The #MeToo phenomenon and what, if anything, anyone can do about it

For those who have somehow missed all this, ‘Me, too’ is what someone wished she had said when a thirteen year-old girl told her she had been sexually abused. #MeToo became a digital movement in 2006, and spread astonishingly in October last year after allegations were made against the alleged sexual predations of film producer Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein was fired from the company he started, and suffered other losses as well. His career is in ruins. Thereafter came a cascade of allegations about other alleged baddies in the media, Hollywood and television, which you can see here.

In the USA the movement has spread to other areas of male dominance, like the judiciary and politics. Sometimes the alleged miscreant resigns at once, or withdraws from the scene. Few of the allegations have yet come to court. One man in Australia has gone on the attack, taking to court the newspaper that reported the alleged harassment by him. Nothing has been heard since of the allegations about him. I’m not using names in this essay, because the names are not the point. What I want to reflect on are some issues that arise from the #MeToo phenomenon.

The first is that some of the alleged miscreants have been tried by media, and found guilty at once. No trial of any kind. Weinstein was certainly one. Ordinarily, a person accused of some crime is presumed innocent until found otherwise by a duly constituted court. That has not been the case in any of the examples I have read. Indeed, as I wrote above, nothing has yet come to court, to the best of my knowledge.

The second is the awful problem of what is to count as evidence. I once had to sit in adjudication on a complaint where a young man and a young woman gave conflicting accounts of a relationship. For her it was under duress. For him it was consensual. What duress? If she did not continue the relationship he would tell her family about it, she said, and she would be unmarriageable. There was disagreement even about the extent of consensuality at the beginning. Two stories, both plausible, each without any corroborating evidence of any kind. I was able to arrange a more or less acceptable outcome, and as far as I know that was the end of it. Certainly, there were no further complaints from the young woman. In the #MeToo list there are hundreds of cases where there would be no evidence, just two stories.

Third, the nature of the complaints ranges from rape to wolf-whistles. The first has a technical meaning in law, and means what you probably think it means. But what exactly is ‘sexual harassment’? What is ‘inappropriate behaviour’? What about ‘suggestive remarks’? What about ‘undressing me with his eyes’? What about ‘touching’? Touching one another is often called for, in occasions of grief or joy, or in meeting, or with grandchildren, or when one needs to help another. When is it ‘inappropriate’? When the woman doesn’t like it, is my inference from what I have read. Fair enough. Some women are happy with a man inside their personal space; some don’t like it at all. How is a man to know in advance?

Fourth, how indeed? Without giving men a Get out Jail Free card, it has to be said that most young men have a lot to learn about women, and much of it they will need to learn through failure. In short, interactions between young men and young women, the first looking above all for sex, the second looking for a man with whom they could have a meaningful relationship, are bound to produce a lot of trial and error. When is it OK to compliment a woman on her dress (often code for her physical appearance)? When is it permissible to suggest a date, a dinner, a movie? How persistent should you be, if the desired woman says no to an invitation? (I recall Mr Collins’s proposal to Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.) What about flirting? There seems to be a growing and angry feminist response that the woman must be in sole charge of these interactions. I wonder how that could possibly work.

Fifth, there is a power + beauty element in all of this. There are areas where you get a lot of alpha men and a lot of attractive women. Parliament is one, as I mentioned the other day in the essay about Barnaby Joyce. Hollywood, television, the media generally, the theatre — all have something of this characteristic. The ‘casting couch’, where a powerful man beds a young and aspiring actress, is as old as Broadway theatre.

That is not to excuse the use of power to gain sexual favours. But it as well to remember that women are attracted to powerful men, and can have the illusion, or the delusion, that they might become such a man’s girlfriend, mistress or even wife. In consequence they may be prepared to ride their luck, rather than saying ‘No’ at once to certain kinds of invitation. There’s neat little story in The Atlantic that suggests such a state of mind, and you can read it here.

Sixth, setting the sex element aside, what the women who contributed to #MeToo have been talking about is a more general question, which is workplace bullying. Men too have faced a lot of this. In their case, what is implied is something like ‘Shut up, know your place, or you’re out of here!’ For women the threat is ‘Come across, or you’ll never get any work in my organisation’. In both cases it doesn’t even have to be said. If you’re there, you know what the threat is.

I have no general solutions to all or any of this. I think that the rise of women to positions of power in Western society has occasioned an impatience on their part with older styles in which many men almost thought they had an entitlement to pursue and harass colleagues or employees. Glass ceilings or no, women are beginning to make waves in medicine and in law, just because so many of the graduates are women. Even there, whistle-blowers are not protected enough. What saved the initial speakers against Mr Weinstein was the sheer number of women who added their own names and complaints. Too often the complainant in such a case is told to grow up, or let it ride. #MeToo is powerful, and suddenly the victims are men. As the new boss in one place I was quickly asked to intervene in a work situation where a man in charge of several women felt able to pull at a bra strap, or make suggestive comments. Previous CEOs had not taken the matter seriously, and I was new. I could stop it, and did. I was told that the news of my action ended some other examples of male high-handedness. I was both puzzled and annoyed that a man would behave like this.

I was brought up, as I have written in other essays, to treat women with respect. My entire school education occurred in co-educational schools where the girls were our equals in academic proficiency, as was the case at university. Walking on the road side of the footpath with my girl (‘to protect her from carriage splashes’, as my first girlfriend noted), opening doors for women and allowing them to precede, pulling chairs out for them — I have practised that courtesy protocol all my life. I have only once had my actions rejected, and then rudely (‘I’m quite able to look after myself, thank you!’). This was the late 1970s, from memory. Courtesy and respect are everything. Are these underpinnings of civilisation disappearing in our society?

What can we do about it? As parents we need to give our children firm guidelines about how adults treat the opposite sex, and these guidelines had better reflect our own behaviours. What should you say to your pretty daughter who wants to work in films. ‘Read about Harvey Weinstein’, I might say, with the caveat that nothing has yet come to court. At a wedding the other day, a gay wedding with a most moving ceremony, I asked an long-standing woman friend whether she had been sexually abused. ‘Not at all,’ came the quick reply. ‘What about sexual harassment?’ I persisted. ‘I guess so.’ ‘What did you do then?’ I asked. ‘I told him to piss off’, came her reply. I then asked the young woman serving behind the bar, explaining the reason for my intrusive questions. I got exactly the same answers.

It sounded good, but it might be more difficult if the man was the head of the film company, and you wanted a part. Rule #1, I think, is ‘Don’t go into his bedroom’. If it is a professional matter, say you’ll see him in his office. If it is not, then you are on your own.












Join the discussion 145 Comments

  • David says:

    Happy International Women’s Day.

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    It seems to me that ‘social media’ are potentially extremely dangerous organisations, akin to the lynch mobs in days of yore, able to harness thoughtless impulsiveness into actual action. A harbinger of the revolution?

  • margaret says:

    “AT THE ROOT of WOW’s philosophy is the understanding that, in the words of American author and feminist Audre Lorde, ‘we do not lead single-issue lives’. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to resolving gender inequity. Giving proper respect to the realities of difference – intersectionality – is the only way the human race can resolve this. Making way for more women at the top of society, but at the same time perpetuating other outdated power systems – such as discrimination on the grounds of disability, age, sexual identity, class, caste or race – is merely a cosmetic makeover. We have to do better than that. WOW seeks to model the changes we would like to see and much of the planning around our festival content and contributors focuses on ensuring inclusiveness.”

    • dlb says:

      I’m glad in that article she gave some mention of the elephant in the room. The misogyny of many non-western cultures.

      • margaret says:

        Yes, a lot of non Western cultures are horrifically violent towards women. I recently saw a video clip taken in Singapore of two men attacking a woman with a broad knife, a panga. One of the attackers was believed to be a jealous husband who thought his wife had been unfaithful.
        Still, the weapon of choice may be different in Western countries but the level of domestic violence is still horrific.

    • PeterD says:

      Hi Bryan,

      In the American west a ‘lynch’ mob, driven by powerful, turbulent emotions, often took the law into their own hands because of a deep disgust with the legal/judicial processes. So, too, in a legal sense Kelly O’Dwyer – lawyer/Minister for Women in the Government – is, like you, very cautious about ‘airing of allegations in open forum’.

      An interesting question: in what circumstances do people believe the law or its judicial processes will almost certainly fail them?

      A great example is from a current film, ‘Sweet Country’, where an aboriginal man is about to be lynched but a visiting judge enforces respect for legal processes, conducts the trial, exonerates the accused. The irony is that the aboriginal man is shot on the way home, apparently by the policeman who arrested him. So still a lynch mob, with a twist.

      Another interesting example is the line-up of women, first against Bill Clinton, and now against Donal Trump. The latest legal niceties that come into play are fantastic: first the lawyer who arranges the hush-up pays out of his own pocket; and second, the porn actress claims the contract was invalid because it was not signed by Dennis(allegedly Trump). As an aside, the response of presidential wive’s to their husband’s infidelities is generally private, extremely painful and sometimes bewildering. Hilary’s explanation was that Bill ‘was a hard dog to keep on the porch’.

      Over a long period of time many sexual abuse victims were unable to obtain legal redress because they could not resolve the legal impediments confronting them or because of barriers to gathering evidence, as shown in the film, ‘Spotlight’ were [man]ipulated. It is also likely to be the case that many, many women over a long period of time have been, for many different reasons, unable to substantiate their allegations in a legal sense.

      Returning to your posting: I am referring to the examples of Harvey Weinstein, Craig McLaughlin and Geoffrey Rush. The latter two are pursuing legal cases whereas Harvey, going by Academy Award jokes and the OSCAR court of public opinion, has been lampooned, pilloried, run out of town. Enough said. What is also interesting in the three cases is the number of allegations in each instance. Crude quantitative measures are insufficient for acquittals/convictions in law for MeToo# area but great, apparently, for climate change.

      When you refer to ‘lynch mobs’ and ‘thoughtless impulsiveness’ I tend to agree with it in the case of Geoffrey Rush whose reputation around the world has been traduced on the basis of very little evidence but it is currently before the courts. Craig McLaughlin’s reputation has also been shattered and he admits to coarseness and a lewd culture on set, as well as being a ring-leader, but he resists the core central charges: that too is presently being contested in the courts. So the law remains the main battleground.

      I generally agree with your view that in these situations ‘social media are potentially extremely dangerous.’ Nevertheless, if I experienced what the Foster family had in Melbourne, or what many woman have in US film settings – with no likelihood of justice before the law – then I would use social media as a ‘last shot in the locker’.

      • Bryan Roberts says:

        Hello Peter,

        I rather doubt that people in the American west felt a “a deep disgust with the legal/judicial processes.” My opinion is that they knew the answers, and were just impatient for the end result.

        As for sexuality and social media, I recollect a singular circumstance, in Perth, in the 80s, when the paedophilia scare was at its height. The police were called because a man was sitting, alone, in a public park, in which children were playing. Today, that man could have his reputation and career destroyed, by a single photo and suggestive comment on social media.

        I remember it vividly, because I owned a house with a lane at the back, and one morning I was putting out the garbage, when a young girl came up, and obviously wanted to talk. My first thought was “I should not be seen alone with this girl”. Possibly not my proudest moment, but that’s what PC did, even in those days.

      • michael says:

        surely it is incorrect to conflate domestic violence and sexual harassment. The latter is increasingly difficult to determine acceptable behaviour as the goalposts are unfathomable. Will the mixed workplace become completely desexualised leading to anodyne workwear, it certainly is going in the direction

  • spangled drongo says:

    According to our darling Auntie, too many women are never enough.

    Yesterday the ABC who already have a serious gender imbalance of women, replaced established men’s programs with women “guest” speakers at, no doubt, enormous cost to the taxpayer.

    MeToo, MeToo!!!

    Doesn’t it make you feel good?

    • PeterD says:

      Hi Bryan,

      Whenever you have a ‘lynch mob’ you do have powerful, turbulent emotions at work and certainly people aren’t intellectualising about the law’s delay, the proud man’s contumely or a ‘deep disgust with the legal/judicial processes’. It is often ugly, brutal, mob-driven as in the film, ‘Sweet Country’ which I referred to. As Bacon says, “Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more a man’s nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.”

  • margaret says:

    “But it as well to remember that women are attracted to powerful men, and can have the illusion, or the delusion, that they might become such a man’s girlfriend, mistress or even wife. In consequence they may be prepared to ride their luck, rather than saying ‘No’ at once to certain kinds of invitation.”
    I think maybe women are simply attracted to men, as men are to women. That is, if they’re not attracted to same sex. It’s called being a sexual human at the stage of life when the libido itself is powerful. If some women are attracted to powerful men it’s time that men (without power) can be shown to be attracted to powerful women perhaps?
    I don’t agree that men are all looking for sex and all women are looking for a man to have a meaningful relationship with. That is both socially conditioned and structured by church protection of women’s virginity and patriarchy put in place by … guess who? Powerful men. Men don’t often become “powerful” until, if lucky, their career trajectory has taken them into middle age.
    Some of the sweetest (and I don’t mean sickly) relationships are teenage and twenties when power isn’t the big factor. Then again, some of the most brutal of breaks also happen then.
    People get hurt emotionally by love not sex. Sex only hurts when used carelessly without regard for the person you’re having it with. Can happen whether someone is married or not.
    So, how important is sex education about feelings and respect as well as contraception? It is hugely important – from early Primary years in an age appropriate way.

    • spangled drongo says:

      “I think maybe women are simply attracted to men, as men are to women.”

      So you don’t believe that men and women are different and have often sought different types of relationships, marg?

      Do you know any powerful women in history that had a harem of young men and/or male concubines?

      I seem to remember a Roman Emperor’s wife [Messalina, third wife of Claudius] who was insatiable and put the army to good use but I can’t remember many.

      But these days I’m sure it could be organised through appropriate regulation.

      • margaret says:

        You’re a jerk

        • spangled drongo says:

          “If some women are attracted to powerful men it’s time that men (without power) can be shown to be attracted to powerful women perhaps?”

          Somebody is.

      • Bryan Roberts says:

        “Do you know any powerful women in history that had a harem of young men and/or male concubines?”

        Yes. Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, was Empress of Russia from 1762 until 1796, the country’s longest-ruling female leader. She was known as Catherine the Great.

        “Catherine had 22 male lovers throughout her life, some of whom would reap political benefits from their relationship with her, and many of whom were significantly younger”

        She was tiny, but obviously a hottie.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Margaret, I was talking about ‘young men and young women’ not ‘all men and all women’, and was making the point that young men have to learn how to approach young women. And that takes time and some failures. A young woman of 18 is, roughly, as mature as a young man of 23. On the whole young women look for older guys, and are sought by them as well. Look at marriages and the ages of the partners.

      By and large I agree with the rest of your remarks here.

      • margaret says:

        There are a lot of long term relationships I know of where the couple are the same age or one or two years older or younger men and women both. Some of them were formed in late adolescence during some sort of tertiary education or early working life. So whilst the data will undoubtedly back you up, it’s all too easy to then assume that it is the norm when surely it is simply the average.

        • Don Aitkin says:

          The ‘norm’ is an average, though you probably know it as the ‘mode’. One of our children is married to a woman five years older. Yes, there are all sorts of relationships, but my guess (I’ll search for statistics) is that the norm[al] ration is an older man/younger woman.

          • margaret says:

            You are the statistician – all I was trying to say was that data can often make us believe in the stereotypes and deny the actualities.

          • margaret says:

            The subtleties? The nuances? The f….ing truth of humanity!?

          • dlb says:

            Well what is wrong with stereotypes? Most things in nature and society are normally distributed (the bell curve). A majority 68% of the population lie within one standard deviation of the average, I would call that stereotypical, and in this example it would probably only be marriages where the bride is younger. At the tail ends of the curve you would find marriages where there is an extreme age difference.

            Given the current PC concerns for the marginalised, I think marriages with a large age gap should not be discriminated against, and receive special benefits from the Government.

          • margaret says:

            Thanks for your useful contribution.

  • spangled drongo says:

    It’s interesting that the scene has swung from one extreme to the other. Hopefully it can now become more balanced with both sexes getting a fair go.

    Otherwise we will have to all declare gender fluidity and get it that way.

  • margaret says:

    “ . . . what, if anything, anyone can do about it”.

    Damn! – those problematic women. Can’t they just be happy and get back to their baking, making hospital corners on the bedsheets, and wearing pretty frocks and heels?

    • spangled drongo says:

      Teach the young girls well, their mothers’ hell will surely go by,

      And feed them on your dreams……

      “Girls empowerment camp cancelled after attorney claims it violates anti-discrimination laws”:

    • Don Aitkin says:

      I was wondering what men can do about it. I accept much of the #MeToo claim, though not necessarily every claim against every man. What should men do now?

      I don’t, and didn’t, have lunches or dinners with women other than my wife, and had developed a careful style with respect to meetings long ago — for example, the door to my secretary’s office was always open when I was interviewing a woman student or staff member (that was my secretary’s suggestion). I have had women students weep when their essay mark was not what they expected. And that was the 1970s. I have had a woman staff member enter my room, embrace me, and leave at once. Probably a dare. The point is that powerful men (I have been one) are marks. Every woman staff member knew who I was by sight, I would guess. I was conscious of that stare from women when I was teaching, too. You have to develop an ethical stance that becomes habitual. Hard for me, because I like women, and am well on the touchy/feely side. But it worked. I do know of senior counterparts who were not at all careful, and suffered (rightly, in my view) because of it. At a conversational evening the night before IWD I learned from two very powerful women that it was just ridiculous for men to follow the Pence (US V-P) rule (don’t have dinners or lunches with women who are not your wife). I thought that was appropriate thirty years ago, and still do.

      OK, what should men do?

      • margaret says:

        They need to stop feeling threatened by women and movements that probably don’t affect them personally.
        Stop with the rejoinder #notallmen.
        Women know it’s not all men.
        IF girls mature earlier or differently it’s not a reason to overcompensate for boys lack of maturity.
        Co-ed high schools are the way people learn to relate as well as learn. But current high schools are hideously outdated institutions in both their exteriors and the schedules that make forty minute periods per subject before shuffling off to another one.
        Going off topic now.
        Men can’t do anything unless they accept that women are both more and also less than from Venus. They live on planet earth with men and share more in common with them than society has ever allowed.

        • Don Aitkin says:

          I don’t feel threatened at all, and was a supporter of WEL back in the early 1970s. My dictum for the past fifty years is ‘Women are people.’ Who are all these threatened men?

          And though this should be placed elsewhere. What exactly is International Women’s Day for? Is it a celebration, or some kind of birthday, where we say ‘Happy IWD? The marchers in the streets in other countries don’t make IWD any kind of celebration. But here, surely, we can say that the status of women in Australian society has improved a great deal since the 1970s, when I became interested in it.

          And are we celebrating women? Surely not the one who killed her son yesterday, any more that we would celebrate a man who killed his wife. OK, what aspects of women are we celebrating? Any why wouldn’t we celebrate the positive life-affirming aspects of men?

          I think, from what I’ve seen and read recently, that the whole thing is a muddle.

      • dlb says:

        What should men do?
        Also begs the question, what do women want?

        Some are complaining the way men look them up and down.
        While others complain on reaching 50 they have become invisible.

        That anecdote Don relates about the woman coming into the office throwing her arms around him is interesting. If a man did this today he would probably be sacked. I would probably call it an indiscretion, maybe eyebrow raising, but not worthy of comment. If it continued and was unwanted I would then label it harassment. If both parties were consensual then I’d view it as unprofessional. In both the later cases I’d think there would be a case for a reprimand from someone superior.

        Last year I was in a medical centre having a minor sun spot cut out of my leg. A female nurse my age or slightly older rubbed my leg with alcohol and jokingly said “men like it when I do this”. I laughed and thought, when this lady started nursing the workplace was a lot more relaxed place.

        • Don Aitkin says:

          As I said to Margaret just above, the whole thing seems to be a muddle to me.

        • margaret says:

          dlb the nurse who rubbed your leg and had a joke. You were amused – nurses are still mainly women and always banter with patients – imagine the WWI nurses – amazing people, all women, their lives in service have been sanitised and romanticised of course.
          A male nurse would not even consider saying that to a woman patient if he wanted to keep his job. But should he be able to? And should the woman laugh? The world is different now dlb … and that is a sign of progress. More male nurses. More male primary school teachers will make a better world. But … as if.

        • margaret says:

          Funny isn’t it dlb the great choices women have. They can be looked up and down or they can be invisible. Which one would YOU prefer?

      • margaret says:

        Don the world of the university would be a seething hotbed of emotion and sex I am sure, given the age of its participants. We all were told that girls had “crushes”. Having felt those emotions myself during those years I have to now wonder about the word “crush” being applied to girls more than to boys.
        I guess you’re right about the girl/woman who threw her arms around you. You may well have been the focus of girls chatting in the cafeteria who were at the age of having a “crush” on an attractive professor.
        I won’t go on about the hazing scandals at the University of Sydney in the accommodation for rich students of privileged circumstances because that’s yet another example of ‘sex and power gone wrong’.
        Institutions need flatter structures but will never have them because they love hierarchy and hierarchy brings power to the few.
        As for International Women’s Day I have no idea how it came about. I’ll have to look it up. I guess as a day it raises awareness of issues that affect women of the world but of course it ends up being a day where middle class well paid journos say things on television programs that have validity within their own bubble and everyone else gets a bit pissed off with them.
        Being a … DAY, I don’t ‘celebrate’ it. My family background is not one that had a sense of occasion for various reasons so apart from birthdays, those days that have been manufactured to celebrate one thing or another in our capitalist patriarchy leave me cold.

  • dlb says:

    Perhaps this is what women want?

  • spangled drongo says:

    Women today claim they are as capable as men of comfortably coping with the real world and that’s why they demand equal rights and equal pay.

    Can you imagine a soldier, firey, police, ambo, emergency worker etc who are supposed to be able to look death in the eye unflinchingly while performing their jobs, squealing because someone pinched them on the backside or did something similarly “inappropriate”?

    Or are the metooers really just a bunch of woosers?

    Who really want it both ways?

  • spangled drongo says:

    It’s not uncommon for tradesmen these days to have female apprentices who are also their partners and I wonder with the guilty as stated situation for men how they can ever expect to be lucky enough to prevent terrible future problems.

  • margaret says:

    Well it definitely can’t be solved with a bonk ban 🙂 People are very unpredictable with all sorts of peccadillos.
    I’m sorry you’re all so confused.
    It seems pretty obvious to me. Every time a woman comments on what women have had to put up with in male dominated workplaces, other men say but “not me, I don’t do that” FFS it’s not about you it’s about patriarchal structures which of course suit some men and women but not the majority of human beings.

    • spangled drongo says:

      So what you’re saying marg, is that when you’re put to the test you are essentially too delicate?

      I don’t hear male school teachers having those problems even though they probably suffer just as much.

      Let’s face it, marg, women have never had it so good yet they have probably never whinged as much.

      Get over yourselves.

      • margaret says:

        Yes, a person’s level of sensitivity does affect how they see things. Should parents say to their children “Don’t be so sensitive?” My father said that to my sister often and to my mother. If I had lived with them in adolescence I’m sure I would have received the label also. He was actually a sensitive person himself but of course suppressed it as it’s not acceptable in men.
        Get out there on the cricket ground like David Warner the oaf and sledge for all you’re worth. A mother recognised sensitivity in her young son. She told a relative “I can’t stand sensitive children”. That child is now still a boy (as 18 year olds are) and is in the army.
        Anecdotes from life.
        Capitalism and Ayn Rand. Sex and skyscrapers. Career politicians and the women who love them. Donald bloody Trump and poor Melania.

        Jacqui Lambie agrees with you, she believes women simply need to be STRONG and tell men to piss off with their unwanted, unasked for attention in the workplace.

        I don’t agree.

        Workplace romances will always occur, but that’s not the same as overt sexism in male dominated workplaces. The girly calendars of old had to go when women became tradies.
        The Scottish MP in Westminster recently spoke of her experience of this horrible sexist bullying in parliament.
        Better stop and listen to the music, smell the roses, watch the birds and walk in the woods.

        • spangled drongo says:

          “If I had lived with them in adolescence I’m sure I would have received the label also. He was actually a sensitive person himself but of course suppressed it as it’s not acceptable in men.”

          That explains a lot, marg.

          Also, were you more comfortable at a girls’ or mixed school?

        • spangled drongo says:

          “Get out there on the cricket ground like David Warner the oaf and sledge for all you’re worth.”

          Demonstrating your sensitivity and understanding once again, hey, marg?

          • margaret says:

            I can’t access your link but I know all about the Sonny Bill incident. Elite athletes are one of my least respected groups of people, especially the ones with nothing much in the top paddock like Warner and Falzon and Shane Warne.
            Just go away Drongo … (I know … I’m irresistible).

          • spangled drongo says:

            “Just go away Drongo … (I know … I’m irresistible).”

            So that you can sledge on regardless, hey, marg?

            But those facts I point out to you when you blither are so inconvenient, aren’t they?

          • spangled drongo says:

            But before I go [if I do] I know the stuff you read wouldn’t mention this great bloke but check him out anyway.

            He is now in Australia and will improve your education no end:


          • PeterD says:

            The discussion between spangled drongo and Margaret can be cringeworthy at times

            In one corner we have such statements such as “women have never had it so good yet they have probably never whinged as much.”

            Some comments on this:

            *Many women never whinge about these issues.
            *There is clear evidence – even from the MeToo# forums that significant numbers of women have experienced sexist behaviour, bullying etc and have felt powerless to obtain legal justice
            * Many women, especially in lower paid jobs, encounter offensive behaviour at work – Vic Firefighter sort of harassment, belittlement, bullying etc
            * There is compelling evidence that powerful leaders such as Clinton and Trump have engaged in tawdry ex-marital relationships without incurring too much voter wrath in the US, indicating indifference(?) -apathy(?) towards this type of behaviour
            *Consensual sexual relationships such as Barnaby# are not an issue but the way Barnaby raised paternity status and hung his partner out to dry recently could be described as ‘appalling’ if one wanted to adopt tones of moral outrage.

            In another corner, we read a statement such as:

            “those problematic women. Can’t they just be happy and get back to their baking, making hospital corners on the bedsheets, and wearing pretty frocks and heels?” and “you’re a jerk” [nice!]

            This postings sets up windmills from another century around which to conduct bizarre jousting. If stereotypes from a ‘patriarchal society’ are to be identified surely they should be realistic, contemporary and relevant.

            spangled drongo has previously posted a link re Jordan Peterson [ ] and I found it well worthwhile: an incisive, very clear thinking clinical psychologist, being assailed by a BBC interviewer who insisted on making fine distinctions she resisted. Univariate/multivariate factors around what constitutes predictive factors of success on promotional ladders. It is not as if he is an opponent of women, having coached many of them in their career progression phases in Canada.

            He’s in Australia promoting his new book –

            [May have to copy and paste the links]

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            Peterson’s demolition of antagonistic interviewers is the stuff of legend. Cathy Newman was priceless, but there are many others worth a look.

          • dlb says:

            Here is Peterson describing a reason why we have a patriarchal career structure in the West.

          • margaret says:

            PeterD, Spangled Drongo, Bryan and all fans of Jordan B Peterson:
            I still haven’t watched Peterson demolish the journalist but I’ve read about her continual use of “So, what you’re saying is …” and turning his words into her agenda.
            Sounds pretty awful and I expect I’ll have to watch it although I only like YouTube for music.
            I’ve read that Peterson has an army of followers on Reddit, that he dispenses advice to young men and that he’s the closest thing to a celebrity that academia currently has. I’ve read about his refusal to use gender neutral pronouns and I’ve read a précis of his 12 rules for life which sound good if you like self-help books.
            I expect he’s both authoritative to listen to and telegenic which is always helpful, but he also sounds like a shooting star.

          • dlb says:

            Peterson openly admits he is riding an unexpected wave of fame. His main concern is that he has made enemies with some of those in power (the rabid elements of progressivism). So his time at the top could be deliberately cut short. All it takes is one mistake and they will be on to him like a pack of dogs.

          • margaret says:

            dlb that video clip was interesting.

          • margaret says:

            “One of his most compelling maxims is strikingly modest: “You should do what other people do, unless you have a very good reason not to.” Of course, he is famous today precisely because he has determined that, in a range of circumstances, there are good reasons to buck the popular tide. He is, by turns, a defender of conformity and a critic of it, and he thinks that if readers pay close attention, they, too, can learn when to be which.”
            The New Yorker

            A little bit of Jordan Peterson goes a long way. He really is very tiring.

          • dlb says:

            Especially if he is challenging your biases and preconceptions.

  • margaret says:

    Although I haven’t clicked those links I have read Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life some months ago. I liked them. I liked Christopher Hitchens also if that makes me more ‘balanced’ and not a total Marxist as S D likes to make me out to be.
    Since PeterD has stepped in to break up the sledging, I apologise S D for calling you a jerk and the other comments saying you are a Drongo.
    Now I’m goi g to watch Ted Egan play his Foster phone – have a nice afternoon chaps.

  • Aert Driessen says:

    I’m a bit late catching up with this, but I’m going to say that this is not an entirely even playing field, to use the new lingo. Females are fertile only some 4 days a month and I presume that they have complimentary hormones that affect behaviour for each part of the cycle. Hence for the species to minimise the chances of extinction, males, similarly driven by hormones, have to be ‘ready’ 24/7. Their hormones are turned on 24/7. I’m not offering that as an excuse for anything, but I am saying that we shouldn’t only consider the ‘social’ aspects of mating but also the hard-wired biological ones. Just a thought and definitely not an excuse.

    • margaret says:

      Is that why Abbott thinks taking the GST off tampons is unfair?

      • margaret says:

        Oh no wrong words. He said it would be ‘politically correct”

      • Boambee John says:


        A few years back we had both a female PM, and a female Health Minister. I haven’t checked, but I think that Penny Wong was Finance Minister at the same time. Why did not these women move then to resolve the GST/tampons issue when they had the power to do so? Was it because they prefer to use it as a “wedge” against non-Labor governments?

        • margaret says:

          How very remiss of them Bo J!
          Perhaps they were swamped by other “more important” matters – being in charge of the affairs of state and all.

          Thanks for picking that out though – one to bring up next time you’re at the Old Boys Club – maybe not though, one doesn’t like to be reminded of the messiness of women’s fertility when one is a chap. One only needs to know the windows of opportunity when one is a chap.

          • Boambee John says:


            Perhaps the present government is also “swamped by other “more important” matters – being in charge of the affairs of state and all”. If a government led by women cannot find the time to do something specifically for women, it is a bit harsh to criticise a government led by men for the same failing.

    • spangled drongo says:

      “I am saying that we shouldn’t only consider the ‘social’ aspects of mating but also the hard-wired biological ones.”

      Marg doesn’t believe men and women are hard wired differently.

  • margaret says:

    Some of you could take a leaf from Ted Egan’s wonderful understanding of humanity. He’s eighty five by the way.

  • margaret says:

    Notice I apologised. Notice I’m a woman. Notice a certain type of man rarely apologises. Did I say rarely?! Haha – is it not a given that to apologise in a male culture is a sign of weakness?
    You said.
    “those problematic women. Can’t they just be happy and get back to their baking, making hospital corners on the bedsheets, and wearing pretty frocks and heels?” and “you’re a jerk” [nice!]”
    My response is that the title of Don’s essay is problematic in that it appears to say MeToo is a problem that needs addressing by men in that ‘fixit’ kind of way that men want to solve a major breakdown in communication that can’t be fixed with a bandaid or a red rose and candlelight dinner.
    So, 1) The title, was probably interpreted by me not as Don intended- hence my response.
    2) if the cap fits wear it – S D was being one.

  • spangled drongo says:

    “Notice I apologised. Notice I’m a woman. Notice a certain type of man rarely apologises”. Notice how uncomfortable I am about apologising to someone who picks me up on a stupid statement and I react and call him a jerk. Notice how virtuous I am, though.

    Oh, dear!

    I didn’t notice that I had said anything requiring an apology, marg, but please remind me.

  • PeterD says:

    Hi Margaret,

    ‘Admonish’ is a trifle strong: I hope I have not been prudish. Even though there are a few sparks at times in these fora they are quite mild in comparison with those in ‘The Australian’ where I used to post for about six years. Twitter in particular is a forum that exacerbates anger, hostility and negative comments.

    I was interested in the question: ‘In what circumstances do people believe the law or its judicial processes will almost certainly fail them?’ I think this has long been the case with instances of the sexual abuse of children, though hopefully it is now beginning to change in Australia but I also believe that the MeToo# movement ignited because of the pent-up frustrations of many women who have experienced sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace. In terms of rules of evidence, what goes on in a workplace culture and behind closed doors etc, many women could see see the judicial processes failing them and so they have called it out and group dynamics have been activated online.

    Don’s column and other postings highlight associated issues and some of the dangers.


    • margaret says:

      I’ve long thought that women’s sexual liberation in the Sixties and Seventies after books like Greer’s The Female Eunuch were published, was co-opted by men for men. MeToo is part of that frustration about consent vs availability and the misunderstanding of young women and men about those two words.

      “The flipside to the destigmatisation of sex for women has been a sense of patriarchal entitlement to sex with women, which is why the painful conversation about consent in our new era of “freedom” must be confronted.”

      That is why or how I see the phenomenon of MeToo, aided by a hashtag on social media, sweeping the (mainly Western) world after bubbling along from an initial comment by Tarana Burke twenty odd years ago after meeting a young girl who had been sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend.

      Im glad you helped clarify my thoughts on this. I’m an admirer of Germaine Greer and yet I’ve never read The Female Eunuch. But because I’ve been through a few of the Ages of Woman, I remember a time when I was younger and in a “stronger position” when I dismissed her comments and behaviour for a while as those of as a “silly old bat” … that’s the sisterhood for you.

      • spangled drongo says:

        I always admired the way progs could so easily make a point that was proved by either side of the argument.

        Regardless of leaving themselves exposed to ridicule for complete lack of rationality.

        As in climate change.

        Whether it’s cold or hot it’s always due to Global Warming.

        Now female progs are doing the same with the sexual revolution.

        It’s the man’s fault no matter what.

        I wonder when they will claim that the cause of global warming has nothing to do with women?

        Or have they already done that?

  • PeterD says:

    Some insights from ABC’s The Minefield re MeToo#


    The #MeToo movement:

    *has all the marks of a revolution: it is uncompromising, intemperate and overtly punitive; it is fuelled by a passion for justice and the longing to see serial perpetrators exposed.

    *has made untenable the assumption that the one who reports sexual abuse is a lying slut

    *seems strikingly intolerant of internal dissent or principled moderation

    *raises relative questions around men being outed and publicly shamed, without due process, against sexual assault and oppression of women that are generally unlikely to be resolved in court

    *is a symbol of the failure of justice and points to the need to revitalise our institutions e.g., 3% of reported sexual assaults and rapes lead to convictions in Australia

    *poses the question of whether it can bring about a cultural reformation? Can it move beyond the zero-sum game of absolute justice, and instead revitalise just institutions? Can it maintain its passion while also maintaining a commitment to due process?

  • margaret says:

    “Sexual liberation did not give older feminists any more control over heterosexual sex than we’d thus far had. It did not give us the power to safely refuse sex. It did not guarantee us sexual pleasure and satisfaction. It did not change entrenched male entitlement to our bodies — indeed, it gave us less of an excuse to refuse. It did give us the means to protect ourselves from unwanted pregnancy, but it did nothing to stop us being raped, harassed and otherwise abused.“

    Jennifer Wilson in an article in Independent Australia

    • spangled drongo says:

      What do you think we should do, marg?

      • margaret says:

        Thanks for your question spangled drongo.
        I’ve been thinking overnight that nobody has mentioned online porn.
        Major oversight I think.
        So freely available and so totally NOT how young men should expect women to have sex with them.
        Surely it’s availability since the internet’s arrival has had consequences for the MeToo movement.
        What can good men do? It all comes down to early education don’t you think?
        Sex education is so essential to combat unrealistic expectations adolescents may have picked up on porn sites online about how to get and give pleasure.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      ‘entrenched male entitlement to our bodies’ — a piece of rhetoric if there ever was one. What on earth do you think she means?

      • margaret says:,11170

        I didn’t post the link because it’s a wade through. It isn’t interesting to most people on this forum because they don’t know the people involved in the debate.

        However, you wrote in this essay:

        “In short, interactions between young men and young women, the first looking above all for sex, the second looking for a man with whom they could have a meaningful relationship …”

        Does that not in broad terms imply a level of entitlement to women’s bodies?

        • Don Aitkin says:

          Good heavens, no! Why on earth would you think so? If you are correct then it should follow, I guess, that women think they have an ‘entitlement’ to a meaningful relationship with a man. They don’t, any more than young men are entitled to have sex with a woman they fancy. These arrangements — sex, relationship — require negotiation, persistence, and a decent amount of work. And, as I said in the essay, people fail in these negotiations too.

          Your later comments about me are even more puzzling.

          You don’t have to comment on everything, or respond to every comment. I do not, as a rule, reprove commenters unless they step over the line in coarseness or insult. The blog is there for people to read, and to comment on what they read, if they want to. No one is obliged.

          On the more general question, how many men do you know who are sexual harassers, abusers, rapists, or whatever? There is no need to answer — it is a question for your consideration. In what is a large extended family and a wide circle of acquaintances, I know of no one who fits that description or about whom there are or were even rumours. I know one who was thought to have acted ‘inappropriately’, and was passed over for a particular promotion probably because of it. That’s what I mean about numbers. The way you write, it is as though every male you see is a potential transgressor. Is that really your view?

          • David says:

            “I do not, as a rule, reprove commentators unless they step over the line in coarseness or insult”

            Don that’s a laughable comment. Your so selective. If the general tenet of the comment is in agreement with your beliefs, you will let it sail through no matter how coarse or insulting.

          • margaret says:

            I disagree Don. By saying, “In short, interactions between young men and young women, the first looking above all for sex, the second looking for a man with whom they could have a meaningful relationship …” , you are also implying that sex is a physiological need for young men but not for young women.
            In Maslow’s hierarchy the physiological need for sex was included in the need for things that sustain life at the basic level like food, air, sleep etc. It was included at this level because without sex there would be no reproduction of the species.
            Irrespective of Maslow’s hierarchy being criticised for the fact that people have different needs after those of basic survival that don’t necessarily match the pyramid structure, including sex as a need is as different from eating, drinking sleeping and breathing as a need can be.
            It’s different because it involves two human beings exchanging bodily fluids that sometimes, but not always, create new life.
            So, if it’s a human physiological need it’s not exclusively a male need in young men. It’s a human need.
            Either Maslow agreed with that or, people who interpreted Maslow’s physiological needs decided that the need was to serve young male libidos not young female libidos.

          • margaret says:

            “The way you write, it is as though every male you see is a potential transgressor. Is that really your view?“
            Don you don’t read what I write correctly. See my comment above.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Margaret, fair enough. But note that I was saying that YOUNG men are interested in sex at a time when YOUNG women are more interested in what would make a good relationship. Yes, women are interested in sex, but they need what they see as a proper base and context for it. Later on, men and women, in their mid thirties perhaps, know enough about themselves and life that they are able to make much better decisions about whom to approach and on what terms.

            I hope that makes better sense.

  • margaret says:

    #notallmen in this forum this is not about you.
    It’s about our sick society and the normalisation of women’s subjugation in the depiction of sex in online porn.

    “So, for all the men who have been asking what they can do in light of #MeToo, here’s a place start: stop linking your sexual arousal to women’s sexual subordination. Stop watching porn.”

    • spangled drongo says:

      Lots of women enjoy porn, marg, particularly with a man with sex to follow. It arouses them beyond their normal capacity.

      I haven’t watched porn for years but I still have sex.

      Do you watch porn?

      Do you still have sex?

      • margaret says:

        Oh for god’s sake … that’s in equal parts pathetic and intrusive spangled drongo.

        I don’t think, but please point out any of my comments Don Aitken that are recently cringeworthy that our moderator PeterD could pick me up on. However spangled drongo has, in his reply to my legitimate and serious inclusion of an article about online porn.

        What’s more SD you’ve shown yourself up as a sleaze bag.

        Grown adults are who you’re referring to no doubt.

        It’s still dubious as to why it’s necessary – (to ignite a boring relationship perhaps or just as a turn on in a highly sexual mutual situation between consenting adults?)

        The article discusses (and I believe Jordan Peterson also addresses this issue), teenagers/young men sitting in front of screens watching women in an industry from which they derive very little personal gain to their long term benefit … you absolute doofus/jerk. (Oops cringe alert).

        I bet Don, that it took you a little while to decide about this comment of SD’s.
        Are you the biggest troll of all on this website spangled drongo with your glossy black plumage, blood red eyes and long forked tail?

        Don you and you attempt to ask what MeToo is all about is a spectacular fail.

        Your recent comment in answer to mine is less than intelligent given the things I’ve brought up and you yourself are a defensive virtue signaller who self describes as an enlightened man who loves women.

        IT’S ALL BS.

        Good afternoon and before the rude boorish Bryan gets in – good riddance.

        • spangled drongo says:

          Do you honestly deny that women are big porn-watchers, marg?

          Why don’t you just answer the questions?

          They’re perfectly reasonable.

          Or could it be that you are too old and bitter and simply lost your emotional focus?

          One solution to your problem, marg, is to adopt the philosophy of some people we know who don’t allow girls to be educated, punish teachers for doing so, marry them off at 6 and make them keep completely covered for the rest of their lives.

          I’m sure you feminists would approve as I never hear you object to this practice.

        • PeterD says:

          Hi Margaret,

          Referring to me as a ‘moderator’ indicates a hypersensitivity to my comments above: I tickle you with a lettuce and you think I’ve struck you with a cricket bat. In regard to spangled drongo’s last two questions above, I regard them as cringeworthy, overly personal and offensive. That is only my opinion, however: please do not construe it as anything more than that.

          Previously you used the term ‘for all the men’ but it might be more accurate when writing about this phenomenon t phrase it ‘for all the men and a growing number of women’. In a 2006 review, 68% of those who viewed porn online were men while women only made up 13.6%. However, times are changing are fast due to—you guessed it—internet porn. In analytics released, women are 113% more likely to search the term “hardcore” than men. Drifting into topics such as porn and bizarre rhetoric such as ‘‘entrenched male entitlement to our bodies’ is a digression from the real potential that #MeToo offers:

          #MeToo is a symbol of the failure of justice, as I mentioned previously, and points to the need to revitalise our institutions, especially legal and judicial processes around sexual assault, and bullying in the workplace e.g., 3% of reported sexual assaults and rapes lead to convictions in Australia. The challenge for #MeToo is to protect and advance women’s wellbeing by retaining its passion while also maintaining a commitment to due process.

        • Bryan Roberts says:

          “before the rude boorish Bryan gets in”

          margaret, you seem to have a pretty thin skin to be dishing it out as vigorously as you are.

      • David says:

        “…but I still have sex”

        SD, is there any chance you could warn the Blog before you share personal information like this?

        It will save me from having to poke my eyes out!

  • margaret says:

    I may be completely wrong about this but I had recalled a comment by either PeterD or another chap, which you all are of course, tripitaka having long since departed, suggesting moderation by PeterD.

    Hence my term the moderator.

    The statistics you state about women now searching for “hardcore”, are fascinating. I expect that, even without inference that those women may belong to a young, sexually active, yet to become mothers of daughters, or, an older, hoping to keep up with modern sexual mores, possibly divorced and “on the market” again via the dating apps cohort, that a world that now embraces women as frontline soldiers and footballers who will prove to sustain as serious injuries as their male counterparts, requires a certain “testosterone like qualities”.
    Bryan, you like spangled drongo seem to have latched onto a family trait I have mentioned … so? Is your trait rudeness? Is sd’s obtuseness? You have been rude in the past and said good riddance to me. But this is all getting a bit nurny nurny nurny (she says in a singsong voice) isn’t it?
    Before you begin calling me neurotic … my preference is sensitive and if PeterD insists … hypersensitive. I own that.
    PeterD you have begun to mansplain. I understood and took on board the first time that you commented that MeToo is a result of a failure of the legal system around sexual assault. PeterD how can I construe anything more from your opinion? I’m not the woman who says “So, what you’re saying is …” to Jordan Peterson.
    A commenter said harassment and sexually inappropriateness shouldn’t be conflated with family violence, but why? There are problems there that women’s refuges, now closed down, assisted with.

    Once again, I’m sick of being the only woman commenting, and a hypersensitive one at that. The site would be better served by a few more types of women willing to come forward with their opinions, younger ones too sd.
    Yep I’m getting old, pushing seventy, and if anger is another word for bitterness, sure thing taunt away. But like Margaret Schlegel and her sister Helen, I can still appreciate the sunlight on the water.

    Goodbye it’s been fascinating.

    Dame Nellie Melba.

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      margaret, I find your defence fascinating. A blog is a gender/race/colour blind forum, yet you (and the unlamented triptaka) seem to believe that these factors give weight to your opinions. Enlighten me, please. Why?

      • David says:

        Well Bryan since you asked, Margaret and the dearly missed Tripitaka, are not pompous old white males (e.g. you), who’s opinions are over represented on this blog.

  • PeterD says:

    Hi Margaret,

    I raised the question once about moderation and unnecessary emotional static on this site but there was never any suggestion re my involvement nor should there have been. Don sought to deal with the issue through the ‘Off Topic’ thread.

    You may find this puzzling but I generally agree with many of the viewpoints you post, so at what point do we depart?

    The “first time that [I] commented that MeToo is a result of a failure of the legal system around sexual assault” was welcomed by you but the second was equated with beginning to ‘mansplain’. You could have written rejoinders such as: “Repetition for emphasis has its limits”..or simply “I recall that you have already made that point earlier”.

    In a discussion such as this, it is not such a disaster to mention a signifiant idea a couple of times but to equate it with ‘mansplain’ is the point where you lose me because you see sexism and lack of courtesy to women where it does not exist, certainly where there is never any intention on my part.

    • margaret says:

      Yes, sorry, I became carried away there PeterD … RE mansplain word. I know you are careful in your use of language and were simply reiterating your point.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    One of my continuing puzzles about all this is the fact that men always seem to be responsible for everything bad, and women for everything that’s good. Rather like climate change: when it’s hot that’s climate change, when it’s freezing that’s just weather. I don’t have answers. But every rapist and sexual molester had a mother. What went wrong? Two things: mothers have great influence on their children, boys as well as girls, but after about 14 or 15 the peer group rises in importance. The other is sloppy statistics. In fact, most men are not harassers, abusers or molesters. We are talking about a few men in particular situations. Most men are not Hollywood producers, MPs or judges. When I read that, according to someone, a third of all women have been molested, I want to know how on earth anyone could know. In twenty years there are 7,300 days. In how many of those is a given woman molested, harassed or whatever, say from the age of 18 to 38? There seems to be a slide from an occasional event (I’m not defending the man/men involved) to a picture of thousands of molestations occurring every day. As always, if I’m asked to do something about something, I’m interested in the data, and its quality.

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    I’m bored (again), but why is it in children’s literature it is always the wicked witch, and not the randy pool boy?

      • Bazza says:

        To expand on that 🙂

        “While today, being well-endowed is often equated with power and even sound leadership, “the penis was never a badge or virility or manliness in ancient Greece as it was in other cultures,” Chrystal writes. “Potency came from the intellect needed to power man’s responsibility to father children, prolong the family line and the oikos [the family unit or household], and sustain the polis [the city-state].”

        It comes down to the ability of the randy pool boy to dominate if he so chooses.

  • dlb says:

    Many of the themes from Don’s essay are brought up in a recent interview of Jordan Peterson with Bettina Arndt, here in Australia. ( particularly from 2.30 to 17.00)
    Later in the interview Peterson talks about the ‘truthiness’ present in social science. One example he brings up is a peer reviewed paper where height differences between men and women are attributable to patriarchal nurturing! i.e. males are fed a better diet than females…..can you believe it!

    He does say there is some proper research being done but the findings are not what the Left leaning humanity academics want to hear. This sounds a bit like climate science.

    • margaret says:

      Doesn’t wash with me, but then Bettina Arndt’s view of life and love has always been peculiar.

      • margaret says:

        Bettina Arndt. The quote is from an article about her work on her website.

        “When people close to arndt analyse her character, they end up talking about her parents. Heinz Arndt, who died in 2002, was a professor at the Australian National University and one of the country’s most eminent economists. German-born and Oxford-educated (his family had fled the Nazis in the 1930s), he dressed elegantly, painted well and spoke several languages. As the youngest of his three children and his only daughter, Arndt grew up secure in the knowledge she was adored. “He was such a charm-ing man,” she says. “He liked women. And I was one of the loves of his life. What more do you want?”

        Her mother, Ruth, who died the year before her husband, was another escapee from Nazi Germany. She and Heinz had met at a party in London, introduced by Bloomsbury Group writer Lytton Strachey. They moved to Australia in 1946. Always a free thinker, Ruth organised for friends to smuggle in copies of banned novels. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, The Group, Peyton Place – all were on her bookshelves in suburban Canberra. “She would cover them in brown paper,” says Arndt, adding that this was convenient for her and her brothers. “We all knew which were the sexy books.”
        Ruth was a staunch left-winger, never able to forgive Heinz for quitting Labor and moving to the right. Arndt felt sorry for her father, who stopped writing newspaper articles and letters to editors for fear of expressing opinions that would annoy his wife. “He loved nothing more than entering the fray. But he’d get into big trouble if he did.””

        • spangled drongo says:

          marg thinks that any daughter that supported an intelligent, well educated father who wasn’t allowed to speak his mind by a domineering mother must have a peculiar view of life.

          What a realist!

        • Don Aitkin says:

          I’ve known Bettina since she was a young woman, though not well. She is an individualist who pursues her own line and damn the torpedoes — not unlike Germaine Greer. And she did have special parents. What is it you don’t like about her stance?

          • margaret says:

            From the same article … “Arndt, who readily admits her present champi- oning of the traditional family unit stems partly from guilt over her role as home-wrecker. In the 1970s, she says, “we thought about adults’ needs and wants and we didn’t think about the kids. We just assumed everything would be fine for them and it wasn’t. It took its toll on my stepchildren.“
            I find Arndt’s now very conservative stance hypocritical given her Forum days. But I hesitate to criticise her further as I am attempting now to not tear down my own sex. Everyone has their own story and women have been pitted against each other for too long. We have as many variances and flaws as men.

          • margaret says:

            For instance, those two words ‘home-wrecker’ seem to have arisen to describe the ‘other woman’. Surely husbands are capable of wrecking their own homes perfectly well themselves and so are wives.

          • spangled drongo says:

            How good is Bettina:

            “It turns out women are being allowed in the door due to a bunch of virtue-signalling men who willingly sell out other males in order to win brownie points from the ladies. They don’t believe in what men’s sheds are supposed to be all about — that special male companionship that comes from men doing things together, working on projects and enjoying banter and secret men’s talk. They don’t believe men are more likely to share their problems with other men who get where they are coming from, who know what it’s like to face a broken marriage or prostate cancer.”


    • David says:

      dlb, this guy has some anger issues. He should see a psychologist.

    • margaret says:

      Forget Jordan Peterson (whatever happened to him?!). Wasn’t he in Australia? Wasn’t he supposed to be on Q&A?
      Michael Sandel was the best Q&A guest in years. I’m going to watch the Harvard Justice series on YouTube.

      • Don Aitkin says:

        Don’t forget him, Margaret. He is the first original speaker in this area whom I’ve come across in years. I’m halfway through ’12 Rules’, and it is good stuff.

        • dlb says:

          I’m a third of the way through and enjoying it too.

        • margaret says:

          No I won’t forget him … as I said previously I read a précis of his 12 Rules and couldn’t object to them but it is a type of narrow focus self help for the individual, and for one gender in particular.
          What I like about Michael Sandel who is not a clinical psychologist but a political philosopher is his broader focus on community and what a ‘good life’ entails for both genders on an equal footing in the world.

          • margaret says:

            “Arguably the most manipulative feature of 12 Rules for Life is the author’s repeated reference to procreation as the driving force of human behavior: time and again this or that proposition is supported by reference to the mating patterns of humans or animals.
            Given that so many of his readers appear to be young men struggling with masculinity issues, this is fiendishly clever in its appeal to their deepest insecurities: reinvent yourself as a brutal Nietzschean strongman and you’ll get some.
            (The patriarchal loathing for women implicit in this formulation — which presents them as markers of success or failure, rather than people to be connected with on a human level — hardly needs spelling out.)“

            Seems to echo your words Don.

            “interactions between young men and young women, the first looking above all for sex, the second looking for a man with whom they could have a meaningful relationship, are bound to produce a lot of trial and error.”

      • spangled drongo says:

        Marg, I can entirely understand you being very concerned about Peterson totally undermining the shrieking, ranting monster that feminism has become.

        I mean, it’s taken a lot of dedication to get it where it is and to have it all blow up like that must be very annoying.

      • spangled drongo says:

        Imagine having the hide to say this:

        “Clinical Psychologist Jordan Peterson has stated that that reducing any pay gap analysis to a single variable such as gender is not only scientifically flawed, but grossly irresponsible. He argues that gender is not the determining factor in pay differences….”

  • beththeserf says:

    I have been watching Jordan B Peterson for a while. First his discussion with Camille Paglia. 🙂
    Enjoyed the Bettina Arndt and Peterson interview also. Like Arndt I had a great dad, though
    i did the rebel thing. He was a strong character, ‘your handshakes yr bond, ‘ and he was
    innovative,’you get in for nothing you clap.’ I can’t stand what Harold Bloom calls the school
    of resentment that fixes people as groupies. I see us as individuals and if we don’t like some
    behaviour, say so, free speech.

    Say it again, ‘free speech,’ no limits to it, as Orwell depicted, we see the ‘Utopia’* where that leads.
    And in real life *China’s Cultural Revolution.

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