Saturday, 13 March 2010

So simple even dad gets it!!

Treating men like idiots is now an absolute staple for TV advertising. It's so prevalent that The Now Show on BBC Radio 4 even did a sketch on it this week.

I thought I'd try to blog about every blatantly anti-male ad I see so that the feminists can see that women are not the only one who have to face sexist advertising.

Today's "Biggest Bigots in Advertising" award goes to Vaillant heating systems, whose current TV ad ends with the line

"So simple even dad understands it"

So this company thinks it will actually curry favour with its customers by claiming that in all families, dad is the thick one. And presumably they'll have done their research, meaning they're probably right! So it's not just that the ad is sexist - it's that their research shows a large part of their potential customer base (namely the entire United Kingdom) probably is as well.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Men's health in the media

I must have posted this link before, discussing the fact that treatment of male-specific cancers loses out in the appropriation of both public and private funding in the UK.

Now, I've just finished reading an article about suicide in the Daily Mail (which seems to be becoming the most vociferously man-hating newspaper in the UK, which is saying a lot). The article points out that men kill themselves at more than three times the rate of women, and that the gender suicide gap widened further over the year under review. Yet they make no comment whatsover on this and it is mentioned only in passing.

If women killed themselves at 3 times the rate of men, can we really believe we would just ignore the issue like this?

It's also pretty striking that the article is illustrated by two different pictures of women. Like men are irrelevant in an issue that overwhelmingly affects them.

I posted on the subject on the Femail boards at the Mail online and the post was removed. I have yet to find out why. I was very polite, but I think some people dislike discussing the male side of gender issues on that board, since it is officially a baord for women.

But guess what - surprise surprise, there is no board for men!

On reflection I thought the health boards would be a better place for my comment. Once there, I noticed that although there is a dedicated section for Women's Health, there is (of course) no section for men's health. There is even a dedicated section for 'Cosmetic Surgery'... but the planet's 3 billion men are deemed less important than this vital issue, it seems.

This truly sums up the attitude of the UK media to men, men's issues and men's wellbeing. They're just not worthy of the space.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

A bit of a double-standard?

I walked along Whitehall the other day and had a look at the 'Women of World War II" memorial to see exactly who was being memorialised. Unfortunately, there's no detailed information - just images of 17 different uniforms from the Wrens to the Land Army that show it's pretty much for everyone. Of course, there is no such memorial to the Men of World War II, or any other war. The Cenotaph only commemmorates the fallen. So as a man, sacrificing limbs, health, longevity, sanity or all these things is not enough for official recognition. But as a woman you get an official memorial for doing pretty much anything at all, even if it caused you no harm at all. Indeed, even if you quite enjoyed it.

For that matter, it also seems fair to wonder why there's no memorial to, for instance, the women of World War I?

Here's a quote from Wikipedia on the issue:

"The monument has come under some criticism because it is specifically for women, whilst there exist no memorial specifically to the men of World War II, while others have countered that the patriarchical constructs of society automatically value male contributions to the war effort over those of women, warranting a specific memorial to female efforts."

For a start, our media and public are especially respectful and protective of our servicewomen so I'm not buying that for a second. When a group of female sailors were captured by the Iranian navy, a woman in the Question Time audience asked whether women should be allowed to fight at the front line. The entire panel responded - "they should be allowed to do what they want". Not one member of the panel asked the woman why she was not as concerned for the wellbing of the male sailors. The question did not cross the mind of a single person there.

Yet because of these supposed 'patriarchal constructs' it seems we officially recognise the efforts of a woman who, say, dug fields during the war, and in so doing pointedly overlook the efforts of a man who suffered severe physical or mental harm in the course of years spent marching from Cairo to the Rhine.

What is interesting here is that even though the argument expressed on Wikipedia is absurdly tenuous, and without the slightest proof, it now appears to be the official position of our government and society.

It's a classic example of the double-standard that exists in our society, and in a way it's good to have such a blatant example of our capitulation to feminist doctrine so blatantly on display. Unfortunately it's a genuine insult to the men who sacrificed so much and are so deliberately and pointedly overlooked.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

"Tiger Had it Coming"

Can you imagine a journalist writing that the wife of a man suspected of assaulting her 'had it coming'?

That's exactly what Rachel Johnson writes here in the Telegraph.

Domestic violence against women is utterly condemned by everyone. Violence against men? It's all in the game.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Did you hear the one about the man beaten unconscious by his wife? ...

How do you feel about men who hit their wives? I'm guessing you find them sickening.

What about women who hit men? I'm guessing it bothers you less - after all the guy is probably a lot better able to defend himself, so you could argue it's not quite in the same category.

What if the woman has a weapon, meaning the man's superior strength is less relevant? Is a woman beating a guy with, say, a golf club something we should take a as seriously as, for example, a man slapping his wife?

Apparently not. Far from being a subject to take seriously, as far as the Times is concerned, it's quite the opposite. It's a source of humour.

After the news of Tiger Woods' recent accident, the mystery surrounding his injuries, and the fact that police found his wife standing over his unconcious body with a golf club, the Times reprinted the following joke they found on the internet:

"Apparently, the only person who can beat Tiger Woods with a golf club is his wife."

Yes, sure, I've heard jokes about domestic violence against women. But I've NEVER seen one printed in a newspaper - far less a newspaper as supposedly serious and high-minded as the Times. What is deemed appropriate for publication in a newspaper says a lot about the society in which it is published.

I could understand a society that takes domestic violence against men less seriously than violence against women. But ours doesn't take it seriously AT ALL. In fact it takes it the exact OPPOSITE of seriously. Domestic violence against women is a source of shame, of anger and of government action; against men, of humour.

And yet despite this story, it is women, and women alone, who are portrayed as the victims of sexism in the media!!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

New 'Second Sex': Same Old Second-Sexism

Here is the most unbelievably patronising article about men I’ve read in a little while. (Just a little while, you understand. Patronising articles about the supposed innate inferiority of the world’s 3 billion men are hardly a rarity, after all).

This article (written, of course, by a woman) addresses men’s supposedly growing failure in education and wider society. But don’t worry – it’s jolly upbeat about the fact that there are a growing number of ‘househusbands’ in the UK.

Ok, great, I agree. But imagine a Times article, written by a man, pompously contemplating the educational and career ‘failings’ of women and celebrating the fact that they can always fall back on a life as a home-maker. The paper would probably be shut down within a week.

Since men’s IQs are equal to women’s, if they are underperforming women, it means they are underachieving. And an education system with half its students underachieving needs fixing. Is the solution really for men to just not bother with education and career because they’re ‘not good enough’ at it? Isn’t this what oafish male chauvinists used to say pre-feminism? Now it seems it’s OK to say it about men – and you can even pretend to be on their side when you say it!

Even if a wholesale conversion to ‘house-husbandry’ were the solution to boys’ education-deficit, this will remain an act of insanity until family courts treat men equally. As I’ve blogged before, the head of the family court, Lord Justice Thorpe, set the precedent that MOTHERS will be given custody when they request it, even if the FATHER has been the primary carer for years. See here.

A Times article recently also quoted a family lawyer mocking men who attempt to win spousal support from higher-earning wives on divorce – he was quoted as saying something along the lines of ‘they keep trying, but they never succeed’.

So, while female primary carers can expect custody AND spousal support, househusbands can expect neither - even when they have sacrificed their careers, sabotaging their future earnings potential in the process. Women in that situation recently won the right to compensation for that sacrifice, in the widely publicised MacFarlane case, where a woman who gave up her career for her kids was granted, in her settlement, what she could have been expected to earn had she not done so. Talk about having your cake and eating it! You get to quit the rat-race and watch your kids grow up, AND walk away with the money you’d have made if you’d chosen to actually work for it!

Well, OK. But if women can do this, please tell me, why not men? And until they can, this proposed ‘solution’, whereby the supposedly educationally inferior male can simply opt for the kitchen and the nursery instead of a career, will remain an act of madness.

There are far bigger problems facing boys anyway, that are crying out for a mention in this article. No word on the fact that boys in our education system kill themselves four times as often as girls, for instance. What action is the government taking on this? I asked my MP a few years back. Answer: nothing. What does this author have to say about it? Nothing. C’mon – they’re only boys, who cares if they kill themselves? Now, if it were girls killing themselves at four times the rate of boys then, sure, we’d have a problem. But boys? Who cares?

Oh - and finally: Do look at the section entitled "Beta Blokes", which lists a whole lot of statistics supposedly illustrating men's 'beta' status. Among them. "The number of men looking after their family in July 2009 was 206,000." "62% of fathers believe they should spend more time looking after their children." "Men spend 53 hours a week on household chores and childcare compared with just 34 hours in 2005."

Someone tell me why, exactly, this makes these men "Beta Blokes"?

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Gender Pay Gap

According to The Fawcett Society: "The Equal Pay Act was passed nearly 40 years ago, yet women are still paid less than men. The full-time gender pay gap is 17%, while the part-time pay gap is a staggering 36%. Equal pay law is failing women." (See here)

Well, at least they don't come up with the tired old lie that women are paid 25% less than men "for the same work". Please note, esteemed feminist readers: even the Fawcett Society doesn't try to pretend that's true. Time to change that particular record.

They did, however, misrepresent and distort the story just as it is always misrepresented and distorted. So much so that the Office of National Statistics have now taken the extraordinary step of actually pointing out to the government that they shouldn't just parrot this stuff without checking whether it's actually true.

To begin with, using average figures, instead of median, means that the presence in the UK of a relatively small number of male multi-billionaries artificially increases the average pay of the average man. It is no advantage to me, as a man, that the Duke of Westminster owns half of London. Not is it any advantage to me that people like Roman Abramovich and Lakshmi Mittal have decided to call the UK their home. Yet their impact on the average pay makes it look like all us blokes are far more loaded than we are, based on average earnings.

To correct for this, the ONS uses median pay figures, not averages. The Fawcett Society, Harriet Harman and other feminist commentators just ignore them because... well, because that makes the number smaller.

Based on the median, the pay gap is 12.8% at the latest count.

But leaving the most hilariously audacious part till last, closer inspection of the statement "the part-time pay gap is a staggering 36%" reveals that it is not only untrue, but a total inversion of the truth.

If you compare FULL-TIME male workers with part-time female workers, then yes, you get a pay differential in the 36% range, last time I looked. But if you compare PART-TIME men with PART-TIME women, you get a pay gap of 3.5% in WOMEN'S favour.

Isn't that amazing? The Fawcett Society states that "the part-time pay gap is a staggering 36%", and you discover that the only thing that's staggering is the distortion. This is what often bothers me about feminist lobbying. It so often simply turns out not to be true. (Not to say it's all untrue of course, nor that I can't recognise a genuine injustice aginst women when I see one. More on which later).

Even so, 12.8% is pretty big. And it should be noted that this is the hourly rate, so it is not accounted for by the fact that men work longer hours. It does seem that women are at a disadvantage on four counts that I can think of.

First, the areas towards which many women are still directed by social pressure pay less than they ought, and less than some male-dominated jobs that might be considered equivalently skilled.

Second, social pressure also encourages women to take significant career breaks for the purposes of looking after children. And it severely discourages men from doing the same.

Third, there is less pressure on women to choose a career based purely on salary. When it comes to choosing a job, many women must still suspect, even if only subconsciously, that for much of their future they're likely to have a husbands and partners making financial contributions to their lives. It's far from guaranteed, obviously, but it's a consideration which will no doubt have an impact at the margin. But regardless of whether it's a consideration for many or only some women, it's certainly not something that men tend to think about. The idea that maybe you can afford to take on a lower-paid job because you expect one day to be married to a career woman is not something the average bloke would ever consider. He knows there's a good chance he may one day have a family, and that he ought to assume he's going to be the one who is predominantly responsible for supporting them. Even if he doesn't buy into that paternalistic ethos, he knows he'll be looked down on if he resists it. Overall career choices are influenced accordingly.

Finally, it does seem there is some genuine discrimination against women of childbearing age in job interviews, as employers are terrified they'll disappear on maternity leave.

The solution to all these problems is simply to encourage men to be more involved in the home. Shared parental leave instead of maternity leave, with fathers obliged to take at least part of it, will mean that men are as big a risk as women to employers. More men involved with childcare and the home will free up more women to focus on their careers. And as these influences gain traction, men will stop thinking that their only role in the family is financial and women will not, even subconsciously, expect to rely on their earnings power as the principal source of family income. And overall, career choices will be influenced accordingly.

At the moment, however, a man in this country would be insane to sacrifice his career to focus more on his family, because he is afforded little of the protection women can rely on in the event of family breakdown (see here for the likely outcome for househusbands on divorce). Only when these attitudes change will more men take up the slack at home, freeing more women to level the pay gap outside it.

In the meantime, maybe we could debate this without making stuff up. Lie about something, and people stop believing you even when you tell the truth.