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Women rebels without a cause The Sarah Everard protests were more about symbolic action than political change

Would defunding the police really improve women’s safety? (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)

Would defunding the police really improve women’s safety? (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)


March 17, 2021   6 mins

It’s odd the way no one talks about Donald Trump anymore. After four years of continuous, apoplectic fury from the respectable press, it has been less than three months since Trump departed from the White House — and already it feels as though he Never Actually Happened.

But even if we seem to have collectively decided that The Donald was a political blip, best consigned to the dustbin of history, his utterances live on. In 2015, before he was even elected, Trump declared that the US needed “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”. His statement was met with horror at the time. Today, though, it’s not just become a meme, but also mutated into a form of political debate.

Last week, in response to Sarah Everard’s murder, Green Party peer Baroness Jones of Moulscoomb called for men to be subjected to a curfew after 6pm. Baroness Jones argued that this would “make women a lot safer” and reduce “discrimination of all kinds”. Effectively, then, she was proposing a total and complete lockdown of men until we can figure out what’s going on. The Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford then made noises about the “dramatic action” needed to mitigate a “crisis”, and how his government would be “prepared to consider all measures”.

The proposal itself excited much discussion in the usual places, despite (or perhaps due to) having so many self-evident shortcomings as a policy. Baroness Jones herself has since admitted that the idea was “not an entirely serious suggestion”, while Drakeford was forced to clarify that Wales was not in fact considering a curfew on men.

But even if the bien-pensant world has agreed to pretend that Trump never happened, there’s something startlingly Trumpian about seeing elected UK politicians floating obviously absurd policy proposals. As the former President’s enemies never tired of pointing out, his utterances often bore only a glancing relation to reality. His detractors were infuriated by this, as well as by the way his supporters didn’t seem to care. But it’s possible that they were missing the point, because communication is by no means always about reality.

Many everyday exchanges are what linguistics experts call “phatic communication”. This is better known as small talk: utterances that don’t convey factual information, such as “the milk is in the fridge”, but rather establish a mood. Utterances such as “Good morning” or “Lovely weather we’ve been having” are less about the morning or the weather than about conveying the message “I’m here and I’m friendly”.

Trump’s distinctive contribution to modern politics was his expert deployment of something like phatic communication in a political context. That is, statements that delivered a kind of mood music, with some relation to policy issues, but which usually did little to alter the facts on the ground.

For example, consider his assertion on February 28, 2020 that “one day, it’s like a miracle – [Covid] will disappear.” More than a year (and a new President) later, this hasn’t happened; the assertion only makes sense if understood as a piece of wishful thinking, aimed at conjuring a feeling of positivity about reality reordering itself in accordance with Trump’s desires. I think of this as “phatic politics”: a kind of willingness, despite the reality, to say whatever will convey a mood that feels appropriate, or is likely to achieve the desired effect, in a given moment — regardless of the facts on the ground.

In January last year, just before Covid struck, Eitan Hirsh drew a distinction between politics and “political hobbyists”. Politics, in Hirsh’s formulation, is about making things happen, such as the Suffragettes’s campaign for the female franchise, or a local group fundraising for a new community centre. Hirsh characterises political hobbyists, on the other hand, as predominantly white male graduates, who consume politics as a form of entertainment without themselves being involved in any concrete effort to bring about substantive change.

The style of phatic politics I’ve just described was Trump’s signature presidential style, but it’s typical of all hobbyist consumers of politics — because it implies that there is no real connection between what you say about real life and life itself. In Trump’s case, the slippery relationship between utterance and reality was complicated by his actually being the US President; but for most political hobbyists, there really isn’t much connection between the policies they advocate and those which are adopted by governments. This frees hobbyists to treat policy as a vehicle for self-expression. It means you can call for paedo-hanging or male curfews with impunity, as a way of conveying how strongly you feel about a subject — for the simple reason that your ideas will never be implemented.

Over the last year, this style of politics has become so widespread that we’re now witnessing its group manifestation: phatic protest. That is, public demonstrations that often convey deeply felt emotion, but without a specific policy aim in mind.

Both the death of George Floyd and that of Sarah Everard have triggered such inchoate responses. Both events were, of course, deplorable. They both implicated police officers — precisely the citizens charged with ensuring public order and safety — and prompted a sense that the very structures of social order are institutionally hostile to a particular identity group. And in both cases, horror at an unjust death has fed a groundswell of public anger at this perceived injustice.

But also, in both cases, the outcry has been as formless as it has been sincere. After all, it’s all too easy to agree that the world treats specific groups unjustly, and feel deep anger about this, while remaining unsure what specifically we should do about it. And in the absence of any consensus on what we should do, we’ve seen the rise of phatic protest; that is, political engagement oriented more toward expressing a feeling than demanding policy change.

In the vacuum left by this uncertainty over what exactly we can do about something as endemic as violence against women, or the seemingly intractable issue of racial injustice, we’ve seen huge sums of money raised seemingly overnight by crowdfunding websites. Black Lives Matter raised more than $90 million in 2020, while Reclaim These Streets raised over £500,000 in just a few days, despite providing little information about fundraisers’s identities or how the money will be spent.

I have no reason to suspect that the motives of Reclaim These Streets are anything but decent. But it is still startling to see half a million pounds raised in a matter of days by people who don’t even put their names on the crowdfunding website. And this sense of powerful grassroots energy in search of an organisational focus points to the most troubling feature of phatic protest: how vulnerable it is to being hijacked.

The initial outrage at racialised police brutality last summer rapidly became a vector for activists seeking to abolish prisons, capitalism and the nuclear family. Similarly, while Reclaim These Streets seems to be organised by local councillors and other women local to the Clapham area, rumours are swirling about Antifa infiltrating at the Clapham Common vigil.

It’s hard to be sure, but it’s at least possible that someone who takes an “ACAB” (All Cops Are Bastards) placard to a candlelit vigil for a recent murder victim didn’t have mourning a horrible death uppermost on their mind. The next day, a protest was organised by Sisters Uncut, an existing group affiliated with broadly the same political agenda as the one which has colonised BLM — that is, to abolish prisons, undermine capitalism and so on. (I call this the Dismantle Everything lobby.)

By its leaderless, heavily emotional and agenda-less nature, then, phatic protest attracts would-be revolutionary vanguards who do have specific policies they want to bring about — even if these are at odds with whatever has prompted the mass outbreak of public feeling. It is not obvious, for example, how defunding the police would improve women’s safety in public; but as night follows day, Dismantle Everything has already suggested that doing so would be a helpful response to the Sarah Everard vigil.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that our politics has come so adrift from any sense that we might actually effect political change through activism. After all, we’ve spent the last year cut off from social contact, on the receiving end of unprecedented and authoritarian public laws, wondering what our distant leaders will foist on us next. It’s no wonder, then, that so many of us have given up on political agency in favour of political hobbyism, and that political activism over the last year has focused more on emotion and symbolic action — taking a knee, clapping for carers, leaving flowers — rather than substantive change. For if there’s a unifying subtext to phatic policy, it’s a sense of powerlessness: wishful thinking as a substitute for action.

But if we’re to recover a sense of political agency and democratic participation, that’s going to mean weaning ourselves off political hobbyism. In other words, less clicktivism, less arguing over Westminster court politics and instead grounding ourselves in reality. If you’re horrified by women’s lack of safety, you would do better to join the council to push for better street lighting, or help out at a local women’s refuge, than to pretend that wildly authoritarian policy kite-flying by C-list politicians is an adequate response to profound systemic issues.

Until we make this adjustment, we’ll continue to only stir ourselves from our online torpor for diffuse, emotive public protests over intractable problems. And as long as this remains true, mass politics will achieve nothing more constructive than rolling out the red carpet for Dismantle Everything.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Jamie Farrell
Jamie Farrell
3 years ago

I agree with the helpful distinction made in this article between politics & political hobbyists….& that as time passes by more personal opinion, demonstrations, & movements appear to have the aim of sharing of a general feeling/emotion rather than a specific goal in mind.
But I have an alternate hypothesis about where this may be coming from…..rather than the political style of Donald Trump.
So, i’m going to put it out there (that’s what this forum is all about after all) and am genuinely interested in what people think. All I ask is that you read what I am actually literally saying rather than what you might think I am perhaps trying to imply.
Hypothesis:
The rise in feeling/emotion based political opinion/protest is because of the equivalent rise in front line society of women.
Supporting rationale:
It is factually correct that males and females are biologically different. One of the way this manifests is in psychological differences (trait characteristics etc) which means that statistically (i.e. not every single man or woman but statistically) men & women think, feel, and behave differently.
It is also statistically factually correct that females are far more likely than men to need to express feelings & emotions, not for the purpose of solving a specific problem, but simply for the purpose of sharing feelings & emotions i.e. female stereotype empathy behaviour. The goal is often to just share how they feel and to be heard. Statistically, this is not how men behave – generally they share a feeling or emotion as a means to an end i.e. male stereotype problem solving behaviour.
Please note I am NOT suggesting that male behaviour is “better” than female behaviour; just that its different.
So, my hypothesis is that as each year passes & women move more and more into the front line of society; the workplace, politics, media etc. their explicit ability to influence societies dialogue and the way that dialogue manifests itself inexorably increases (I say explicitly since women have always had a very strong influence, its just that in the past it was directionally more implicit than explicit). And I think this is unquestionably and undeniably a positive thing.
All I am saying on this topic is that when one group ( in this case females) who think & behave differently rises in influence in a society that has to have all kinds of influences on how society behaves – some good, some bad, and some probably neither good or bad.
It doesn’t surprise me therefore that we are seeing a trend of more emotion/feeling led opinion & political demonstrations without a pinpoint practical aim across the western world given that across the western world women are so clearly on the rise.
So, that’s my hypothesis – and I say “hypothesis” as I have no idea whether its true! Just want to see what people think.
Hopefully I wont get shot down as some archaic misogynist – fingers crossed!

Last edited 3 years ago by Jamie Farrell
Stephen Crossley
Stephen Crossley
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

Nail. On. Head. Hit. Now stand by for some serious outrage and personal attacks brave soul.

Jamie Farrell
Jamie Farrell
3 years ago

Thanks Stephen. Was good to get a positive message early doors today. And then even better to end the day having not been destroyed….

Last edited 3 years ago by Jamie Farrell
Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

I agree with you apart from thinking women’s “explicit ability to influence society’s dialogue etc” is “unquestionably and undeniably a positive thing”, it might be or it might not be, considering the present evidence of emotionally driven policies and practice in public life, it does not seem to be.

Perhaps if we put a stop to the Diversity and Equality agendas, stopped promoting people because of their ‘gender’ or skin colour, and went back to promoting people on the basis of their abilities and competence alone we would not be in the mess we are in.

Last edited 3 years ago by Claire D
michael stanwick
michael stanwick
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Good initial point.
As the the last point, whilst I agree with the sentiment, I think there has been an instantiation into the cultural, social zeitgeist – a free floating background context imposed by media, police and some education institutions and employment arenas – such that the appeal to emotion and specially appeal to anger or rage etc is a proxy for the righteousness and truth of the issue that the rage and anger are about. Hence there might be a formation of a moral ethic.
I think this might explain the use of Moral Presentism in analyses of the past.
But feelings on their own are not arbiters of actuality IMO – and if so asserted, constitute the cognitive distortion of ’emotional reasoning’.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago

Do you think you could possibly write that again using English? I know the words you chose came from the English language but their assembly as a coherent message did not work.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
3 years ago

Sure, no problem. I think there is an implied background theory of epistemology – that is, a different method of gaining knowledge – that is an appeal to emotion/feeling that also uses anger and/or rage as a measure of the degree of moral truth content of an assertion or action.
Hence the primary moral ethic might be ‘I feel it–>I think it–>it is true/real’, without any intervening cognitive analysis to measure the felt experience’s cogency.
For example, ‘From my experience I feel this society is racist in all its manifestations–>it is racist in all its manifestations’. With an absence of cognitive-linguistic analysis of that felt experience (ie ‘In what way is it globally racist? Are there other explanations that account for my experiences? I wonder if my experiences are generalisable? etc) that conclusion and that epistemology can then undergird the use of Moral Presentism, for its supposed truth claim of global racism encompasses history.
So today’s morality about racism is then spread over past individuals and events without realising that those individuals and events were nested within and resulted from social mores, beliefs, attitudes, morals and ethics that were different than those of today.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
3 years ago

Sure, no problem. I think there is an implied background theory of epistemology – that is, a different method of gaining knowledge – that is an appeal to emotion/feeling that also uses anger and/or rage as a measure of the degree of moral truth content of an assertion or action.
Hence the primary moral ethic might be ‘I feel it–>I think it–>it is true/real’, without any intervening cognitive analysis to measure the felt experience’s cogency.
For example, ‘From my experience I feel this society is racist in all its manifestations–>it is racist in all its manifestations’. With an absence of cognitive-linguistic analysis of that felt experience (ie ‘In what way is it globally racist? Are there other explanations that account for my experiences? I wonder if my experiences are generalisable? etc) that conclusion and that epistemology can then undergird the use of Moral Presentism, for its supposed truth claim of global racism encompasses history.
So today’s morality about racism is then spread over past individuals and events without realising that those individuals and events were nested within and resulted from social mores, beliefs, attitudes, morals and ethics that were different than those of today.

SUSAN GRAHAM
SUSAN GRAHAM
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Could not agree more with your last paragraph, however all the pontification over the past few days does not take into consideration that no matter what measures are taken, since time immemorial there have always been- and always will be – psychopaths and misogynistic nutters about, and females will always have to take measures to avoid vulnerable situations. May not be fair but it is life. As a mother of two boys and a girl, all adults now – my boys were raised to respect women but I had to make my daughter aware of the dangers of being a female. No laws or silly curfews can change that. It should also be remembered that bad things happen to boys too. I believe self defence classes should be a mandatory part of the school curriculum.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  SUSAN GRAHAM

‘It should also be remembered that bad things happen to boys too.’

Yes, of course. And when the specific ‘bad thing’ is being killed in a public place and/or killed by a stranger, it happens much more often to males than females.

From ONS figures for year ending March 2019 – killed in a street, footpath, alleyway, other public place: victims 64% male; killed by a stranger: victims 87% male.

So what I find hard to understand is why the recent protests would seem to make this specific ‘bad thing’ disproportionately – almost uniquely? – suffered by women.

To a rational mind, it doesn’t make sense. But then, perhaps that’s one of the points in the article.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Yes.
Tom Chivers raises the specific point in yesterday’s Unherd.
His article is titled “Why Don’t Women Feel Safe?”

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago

Thanks. I did read that. It had interesting points in it, but it seemed to me that it rambled around a bit: men will make the statistics issue (as indeed I have have), but that apparently ‘misses the point’. Does it, though? Men must be more careful not to cause women to feel alarmed. Well, do most men make women feel alarmed? And so on.

I just think that this another case of emotion ousting reason from just about every public policy issue that we find in the news.

barbara neil
barbara neil
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

couldn’t agree more. Violence is suffered by more men than women. People who are violent are a small percentage of men and an even tinier percentage of women. There is an ancient outrage (I suspect coming from the idea of protecting genetic descendants…) attached however to violence against women. That the world has changed (abortion, contraception…) doesn’t seem to affect that reaction however.

Iris C
Iris C
2 years ago
Reply to  barbara neil

We never hear much about emotional abuse. it is possible that this is employed more by women than men because they cannot compete with a man’s physical strength Suicides? We get unbalanced reporting and it skews the information we are given when there is a Minister for Women and Equality and daily Women’s Hours instead of broad-based reporting. . …

Last edited 2 years ago by Iris C
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

The large strength differential and the threat of rape, rather than a punch in the face, is different.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  SUSAN GRAHAM

Although it’s also true that the biggest victims of violence are actually men on other men. However women are not in a position to defend themselves and the nature of violence and abuse against them is different and often an undercurrent in everyday interactions that we have to navigate carefully. I agree though, self defence classes would be good.

Jamie Farrell
Jamie Farrell
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Thanks for your comment Claire – clearly one that has positively resonated!
Based on what i wrote i think your challenge is entirely valid.
The reason i phrased it the way i did is because i do believe that in the LONG term the rise of women in front line society has to be a positive i.e. both sexes having their intrinsic biology, traits, communication styles etc. being woven into society in a broadly equitable way seems like a good idea to me.
But i do take your point that at present its hard to see how its manifesting positively…i think this could be because the pendulum is swinging so strongly in a different direction to the historical norm as part of the balancing process…which seems to be the way these things normally go.
I say normally as that’s what i think it is.
But, there are exceptions. To me the greatest leader (on topics like this) of recent times in Mandela. I haven’t come across another leader who experienced extreme imbalance (colour in his case rather than gender) but who was visionary enough to realise that the most effective way to move towards eventual balance was not to adopt a vindictive/vengeful stance…….but to adopt an empathetic approach based on the end game goal = equality, unity, community.
So, my thinking is that this is all part of “imperfect progress” and that it will eventually get to some kind of equilibrium. An optimistic view perhaps, maybe naïve.
We dont have a leader today who has the gravitas to convey this message effectively.
But i believe one will emerge eventually (not sure which side from) eventually that will be able to quell the outrage and help men and women settle again to some extent in the new world we live in.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

I like your wise and heart-warming reply. Let’s hope you are right.
I have to say I don’t believe in ‘progress’ as such, imperfect or otherwise. Technological progress certainly makes a difference to our lives and causes social change but human nature does’nt change.
Each generation usually achieves a settling down and an equilibrium as they age, but there is always the next generation coming up with all their urgency and energy, combined with whatever events occur.
I have no idea where we are going but like you I hope (and pray) for better understanding between people.

Last edited 3 years ago by Claire D
Gordon Black
Gordon Black
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

For years now, in my all-male ‘phatic communications’, your hypothesis has been regularly proposed and accepted. However, this conjecture is never publically disclosed because, as you say, getting shot down as archaic misogyny.
This has the potential of a good “me too” campaign!

Jamie Farrell
Jamie Farrell
3 years ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

That’s good to hear Gordon. I’ll be part of your new campaign!!!!

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

That’s a very stunning and brave thing for you to write… Good job you didn’t write it on Twitter, or you’d be getting death threats from all the lovely people who believe in social justice.

Silvia Hansel
Silvia Hansel
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

And yet that’s exactly the way to get the message across, if you can stand the inevitable heavy artillery. On this platform, it’s more like running down open doors (if we thought much differently we wouldn’t be here). But it’s not easy to be a martyr.

Simon Sharp
Simon Sharp
3 years ago
Reply to  Silvia Hansel

People on here think ‘alike’ only in the broadest way. Presenting the idea on the woke Twitter-sphere would result in one thing only – pointless and poisonous argument and people trying to get you fired (as has happened to multiple people)

Jamie Farrell
Jamie Farrell
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Ha, ha Mike. You are dead right of course. Haven’t grown the stones to go on twitter with this. Maybe when i’m a multi millionaire and can deal with the fallout without worrying about losing my job! But, in the mean time thanks for the support – legend!

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

You might be correct. If you are, it’s very good news for the Chinese and the Russians.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Especially the Chinese and Russian women who will not want to let “feelings and emotion” get in the way of whatever political goals they aspire to.

Jamie Farrell
Jamie Farrell
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Oooh. Good point Fraser – i hadn’t even considered that!

Chris D
Chris D
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

There’s probably a lot of truth to what you suggest. What’s telling is that you feel it necessary to express your opinion so gingerly, as if waiting for the inevitable slap to the head.

Jamie Farrell
Jamie Farrell
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris D

Fair call. New to this site and didnt realise that it was as conservative as it is. Actually wish there was a more diverse readership to get more opinion….but being new im just glad for the positive support rather than being annihilated!!!

Simon Sharp
Simon Sharp
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

Well I’m not sure its exactly ‘conservative’ except in the sense that you aren’t so likely to find radical leftists (or their sugar pop version acolytes) on here.
So if we are going to call a variety of views outside the uber-left ideology ‘conservative’ then I guess this site is conservative (That’s certainly what the radical leftists who try to attack this site try to pin on it- except they throw all sorts of other terrible sounding insinuations)
I think there’s actually quite a number of people on here like me who were pretty lefty but who cannot reconcile some of the absurdities going on in its name – pls have generally gorwn a bit older grumpier and wiser 🙂

Last edited 3 years ago by Simon Sharp
neilccox2
neilccox2
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

Jamie, i have thought much the same for a while. You shouldn’t apologise for holding and expressing this view though.
We as men have as much right to put our hypotheses out there as women even if those views challenge received thinking.
The difficulty for men is that we are less concerned than females about hurting others feelings in a world where they are put front and centre and to do so is to be seen as hateful, mysogynistic, even racist.
Oddly feminists view our society as being patriarchal, historically maybe but today in the UK it seems to me that we live in a tyrannical matriarchy.
This is a bridge we as a society are ultimately going to have to cross if we are to remain anything like what i like to think of as a free society.

Victor Newman
Victor Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  neilccox2

Yes, the demonstrations could be interpreted as the violence of a toxic matriarchy. Could it be driven by the realisation that the role of women has been cancelled by the trans ideology?

Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
3 years ago
Reply to  Victor Newman

Why has no one pointed out that trans sexuals whose mantra is ‘trans women are women’ represent a real threat to (real) women? Sexed Bodies Matter might be worth starting as a counter movement….

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

There is already such a movement. It’s called super straight. It’s men and women who are only attracted to what is known as cis gendered people of the opposite gender. They can’t help it, they were just born that way so criticism of them is out of bounds.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
helenjbaxter
helenjbaxter
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

Definitely an interesting hypothesis. I would argue that we are seeing an increase in emotion on all sides – in men, more likely to manifest as anger, rage etc. We are living in confused, uncertain times for everyone and social media feeds off that, turns it into whatever emotion we are most susceptible to and exacerbates it.

I agree that the future is female (disproportionately white middle-class females though) and I do worry about the impact on men – see last night’s BBC3 documentary on male suicide. Perhaps it’s time men started talking about their feelings more.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  helenjbaxter

Agree with most of your post – but this:

Perhaps it’s time men started talking about their feelings more.

This is a very female solution to the problem. The implicit criticism is that men need to be just a little bit more like women.
I would even go as far as saying this is part of the problem, however well intended. It has been been being said for years that men should talk about their feelings more and it has had little effect.
Men (by and large) are doers. A guy who is down will benefit tenfold from sitting down with mates playing a game or chatting nonsense over a beer rather than sitting down and waffling about his emotions or feelings.
Men are overwhelmingly more goal-oriented and interested in things rather than people. If a man is able to prove his worth by doing something, achieving something then the accompanying feelings that cloud a lack of that melt to irrelevance.
Don’t mean to pick on you but thought it worth saying.

Last edited 3 years ago by A Spetzari
helenjbaxter
helenjbaxter
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

I don’t feel picked on! It’s nice to be able to have a civilised debate.

I obviously don’t know what it’s like to be a guy and appreciate that there are different tendencies. Surely it’s a tragedy when men can’t open up about mental health issues though.

The ‘prove his worth’ bit is interesting. Maybe we need a new way of men proving their worth – eg. greater adoption of shared parental leave.

Either way I think we need to find an answer in a changing world/society/ job market with different options/roles for both sexes.

PS. I say this as an “atypical” girl who doesn’t talk about her feelings much!

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  helenjbaxter

Yes I think that is the way to go – teach men how to restore some self-worth.
The decline of traditional manual “doing” jobs I would imagine has had an impact, as has an increased feminisation of the workplace and society (not all bad per se, but perhaps too much too soon).
It is most certainly why Jordan Peterson has had so his success – as he suggests basic measures that instil value and self worth through everyday innocuous tasks. Tidy your room for example – former Navy SEAL Admiral W McRaven’s “Make your bed” speech is in a similar vein.
It’s not that there is no overlap between men and women I don’t think. Just that the start point for women is perhaps discussing and exploring emotions whereas for most men it is proactively doing something tangible and physical.

Real Horrorshow
Real Horrorshow
3 years ago
Reply to  helenjbaxter

I recall the 90s New Men phenomenon. Men were encouraged to talk about their feelings then too. The result: the “Male Tears” mug popular with 4th wave feminists everywhere to this day. My advice to men is: Don’t get fooled again, play to your strengths.

Last edited 3 years ago by Real Horrorshow
Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago

Ah yes, suddenly 90’s females wanted a sensitive man. What wasn’t made clear though was that 90’s females wanted a man that was sensitive to her feelings, not his own.

Jamie Farrell
Jamie Farrell
3 years ago
Reply to  helenjbaxter

Thanks for your comment Helen. Can you share anymore on why you think that men are getting angrier? I have no idea if this is true, but am interested to learn if there is any evidence of this?

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago
Reply to  helenjbaxter

the future is female’ With the current manifestation of femininity/feminism this will be an unprecedented catastrophe.

google
google
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

Not only true, but actually engineered by people who /want/ politics to be more emotional (by which I mean more bad-tempered and hyperbolic, rather than nice and friendly). I’ll leave it to other readers to guess whether it is the left or the right which might benefit the most from this.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

I think we’ve all thought this.
I’d go further, and say that we now have a deficit view of men, where once we had a deficit view of women. In the way that women once were seen as lacking something in comparison to men, men are now seen as lacking something in comparison to women. Attempts to change men aim at making them more like women.
Further, I would say that modern consumerism is essentially feminine, with its shift from production to consumption and services. It’s a world in which traditional men, with their limited and practical desires, are decidedly out of place. In contrast the middle class woman with her excessive consumption, pampering at spas, exotic foods flown in specially and superficial ethical concerns, is very much in her element.

Sue Allerton
Sue Allerton
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Not sure there’s any basis at all for the idea that women are more avid consumers than men. I’m pretty sure that, if it were added it up, the amount of money earned and spent by men in this country would massively outstrip the amount earned/spent by women. But this is an aside, really – I think Jamie Farrell makes a good point.

Real Horrorshow
Real Horrorshow
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Allerton

Men may earn more, but women spend it. Somewhere between 70-80% of consumer spending is done by women – according to Bloomburg. That’s why the advertising industry is swinging it’s focus more and more upon them.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Allerton

In all mass media there is a thing called advertising. Advertisers wisely have a thing called target audience: that audience is overwhelmingly women. Retail outlets, internet or high street, cater overwhelmingly for women. And you forgot the amount of money earned by men and spent on women.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

That has been one of my hypotheses as well and have expressed it elsewhere – as in the MSM for example, although I aluded to the sex in question with the euphemism “particular demographic”. That was a piece of self censorship for I was worried I might be censored by the MSM media.
I would also add that this hypothesis might explain the MO of activists within critical social justice doctrine. For example, Robin DiAngelo’s, Peggy McIntosh’s, Patricia Hill Collin’s et al observations that are primarily based on what that doctrine calls ‘standpoint epistemology’ and ‘critical consciousness’ etc that I think are grounded in emotion/feelings. Thus the emphasis on oppression as a ‘felt’ subjective experience and also the ‘felt’ perception of dominance and the outcome of ‘felt’ microaggressions and ‘felt’ offence etc etc.
I have also argued that this boils down to ‘I feel it–>I think it–>it is true’. Hence the lack of any cognitive or linguistic analysis of the ‘felt’ observations-assertions made by critical theory and hence its outgrowths of critical race theory, post colonial theory, transgender theory etc. There cannot be any analyses demanding demonstrable evidence and replication – in fact they can be explicitly denied – for how does one evidence a ‘feeling’ as a standard cogent measure of reality?
Jordan Peterson has mentioned this line of inquiry with regard to temperamental sex differences regarding the Big 5.
“…as endemic as violence against women…”.
I would have liked to have had some empirical evidence as to the ‘endemicity’ of the ‘violence’ – and a definition of ‘violence’ so as to be very specific about what is being meant here and hence the nature of the perpetrators and the frequency of the occurrences.
The nature of the significance of the issue and the nature of ‘feelings’ as a measure of reality were recently discussed in an article on unherd here;
https://dev.unherd.com/2021/03/why-women-dont-feel-safe/?tl_inbound=1&tl_groups%5B0%5D=18743&tl_period_type=3&mc_cid=e6e2aedf1b&mc_eid=3274460628

Last edited 3 years ago by michael stanwick
Real Horrorshow
Real Horrorshow
3 years ago

“…as endemic as violence against women…”.
It’s another phatic argument. Which in this case means it’s false. Women may be more likely to be a victim of domestic violence. But that is because in a fight between a heterosexual couple, the man is likely to prevail.
In term of all violent crime, the latest stats I can find are that 3% of men and 1.3% of women are victims.
Where the perpetrator is a stranger, the difference is even bigger, 1.2% of men, 0.4% of women.
Violent crime has generally been declining in England and Wales since a peak in the mid 1990s.
The most recent Crime Survey for England and Wales records that, for the year ending March 2020 75% of homicide victims were male*. Male homicide was up and female down. Even in a “normal” year male victims out-number females at least 2:1.
It is true that female victims are much more likely to be killed in a domestic homicide (46%) and specifically by a partner (35%). However fully 33% of male victims are killed by a stranger. In other words like Sarah Everard.
I don’t know whose agenda is served by telling women that if they go out they’ll be murdered by a stranger and if they stay in they’ll be murdered by their (male) partner. But I do wish they’d stop. One advantage of a curfew for men however, might be that it would save their lives.
*Obviously my italics.

Last edited 3 years ago by Real Horrorshow
james_hooper_zo
james_hooper_zo
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

Great piece and good luck! To quote from the classic Black Adder Goes Forth as Baldrick heads off to the front…
Melchett: ‘We’re right behind you’
Blackadder: ‘About thirty five miles behind you….’

Jamie Farrell
Jamie Farrell
3 years ago

I like you already James Hooper! Quality

Silvia Hansel
Silvia Hansel
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

First, I am pleased for Jamie Farrell that he has not gotten shot down in the comments.
This is an interesting hypothesis and most of it reflects my own opinion. However, there is no evidence that the statistical tendency towards emotionality in women matches a statistical tendency towards inefficiency. Yet the article describes phatic politics and political hobbyists as inefficient. Therefore, whatever the effects of this societal switch towards “feminisation”, it cannot be held responsible for the inefficiency on the political level the author outlines, nor for Jamie Farrell’s “demonstrations without a pinpoint practical aim”. Other factors must be at play because phatic politics are all too real (and Trump new well how to use the tactics). The question is, which factors?

Jamie Farrell
Jamie Farrell
3 years ago
Reply to  Silvia Hansel

Fair point Silvia……..i agree that these complex issues are never, ever as simple as any single essay or comment can capture.

Silvia Hansel
Silvia Hansel
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

Thanks for setting up this discussion Jamie.

David Stanley
David Stanley
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

I’ve been thinking the same thing for a long time. It does make me wonder if this is the reason that there have never been any lasting matriarchal societies in all of human history. In order to move forward humans need to identify a problem, develop a solution, enact it and then assess its efficacy. Rinse and repeat. This will not happen if our approach to problems is to merely talk about how they make us feel.
I’ve seen the Sarah Everard case talked about on various forums online and the more left leaning, female led ones always follow a pattern. Women talk about unpleasant experiences they’ve had with men and how it made them feel. Men come along and try to come up with a practical solution. They are then shouted down and told it is not about them and they should ‘listen’. This is all very well and good but it doesn’t actually achieve anything.
How will society look when women have taken over and men are subservient? Will anything get done or will we just talk about how we feel all the time?

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  David Stanley

I have tried to tick agreement about 20 times but nothing happens.
We have noticed that Labour women in particular appear on tv with heads tilted on one side and foreheads creased with worry to emote about what a hard time women have.
Perhaps they should try some other countries to really find out where women have difficult lives.

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

You have to very precisely press only on the “thumbs up” (only just discovered this myself, having previously been VERY frustrated)

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

I think its a sensible hypothesis as far as the Anglophone world + North Europe is concerned. Probably not much truth in this as applied to India, China and Russia where neither women nor men want to let “feelings and emotion” get in the way of whatever political goals they aspire to. So its not an issue of gender so much as culture. The hypothesis maybe better re-phrased: The rise in feeling/emotion based political opinion/protest is because of the equivalent rise in front line society of pampered, cossetted and weak men and women in the modern western world.

Last edited 3 years ago by mike otter
Victor Newman
Victor Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

These formulaic, stylised events are designed for a complicit media, temporarily masking trained demonstrators’ deep fears and uncertainties over the issue of maintaining class identity in a society that sees them as eccentric and irrelevant.
These staged performances employ the faux-angst of the ineducable and unemployable in pursuit of the incredible; a superficially trained (not educated) collaterally-damaged class attempting to establish artificial primacy in an increasingly virtual world: employing the traditional marxist tools of linguistic inversion, over-acting, artificial virtue and the enduring mirror of moral narcissism. Parents need to stop paying their mobile bills and get them into a law, policing or fast-food delivery careers: they just aren’t bright enough to be plumbers, electricians or infantrymen (or women).

Last edited 3 years ago by Victor Newman
Anton van der Merwe
Anton van der Merwe
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

Actually I think it would be more accurate to say that society as a whole has drifted away from being more dominated by hierarchies enforced by various forms of power, including violence, towards becoming more cooperative and and egalitarian. We are slowly self-domesticating ourselves. The increasing focus on being kind and accommodating to previously marginalised groups, and holding the powerful to account, are features of this.
The welcome growing role of women at all levels of society is part of this process but I think it is both cause and effect.
One could make a just-so story about what is driving this process, and assign a key role to women in the form of sexual selection/mate preference. However there are so many other factors at play that this is impossible to prove or disprove.

Peter de Barra
Peter de Barra
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

… the immediately striking aspect of this theorising is the tone adopted – apologetic, tentative, hesitant, almost cowed. How unfortunate ! And unnecessary. A pivot to the ongoing – widely ignored – local girl gang-rape crisis in Telford, Rochdale etcetera indicates a distinct lack of “” emotion-based protest by women”” — or of any other type of protest. Why are women so disengaged from the mass rape of these poor girls ?

Jamie Farrell
Jamie Farrell
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter de Barra

Well PD….take your point, and i have quickly learned (as a new subscriber who only joined yesterday) throughout today that this site is quite conservative as opposed to some kind of melting pot of ecletic opinion that i could have made my argument more aggressively.
But, even taking that into account, my belief is that so long as the point of the argument is clear there is no harm (and indeed alot of benefit) in not seeking to rub the opposing sides nose in the dirt whilst doing so.
Finding my feet on this forum…but pretty sure im going to stick to a softer approach as i try to build consensus.

Stephen Murray
Stephen Murray
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter de Barra

Survivors, by Maggie Oliver, certainly raised my blood pressure, but nobody seems concerned about the subject. Certainly no riots or demonstrations.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

A thoughtful contribution, Jamie. There’s nothing wrong with a demonstration of feelings or concern. The problem, as Mary says, is that it provides ready-made infantry for those who do have a practical solution in mind, however bizarre.

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

Bingo.
And I know you’re not the only person thinking along these lines.

barbara neil
barbara neil
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

I’d like to suggest that more than women themselves it is the female symbology which is having its day in the sun. All things “female” -( like Sun and Moon have symbolic genders) – have swept away all things “male” and we’re at the far end of the pendulum swing. We seem to be incapable of maintaining any balance for long.

Mark Beal
Mark Beal
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

It’s certainly a hypothesis worth taking seriously. A related theory I’ve heard is that the whole “words are violence” idea comes from much the same place as described above, in the sense that women are much more likely to regard words as weapons than men, for whom “sticks and stones” are much more of a potential reality than they are for women, who in turn experience words as much more hurtful than men do.

It’s also worth noting that one of the main objections to women playing a greater part in public life was their assumed irrationality (e.g. Durkheim). On that basis it’s noteworthy that so many of today’s prominent feminists exhibit, indeed promote, extreme forms of irrationality, thereby confirming the old stereotypes regarding their sex – as if determined to prove the old “sexists” right, but incapable of admitting that they may have had a point – up to a point.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Farrell

I think that’s a fair point. Although some of us women would rather a little more ‘maleness’ in the dialogue as I can’t bear all the emotional hyperbole, wailing, and general directionlessness of much modern discourse.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

Last year all white people were held personally responsible for the death of a black man in the US, and by extension anything unpleasant that ever happened or will happen to black people anywhere. Now all males are personally responsible for the murder of a woman in london, and any past or future mistreatment of women anywhere. I can’t wait to see what I’ll be blamed for next year.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Hence the handout of $27 million?

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

I can’t wait to see what I’ll be blamed for next year.

That might depend on whether you are J-wish or not.

Silvia Hansel
Silvia Hansel
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Do keep us posted Mike Boosh

Silvia Hansel
Silvia Hansel
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

On a more serious note: I am amazed at the ongoing demonification of all things male, and even more amazed that anyone could imagine that the way to improve the lot of any minority group would be curtailing another group’s rights or liberties (and women are not a minority). Equality, such as can be realistically conceived of, must necessarily include all participants; it is not a zero sum game.
Personal safety is a personal responsibility, whether one is climbing on a chair to reach that high cupboard, driving a car or interacting with a man. In all cases, accidents can happen despite all precautions (by far most often on that chair), and that’s life. But even then, I wouldn’t consider that barring a particular category of people from driving because one of them drove over me as a solution for greater, or even personal, safety.
Not all men, cops, whites, whatever other group is the recipient of widespread obbrobrium act uniformly. A minority within the group is usually to blame; why throw the whole lot in? I resent the implications of this attitude for the male members of my family, my male friends and colleagues, male public figures I admire. If I followed the current madness, I should consider them all pigs. And worse, I would accept that they be considered pigs by an irrational mob of people who have never even met them. That is exactly what racism is.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Silvia Hansel

I can’t up vote this enough.

Silvia Hansel
Silvia Hansel
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

You know I surprised myself by getting so emotional in that last paragraph. But I realized something important.
I believe it’s high time for rational women, rational colored people, rational Jewish or Muslim people – rational humans of any kind! – to speak up against this sneaking coercion. I am reminded of how the Jewish community went to slaughter throughout Europe thinking, “this can’t be true, can’t be as bad as they say, can’t be *possible*”. Yet it was, and it all started with an almost laughable mob.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
3 years ago

I have been genuinely perplexed by just what it is that these protestors actually are asking for? Their main demand seems to be that men are educated to cease being violent, as if every ethical code in human civilisation hadn’t already tried that approach. What ever the causes of violence are, ignorance that violence is prohibited is not one of them. Sadly I doubt it can ever be wholly eliminated without imposing the most authoritarian of governments on the population. Then again, perhaps in that light, the protestors demands do make sense.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

In the past people hired bodyguards to protect them -this was before the formation of the police. Perhaps women in cities could act as bodyguards for each other? It is called victim shaming if anyone suggests adults have to take responsibility for their own safety -easier just to call for the not possible ideal of total safety. The police aren’t there to protect us , they are there to protect the state-I would have thought this past year would have made that evident to everyone.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I would be fascinated to see how much of a venn-diagram overlap there is between the ACAB nutters who exploited the George Floyd protests and those now asking the police to do more.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

… And then complaining when those same police step in to break up the illegal activity that they are indulging in to call for more police activity. Full on doublethink taking place there.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Likewise, how many of those that lit candles and sang ‘Don’t look back in anger’ said we can’t blame a certain section of society for (terrorist) murders are now looking very angry and wish to blame a huge section of society for a murder.

Last edited 3 years ago by Benjamin Jones
Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Authoritarianism is the only thing resembling a demand I can see from these protestors. But they ran up against authoritarianism in demanding it and didn’t much like it. The trouble with authoritarianism is just that, if you’re not the authoritarian yourself, it’s not much fun.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Their main demand seems to be that men are educated to cease being violent

I think you have to read that as – “all men need to be totally reprogrammed as part of the deconstruction of all gender norms”. Starting in nursery.
But we do have to distinguish between ordinary protestors and the activists and ideologues. As per BLM most ordinary protestors won’t know what they are buying into, and probably wouldn’t support it if they did.

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Stereotyping and profiling is foundational to phatic politics!

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

‘Hirsh characterises political hobbyists, on the other hand, as predominantly white male graduates, who consume politics as a form of entertainment without themselves being involved in any concrete effort to bring about substantive change.’
There is a lot of truth in this. I remember seeing a picture of Cameron, Miliband and Clegg standing together and thinking that it could have been a Spot The Difference contest. However, to include Trump among their number is wrong. Contrary to Mary’s claims, he spoke more truth than any western politician since Thatcher, and actually delivered on a number of his promises. He was far from being a hobbyist and was, probably, America’s last chance.

Micheal Lucken
Micheal Lucken
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I thought Eric Weinstein’s article on Trump and Kayfabe was very good. Like the wrestlers he put on a big show made wild outlandish claims but the agenda was all out there for everyone to see, nothing subtle about his aims, no weasel words of appeasement and he did a lot of what he said he would. Lots of booing and cheering, He lost the last bout but if the purse is there he will no doubt be up for the next one.

David Stanley
David Stanley
3 years ago
Reply to  Micheal Lucken

There should definitely be some kind of award for the first person to use the word kayfabe on Unherd. I’m just annoyed that you beat me to it.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Micheal Lucken

Trump also spoke in an ordinary way-probably honed on TV show wheras politicians usually use the jargon-speak of the professional class. This class has sighed with relief that Trump is gone , as they feel he is not one of them. Tragic Sarah Everard also seems to be the right sort of victim for this university educated , usually public sector class. One thing I noticed is she was breaking lockdown to visit her friend ( as were all the women at the vigil/protest) but the comments on a guardian article on Sunday seem to believe that it is the elderly and or uneducated brexit supporters who are responsible for breaking the rules and allowing the spread of covid.

Rick Sharona
Rick Sharona
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

And he could quite possibly been the cleanest pol in all of DC, having withstood 5 years of incessant investigation that resulted in absolutely nothing.

Nick Wright
Nick Wright
3 years ago

An interesting perspective. But what if what we’re seeing is not a new form of politics? It could be described as a perfect storm of ‘armchair politics’, the unabated power of (social) media and, quite frankly, boredom after 12 months of perpetual lockdowns; all of which results in emotionally-charged support for entirely legitimate causes that the hard-left appropriates for its own aims.

There is broad consensus that climate change, racial equality and the safety of women are important topics. The hard-left clearly chooses what it whips up fervour about carefully. However, it all becomes binary: you either believe passionately and unfailingly in what you’re told to think or you’re a heretic. The extent to which any of these topics is truly a “crisis” may not be questioned.

This is all to say, I believe we’re seeing calculated attempts to manipulate well-intentioned yet naive people into acquiescent action. Let’s not forget that “political agency and democratic participation” wasn’t much of a thing for a couple of decades before Brexit. My guess is that someone studied the disproportionate emotional response of Remainers to the referendum result and used it as a play book for future campaigns. Maybe seeing how the EU is crumbling amidst a true crisis will wake the woke up to the extent they’re being misled.

Last edited 3 years ago by Nick Wright
Judy Keiner
Judy Keiner
3 years ago

Mary Carrington is mistaken in suggesting that the extremist anti police anti prisons anyi democracy group Sisters Uncut only turned up the day after the Clapham Common event. A highly organised phalanx of them, all wearing pink masks, and in concert with BLM actvists rushed and tried to push back the police line chanting their shared slogan “No Justice No Peace, F*** the Police. The Sun carried video clips of this happening. Reclaim the Streets has links to the Green party. Sisters Uncut is militantly pro trans and pro trans self ID. They claim rapists who were sentenced for rape and murder of women and small children are as fully women as your mother and mine and should not be in prison. They claim to be feminist but are not. Read their manifesto and demands by Googling their Sisters Uncut website. They are as much a menace to our society as Antifa and Black Lives Matter. They are really clever about publicising themselves. They always put very pretty strikingly dresses or coiffed young women in their front line as media camera and video bait. Unherd took the bait by headlining this article with an image of one of them. You can tell this by the demand she holds up: DEFUND THE POLICE. It looks like an improvised home made sign but note the meticulous straight line shape and the immaculate placing and layout of the slogan. These people don’t want you to decide who will rule us. They want it decided by their “direct action”, clothed in cool fashion mag guise. Not by you.

Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Keiner

Judy, I wrote a reply above which I find you echo. Transactivists are a real danger to real women. Sexed Bodies Matter.

Chris Mochan
Chris Mochan
3 years ago

“Hirsh characterises political hobbyists, on the other hand, as predominantly white male graduates,”
Not a day goes by where I don’t read an article that feels the need to use “white male” as an unsubtle pejorative. Just to beef up the amount of contempt you are supposed to hold for these people.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

You left out the one, Huge, Glaring, contributing factor: The young today are completely, entitled, self loathing, idiots.

No other generation would ever take up lemming like self destruction as the answer to everything.

So she got a bruise on her wrist or knee, so what, back in the day a bruise from police was a badge of honour. Grow up, get over it, silly youth.

You have two rights, The Right To Die, and the Right To Live Till You Die, all else is a privilege granted by your society, so stop being such a snowflake and parading your massive sense of petty outrage like a banner.

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
3 years ago

Would you be against hanging for paedos, Mary if it were one of your children who had been assaulted?

Until a couple of minutes ago this desire for politicians to put in place policies which appeal to the majority of the population was known as ‘populism’ and the politicians that put populist decisions in place were known as demagogues. Delivering on the idea of democracy has always been derided by those authoritarians who seek a mandate to do whatever they damn well like, while calling it being grown up or responsible, or not bowing to public pressure.

Give me a demagogue any day over an arrogant, self serving, snivelling hypocrite. As for this current piece of nonsense it has served the purpose the state required. A new load of authoritarian legislation has successfully passed the Commons.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

To ‘lance this boil’ we need a Referendum on the Restoration of Capital Punishment before the end of this Parliament.
“You know it makes sense” as we used to say in those glorious days of Enid Blyton.

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago

Capital punishment in the hands of these authoritarians is not good. I am for capital punishment, but in our present day political climate they would execute conservatives just like Jacobins.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sirb

The courts would sanction execution for political purposes? Then you have a much bigger problem than mere crime.

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
3 years ago

It is a grotesque misunderstanding to characterise the flatulence emitted by the £200,000,000 a year UK feminist industry as “hobby politics”. Justice is being comprehensively undermined in favour of their gynocentric ideology: Crown Prosecution Service resources are allocated to the elimination of violence against women and girls, in a society where male homicide victims outnumber female victims 3:1 ; women are granted shorter sentences than men for the same crime; they benefit from post-custodial rehabilitation denied men; men who have been falsely accused are denied the right to admit entire categories of exculpatory evidence that their accusers are allowed to admit; the principle of “retrospective non-consent” – saying yes, changing their mind, then accusing “rape” is now firmly established; we are contemplating elevating womanhood to the same status in law as a religion (a so-called “protected characteristic”).
This damage to our social fabric has been demanded by women. The engine of change is the pressure created by one confected “crisis” after another. For example: this latest “crisis” referred to by Drakeford is the fact that the number of women murdered in 2020 was fewer than the number killed in road accidents; it was a third of the number of men killed; and it fell 16% from 2019 where the number of men killed rose 20% in the same period.
The essay portrays this as a hobby; it is more wisely thought of as eing like a rabid dog you would be foolish to turn your back on.
(Usual disclaimer: all murder is tragic and all deserve protection from it).

Last edited 3 years ago by Richard Lyon
David Stanley
David Stanley
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Lyon

The irony is that women are now demanding protection from even the slightest, transient feeling of discomfort. Society used to be like this, where men were taught to act in chivalrous manner and protect women at all costs. Men didn’t make bawdy jokes in front of ladies or talk in a crass manner in case it upset them. Women were told that the outside world was a dangerous place and they shouldn’t venture outside of the house unless they had a man to protect them.
In their infinite wisdom feminists dismantled all of this. They claimed that women were just as tough and capable as men and anyone who disagreed was an evil misogynist. We were all told to treat women the same as men in order to deconstruct the patriarchy. The argument was that if girls were brought up to take risks and challenge themselves in the way that boys were then we would achieve the dream of the gender neutral, 50/50 society.
Fast forward to the current year and women are demanding that they always feel safe. They want to be protected from even the slightest, transient feeling of discomfort. They want to get rid of workplace banter because it upsets them. They don’t like to be told to take practical measures to protect themselves like men do (martial arts, weightlifting, etc.) they just want men to be more gentle with them.
Anyone would think that there are inalienable differences between men and women and that they are the fairer s*x.

Last edited 3 years ago by David Stanley
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

‘Drakeford was forced to clarify that Wales was not in fact considering a curfew on men.’
If only he had considered a curfew on his son, who is currently in jail for raping a minor. Still, there is some generational progress. His son has an IQ of 68, considerably higher than that of his father.

Barry Coombes
Barry Coombes
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Actually, Jonathan Drakeford tortured and raped an adult, he only tried to have sex with children. It makes you wonder about the class of parenting that would produce someone like that, though. He was jailed for “8 years and 8 months” back in 2018, so he’ll be out soon if he’s kept his nose clean.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Barry Coombes

Thank you for the correction. Only in modern Britain could someone go to jail for, effectively, a mere four years for torture and rape.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Barry Coombes

He should have been hanged, because as the saying goes, “he is of no use to man or beast’

Leanne B
Leanne B
3 years ago

Because the vigil was hijacked by ACAB and trans activists. The sooner the press stops playing the “women at a vigil” narrative the better

google
google
3 years ago
Reply to  Leanne B

I can’t imagine why it should be so, but it is never mentioned in the news that these things are always targetted by activists. Which is why it keeps on happening.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

Last week, in response to Sarah Everard’s murder, Green Party peer Baroness Jones of Moulscoomb called for men to be subjected to a curfew after 6pm. Baroness Jones argued that this would “make women a lot safer” and reduce “discrimination of all kinds”. 

To illustrate just how absurd this is:
if I were to raise a pole as high as the highest mountain in England to represent the total female population of the U.K. – the number of women murdered on the streets in a year would be represented by a mark just under 1mm up from the bottom of that pole. Barely visible unless you got up really close.
I realise large numbers and tiny fractions are hard to visualise. I hope this helps.
The same is true, of course, of offenders.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley
David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

Have already done so. Instead of calming a tendency to overestimate risk though, too many have an interest in stirring it up.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Some women just really really don’t like men.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Both the death of George Floyd and that of Sarah Everard have triggered such inchoate responses. Both events were, of course, deplorable. They both implicated police officers 
Conflating those two incidents is quite a mental stretch. We can argue that neither person should have died, but otherwise, this is comparing apples to fire hydrants.

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Floyd was a toxic man who attacked at gunpoint a pregnant woman. But cognitive dissonance among the PC culture is rampant. After all, they are dismantling “logocentrism.”

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
3 years ago

Most of the recent protests are not about women’s safety. George Floyd wasn’t a woman. Extinction Rebellion isn’t about sex or gender. Nor are Greta Thunberg’s protests about “your house on fire.”
The protest is not the means to any discernible end, the protest is the end in itself. To protest against injustice is a public expression of your virtuous concern for justice. But it is also much more. It is emotionally uplifting.
When thousands of unrelated strangers are marching together as a tribe, there is a euphoric sense of belonging, of being supported by the crowd. When there is collective anger that anger is an empowering emotion, amplified by the anger of other protesters. That is why the placards being carried have obviously impossible messages like “defund the police”. This is anger competition — I am even angrier than you are — not a carefully considered public policy proposal.
Those sympathetic to the professed goals of the protest, or shocked by the horrible events that led to it, can stay at home and participate vicariously by sending money. Virtue achieved with the click of a mouse. For those organizing and continuing the protests, protest pays — and pays handsomely.
These protests wouldn’t be happening in this number, and in so many places, without international media coverage. The media and the protesters have a symbiotic relationship. The protesters perform anger theatre, which is covered by the media to enhance TV viewership and social media clicks.
Politicians not yet elected or recently unelected also have a symbiotic relationship with the protesters. These politicians can agree with the point of the protests (if not all the tactics and slogans) and blame the incumbent politicians for inaction or wrong action that led to them.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

an adequate response to profound systemic issues

Is the murder of women by men a systemic issue at all, let alone a profoundly systemic issue?
This would suggest that we only have to put in place the right system and the issue will be resolved. What system is that, then?

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Apparently anarchy. After that is accomplished, the deluge may come.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

Thanks Mary – yet another interesting and considered article.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
3 years ago

Another excellent article. The only thing missing was that this age of phatic politics is intrinsically linked to the collapse of religion, including the socialist religion; incoherent political views are the result of incoherent world-views and values. Only through a coherent philosophy or religion can coherent aims be formed. The lack of aims is the tell tale sign and provides opportunities for abuse or appropriation of whatever good intentions motivates people to protest in the first place.

Bertie B
Bertie B
3 years ago

From this you would logically conclude that the more religious a person is the less likely they are to abuse, discriminate, and kill. I think if you took even half a step back and looked at reality you would find something totally different.

Religious institutions, as well as religious fanatics, are, as good rule of thumb, generally more discriminatory than the general population.

Religion is very good at providing coherent aims, what its really not very good at is identifing whether those aims are actually good ones.

Last edited 3 years ago by Bertie B
Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
3 years ago
Reply to  Bertie B

Nope, it’s only that without a clear world-view, whether religious or philosophical, or an ideology, you cannot form clear political aims. That’s why these movements are incoherent. The likelihood of an individual abusing or committing a crime because of their belief system is not something I have commented on.

GA Woolley
GA Woolley
3 years ago

No, Bertie B is essentially right. It is ‘aims’ that are the problem. Religions and other ideologies have ‘aims’ which are the intended outcomes of their beliefs or dogma. In an ever-changing mix of global societal, political, environmental etc developments all these ‘aims’ and ideologies become obsolescent, and the measures to achieve their outcomes have to be ever more extreme and repressive. ‘This world’ ideologies are, to an extent at least, moderated by real world evidence. ‘Next world’, ‘god says’ ideologies aren’t. We don’t need political or religious ‘aims’, we need political, social, moral etc principles as guidelines, with enough of a degree of doubt attached to help keep them in tune with our separate and collective social evolution.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
3 years ago
Reply to  GA Woolley

We’re talking about specific political aims associated with specific political protests. For example the (non-existent) aims of the Clapham Common protestors or BLM; not the overall aims of religions or ideologies like the forming of a proletarian dictatorship or bringing down the kingdom of heaven to Earth.
However, you can’t form specific political aims without an underlying religion or ideology because you don’t know what your long-term aims are, what kind of a world or society you really want to create. Religions and ideologies do have underlying, long-term aims, hence they are able to form specific aims for specific political protests.

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Bertie B

It is one thing to misinterpret and misuse religion (Christianity, Islam is a different story), and what religion teaches.

Nick Lyne
Nick Lyne
3 years ago

Far from being a “grassroots uprising,” these protests are the outgrowth of mainstream media and particularly social networks campaigning over sexual harassment and assault.
The mobilisation of self-absorbed layers of young, mainly middle-class women, based on the reactionary nostrums of feminist identity politics, pursues an agenda antithetical to the interests of working people, male and female alike.
By promoting the fraudulent claim that gender relations are the primary, and perhaps sole issue in contemporary society, the result is actually to silence any discussion of the real social and political issues facing the working class.
The simple truth is that these people want somebody else to do the hard work.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Lyne

I don’t think you can really understand what is happening unless you realise that feminists see themselves as in competition with BLM for public attention. They needed a George Floyd, and moved pretty fast when they got one.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Maybe we need a new TV show “who’s the biggest victim?”
Who could win over a black female like Meghan Markle?

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Roger Borg
Roger Borg
3 years ago

I certainly do deplore that the violence recidivist career criminal George Floyd killed himself by taking a lethal overdose of fentanyl and then denying that he’d done so, thereby ensuring that the medical help that the police called for (twice) arrived too late to save him.
However, I’m not sure how that’s related to the unprovoked murder of a blameless, innocent woman, possibly by a police officer.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
3 years ago

Cogent article. Haven’t read a single practical series of steps from organisations or opinion writers but plenty of outrage. Practical steps-fund 25,000 street cameras in urban areas; higher taxes for more police and prisons; undercover police in nightclubs? Cue more outrage at the idea of curbing freedoms. Why didn’t the idiot in the Lords get instantly confronted with the absurdity of her curfew. Curfew? Fine, as long as women are happy to be working nights repairing sewers for example. Education? Please let’s not have boys in already highly feminised schools being lectured to about how terrible they are and how guilty they should feel for existing.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

In a switch to being totally outcome focussed, how about a proposal to enforce a curfew for women after 6pm.
Just a thought 🙂

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian Barton
Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

That would be a deeply discriminatory and s*xist policy that would immediately be dismissed as unworkable emotionally incontinent nonsense by anyone with half a brain… Remove the letters “wo” from the proposal though and it’s fine, apparently

Ian Wigg
Ian Wigg
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

I do know for a fact that a minimum of two men (they are both close friends of mine) reported the Baroness in question to the metropolitan police for hate speech and misandry as a result of her speech. Whether the police acted on it of course is something we’ll never know but I know where I’d be putting my money.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Wigg

Well, let’s hope not, hating men isn’t a crime and lots of women do. And then there are plenty of men who hate women as well. Want to lock everyone up? Hate speech laws are ridiculous. However dumb the baroness makes herself appear, she should have the right to be a moron.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Brilliant.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

That’s far too sensible an attitude, it’ll never catch on.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Both the death of George Floyd and that of Sarah Everard have triggered such inchoate responses. Both events were, of course, deplorable. They both implicated police officers 
Conflating those two incidents is quite the mental stretch. We can argue that neither person should have died, but otherwise, this is comparing apples to fire hydrants.
The initial outrage at racialised police brutality last summer rapidly became a vector for activists seeking to abolish prisonscapitalism and the nuclear family
The phony outrage conveniently ignored the likes of Tony Timpa, Daniel Shaver, and Duncan Lemp, all of whom were white. In fact, 75% of civilians killed by cops were NOT black. If one wants to take the proportional angle and say that 25% reflects racial imbalance, then that person must also explain how 13% of the population commits >50% of the homicides, with black people usually the victims.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Rebels without a cause indeed. Symbolic protests are entirely pointless. It doesn’t matter what the issue is. Protest must be intended to change something that is changeable. If murder were changeable, the world would have long ago stopped it. The fact is, there will always be murder as long as humans exist because some humans will commit murder. Vigils are entirely different, they express sadness over something.
What is the Sarah Everard protest meant to change? That one man murdered a woman? Well, it’s too late to protest that. If someone is convicted of her murder and spends a short time in prison (less than life in my view) and murders again, THEN you could have an actual protest, that her murderer was allowed to murder again. You’d be protesting an action that allowed another murder to occur when the clear threat of the perp was well known.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago

Don’t we in British English protest “against” something?
apologies if you are American, but I really hate the expression “to protest something”

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  D Ward

Yes, I’m American and you can protest for or against something. In this case, it’s neither.

tom j
tom j
3 years ago

What a great piece. Good link with Trump and the curfew suggestion. I reckon you could come back to this in years time and this article would still hold up.

Peter de Barra
Peter de Barra
3 years ago

… of concern is that the mass anger referred to remains utterly focussed away from the multiple, ongoing, child rape atrocities committed against poor, local girls in places like Rochdale, Rotherham and 20+ other towns by organised rape gangs … hobbyists are apparently unconcerned about this victim profile and, due to their identifiable deviant profile, it could be inferred, protect the perpetrators. Non hobbyists steer well clear. Why is that ?

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago

2003 hours on Wed 17th March and Radio 4’s Moral Maze is giving toxic masculinity, etc a thorough workout.

First witness before the panel: a guy who goes into schools to give workshops on toxic masculinity. As the Jesuits used to say: give me a child until he is 7…

Neil Turrell
Neil Turrell
3 years ago

If it’s happening in London, then we can be reasonably confident that any vigil, march or protest will be infected by those who wish to overthrow the existing order by shaking our confidence in the institutions of the state, not least the police. As someone who lives outside London, I detest the almost exclusive concentration of the media on matters to do with London, which is increasingly not representative of England.
Nigel Farage raises some interesting points today by comparing what has happened over the least few days in connection with the awful murder of Sarah Everard, and that of Lorraine Cox, murdered and dismembered in Exeter. The sisterhood have had no vigil for Lorraine. Is it because it’s poor little Exeter, surely of little consequence in the great scheme of things? Or is it because Lorraine’s alleged murderer is a recent immigrant which would not play well with the Marxists who seldom, if ever, protest about the abuse visited on women and children when the optics don’t look right?

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

Top 3 article. A razor sharp knife dissects the distinction between

real politics/faux politics
grounded politics/phatic politics
rational politics/emotive politics

Excellent achievement

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Gwynne

I would personally add that stereotyping and profiling seems to be foundational to phatic politics as is the purity spiral.

Christiane Dauphinais
Christiane Dauphinais
3 years ago

Beautifully written and to the point. Thank you.

Kristof K
Kristof K
3 years ago

Spot-on! BTW I trust other half’s recovered from his post-Covid ailments?

Robert Leigh
Robert Leigh
3 years ago

I think it’s a good article explaining “phatic communication”. However joining in with the demeaning of Donald Trump looks more like following “The Herd” rather than being “UnHerd”. At least his “phatic communication” addressed issues that his predecessors liked to pretend didn’t exist!

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago

So the Baroness is under the delusion that creating a curfew based on gender would “eliminate discrimination of all kinds”.

Not “all kinds”, surely.

Because a curfew based on gender is actually quite discriminatory, isn’t it?

But never mind. Feminists have never been any good at following the rules they prescribe for everyone else, especially the injunction against double standards, as this clearly is.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

And by the way, a curfew based on gender would violate the Geneva Convention, section 33, part 1, which prohibits punishment based on membership in a group.

Punishment is individual, and it is a basic human right not be be punished because an individual belongs to the same group as a miscreant.

But then, feminism has never been very good at human rights, has it?

Or logical consistency.

Or facts.

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
3 years ago

This all rather ignores the undeniable fact that Trump did get quite a lot of very useful things done, such as in the Middle East.

Brooke Walford
Brooke Walford
2 years ago

I’ve always said police should be paid four times as much because they should be obliged to have degrees in social science, psychology, communication and diplomacy. A career in the police force should be as sort after as any other top profession.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

In my mind the article is just wrong. The theory and practice of politics might be confused on the Right – consider UnHerd where many people sit behind computers and type their theories of Life but would not be activists on the streets – but it is not as confused on the Left – where there are plenty of people who type their theories and then go and help on the streets.

I know people (Left) who go around the homeless people with soup, families (Left) who take in refugees, foster parents, a Labour councillor who works, has a large family and is often out at night finding shelter for homeless people, etc. All of this is on a local level and would be dismissed as ‘trivial’ by UnHerd contributors.

But it is not trivial. It is like winning the boxing match on points instead of by a knockout. How many UnHerd contributors join marches for things they believe in? How many are too busy or too old or too genteel to actually do anything but type?

Last edited 3 years ago by Chris Wheatley
Chris D
Chris D
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Religious people and organizations do these things as a matter of course and don’t make a meal of it. Are they, on the whole, on the Left, or the Right?

john freeman
john freeman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris D

When the Trussell Trust, which runs foodbanks, got going a few years ago, I read of it being attacked as “fat-bottomed Tories”!

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

And people on “the right” never do any of those things?

google
google
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Not in the imagination of the left, I’m afraid. Only they can do good things, apparently. The rest of us are evil.

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

The “community organizers” do a lot of other not so great things. I am thinking of Antifa and BLM anarchists-nihilists.

Gary Cole
Gary Cole
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

“How many UnHerd contributors join marches for things they believe in?”
Possibly because the contributors here are overwhelmingly conservative, not even reactionary? It’s almost exclusively activists on the left who march because they believe society isn’t giving them what they want and society needs to change. On the rare occasions when the right do protest then they are immediately branded as ‘far right’ (largely by those on the left who usually protest) and the police come at them with riot shields and tear gas…

google
google
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Cole

The only recourse for the right is elections. Unfortunately, the choice available to us at such times tends to be dictated by a rather noisy minority.

David Stanley
David Stanley
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

That’s complete rubbish. I’ve worked in the care sector for 15 years and I’m also a foster carer. My brother works in a children’s home. Our father taught in a deprived inner city school for over 30 years. We all voted Brexit as did many of my colleagues. Once you get into the upper echelons of social care everyone is a lefty but those doing the shop floor work of actually caring for people tend to be far more pragmatic.