Monday, 18 November 2013

Going backwards

If you thought today's young men were more pro-women and less misogynistic, then think again. A lot of them thoroughly enjoy abusing women and laugh at any woman who objects. Feminism seems to have passed them by.

Apparently British universities are becoming notorious for male students who take every opportunity to harass and intimidate women and still think rape is a hilarious joke. One especially shocking video of University of Stirling students enjoying misogynistic chants on a bus has been viewed tens of thousands of times.

In the video the male students are making jokes about miscarriages, feeling up women and screwing them, while women passengers sit silently, hoping not to be picked on. A student union officer walks away without trying to stop the abuse.

This is just an extreme example of what's going on routinely every day on uni campuses. The Everyday Sexism Project has received more than 100 reports of similar incidents from different universities, suggesting it's now typical male behaviour.

Jokes about rape and sexual violence, rude comments about women's bodies and clothes, unwanted physical contact - you name it. The now sickeningly familiar "It's not rape because...." jokes are trotted out.

One 16 year old says she's scared of going to university, not because of exam stress but because of the horror stories she's heard about male attitudes to women. "I'm scared. I'm actually scared of being a female."

How is it possible that rampant, unapologetic sexism has become so rife on uni campuses? Why aren't those in authority doing more to stop it? What are the student unions doing? What are the university staff doing? What are those men who object to it doing? Why aren't the woman-hating arseholes being thrown out of university?

I can only assume that those sitting on their hands instead of taking action secretly agree with the misogynist line that those women who complain are just frigid, uptight bitches who can't take a joke. "Where's your sense of humour, love? Boys will be boys, eh?"

20 comments:

Rummuser said...

I don't know enough about the situation over there to comment but over here, there appears to be a backlash as it were for excessive feminism in educational institutions and in work places, particularly in the IT area. I am not justifying it, but it would appear that the male of the species seems to be objecting to being expected to be more than it is capable of being.

Nick said...

Ramana: I don't think women are asking men to be more than they're capable of. They're just asking men to treat them as equals rather than inferior beings to be used and abused. The backlash is from men who want to hang on to their power and privileges.

Bijoux said...

I blame porn. They can spin it any way they want with their porn stars claiming empowerment, but the majority of it is denigrating and abusive to women. And then made readily available via the Internet for young boys to grow up on.

Nick said...

Bijoux: I agree, I think the increasing availability of emotionless porn, with its habitual objectification of women, has a lot to answer for. Hard to see how men can have mature relationships with women with all that stuff washing around their heads.

John Gray said...

I do t think that this is true although I remember listening to a sobering bit on WOMANS HOUR high
Igniting rape discussion on Facebook between students...
Let's hope that informed discussion prevails

Nick said...

John: Oh, what was the discussion about? Was it encouraging rape or condemning it? The trouble is that some people simply won't listen to informed discussion, they just want to bully and intimidate others.

Ursula said...

I object to the vilification of men. It's rude, it's crude and there is a voyeuristic element in what you are saying which most certainly doesn't help.

What you describe is the exception, not the rule. And I say this as someone who not only has a son, friends of his passing through our house, but also as daughter, granddaughter, niece of hell raisers in their day, sister, friend, colleague of men.

That there will be dickheads in any sphere of society we know. A lot of it is anecdotal. And may I say to those young women who are of a slightly more delicate disposition: For heaven's sake, man up. Don't give those few (emphasis on FEW) fuckers the satisfaction of letting it affect you.

U

Nick said...

Ursula: Oh, I have to disagree totally with you. You say it's the exception but there have been many reports from many different universities of this sort of stuff. And the odd bloke coming to your house is of course going to be polite and considerate. It's when men get together in groups that they start to get obnoxious.

Also I don't see why women should have to turn the other cheek or laugh it off, when they're being systematically insulted and ridiculed. Any man with a shred of decency and respect for others wouldn't behave like that.

Nick said...

Oh and I hate that phrase "man up" with all its connotations of not being emotional or feeble or generally effeminate. I for one refuse to man up. I shall be as unmanly as I like.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Jesus Christ, how I hate "man up," especially when it is applied to women. Along with expressions like "She's got balls." It suggests that courage is a masculine trait, which is bullshit.

I agree with Bijoux that the prevalence of porn (and strip clubs), and especially violent porn, is a huge contributor to today's misogyny. "Neurons that fire together, wire together" - we know from studies on neuroplasticity that watching pornography changes the way men view sex and women.

I don't believe there is such a thing as "excessive feminism." Feminism is simply the insistence on equal pay and protection under the law regardless of gender. My sons, who are both good, strong young men, self-identify as feminists. It's a fucked up idea to think that women would have to just tolerate the dickheads of the world. And calling out those dickheads is not vilifying all men. No woman should have to listen to that threatening, demeaning garbage or to fear for her safety because there are men out there who think rape is a joking matter. I know I raised my own sons better than that.

Cheerful Monk said...

These gals need their own superhero like Qahera: http://qahera.tumblr.com/post/60081962515

Nick said...

Agent: Indeed, "man up" is even more stupid when it's aimed at women. "Having balls" likewise. I think we should all "woman up" a bit more.

True, there's a lot of research suggesting that porn corrupts men's attitudes to women, whatever the porn defenders might say.

I would say feminism means sexual equality generally, not just equal pay and protection, but maybe that's what you meant? And no, feminism can never be excessive, until such time as women and men are totally on equal terms.

Precisely, why should women have to keep their mouths shut while contemptuous dickheads treat them like sex-toys and skivvies?

Nick said...

Jean: Very good strip! But of course women don't need a superhero or superheroine, just more confidence in their own strength and their ability to fight back against male arrogance. My God, that's hard though when there's such a engrained culture of men getting their own way.

Ursula said...

How very amusing: Those of you who object to my use of "to man up", in the context, didn't get it, did you? But then: A lot is lost on many.

U

Secret Agent Woman said...

My point about feminism is that it's about equal rights - socially, politically, legally, and economically. And that it's logically impossible for there to be "too much" equality.

Nick said...

Ursula: The context was "delicate" women who don't like being ridiculed. Why should they have to "man up" and ignore it? In any case, shouldn't "man up" mean punching the offenders in the jaw or pulling a knife on them? That would certainly solve the problem.

Nick said...

Agent: Yes, that's what I thought you meant. And you're right, you can't have too much equality. Either you have it or you don't.

Nick said...

News story today: "150 players from Cardiff University Football Club have been barred from playing after sex guidelines suggested targeting girls with low self-esteem." I rest my case. The problem is widespread.

Jenny Woolf said...

I don't have personal experience of this but it sounds as if these sad people are relishing the idea that they are doing something forbidden and unaccceptable. 100 years ago they might have behaved in a more "gentlemanly" way but women had a far worse life of it, because of laws made almost entirely by men.

Nick said...

Jenny: True, we seem to have swapped blatantly sexist laws for blatantly sexist social behaviour designed to make women feel abused and inferior even if they now have more legal rights.