Dusty Roads

A Kiwi living in the new Zimbabwe

Chauvanists and social storms

July 17, 2017

Two storms have blustered their way across the country this week. One of them deserved the title, and the other was little more than a storm in a teacup.

A third, very violent, storm was also raging, but hardly anyone noticed. However, with the help of the teacup storm we’ll get a glimpse of its seriousness in just a few sentences.

The teacup storm, by the way, was a weird and wonderful kaleidoscope of confusion brought to us by the modern feminists. It started earlier this month with someone getting offended by Mike Hosking’s very excellent question “when do we stop celebrating women’s achievements?”

Most of us were relieved to hear a public figure finally point out the patronising nature of such celebrations. It is difficult to feel you are taken seriously as a women when there are all sorts of silly ceremonies honouring you for something you had nothing to do with.

Men don’t have to endure such horrors.

Besides that, singling us ladies out in business or politics is tantamount to saying “hey, great job…for a woman!” It doesn’t so much suggest as shove down our throats the idea that us women can’t quite cut it if we compete against the men.

Modern feminism is amazingly sexist.

The comedy took full flight with Steve Kilgallon’s article on Seven Sharp’s relegation of presenter Toni Street to a “junior role” while the male presenters swirling around her were plonked into the senior roles.

The only problem, of course, is that Kilgallon claims to be a feminist in an article in which he speaks on behalf of a woman.

That makes him a chauvinist according to feminists, meaning he is a chauvinist feminist.

Life gets complicated to the point of comedy when every woman has to be a victim and every man a perpetrator.

Poor Street did eventually respond to all this nonsense, and thank heavens she did, because what she had to say was inspiring. “Good on you for trying, but next time let’s make it about something that actually matters,” she wrote.

And that brings us to the third storm I mentioned earlier, the “something that actually matters” which I would like to address: Family violence.

You see everyone from the Ministry for Women, to those of us sitting in suburbs, quite plainly miss terribly serious issues when we let modern feminists make men problems and women victims. Take, for example, one of the four core principles of the Ministry for Women; keeping women free from violence. Throughout the information page we find references to women as victims, and “gender equality”.

Yet we know, from New Zealand’s very own world-leading, ground-breaking research in the Dunedin Study, that women and men are equally likely to be violent towards one another, and we know that children are the victims of violence from both men and women.

It is the violence that is the problem, not the gender of the perpetrator.

And that is the issue with the teacup storms created by modern feminists. They get us all tied up in knots about nothing, while the real problems – and real victims – rage just outside the front door.

That is bound to keep on happening so long as we insist the problem with the world is located in our sex, instead of in our humanity, in our equal ability as men and women to hurt or be hurt by one another.

It is high time, don’t you think, that we turned our eyes to the real storms, and stopped trying to solve problems that don’t exist.

This article was first published on Stuff.co.nz

 

 

The heart of equality

October 31, 2016

Perhaps I should start with a caveat. I believe all people are equal, I just don’t believe in the endless battle for rights.

Now, I’m entitled to think people are equal, you see, because I believe Bob and Beatrice were both created, and bear an intrinsic value that has nothing to do with brains or brawn, humour or height. I was forced to resort to intrinsic value, by the way. It’s too difficult to pretend we are equal in any other sense.

No two of us are even remotely the same, twins least of all. Just when the case for equality based on brains or body ought to be watertight, you’ll find that John won’t slim down as fast as his brother Peter, but Peter dies of cancer in the end. It’s intrinsic value, you see, or no equality at all. That’s where I’ll begin my case, for equality has taken its fair share of headlines this week, but it’s where we shall end that is strangest of all.

You see, basing equality on how fit or fat we are, how black or white we are, how over or under paid we are can only lead to one place; a good old-fashioned fight. It relies, after all, on two different people first of all agreeing on a measurement for equality, and then agreeing at what point equality has been reached.

I can assure you that the athlete who didn’t make the cut this time will say the selectors were biased, while the one who now has a place on the team will declare the selectors were as fair as fair can be.

Likewise, the person who fights for black civil rights will never agree the legal system is fair, while his opponent will say it favours the minority. We start to see now that the battle over rights buys into the idea that life is nothing more than a power struggle between groups. It doesn’t ask simply for the recognition that all of us are created equal – it goes much further, and demands that we all get what we want.

That is a recipe for disaster.

But there is another way, as I mentioned before. It relies on believing all men are equal, rather than battling over rights. And if we truly believe all men are equal, we shall end up in a strange place. For believing that means we value our sexist boss, and forgive him, in the same way we would ourselves. It means we offer our enemy the respect and dignity we would demand for ourselves. It means we can’t make monsters out of other men and angels of ourselves.

Yes, truly believing we are all equal leads us not to the battlefields of rights, but to the staggering slopes of our own hearts. There, while some fellows have run away to fiddle with superficial items such as pay, we find ourselves facing the mountain of unforgiveness, and grappling with how to let love be the law of our lives.

As I said, truly believing all people are equal leads us some strange places. For it confronts us right most of all with our own hearts.

This article was originally published on Stuff.co.nz