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Tory MP with bad haircut and worse ideas speaks at Men’s Rights conference in London

Phillip Davies and his haircut
Tory MP Phillip Davies and his Amazing Haircut

The second not-quite-annual International Conference on Men’s Issues in London didn’t get a lot of media attention when it happened in early July. Actually, as far as I can tell, it didn’t get any, aside from a brief and somewhat silly post on a blog called We Hunted the Mammoth, which, come to think of it, is my blog, the one right here.

The media blackout may have had something to do with the organizers’ insistence that members of the press pay full ticket price — £265 — for the honor of covering the conference. Or maybe no one really cared? I mean, Men’s Rights is so last year. Or maybe so two years ago.

Well, the media has finally gotten around to covering the event. A piece in The Guardian today reports, rather belatedly, that Tory MP Philip Davies gave a talk at the conference, attacking “feminist zealots” for promoting a legal system that, in his estimation, discriminates against men. Davies’ speech seems to have been rather standard MRA fare, claiming that “militant feminists” want “equality … only when it suits [their] agenda.”

“For example, we hear plenty about increasing the numbers of women on company boards and female representation in parliament,” Davies and his Amazing Haircut declared. “However, there’s a deafening silence when it comes to increasing the number of men who have custody of their children or who have careers as midwives.”

In the US, at least, men who actually ask for custody get it most of the time. And are there really a lot of men clamoring to get into midwifery? Is anyone actually blocking them from this career path?

The Guardian article devotes nearly as much time to the event’s organizer — Mike Buchanan of the spectacularly unsuccessful Justice for Men and Boys party — and the other conference speakers as it does to Davies and his speech. As The Guardian reports,

Davies appeared alongside controversial figures including Herbert Purdy, an anti-feminist blogger who has written posts such as “The exquisite beauty of patriarchy”, and who argues that [female education activist Malala]  Yousafzai could be more dangerous than Bin Laden.

Also speaking at the conference? The Canadian blogger and former Twitter activist known as Janet Bloomfield, whom, the Guardian notes,

has called single mothers “bona fide idiots” who don’t care about their children’s wellbeing, and writes blogposts with titles such as “Why Don’t We Have a Dumb Fucking Whore Registry? Now That Would Be Justice.”

Hey, all publicity is good publicity, right?

As is so often the case when it comes to Men’s Rights activism, the real action is taking place in the comments, of which there are more than 3000. (The total was 2966 when I started writing this post; by the time I got back to the comments they had been closed after reaching a staggering 3130.)

As far as I can tell from my quick scan through the comments — you don’t expect me to read them all, do you? — most of the story’s readers were not exactly impressed with Davies or his MRA friends. One referred to Men’s Rights activism as being “for people who find train-spotting too challenging.” Another wrote that MRAs “are only a little above the KKK in stupidity.”

“Christ, what an insufferable bellend,” one remarked of Davies himself. Another suggested that the MP “has raised idiocy to the level of performance art.”

The MRAs who showed up for this battle responded in kind.

“Women belong in the Kitchen and in Bed,” declared one.

“About [time] there was a backlash against the pansification of the country, good on yer son,” wrote another.

Amazingly. I didn’t see any of A Voice for Men’s flying monkey internet comment spam squad (AVFMFMICSS) in the comments. Maybe they’re all bored with Men’s Rights activism too.

H/T — Too many to mention!

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Pie
Pie
4 years ago

Mr Davies obviously hasn’t considered that the reason there aren’t more male primary school teachers and midwives is that they are seen as low status and demeaning jobs, and therefore suitable only for women. This is a problem *for women*, who are clearly of sufficiently low status that no-one cares that they’re filling those roles.

I’ve never met a male midwife, but a quick survey of a few mothers of my acquaintance suggests that when it comes to actually giving birth, loads of medical staff of both genders get to see the business end and even have a bit of a rummage around to help stuff along if there are any problems, and if there *any* any problems the lady in question is not at all interested in who is involved, but is rather interested in getting the baby/babies out.

rugbyyogi
rugbyyogi
4 years ago

I think someone should maybe drop a note to Mrs May about this*.

___

*I plan to. In recent times, if he’d said something equivalent about race, this would have resulted in a suspension from the Conservative Party. It’s not ok. If someone had appeared at a white supremacist conference, that would not be ok. Let’s call the MRA what they are – male supremacists (who also have some pretty sketchy views on race).

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
4 years ago

RI’m always suspicious of men who want to go into gynocology, for this one reason, which I doubt is an isolated case. I went on a course once, one which was supposed to get people into work by helping them refine their job application skills, literacy etc. and help them to appy to higher education courses etc. This was a very long time ago mind you, before I went to Uni and was an unemployed school leaver. There was a man on the course who really frightened me. I had the bad luck to sit on the PC right next to him. He was early twenties I suppose. A really odd character, obsessive. All his projects were about sex and said he wanted to be a doctor. He was not well educated and he was a huge pot smoker. He got one of those Dorling Kinsley books and drew all the diagrams of the female reproductive organs, and wrote I suppose an MRA style screed about vaginas and masturbation and things he did with his girlfriend. Now, this should have set alarm bells wringing that he was dangerous, but the tutors said nothing (that I know of). If I had been in their position I would have contacted mental health to see if this guy was known to them. It’s all very well men wanting to go into this line of work, but this guy seemed to be a pervert and possible potential abuser, who’s obsession should have been nipped in the bud. He still gives me chills when I remember him.

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
4 years ago

@rugbyyogi

You’re right. He should be suspended from the Tory party for this. People have been suspended from Labour for anti Semitic comments recently, but this guy actually pulled out all the stops to speak at a hate campaign event against the 50% of the electorate who does not consider human.
Maybe set up a petition online to get rid of him?
(BTW, if racism was a reason for suspension, BloJo should be long gone)

Those comments against Malaila by Purdey are reprehensible. She is a brave and courageous young woman, worth infinitly more than these grizzling cowards who call themselves ‘men’.

rugbyyogi
rugbyyogi
4 years ago

@virgin mary – this won’t me make me any more popular here, but I am a member of the Conservative party and so for me this is an internal party matter so there won’t be any petitions from me. However, as a member, I’m incensed by this and I have every right to make a complaint to the leader of my party and to disciplinary officers.

There have been suspensions from the Conservative party in the past for racist comments.

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
4 years ago

@rugbyyogi

I have just sent an email to Number 10 regarding this, using the form on the Number 10 website.
https://email.number10.gov.uk
I sent the link form the International Coference on Men’s Issues page as well as a few words about the characters he was sharing a platform with.

I think everyone on this blog knows my politics….
And Malaila is one of our esteemed comrades 🙂

rugbyyogi
rugbyyogi
4 years ago

@virgin mary –

good for you – I am going to do some research about which whip should be alerted as well – but will be sending my email today.

rugbyyogi
rugbyyogi
4 years ago

Ha ha, never mind the research – Jeremy Corbyn has already called for the whip to be removed, I’ll just use the Number 10 form.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/aug/12/pressure-mounts-on-may-to-respond-to-philip-davies-feminist-zealots-comment

I despise Jeremy Corbyn and the sexist, anti-semitic company he often keeps, but I agree with him on this one.

rugbyyogi
rugbyyogi
4 years ago

and I’ve sent the email

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
4 years ago

@rugbyyogi

Good for Jezza.
(I’m not going to rise to you taunt about the sexist, anti Semitic company he keeps, I’m above that kind of thing.)
🙂

rugbyyogi
rugbyyogi
4 years ago

Not a taunt. My firm belief – but fair enough we don’t discuss it here.

(((VioletBeauregarde))): Prominent Misanderer of the Gynocracy
(((VioletBeauregarde))): Prominent Misanderer of the Gynocracy
4 years ago

I love it when people use “pansy” to mean weakling. In reality, pansies are some of the hardiest flowers around.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@rugbyyogi

this won’t me make me any more popular here, but I am a member of the Conservative party and so for me this is an internal party matter so there won’t be any petitions from me

Well, if it means anything, I like like you more now. You got moxie being an ‘out’ Tory around these parts, and I’ve long been against random internet petitions. You got yourself a fan
comment image
😀

GrumpyOld SocialJusticeMangina
GrumpyOld SocialJusticeMangina
4 years ago

“I’ve never really understood why the Americans seem to call doctors in just to catch the baby.”

Basically, so the doctor can charge a hefty fee — it’s one of the reasons Americans pay so much more for health care.

Her Grace Phryne: Tool of the Butt-Worshipping, Lesbian-Powered Elite
Her Grace Phryne: Tool of the Butt-Worshipping, Lesbian-Powered Elite
4 years ago

My favorite gyne, if there is such a thing, was male. He caught something that could have developed into cancer early enough that all that was necessary was a… cryo-ablation? Basically freezing the lining. One checkup after that and I was free and clear. He was also very nice, as gentle as it’s possible to be with that kind of thing, and did his best to create a relaxing environment.

The one who delivered my son was awesome, although we didn’t have much interaction.

The one I saw after my son was delivered was an asshole, but he was also old and stubborn and hadn’t learned anything since the 70s at best. (He’s the one who refused to do an IUD and told me “don’t come crying back to me when it goes wrong”, so, y’know.)

Since then, I’ve see Favorite Gyne a couple times, then we moved and I just have my Primary doc do my pap smears. I should probably find a gyne in a year or so to get my IUD replaced, though.

Back on topic, THAT HAIRCUT THO. It’s so horrible.

rugbyyogi
rugbyyogi
4 years ago

@axe – thanks!

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
4 years ago

@rugbyyogi

I agree with Axe, you’re brave to come here and admit that, especially as people who identify as ‘conservative’ often have abhorrent religious views, bigotries and are staunch traditionalists. I’ll try not to judge you 🙂
I’m a communist, so you probably have a few preconceived ideals about my politics as well. But in the end, everybody’s here to listen and learn.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
4 years ago

BTW, what define an UK conservative according to you, rugbyyogi ? It’s being conservative on society or on economy ?

(it’s not a trap. I am sort-of conservative in term of economy, AKA I want to keep the old capitalist system with a 90+% inheritance tax, hard anti-trust systems, and public monopoly but only on anything that can’t easily be privatized ; I don’t like the neoliberalism nonsense a lot of people in France who define themselves as conservative peddle thoses days, but I also dislike direct subventions and other government attempt to prop up a specific sector, so I am kind of dissatisfied by every side)

Mish
Mish
4 years ago

@Ohlmann, that’s an interesting question (Mish says, rudely butting in). I was wondering, too, but didn’t want rugbyyogi (I love that name so much) to feel put on the spot.
Here in Aust. I’m not sure we have many conservatives that are actually visible in politics; neo-liberals and hard-core right-wingers are taking up all the breathing room. So others’ perspectives are interesting.
For what it’s worth, rugbyyogi, I certainly wouldn’t pigeonhole or dismiss you simply because you identify as conservative. It would depend on the details – and the same would go for me, I hasten to add.

Bodycrimes
Bodycrimes
4 years ago

“Conservative” has become such a difficult and slippery term. There are many people who call themselves conservative, when they mean libertarian or neoliberal, both of which are radical modern ideologies.

Maybe these old terms aren’t useful any more and we need new ways to describe ideas e.g. atheist used to be someone who didn’t believe in God, whereas now Atheism is a whole movement that’s accruing a load of ideological baggage.

Snowberry
Snowberry
4 years ago

e.g. atheist used to be someone who didn’t believe in God, whereas now Atheism is a whole movement that’s accruing a load of ideological baggage.

There is such a term. It’s called “movement atheism”. Not all atheists are movement atheists, and I suspect that most aren’t. You don’t hear about people who just quietly go about their lives, after all.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

In Murica, ‘conservative’ essentially means ‘along the axis of ideological positions more likely to be espoused by the Republican party’. Now, rugby’s obviously not Murican, so this mayn’t apply, but around here ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ are very broad, inclusive terms. Also, it should be noted that rugby mentioned a party affiliation with the Conservatives and not necessarily ideological conservatism
Either way, I personally have little interest in the particulars of their political positions. They’re not an asshole or a bigot, so it’s whatever. Feel free to share anyway, rugby 🙂

@Bodycrimes
I’d argue that any and every term of self identification is useful. Not for your or my use necessarily, but in a more anthropological sense. People don’t use the terms they ‘should’. They use the terms they want, and it’s usually the ones their social group uses. Doesn’t mean there’s no meaning there, it just requires some digging to find. Change in the use of those terms in a population over time tells a story. Gets to the heart of understanding how people think…

Alright, enough rambling here for now