Tuesday 15 April 2014

Sexism in the UK

There are a few of quick notes about the UN's Rashida Manjoo's claim that the UK is endemically sexist and that is is worse here than "other places".

Firstly, it's a bit of a shock, if I'm honest. I've written a fair few things about gender and sexism, and of course I'm aware of and appreciate the work feminist comrades have done tackling 'everyday' sexism. That said, while much still needs to be done I didn't for one moment think that the UK's sexism problem was worse than other developed nations. Okay, leaving out Nordic countries, is the UK worse than Italy, France, and the USA? If it is then things are grimmer than I thought.

Secondly, You can see the hordes of - mainly men - loudly proclaiming that the UK hasn't got a problem and that this feminazi can bugger off. As we know, satirising political discourse is a tough job. But there might be others, from the liberal centre and centre right of the spectrum, who might be a bit more moderate in their tone but just as adamant with their scepticism. Of course, they have every right to be. But curiously there is a tendency for these kinds of people to normally fete the word of the UN as if it's gospel. UN says x country has human rights abuses? They'll go with that. UN says y regime has committed war crime? No problemo. And yet when a UN envoy reports on this country, all of a sudden its special status slips and its findings disputed. 'UN says sexism in the UK is a problem' is something they don't want to hear. Well, they can't have it both ways. Either they have a problem they refuse to acknowledge, or that the UN is fallible and might be wrong when it provides fig leaves to Western military adventures overseas.

Thirdly, that the government have blocked Manjoo from accessing Yarlswood Detention Centre to investigate the conditions refugees are being held in is nothing short of a national scandal. The Home Office know they can because treatment of asylum seekers is unlikely to make political waves, unfortunately. But in the words of every apologist for the surveillance state, if you haven't got anything to hide then there is nothing to worry about.


Speedy said...

Comments like this seem unhelpful to gender equality. They turn it in to a joke.

The definitive book on the UN is Linda Pullman's seminal We Did Nothing. Essential reading for anyone interested in how things really work and human nature in general. The scene involving the Zambian peacekeepers in the Congo (and MSF, who do not come out well) is one of the most powerful and moving pieces I have ever read.


Dan said...

You really despise your own sex, don't you?

Phil said...

No, I really despise that one half of the human race has a second class status because of their sex. There is a difference, though it might be difficult for numbskulls to discern it.

Anonymous said...

The hypocrisy with this report by Rashida Manjoo is that the very act of only looking into violence by men against women, is in itself a sexist act yet I doubt very much she would ever admit or accept this failing, nor do anything to remedy it.

Sexism against women is clearly an issue but most people are currently blind to the enormous sexism against men.
99.999% of all combat deaths are male.
Men are treated as 2nd class in family law.
Men earn more, but women control the vast majority of disposable income.