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The year Feminism lost the plot: And became self-indulgent, intolerant and irrelevant

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  • The year Feminism lost the plot: And became self-indulgent, intolerant and irrelevant


    The year feminism lost the plot: And became self-indulgent, intolerant and irrelevant - just when the world needs it most, says Sarah Vine

    Sarah Vine thinks there are women who believe they live in a pre-feminist climate of institutionalised sexism

    Sarah believes today's young feminists are the most liberated, privileged generation of females to walk this earth

    Says they should 'stop fiddling while Rome burns'

    PUBLISHED: 01:27 GMT, 31 December 2015
    Womankind has had much to celebrate in 2015. The Queen became the longest reigning monarch in Britain's history, delightful Nadiya Hussein won Bake Off and the Duchess of Cambridge produced another picture-perfect child.
    Meanwhile, the grievously wounded U.S. helicopter gunner Kirstie Ennis, whose aircraft crashed in Afghanistan, showed that a woman can be more than equal to a man by walking 1,000 miles on her shattered leg - to be greeted in London by Prince Harry - before having it amputated.

    And we said our tearful goodbyes to the great Cilla Black and a heartfelt hello (again) to brilliantly talented Adele who, at the tender age of 27, has achieved more than most of us would in several lifetimes. But some aspects of the female experience have not been quite as edifying. For all that women continue to make great strides in the public and the personal arena, there is one area in which we seem to be sliding inexorably backwards: feminism.
    In universities and college campuses in Britain and the U.S., there are young women who genuinely believe they exist in a pre-feminist climate of institutionalised sexism.

    They speak, tweet, act and complain as though they were the victims of the worst patriarchal excesses of the past two millennia and not the most liberated, privileged generation of females to walk this earth.

    Such is their lack of self-knowledge and perspective, they revel in casting themselves as victims of rampant gender-based injustice when, in fact, they enjoy lives of ideological luxury compared with most of the planet's female population. In acts of unbridled narcissism, they indulge in irrelevant self-pity and shallow soundbite gender politics, while at the same time ignoring many of the genuine and truly shocking abuses of women around the world.

    And like all extremist groups, they hate anyone - male or female - who does not subscribe to their creed. They are intolerant, irrational and entirely without irony.

    Instead of taking on the people traffickers who drown the babies of Syrian mothers for profit or mounting furious protests against Islamists who enslave, rape and kill women in their thousands, they tinker around the edges of their own rarefied existence, wailing like spoilt toddlers at the slightest deviation from the kid-gloved treatment they expect.

    And 2015 was the year they really threw all their toys out of the pram. The year that feminism, more than at any time in its history, well and truly lost all sense of perspective, purpose - and plot.

    It began in January, when The Sun newspaper announced the end of Page 3. Immediately, the move was trumpeted as a great victory for womankind. Politicians and campaigners queued up to claim the credit, ignoring the blindingly obvious fact that the feature had bitten the dust less because of feminist sensibilities and more as a commercial response to the fact it had long been superseded by the free availability of online pornography.

    In any case, it wasn't long before it became clear that Page 3 hadn't disappeared at all, merely mutated into a platform for scantily clad starlets and celebrities, most of whom supply their own pictures in the form of selfies, and who seem happy to reveal considerably more than the likes of Samantha Fox ever did.

    Then in February, at the annual love-in that is the Oscars, Rosanna Arquette 'bravely' used the occasion of her win to demand equal pay for her sisters in the film industry, saying: 'To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer of this nation, it's our time to have wage equality once and for all in the United States of America.'

    Jennifer Lopez (that model of sisterly solidarity, her breasts barely contained by her plunging neckline) and Meryl Streep (soon to be elevated to goddess-like status for her role as Emmeline Pankhurst in Suffragette) applauded her enthusiastically.

    Only a few rash souls dared to point out that demanding more money for some of the highest-earning women in the world was not exactly front-line feminism.

    In the spring, the sisters were back on the warpath. In April, Rashida Manjoo, the United Nations' so-called expert on violence against women, published a report accusing Britain of being the most sexist nation she had ever visited.

    But that was as nothing compared with the metaphorical tarring and feathering of Nobel prize-winning biochemist Sir Tim Hunt.

    The professor, you may remember, was the subject of an especially vitriolic social media campaign following remarks made at a science conference in Seoul.

    Jokingly, he explained how hard it was for certain 'chauvinists' like himself to work with women in the lab - and expressed the hope that, as female scientists, they should let nothing hold them back, not even 'monsters' like himself.
    At the time and in the room, his comments were taken as intended - as a self-deprecating attempt at humour, a jokey acknowledgement of the challenges women scientists face in a workplace dominated by emotionally stunted men.

    But then one Connie St Louis, a lecturer in science journalism at London's City University, took it upon herself to misinterpret his intentions all over the internet and radio.
    Within hours, Hunt found himself caught up in a Kafkaesque scenario that culminated in the poor man being fired from his position at University College London.

    Despite widespread mainstream support for his cause and serious questions surrounding the authenticity of St Louis's testimony (not to mention her professional qualifications which, as this newspaper revealed, were found to have been somewhat over-stated), Sir Tim continued to be ostracised.

    This month, he and his wife announced they were moving to Japan. St Louis, sadly, remains.
    Other incidents stand out. Caroline Starmer, the woman from Leicester who claimed her nine-month-old baby had been torn from her lactating breast by a male security guard at a Primark store in the city.

    It later transpired that not only was she lying, she also had form, having once accused a local swimming pool of the same crime.

    And then there's the almost comical Emma Sulkowicz - aka 'Mattress Girl' - who spent her last year at Columbia University in America lugging a mattress around with her as part of an art installation- cum-protest against a German scholarship student, whom she claimed had raped her.

    None of which stopped her from winning several 'feminist' awards and being invited to give a talk at the Ivy League Brown University in which, as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, she declared that 'if we use proof in rape cases, we fall into the patterns of rape deniers'.

    September brought us Charlotte Proudman, an ambitious young female barrister who got her knickers in a twist - and earned herself the soubriquet 'feminazi' - over a perfectly innocuous, if rather ham-fisted, online compliment she received from a middle-aged fellow lawyer who may or may not have been coming on to her.

    Alexander Carter-Silk, 57 and married, had told her that her photograph on the networking site Linked-In was 'stunning'.

    And instead of giving him the brush-off, she decided to 'call out' (the fashionable vernacular for making a gigantic spectacle of oneself on Twitter) his alleged fascist piggery, over-reacting to what was little more than a rather embarrassing chat- up attempt.
    She wrote with utter humourlessness: 'Alex, I find your message offensive. I am on LinkedIn for business purposes, not to be approached about my physical appearance or to be objectified by sexist men.

    'Unacceptable and misogynistic behaviour. Think twice before sending another woman (half your age) such a sexist message.'

    But the definitive proof of how distorted feminism has become came in October, amid a media frenzy over the release of the long-awaited film Suffragette - which seemed to cause a surge in misdirected sisterly indignation.

    First, Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, announced that if a woman wakes up next to a man she can't remember going to bed with, she should seek rape counselling. It beggars belief that a woman of her intelligence and standing should be actively encouraging a victim culture in which women have little or no choice over their destinies and cannot be expected to take responsibility for their own mistakes.

    But then came the ultimate irony: feminist activists at Cardiff University attempted to cancel a talk given by Germaine Greer because of her suggestion that transgender women are not real women.

    The university's women's officer, Rachel Melhuish, decreed that Ms Greer's views towards transgender women were 'misogynistic'.

    The idea that Greer - a woman who has dedicated her entire life to arguing for equal rights for women - should be excluded from any debate on the subject of feminism perfectly illustrates not only the insanity of the predicament in which the movement finds itself, but also the straight- forward stupidity of the younger generation of so-called feminists.
    If even one of them had bothered to read her books, they would have understood what she was trying to say.

    Take, for example, the case of former Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner. This year, the American athletics hero decided to change sex and become Caitlyn Jenner.
    But having lived most of her life as a privileged member of the male elite, people such as Caitlyn have no concept of what it really means to experience sexism.
    As she herself said in an interview: 'The hardest part about being a woman is figuring out what to wear.'

    The incident also highlighted a new kind of vernacular associated with the new breed of feminists: 'no-platforming', the practice of refusing to share a stage with anyone deemed to hold the 'wrong' political views. Once reserved for the likes of the BNP, it apparently extends to septuagenarian academics.

    No such problems, however, for 66-year-old Caitlyn Jenner, who in November ascended the podium at Glamour magazine's Woman Of The Year awards - despite having lived as one for only a few months.

    Earlier in the year, she had starred on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine, photographed by none other than Annie Liebowitz.

    The TV interview in which she announced her transformation from male athlete to female fashion plate garnered 20.7 million viewers.
    Meanwhile, in the same month in which the mass graves of older women, killed by ISIS because they were too old to be used or sold as sex slaves, were discovered, George Lawler, a student at Warwick University found himself driven out of lectures and bars with shouts of 'rapist' after he objected to being bullied into attending rape-awareness workshops by the Student Union.

    He argued in his blogpost 'Why I don't need consent lessons' that the overwhelming majority of men 'don't have to be taught to not be a rapist' - and that those inclined to commit the crime would, in any case, not be influenced by an awareness workshop.
    Instead of stopping to consider his point of view, the self-righteous liberal fascists at his university made his life hell, accusing him not only of being a pervert, but also of racism and class prejudice.

    Thank goodness for December, which brought us a bit of light relief, in the form of a campaign to ban mistletoe, on the grounds that the tradition of kissing beneath it perpetuates rape culture.

    It was a spoof, instigated by a group of online mischief-makers - but that didn't stop Cornell University in the U.S. from banning the plant from campus on the grounds that it creates a 'non-inclusive' environment.
    Joking aside, if I have one message for 2016's young feminist crusaders, it's this: stop fiddling while Rome burns. If you really want to defend the rights of women, stop the navel-gazing and open your eyes to the real abuse of women in the world.

    Pick your fight with Islamic State; or the barbarians who publicly caned that young woman in Indonesia this week for being 'caught' near to a male fellow student; or the people who mutilate young girls' genitals in the name of religion; or the Sharia courts spreading across Britain, with their systematic bias against women.

    Most of all, to quote that famous Christmas Number One, tonight thank God it's them instead of you.

  • #2
    What, 1880?
    Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the Patriarchy. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth.
    Neo: What truth?
    Spoon boy: There is no Patriarchy.

    Apparently, women get only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. We only have 23 cents left, but feminists insist they want the rest.


    • #3
      Well, took them until 2015 when they notice