Feminists! How about shutting up in the name of free speech?

Note: When reading this post, please hear every word as though spoken aloud in shrill, hysterical, high-pitched and undeniably female tones.

Women! Do you have opinions on rape and how it should be defined? Would you like others to share these opinions? Excellent! Here’s what you need to do: make sure you already agree with what the majority of people think, even if it’s wrong. And if you can’t do this? Well, then, it’s best to shut the fuck up.

In today’s Sunday Times Minette Marrin has written a lovely companion piece to Jonathan Freedland’s Guardian effort on talking about rape. Freedland’s piece, if you recall, explored how many men (but not the author himself) got it wrong when discussing consent. Marrin’s piece does pretty much the same thing, only this time the focus is on women in general, and feminists in particular. Entitled “Less rage, girls, and we can be reasonable about rape”, it’s a serious examination of why stupid feminists can’t be trusted to discuss issues about which they might actually give a shit. They’re too emotional, you see. Is it any wonder that we end up having to rely on the men to tell us what to think about our own bodies?

Marrin feels that, while protesting against rape apologism “ought to be an excellent thing”, in recent times it hasn’t been, what with feminists having got cross and said things without the prior approval of their husbands or guardians:

It seemed to me that in their rage at people – usually men […] – feminist protesters struck a nastily totalitarian note, and seemed to want to silence all debate, however reasonable. I have always thought this controlling tendency a disgrace to our sex.

Cripes! As a feminist who’s dared to express views about these things, I can only say I’m sorry. I’ve gone back over all the posts I wrote in which it was claimed that George Galloway and Todd Akin should not be allowed to speak in public. This took me all of no time, what with there being no such posts. I don’t like what these people say; I don’t question their right to say it, just as I don’t question my own to respond. Does this really make me a disgrace to my sex? I don’t think it does, but perhaps I’m not that extreme. After all, it’s not like I’m a true radfem, unlike ex-Tory MP and Glamour columnist Louise Mensch.

Mensch is the sole example of extreme feminist intolerance to debate that Marrin seems able to find. Mensch is appalled at Tory MP Roger Helmer writing that in certain circumstances a rape victim “surely shares a part of the responsibility, if only for establishing reasonable expectations in her boyfriend’s mind”; Marrin is appalled at Mensch being appalled:

What is loathesome about that? It is a point of view, however much one might disagree, and it does not make Helmer an unforgiveable rape-denier […]. His arguments were, in fact, reasonable.

It’s strange, isn’t it? When Louise Mensch calls a man’s perspective on rape “loathesome”, I’d argue that this in itself is “a point of view, however much one might disagree”. But apparently it’s not. Whereas the perspective on rape itself is excusable in precisely this way. Why? Because it’s “reasonable”. In Marrin’s understanding of free speech, the only opinions that should be aired must be the “right” ones.

Like Mensch, I don’t believe defining all non-consensual sex as rape is something which should be up for negotiation (even though it is). This isn’t the same as wanting “to silence all debate”. Sure, it makes the whole debate a bit more “meta” than people such as Marrin would like, but that’s just the nature of disagreement. I’ve always known that if feminists were a bit less feminist, we’d be way more marketable to anti-feminists. For some reason, though, I fear that’s missing the point.

Marrin ends her piece with one massive, Cameron-esque “calm down, dear”:

Anger stops people listening and reflecting. It convinces them they are always right and their opponents always hateful. That is dangerous. Besides, feminists should not open themselves to the age-old misogynist charge of being over-emotional and unreasonable.

Or, to put it another way:

Shut up, feminists. I’m done with listening and reflecting if people don’t already agree with me. Besides, you’re over-emotional and unreasonable. And that’s not sexist because I’ve already acknowledged that such an insult could be sexist. Or something. So ner.

And so the piece ends. A rallying-call for all women wanting to say things that are unlikely to irritate those who don’t like women saying things. A manifesto for echoing the status quo, albeit in a weak, unobtrusively girly voice. Thank you, Minette. Is this what makes those in power listen? Mirroring their view of what’s “reasonable”, regardless of what you think and feel? What, then, is the point of saying anything at all? You’ve just said it all for me. Anything else, well, that’s just unreasonable.


30 thoughts on “Feminists! How about shutting up in the name of free speech?

  1. Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ. It’s 2012 and we’re STILL talking about what rape is?
    I can’t be the only one who feels like all the advances women have made are being clawed back. Right-wing America is becoming “The Handmaid’s Tale” and here, we have the rise of “lad culture” and “acceptable” rape jokes at the Edinburgh Fringe.
    Minette Marrin and her ilk can go to hell. Women are NOT a minority, our interests are NOT secondary to every other societal imperative.
    We’re here, we’re loud. Fucking DEAL WITH IT.

    1. Dear Catherine,

      with noise and foul language, you will only stumble upon deaf ears.


      A caring man.

    2. Maybe if you stopped freaking out about rape jokes… you would stop freaking out about rape jokes.
      Just a thought.
      Also, has it crossed your mind that the “acceptable rape jokes” are an attempt at lamooning the rape hysteria?

  2. Thanks G, an interesting post. Here’s a thought. Maybe people might be prepared to listen more to (militant) feminists’ perspectives about rape if:

    – there hadn’t been a well-documented decades-long record of feminist lies and distortions about the subject of rape (as with domestic violence); and
    – people didn’t understand the true motivation behind those lies and distortions is to make women fear and therefore hate men, to advance the ugly ideology of (militant) feminism; and
    – feminists didn’t deny the possibility of ANY nuances in this debate. It’s their refusal to do this which makes them seem ‘totalitarian’ to the general public. People are tired of the relentlessly black-and-white ‘women good, men bad’ narrative which doesn;t always accord with their personal life experiences; and
    – we didn’t have constant misrepresentation of opposing arguments – for example, did Minette Marrin REALLY write about women needing to get the ‘prior approval of their husbands or guardians’, as you suggest in your piece? Given Ms Marrin’s previous history of writing on feminist matters, I very much doubt it; and
    – militant feminists didn’t relentlessly stoke their own (and others’) anger as a badge of authenticity in the struggle against that greatest of all evils, the patriarchy (yawn). To listen to some militant feminists talk is like listening to a hysterical teenager, and who wants to do that? For a perfect illustration of the point, I refer you to the person who posted the last comment, ‘Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ… Fucking DEAL WITH IT.’

    In my experience feminists never read the books which detail their lies and distortions, and deconstruct their motivations and strategies. Which is a great shame, because they’d then know they’ve been rumbled, and ever more people are realising the truth about what’s going on here. My personal recommendations would include the following. The first title was published 41 years ago.

    The Manipulated Man (Esther Vilar)
    Who Stle Feminism? (Christina Hoff Sommers)
    Professing Feminism (Daphne Patai)
    The Woman Racket (Steve Moxon)
    Why Britain Hates Men: Exposing Feminism (Swayne O’Pie).

    Have a nice day.

    Mike Buchanan

    1. – we didn’t have constant misrepresentation of opposing arguments – for example, did Minette Marrin REALLY write about women needing to get the ‘prior approval of their husbands or guardians’, as you suggest in your piece? Given Ms Marrin’s previous history of writing on feminist matters, I very much doubt it;

      Lawks, that’s me busted! Shall I add a little asterisk and footnote saying “This bit is sarcasm / an obvious exaggeration for comic effect / a heinous feminist LIE!!!”

      1. Hi G. Feminists have a long track record of lying, i.e. inventing material and attributing it to their critics – usually to undermine them, and by extension their arguments – and when rumbled, protesting that they were using sarcasm, or obvious exaggeration, or humour. This is a similar tactic to the one used by children who are nasty to other children, upsetting them, then saying in their defence, ‘But I was only joking!’
        Great suggestion about using asterisks and foototes in future…

    2. You don’t know me. You don’t know if I’m a “militant feminist”, whatever one of those is. But thanks awfully for your contribution. What we “hysterical” females all need is a bloke to put us straight. Or something.

  3. What Catherine said! Remind me again Ms Marrin, what exactly is reasonable about rape?

    When men are “reasonable” about not raping us, I’ll be more than reasonable about discussing it.

  4. Scallopsrgreat, I object strongly to your use of the appalling crimes of a very small minority of men to demonise men in general. The incidence of rape has been greatly exaggerated over decades for precisely this purpose. Likewise the incidence of male-on-female domestic violence, which social science researchers (other than ideologically-driven feminist ones) have widely reported is no more common than female-on-male domestic violence. But of course that doesn’t tally with the militant feminist ‘All men are b***ards’ narrative, and militant feminists don’t like to trouble themselves with reports by independent researchers. Contact me if you want me to direct you towards the independent research in question.

    Militant feminists clearly have a psychological need to be angry. I sometimes wonder whether angry women are drawn to feminism, or feminism makes women angry. Both, probably. Why would anyone choose to adopt an ideology which demonises half the people on the planet, thereby commit themselves to lifelong misery?

    Mike Buchanan

    1. Thanks, Mike. I’ve deleted all the parts of the post where I said “all men are b***ards” and female-on-male domestic violence doesn’t exist.
      As for the anger – well, I imagine if I say I’m not angry right this minute, it’ll sound defensive. So, um, yeah, me and this peppermint tea are bloody furious. Rah! … or something.

    2. Ooh ooh are you one of them there Male Rights Activists? I’m honoured, really I am, that you responded and presumably count me amongst the number of “militant feminists”.

      Not sure where I have demonised men though? Here in the UK only men can rape women as it requires a penis. So I was just stating a fact.

      Unless you thought I meant all men were rapists . Well of course I didn’t mean that – duh – I would have said that if I meant that. I meant men, as a group (i.e. not all of them) have been raping women, as a group (i.e. not all of them) for far too long and I’d like them to desist, if that’s OK with you, and them, of course.

      1. S, men don’t operate ‘as a group’, regardless of the feminist ‘patriarchy’ delusion, so I refuse to feel any shame for what a very small minority of men do. Likewise, I wouldn’t expect you to feel any shame for anything a very small minority of women do.

        Feminists’ relentless efforts to shame men are losing their impact. And as they seem to have no rational arguments to back up their assertions that women in the UK are a class oppressed by men, they’ll have to expect increasing opposition. It’s long overdue. Professional whining feminists will hopefully be looking for more productive work in future.

        It’s not men but women – feminists in particular – who seek to advantage themselves collectively. Which may explain why, having failed to reach major corporate boardrooms in significant numbers through hard work and effort, women resort to manipulation to secure board positions regardless of merit. Sadly they have only too many male collaborators including David Cameron, Vince Cable, Lord Davies of Abersoch, Roger Carr… too many to mention, sadly.

        I thought you might be interested in an article I wrote for the Institute of Economic Affairs back in April (link below). I’m looking forward to giving a presentation there later this week. I’d invite you and G, but the audience limit (60) was reached shortly after the event was first publicised.


        Have a nice day.

        Mke Buchanan

      2. @mike – “men don’t operate ‘as a group’” – the ones that rapes me did.

        And I still don’t think ‘men’ are evil, but I’m pretty sure that men raped me, not women. Your defensiveness is a little disconcerting, in a sort of ‘lady doth protest too much’ way. It’s ok to say things that are true. Here’s an example. Men rape women. Men rape men. Note the absence of the word ‘all’.

        Or am I just lying to try and take over the world? I’m, so confused. Why could I not have been born a nice rational man with a perfectly normal passion for trying desperately to argue with people who don’t like being raped.

      1. ‘Oh I’d invite you to this amazing talk that wonderful me is giving, but such is my brilliance that my popularity knows no bounds (except that of the vast banqueting hall in which I’m giving the Talk of The Century That Will Change The World) so I’m afraid that there wouldn’t be room for your little lady bodies. Maybe I’ll send you a commemorative cookie instead. With my face and the best quotations on it, so you can nevertheless benefit from the drippings of my great, benevolent and over-mastering wisdom. Have a patronising day!’*

        *Heinous feminist LYING paraphrase dripping with FEMINISTRAGE

        You have a nice day now M!

        1. Well done,’Week Woman’. You’ve managed to include all three required elements in your piece, namely sarcasm, obvious exaggeration, and humour. Yet I remain unclear, as may others reading your comments. The point(s) you’re trying to make would be…?

  5. I’m calming down as we speak. But I’m still lying, Mike. Thanks for that piece of advice.

    Or am I still lying? I don’t know. I’m so hysterical ALL THE FRICKIN’ TIME, I can’t even tell if I’m lying or not any more. But, as I’m a [hysterical] feminist, I probably am. Damn me anyway.

  6. Excellent article. But this Mike B guy…a joke right, like he’s totally just some computer generated avatar that’s used to illustrate how bad things were, right…what’s that? He’s real. Ooooh. Well, then I suggest, if one isn’t afraid of clowns, to read his posts as if a clown is speaking, complete with honks and bells, and squeaky voice. But if clown’s are your thing then maybe in the voice of Papa Smurf. At least that way it will make reading his comments more palatable until you realize he’s not worth reading and just start skipping his thoughts all together.

  7. F, you’re a scream. Here at the AFL we derive encouragement from the following quotation:

    ‘First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.’
    Mahatma Gandhi

    We appear to have moved on to the second stage. Excellent. Roll on the third and fourth stages.

    Mike Buchanan

  8. FYI: several so-called “men’s rights” groups have been classified as hate groups by organizations such as Southern Poverty Law Center. My brother the feminist and future structural engineer would also dispute the definition of “men’s rights,” as he argues very convincingly that women’s rights ARE men’s rights because until I am treated equally he is by default discriminated against as well.

    I’m so glad all the men in my mom’s family have been feminists for 200-something years…. 😀

      1. He’s the best!! 😀

        What’s really amazing about him is that his ideas/opinions are *his.* He forms them and then he backs them up with extensive research. I’m lucky to have a baby brother like him. It also tells me, every time I start looking around and getting depressed, that there really *is* hope — even if there aren’t enough guys like him, they are out there.

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  10. He wasn’t saying what you interpreted it as, he was being correct, and you’ve proven his point. Stop being so angry, no one cares.

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