TRIGGER WARNING: This article discusses the treatment of rape cases in the English justice system, which involves victim-blaming and discussions of victim's sexual histories. It's not very nice, and you may find parts of this piece upsetting.
Earlier this month, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner was quoted as having said that “white working-class boys are being left behind because of the 'negative impact' of a focus on ethnic minorities and women.” That’s not what she actually meant, but her clumsy wording did make it seem as though she was blaming affirmative action for the poor educational outcomes of indigenous British boys. What she says she actually meant is that immigrant families send stronger messages about the importance of education to their children, and white working-class families tend not to. Therefore a cultural change is necessary because white British boys have not been specifically targeted for additional support in the same way that ethnic minorities and female students have (which has generated improvements, demonstrating that the measures work and should be continued). She wasn’t saying that if we help people with one characteristic, we’re taking assistance away from another group; more that we need to focus on changing perceptions and attitudes so that British boys don’t sabotage their futures through lack of aspirations. But that doesn’t make as punchy a headline, so the Telegraph went for something that pushed the right-wing buttons instead.
Another day, another example of rich people putting spikes on things to shield them from reality. This time (I swear I am not making this up), a developer in Bristol has put spikes on the branches of trees to prevent pigeons from roosting there and pooing on the residents’ fancy cars. Have we reached Peak Privilege? I think we may have. The trees overhang the car park, and rather than cleaning their cars the good old-fashioned way, the residents requested that the building management install a preventative measure, so that they don’t get inconvenienced by unsightly bird shit. I do hope those trees aren’t deciduous (haha, yes they are!), or they’re going to be mighty upset come autumn.
There were times in the past that I was sympathetic to the cries of “Not All Men,” but after a while I’d seen and heard enough to feel like it actually was All Men. It wasn’t in overt harassment, or openly sexist comments, but the accumulation of so many little things, the “microaggressions.” But after a while of putting up with the stereotypes, assumptions, and being treated as “less than,” they started to feel a lot like the regular old macroaggressions. It was everywhere. And worse, when confronted with information that suggested they—gasp!—might be in the wrong, the Not All Men were deeply offended and incredulous that we could possibly have interpreted their innocent behaviour as sexism. Just like the person who thinks it’s worse to be accused of racism that it is to actually be racist, we end up in a never-ending cycle of complaining and then having to deal with the tantrums and denial caused by the complaint. Well #MeToo has given us the opportunity to say “No More.”
I recently wrote about why The Friendzone is a bullshit concept, but I can see that that’s not enough. We also need to think about how we’re going to manage when we think we are in this fictional place of self-destruction and denial.
"… I was sacked (without explanation) by a man in a suit. Men in suits missold me pensions and endowments, costing me thousands of pounds. A man in a suit led us on a disastrous and illegal war. Men in suits led the banks and crashed the world economy. Other men in suits then increased the misery to millions through austerity…."