Story time children, time to analyze a few news stories from a men’s movement perspective. Once you start to do this it’s like enlightenment and you find you’re recognizing the broader reality in what you read. The stories covered here simply happen to be from this weekend’s news and there were more even in that pool that could have been included. If someone had time or could be funded for this, such analysis could be usefully done every single day because there are always examples from our news media of gender inequality and double standards disadvantaging men. However, the journalists seldom recognize the male gender implications of their stories and often come at the story from the still (but not for much longer) fashionable feminist “downtrodden women’ ideology.
Let’s start with the sad saga of British female nurse Jacintha Saldanha who (is presumed to have) committed suicide after putting through a prank call from Sydney radio station 2dayFM to other hospital nurses caring for newly pregnant Princess Kate. The first observation a politically aware male might make is that her royal highness spent about a week in hospital for being pregnant and experiencing morning sickness. What can one say? Except that nobody in the media has said it!
Endless media hand wringing and scapegoating of others over Jacintha Saldanha’s death has been nice and empathetic but consider the gender double standards here. If a man had committed suicide over an incident at work, even if that incident resulted in international media attention, we would likely guess that he had other personal problems. He would be treated as largely responsible for his own action, and indeed would probably be seen as inadequate, selfish, even committing domestic violence in subjecting his children, wife and significant others to such trauma and depriving them of his future support. Thomas Ball and Mohamed Bonazizi received hardly any publicity when they self-immolated outside Family Courts, while an Australian who burned himself to death outside the Family Court in Brisbane on 7/7/2010 received minimal media attention, was not considered worth even naming and no back-story was given. How many men in the modern era have committed suicide after being subjected to deceit, ridicule, game-playing and other abusive behaviour from others? From what we know about male suicide rates around the world it has probably been hundreds of thousands of men. But for them no questions were asked by media about the role of ex-partners, employers, the Court or family law in driving them to this. Men commit suicide about four times as often as women but we hear little about this, yet when one woman commits suicide we get endless media attention and total blaming of others. Gender equality, yeah right.
Our next story today boys and girls is a report 2 days after a tornado wreaked havoc, killed three male workers and injured others on the job in Hobsonville. As usual, all news articles, radio and tv reports during the first day after the event referred to the dead men only as “3 people” or “3 workers”, failing to mention their gender. They might argue that gender had not yet been announced by the authorities or that any identifying details need to be withheld until next-of-kin have been informed, etc etc. However, I would bet good money that if any of the dead were women this would have been highlighted almost immediately. Moreover, one day later there had been at least one reference to “3 men” in a Radio NZ news bulletin suggesting that their gender was now officially released. Yet news articles like this 2 days after the event still used only the term “3 workers” without mentioning their gender at all. No media I came across made any further mention of the other “workers’ who had been injured, even though soon after the event it was reported that some of those injuries were so serious we could expect a higher death toll.
Why is this important? Firstly, because it amounts to suppression of important information about men. It suppresses and hides the fact that it is men who mostly work in roles involving high exposure to danger. The dead men at Hobsonville were killed by huge concrete pre-fabricated slabs that they were maneuvering and securing into place. Instead of acknowledging the strength and bravery of the male gender who are proud to serve in such roles, our media take their contribution for granted and suppress it, yet give frequent exposure to complaints about the sickening outrage that women earn about 12% less on average for the much safer jobs they do overall.
Secondly, the suppression of male gender in situations where female gender would be highlighted amounts to sexism, gender inequality disadvantaging men.
Thirdly, the origin of accepting men’s sacrifice is probably a biological factor that causes men to be seen as more disposable and less deserving of caring and empathy. But women’s traditional roles and social status could also be argued to have arisen from biological factors and evolutionary history, yet that hasn’t stopped modern western societies from countering that history with a commendable goal of increasing gender equality. Why then is there no interest in doing the same to achieve gender equality for men in relation to social attitudes about men’s welfare and caring about their suffering? Ongoing media suppression regarding men’s sacrifice encourages general apathy about men’s suffering and welfare, disrespect for men and taking them for granted. Compared with general empathy for a female victim of any abuse or misadventure, the reaction we see towards male victims is pathetic. The suicide of Jacintha Saldanha discussed above is just another example of this.
STAND UP men! We will continue to do more than our fair share of dangerous, dirty, uncomfortable, body-wrecking roles to serve our women, children, elderly and society, but at least let’s demand some acknowledgement and respect, and perhaps even slightly more reimbursement for that. We will continue to be fair-minded in listening to women’s concerns and to support women’s wishes for equality and greater happiness, but let’s demand gender equality in all the areas disadvantaging men too.
Women’s Job Dissatisfaction
Our next little fairy tale involves a survey undertaken by a “talent management consulting firm’ that found young kiwi women are less satisfied at work than are their male counterparts. 277 women under 30 were said to have been “polled” of whom 59% were satisfied with their jobs compared with 68% of men. I could find no mention of the study on the firm’s website and one wonders whether the figures were simply made up on the spot as a publicity stunt; for example, if only women were surveyed how did they arrive at a male figure? The company spokesperson even got in a bit of product placement for Coca Cola, one of their clients. Even if any survey was actually done, its statistical properties (e.g. sample size, subject selection, reliability and meaning of the data, statistical significance of the gender difference reported) are probably hopelessly inadequate and would not allow any valid conclusions about the population of under-30 workers generally. Never mind, that didn’t stop presumably female “consultant” (not many concrete slabs in her job I would guess) Kari Scrimshaw from confidently drawing all manner of conclusions from the claimed survey. Her conclusions were essentially that young women are dissatisfied with their working roles and that employers are responsible for this. Employers should do more to meet women’s career expectations, help them not to have to make compromises for their careers, make a lot more concessions towards them concerning job sharing, flexible work hours and special leave, still give them salary increases when on “parental’ (read “maternal’) leave, yet also give them “the option of moving up the corporate ladder”. No mention was made of the sexism inherent in promoting all these special provisions for only one gender. Apparently, unless employers do all these things for young women they (God forbid) might leave their jobs and careers and we might “be losing a significant pool of future talent”, causing New Zealand to collapse economically. Yeah right. If only men had such a ready option of leaving their careers and finding a partner, or the DPB plus discarded partner, to provide for them economically.
Ms Scrimshaw of course didn’t appear to consider the possibility that young women’s alleged dissatisfaction with their work might also have something to do with their own sense of entitlement and their own lack of commitment towards career development given that other social roles are available to them largely or totally financially supported by others. No, if young women don’t like working as employees, this is everybody else’s fault: employers, government, probably their male partners who don’t do enough housework. We men of course all love being employees, having bosses breathing down our necks, swapping our limited hours of life for money in someone else’s service, missing out on time with our children.
Our last story for the morning my dears concerns a British woman who alleged that she was kidnapped and gang raped by three men in Dubai. Now for my part I will accept her account as true and I won’t even question how she could remember such details when she was described by a witness as being “totally drunk” at 3am before the alleged rape, unable even to complete a money machine transaction to pay her taxi driver. No, I will accept her account of being raped over the next few hours by the three male strangers who pretended to be her friend, paid the taxi driver and drove off with her in their car apparently without any objection on her part. I won’t even go there to consider the possibility that she went along with the party then regretted doing so when a bit more sober. Taking advantage of someone who is so drunk as to be passive or clearly incapable of giving realistic consent is despicable. I know that I would act and have acted protectively towards women and men who are vulnerable for such reasons and I believe that the vast majority of men I have ever known would do the same. Even if I didn’t wish to be subjected directly to a person’s drunken abuse, stupidity or vomit I would contact police if I believed (s)he were in danger. And rape, at least in its traditional form, is a despicable crime. We have increasingly heard the voices of women in particular concerning the deep harm they experience from rape and we, quite appropriately, treat rape as a very serious offence.
The issue I had with the story about this woman in Dubai is that Human Rights Watch complained that she was prosecuted for drinking alcohol that night without a licence and fined $326. An assistant professor at Zayed University also criticized the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for prosecuting women for anything when they alleged rape because this might discourage them from reporting rape and would turn them into “double victims”. Mmm, well I’m sorry but if you break the law in someone’s country you might expect to be prosecuted for it regardless of whether you might have been a victim of some other crime.
If a male Methamphetamine cook were injured by a strung out gangster stealing the next dose, would you expect our police to overlook that cook’s drug operation simply because he alleged some crime against him? Would we have “human rights’ groups demanding that men who allege being assaulted should never be prosecuted for anything because that might discourage them from reporting the assault? Of course not. So why are women considered above the law? The UAE takes its liquor laws very seriously as it is entitled to do, and it appears its government has sought to accommodate the different customs of westerners by making provision for individual licences that allow alcohol consumption over a specified time. The woman in this story chose to break that law and, regardless of what other circumstances might befall her, can expect to be held accountable for this. The fact that her own offending placed her predictably at increased risk of the crimes against her might lead some to consider that such accountability was especially warranted (not for the rape, but for her drinking). But accountability is not something feminists like to see when it comes to women.
Well my cherubs, that’s enough mental stimulation for today. Our travels have traversed sexism, double standards, suppression of the sacrifices made by men, social apathy concerning male suicide, research standards, scapegoating, accountability, crimes and the pussy pass; a veritable cornucopia of moral questions related to stories both dark and intriguing. The Brothers Grimm would have a field day with these morals, but strangely enough most journalists missed them.