The War of Friendly Fire – or ‘why would I blame a trans woman for the crimes of cis men’?

By Daviemoo

As I grew up, I assumed that the world would only continue its steady plod onwards re: progress, inclusion and justice. But it hasn’t: it’s been stalled- why? by an ageing generation who want permission to be awful under the guise of free speech, who want to blame the next generation for ruining the world they fostered and worse still- we’re letting them. Powerful men sit in mountain-high towers waving gold wrapped fingers to strike down rights they enjoy themselves- and all the time, as these men continue their oligarchical stranglehold on society, we’re all too busy biting each other’s backs to fight the real enemies.

It’s such a strange time to be alive. A virus that, in 2020, terrorised the globe now isn’t even a consideration: people cough and splutter openly in public (a woman just coughed near me in the cafe I’m in and my immediate thought was “great”) without masks or without even a hint of contrition. Minorities like disabled people, people of colour or LGBT+ people and all those who exist in-between those minorities are still fighting the same harmful battles we’ve been struggling against for generations, as ministers like Kemi Badenoch swell the ranks of a government whose race report was absolutely condemned by experts on racial disparity; and we’re called misogynists because we think trans people deserve to live in peace, because apparently misogyny is when you don’t hate trans people. Poor people line the streets to vote rich people into power, who spend their terms consolidating their wealth to unfathomable heights whilst telling poor people they just need to work harder. And all the time, everyone’s ire is aimed at each other, at cross purpose, never at those in charge.

At times it’s hard to picture better, but my good friend Dr Maria Norris said just that to me recently: it starts with the imagining of better. The world seems to be, less slipping and more lurching to the right politically, and the essence of right wing politics is the self. People are only invested in themselves and their own happiness- but this isn’t the fault of the individual. It’s right, fair even that people who are disadvantaged are only interested in themselves- their very survival. This is the essence of the trouble we’re in. So many people are economically deprived, two paycheques away from poverty in most cases, that we don’t have the mental space to imagine better for ourselves. How can we care that other people suffer more, when we suffer so ourselves? But care we must, or this cycle spins again.
The question I ask myself many times a day is- is this an accident? Are those in charge just so serially inept that they cannot come up with broad solutions to this? Of course not. There are ways, means to go about fixing these problems. But nobody with a scintilla of power will lever attempt it for reasons I understand but revile- but that is an article for another day: let’s stick with the material: the fact that society is fractured in a million ways.

The irony is how easy it is to point out the hypocrisy.
Lets take someone that I was always warm towards until recently as a perfect example of societal hypocrisy, an unexpected source no doubt: Bette Midler.

Recently in the US, the Supreme Court overturned Roe Vs. Wade which has upended the bodily autonomy and therefore safety and equality of roughly 50% of US citizens. The outcry was heard around the world and this terrible travesty has shaken any decent person’s faith in the idea that choice is sacrosanct when it comes to forcing a person to carry an unwanted child to term, and has even legitimised death from disturbingly common conditions like ectopic pregnancy as “god’s will”.
Midler was on fire, sharing stories about how Donald Trump’s wife allegedly sought an abortion previously, pointing out the logical fallacies around preserving life at the expense of those whose lives are fed to the baby making business, making memes that both twisted your guts and resonated in their truth.

Then Midler tweeted this:

Bette Midler on twitter

There was immediate shock: anybody who knows the battle for trans equality knows those talking points. Trans people are often accused of erasing women, erasing the word woman, taking women’s rights away, appropriating women’s battles… so, was Bette Midler revealing transphobia writ large to the world?

As it turns out, no. Midler has since clarified that she was clumsily talking about the intersectional battle all women face. Let’s just break the talking points down and debunk them. The word woman is not being erased at all, there are simply alternatives on offer for medical journals to allow more inclusivity to trans people- women can still call themselves women, trans women call themselves trans women, and chest feeding and breast feeding are interchangeable as you see fit- nobody is forcing anyone to use gender inclusive language for themselves but when referencing society- if you want to fight a battle for people, consider that not acknowledging a significant part of those affected doesn’t exactly engender the fight in it’s totality. Trans men are capable of having children and will of course fight for abortion rights, but not acknowledging that they face that oppression is unfair on them and in tandem, lessens the true horror of just how many people this affects.

As for “people with vaginas”- are women not people who have vaginas or did I miss something? That tweet seemed to blame gender inclusive language for the removal of womens rights. but is it gender inclusive language that stripped back access to abortion or was it a bunch of rich right wing people?
The answer is obvious- and as I cover further down, blaming people whose very happiness and existence relies on bodily autonomy being a basic right for the rolling back of bodily autonomy is utterly wrong.

But Midler also tweeted this:

Another minority who shouldn’t be there in Midler’s very famous crosshairs.

Muslim people had nothing to do with this decision: not a single person who made the decision is muslim. But Midler tweeted this image, swivelling the cannon to face muslim people again, America’s favourite scapegoat. Amazing how many devisions in America made by Christians end up being blamed on muslims.

Please bear in mind as I write this some very simple facts: I do not hate religious people- if religion brings you comfort, happiness, security, answers then I wish you that joy in totality. But I hate religion. All religion. I don’t need a god, a book, a set of yellowed scriptures to tell me murder is wrong, women should be equal to men and that I’m not a disgusting degenerate because I think other men are attractive. If the only thing stopping you from shooting someone is fear of punishment then you’re scum. What’s stopping me from doing it? It’s wrong.
I’d love the same sort of respect and response from religious people. Your religion says I’m disgusting and immoral for being gay? Well I’m sure it also says only god can judge me so button your mouth and let god tell me when I die, but until then I pay the same tax you do, I have the same bad hair days you do and I struggle to get out of bed some days just like you do. Let god tell me why I’m wrong for existing in this skin and just let me be.

Back to the problem at hand.
Transgender people are a tiny part of the population. They had no say about the overturning of Roe V Wade, though trans people who do support the overturn are, frankly- stupid.
The very essence of trans existence revolves around bodily autonomy being a base sacrosanct right. If cis women can’t decide they are not ready physically, emotionally, monetarily for a child, why would trans people be able to decide to undergo hormone therapy or surgery? The battles are linked: anyone who separates the two lacks the zoom-out vision required to understand intersectional existential battles.
Muslim people are also not to blame: Midler tweeted a jibe at six very much christian people who, in their christian conviction, made the christian decision to christianly remove the right to abortion for the US. What do muslim people have to do with it: under the Taliban women are allowed to seek abortion so let’s congratulate the US Supreme Court for giving women less reproductive choice than the literal Taliban.

Aiming our ire at the wrong place is a life time mistake: those foreigners who come here and steal our jobs and endanger our families are fleeing the wars our governments paid into for oil or to reap economic benefit. They, like us, are just people seeking the best for their families and themselves, and the best doesn’t exist in a country ravaged by inequality.
Gay people aren’t forcing our agenda down your throat, you’re just bothered you have to acknowledge we exist: the problem is yours. If you get angry because a woman kisses another woman in a children’s movie then you’re insane: Throwing accusations of sexualisation at two women kissing belies the fact that YOU think it’s sexual. Children see two adults kiss. If it confuses them, it’s as simple as “sometimes ladies like other ladies”. Did society end or are you just being histrionic over nothing…?

When it comes to coronavirus, people will still flatly deny the virus was ever a problem, never mind that it is now. They’ll accuse scientists and doctors of being on the payroll of a government who openly scorned and reviled them through the whole pandemic, then turn around and critique the government too, heedless of the fact that we should all be united together in protection and against a government who used our ever higher corpse piles as tinder to alight the economy- and not even well!
If we had let coronavirus persist unabated the death toll would easily have exceeded a million in the UK alone, not just from coronavirus itself but from hospitals crawling with patients, unable to provide care for anything.
Zoom out, people.
Were you unhappy you had to sit indoors for a year? If we’d all done what we needed to, if we’d sacrificed for each other and listened to people who made their entire raison d’être fighting back against these once in a lifetime events we wouldn’t have had to play the Hokey Cokey with lockdowns. But did we? Or were we too busy concocting conspiracy theories about Wuhan labs, about spike proteins and 5G chips and the like? And why? Occams razor says the simplest answer is most often right. So was Bill Gates putting gay semen into vaccines to control your brain into accepting a new world order helmed by Jewish trans women- or did a virus start infecting humans and make a lot of people very sick, a lot of people die and did we need to try our best to prevent that from spreading?

Humanity is so angry at itself- why? Don’t we all have to exist together? Why would I be angry at someone who wears a face veil or a face mask – it doesn’t affect me? I don’t care what someone else does with their body as long as it doesn’t endanger me!
Coronavirus was and is such a problem because in this economy even a couple of weeks off work would decimate my finances- I could lose my home. But I’m a snowflake for popping on a thin bit of cotton occasionally, not taking my sickness like a MAN.
I once had garden variety flu and I wet myself in bed because I was too physically weak to get to the bathroom so even if coronavirus was “just the flu” it’s a flu I could certainly do without thanks.

And as for the other existential battles, isn’t it weird that transphobic people will scream at these “male impostors” IE trans people whilst almost completely ignoring the very real actual 100% garden variety cis men who are actively working against women’s rights?
If you’re more bothered about being able to call yourself a mother, or a trans person having a quick pee next to you in a cubicle in a gym toilet than you are about rich groups of men chortling into expensive whisky as they sign paper that means your healthcare options are limited, may I glibly suggest that your privilege overextends your awareness.

I don’t think we can win battles against these groups who work so hard against us until we stop aiming our ire at each other.

I’m not a misogynist because I want trans people to be able to live how they want to- and if you think I am then that’s your very different definition of misogyny that you’re free to apply to my very unconcerned self. I’m not a woke snowflake because I choose to listen to people of colour who tell me their experiences of both casual and out and out galling racism, of how tiring it is to still be having the same discussions about racial disparity, or because I plop a face mask on both because coronavirus floored me and because if I have it I’d hate to accidentally kill someone I share a crowded coffee shop with- or even mildly inconvenience them by making them unwell if I could avoid that…

If your ethos is “if it doesn’t affect me, I don’t care” then how very sad for you. You can’t expect the world to do better by you if you won’t do better by other people. And if you don’t expect the world to do better by you and you’re comfortable both being miserable and pushing that misery just know that you and those like you are the axis of the problem, the enablers of those faceless rich men who laugh at their continued control of the miserable status quo, the men who get away time and again, generation on generation with betrayal of the masses because the masses have decided it’s each other’s fault and not the very purveyors of our misery.

Elliot Page, in his coming out speech a few years ago, said something I say to myself at least once a day: “The world would be a much better place if we could all stop being so horrible to each other for five minutes”. So start your five minutes now, lets all start our five minutes collectively and stop blaming the minorities and the other, and start blaming the same people who have been in charge for hundreds, almost thousands of years. Lets blame the decision makers who have pushed us, always pushed us, down the path of division. If we have to hate- lets hate the right people. And if we have to fight- let’s stop fighting each other and start fighting the people handing out the weapons.

The war on women by healthcare

Medical misogyny is a phrase that every single woman will have an intimate relationship with. Misogyny is as closely interwoven into healthcare as it is every other area of society: sometimes it’s a whisper in a corridor, sometimes it’s a blatant dismissal by a woman in agony- whatever form this many headed hydra takes, misogyny in modern medicine is clearly a problem and must be tackled: but first it must be brought out into the light to be seen by those who would plead ignorance.

The first time I was scandalised by the treatment of women in medicine was when my oldest sister casually told me a story about being in labour. She was a first time mother and was scared and naturally was in pain as she was readying to give birth. She told me that as she lay groaning in pain, as contractions were beginning, a nurse said from behind a curtain “will someone shut her up!” 
That began a long and frightening journey into understanding the roots of indifference and sometimes open malice that medicine hides when it comes to dealing with women. 

Misogyny is soaked into the bedrock of our society- it runs so deeply that many of us, even those it affects, are still not fully aware of how systemic the issue is. From simple transactions in the street to a nullification of bodily autonomy, women face horrendous pressure to conform and to placate simply to exist in society. And we already know that men will kill because they harbour misogyny in minds shaped by the pervasive nature of the scale that shifts from utter indifference towards, open disparagement of or white hot hatred towards women- but one area which must have this misogyny uprooted with urgency is medicine- because when medicine mixes with misogyny, the truest form of danger to women can flourish.

Listening to womens’ voices

When I was researching this piece, I decided to create my own sources: with a healthy internet following, I asked women to step forwards from all corners of experience to highlight their travails in the literal no- man’s land of medical misogyny.

I have been horrified by the messages which have filled my inboxes- from cis white women to transgender women of colour being overlooked, overruled, ignored, mocked, trans men telling me about their pre transition woes and issues in their treatment as they seek to undergo gender reassignment and as their transition progressed noticing that suddenly their issues were taken seriously, trans women explaining the way they have been utterly shamed, nurses telling me stories of the way they have been spoken to or overlooked, female doctors being spoken to with absolute distain: it is clear to me more so than it has ever been that misogyny flourishes in the medical setting. 

We know from research, letters, endless interviews and more, that many institutions have deeply flawed modus operandi and are biased against women and especially women of colour- it is only yesterday as I begin writing this that an article condemning the police for strip searching a young woman of colour- underage- at school without consent. This utter disregard for the autonomy and respect of women runs deep in society.    

In the course of my researching, I’ve been contacted by quite literally hundreds of people with their stories, and though I wish I could simply share those context is needed.

Since I wrote this piece initially I have come across two even more troubling incidences: one, a white American woman writing on the subreddit r/antiwork who explained that she miscarried at work, bleeding so heavily she was taken to her local ER in an ambulance. Upon returning to work she was fired for taking “too many sick days in a row”.

The second story was a breakdown of absolute racial and gender based dismissal of a woman of colour I found on TikTok: this woman has cancer and is currently undergoing treatment. She woke recently to find herself in debilitating pain, unable to walk properly and called an ambulance. Upon giving her last names (one French, one a name of her heritage which I unfortunately cannot remember) the dispatch caller became dismissive to the point that she hung up on them and begged her partner to take her to the ER. There she waited for hours in agony to no avail and she was eventually removed from the hospital by security because she sat at the front bench trying to complain about her dismissal as a cancer patient in agony.

It goes further even than this, and here is where you will begin to feel the gut wrenching worry that I have ever since I started my research.

Specific conditions

Many medical conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) are vastly under diagnosed in healthcare, and research carried out by the university of Sydney put this down to a reluctance for doctors to take up confirmatory diagnoses- whether the end result was expenses, time or simply an indifference towards finding the root cause, this is a problem.

PCOS presents a myriad symptoms which can also  mirror other diseases but they ARE definitively linked to PCOS, and a doctor failing to investigate such a serious condition with such severe ramifications is appalling- but unfortunately seems to be commonplace, because the most common non exploratory symptom is crippling pain during periods.

Some of the women who have reached out to me about PCOS have gone through the explanation of walking their doctor through agonising irregular periods and still the doctors would simply stat that “this is what periods are like for most people” and even if this is the case- should that not then be something which can be alleviated? We can attack cancerous cells, perform hemispherectomies and replace bones with plastic and metal but we cannot alleviate period pain for over 50% of the world’s populace?

Additionally, a lot of the messages I’ve had have typified a worrying tendency to write off women suffering from PMDD – an extremely serious condition which can cause women and those who ovulate to experience gutwrenching pain, severe shifts in mood to the point of suicidal ideation and more. From being told to “just take painkillers” to being informed the doctor felt they were being “unhelpful in their diagnosis”, the women in particular who reached out about this confirmed how dismissed they felt, forced to make do with agony and horrifyingly low mood with no intervention. The shock of hearing women confessing to literal suicidal feelings and being lambasted by doctors who feel they are “being dramatic” was quite shocking- to me- but to those on the receiving end of medical misogyny, they confirm this is utterly par for the course. One trans man was told that he should simply have a hysterectomy and when he explained that he may want children he told me the doctor almost said “that would be wrong”.

Medical conditions like PCOS, tilted uterus, PMDD and more are rarely looked at by medical professionals outside of the area of gynaecology which is ludicrous: over 50% of the world’s population have the requirements for regular gynaecological examinations and with such a huge swath of people requiring medical checkups related to this, doctors – even GPs, should be far more versed in this area of healthcare. Secondarily, the idea of keeping back referrals for gynaecological examinations is insane: if someone has a medical health issue relating to their genitals then why would it ever make sense not to refer them to an expert, instead of confidently writing the problem off yourself?

Women in medicine

For ten years, I worked as a compliance person for locum agencies- this meant my role was often to correspond with medical workers about their file requirements and as I had such regular contact with medical workers, I did develop the occasional friendship with some of my workers.


Some, either cis or trans female, were more than happy to lay out a wealth of incidents – from being told “I’m not being seen by a woman” to patients seeking confirmatory diagnoses from men, and in fact being spoken down to, scorned, spurned and even threatened by male colleagues.

One of my friends who is a male nurse told me that he regularly had to tell patients, other doctors etc that his consultant was the doctor and he was the nurse, because everyone assumed this was the case simply based on his gender.

One of my female doctors had to leave her old place of employment and move across the country because she was being actively stalked by one of her patients. Her place of employment suggested that she simply ignore him- a man who would regularly walk into a busy A&E department to declare his love for her, offer her gifts and more.

Every woman reading this has just felt the deep dread that comes with those words, for every single one knows the dangerous path that can twist amongst those declarations of love from a stranger.

Intersectional Nightmares

Of course, further than simply being spoken to in outrageous terms by people who have problems with women, this pervasive ignorance of women’s issues along with the issues that transgender people can face can also lead to dangerous consequences- much research has been undertaken into the medical testing gender gap. Cis women’s bodies metabolise drugs differently than cis men at different times and in different ways- and a lack of research on this has led to over or under-medicated women- but why? It’s hardly a surprise to find that men’s bodies metabolise drugs differently, one need only look up the horrendous side effects of men ingesting the contraceptive pill to realise that meds work differently on the different sexes.

Ah, but there again- the pill – another perfect example of medical misogyny. In 2016 a contraceptive injection for men was shelved due to side effects like mood swings and depression, lethargy and blood clots… all side effects, and well known ones, of the contraceptive pill. So medicine will expect women to bear the onus of taking pills and their attendant side effects, having children etc- but the moment those side effects are found in men as well the research is shelved. 

An excellent video by emmaisafeminist on tiktok breaks down how a drug, sildefanil, was turned into viagra. Sildefanil was useful for heart attacks and angina, and it helped women deal with menstrual cramps and period pain- but the marketability was in it’s ability to give men erections.  Imagine the different world we’d live in if a drug that helped women function with period pain and helped everyone with heart issues was given it’s proper research funding, instead of being turned into a pill to help men still be able to have sex.

One of my contacts, a strong woman who is regularly found in activism circles we both run in told me that the pill gave her a stroke in her 20s: these side effects are known and they are not as rare as believed- in fact, for those who decry the coronavirus vaccine and it’s perceived risk, the risk of blood clots from the pill is precipitously higher.

The dismissal of women’s safety is baked into a medical system that has never catered to women primarily, even for services geared towards them. 

Bodily autonomy

Another horrifying tendency is that of doctors completely overruling women’s bodily autonomy: I have been told by no less than 4 cis women and 2 trans men that their choice to have a hysterectomy has been overruled by physicians.

It’s always been a cornerstone of understanding that people should be able to make executive decisions about their body- or else why do we fight for bodily autonomy – so to take command of people’s bodily choices and state that they cannot make this decision is an appalling one; to deny someone their right to change their body is to deny them access to healthcare they want and may need! 

Misogynistic thinking patterns are interwoven with medical treatment, and coincide with other issues like the experiences of women of colour- so many fabulous and brave women of colour speak loudly and clearly on the internet about their experiences at the hands of a medical system that doesn’t factor in differences in endocrine production, the myth of pain sensitivity and other health conditions that contribute to black women’s mistreatment at the hands of a system that mistreats them not only because they are women but because they are of colour. Thetalkofshame on Tiktok’s video lays out concisely how dangerous being a woman of colour in the medical setting is.

The intersectionality of women’s existence in every setting must be purely exhausting.

Trans women’s healthcare is another issue in which the meeting of intersectional bigotry causes unnecessary issue- from delays in beginning treatment for trans women to the government’s new plan to throttle treatments like electrolysis to help with dysphoria, trans women not only experience the narrow minded gaslighting that comes with the trans experience so widely written about, but must also deal with those who aren’t just bigoted against trans people but are against women.

One of my trans contacts on twitter laying out the foolishness

On and on wind the examples of women experiencing horrific pain, embarrassment, shame, frustration and mental health lapses because medicine simply is not equipped to function based on the idea of equity, not just equality.

One could charitably look at the evidence of the women around us telling us how horrendous their experiences are and read myriad stories of horror on the web, in the news, on the shelves and conclude that mayhaps this was built by ignorance, or even malevolence- but the why no longer matters. Now we’re aware of such disparity, the question is- how do we tackle it?

The painful reality is that we live in a world which is so bottom shelf desperate to cater to men – men’s pain, men’s needs and emotions, men’s wants and whims- that women are so often cast to the back row of the amphitheatre. Women will lay out concisely their requirements for parity and are disparaged from speaking with, at best, indifference and at worst open scorn or hatred- and all too often, violence. To deal with misogyny in medicine one must look to tackle misogyny in society and root it out, but the overhaul to medicine will be a huge one and will take time; this would put off society from moving forwards to address this issue but I’m reminded of my favourite Chinese proverb: the best time to plant a tree is ten years ago: the second best time is now- and the tree that would grow from an overhaul to a sexist healthcare system would be a boon for all.

Daviemoo is a 34 year old independent writer, radicalised into blogging about the political state of the world by Brexit and the election of serial failures like Trump and Johnson. Please check out the rest of the blog, check out Politically Enraged, the podcast available on all streaming platforms and share with your like minded friends! Also check him out on ko-fi where you can keep him caffeinated whilst he writes.

What motivates men to send unsolicited nudes?

By Daviemoo

As a man- and a gay man at that- some behaviour that other men display mystifies me. I need to clarify before I get into this piece that sending nudes is fine, if consensual. Things that imply consent like trading alts or sexting and discussing it change the paradigm of sending naked pictures- but there are some things people do which utterly confuse me, and I’ve read myriad articles about these behaviours trying to see if other people understand it better than me- it’s led to more confusion than anything.

Having read several articles and spoken extensively to friends, both male and female, straight and gay, about this topic it often elicits weird and varied responses.

As a whole, my female friends (either trans or cis) do not like, want, or appreciate unsolicited nudes. The responses are usually that it’s strange, alarming, coercive… I’ve never actually had a female friend tell me they want to receive nudes unless it’s someone they already like and have discussed explicitly (ironic phrasing) with the person beforehand. My male friends however… gay or straight they seem to enjoy the idea of unprompted nudes. I’ve asked why, and the responses ranged from “dunno, I just think it’s fit” to “it shows they like you”. It seems to be a fundamental difference in how people think, and I’m not sure if its sociological or biological- but it’s interesting and disturbing in equal measure.

For my own personal experiences using apps like grindr etc, you’re told it’s “part of it” which I honestly can’t help but see as a sad indictment of the mindset of a lot of men who are sexually attracted to men. If people do find trading nudes enjoyable that’s fine – I do too- but sending unprompted explicit pictures as a hello is deeply wrong in my eyes. Even if you’re on grindr for sex, who says that you want to see everyone naked? Or receive explicit voice clips etc?
The men who defend these practices seem not to realise how very predatory their behaviour can seem. Would you approach a stranger you found attractive in a bar and immediately show them your naked body without their consent? Why do you think it’s appropriate to do because it’s on an app instead of in person?

Often those who question these things are the ones who are castigated or shouted down: it’s expected that some men can, and will, behave in this way and with impunity for it. “It’s not serious, it’s not a big deal, it’s for a laugh, you can just ignore it”. It’s always the person receiving the unwanted messages who needs to calm down or moderate their behaviour- not the sender.

Some have stated that they feel these behaviours have worsened because of, or during, the lockdowns during the pandemic.

Men have spent a lot of time away from women, and have almost lost any semblance of respect for women that they had in the face of endlessly talking to other men on the internet about female mythologies- plus the #NotAllMen backlash from the horrific murder (at the hands of a police man) of Sarah Everard seemed to push misogyny to the surface, a piffling defence that not every man commits heinous crimes- but exposing, simultaneously, that any critique of men which personalised towards the every day man, enraged any men who felt personally attacked- which coincidentally covered a lot of men, who suddenly felt exposed and aggrieved for being called out on negative behaviour. The explosion of outright hostility from men all over the internet who felt like they shouldn’t be questioned and should be given carte blanche seemed to cover the fine point that many of the men who do these terrible things, from harassing women over the internet to brutal sexual crimes, were given carte blanche- and now that card was no longer blanche -French for white- it was now the rusty brown of the blood of women murdered for saying no, for walking away, for the crime of being desirable or just being there at the wrong moment.

In my own humble opinion, this behaviour’s continual fostering and tolerance in society is indicative of why we see and experience so much sexual impropriety- from being touched without consent in bars to full, gritty and horrific cases of sexual assault, to men declaring women their property. At no point are men – regardless of sexuality – taught to value the feelings of those they’re speaking to as equal to their own: to pause and consider how unprompted sexually explicit imagery may make people feel, regardless of their own views on receiving them.

I’ve tried to put myself into the mindset of those who send unprompted explicit photos and it’s a strange mindset to be in- is it that sending photos is the sexual thrill, regardless of the reaction? Is the potential of a negative reaction arousing? Do they genuinely expect a positive reaction? Is it a brag? Is it a power move? All these things occcur to me and yet I’m never sure if I’m close to the answer or wildly off base. I can’t help but feel that different people do it for different reasons because it’s so widespread.

I’ve also discussed this with a close group of friends, and one of them said he’d asked a friend who does it “why do you send them unprompted”- the person he asked apparently was shocked that it might offend or upset people- he was convinced it was a nice way to tell a woman he thought they were attractive.

The issue I think that society misses is that every enabled transgression against other people’s sensibilities can potentially be a building block to embolden more damaging behaviour- and society fails to address men’s propensity for thinking of these things as non-serious, indeed, emboldens it and, as such fosters worse behaviour to occur. After all, if men can and do joke about everything from sending unwanted nudes to sexual assault, it lessens the severity- it’s the reason that minorities do not appreciate jokes at our expense- because making someone or something serious an abstract joke emboldens people’s flippancy towards it.

Many men read writing like this and immediately become defensive and it’s this oversensitivity to critique that must be stopped. If these things apply to you – if you send unwanted pictures, just don’t. If you make off colour jokes about sexual harassment – stop. Nobody is asking for you to cut off a toe, it’s a simple reframing of your own comforts to match those around you- and it’s past time that men feel that their entitlement outweighs other people’s comfort and safety.

I urge you to realise that if this applies to you it’s not to say you’re a horrific person: I do feel that a lot of men are victims of a society that fails to impress on them moral decency, and that gives them- us, I should say, a skewed concept of our importance to others. If you grow up believing showing someone a picture of your penis is a reward or a compliment, clearly you have a misplaced sense of right and wrong. Society is failing women every day by not looking urgently at how to address these issues- but it’s also failing men by allowing deep, dangerous holes in moral fabric to percolate and worsen. Of course it’s down to individual choice as to whether you act on these urges which are wrong and in some cases verge on harassment. But I do feel that society needs to take ownership of it’s endorsement of these behaviours, stop, and urgently push men to reflect on how they behave.

Regardless of sexuality- until society admits that a false economy of men’s behaviour being tolerable when it isn’t, and until as a society we commit to doing better, men will continue to be viewed with well earned suspicion.

The Met Police are not fit for purpose

By Daviemoo

From the foolish bleating of “I’m very sorry” from top brass Cressida Dick, to disconnected and out of touch advice like “run away” or “flag down a bus”, the Met Police has shown itself to be an institution awash in corruption and unable to fulfil it’s purposes of truly protecting and serving the public.

When an institution is corrupt in the way the met police is, the obvious signs are an unwillingness to change even in the face of the evidence that this is required. Some would say that enforcing new laws which prohibit protest is a condemnation of any police force- that a police force which serves the public should- MUST allow protest to be undertaken as a show of the civil rights and liberties of the citizens of the country. The BLM protests in the UK were vitally and correctly aimed squarely at the doorstep of a government who perpetuates the kind of insidious, quiet but ever present racism that continues to propagate poor reception to people of colour, all the while denying that this takes place. But it also pointed the finger of blame directly at the police who are so often involved in horrific incidents of police violence against people of colour for doing nothing more than existing in black skin.

Any institution which was meant to serve the public would rightly have heard the cries of discontent from people of colour and from their supporters and turned their beady eye inward, looking for the causation of this discontent. Independent panels would have been appointed, focus groups set up to engage with communities whose trust in the institution of policing are fractured, new ideas on engagement and constructive policing put forward to allow policing to find its faults and fix them. Those who suffered so terribly under corrupt officers would have their voices elevated.

This did not happen.

In fact, a closing of ranks occurred around the BLM protests and formented the sort of impenetrability of change that is still being fought so hard against, specifically because of what came next; when a woman was murdered and another died in suspicious circumstances, Blessing Olusegun and Sarah Everard, women rightly were both furious and terrified. Little has seemingly been done to solve the mysterious death of Blessing Olusegun- her mother held a vigil recently in her memory and in the article regarding this vigil we read the statement from Sussex’s police force who deny that they failed to investigate the death properly due to ethnicity- put perhaps ethnicity is part of the problem, the next part being that Blessing was a woman.

Everard’s death at the hands of a police officer – and he WAS a police officer at the time no matter how many times the Met Police try to distance themselves from this- has rightly terrified women. At the time it was said that you can do everything right, wear the right clothes, be cautious (and even then those sentences struck me as odd- the blame being laid at the door of the person under threat), but to find out that her killer was a police officer who used his status to kidnap and murder her lent another sickening blow to the news. How are you meant to feel safe when those you’ve been told for so long will protect you are the killer themselves? How do you know what constitutes a “legitimate” arrest, a “legitimate” detainment? The police would of course say “know your rights”- but surely “don’t violate my rights” would be apropos.

Evidence is still emerging that Everard’s murderer was sending vile content to other officers via WhatsApp- misogynistic, homophobic, racist- five officers other than he who seem to find inequality a joking matter- good, then, to know that these are the people we are meant to turn to in the event of being discriminated against. One must question how many conversations Sarah’s name is in right now, and whether these oh so upstanding officers all over the country are treating her name with the gravity it so deserves.

Just look at the response to the vigil- thousands of women gathered, masked and social distanced, to pay their respects to someone they felt connected to, knowing it could have been them but for a random twist of fate. How did the police- one of whom had perpetrated this terrible crime- respond? With handcuffs and violence. Just like he did.

If this doesn’t tell you that policing is fundamentally corrupt, that police will strongarm women at a vigil but allow football hooligans to storm a stadium, that they will prowl the outside of a BLM protest but ignore anti lockdown rioters then you miss the message: that policing is only ever about punishing the noncompliance of those who question the system of policing, not about protecting those who do not break laws.

Look to the knowledge that the police view fundamental stances on human rights- equality for POC, for the LGBTQIA community as “political” standpoints (as proven in the case of Harry Miller who said that his transphobic tweets were just that). These things should NOT be political. Human dignity should be granted to everyone and yet is not- this should be the blazing issue for those whose job is to uphold law and liberty, rather than lobbying for an ever growing budget or working hard to obfuscate the dizzying number of police officers involved in committing their own crimes.

Look too, to the ridiculous advice from the Met: run away or flag down a bus if you’re worried by the officer arresting you… firstly, the white privilege it must have taken to think this an appropriate response when person of colour after person of colour has TOLD US that any noncompliance is met with violence. The met does not care to hear the public’s cacophony of complaints about it’s behaviour in favour of remaining exactly how it is- tight lipped, preferring to protect even those most corrupt of officers- it was even reported on Tuesday that some officers still spoke supportively of Everard’s murderer.

All of these issues fit into a society so determined not to upset the status quo that it is willing to overlook the failings of it. Women feel endangered and must go so far to protect themselves- but it’s not that many women it happens to? Oh but it IS that many women it happens to? Well have they tried to wear different clothes, carry protections, not listen to music, hold their keys in a certain way, make a route, check in with friends?

There will, there must, come a moment where society realises how fundamentally it is letting down women and it must- there is no other way forward- address the behaviour of men- not just policemen though statistics do show (by JUNE 2021 the police had recorded EIGHT HUNDRED CASES of police domestic violence) that the police attract a worrying sub demographic of those who engage in horrific domestic assaults. I cannot find the most up to date figures but almost a thousand reported cases of this crime- knowing how many incidents are not reported, this is a frightening figure- and that was only halfway through the year.

And the injustice continues unabated- anyway – Sabina Nessa, murdered in a London park for the terrible crime of- being a woman alone. The names of these countless women thrown under the runaway train of misogynistic violence must be etched deep in stone for men to see, to take stock and to account for their actions and, indeed, their inaction.

Until society addresses the way men behave and feel is appropriate these heinous crimes will continue and will propagate. Until men realise that it is not women who must change but men must account for their, and their fellows’ problematic practices, this horrific cycle of murdered women written off as isolated incidents, as incels committing terrorist offences in the name of their own repugnance will only go around again, and with a terrifying knot in our collective stomach we must ask – who will the next murdered woman be? Will we know her? And what will become of the man who decides his sexual desires or fantasies are more important than human life.