Belinda Brown: Feminism is a toxic toy for the privileged

(Belinda Brown writes about feminism’s toxicity in the latest of our series of articles to ‘celebrate’ International Women’s Day today.)

Feminism is outdated. Believing in an ideology that has long outgrown its historical context damages the future of our society, distracts us from the most pressing issues and sets up problems for today.

Feminism persists because it is an ideology that evolved to promote the interests of the privileged. For example, the so-called gender pay gap is only significant at the higher economic deciles where women have husbands to support them anyway. It is not a significant feature of lower economic groups. What is important to them is family and home.

A huge amount of attention goes to the number of women in boardrooms. This affects a tiny number of women and is completely irrelevant to how the rest of us live.

The focus on the number of women in Parliament devalues the importance of grassroots politics and  distracts from inequalities of race, disability or class.

As a product of elite concerns feminism has preoccupied itself with issues of power and status. And distracted us from real sources of human suffering and pain.

But it is the real injustices and inequalities which should be driving our policies forward. Not the cosmetic disadvantages of the privileged few.

Rather than looking at workplace status or sexist remarks, we should focus on suicide and rough sleeping, children in care, unfair custodial sentencing, deaths in the workplace, forced separation from our children, being a victim of violence, rates of alcohol and drug abuse.

The trouble is that when we turn to actual suffering, it is not women who are victims but men.

But those of us who have skin in the game know that male suffering is a valueless currency. The male empathy gap, male gender blindness or – whatever you like to call it -  is simply too strong.

So if we want to move forward we need to show how male disadvantage is deeply destructive of a cohesive and healthy society with very negative implications for women and children as well as men.

So let’s look at education.

Feminism emerged at a time when girls were lagging. It still seeks out scraps of female disadvantage - apparently self-esteem. It hasn’t caught up with the changes. Now boys should be at the centre of everyone’s concerns.

Differences in educational attainment start early. Boys are more likely to be identified with ADHD and special needs. Boys account for 80 per cent of permanent school exclusions. By the end of primary education, 22 per cent of boys achieve level 5 compared to 27 per cent of girls. Girls are over 20 per cent more likely to achieve 5 GCSEs.

Twenty per cent fewer boys take A levels. This leads to fewer male entrants to higher education. 94,000 fewer at the last count. The gap is widest among the poorest; 51 per cent more women make it to university. Women overall obtain 35 per cent more degrees.

Men’s lower levels of education have a detrimental impact on employment opportunities – it is not until women start taking time out to have children that they actually earn less than men. Up to the age of 30 women’s median hourly rate is 8 per cent higher. By the time men reach 30 they have earned £12,500 less than their fathers. With feminism’s constant focus on women, the situation is likely to get worse.

Unemployment and low wages have become a firmly embedded characteristic of less educated men.

And this is damaging for all.

Men’s low earnings have a direct and significant impact on rates of marriage. Where marriage once provided a source of security for the disadvantaged, it has now become the preserve of the privileged.

Poorer mothers do better if they go down the route of state benefits – if they stayed with their partner, very serious levels of poverty could result. This means poorer families cannot afford to stay together. Either they are single parents or they pretend to go it alone. The result is high levels of instability. Male partners, they come and they go.

This is bad for men. The responsibilities of marriage have been shown to reduce risk-taking behaviours, increase hours of work and time spent in the home. Removing the means to get married has had a deleterious effect on men’s behaviour causing social pathology to rise.

Mothers too are deprived of a helpmate. Compared to married women they are less happy, have lower incomes, are less likely to live in their own house or be employed.

However the worst impact is reserved for the children. They do significantly worse.

Even short periods of an unpartnered parent impact on educational attainment, criminal activity and risky behaviour.

Poverty and single parenthood vastly increase the likelihood of being in care.

The negative consequences are particularly marked for boys. Growing up in a single parent household will have an adverse impact on their psycho social development and educational achievement. They are more likely to engage in delinquent behaviour. Lower levels of health, employment and life satisfaction follow as a result.

The lack of attention given to these issues means that the employment and childcare burden of less well-off women goes up. With each generation their poverty and social disadvantage become much more entrenched. And without stable families to support them, opportunities for social mobility among their children also significantly decline.

This is a direct result of last century’s feminism so moulded by 1960s women that it became blind to the 21st century’s concerns.

Women have long achieved equality of opportunity. We now need to focus on the educational and employment opportunities of males. This would strengthen the family among the less well-off and would increase social mobility and equality. We also need to build stable relationships of trust and interdependency between men and women.

With a feminism so focused on toxic masculinity, male violence, and female independence this cannot happen within a feminist framework. We need to look to the future, move beyond feminism and escape feminism’s toxic concerns.

(Image: Guido van Nispen)

Belinda Brown

  • Lagopus scotica

    Time to call feminism what it is, communism in a pink dress.

    • Groan

      In a pink couture dress with designer bag.

    • Partridge

      It’s worse than that. At least communism was up-front about its aims and ideology. Feminism operates by means of subterfuge, duplicity, and lies. What they could not
      achieve by outright revolution, they are obtaining by insidious indoctrination in academia and surreptitious embedding of their activists and followers throughout all areas of society, using fictitious history, distorted statistics, lies, victimhood and false accusations, along with censorship, silencing and suppressing of opposing views and demonization of all those who dare to disagree with them.

  • PJM

    Modern feminism puts the desires and interests of privileged women before the needs of disadvantaged children. On that basis they are light years from women like Germaine Greer and Erin Pizzey.

    • TheStoneMan

      Germaine Greer was no more concerned with “ordinary” women than Hitler was with the well being of the jews.

      • PJM

        An over the top comment, somewhat like those SJWs who compare Trump to Hitler and cast themselves as world saviours when they are just hysterical dullards. Greer at this stage of her life has a very broad outlook and understanding of issues beyond the narrow confines of current media/academic feminism.

        • Partridge

          Perhaps Greer has mellowed in her old age? But she still has a long way to go to atone for her ideological sins.

          • PJM

            I am prepared to listen to Greer when she speaks about many issues other than feminism as it is a subject I have no interest in. Camile Paglia is someone also worth listening to for the same reason.

          • Partridge

            So Greer’s outlook is still not broad enough for you yet.. :o)

          • PJM

            I am aware of it, impossible not to be especially since like most people I consume output from the BBC and in my case I have worked in the London media for a long time. Like religion (ie. the Beebs fixation with that very feminist belief system, Islam) the most powerful people pushing their particular brand of it most beneficial to them are the ones who get the most air time. Women who have serious life struggles in countries where the stakes are high are used or ignored by modern middle class feminists as the need arises from a safe distance.

  • Groan

    An excellent article about the issues. Perhaps boys may be the issue to turn this country’s elite to other analyses rather than the “cultural Marxists”. For boys are; in the words of the Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy . “girls”. And so the deep cultural taboo against any acceptance of “weakness” in males is much weaker for boys. At least some may think helping boys is OK.
    In a way what we are seeing is a new form of “Class” divide, not based on mass industries but really the fall out of “globalisation” and years of state interventions particularly through welfare and public spending.
    There is I believe an historic opportunity for Conservatism to revive the Thatcher promise to support those wanting to “better” themselves in the modest ways ordinary people aspire to; a family and home and decent job. While Labour is still struggling with itself looking backwards to statism and old politics of “class war” or Blairism of identity politics and “all shall have prizes” . There is a real gap opening up. In Salford Council a conservative candidate just won a “solid” labour seat, small beer but an example of the change as “old labour” voters die out or can’t be bothered to vote .
    Both the old Statism and now the Blairite easy money globalism is in disarray. It is time the Conservatives seized the opportunity to be a “new” politics of enterprise (small and individual rather than the global rootless big cheeses so friendly to call me Dave and the Blairite agenda).
    I caught on the news a nice microcosm of current feminism. A report and coverage by the beeb of demands for more women in Boardrooms of Sport Governing bodies. First off of course no recognition that the participants and audiences for the sports named as “offenders” are overwhelmingly male anyway, so the “pool” of interested people is inevitably male. Secondly of course no notion that women should in fact participate and “get stuck in” en route to the sport’s organising body, no the bright elite should just walk in over the uncouth men who have “paid their dues”. And finally the use of state funding to set targets of 30% female board membership to “reflect the wider population better (I notice no one gets bothered that the state as employer has a workforce that is only 25% male hardly “representative” of the population it serves). The last point suggesting sports try to do without public funding and how that funding is used in so many ways in other areas of life to bully and manipulate, to achieve jobs for privileged women.
    A microcosm of the feminism of today: Effort and public money put into benefitting the already privileged. If they genuinely wanted to really increase the participation of women in activity for instance (a public health goo) all the evidence is they’d fund the things women like doing; which tend to be different to men’s choices.
    The point isn’t about women as such as few women are feminists. It is that this essentially elite agenda is of a piece with the wider disdain for the mass of the public on all sorts of issues. Perhaps Brexit more than anything else illustrates this “Gap” with people’s concerns (whether right or wrong) sat on by almost all politicians as “racism” etc. until an opportunity to make a vote count happened. It is incumbent on us all in our various ways to similarly surface the manifestly elitist agenda of feminism which has nothing at all to do with the concerns of ordinary men and women, who still aspire to the traditional ideas of coupling and family building, but in the face of the open hostility to the idea of the supposed “leaders” and “opinion formers” of society.
    Face it now “traditional” is the new radical.

  • James Chilton

    In Western societies, women don’t need feminism because they have freedom.

    The feminists who want to root out oppression should concentrate on places like Afghanistan where many women are mere chattels or, even worse, the outback of Australia where aboriginal women are thumped senseless by their drunken menfolk.

    • Sargv

      > The feminists who want to root out oppression should concentrate on places like Afghanistan

      Read the title. Feminism is for privileged few. They don’t even care about their own working class sisters, why on earth would they consider helping someone from 3rd world country?

      • James Chilton

        I read the title and I understand what is the case. My comment should be understood as what ought to be the case.

  • Bik Byro

    In the same way that the SNP operates through stirring up hatred between Scotland and England, racist organisations work through stirring up hatred between races, hard-left organisations work through stirring up hatred between people of different backgrounds, feminism works by stirring up hatred between men and women.
    Gladly, most people (I believe) can see this and refuse to be swept up by it.

  • Aisla Sinclair

    Great article. Happy Third Birthday girls. Thanks for the articles-all of a really high standards and addressing REAL issues.
    Only the BBC would lose sleep over the lack of sporty women in the quangos of sporting associations-or lack of transloos in the boardroom.
    Wish I had THEIR problems to contend with!
    Hoping that this site and the likes of Breitbart wipe the BBC out as the Nanny State virtue-signalling Lefty pot pourri of nonsense that it now has become. How many (obviously gender neutral) sharks does it have to jump before we put Lord Hall Hall on trial for treason?
    Oh if only Melania Trump was our Queen…Sarah Palin our EU Princess!!!

  • Under-the-weather

    “Men’s low earnings have a direct and significant impact on rates of marriage. Where marriage once provided a source of security for the disadvantaged, it has now become the preserve of the privileged”.

    I believe what CW is arguing is that there’s no wage gap for those aged under 30, which doesn’t automatically mean ‘low earnings’ for men, it could be their work choices are often in careers which don’t require a degree, while womens often do. That doesn’t automatically mean earning ‘less’. In my experience even mundane jobs taken by the fellas pay more than a supermarket check out, which is really the gender difference, and why there is more likely to be child poverty in single parent homes run by women, (who then end up with 2-3 poorly paid jobs to get by). In fact if women start to leave work to have children in their thirties and are then afterwards looking for a work life balance opportunity for up to a decade, that further suggests incomes are likely to swing towards men. Availability of part-time work good quality work is a big issue. Not only because that’s what people need to be able to raise a family adequately, but also because in moving to that as a society, taxable income drops.

    The difference in education attainment can also be about maturity and an ageing brain. Our brains don’t mature until our early twenties, but schooling wants to segregate out long before then. The approach ought to allow for streamed classes with a smaller top set of say 15, (finger in the air) with an allowance of say another 5, able to ‘move’ up from other classes as late developers.

    • Rick Bradford

      Belinda did not say there was no pay gap for the under 30s, she said the pay gap is 8% in favour of women. This derives from ONS data (see http://mra-uk.co.uk/?p=953)

      • Under-the-weather

        I was referring to previous articles by CW not this one, but I have modified to make that clear.

  • Groan

    As an interesting aside, but related to the issue of feminist PC. One of the most frequent reasons given for the less than enthusiastic hunt for jobs for young men on benefits in local “sink” estates is so they can look after their children. At one level this looks like opportune excusing. however over time and with some contact I think its actually rather more the truth. For after years of simply omitting the role of “breadwinning” in discussions of looking after children what does the “official” view actually say to people with no experience, across generations, of a traditional family. Well it couches the idea of jobs as being “fulfilling” rather than earning a crust. It suggests that men and women should have time for childcare and pays “single mothers” not to work in a way they could never replicate in the jobs market. And it suggests fathers or partners should “be there” to help with all childcare and domestic tasks rather than be “absent” earning the money to support child and mother. There is almost no recognition that there is any “value” at all in anyone working for a living when they should be concentrating on caring.
    Historically (and now in general) the first child kicks off a huge increase in hours for men. Of course its not that employers suddenly give fathers lots of extra money (the feminist view it seems) but that the additional costs and fall in family income is a spur to male’s ambitions to earn more. Its a practical response.
    However for people who we “pay” in welfare to have children it is perhaps unsurprising that they take to the feminist mantra and forget earning a living unless “fulfilling”. This “class” can only exist if someone (taxpayers 70%male) continues to pay for all the not breadwinning. But as they do one can’t be surprised if young men join young women in assuming jobs are not about earning a crust, but are an encumbrance to children and relationships and abusive if the lad is spending time at work even! It seems mad but it has a certain logic.

  • Tom B

    Philip Davis made a good point when he said he didn’t have any women turning up to his constituents surgery making demands like the women in the so callled women’s and equality party .

  • paul parmenter

    Incredibly refreshing to find a politically aware woman who not only refuses to be obsessed with her own sex; who not only recognises that men and boys have serious problems too; who not only thinks that those problems do in fact need addressing properly and are not just to be ridiculed or used as an excuse for more male-bashing; but who even goes so far as to point out that those problems can actually be worse than those that form the usual stock-in-trade of the perpetual female victimhood narrative.

    There may be hope yet for women to be rescued from themselves.

  • Mike

    Most teachers in comprehensives have little love for tough competitive sports such as rugby, hockey and lacrosse because they are too often faint hearted milksops. Those teachers who have played sport at county and above tend to be recruited by public and grammar schools. Boys public and to lesser extent grammar schools provide plenty of time to allow boys to channel their energy into tough sports. Boarding school I used to play a British Bulldog during breaks, rugby and the a game of squash in the evening. I would suggest much ADHD is because too many boys have too much energy and no outlet and women, be they teachers or Mothers, cannot cope. Unless a woman is a tomboy and brought up with tough brothers, it is difficult to understand how much energy tough boys actually actually possess and that they like rugby, boxing and judo .

    The very small percentage of girls who are tomboys who love hockey,lacrosse and similarly tough sports and enjoy problem solving rather than discussing their feelings, also fall behind in most comprehensives. Whereas lacrosse was played by most girls schools it is generally found in a few girls public schools.

    I would suggest the problem is enfeeblement of the spirit of most middle class people, and the denigration of the spirit of adventure, especially those in comprehensive education.

  • Sargv

    Feminism is indeed a tool for power grab by privileged women. That’s why pointing out to its lack of consistency in logic, or harmful effects for non-privileged women, or that men are, in fact, have it worse for at least a decade – is absolute waste of time.

    Either the tool must be rendered ineffective, or the group that uses it should be removed from society, or feminism should be stripped of universal, “caring for all women of the World” status. Without that, nothing will ever change.