Thursday, November 26, 2009

All men guilty of domestic violence by virtue of being raised men?

We have a White Ribbon Day here in Victoria. Men are supposed to show their support for victims of domestic violence by wearing a white ribbon.

But the campaign is based on feminist political theory - which ends up grossly distorting the issue of domestic violence.

Those running the campaign are supporters of patriarchy theory: of the idea that men have used violence against women to uphold their privileged status in society (i.e. to uphold the patriarchy).

Those who believe in patriarchy theory claim that violence against women is systemic in society - that it's a traditional part of the culture and institutions of society. Therefore, patriarchy theorists will usually:
  • exaggerate the extent of domestic violence
  • claim that domestic violence is prevalent throughout all parts of society
  • claim that male culture has traditionally supported domestic violence
  • present men as the perpetrators of domestic violence and women as the victims
  • argue that the solution is a political one in which men are to "break ranks" with other men and with their own privileged status
There are some obvious problems with these claims, most notably that:
  • male culture has traditionally condemned rather than supported violence against women
  • domestic violence is not spread evenly throughout society; it is far more prevalent amongst men who are unemployed, who take drugs and who have mental health issues
  • women are sometimes the perpetrators rather than the victims of domestic violence. They not only initiate violence against children and other women, but some studies show they initiate violence against male partners just as frequently as men initiate violence.
Should we be concerned about the distorted approach to domestic violence being taken by the White Ribbon Day organisers? I think so, on the following grounds:
  • the campaign unjustly maligns the average man as being responsible for domestic violence
  • such campaigns if taken seriously contribute to the poisoning of relations between men and women (what happens to the mind of a woman who believes that the average man hates and disrespects women to the point of violence?)
  • the campaign requires all men, even those who have never been violent, to adopt a "penitent" attitude, in which they are to accept that they are an unjustly privileged group. If men do adopt this attitude, they lose moral status, not just in terms of the issue of domestic violence, but in society generally. 
  • the campaign radically attacks a masculine identity, seeing it as being hostile to, rather than protective of, women. Not surprisingly, the campaign activists have prioritised feminising traditionally masculine environments
I'll finish with a few prize quotes from the mainstream media - which at the moment uncritically accepts the patriarchy theory approach to domestic violence.

The Age had a TV quiz show host, Andrew O'Keefe, address the issue. He followed a familiar path of beginning with a vague but alarming statistic:

At least one in three Australian women at some stage experiences violence at the hands of a man.

Not true, but that's not the point. The idea is to give the impression of domestic violence being systemic. Note too that O'Keefe has already quietly led us into the assumption that domestic violence involves a male perpetrator and a female victim.

By virtue of being raised a man in our society, most men will have contributed to the problem in some way over the years.

Thanks Andy. We men just haven't been maligned enough over the past generation, have we? You've never hit a woman? Doesn't matter to Andy, you're still part of the problem - by virtue of being "raised a man".

Every time I behave that way [laugh at sexist jokes, act insensitively], I am supporting the belief that men have rights and privileges greater than those of women, or that somehow men have a special place in the world that isn't shared by women. It doesn't mean that I beat my wife. But for many men, that belief is the basis of the notion that it's OK to beat your wife ... Because those forms of abuse are all based on the notion of male privilege and power.

At least Andy is upfront with the theory. What he's arguing here is that it's a belief in male power and privilege (patriarchy) which leads men to think it's OK to bash their wives. Therefore, men who believe in male power and privilege are contributing to domestic violence. And, according to Andy, it doesn't take much to be a male "patriarchalist". Even laughing at a sexist joke or being insensitive makes you a supporter of male power against women.

Heaven help any man who took this seriously. You'd end up paralysed from fear of offending women.

As I wrote earlier, Andy's analysis doesn't explain much. It doesn't explain why violence against women was considered so unacceptable in earlier times when men dominated public life more than they do now. It doesn't explain why women commit acts of violence against children, men and other women. It doesn't explain why domestic violence is relatively rare amongst some groups of men, but common amongst men experiencing certain known "stressors", such as alcohol and drug abuse, mental ill-health, homelessness and unemployment.

We need men more than ever to assert their masculinity confidently in society, as a civilisational force. Men won't do this successfully if they are always on the back foot, wondering if they are too powerful or privileged, or if they are oppressing others in virtue of being men.

My local paper, the Diamond Valley Leader (25/11/09), also ran a column on domestic violence. It contained this gem:

Victorian Health Promotion Foundation chief executive Todd Harper said the attitude and behaviour of boys and men in all walks of life needed to urgently change.

"Violence contributes to more death and disability among women aged 15-44 than any other cause," Mr Harper said.

We get it Todd. It's systemic. It's all groups of men. It's a problem of male culture and masculine attitude. It's the biggest threat to women.

Only it's not. Most men already think it's wrong to hit women. They don't need to change their attitude. And it's ludicrous to claim that domestic violence contributes more to death and disability among young women than any other cause. Not only is this untrue, it's obviously untrue. And yet it's peddled in the media because it fits the theory.

And it's the theory that needs to change.


  1. from this article:

    “The way society is now—I feel there’s a preference for girls,” says Linda Heithaus, a marine biologist from Hollywood, Florida, who has two sons and is contemplating doing IVF/PGD in the hope of getting a girl. “They can do everything a boy can do, plus you can dress them up. It’s almost like, to fit in, you need to have one.” Girls, in other words, are boys plus. They can play sports and have careers, and you can dress them in pink and take them to tea at the American Girl café. What’s not to like?

    See! Now that we've destroyed all the roles for men, while preserving the roles for women, we don't need any men anymore! And we've got the technology to get rid of them! What's not to like?

    By the way, read that quote carefully. That is a mother of two sons saying that boys are basically obsolete.

    Islam is looking better and better every day.

  2. This "article" misses the point on so many levels, it's comical. That's fine. Keep looking for excuses not to do anything about a problem as prevalent and upsetting as domestic violence. Keep looking outside of your comfortable existence. When you realize that we all can participate in making the world better for everyone, perhaps you'll be a happier person. You only feel guilt if you decide to. Nobody makes you do that, sir.

  3. We can be against domestic violence without being in favour of cultural Marxist-determined Feminist theory.

    If these supposed Feminists actually cared about women, as a few do, they'd be trying to stamp out violence against women where it actually occurred. But doing that would be classist and racist and Islamaphobic too.

  4. A good article and you make a good argument against the feminist movement, however i think that you should not dismiss the theory out of hand. The feminist movement provide the backbone for current interventions towards abuse.

  5. @Anonymous

    Great, way to hold up the side. I agreed with your points until the last sentence. Seriously? Islam is looking better? Yes, society is pushing us into the background, but we aren't there yet, and there is a lot of sexism against women in some parts of society still. Sexism is never right, no matter the gender of the victim.


    The way to end DV is not to embrace ideas like this that end up with males feeling alienated. It is to embrace both masculinity and femininity equally. It is to stop insisting that men who like some violent things also abuse their partners. It is to realize that when a man hits his wife, he is one person, not every man. It is to realize that most men (me included) have no respect for men who hit their partners and never have had respect for them.

  6. The way to deal with domestic violence is to first start by recognising the differences between the sexes and work from there.

    One of the reasons why some men are lashing out at women, is because men have been marginalised by a service industry and a liberal ideology which they themselves have made possible. Thus we need to have a serious debate about What men can do in a post-industrial economy.

    Another is the idea that women can raise children successfully without a male role model. While some women may be able to do this, the vast majority can't, and some solo mothers are producing some very nasty little male offspring which are a menace to society.

  7. "Great, way to hold up the side. I agreed with your points until the last sentence. Seriously? Islam is looking better?"

    Yes, it is. But frankly, it doesn't matter. If we continue down the path of Cultural Marxism, our population will simply die off and the Muslims will win by default.

    "Sexism is never right, no matter the gender of the victim."

    No. What you idiotically call "sexism" is the product of thousands of years of inherited wisdom. The problem is not that "society is sexist against men", it's that numbnuts like you want to pretend that "women can do anything men can do". Women and men are different, and no amount of liberal whining and hand-wringing is going to change that. Our society today is properly recognized as misandrist because it only acknowledges the differences that reflect badly on men or reflect well on women.

    Let me make this clear:

    Only a half-educated, narcissistic, self-congratulatory, brainwashed Cultural Marxist doofus would think that thousands of years of conventional wisdom should be discarded because it doesn't fit with the ideology of the latest, greatest, most "enlightened" generation of ivory tower eggheads. How many times do we have to go through the Bolshevik/Hitler Youth process before people realize they can't go back and re-invent a fundamentally different and "better" wheel.

  8. ""Keep looking for excuses not to do anything about a problem as prevalent and upsetting as domestic violence.""

    I will keep looking for those, and you can keep looking for ways to twist statistics and lie your pants off to make men look bad.

    Sadly you are winning, but since true feminazis rarely breed there is yet hope that you might die out.

  9. Domestic violence is blight on our society. But I was absolutely gobsmacked when I read O'Keefe's article in The Age. It was positively dripping with the "all men are rapists" kind of radical feminist bent. One would think he must have swallowed verbatim the propaganda they dished out to him in his wymyn's studies classes at uni.

    This kind of nonsense is very typical of the radical left. First they quote a bunch of extremely dubious statistics (outright lies), then they throw in some hair-brained patriarchy theories to try to explain them. Finally they bang on the "all men are bad", "all women are good" drum as loudly as they can and throw in some undergraduate publicity stunts to "raise awareness" about how bad men are and how they are all complicit in making women's lives a misery.

    Absolutely pathetic men-bashing, sexist rubbish at it's worst. I suspect that O'Keefe secretly doesn't really believe the crap he wrote in his own article. There has to be some other agenda at work here.

  10. In an entry at my site last May entitled, "Why has the female sex lost its mind?," commenter James N. argued that what is called by the politically term "domestic violence" is really something much more basic: sexual jealousy. Liberals and feminists don’t want to describe this phenomenon as violence caused by sexual jealousy, because the increase of sexual jealousy leading to violence is in fact the result of the spread of non-marital sexual relationships, whereas the liberals and feminists would have us believe that the violence is the result of marriage.

    Here's the opening part of the very long entry (which I recommend):

    James N. wrote:

    "... Our town is overwhelmed by the murder of a young mother, with five small children, on Mother's Day. She has an ex-husband with a restraining order, several boyfriends two of whom fought in public the night before the murder, and she died of multiple stab wounds in the early morning hours in time to be found by her children in their pajamas.

    "The last murder in our town was in 1961.

    "I have often mentioned to my wife that girls growing up today do not know the simplest things, things my grandmother knew from her mother and her mother, on and on back to the Dark Ages.

    "Girls today (and women, too) put themselves in mind-shatteringly unsafe situations, often pulling their children in with them. How is it that the simplest, most straightforward and uncomplicated things about boys and men are invisible to these girls and women?

    "In this horrible case, which has shattered the sense of safety and trust of literally hundreds of small children, the most common comment is 'it sounds like domestic violence.'

    "Actually, what they mean, what 'domestic violence' often means, is sexual jealousy. Yes, there are degenerate men who abuse their women for reasons of their internal demons. But so, so many homicides of young women today are reprises of 'la crime passionelle,' an ancient and very well understood phenomenon.

    "Girls and women will never be safe until they know what their grandmothers knew about sex. And you won't find that on the 'Sex and the City' official website, or in Cosmo."

    To which I replied:

    "You're right about sexual jealousy. Which, duh, double duh, is why marriage exists. Let's spell this out in very simple terms. When it becomes common in a society for women to get sexually involved with men who are not their husbands, that means (to repeat the point from the other side) that lots of men are getting sexually involved with a woman who is not their wife. In many cases, the man becomes fiercely attached to that relationship. The woman then ends the relationship, and either gets a new boyfriend or doesn't. Either way, her former boyfriend can't live without her, can't stand her rejection of him, goes nuts, and kills her. It's the story of Carmen, with tiny variations, over and over and over.

    "In traditional society, this type of event happens far less frequently for the simple reason that women in such a society have zero or very few sexual relationships outside marriage, so that you do not have this mass phenomenon of women dumping men they've been sleeping with. (Of course men dump women too, but here we're talking about the dynamics of homicidal male rage, which is much more common than homicidal female rage.)...”

  11. Let us pretend for an instant that it really is true that "All men [are] guilty of domestic violence by virtue of being raised men"

    Should we not then ask, "So what?"

    I'm asking a serious question here ... the people who make that stupid assertion *also* assert that:
    1) there is no such thing as truth;
    2) there are no such things a objective and binding moral obligations.

    THEREFORE, what is the basis for objecting to the "truth" that "all men [are] guilty of domestic violence?" Are they claiming that we ought not be domesticaly violent?

    Really? Since when? Says who?

  12. Anonymous: "Our society today is properly recognized as misandrist because it only acknowledges the differences that reflect badly on men or reflect well on women."


    Consider the foolishness (and dishonestly) of "gender inclusive language." Now, ask yourselves, have you ever seen a bankrobber, or a plumber, of unknown sex referred to as 'she?' Of course not. Will you ever?

    No, "gender inclusive language" is to be employed only in female-positive ways.

  13. A question. Mark Richardson mentions this staggeringly PC White Ribbon day, but doesn't tell us how widely practiced it is. It is an recognized, established observation in which many people participate, or an exercise in the leftist sectors of society?

  14. Lawrence Auster,

    In answer to your question, I don't think White Ribbon Day had much visibility here at all until a few years ago, when the media began publishing articles on domestic violence to coincide with the day.

    It's since been picked up at an institutional level by VicHealth and by the Australian Football League. VicHealth is meant to promote healthy living but has been captured by liberal ideologues. The head of the Australian Football League is a man committed to liberal politics.

    It's starting to percolate down. There was a White Ribbon Day stall at my local town festival this year and the junior football clubs have begun to run programmes based on White Ribbon Day philosophy.

    A report has been commissioned which has recommended that all school students here in Victoria receive instruction in the White Ribbon Day philosophy.

    I still haven't actually seen anyone wear a white ribbon, although supposedly some boys are issued with White Ribbon Day wristbands at school.

    It's not one of those movements which has sparked much passion from the liberal rank and file. It's been pushed by a handful of individuals with the uncritical support of the media and a few state institutions like VicHealth.

    But it's growing.