are reasonable people who hold their beliefs without wanting to rile anyone.

  • Napoleons nose.

    Animus Thatcher was a greengrocers daughter and a woman and made in a male world, many women, not all grads make it in a male world. Thats fact. One thing Thatcher had in her favour was that she was there in an opportune moment. Sometimes fate favours,sometimes not.

    If a woman wants to make it in a male world she does have to work twice as hard to prove herself, but they’ve done it. Regardless of social class or positive discrimination. This isn’t all about women, but blacks gays or catholics in NI. Positive discrimination is unfair and goes against everything feminism stands for. True feminism should abhor any kind of positive discrimination not favour it, but the left have got a strangulation hold of feminism. Like so much else.

    Business needs to operate in a free competitive market, thats why the state bailing out banks and subsidising others is unfair on many levels. Some private businessess cannot flourish because they cannot pay employees the same rates as the public sector.We need to scale down the public sector here if private business is to flourish and we need it to if want investment.

    It’s the same with women or ethnic minorities, or in education. How would you feel if you kid got a grade A in his 11+ and an ethnic minority kid got the same grade yet the ethnic minority child gets the school place on nothing more than the grounds of his ethnicity? Can’t you see how that affects the workplace, how men would feel if they are overlooked because a woman gets a job simply by virtue of her sex.

    It is wrong on so many levels. Thats why I think Dave – has got it about right when he brings in Darwinisms survival of the fittest.

    We’re getting ahead of ourselves. Would you as a woman blog on slugger if they asked you to simply because they wanted to fill their quota of women? Would you really? Or would you rather it was gender neutral and ppl wrote posts on merit?

    As to abortion I do agree with you when you say most ppl don’t want to rile. But it’s still wrong for it to be introduced via a back door with out putting it before the electorate. The EU and Westminister should not try to impose this on ppl here without first putting it to a vote – at least in that all four parties have my support in taking their latest action collectively.

  • Napoleons nose.

    You know animus everytime I read your first paragraph I keep thinking of that black Met officer who has had three payouts from the met totalling £300,000.

    here

    Everybody is a victim, everybodies feelings are hurt, everybody has something to moan about….it just gets worse

    If we stick to the principles of merit, and the survival of those most capable, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

  • Comrade Stalin

    0b101010:

    Seems to me this post is claiming women are too precious to deal with the same level of abuse that men get in fora. How very progressive of you brave defenders.

    I don’t know if you’re referring to me or not, but I think that the women who went to the House of Commons would have come up against rather worse abuse than the men would. Add to that the fact that they’d been slotted in there without a powerbase, and you’ve got a recipe for a very sad situation. Mind you, you could well argue that the women who opted to go on the all-female shortlist should have done more research about what they were getting into.

    Napoleon’s Nose, I do disagree with you on the decision with regard to abortion by the four parties. The way they acted was typical of the way politicians here act, which is to wallpaper over a real underlying problem. The decision has one single effect – it does not reduce abortions, it just forces more hardship on a woman who has already decided to have one, and the health service elsewhere in the UK has to pick up the tab.

  • 0b101010

    I don’t know if you’re referring to me or not

    Nope, not at all. It’s my response to the original post from Brian.

  • Animus

    Sweden has a very high proportion of women in parliament and greater equality generally. So does this mean that their women are smarter than ours or their men are not very bright? Or could it mean that gender equality has led to a better balance across society which is reflected in governance arrangements?

    Thatcher benefitted from opportunity meeting chance, no doubt about that. But many women don’t. Sticking to the principles of merit ignores the fact that many people don’t get the same opportunities which will lead to merit. Not everyone can join the Bullingdon Massive. That’s not merit, and to say that our society operates on merit ignores the fundamental inequality at work in this society.

    And as for discrimination in the 11+, well that’s happening already. The parents of mediocre students simply pay for a place at a grammar school, so that a D student may gain admittance while a B student is denied. That’s how private business works. Incidentally, it’s been shown that a more diverse workforce in terms of gender and age actually increases productivity, so I wonder how much of this is to do with good business sense and how much of it is jobs for the boys. I think there is a huge difference between quotas and positive discrimination and I’m not convinced that all positive discrimination is bad.