Feminism at its best is about liberating women. Over the course of the last century campaigners in Britain faced violence, arrest and imprisonment for arguing that having a uterus should not prevent you having a job, voting, or just making your own decisions and live your own life.
Times change though, and these days much of feminism has a nastier goal in mind: the stigmatisation, criminalisation or outright banning of masculinity.
Only this week Charlotte Proudman, a human rights barrister and Cambridge PhD candidate, attempted to publicly shame Alexander Carter-Silk, a partner at law firm Brown Rudnick. Carter-Silk’s sin had been to compliment Proudman on her looks via the professional social network LinkedIn, provoking an irate response from Proudman.
Judging only from Carter-Silk’s email it’s unclear whether his comment was an aside or an ill-advised attempt at flirting. But either way it did not work. In classic feminist gibberish Proudman condemned her would-be suitor:
“The eroticisation of women’s physical appearance is a way of exercising power over women. It silences women’s professional attributes as their physical appearance becomes the subject.”
It has been said that Cambridge University students are out of touch, but it is still surprising that Proudman has got this far without realising straight men’s attraction to women is something of a innate feature of human physiology.
That she sees being hit on as “unacceptable and misogynistic” puts her in league with the sort of feminists crank who see being invited up to someone’s hotel room for coffee after hanging out with them at a bar until 4am as some egregious transgression.
“Most people post pretty unprofessional pictures on Linked in, my comment was aimed at the professional quality of the presentation on LinkedIn which was unfortunately misinterpreted. Ms Proudman is clearly highly respected and I was pleased to receive her request to link-up and very happy to instruct her on matters which are relevant to her expertise that remains the position.”
This may or may not be true, but it ignores the wider point that propositioning someone inevitably risks one or other being embarrassed. The person (usually a man) trying it out out could well be rejected, while the recipient might find them a bit icky (or as Proudman’s message implies, too fucking old).
As such the attitude of many feminazis that men should limit their flirting to a few scenarios of feminists’ choosing is unreasonable, and ignores the fact that romance kindles in just about every scenario imaginable. Indeed flirting in professional circles is so normal that some 10 percent of Yanks meet their spouses at work, according to at least one survey.
What really happened here is that Carter-Silk crossed Proudman’s particular line when it comes to reasonable sexual etiquette. For others, whose stories you won’t be reading in the press, an email like his would be politely rebuffed, or the implicit offer even taken up.
That British laws and social mores are loose enough to allow this is not something we should be upset about. In other parts of the globe male sexuality is increasingly under attack from spurious campus rape allegations, unworkable laws around consent, and hysterical feminists finding increasingly innovative ways to be butthurt.
All of which isn’t to say men shouldn’t learn to take a hint or improve their sense of timing, but the idea that their sexuality should be branded “sexist” and “misogynistic” cheapens genuine sexism and misogyny and ignores how people actually socialise.
Every era has its own political boilerplate, statements that can be unthinkingly uttered to win you friends whilst gaining you few enemies that matter.
These are based on the taboos, prejudices and groupthink of the times. If you wish to play to the gallery, after all, you need to know what they like. And once you have that you can soak up the cheap applause:
Deleted 3 school pals from my facebook for sharing Britain First bullshit videos. Nowt more depressing findin out someone you know is racist
Right now in our island’s history, it is a bad time to be a racist. Better, perhaps, than when New Labour felt confident enough to “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”, but much worse than the decades following the Second World War, and especially the old days of the Empire which rather shows up the institutional racism we now practice.
Fascism is in similar straits. The fringe left in Britain loudly proclaim their commitment to combating it, but the modesty of this was highlighted by the groups themselves when they confronted some chapter of the far right at Piccadilly Circus in a London demo earlier this year. As the lefties accurately observed at the time: “There are a lot more of us than you.”
Sniping at fringe righties, far from being brave and edgy, is thus the definition of the punching downward that comedians on the Left are supposed to disdain. After all, the front benches of the Commons are not stocked with “closest racists” (in prime minister Call Me Dave’s phrase) but with those that largely hold socially liberal views, especially as regards migration.
True enough, there are some establishment backers of the Kippers and their political kin. But as anybody with a brief acquaintance of these groups could tell you, they are largely made up of white, working-class, middle aged men – in other words those that the Islington intellectuals in Labour used to court, but now treat with disdain and mockery.
There’s no sorrow in the fact that racism is treated with scorn and hostility, nor that fascism or homophobia is given the same reception in most civilised quarters. But there’s no nobility in trashing the ignorant, inarticulate and inept, and nobody should pretend otherwise.
Identity politics is often petty, shrill, and divisive. But few practitioners of the art will openly tell white men that they are not welcome at the victim party.
Not so one Bahar Mustafa, 27-year-old student welfare and diversity officer for Goldsmiths University in London. Last month she organised a meeting to push her agenda around “diversifying our curriculum” and other worthy goals. Unfortunately she also encouraged white men to stay away from the event, telling them “PLEASE DON’T COME”.
The media shitstorm was suitably bracing. And in fairness to Mustafa she hardly “banned” the penis-wielding whiteys from the event, nor did she say they couldn’t help with the, er, “struggle”. But only a few weeks later this corking video has emerged:
The victimhood gambit starts almost from the word go, with Mustafa claiming: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I represent the most marginalised people at Goldsmiths.” This is a hard claim to stomach given that Goldsmiths tends towards the arts, and indeed figures taken from Goldsmith’s very website confirm that Mustafa is in the majority on the gender front.
In the person of colour stakes she does better, but bearing in mind Britain is 87.2% white according to the CIA, Goldsmiths’ white populace of 62.2% leaves people of no colour a bit underrepresented. (No doubt on discovering these vital facts the appropriate department will investigate this heinous anti-white conspiracy that is clearly unfolding at one of our treasured universities.)
Already then our diversity guru is a bit dicey on the facts, but it soon gets better:
“I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist towards white men, because racism and sexism describes structures of privilege based on race and gender, and therefore women of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist, since we do not stand to benefit from such a system.
“In order for our actions to have been deemed racist or sexist the current system would have to be one which enables only people of colour to benefit economically and socially on such a large scale, and to the systematic exclusion of white people and men, who for the past 400 years would have had to have been subject to colonisation.
“We do not live in such a system; We do not know of such a history. Reverse racism and reverse sexism are not real.”
What, one wonders, would Mustafa make of the Kipper and known woman Rozanne Duncan, who earlier this year said in a BBC documentary that she had “a problem with negroid features”? Most Britons would describe such a statement as racist (to use Google’s definition: “having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another”), but were Mustafa in charge Duncan could receive a pussy pass.
(Unless women are only exempt from sexism and people of colour from racism. If so this web could get quite tangled.)
Curiously, and in spite of allegedly being from a working class family, Mustafa also omits to mention whether the oily plebs are immune when it comes to bigotry too. Are the only racists and sexists graduates of Eton and Oxbridge? The public surely has a right to know.
At this point we are only getting started on the defence’s case for butthurt. Mustafa not only believes that there is an “ongoing project to dehumanise” her and her, ahem, “non-binary” cronies, but she also says the phrase “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” without so much as a knowing wink.
Then follows this choice passage:
“The thought of black people holding positions of power frightens white supremacy, a system built on and sustained through the oppression of BME [black and minority ethnic] people, minority genders and the cheap labour of immigrants.”
“People who benefit from white supremacy will never truly understand what it feels like to be remindedof the trauma of their ancestors’ oppression.”
Most Britons will of course shudder at every mention of those cads the Romans, whose wholesale oppression of the British people still inflicts deep wounds. (And that’s without mentioning those pilfering Vikings, perfidious Normans and petulant Belgians whose banana-straightening edicts taunt us to this day.)
Generously, Ms Mustafa saves the best until near the end, where she describes inertia, indifference and scepticism towards her victimhood as a kind of “violence”. “Your silence is violence,” she says. “And we wear the scars.” With logic like this she no doubt has a stellar career in academia ahead of her.
Times must be tough in Goldsmiths if they cannot afford dictionaries. Or Google.