It started with the terrible killing of MP Jo Cox. I thought ‘the feminists are going to make this all about gender’ – but they didn’t. Of course, the man who killed her is still alive, so it is very possible that we may yet discover that one of the things that rankled with this white supremacist, mentally ill killer was the fact that his political representative whose views he so hated was also a woman.
But there were no headlines about his misogyny being the obvious cause of his brutal crime. Yes, there were some mutterings of look at how badly women in politics are treated, and early on there was also talk of the fact that she had received threatening messages online. But the mainstream commentary decided they were actually going to acknowledge that there were other issues here than that.
It soon became clear that the online threats she received were not sent by the person who killed her, so the story could not be tied to the issue of online abuse. There was also an impressive amount of coverage that addressed the fact that male MPs receive all kinds of horrible threats as well – there is actually a case to be made men receive more threats of violence than women do, although nobody gets very upset about it; just imagine if the death threats against Farage and Trump had been directed towards female politicians.
Another factor that came to light is that there is simply no precedent for violent attacks on female MPs in the UK. Media coverage of what happened to Jo Cox could not fail to mention that the most recent example of a murder attempt against an MP took place in 2010 when Stephen Timms was stabbed by an Islamic extremist. Not many articles mentioned that the attacker in this case was a woman, but there was no attempt to spin a narrative of pure patriarchy blaming.
Since the murder of Jo Cox there there has been the most appalling succession of killings and terror attacks across the world. Arguments have raged about where the blame for these should be placed. The left, desperate not to address the issue of radical Islam have made plenty of effort to ensure that western racism and homophobia are viewed as culprits, but there have been efforts to find balance within the mainstream. Attention has been drawn to the fact that many of the attackers who have pledged allegiance to Islamic State were irreligious Muslims, who had histories of domestic abuse against women, but the issue of gender has generally been kept bubbling beneath the surface.
Frankly, I’m surprised that it took as long as it did, but I was waiting for an intersectional social justice type to point out that all the recent atrocities had been committed by men and we need look no further than this for the cause of all the evil, but a feminist called Janey Stephenson finally obliged with possibly the most appallingly stupid article that I have ever seen. Headline as follows:
I will not dwell too much on criticising the specifics of this silly piece – have a look at the comments if you want to see plenty of other people doing that pretty well. Of course, gender is a variable in our species and the fact that men are more likely to be both the perpetrators and victims of physical violence is important to analyse and feed into our approach to dealing with our problems – but this kind of reductionist nonsense is not a part of that. When talking of the Nice attack Maajid Nawaz said that pretending such an act of terrorism has nothing to do with Islam is just as dangerous as saying it is everything to do with Islam. I think the same may be true in this instance of man blaming.
But, as a general trend, I don’t see a huge outpouring of anti-patriarchal outrage at the current wave of shocking violence. Perhaps this can be put down to unwillingness to confront issues relating to race and religion, about which the social justice left does so like to get its nickers in a twist. But I think there is another reason. Recent events have been serious. This is a time that calls for a grown up attitude, not fainting-couch-feminism. Yes, they are keeping their outrage industry in business but with fodder like Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi, who seems to be the subject of a lot more feminist comment than the mass killers who abused their wives.
But the gender industry as a whole seems to sense that now is not the time to come down hard on men in general. There is a wider public out there who are not going to put up with their fathers, sons, husbands and brothers being blamed for the world’s evils. Most people understand that the emergency services, military service people and security guards who are on the front line dealing with modern terrorist attacks are also primarily men. Even feminists understand it. Oh sure, the anti male stuff is still being churned out, but their business is about keeping the narrative against men just under the surface so nobody holds it up to too much criticism. At difficult times like these it seems like the ideologues have realised people will have limited patience for their zealotry.