Here’s a first for The Kraken. Instead of being enraged to the point of exuding through my pores boiling spleen juice, today I am mostly heartsore. I know, I know. Who’d have thunk. You see, I had a bit of a lock down on blogging last week but when I surfaced on Thursday I found myself greeted with a nugget of such distressing offensiveness that I almost hunted down Tim Berners- Lee himself. I could leave you guessing about this t’web turd but I’m too sick to the stomach to bother. Yup, it’s another article by Natasha Devon and this time it’s a lumpen mound of an opinion piece claiming that feminists thrive on being victims.
No, I have not plucked those words out of a tombola spun by a crack-addicted spaniel, much like Devon seems to have done in the paper on 15 May. You can read the entire thing here but if you want to retain your dignity while divesting yourself of the notion that Devon cares about female equality, here’s the upshot: Devon starts by saying the has rarely encountered misogyny and that the men in her life are all about gender equality; she considers herself a feminist but “struggles to comprehend” women wanting to be rid of page 3 and lads’ mags; harmless acts of wolf whistling are now being labelled as ‘rapey’; that opposition to Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines is based on the misguided notion that all men “know women want it”; that feminists make assumptions about what men are thinking; that feminists use the word ‘misogynist’ too often and easily; that The Everyday Sexism Project is great but excludes men; in 2014 Britain women can get any job they want and get paid the same as men; feminism teaches women to be victims and men to be villains; feminists need to give men more credibility. Feel free to read that lot again and compare it to the original article because the last time I wrote about Devon she told me I’d taken her words out of context. From where I stand, though, the only contextual problem is that Devon is writing about a world in which few other women actually exist.
Let me be straight from the start, kraken-lovers. I’ve already written about why it’s ludicrous to condemn all men as misogynist, sexist or pervy and you can read that particular festival of fury right here. As I say in that post I am married to the ever-glorious Conjugal Kraken and am, like Devon, surrounded by men who support me, men I like, love and/ or trust. That’s the first nail in Devon’s theoretical coffin because according to her feminists like myself are man-haters. As a man lovin’ feminist I’ve taken the liberty of excluding myself from that generalisation of hers not least because my ability to love feminism and men will confound her so much that it’s cruel to even mention it.
And that’s where the similarities between Devon and I end. You see, Devon frustrates me not as a feminist but as a woman. In thrusting the palm of her hand into the faces of women who have suffered at the hands of men and saying “whateveeer!” she is trying to rob them of their voices and experiences. I seriously don’t give a shit if she agrees with my views of feminism but I give a giant, curling turd that she is so quick to write off the very real incidents that shape the lives of other women. Devon has been lucky enough to have a life that doesn’t include obvious misogyny or sexism yet she forgets that millions of other women cannot make the same claim. Worse, she tells them that to speak about their experiences is an act of such hysterical militancy that they cannot possibly be taken seriously.
Devon says women can have any job they want and at the same pay. Well, the week she said that my comments about my experiences of sexism in the Welsh Rugby Union were published here, the sexist emails of the Premier League chief exec Richard Scudamore hit the headlines and the pay gap for all staff in the United Kingdom stood at 19.7 per cent. Devon says the Everyday Sexism Project excludes men but in my dealings with TESP I’ve seen very real support from men, likewise the No More Page 3 project, a campaign that revels in how so many men wear News Not Boobs t-shirts, as proven by the photos of proud blokes. Devon says that feminism teaches women to be victims but I don’t see Suzanne Moore, Caitlin Moran and Germaine Greer as victims, in the very same way that I don’t see feminists in boardrooms, operating theatres, lecture halls, art galleries, laboratories, political debates or even the International Space Station as victims. Devon says that Blurred Lines was a topic of feminist objection because it made men think that all women ‘want it’ but I objected to it simply because I don’t want my six year old daughter being told that Robin Thicke will “tear her ass in two” whether she wants him to or not. I never for a moment thought the song represented all men. I just thought it represented Thicke. As Devon herself says, call me naive.
Seriously, if Devon has hard boiled facts to prove that equality at work has been won, that women are paid the same as men, that women don’t get raped by men and then blamed for said rape, that men are not part of modern feminism, that No More Page 3 or The Everyday Sexism Project strive to exclude men or that Caitlin Moran is a roll-over-and-die mewling victim then it’d be great to see them. Also, not for one moment does modern feminism strive to tell women they are victims but thanks to the sexism and misogyny of many men millions of women ARE victims. Devon would do well to not blame fellow women for that but instead to blame those men who have perpetrated this social, sexual, political and cultural victimisation of women in the first place. Otherwise, instead of blaming Harold Shipman for fistfuls of murders, let’s blame his victims for daring to be his patients.
You can also blame my belief in womankind if you like but I always assumed that if I were suffering at the hands of sexism or misogyny I could run to a woman and find some form of help or support. Well, if that day ever comes I hope Devon isn’t my nearest beacon of hope because she’d be no help at all. She either wouldn’t believe me in comparison to her own personal experiences or she’d tell me that I’m the problem for not expecting to be the occasional subject of a passing man’s urges. Exactly the same response, would you believe, as the one I had from the police when I reported a stalker breaking into my flat in the 90s. The first question they asked was, “Been screwing the wrong men have you, love?” The second was, “Perhaps your flat is haunted. Ever thought of calling a priest?”.
No doubt this blog post will result in the same response from Devon as this one did. Devon, a woman increasingly becoming the Katie Hopkins of feminism, will claim I am a troll for not agreeing with her, and her flying monkeys will swoop in to leave lengthy comments about why my feelings and experiences as a woman (forget feminist) don’t count. In doing so they’ll also disregard the women I write about every day, the women who really do feel pain, desperation, anger, frustration, need and sadness all because sexism and misogyny exist in every aspect of their lives. The women who, after finding the strength and determination to speak up, are being hushed by someone of their gender. Devon may claim that women want men to be villains but she has never been so wrong. Right now the biggest villain of women is Devon herself.
NB. I intend for this to be last time I ever write about Devon. I find her inability to listen to women who have suffered sexism as upsetting and frustrating as when men tell girls they are bitches for not enjoying a Tube-based grope. From here on in, as with Katie Hopkins, this blog is now a Devon free zone.