The Olympics goes on a short halftime break and world goes crazy


Where has all this hatred for women come from of late?

…because I’m at a total loss.

The past few days have been really disturbing – whether the vitriol coming from ordinary people over social media, to those in the public eye who have made statements that have astounded many of their followers. These include the likes of Naomi Klein (of “No Logo” and “Shock Doctrine” fame), MP George Galloway, former UK ambassador & civil servant Craig Murray, and film maker Michael Moore on one particular high profile case. You also have the poisonous atmosphere on the other side of the Atlantic with the US presidential race hotting up. This is just frightening – i.e. that such views can be so close to the mainstream. That Obama has to stand up and defend such basic rights (because they are being attacked and thus need to be defended) that I thought everyone was able to take for granted, speaks volumes. (That’s a criticism of the opposition, not Obama).

Up in Scotland, you have clerics ‘snubbing’ the Scottish Government over gay marriage. As one of Puffles’ followers said, you can’t play the ‘oppressed minority’ card while claiming to speak for the majority.

The vitriol within Left circles

It has been – and still is huge. I for one didn’t see any of this coming. I can’t recall a single issue where so many ‘mainstream’ figures on the left seemed so divided. Not even the Iraq war (which split Labour) had that level of vitriol – perhaps reflecting the level of control one faction within the party had at the time.

The intensity of some of the exchanges I have seen has been immense. A number of people have been astonished at the comments those, both high profile and ordinary person, have made on what are effectively human rights issues: The right to be protected from violence and the right to justice. For me, the defining blogpost on the legal issues is this one from Peterhere.

The fallout – impact on future campaigns?

It’s a serious question because women’s rights are core values (if not the number one issue) for many activists. With the recent exchanges splitting the Left – and it seems to be predominantly the Left in terms of debate on the UK side of the pond – what will this mean for existing groups of activists? This is something that has gone beyond factional splits and one that is almost going mainstream because of the media coverage it is getting. A couple of people raised the issue of ‘trust’ within activist circles – something that is essential. What will the impact of all of this be on those bonds? Strained to say the least? Will those that have taken a stand on one side or another find themselves heckled at future gatherings? Will their presence in future campaigns even put off some of the very people that they would otherwise want to attract? Or as @MediocreDave said to Puffles, would such a split within activist circles be such a bad thing?

I don’t know how the whole thing will conclude. I don’t know how many people will stick to their point of argument at the time or say that they were unaware of the full facts at the time. (Who was it who said: “When the facts change, so do my opinions.”???) What I currently feel is that we’ve all been given a stark reminder of just how far society has to go on the issue of women’s rights – as the EverydaySexism project is picking up.


3 thoughts on “The Olympics goes on a short halftime break and world goes crazy

  1. Puffles, I have been watching these exchanges with some interest. As you say the splits are mostly on the left, but there appear to be a few on the right who are equally bonkers. I don’t think this is primarily a feminist issue, although when rape is discussed this has to be part of the mix. Rather it seems to me to be a bit of an ends justifies the means debate. In this context some poor deluded souls seem to be of the opinion that “This man has stuck a finger in the eyes of the Americans, therefore he can do no wrong, therefore I will defended him at all cost”. It is not the first time this has happened, but it is rare that the rights and wrongs are so clear.

  2. It was John Maynard Keynes. Who was it said “When my opinions change, so must the facts”? Well, nobody dares say it, but pretty well everybody acts it.

  3. Sex has split the Left before.

    To mangle a 19th century feminist comment: when you’re courting he wants equality. When you’re married he wants his dinner.

    Women’s Lib was a reaction to men on the Left not the right. Robin Morgan spoke about men who expected their female comrades to ‘put out’, male leaders who thought they had droit de seigneur, and the way women lost their place in political groups when they stopped sleeping with the man in the group.

    I think you’ll find that those of us over 40 are mostly not surprised at all, just rather pleased that these attitudes are going public.

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