Monday, 29 October 2012

Thoughts on feminism from Labourites

So, following the decision of Labour MP Austin Mitchell to tweet Louise Mensch the message that "a good wife doesn't disagree with her master in public", something of a row has erupted. And my personal view is that anyone who says something like that, even if they later claim it was an "ironic joke" (adding an inability to understand the meaning of irony to Mitchell's list of flaws), is being disgustingly misogynist and has no place in parliament let alone in a Labour party which claims to be committed to equality.

Anyway, this prompted the usual groundswell of party tribalists rushing in to excuse what Mitchell said or handwave it away as not being a big deal because he was on there team rather than on the tory team. I vocally disagreed with hypocrisy of some of these people whom I happened to be following on twitter and an interesting conversation ensued.

Here are a few highlights from that conversation whichh I found particularly noteworthy from this charming gentleman who blogs under the name Denis Donovan:

He began with handwaving...
Then quickly moved on to this:
(Because obviously men can't believe in feminism for any reason other than as a ploy to slake their uncontrollable lust)

And continued in that vein...

Before moving on to a bit of ageism...

And then finishing off with:
It was only when I pointed out that my mother died of cancer when I was seven that this charming individual decided to finally move on from sexist remarks and insults:

And, while it's nice he decided to offer sympathy for that, it's a shame that a Member of Parliament telling a woman that her husband is her master and she must obey him apparently isn't something he objects to.

Now, aside from him, there was also another Labourite, who I'd actually followed on twitter for quite a long time, who seemed to get very confused about the concept that I could be both a man and a feminist:
Given that we'd spoken on several occasions before and that my twitter name is quite clearly George Potter, I suspected that this was an attempt to belittle me by calling me by a woman's name - a fairly common example of sexism itself. He however denied this:

I was unimpressed...

But this chap just kept on missing the point:

Before again, finishing up with some ageism. Yay!

So, to summarise: according to these two, being a feminist means that I must either a) using the label to try and trick women into having sex with me or b) actually be a woman.

And both of these two men are so-called progressive sorts who, in name at least, are in favour of equality.

To which all I can say is: #facepalm

Oh, and just to finish up, I'd just like to present an example from people's experiences on the Everyday Sexism project as a reminder of why I'm a feminist in the first place:
Katie 2012-10-28 21:04 
Year 7 French homeowork about my family. 
I write "mon pere cuisine le diner" (my father cooks dinner). French teacher corrects it to "ma mere" and tells me off for getting such a basic thing wrong. When I tell her that my Dad does the cooking at home she initially thought I was lying to hide my mistake, then eventually decided my dad must be some poor suppressed husband married to some sort of tyrant. 
All this at an all girls grammar school that prided itself in turning out strong independent women.


  1. First, isn't it Austin Mitchell who did the tweet to Mensch.

    Andrew Mitchell is the former Chief Whip of the Tory party who had to resign over #plebgate.

    Second, how idiotic are those Labourites? Of course you can be a feminist and be male.

    1. Thanks for spotting the typo - though I copied it from the Telegraph which makes it even worse.

  2. Yes, people are rather pathetic about stuff like this. Actually, I think that a lot of people trawl Twitter and the likes, looking for someone to start an argument with. It quite literally is a case that they should get a life. I'm lucky enough to be able to say honestly that sometimes I don't look at my twitter feed for a week or two at a time. And those who accuse one of trying to creep to women by pretending to be feminist clearly have had little to do with women. Maybe that is the problem.

    Austin Mitchell is of course a bit of a dinosaur (i say at the risk of being accused of being ageist). I don't mean it as an insult, merely to partially excuse him, having been brought up in an era where men did go out to work and women stayed at home and cooked, and actually, by law were, at least to some extent, the responsibility of their husbands.

    (You should change your labels btw, you still have Plebius Mitchell in there.)

  3. IIRC, @DD1958 had no issue with the jailing of Pussy Riot because their protest took place in a 'place of worship'. I suspect this may be an issue of personality, not politics. Which is about as politely as I can state it.

  4. People in this country have not grown up - Or become better - They are now filled with bile and hatred for all around them. they attack the disabled, treat us like nothings - Just last night they were playing 'rap and run' on my door because they know I am disabled and it is so funny to upset a disabled person who is alone.

    Says it all really for the UK


I'm indebted to Birkdale Focus for the following choice of words:

I am happy to address most contributions, even the drunken ones if they are coherent, but I am not going to engage with negative sniping from those who do not have the guts to add their names or a consistent on-line identity to their comments. Such postings will not be published.

Anonymous comments with a constructive contribution to make to the discussion, even if it is critical will continue to be posted. Libellous comments or remarks I think may be libellous will not be published.

I will also not tolerate personation so please do not add comments in the name of real people unless you are that person. If you do not like these rules then start your own blog.

Oh, and if you persist in repeating yourself despite the fact I have addressed your point I may get bored and reject your comment.

The views expressed in comments are those of the poster, not me.