I have been tweeting recently about recent examples of the Tory War on Women that seems to be well underway. I thought it might be worth compiling these into a list. I have a feeling these might start piling up…
If you are a woman & you think the Tories are on your side, please review the evidence:
- Lets start with Nadine Dorries:
For Dorries there are a whole swag of horrible stories coming out. She touts herself as a candidate supporting women, while trying to take away reproductive rights (http://tinyurl.com/3bcp8u9), victim blaming and suggesting that if women just said no, there might be less abuse (http://tinyurl.com/6lg6zr8). Yep, you are really looking out for the female half of the population Nadine.
- Next, Roger Helmer:
The original blog post from Roger Helmer MEP was pretty horrible (http://tinyurl.com/3epavdm) and it just got worse when he went on Tory Radio to ‘justify’ his comments. (http://tinyurl.com/3d6olsn). He is claiming misunderstanding/misrepresentation etc, so I will let his speak for himself in his own words, taken from his blog: “In the same way, let’s consider two rape scenarios. The first is the classic “stranger-rape”…The second is “date rape”. Imagine that a woman voluntarily goes to her boyfriend’s apartment, voluntarily goes into the bedroom, voluntarily undresses and gets into bed, perhaps anticipating sex, or naïvely expecting merely a cuddle. But at the last minute she gets cold feet and says “Stop!”. The young man, in the heat of the moment, is unable to restrain himself and carries on…in the second case the victim surely shares a part of the responsibility, if only for establishing reasonable expectations in her boyfriend’s mind.”
- Next up, David Willets:
How could we forget the mind-bogglingly overt sexism of the comments from Willets? “Feminism trumped egalitarianism,” he said, adding that women who would otherwise have been housewives had taken university places and well-paid jobs that could have gone to ambitious working-class men.” (http://tinyurl.com/3hclv7y). Just in case you don’t know who Willets is, he is the Universities Minister. Yes that’s right. This is the man charged with ensuring the future of higher education for everyone, although you would be forgiven for thinking he only represented half the population.
- Now: anti-abortion:
The guardian reports that “A group which is opposed to abortion in all circumstances and favours an abstinence-based approach to sex education has been appointed to advise the government on sexual health.” In contrast the long-serving British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), that aims to support women who need abortions, has been excluded. (http://j.mp/lll1Du) Social engineering, anyone?
- More pro-abstinence, anti-choice bullshit:
According to a press release, a new group has been established “The Sex and Relationships Education Council – a new umbrella body representing sex and relationship education providers” (http://tinyurl.com/3gftzqb). They go on to say that “The Council has been formed to promote the best possible sex and relationship education both at home and at school, recognising the particular importance of enhancing the role played by parents in SRE.” Sounds innocuous, right? Hey, getting the parents involved could be a good thing. But don’t miss the fine print at the bottom. Now this is the important part: “The founding members of the Council are: evaluate, Lovewise, Challenge Teams, LIFE, Silver Ring Thing, Family Education Trust and Right to Life.”
If you are not familiar with these groups they are largely anti-choice, pro-abstinence only groups. Take Challenge Teams as an example. They promote abstinence only programs (http://www.challengeteamuk.org/why.php) and state among other things that “The only way to guarantee freedom from sexually transmitted infections is when two uninfected people stay faithful to each other.” Similarly, Silver Ring Thing “promotes the message of purity and abstinence until marriage” (http://tinyurl.com/2f22od). These groups are all much of a muchness. Jesus loves you and doesn’t want you to have sex until you are married.
Who in the conservative government thinks that this is the way to combat high teen-pregnancy and STI rates? Of course, Michael Gove. Sorry Michael I would rather my governments politics were based on facts, not fairytales.
(Thanks to @boudledidge for sending me the SREC press release.)
For sheer stomach turning condescension here is David Cameron’s so called ‘joke’ in PMQ’s aimed at Labour frontbencher Angela Eagle. You have to admire the response from Eagle: “I have been patronised by better people than the prime minister” Although an apology has been demanded by many quarters, as yet none has been forthcoming.
I’m not sure what is most unpleasant, the arrogant condescension of Cameron or the excited schoolboy giggling of Osbourne, bobbing around in the background trying to see the reaction.
- Dominic Raab: “Feminists are…obnoxious bigots“:
Dominic Raab, Conservative MP for Esher and Walton, wrote an article on Politics Home, calling for an end to “feminist bigotry” and sexism against men. Sorry, what? Sexism against the poor hard done by men? What do you mean Dominic? He writes: “From the cradle to the grave, men are getting a raw deal. Men work longer hours, die earlier, but retire later than women...Feminists are now amongst the most obnoxious bigots” He also cites pre-nups, education and access to children for divorced/separated fathers as ways men get a ‘raw deal’.
In about the only sentence of the article that makes sense he states that: “One reason women are left ‘holding the baby’ is anti-male discrimination in rights of maternity/paternity leave. ” but unfortunately he missed what could have been a great point here, and just ran with his anti-feminist vibe. Instead of bashing feminism he could have realized that feminism is about equality, not women over men. It has been said far better than I ever could by Julie Lalonde in a fantastic blog post: Dudes and Chicks: What Men Can Gain from Joining Feminism. She writes that “The primary function of feminism (or rather, feminisms like mine) is to challenge people about gender assumptions and in turn, to emancipate all genders…You can’t combat rape culture, without emancipating men from stiff definitions of masculinity that see men as necessarily aggressive, violent, homophobic and misogynist. You can’t combat gender discrimination in the workplace without emancipating men from the definitions of masculinity that see men as competitive, unemotional and all-too-happy to give up time with their family over a pay check. ” Do you get it now Dominic?
(Thanks to LJ Lee for sending me the Politics Home link)
I have no doubt that more are to come. The question is; where will it end?