We need to talk about the men who say “not all men”

By Daviemoo

We know. We know it isn’t all men. But after yet another woman speaks out about her experience of discomfort when receiving unsolicited, perverted DMs and the conversation is immediately co-opted by the “yeah but, it’s not all men is it” crowd one must begin to ask whether those who are more interested in being delineated as not creepy are more interested in protecting their egos, or hiding their deeds than the very real pain, discomfort and fear of women.

A small note- I will be talking about MEN in this article. If the lack of the word some bothers you- you’re the target audience.

Rosie Holt, the comedienne and political satirist posted a very disturbing DM on twitter today, which reads as follows:

Said offending DM

I found myself amazed that a man could type this, thinking “yes, yes this is a polite and funny message where I proposition a woman about her body, it will definitely go down a treat”. So many people seem not to understand that politely harassing someone is still harassing someone- something I discovered a while back when I shared an anonymised grindr message of someone asking me to let them, and I quote, “smell your bum through your trousers”. My comments lit up with people disgraced that somebody could absolutely disregard someone’s boundaries and, without so much as a hello, send such a creepy message- but between those spots of consensus were the odd “erm, why are you sharing his private message?” “He said please, what more do you want”, “it’s a hookup app- what do you expect?” (is a hello too much, really?)

So it was with much trepidation that on Rosie’s post, I headed to the comments, hopeful of some light hearted discourse to cheer Rosie up (which was there)-and yet…

The hated phrase

There it is. As always.

It’s not all men, its SOME men, it’s a FEW men, its just some random, unknowable, unquantifiable men who do these things. No DECENT men do these things and we simply must CLEARLY STATE THIS, lest the conversation about women’s safety and comfort online devolve into discourse around how distressed women receiving DMs that range from mildly disturbing to pornographically obscene to horrifically violent, must cater to men’s feelings around discussing the topic. Every single time the word “men” is used without the demanded prefix of SOME men, in flood the people determined to prove that it’s not them, they’re not predatory and creepy and how dare you lump them in with the baddies?! They’re feminist, they have wives and sisters and daughters and they’d NEVER do such things! And of course, we all know you can take the words of strangers on the internet to heart because nobody has ever lied on there… right?

They are right of course- it’s absolutely not all men- but does that need stating in discourse where frustrated, angry and frightened women are talking about inappropriate behaviour? Why must men appear and center themselves over the women? Why are some men’s feelings more important than a group of women’s shared experiences of harassment and the urgent need to discuss and forestall it?

It isn’t all men: but how do you know which men it is?

“I never thought he would kill her,” Loney said. “I never thought that would happen in a million years.”

https://nypost.com/2015/07/26/man-arrested-in-slaughterhouse-style-killing-spree/

The first defence is always “I never knew he was like that”.

“I never knew he hit his wife”

“He seemed like such a lovely man”

“I never knew he was abusive”

Here is something I bet you didn’t know: Stanford Rapist, Brock Turner’s parents are now campaigning for the sex offenders register to be scrapped to protect their rapist son. So knowledge, we learn, is not power and even if it is, it still doesn’t lend itself to the protection of victims. Turner’s mother is actively involved in the Facebook group for scrapping the sex offenders register- so sometimes knowledge, intimate knowledge isn’t as important as the strange urge to protect a disgusting degenerate just because you birthed them.

John Wayne Gacey was a clown as part of his career: he also stacked the corpses of his victims under his house in a crawlspace. He was active in the church and by all accounts a polite and convivial neighbour. He’s also one of America’s most prolific serial killers: gay he was, but the threat still stands.

I am, of course, reaching for two extreme examples there- so how about a home grown one: during lockdown one I was walking to work one morning and stopped to scream abuse at a man who was taking unsolicited pictures of a woman in her gym gear whilst they were waiting for a bus. The man first called me a queer- it’s gay, thanks- then ran away when the rest of the bus stop ganged up on him.

What would he have done with those pictures- hell, he didn’t delete them, he sprinted off with phone in hand. He was also dressed in a fairly nice suit, tie and was carrying a little bag that clearly held a laptop. This wasn’t some “oh they’re just like that” stereotype of a brickie or some other parodyish manlet- this was a businessman. So how does one know which men to reference, and why is the addition of SOME so necessary?

It’s funny because women have often said they feel safe around me because I’m a gay man – I can understand feeling safer as a woman, but my experiences of being a man who likes men and being around men has given me a pretty in depth look into the world of men who say “not all”- but are part of the some.

As a gay man I’ve experienced a shocking amount of unsolicited rude pictures and messages and whilst I’m no shrinking violet (I have cheerfully referred to myself as a man whore at least twice this week), the worrying thread that runs between womens experiences and my own is that men assume. They assume I want pictures of their flaccid willies before they ask, assume I want them to tell me what they’d do to me if I was in a room with them alone, and prioritise the pleasure they get from sending those messages over my comfort in receiving them. It’s at best selfish and at its worst deeply indicative of people who don’t care about the root of the word consent.

Back to the topic at hand, Rosie’s sharing of the DM is a snapshot into an extensive world that heterosexual men in particular don’t seem to understand. I genuinely believe a lot of heterosexual men wish their DMs were flooded with women telling them what they’d do to them if they could and sending myriad photos of themselves, and the reason I think this is that straight men who arent homophobic have genuinely expressed jealousy when I explain how transactional you can be on apps like grindr.

The most disturbing conversation that came around consent and comfort happened when I shared my experience of being sexually assaulted; a disturbing amount of men (sexuality irrespective) responded with “I’d love to be woken up with sex”… It seems there is an innate disconnect between the way men think about sexual pleasure and the involvement of the other. I get no pleasure from sending nudes I haven’t been asked for, but apparently some men do. I get no pleasure from being, as I described to the man who assaulted me “used like a fucking fleshlight”, but some men do- and they are more than happy to center their feelings over the other, just as men in this discussion do.

Men will take a discussion around women feeling violated and unsafe on the internet and center themselves in it as readily as some men will center themselves above someone else’s consent to a sexual act: and its this correlation that makes women right to be afraid of men.

If you are more interested in being pandered to in a conversation around appropriate behaviours than around listening to those who are being made to feel vulnerable then that, however minor it may seem to you, is the top of the tipping point to being more bothered about your own feelings than the feelings of those who are trying desperately to have a discussion. It is also wildly disturbing to see men who are so desperate to be marked as “one of the good ones” when most rapes are committed by someone known to the victim and therefore likely to be someone the victim feels safe around- and that is an underreported statistic.

As a man, of course I understand that sometimes you may frown because you know you’re not one of the horrendous perpetrators of these crimes: but if you know that the statement doesn’t apply to you, it’s probably important that you ask yourself then, why it offends you so? It’s not being directed at you but is a blanket statement and does not apply to you- your perception of you isn’t changed by the statement so why be offended by it? Ultimately, if you know you haven’t exhibited any of this problematic behaviour you should be completely unphased by statements around those who have done so: because it’s not about you.

Women who experience abuse, harassment, threats and disgusting imagery should-MUST- be listened to, and ultimately if being listened to is at the expense of some male ego… well, we have more than enough of that: were it an energy source the UK would be lit up like a firework. Your feelings are important and valid- but not as important nor as valid as women who fear opening their messages in the event that they are being dehumanised by men- whether they know said man or not. Next time someone comments something about men, rather than leaping in to make ABSOLUTELY SURE they know it’s not you, I advise you to sit down, shut up, and ask yourself why your discomfort at a label is weightier than the bodies of women who have been objectified their whole lives.

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.

Our lives are not ideologies: your violent hatred is.

By Daviemoo

The UK faces multiple crises: people are calling radio stations explaining that they cannot afford food nor the energy to heat it. Coronavirus has hospitalised more people today than in January 2021. Our government had multiple illegal gatherings and our leader lied bold faced to the gathered parliament about it. And yet the press seethes with questions about women and penises. In America, the “don’t say gay” bill has passed, a ludicrous legislation that helps nobody but immiserates some, and recently a right wing pundit suggested that doctors who provide gender affirming healthcare should be killed. These are dark times indeed to be LGBT+

Nothing stokes my rancour so quickly as to see who I am described as an ideology. There is no such thing as the “gay lifestyle”, nor “trans trend”: we have existed since the human race began in our varied forms and every culture. Sometimes we were accepted, sometimes we were not but the fact of our existence has never changed.

An ideology is a set of beliefs or ideals brought together by a collective: capitalism is an ideology. Communism is an ideology. Religion is arguably an ideology.

The lives of your fellow rainbow humans are not an ideology. Our long and tiring discourse over acceptance is no attempt to recruit unwitting heterosexual or cisgender people to our ranks. We exist: we are, at our core, a collective who banded together because we faced discrimination historically and still do now.

Many people defend the seclusion of our community from society at large without once realising that the sexualisation, the insinuation of perversion always comes from without, not within: the “don’t say gay” bill had an amendment removed which would have explicitly forbidden discussion of sex or sexual matters: this amendment was voted down. Which means that HETEROSEXUAL acts can be discussed with children. In my eyes this is deeply disturbing. No child should be exposed to discussions of sex until ready: and it is here that the majority of the world itself still has learning to do.

Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

Sexuality and gender identity are not sex. They are not sexual. They are objective terms. If you can tell a child you have a wife, you can tell them you have a husband. If you can tell a child you think a woman is pretty you, you can tell them you think a man is handsome. Gender identity is deeply personal, to the point that my own gender identity as a cis man is different of that of another cis man: every single person has their own individual construction of their gender or lack thereof, and it is theirs to own and claim.

Terms like autogynephile were coined to insinuate that trans people are trans for sexual reasons and not simply that they were born into trans bodies and must reconcile that however they see fit.

We talk about spaces and inclusion, and there is a particular lack of nuance in the gender critical discussion around spaces that is endlessly frustrating: you are not “keeping” spaces single sex: spaces have been trans inclusive for well over 30 years, so to now MAKE a space single sex this necessitates trans exclusion, and exclusion is wrong.

Today I had a lengthy discussion with a gender critical account on twitter- they claimed to be a woman but I do not know as their account was anonymous, and I tried to reconcile gender critical ideology even against itself and came up lacking.

According to this account they “have trans friends” they’re fine with but are not fine with “males in their spaces” and “can tell when someone is male even if they don’t say it”.

Sometimes I admit I’ve found myself leaping to trans people’s defence so quickly, I haven’t weighed my words appropriately so I decided to do so this time. Let’s take this argument at face value despite the facile nature. What if we did ban all trans people from the spaces they currently use? How many murdered, beaten, assaulted transgender bodies would it take before gender critical people understood that trans people are at threat as well. And in fact, would they? Though many deny it there is a core knot of gender critical thinkers who would like nothing more than to simply see transgender eradication: and for those less hardcore thinkers in the gender critical circles if you do not wish to confront your feelings towards trans people, you may wish to confront those within your circles who condone a trans mass eradication.

Endlessly talking in circles around sexual assault and genitals and fetishes online is a dark, depressing and tiring struggle and lately I’ve found myself debating simply tuning it out and focusing on political activism- and yet time after time I find myself appalled at the language and falsehoods spread by anti trans activists.

How anyone who claims to be feminist can hold such damaging, narrow and regressive views is beyond me. Having an erection is not a sign of sexual enjoyment: as a man who has been sexually assaulted I can assure you of that. Almost 1 in 2 trans people have experienced sexual assault. There is a commonality here with cis women that should bring the communities together and in many cases does, and yet gender critical thinking uses this as a wedge.

But this goes beyond worst case scenarios. We come across a lot of very structured repeated language when we talk about trans people: “keep access to single sex spaces” (trans people have used those spaces for over 30 years so you’re ‘keeping’ nothing, any change to make spaces single sex would bar trans people, thereby removing their rights. “Protect dignity” what dignity is lost from a trans woman being present that is kept in the face of a non trans woman? The constant refrain of “safety” which is always paramount but also figmentary: safety isn’t guaranteed because of a sign on the door, or trans exclusive recommendations by the EHRC, or by legal declarations by an inept PM appealing to anger. A predatory person will do what a predatory person will do regardless of these things.

Trans exclusion is constantly being framed as womens’ safety- and yet we see very little to no actual founded evidence that trans inclusion is a threat to women in the first place. Uncomfortable for some, perhaps though it’s arguably more due to the bias of the woman than the existence of the trans person. Fear mongering around trans existence has no end result. Trans people regardless of hormones and affirming care or wigs or hair growth or blockers or dresses or packers or binders- will always be trans.

Again, I feel there needs to be a pointing out of the urgent need to reframe arguments to be seen as they are from the LGBT+ perspective.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

When people argue that gay & lesbian people cannot be discussed, it is not we who are innately sexual: you are sexualising us, ignorantly placing our sexuality in this illusory realm of immoral behaviour. A gay man in a grey suit walking to work is not innately sexual- but he is gay. So why is referencing his sexuality so sexually explicit it cannot be mentioned?

If you want to protect children from sexual referencing may I suggest a law banning children from watching TV until they are 13. Adverts sexualising people are on TV all day- from perfume adverts with nude bodies as the containers to literal adverts for prophylactics: sexuality is everywhere- just, the sexuality you WANT for children. You don’t care if a little boy sees an advert of a half naked woman smelling another half naked woman’s neck, and you don’t mind asking a 5 year old if his female friend is his GIRLFRIEND at the school gates. I remember those expectations early on and they damaged not just me, wondering why I didn’t feel what everyone told me I should but they also hurt my family when I did come out, because this imaginary future they built for me all but vanished: was that my fault? Should I have lived a lie to make them happy?

The worst of the liars are those who claim to “accept us” but think we shouldn’t be referenced in front of children. If those children are straight all they will do is nod and move on. If they’re like us, the likelihood is they might just feel a little bit less alone: and treating us like we are watershed humans is a dehumanising experience.

Our community exists. It’s not an ideology: we have cultures we can, if we choose, loosely abide by or take elements from. Culture is pre-existing facets, behaviours or tropes which we can reference, imbibe or exhibit. That isn’t an ideology, and there wouldn’t even be a NEED for gay, lesbian, trans culture if we hadn’t been ostracised- by exculpatory ignoramus’ passed- from culture at large.
You notice also that those of us who are gender critical or even work against our own rights (see the regular gay republicans trotted out to say they AGREE with anti LGBT+ sentiment) are usually desperate to conform to what they see as hetero or cisnormative.

Anti trans, anti gay people and all of those in-between- at the very least stop referencing our very lives as "ideologies"- it demonstrates a poor grasp of the English language and an ignorance you're fighting hard to deny.
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

When it comes to ideologies and damaging ones at that, I would point the accusatory finger damningly in the direction of movements aimed at removing rights from transgender people as a whole because of the imagined crimes of a few, of demonising gay and lesbian people so badly that we cannot even be mentioned in front of children. Looking at ideologies that monetise their hate- a new conversion therapy camp opened recently in the UK- or who make merchandise specifically geared to intimidate us (adult human female T shirts, umbrellas, key chains), who show up to our days of remembrance to harass us or stand on the sidelines of our marches to tell us we’ll face eternal agony for who we are- how can it be denied that these movements are inappropriate.

Nobody would deny women with legitimate concerns from speaking but I’d hasten the gender critical women who truly believe in their cause to step forward and kick out the monsters from your group – after all, one bad trans person means they’re all bad, right? So what does one person, five people, ten anti trans activists belittling rape victims stories say about your movement.

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 would a world without “woke” culture be like?

By Daviemoo

Many of us who are labelled “woke” already live in a world suffused with anti minority sentiment- a cursory scroll of someone like Katy Montgomerie’s twitter shows the relentless onward rumble of abuse that she faces from those who are mildly uncomfortable with transgender women, to those who outwardly call for the arrest and forced de-transitioning of anyone transgender; conversely, many of the most outspoken critics of “cancel culture” live in a world where they can and do say whatever they want to and face absolutely no consequence for it. But what if those who rage against cancel culture win? What would that world look like? And could we really stomach a “so what” society?

Society at it’s core is huge, vast and varied and unfortunately it’s a simple fact that society must function by making allowances for divergence from what could be termed as the norm. If every person who did not fit the norm was ostracised from society, human civilisation would be laughably small and far away from where we are now. Human acceptance has been perilous ever since the first human emerged from their cave, saw another human and wondered why their hair was a different colour.

The benefit of intellect is that we can discuss how we can co-exist and make each other’s lives easier- but humans are still in some strange phase of our existence where we’d rather exhaust debate on why we shouldn’t, than why we should.

Let’s say the anti woke brigade won: how would life be for anyone outside of the lucky few who aren’t affected now by, and would continue not to be affected by the implementation of a “so what” culture?

People of colour

“Woke” sentiment is closely linked to anti racist sentiment- so scrap any and all discourse around racial inequality. It doesn’t mean racial inequality doesn’t exist- merely that it is not discussed. Any person of colour who faced inequality- be that micro aggressions or outright hatred- would be met with indifference in the “so what” society. Racist hiring practices could continue unabated with employers merely shrugging when called out on their inability to hire people of colour. Tests on blind CV’s have highlighted a worrying disparity on conversions of people with ethnic names to employees at organisations- and the backlash to organisations offering roles to people of colour has been thunderous- even when those roles are either best filled by people of colour due to the nature of the job or are specifically designed to wall over a shortfall in representation when it comes to broader society.

In the “so what” society, systemic racism would be glossed over with reports from the government that would reference experts who were not consulted to contribute. The inequalities faced by people of colour in the UK would be explained away with “agency” rather than a deep look into how the continuation of ostracising behaviour propagated by the government and a systematically racist society has contributed to worse living conditions, worse mental health outcomes and worse treatment by institutions like hospitals and police.

When nation wide protests are sparked about racial inequality and how to deal with it, including the glorification of slave traders, a “so what” society would likely spend more time focusing on the damage to a public statue and the four white people who did it than the feelings of people of colour who had to walk past a statue of a man who may have enslaved their ancestors.

LGBT+ people

Often when we speak out about the abuses we face, whether again micro aggressions like being asked invasive questions about who puts what genitals where, who has what genitals, or disgusting comments about STIs – we’re told that it “could be worse” and to be “thankful” for how we’re treated or spoken to or about.

We’re treated to regular sermonising about how we’re perverted or seen as unseemly because we have different sexualities.

Gay men are often accused of paedophilia as a pejorative, never so much as recently with the stoking of anti trans sentiment- if you publicly defend transgender people on the internet you will, it is a solemn promise, be labelled a paedophile.

In a “so what” culture, one could expect that hate crimes would rise precipitously because anti minority sentiment would be allowed to go unchecked to the point that organisations would step away from legislation designed to protect minorities from discrimination- and in fact, aid it.

In the microcosm of anti LGBT sentiment in the “so what” society, the BBC would knowingly allow a lesbian rapist like Lily Cade to contribute to an article about fear of rape, and use widely questioned figures- like a survey run by a transphobic group to indicate societal findings about fear of trans women.

In this “so what” society, discrimination like my own, where I was called “faggot” in front of everyone at work would be allowed to happen with no punishment: I was slurred in front of half the office, some of whom were my literal employees and in response my boss- the company owner- did nothing to protect me, to punish my aggressor- I would suggest that this fits in quite well with what would happen in a “so what” society.

Of course as an already polarised person I’m looking at this through my lens- but it’s the lens of those who don’t follow the flow of society on dint of who we are that need some social consciousness in public or we’re the ones who suffer.

Women

Need I say it?

When women can be murdered in the street by policemen and the police response is to wear the right shoes or that you should flag down a bus and not to look at serious police reforms, one starts to wonder whether this is exactly what a “so what” culture would do.

When women’s reproductive rights are restricted or debated, and women are overruled on their own healthcare regularly, and when medical problems are under-diagnosed even though they are common, you could surely say that this is indicative of a so what society- or when women speak out about their genuine fears in a society that is pervaded by men who don’t respect bodily autonomy or boundaries, and “not all men” is the immediate response rather than any attempt to work with women to allay their fears or deal with the causal root of the issue one could say that’s very typical of a “so what” society.

When violence against women is met with questions like “but what was she wearing“, or when society sexualises young women like schoolgirls and thinks this is normal- the infantilisation of women for sexual pleasure- one must truly question whether society works for women, or whether it’s already the common case that when women speak about women’s issues they’re met with “so what”.

The disabled

What would likely typify the behaviour of a “so what” society when referring to disabled people? Say, in the midst of a pandemic, throwing off all restrictions to mitigate spread and ensure people were kept safe? Or perhaps not giving full living wage allowance to those forced to care for relatives who either cant afford or just don’t want to house their loved one in a care facility?

In a “so what” society, giving space and air time to disabled people would be a rarity because it would underscore the lack of support for disabled people in a country that barely tolerates the audacity of someone to be disabled, and those who do speak against the government struggle to be heard.

And when, at the height of death in the pandemic, the government legislates enforced Do Not Resuscitate orders for disabled people you have the true measure of whether a society does, or does not feel “woke” about disabled people’s issues.

You have what you want

Society has long been about asking people to at the very least control their voicing of their inner thoughts- think what you want, but don’t say it. Even this has become too much for the polemic group of anti woke nonsense pushing. Simply being asked to think whatever you want, no matter how heinous but keep it in your head is a travail they cannot endure. And yet when it is our comfort, our autonomy, our names, our pronouns, our liberties we ask to be respected -they cannot do so. How strange that we must return the favour which is never employed for us?

When you look closely at our society, you begin to understand that the issue that the anti woke crowd have is simply that they aren’t able to thoughtlessly speak with impunity – but none of us are barred from doing just that, we just elect to be decent people. What we have is a crowd of people desperate to have society foster their desire to say bad things without being made to feel guilty for them.

I’m afraid, dear anti wokers- you have the society you desperately crave and you’re wasting time asking for it to be more closed. Imagine what society would be like without allowances for difference, without consideration for other people; a deep, dark and horribly unhappy place where even the discussion of inequality cannot be stomached because it may make people feel bad.

If you really want to know what the society of your dreams looks like, perhaps it’s time to realise that it’s actually your worst nightmare.

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.

We Need To Talk About Identity, Consent and Feminism

By Daviemoo

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses sexual assault. I’m also a self aware wolf. This is an opinion piece by a cis, gay, male person, discussing distinctly trans and mostly female issues. This is my take on it, I am not an authority, a judge, an expert- I’m just very opinionated and wanted to put my two cents out there. Disagree- that’s absolutely fine-this is how it looks from my perspective.

Another tweet by JK Rowling, another scramble to either defend or decry her. But as this endless culture war continues, who are the real victims- trans women, cis women-all women? It’s certainly not the perpetrators of the acts in discussion – cis men.

So much anger and vitriol is in the war on trans rights now- and it is a war on trans rights, however else you spin it. Transphobic people want to remove trans people’s rights, established and wholly enshrined ones – along with preventing access to new ones like faster healthcare or an improved programme of self ID- they are also quite openly cheering another delay in the ban on conversion therapy.

Photo by Setve Moore on Pexels.com

The last thing I’m sure that’s needed is yet another cisgender man weighing in. So let me state quite purposefully that nobody needs to listen to me as a person of authority on this topic, I’m not a cis woman and I’m not a trans person. But I am tired of seeing disgusting accusations of perversion or sexual assault levelled at friends of mine who I care greatly about, of seeing their vital healthcare needs ignored, of seeing slander and threats of violence fly across the internet- and I assure you as someone hugely supportive of the trans community who also believes that women are the horrific victims of a stone deep misogyny that runs through every society today, that I would condemn any trans people or allies issuing the above.

JK Rowling last night shared an article regarding how, in Scottish law amendment, rape would be categorised should it be committed by a trans woman. The article stated that this – currently theoretical by the way- process would allow for the person who committed the rape to identify their gender. Many people immediately leapt into Rowling defence mode- why would you want a RAPIST to be able to identify themselves how they want, why should they be lumped in with WOMEN’S crimes when WOMEN can’t commit rape according to the law? The critique I personally have with the law Scotland propose is that even if the individual has not changed gender, they will still be recorded with the gender they state- that, right there, can blatantly lead to misleading statistics and harmful effects on women, both cisgender and trans. It’s potentially damaging to the trans community to allow this to happen and needs to be further amended and would muddy the actual water for the recording of statistical figures which we use to combat crime. But the biggest problem comes from the simple notion that a person’s identity is often bigger than just them.

A person’s identity doesn’t change because you don’t like them

You don’t have to respect a person’s morals or actions to acknowledge their identity, and removing someone’s trans identity because they are a rapist is, ironically, counter intuitive to gender critical ideology anyway- if you’re bent on proving that trans people are a danger, removing their trans status just adds their transgressions back to the demographic of their assigned sex, rather than proving trans people are inherently a danger. Adding obsolecence to recording figures because of our personal distaste for the acts committed is foolish – if a person identifies as trans, record them as trans- after all gender critical people, surely recording crimes with cis or trans will allow for accuracy in your condemnation of a community you firmly believe do this… right?

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Let’s be clear- rapists are disgusting and commit heinous acts which destroy people’s self confidence, damage their body and can ruin their lives. The issue comes with the fact that someone’s identity is tied in to conditions- if a rapist can have their identity denied, then why can’t an armed robber? Or just a robber? Or a person who commits assault? Or what about an angry person? Maybe just a person you disagree with? How about you just don’t like them? It’s a slippery slope, and it’s an understandable one when you look at crimes as truly heinous as sexual assault- we want rapists to suffer, they dehumanise others- but adding conditionality to a person’s identity affects more than them – I don’t respect rapists, but I respect my trans friends enough to know that if I misgender someone, no matter how heinous they are, it’s a warning that I could do the same to them if they don’t toe the line. Calling people like Caitlyn Jenner a man might seem funny to supposed allies- but it shows your trans friends that if they are the “wrong type” of trans person, you’ll do it to them too, that you’re only humouring them. It’s pretty disgusting. Caitlyn Jenner is a horrific person- and a woman.

The overarching issue as well, is doubling down on such a specific aspect of such a systemic crime- the statistics show worrying numbers for both trans and cis people- 50% of trans people have experienced serious sexual assault, and that 97% of women have been sexually harassed in at least one way. Perhaps people under such serious and constant threat of sexual assault should work together to counteract this heinous abuse. Of course, gender critical people would state that it’s trans people who offer that threat- with very little credence to back this up beyond a biased BBC article which at first featured a lesbian rapist condemning coercion and assault (hmm) and stories like Karen White, a trans rapist in women’s prisons- White is a threat against women around her and denying that is simply stupid- but is she only a threat against cis women or a threat against all women, and should be treated accordingly? And I researched further breakdowns of trans vs cis offense rates and was presented, naturally, by the scrivened research given to the government by fair play for women- a trans hate group, debunked here. Nobody worth listening to is denying the existence of evil trans people any more than we deny the existence of evil cis men or women, evil gay men or women- every demographic has it’s demons. Until gender critical people strip off the top layer of their fury and understand that nobody is denying transgender rapists exist, but that the wholesale condemnation of the entire trans community for the actions of a minority in a minority is just prejudice, no productive discussion can happen. Outliers exist and the demonization of all of the community based on outliers leads to… well, this.

Having myself been through sexual assault by several men- and two cis women, by the way- I can say that I understand that the extra, horrific and protracted things that go in hand with rape from someone with a penis, is horrific- there are elements to being sexually assaulted with a penis which make it horrifying in other ways that other transgressions do not- but it does not lessen the severity of someone who does not have a penis sexually assaulting you. Crossing of bodily boundaries is horrific, and nobodies’ experiences of this should be ignored or understated. I’m convinced that Lily Cade’s (the BBC article’s disgraced commenter) many victims would state that her gender wasn’t forefront of their minds when she stole away their consent.

Rapists must have their personal details recorded to an excruciating degree- not to invalidate their trans status, but for the vital enhancement of society. We must have clear statistics on who is and is not committing these horrific crimes – and more knowledge on gender would assist with this. Being trans is not a bad thing, so I would posit that recording a rape committed by a trans woman should go down as a rape committed by a trans woman. This would allow trans people to demonstrate that they are no threat: when the number of trans predators are revealed, it would bring exoneration to a community doomed to be sentenced to guilt based on the actions of a small number amongst them. Until then, the disparity of numbers will continue to be a source to lionise gender critical people, who seem to assume that one trans person who is a pervert means all trans people are, and will leave trans people unable to defend themselves with a simple “look at the numbers”. I also believe that the endless argument gender critical people often use that “women can’t commit rape” is ridiculous. If a person is found to have invaded your body without consent, it’s down to the victim to decide – the wordplay of gender critical people stating “that’s not rape” doesn’t ingratiate me to think I’m talking to sensible people with decent morality-nobody can tell you that someone crossing your boundaries is or is not this horrific crime.

Another argument which is constantly brought up is “where should trans rapists go?” and frankly I am the wrong person to ask as I’m of the keen opinion that all rapists should be turned into slurry- perhaps a harsh standpoint but not if you’ve experienced it- if you’re willing to cause someone long term to permanent mental and sometimes physical harm i fail to see how that’s something you can be rehabilitated from – it takes time and intent to commit a crime like that, it takes a fundamental ignorance of someone elses’ needs, wants and requirements. So I suppose my answer is this- why are we housing rapists in general population at all? Gender irrespective, why should a rapist walk amongst others? If you have been proven guilty of disregarding someone’s bodily autonomy you cannot be trusted to be around anyone. Lock them in isolation to serve out their sentences- anything else shouldn’t be countenanced, and if the argument of a prisoner’s bodily autonomy is raised- if they cannot respect someone else’s, why in turn should theirs be? A breach of bodily autonomy is a crime only paid with recompense.

Put the victims back at the front of the discussion

I can’t help but feel, in these discussions around trans folk and the unfounded accusations of perversion, that victims of sexual assault are left in the dark. The weaponisation of gender identity means that the victims of this horrific crime are left to founder as their horrible experience is turned into a stick to beat transgender people with. Putting the victim’s welfare front and center instead of using their decimation as an “a ha!” moment is a failure on anyone’s part. And assigning the title of “less distressing” to crime because it was committed by a woman against a woman is the height of rape apologism. You don’t get to decide how disgusted someone feels when their body is invaded by someone else. The “yes but” of gender critical people when a woman speaks out about sexual assault by another woman is horrific. I have literally seen a gender critical woman tell another woman who was talking about her rape by a female family member, “well, that’s not rape” as though this should be of any comfort, an easy dismissal of a horrifying experience.

The irony in this endless war is that neither side gains- but both sides lose. Cisgender women who would otherwise be indifferent are being radicalised into believing that every trans woman is a male pervert, playing dress up to lure you into unsavoury positions. Firstly- it’s wrong to conflate trans women with men. Behaviourally, societally, trans women and cis men are different, from presentation to healthcare needs and on and on. Whether you agree with gender identity or not, that point cannot be picked apart. And when it comes to the number of cisgendered men who do dress as women, who utilise, or reproduce aspects of trans women, who mimic cis women, this is because of their- cis, male- perversions or fetishisation and not because of their gender identity. This behaviour is wholly the fault of their own individual selves, not that of a community they are not a part of and whilst it’s simple to conflate a perverse cis man with a trans woman it is wholly wrong to do so- they are not the same. The threat offered by one is vastly different from the threat from another. And on the other side, people who simply want to live, be safe, not be demonised and have access to gender affirming healthcare to help them be who they are, are being pushed to attack those who are demonising them. Trans people and trans women in particular are held to a disgracefully high level of conduct. Every time a transgender woman commits a transgression the entire community is brought out for scrutiny, the example thrown in their face as if it’s not their own stomach dropping worst nightmare to see someone in their community lending a shred of credence to the dire warnings of their detractors.

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For my part as a cisgendered man, I believe that society and media (initially- the onus becomes yours when you act instead of deconstruct) fails a huge number of people who are born in male bodies- regardless of whether they stay that way. I don’t know where it is that society fails to instil the idea that someone else’s bodily consent comes before their sexual pleasure, but that it does. Until this issue- the issue of a society bent on pitting women against each other to the delight of men who continue to benefit from that system- is addressed, men will continue to help women attack the trans community because they know that it benefits them to evade scrutiny. Trans women take the fall for the actual issues of cisgendered men and the cycle will continue until trans people are shown not to be this nascent danger that the gender critical movement paints them to be.

Ultimately, spotlighting trans people and their wish to be identified as they are, rather than what society dictates will continue on. Despite the horrific attacks on trans people in the media, in literacy- and in very real life, people will continue to be trans. Regardless of gender affirming healthcare’s availability, trans people will continue to exist. They do not transition to fit your idea of womanhood or manhood, they do so for themselves, as surely as you transition from unclothed to clothed every morning, choosing what aspect of your masculinity or femininity you choose to highlight, or not to highlight anything at all. It’s a longer and more intimate process, but it’s that process.

The rhetoric pushed by Rowling, Stock, Cherry, Bailey and more will continue only to serve those on the periphery of the debate. Cis men will continue to sit in the shadows, benefiting as trans rights are rolled back but punishment for rape continues to be vanishingly low- the statistics are horrifying, and a society that doesn’t take rape seriously is a failing society. And I need it to be clear that I stand with all women- but I do stand against a society that allows patriarchal continuance of the idea that only a man can rape, only a man has a penis etc. As surely as some men have large or small penises, as surely as some women can or cannot ovulate, nature and science are hopelessly more complicated than we will likely ever truly understand. And i trust that if a person tells me their gender, they know it better than I can or will, regardless of the causation behind it because I don’t believe a person is in control of the innate sense of self generated by their brains. I can’t help having brown eyes any more than a trans person can help being a trans person.

Societal acceptance is not a moral compass

When the rationales we face from gender critical people boil down to “well society says trans people are good/bad” I always have to roll my eyes. Was society correct when we burnt women as witches? When we put people of colour into indentured slavery? It was only 50 years ago it was legal for a man to rape his wife; society may claim to be the moral arbiter, but it has failed previously and it’s failing here- not just failing trans people, but failing cis women- and in fact, in it’s initial appraisal of them, failing the cis children who then go on to commit these heinous acts. This is not said to absolve them of guilt, but my rapist literally could not understand that climbing on to me when i was asleep and forcing himself into me was rape and that “if you’d start things with me I wouldn’t get horny and do it in my sleep” was a defence- whether this is his ability to deceive himself or society implanting this idea of absolution based on circumstance- or just the fact that rapists are missing a central part of humanity in caring about other people.

The propagation of the idea that trans women are wholly responsible for the crimes of the few is- at it’s core- transphobic, obviously. Am I responsible for the crimes of other gay men? While we may all bear responsibility societally for ensuring our fellows do not commit horrible acts (women asking men to ensure their friends are checked when they are misogynistic for example), that is not a fair parallel to enforce upon anyone- and their identity shouldn’t be revoked based on their transgressions either, no matter how heinous, because it’s a slippery slope- look at Priti Patel’s new legislation talking of the deprivation of citizenry as an example- If the worst offenders who have naturalised to British can have their citizenship, then why not offenders? If not offenders then why not those who COULD BE offenders…? It’s all too easy to take a little before taking a lot.

Cis women’s concerns

I can’t speak to the issues cisgendered women feel when it comes to transgender women in their spaces. And perhaps there’s some understanding of why cis women feel the uptick in trans women coming out feel threatened by the emergence of a larger portion of a very small demographic. But I know the answer is not to attack or buy into radical theories of perversion or sexual gratification, it’s not to retreat into the dungeons of the internet to swap affirmations about what the “right type” of woman or womanhood is. Whether you agree that trans people are who they tell you or not, demonising them and running away or screaming in their face- digitally or in person- is not going to win you favour or credulity. One side is asking for respect of their identity, healthcare and easier ways to quietly become the person they are within. The other side may have originally stood with valid questions the community could answer and could solve or dispel with simple discussion and a demonstration they are not a threat, but has morphed by degrees into a persecution that is wholly unhelpful to either side.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

The women I know have explained to me that it’s not trans people who scare them, but people who have penises- seeing a penis as a weapon, as someone who has one, was at first a shocking viewpoint. Then I remembered the damage done to me by someone else and all came clear. For some in this debate, for some reasonable cis women (and by extension a small number of well meaning cis men) it’s not directly about trans identity but about people with a penis who can conceal it- but of course to a trans woman who may, or may not, fit into this group, again they are hit by the splashback of a demographic they don’t necessarily belong to, or feel they should.

When it comes to spaces Is it fair to ask a trans woman who has been sexually assaulted not to seek help from a survivors group because she’s trans, something she didn’t choose but just is? Or is it the experience of being degraded and having your body stolen that brings everyone in those groups together? It’s absolutely, completely clear that a cis man should not be welcomed into a group around an act a fellow cis man has partaken in, and as a gay man I wouldn’t expect to be allowed in. As to trans women…? Do they not deserve support from their sisters? Gender be damned, if someone has been through such a horrific experience and seeks support surely that overrides all. Equally, I’ve been to a diverse survivors group which featured LGBT+ people. There was no threat because we were all there to support each other. Problematic people would have been removed. It’s about the group’s individual efficacy, surely, not about the identities within?

I know this post might anger some of my friends and that’s absolutely not my intent- but I know that the daily back and forth, aided by allies and very intelligent trans people on one side and worsened by millionaire authors, ex tv show writers, academics and the press on the other, is not going to get anyone anywhere. the mire is thick, but can be escaped from. I’d urge gender critical people to stop listening to the same recitations of threat and start listening to the insistence of a community that does not mean you harm. And to my trans friends whoever you are and wherever you may be- keep being yourselves in the face of all of this because one day you’ll be able to show the world who you are without fear of persecution. You’re more than a sign on a bathroom door, you’re more than clothes or hormones and you’re certainly more than the whispered recycling of anti gay idealogues from the 70’s.

I’m certainly not saying “don’t listen to cis women’s concerns” but what I am saying is, bear in mind which cis women you’re listening to and how entrenched in this they are.

Come together, work together and progress to dismantle the patriarchy. Or keep recycling the arguments so prominent on the net today, and watch as cisgendered men just keep winning a game they’re cheering on from the sidelines.

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.