Tuesday, January 8, 2008

paygap paygap paygap

I keep hearing that there is no pay gap. That the "pay gap" exists because studies don't take into account women leaving work after having babies, or that a large amount of women work in part time low paying jobs. (Out of pure choice no less.)

So to that I just want to say bullshit is all. To quote the article:
"So let's just get this straight right now, says Murphy: That 23-cent differential is not because some women take time off to give birth or raise children. The pay-gap figure measures only women and men who work full time, for a full year. It does not include women who took time off during the year or worked part time."

I hear that women have low pay because they're typically not aggressive negotiators, so they end up short changing themselves by on average negotiating for lower starting wages then men generally do. (Where how much they get payed for the next job gets based on how much they were paid for the last job etc.)
I'm down with that. it makes sense. Hearing someone make this argument, and also make the argument that the wage gap doesn't exist. Well... it's startling is all. If women generally have lower pay because they're not good negotiators, then... I mean the start of that sentence was "women generally have lower pay" right?
The thing that gets me about that is that if women are less likely to be aggressive in negotiating, isn't that a reflection of the fact that women are trained in society to be passive while men are trained to be active and aggressive? I mean, that seems like a symptom of the way women in society are trained to be feminine. In short, it seems rather patriarchal.

The people who point out the pay gap doesn't exist due to patriarchy, it exists due to womens own lack of being aggressive are often the same people who will say that domestic violence doesn't affect women more then men, and that women are equally aggressive.
Either women are less aggressive (due to sexist societal training, in my opinion) and that accounts for the pay gap - or men and women in this society are equally aggressive. It doesn't seem to me like it can go both ways.

*Remembering that I define patriarchy as systems that benefit men at the expense of women, and not women being deliberately exploited by men, all men. Patriarchy is a society thing that benefits men. Saying "women perpetuate it" doesn't stop it from being patriarchal.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Been awhile since I last posted.

I did mention that I doubted I would post often. I just came across something I thought I'd write about here.

The Rules, for men.

I'm just going to be highlighting certain parts of this article and saying some things what I think.

"I want to create a set of rules that men will go by when dating that will protect themselves, cuts down on the bullshit, and of course encourages the behavior in women to drop the games and act more in accordance with what men want
So, he's creating a set of rules that hopefully will get women to act how men want. It's interesting that he says that men who want to change how the game is played should play by these rules. Is this encouraging men to play games too, the result of the game being to control womens behavior to make it more acceptable to men?
"RULE 1: You are the prize, she must work for you.Reason: Because in this day and age not only are you bringing down income, you are the one who has built his own empire: a nice car, house, good reputation. You are also trained how to handle the domestic side of things i.e cooking, cleaning…. because most “liberated” women no longer do this and don’t know how. So in the end what does she offer other than sex which you can get from any woman? See right there you are the prize not her."
Perhaps the women you're dating works and has gained a nice car, or has a good reputation or whatever, or knows how to be domestic, or I don't know. Does scuba diving for a hobby. How do you know the women you're dating doesn't have any of these qualities that seem to be valued? "In the end what does she offer but sex?" well, she could offer a lot of things. There are a lot of different women out there with a lot of different values.
Treating all women as if they're unable to do anything apart from have sex from the get go is quite an assumption to make.
I mean. Value yourself. Think good of yourself. Date someone who thinks good of you and respects you. I don't mean to say people shouldn't value what they bring to a relationship, and shouldn't value themselves, but assuming that the other person won't bring anything (merely because of their gender.) doesn't seem right.
"As a man you're the only person who will bring anything of value to the relationship."
Healthy message there...

RULE 2: You make the rules.Reason: Its not your job to jump through hops, you work for a living, you have friends, you simply just have better things to do. Speaking of better things to do, being the one that sets the rules for wheither or not a woman gets to date you or keep dating you helps you weed out the losers. Because you simply have better things to do.
You make the rules because you're a man and as such it is not your job to jump through hoops for a living? Wait. So, it is the job of women to jump through hoops? Is that it?
Again - the women you are dating might work for a living. Or perhaps she keeps a tidy home, unpaid unrespected work, but still work. She doesn't have friends? She doesn't have things to do? "As a man you have things to do. Women don't have things to do." Interesting...
I like how choosing not to date someone who won't submit to the control of a man, simply because he's a man and therefore busy is seen as weeding out the losers.
Wanting to make the rules because you're a man is controlling.
RULE 3: Always use a condom.Reason: There are plently of women out there with “baby rabbies.” Just as there are plenty of women out there who forget to take their pill or simply lie about it. Do you want an 18+ prison sentence and pay support after raising the kid? No? Then wrap your shit up. Also dispose of that condom just in case she has any ideas for that sperm.
I don't disagree with this rule generally. If you don't want children then using birth control is the thing to do. There's some sexism in the "dispose of the condom in case she has any ideas for that sperm" bit though, as though women just go around trying to prison men for 18 years to satisfy their "baby rabies."
I don't know. I guess it'd be too hopeful to think that assuming women will "oops" men isn't something that should be assumed on the spot of all women.

RULE 4: Spend No More Than $60 On A DateReason: The more you spend does not translate into you getting laid. If you want to spend money getting laid, get a prostitute and if you do that you better spend more than 60 dollars and wrap it up tight.
If only this didn't go on to say that you should use that $60 to get a prostitute, and didn't assume that the only reason a man should or would date a woman is for sex, then I wouldn't disagree. (For reference, I'm a radical feminist. I oppose pornography as a form of violence and oppression of women. I understand there are a small amount of prostitutes that are happy with their job, that have not been raped, that have not been harassed or assaulted, are in control etc. but I care more about the prostitutes being used and abused. I don't support anyone who supports the prostitution industry.)
I don't think there's any reason to spend a lot of money on a date. I think cheap dates, like playing board games, or walking and talking down the beach are great.

RULE 5: Date More Than One Woman.Reason: Just because you two go on a date doesn’t mean you are going steady. Trust me she is dating more than one guy when she is with you.
As a woman I must say that I've never dated more then one man at a time. If you want to date more then one person at a time I don't think I have a problem with it. I don't think its inherently wrong. It is just something I've never done.
If you don't think going on a date means going steady then by all means date lots of people. Just uhhh... be sure to let each date know that's what you're doing and that's what you think. So there's no confusion or hurt feelings down the track. Seems only polite.
Also - it would be good not to assume all women date more then one person at once. They don't.

RULE 6: Never Say “I Love You.”Reason: She is your date not your wife. The longer you hold off saying “I Love You” the more she will die to hear it. Hold off just long enough one of two things will happen: 1. She will leave because she can’t win the game of making you say it when you probably don’t really mean it. 2. When you do say it, it will mean so much to hear you say it her will to act like typical skank will be broken, as long as you don’t shower her with “I Love Yous.”
Heyheyhey. The "typical skank" language got broken out here. My general take on this is don't say "I love you" unless you really mean it. Or 'cause love can be such a tricky beast if you honestly think you mean it.
When I start dating someone it can take a long time for the first "I love you" to come. I consider it long and hard. I don't say it unless I mean it. After that point the "I love yous" tend to get poured on the person I love though.
My lack of saying "I love you" is based in wanting, and trying to be honest about my feelings.
The lack of "I love yous" here in this rule seems to be rooted in controlling women so they don't act like "typical skanks."

RULE 7: THE FIRST DATE IS HER FIRST INTERVIEW.Reason: You are using the first date to find out wheither or not she is a loser. If you can get this done on the first date you will save yourself not just heartache, but money and time, which you can later use on the stuff you want to do.
I have no problem with this one. Perhaps strange to hear. But... no problem. Sorting out whether or not someone is suited to you, or if they're a loser is a good thing to get out of the way as early as possible, this goes for both genders 'o course. Dating is a process of finding people to partner with. If you find someone is for some reason not a good match for you, that's a good thing to know early.
Don't know if I'd put it as harshly as interviewing each other - but if that works it works.

RULE 8: IF YOU ARE PAYING YOU CALL THE SHOTS FOR THE DATE.Reason: Its your money, you control the time, the place, the day and what you do. Remember it was she that wanted to hang out with you in the first place, and if she doesn’t like what you do for fun how can she ever like you?
Hrrm. I don't enjoy everything my boyfriend enjoys. He plays a lot more video games then I do. He also likes things like skirmish. My boyfriend doesn't enjoy everything I enjoy. I like hanging out on the internet, fashion, and hanging out with my friends (many of whom he doesn't consider his friends.)
I love him though. I love him, I appreciate him. I feel so grateful that someone so great is in my life.
I'm tempted to agree that a person paying for a date should be able to define what is done on the date, but the tone of this is just so controlling again. If the person paying wants to I don't know... go hiking or something, (Paying for I don't know. The petrol or something. Or any equipment that might be taken along.) but the other person isn't up to it for whatever reason, you'd hope that they could think of something they'd both enjoy rather then the hiker saying "Well I want to go hiking, and I'm paying, so if you don't go hiking with me then I don't really think you're suited to me."
My problem is mostly one of tone.

RULE 9: There Are No Second Chances.Reason: She won’t give you any. She is old enough to know that she needs to bring her A game on a date. We are talking the total package, manners, sense of humor, up beat attitude, conversation skills and sense of adventure. If she seems “off” that night, you call it off. She should know better than to half ass a date.
Not giving a date a second chance is your prerogative. I certainly don't mind it. Saying all women never give men second chances? Sounds like a nasty generalization.

RULE 10: YOU WILL NOT ALLOW HER TO “TEST” YOU.Reason: You are not some social science project to see just how far you will go to make an ass out of yourself for her.
She's not allowed to "test" you, but your first date with her should be held like an interview, and if she's not had the best day and reflects it in her tone you should drop her for not meeting your standards?
It's only men that should treat dates as tests? Women shouldn't be able to do it too?

"RULE 11: FORGET EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT DATING AND LOVE.Reason: Because TV and your parents lied to you. When someone starts giving you the hollywood version of romance I want you to picture in your head a football stadium of people chanting OVER-RATED!"
If parents and TV (Particularly TV and media) are the only places you got information about dating then yeah. I'd agree with this. You don't have to, and I imagine shouldn't follow the hollywood/television version of romance. That goes for men and women methinks.
People don't abuse each other in hollywood romances. It happens in real life all the time. Not just big giant things like abuse either. Smaller things like "shouldn't we be living together by now, all our friends moved in with each other after X months"
If you don't feel ready to do something you feel you're "supposed" to have done by X time in your relationship, then don't do it.
Do what works for you and your relationship.

RULE 12: Trust Your Closest Friends.Reason: If they think see is a bitch and you can’t figure out why they are seeing something you can’t. Trust me women do this all the time.
Hrmm. I'll give this a general nod of approval, though so many people I know don't like my boyfriend and tell me he's a loser. If you're in love you could be blinded to negative aspects of your partner, but use your discretion.
Can't say I'm fond of the gendered slur "bitch."

RULE 13: If You Are Under 30 The Words “Long Term Relationship” Do Not Belong In Your Love Life.Reason: You are young, go out and have fun. Don’t worry most women won’t be mentally prepared to be mothers and wives until age 35. Then again there a plenty of women that will never be ready.
I'm young. Under 30. I tend to agree with the idea that young people shouldn't see the relationships they're in as the final one. The be all and end all. I'm in a relationship thats lasted three years, and I imagine will last quite a number of years to come, but then I've seen so many friends come out of relationships where they were smitten ending in early pain.
I don't know.
Hard to say whats right here. I'm young. I'm biased.
What I want in a relationship though? Neither simple fun, nor motherhood and wifedom. What I look to give and get in a relationship is emotional support, someone to spend time with not to be lonely. I'd want a partner to be willing to support me in times of trouble, and me them.
Like the time I payed my boyfriends rent for six months because he didn't have a job, or the times he's payed parts of my share of the electricity bill. Relationships to me are about supporting each other how you can.
You can lend people that important and serious support at a young age I think. But... I try to keep in my head that it mightn't last forever. That some unknown something could take it all away.
"I'll be with this person for the rest of my life" is something I can hardly bring myself to think. I'm too young to know.

RULE 14: No Weekend Dates, No Lunch Dates, No Double Dates.Reason: You are in demand, the less she has of you the more she will want. Lunch dates and double dates are meant to be harmless which will land you in the friends catogory.
This one seems to be about game playing, and controlling again. Urgh.

RULE 15: You Are An Asshole.Reason: Asshole’s get laid, nice guy’s get to hear about assholes getting laid.
I thought earlier it was said that people should throw away preconceived notions about love? Why throw this trope out there then? Also: If your entire motivation around being nice to women is to get laid, perhaps you're already an asshole.
Be nice to be nice, not because you think you'll get sex.

RULE 16: THE WORD “NEXT” SHALL BE IN YOUR DATING VOCABULARY.Reason: She tries to test you= Next. She tries to make you jealous by dating other guys= Next slut. She only likes expensive dates= Next you gold digger. The point is when she turns out to be a dud she’s fired. Or as Grounds Keeper Willie best put it “Back to the Loch with you Nessie!”
Again with that "men are the only people allowed to test" vibe. Also, you should date other women (because she's definitely dating other men) but if she's dating other men you should drop her, because she's a slut?
Double standards much?
Also. I like how they used slut there.

RULE 17: Don’t Buy Her Drinks, Gifts, Clothes.Reason: She is not your wife let her pay your own way.
Gifts, drinks, clothes etc. are nice but that is all they are. Nice gifts. If a guy wants to give them that is nice of him, but if he doesn't want to then he's not obligated. It was my birthday just now, my boyfriend didn't get me anything and I don't give a rats because gifts aren't something I care about.
'Sides. I like that I buy my own nice things. Then when I am able to buy them I feel a sense of accomplishment. "I worked hard for that thing and its mine"
Its a good feeling.

RULE 18: CHIVALRY IS DEAD WE ARE ALL EQUALS.Reason: Feminists killed this idea, so we are all equals which means no special treatment.
I thought this list was created so that women would start treating men the way they want to be treated? Isn't that "special treatment" the man who wrote this list is wanting?
At any rate, it certainly hasn't seemed so far that the person who wrote this list considers women to be equals. I mean, women are typically skanks and don't bring anything to relationships besides sex? That sounds like equal treatment there doesn't it.

RULE 19: ANY WOMAN IS REPLACALBE.Reason: Date enough women and you will see they pretty much are the same. Why do you think guys keep getting reminded of their ex’s even when they are dating a new girl.
Women are equal to us, but also they're all the same person. Way to generalize.

RULE 20: Exchanging Phone Numbers.Reason: You get hers, she doesn’t get yours.
Sounds.... fair?

RULE 21: YOU CALL ONCE ONLY ONCE.Reason: If she really wants to hang out with you she will call.
If you think she might not be on the same page as you, it might be best to let her know that you're not going to call more then once, but if you want to impose this rule on yourself go ahead.

RULE 22: YOU DO NOT DATE IN ORDER TO VALIDATE YOUR EXSISTANCE OR BECAUSE YOUR FRIENDS ALL HAVE WOMEN.Reason: You do it because it makes you happy, when it stops making you happy then you stop dating.
Seems sensible. I generally nod at this. I don't like the phrasing that your male friends "have women" like they own them or something.

RULE 23: When Your Level Of Importance To Her Drops, You Drop Her.Reason: You shouldn’t play second fiddle to her phone, sororiety, friends or other guys.
Seems controlling again. I mean, I think the person you're dating should be important to you, but I don't think that a partner should be the absolute most important thing in the other partners life.
Controlling how much your partner can see friends, talk to people on the phone and see other guys (who I'm guessing are also friends...) because you don't feel important enough? If feeling so important to someone means so much to you, and its something you value, then I can see how dating someone with other interests, and other important things/people mightn't be the best thing for you, and why you'd want to end it.
But - if say, you had something important to do at work, or I don't know. Someone you cared about in your family died, or even if you just want to sit back, chillax, and do your damn hobby (whatever it is) would you think it fair of a woman who was dating you to drop you, because you wanted to do other things in your life?
If a woman said "You're dropped. You spend too much time hanging out with the guys, and not enough time with me" would you consider it controlling or fair?
If so - think about that for a bit.

I've been writing stream of consciousness ideas for too long now. I might write more thoughts about these rules later.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Richie posted a link to this article in his latest entry, and I thought it was _just_ the sort of thing that needed to be reposted here.


Michael Flood

A recent research project claimed to find that men and women are equally likely to be the perpetrators of domestic violence [Headey, Scott and de Vaus, 1999]. Studies such as these have been taken up by anti-feminist men to claim that 'husband battering' is widespread. In the article below, Michael outlines a critique of such claims.

Men in fathers' rights groups and men's rights groups have been claiming very loudly for a while now that domestic violence is a gender-equal or gender-neutral phenomenon - that men and women assault each other at equal rates and with equal effects. They claim that an epidemic of husband-battering is being ignored if not silenced.

To substantiate their claims, men's rights and fathers' rights groups draw on a body of American studies which use a particular methodology for measuring violence. This is the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS), developed and used by Murray Straus, Richard Gelles, Suzanne Steinmetz and others [Steinmetz, 1977/78; Steinmetz & Lucca, 1988; Straus et.al, 1980, Straus & Gelles, 1986, 1990].

The claim that domestic violence is gender-equal received further support with the publication in Melbourne of a study which claimed to show that men and women assault each other at equal rates [Headey et.al, 1999: 58]. This found that 5.7 percent of men and 3.7 percent of women had been physically assaulted by their partners in the last 12 months [ibid: 59]. This study again used the Conflict Tactics Scale, in which men and women are asked whether, in the last year, they or their spouse had ever done any of a series of violent acts: hit with a fist or an object, slapped, shaken, scratched, or kicked, their partner.

There are four problems with the claims about 'husband battering' made by men's rights advocates. Firstly, they only use these authors' work selectively, as the authors themselves disagree that women and men are equally the victims of domestic violence. Secondly, they ignore the serious methodological flaws in the Conflict Tactics Scale. Thirdly, they ignore or dismiss a mountain of other evidence which conflicts with their claims. Finally, their strategies in fact are harmful to men themselves, including to male victims of violence.

Selective use

The authors of the American CTS studies stress that no matter what the rate of violence or who initiates the violence, women are 7 to 10 times more likely to be injured in acts of intimate violence than are men [Orman, 1998]. Husbands have higher rates of the most dangerous and injurious forms of violence, their violent acts are repeated more often, they are less likely to fear for their own safety, and women are financially and socially locked into marriage to a much greater extent than men. In fact, Straus expresses his concern that "the statistics are likely to be misused by misogynists and apologists for male violence" [cited in Orman, 1998].

Methodological flaws

The Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) has three key flaws as a way of measuring violence. Firstly, it leaves out important forms of violence, such as sexual assault, choking, suffocating, scratching, stalking, and marital murder. Most importantly, CTS studies exclude incidents of violence that occur after separation and divorce. Yet Australian data, e.g. from the Women's Safety Survey shows that women are as likely to experience violence by previous partners as by current partners [Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1996: 8]. And that it is the time around and after separation which is most dangerous for women. International data shows similar patterns. For example, the U.S. Department of Justice reports that 75.9 percent of spouse-on-spouse assaults occurred after separation or divorce, with a male perpetrator 93.3 percent of the time [U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence April 1984, p. 4].

Secondly, CTS studies such as Headey et.al's treat violent acts out of context. They only count violent acts. They do not tell us whether the acts were in self-defence. They do not distinguish between offensive and defensive acts. They do not tell us whether they were a single incident, or part of a pattern of violence. They do not tell us whether the act was intended to hurt the other person; a joking kick or a slapped hand are counted the same as a violent kick or blow to the face. Most CTS studies do not tell us whether the victim was injured, or how badly [Dobash et al, 1992]. These studies only look at violence in one year, and they don't consider the history of the violence in the relationship. And, obviously, the murder of partners and ex-partners cannot be measured by self-report surveys.

Headey et.al's survey did ask about injuries, and they found that men are as likely as women to be victims of domestic assaults that lead to injury and pain (and the need for medical attention). They note that this runs counter to medical and police records, that this is the finding in which they have least confidence, and that these issues need further research [Headey et.al, 1999: 60-61].

Most CTS studies also ignore the issue of fear and intimidation. Headey et.al's survey did ask about threats and intimidation, and it was here that they found the only statistically significant gender difference in domestic violence in the survey. More women (7.6 percent) than men (4 percent) said they felt "frightened and intimidated" [Headey et.al, 1999: 59].

Rather than seeing domestic violence as referring only to physical acts such as hitting or pushing, we need to recognise that verbal, psychological and emotional abuse is an important aspect of domestic violence.

Thirdly, the CTS depends only on reports either by the husband or the wife despite poor interspousal reliability. Like other CTS studies, Headey et.al's study only questioned one respondent from each household and did not include people married or partnered to each other [Headey et.al, 1999: 57]. Other studies show that wives and husbands disagree considerably both about what violence was used and how often it was used, and that wives are more likely than husbands to admit to their own violence [Szinovacz, 1983; Jouriles & O'Leary, 1985].

Conflicting evidence

To make the fifty/fifty claim about husband battering, men's rights and fathers' rights advocates must also ignore or dismiss a mountain of conflicting evidence, from crime victimisation surveys of the population, numerous studies using methodologies other than the Conflict Tactics Scale, calls made to domestic violence centres and services, hospital statistics on how people were injured, and applications for intervention orders.

This massive body of evidence continues to show that men are more often the perpetrators of domestic violence than are women, that women are more often the victims of domestic violence than are men, and that when boys and men are the victims of violence this is usually violence by other boys and men.

Anne Ferrante et.al's exploration of all sources of data on domestic violence in Australian finds the consistent result that females are 88-92 percent of victims in most sources [Ferrante et.al, 1996: 104].

Of all the forms of violence to which adult men are subject, only a very small proportion of this is represented by domestic violence. From police records, domestic violence accounted for 13.6 percent of all forms of violence against women, but only 1.3 percent of violence against men. While from victimisation surveys, one-third of violence against women was domestic, versus less than 1 percent of violence against men. (The reason for the lower percentage of domestic incidents among the police statistics is that women are less likely to report a domestic than a non-domestic incident [Ferrante et.al, 1996: 104]. Ferrante et.al define 'domestic violence' as referring only to criminal violence inflicted by one partner by another, which occurs between partners and ex-partners including those in boy/girlfriend relationships [ibid: 3].)

Crime victimisation surveys in Australia reveal further aspects of the violence experienced by men, and how it differs from violence experienced by women. If we compare men's and women's experiences of personal attack, threats, and sexual assault, we find that incidents against men are far less likely than incidents against women to occur in the home (10 percent versus 43 percent), they are far more likely to involve strangers (75 percent versus 31 percent), and they are far less likely to involve partners or ex-partners (1 percent, versus one-third of female incidents) [Ferrante et.al, 1996: 56-61]

Some people claim that men are less likely than women to report domestic violence, out of shame or chivalry or the fear that they won't be believed. However, the available evidence finds instead that men are more likely to call the police, more likely to press charges and less likely to drop them [Schwartz, 1987; Rouse et.al; 1988; Kincaid; 1982].

A further reason why studies using the CTS and similar methods are unlikely to capture the true character of domestic violence is to do with the samples of such studies. Headey et.al acknowledge that their chosen method, a survey, may under-report extreme violence, and that some victims of extreme violence are in refuges and so not available to surveys [Headey et.al, 1999: 57, 61]. And that perpetrators and victims of severe violence may be less willing to admit what is going on that people in milder situations [ibid: 61].

Surveys such as this tap into what one researcher calls "common couple violence". This is where couples have conflicts which occasionally involve 'minor' forms of violence, these only rarely escalate into serious forms of violence, and this violence is roughly gender-equal [Johnson, 1995: 285]. This kind of violence in couples is the product of a violence-prone culture in general.

However, surveys such as the one by Headey et.al are likely to miss a second important form of domestic violence, what Johnson calls "patriarchal terrorism". This represents some husbands' practice of a terroristic control of their wives. It involves the systematic use of not only violence, but economic subordination, threats, isolation and other control tactics [Johnson, 1995: 284]. This violence is patriarchal because it is based in patriarchal ideas of male ownership and control of their female partners. This second form of domestic violence involves much more frequent violence (although the men using this can also control their wives using other tactics), the violence is more severe, and it is very likely to escalate over time.

Men's experiences of violence

Some victims of domestic violence certainly are men. Some of these male victims have been subject to violence by other men - by brothers, fathers and step-fathers, male friends and acquaintances, and gay male partners. And some have been assaulted by women.

Male victims of domestic violence deserve the same recognition, sympathy, support and services as do female victims. And they do not need to be 50 percent of the victims to deserve these [Orman, 1998].

There are also some important differences between men's and women's experiences of domestic violence. When men are subject to domestic violence by women, the violence is not as prolonged and nor is it as extreme, they are far less likely to be injured, they are less likely to fear for their own safety, they are less likely to be subject to violence by their ex-partners, and they are likely to have more financial and social independence.

We also need to remember that a great deal of violence by wives against husbands is retaliatory or in self-defence. When women are physically violent towards their male partners, very often this is in the context of having themselves been subject to violence by that man. And in the situations when a woman kills her male partner, typically this is in the context of his violence to her over a long period.

However, if our concern genuinely is "violence done to men", then we should not be concentrating our efforts on violence by women to men in the home. Men are frequently the victims of violence, and mostly this is violence by other men. Men and boys are bashed up outside the pub and on the street, bullied at school, sexually assaulted as children, subject to brawls on the sporting field, bashed in the home, bashed in public toilets, injured or killed in the course of robberies, muggings and burglaries, killed by parents, injured in workplace initiation rituals, shot on the battlefield, and daily experience frequent "aggro" and put-downs and threats.

Yes, often the victims of violence are male. And in the vast majority of cases, so are the perpetrators. Boys and men are most at risk of physical harm, injury and death from other boys and men.

Males are about 60 percent of homicide victims in Australia, and close to 90 percent of those accused of homicide [Carcach & James, 1998: 3]. Seventy-five percent of victims of serious assaults, and 90 percent of suspects, are male [Australian Institute of Criminology, 1990: 26]. Physical and verbal harassment of boys in schools is common, and according to a recent national survey the harassers of boys are largely other boys [Collins et.al, 1996]. In incidents of harassment and violence to gay, lesbian and bisexual students and teachers, 71 percent involved male-only perpetrators [Griffin, 1994]. One in four young male inmates in jail is sexually assaulted by other, male, prisoners [Heilpern, 1998].

There is thus a widespread pattern of male/male violence. The fact that this is ignored in favour of spurious claims about women's violence towards men is a symptom of the political agendas which in fact guide men's rights claims.

Political claims

Men's rights and fathers' rights claims on violence stem more from political and anti-feminist motives than they do from a genuine concern for male victims of violence. These men are using women's alleged violence against men as a way of resisting and discrediting attempts to deal with men's violence against women.

Some individuals and groups also make claims about violence as part of broader agendas to do with the Family Court, custody and access issues. It is a common complaint among fathers' rights groups that women falsely allege domestic violence and/or child abuse to gain a tactical advantage in family proceedings, although actual research on such allegations contradicts this [Kaye & Tolmie, 1998a: 53-55]. Fathers' rights groups also claim that domestic violence either doesn't really exist or is the responsibility of both parties, and that other forms of behaviour by women are just as abusive, such as verbal abuse, denial of men's sexual needs, denial of access and divorce [ibid: 55-57].

Perhaps most troubling is that when fathers' rights groups do acknowledge men's violence, they usually blame the violence on factors outside the men who perpetrate it, such as the custodial parent, Family Court or Family Law Act [Kaye & Tolmie, 1998a: 57]. "In an ironic twist, male violence is used by these groups to demonstrate how victimised men are by the family law system." [ibid: 58] In Kaye and Tolmie's account of the rhetorical devices used by fathers' rights groups in presenting their position, this is part of one device, a claim to victim status.

So far I've said that men's rights and fathers' rights agendas are based on questionable evidence, and they are dangerous for women and children. But there's another problem: Men's rights agendas in fact are harmful to men themselves.

Harm to men

Fathers' rights advocates such as the Lone Fathers' Association have attacked services for women, such as women's refuges, while calling for either parallel services for men or services for both men and women. There are five ways in which the agendas and activities of fathers' rights groups in relation to domestic violence are harmful for men themselves.

* They focus on the wrong target (women or feminism, rather than unhealthy and destructive models of manhood). As far as violence done to men is concerned, for example, the problem primarily is violent models of manhood and an ethic of mutual combat and honour in masculine culture. To end the violence we will have to change these models, such that toughness, aggression and insensitivity stop ruling men's lives.
* They taint as backlash the call for recognition of violence experienced by men. The more quickly that people such as the Lone Fathers' Association drop their obsession with proving that domestic violence is gender-equal, the easier it will be for others to hear of the fact of men's subjection to domestic violence. The whole focus on proving that women hit men as much as the reverse is a monumental distraction from the very real need to get services and support for male victims.
* They antagonise potential supporters. Attacking existing services for female survivors (or feminism in general), does male survivors of violence a disservice. It is an attack on the very people who brought the issue of interpersonal violence to public attention in the first place and who have been leaders in this field. It unnecessarily antagonises the women and men in existing anti-violence services who could be usefully involved in responding to male survivors and who could be key supporters of services directed at male victims.
* They are based on a simplistic "You've got it, we want it too" logic which may not provide the most appropriate services for men. It is striking how often the things men's rights men call for are the mirror image of things established by three decades of women's movements. You've got a women's health centre or a refuge, we want a men's one, and so on. This "us too" approach is motivated more by a knee-jerk logic of equality than by an informed appraisal of the kinds of services men are going to use and like.
* They undermine the protections available to both female and male victims of violence. Fathers' rights groups have criticised and attacked the operation of Domestic Violence Orders or Apprehended Violence Orders, claiming that false allegations of domestic violence and child abuse are routinely made and that alleged victims of such crimes are too readily believed. These efforts undermine the safety and protection available to both female and male victims of violence.

Fathers' rights groups have prioritised the prevention of false allegations of child abuse over safeguards for genuine victims of abuse, and have made "expressions of sympathy for men who are so distressed by their loss of access to the children they purportedly love that they murder the objects of their affection!" [Kaye & Tolmie, 1998b: 181].


The claim that women and men are physically violent towards each other in equal rates and with equal effects is demonstrably false, Claims by some men's groups of widespread 'husband battering' have less to do with a genuine concern for male victims and more to do with political agendas regarding the Family Court and other anti-feminist concerns.

Certainly we need to provide services and resources for men, as for women, which are gender-just and oriented towards enhancing their lives. What we don't need are ideologies and services which involve spurious claims about women's violence, incite men to murderous anger, pit men against women, and fix men in feelings of powerlessness and blame.

Michael Flood was involved for several years with Men Against Sexual Assault, running anti-rape workshops in high schools and community education campaigns such as the White Ribbon Campaign. He now runs anti-violence workshops for boys in high schools, in conjunction with the Domestic Violence Crisis Service. At present he is also doing a PhD in Women's Studies at the Australian National University, researching heterosexual men's sexuality and safe/unsafe sex. Michael can be contacted at PO Box 26, Ainslie, ACT 2602. Or e-mail him at: michael.flood@anu.edu.au

References cited

Australian Bureau of Statistics 1996 Women's safety Australia, Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics (No. 4128.0)

Australian Institute of Criminology 1990 Violence: Directions for Australia, Canberra: National Committe on Violence

Carcach, Carlos and James, Marianne 1998 "Homicide between intimate partners in Australia", Trends and Issues (Australian Institute of Criminology), No. 90, July

Collins, Cherry et.al 1996 Gender and school education, Canberra: Australian Council for Educational Research, June

Dobash, Russell P. et.al 1992 "The myth of sexual symmetry in marital violence", Social Problems, 39(1), February

Ferrante, Anna et.al 1996 Measuring the extent of domestic violence, Perth: Hawkins Press (Crime Research Centre, University of Western Australia)

Gelles, Richard J. and Cornell, Clair Pederick 1990 Intimate violence in families, (2nd edition), Newbury Park: Sage

Griffin, Jacqui 1994 The Schoolwatch Report: A study into anti-lesbian and anti-gay harassment and violence in Australian schools, Sydney: Suzzane Jones-Pritchard

Headey, Bruce, Scott, Dorothy and de Vaus, David 1999 "Domestic violence in Australia: Are men and women equally violent?", Australian Social Monitor, 2(3), July

Heilpern, David M. 1998 Fear or favour: Sexual assault of young prisoners, Lismore, NSW: Southern Cross University Press

Johnson, Michael P. 1995 "Patriarchal terrorism and common couple violence: Two forms of violence against women", Journal of Marriage and the Family, Volume 57 Issue 2, May, pp. 283-294

Jouriles, Ernest N. and O'Leary, K. Daniel. 1985 "Interspousal reliability of reports of marital violence", Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 53(3), pp. 419-421

Kaye, Miranda and Tolmie, Julia 1998a "Fathers' rights groups in Australia and their engagement with issues of family law", Australian Journal of Family Law, 12(1), March, pp. 19-67

Kaye, Miranda and Tolmie, Julia 1998b "Discoursing dads: The rhetorical devices of fathers' rights groups", Melbourne University Law Review, 22, pp. 162-194

Kincaid, Pat J. 1982 The omitted reality: Husband-wife violence in Ontario and policy implications for education, Maple, Ontario: Learner's Press

Orman, Kate 1998 "The battered husband controversy", http://www.ocs.mq.edu.au/~korman/feminism/Domestic_Violence/controversy.html

Rouse, Linda P., Richard Breen, and Marilyn Howell 1988 "Abuse in intimate relationships. A comparison of married and dating college students", Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 3, pp. 414-419

Schwartz, Martin D. 1987 "Gender and injury in spousal assault", Sociological Focus, 20, pp. 61-75

Steinmetz, Suzanne K. 1977/78 "The battered husband syndrome", Victimology, 2, pp. 499-509

Steinmetz, Suzanne K. and Lucca, Joseph S. 1988 "Husband battering", in Sussman, Marvin B. and Steinmetz, Suzanne K. (eds) Handbook of marriage and the family, New York: Plenum

Straus, Murray A. and Gelles, Richard J. 1986 "Societal change and change in family violence from 1975 to 1985 as revealed by two national surveys", Journal of Marriage and the Family, 48(3), August, pp. 465-79

Straus, Murray A. and Gelles, Richard J. 1990 "How violent are American families? Estimates from the National Family Violence Resurvey and other studies", in Straus, Murray A. and Gelles, Richard J. (eds) Physical violence in American families, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers(NEW)

Straus, Murray A., Gelles, Richard J. and Steinmetz, Suzanne K. (eds) 1980 Behind closed doors: Violence in the American family, Garden City New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday

Szinovacz, Maxaimiliane E. 1983 "Using couple data as a methodological tool: The case of marital violence", Journal of Marriage and the Family, 45(3), pp. 633-44

Further critiques of claims regarding 'husband battering'

Dobash, R. Emerson and Dobash, Russell P. 1992 Women, violence and social change, London & New York: Routledge

Ho, Robert and Venus, Marilyn 1995 "Domestic violence and spousal homicide: The admissability of expert witness testimony in trials of battered women who kill their abusive spouses", Journal of Family Studies, 1(1), April

James, Kerry 1996 "Truth or fiction: Men as victims of domestic violence?", Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 17(3), September

Letellier, P. 1994 "Gay and bisexual male domestic violence victimization: Challenges to feminist theory and responses to violence", Violence and Victims, 9(2), Summer

Muelleman, Robert L. and Burgess, Patricia 1998 "Male victims of domestic violence and their history of perpetrating violence", Academic Emergency Medicine, September, 5(9)

Newburn, Tim and Stanko, Elizabeth A. (eds) 1994 "When men are victims: The failure of victimology", in Just boys doing business? Men, masculinities and crime, London: Routledge

Stanko, Elizabeth A. and Hobdell, Kathy 1992 "Assault on men: Masculinity and male victimisation", British Journal of Criminology, 33(3), Summer

Straton, Jack 1994 "The myth of the "battered husband syndrome"", Masculinities, 2(4), Winter

Walker, Melinda 1995 "Interpreting the figures: Increases in women's violence or just more masculinist legal tactics?", Australian Feminist Legal Journal, 5, August

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Over at Searching for Hedgetorides there is a brilliant article debunking an antifeminist myth about Domestic Violence studies.
It's very Australia-Centric in that it talks about an Australian study and is debunking an Australian antifeminist, but I'm sure international readers might be interested in it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

One more for today.

Check out the comments section in this article. Particularly the comment by Mr. Anthony.

Feminist hypocrisy strikes again. Ever see the movie "Hard Candy"? A young girl castrates a man and puts his testicles in a garbage disposal. Where was the protest from feminist activists?
Ahh Anthony, Anthony, Anthony.

Feminism is a movement concerning the advancement of women to the equality of men, and so feminists tend to focus their efforts and energy on advancing the status of women, which includes concerns about the depiction of women in the media.
Contrary to what seems to be popular MRA belief this isn't hypocrisy. Men and women legitimately concerned with the depiction of men in the media can freely protest, so it's not like women are holding men back by making this protest.

"Stop complaining ladies! If I can watch a movie involving castration without getting offended, maybe you should allow the INDIVIDUAL female decide whether Tarantino’s new movie is offense."
Apparently feminists aren't allowed to complain when they're offended because this man happened to not be offended by something. Awesome. Gotta love that condescending "stop complaining ladies" thing too. Perhaps the feminists and pro-feminists involved in this protest were all INDIVIDUAL people, concerned with the sexualization of violence against women. Perhaps their complaining gets the word out to other INDIVIDUAL people who are concerned by the sexualization of violence against women.
Perhaps their complaint will allow INDIVIDUALS to make informed choices about whether they want to spend their money on something that sexualizes violence against women.

But you don't care about what the individuals partaking in that protest want or the individuals who might be moved to make their own choices based on the protest want, do you?

Let's get this party started!

Now, there's a lot of antifeminist silliness on this wiki. Head over to this thread at Crimitism to see people talkin' 'bout it.

Just thought I'd bring up my most favouritest silly statistic on this page. There's a lot to choose from, but this one... it takes the cake for me:

“FEDERAL TAXES: Even though men pay 115% of federal income taxes women constitute 11% more of the voters.”
It's supposed to be proving that the world is sexist against men. Where to start?

Let's start with the wording: if that statistic is worded correctly it's saying that men pay more then %100 of all income tax. Perhaps they mean men pay %115 more income tax then women? I'm not actually sure. I'm impressed by mans contribution to the economy though. Hot damn.

I have to wonder what part of the world this statistic was taken from. I don't know, because there's no citation. If it's America, then the problem of not enough men voting could be solved by... men going outside and voting.

Alright now we can go on to the idea that if men are paying substantially higher income taxes it must mean that as a group have a substantially higher income to tax. If this statistic were accurate it would show that women have got a looooooooong way to go in the 'equal pay' department.

Now for the idea behind the statistic. The idea that mens votes should matter more, because they have a higher income. Let's break that down: The higher income tax a person pays, the more their vote should matter.
Since income tax is linked to income, that'd mean that the higher the income a person earns, the more their vote should matter.
That's... Interesting...

I'd like to see how that helps men in poverty.* Mens rights indeed.

*Not to discount the fact that y'know. "poverty is the biggest issue facing females in the 21st century."

I doubt this blog will be reguarly updated.

Just thought I wanted a space to talk about antifeminist hypocrisy, dubious antifeminist statistics and other general silliness.
I just seem to see examples of it all the time. Antifeminists complaining that feminists allow women to deny personal responsibility, whilst excusing men of their own personal responsibility. Antifeminist 'facts' that don't seem particularly factual. Antifeminist mistruths and antifeminist sillyness.
It's everywhere!

Fact1: This blog _will_ get snarky. I imagine there will be lots of bitter irony, and I'm talking the kind of irony you see defined in the dictionary* not the typical 'saying something offensive and calling it irony so I can get away with it' trope you've likely seen about.

Fact2: The obligatory 'I-don't-hate-men' statement. (Well. I don't.) I wouldn't dislike MRAs (Male Rights Activists/Advocates) if all they did was do positive things like lobby for better funding of mens health facilities and whatnot, but since most of them (or at least the visible ones) seem to express antiwoman/antifeminist/antisense statements unfortunately I do dislike them. Rather a lot.
For that matter: if there's anyone out there lobbying for mens issues who doesn't dislike/disagree with/rabidly hate feminism let me know 'cause, I just ain't seeing it.

Fact3: This blog will be moderated. OHNOES I'M A CENSORING DICTATOR! (I told you there'd be irony, didn't I? Blog moderation =/= censorship.)

That all said. If you'd like to talk about any experiences of antifeminist sillyness (and there's a lot of it out there) please tell me all about it in the comments.

*Just for reference:

Resentful or cynical: bitter words.


The use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, “How nice!” when I said I had to work all weekend.