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Aussie FeMRA Bettina Arndt’s victim- blaming remarks about a grisly murder are making it hard for even her fans to stick up for her

By David Futrelle

If all publicity is good publicity, then Bettina Arndt is absolutely killing it right now. The Australian “sex therapist” and Men’s Rights grifter has been in the news there almost constantly since late January, when she was mysteriously awarded one of Australia’s top honors for her alleged “services to gender equity,” which seem to have consisted mostly of slagging off the “feminist domestic violence industry” and offering strange apologetics for literal pedophiles.

And so the news of her winning the Australia day award was immediately followed by calls for her to be stripped of the award as soon as humanly possible.

Now she’s ignited an even bigger firestorm (not literally) with her appalling, victim-blaming response to news of a grisly murder. On February 19th, a Queensland man with a history of violence and stalking and threats brutally killed his estranged wife and their three children by pouring gasoline on their car and setting it (and them) on fire.

Arndt responded by echoing the words of a Queensland police detective who had wondered aloud if the murder was the result of the husband being “driven too far” by his wife. She also mocked what she called the “misplaced outrage” around the detective’s remarks.

These comments set off another round of well-placed outrage directed at Arndt, which ultimately resulted in the Australian parliament itself voting for a resolution demanding she be stripped of her award lest she “bring the Order of Australia, instituted by Her Majesty The Queen, into disrepute.” This is largely a symbolic gesture, as the Parliament is not directly involved in granting or un-granting the award, but as symbolic gestures go, it’s kind of a big deal.

Still, Arndt has her defenders. In the Men’s Rights subreddit, a commenter called Rabel111 complained that

The removal of her Order of Australia medal may silence those who speak up for men’s health and the support of fathers in family law, and signal further despair and marginalisation of men and boys in our community.

Not unless those men are murderers and/or pedophiles.

Another commenter took aim at feminists.

Feminism views society in terms of a struggle between the genders. Men as the oppressors and women as the oppressed. They are not interested in compassion or understanding for all. To them, it is a war of attrition, and only one side can be ultimately victorious. Arndt pisses them off for many reasons, one being that she is a traitor who has defected to the enemy. She deserves her medal.

A third commenter was even more blunt:

Feminists one day will pay [for] their shit

But even some of her supporters have been having a little trouble defending her latest remarks. As one of them put it in a comment in the Australia subreddit:

While I don’t agree with Arndt on this one or several other matters (she chooses some terrible hills to die on) she’s one of the only people daring to speak out on behalf of men, and she’s firmly in the sights of the feminist mafia as a result. Even before this kerfuffle, she was being hounded by radical feminist groups for daring to suggest that men aren’t the privileged ones. Arndt dared to break ranks and she’s being targeted for silencing as a result.

Then there was the guy who somehow managed to compare her to some of history’s worst tyrants in what was ostensibly a statement of support for her winning (and keeping) the award:

I don’t like Arndt and most of her “work”, but I’m very, very glad she got an honour for her work to recognize male victims of domestic violence …

I’m on a permanent disability pension after being bashed by my ex-wife for years. …

It is so incredibly rare in Australia for anyone to take up the mantle of male DV victims and fight for them. If … Stalin or Hitler or Goebbels [were] fighting for male victims of violence to get equal assistance and support in Australia I would be cheering them on too, simply because there is nobody else doing it and we need someone, even if they were a literal Nazi or a pedo sympathizer or member of the National Party or whatever.

With friends like those .. well, with friends like those you’re probably Bettina Arndt.

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Naglfar
Naglfar
6 months ago

A question for Australian commenters:
Is there a procedure to strip Arndt of her award? It says here that the parliament can’t actually do that, so who can?

If … Stalin or Hitler or Goebbels [were] fighting for male victims of violence to get equal assistance and support in Australia I would be cheering them on too, simply because there is nobody else doing it and we need someone, even if they were a literal Nazi or a pedo sympathizer or member of the National Party or whatever.

Whoever wrote this really needs to ask themself,
comment image
Plus, odds are good that Bettina is a white nationalist or similar, so that comparison might be somewhat apt.

Is Bettina just an extreme case of internalized misogyny, or is something else going on? I just don’t understand how she got to be so misogynistic when she is a woman herself.

OrigamiSoldier
OrigamiSoldier
6 months ago

@Naglfar

I just don’t understand how she got to be so misogynistic when she is a woman herself.

$$$. Hate is a VERY lucrative business these days.

Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
6 months ago

@Naglfar:

I feel like some women might believe if they just tow the line (and punish those who don’t), they’ll be safe from all the violence and sexism thrown our way.

It doesn’t work, but that doesn’t stop people like my grandmother from doing it!

I’m sure there are plenty of other reasons. I don’t know what they might be though.

Steve Dutch
Steve Dutch
6 months ago

@Naglfar:

There are a couple of psychological mechanisms that may be at work here. One is “identification with the aggressor,” and another is “internalized oppression.” Both are defense mechanisms that either furnish an illusion of control or a denial of powerlessness. These are way too complex to cover here but Google will give you tons of links.

Naglfar
Naglfar
6 months ago

@Yutolia
That could be it. Though it seems that even if she thinks she’s protecting herself by supporting the oppressor, defending pedophiles and arsonist/murderers is still much further than many would go. Then again, she is an MRA so going places in defense of awful things is right up that alley and I’m probably overthinking this.

Ken Finlayson
Ken Finlayson
6 months ago

@Naglfar: Yes, it’s possible to have the award removed on the grounds that Arndt is bringing the award into disrepute. (Though how likely it is for the Council to do this, I don’t know.) Complaints have been made, and the Council is considering them.

ABC (Australian public broadcaster) news story on this

Tohka
Tohka
6 months ago

I had zero idea this woman even existed or who she is so I guess hrr to blame a woman and her children for being murdered by her husband and their father is her only means to stay relevant.

It’s kinda amazing how depraved and soulless these women on the right/woman mra types have to be to try and stay on their good graces. And yet even they are saying this is too much.

@Yutolia

Reminds me of Lauren southern fiasco a while back when she complained about misogyny in the alt right. And the men she actively pandered to tore her apart online. They didn’t give her any pass.

These women try to be cool and not like other girls. But many thankfully realize we should uplift one another and not fall for that devisive bullshit. Yet at Bettina age.. It’s just what? resentment? Anger? Idk why she would be so awful towards women – even women who have clearly murdered along with her babies.

Naglfar
Naglfar
6 months ago

@Tohka

Reminds me of Lauren southern fiasco a while back when she complained about misogyny in the alt right. And the men she actively pandered to tore her apart online. They didn’t give her any pass.

The alt right has a number of token individuals from groups they hate but tolerate some people if they are self-hating enough. This frequently leads to people defending their own attackers (e.g. Candace Owens defending racists, Blaire White defending transphobes, Ben Shapiro defending Nazis, etc).

gijoel
gijoel
6 months ago

From some research I think I know how she is going to be stripped of her award. The process is that nomination are given to the council of the order of Australia. They review the nominations and give the list to the Governor-General of Australia who has the final say on nominations.

Conversely the Governor General also has the power to strip an Order of Australia award.

The Governor General is a relic from the colonial days of Australia when they ruled Australia on behalf of the British monarchy. Technically under the Australian constitution they still do, as they are suppose to appoint the prime minister and cabinet ministers. In reality their power is limited, and is rarely exercised. See the Dismissal

That being said I think Betina’s award is going to be stripped sooner rather later.

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy

@Naglfar

Is there a procedure to strip Arndt of her award? It says here that the parliament can’t actually do that, so who can?

An independent committee is investigating right now. Government is not supposed to have any say in who gets the awards, or whether they can be rescinded.

Tiny pedantic note re the main post: It was the Senate or Upper House that condemned Arndt’s comments, not the parliament per se. More importantly, only two senators voted against the condemnation: Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts. Hanson is behind an inquiry into the Family Law Court, which is deeply worrying as she has close ties to MRA groups, and she recently claimed that women lie about domestic violence, and that the courts are biased against fathers.

(The asshole who burned his family alive was seeking advice from these groups himself, it’s recently been revealed. Great stuff).

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

If … Stalin or Hitler or Goebbels [were] fighting for male victims of violence to get equal assistance and support in Australia I would be cheering them on too

Somehow I think there’s other reasons he might cheer on Hitler and Goebbels.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
6 months ago

How dare police deviate from the feminist script of seeking excuses…

She said, providing excuses for a murderer.

Actual Human Bean
Actual Human Bean
6 months ago

Are men ever culpable for their actions or is everything a woman’s fault?

If men’s actions are only reactions to women’s actions, why do misogynists think men would have power and control? Their own argument assumes men are capable only of reaction and cannot assume culpability for their reactions.

It’s just absurd.

epronovost
epronovost
6 months ago

This rethoric of “a man pushed too far” is disgusting and incredibly misandrist. “A man pushed too far”, if he is a decent person, will fall into depression, drink, take drugs and maybe even commit suicide. In other words, they will self harm. Violent assholes are going to seek revenge against those who harmed them, but only literal monsters are going to harm innocent people. That man burned his children alive. Even if for one second he was innocent and being abused by his wife, the children were innocent in all of this, but he murdered them in one of the most horrible wat imagineable. The man was monster. Saying that “men pushed too far” do that sort of thing is implying that men in general are monsters and that’s simply not true. Most men would never murder their own children no matter how much they suffer.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Are men ever culpable for their actions

comment image

Lumipuna
Lumipuna
6 months ago

BTW Joseph Goebbels also committed family annihilation in the end, reportedly together with his wife (they had six minor children).

Naglfar
Naglfar
6 months ago

@Actual Human Bean

If men’s actions are only reactions to women’s actions, why do misogynists think men would have power and control? Their own argument assumes men are capable only of reaction and cannot assume culpability for their reactions.

That seems to be the point. If you can pretend you’re not in control and not responsible for your actions, you can get away with a lot more. Of course, it’s rather misandrist to claim men have no control over themselves, but MRAs were never known for making sense or for actually helping men.

Steph
Steph
6 months ago

I cannot understand why it is only now people are taking issue with her. She has a loooooooong history of misogyny and caping for the worse men.

It’s good they are criticising her now but it shows how much misogyny is seen as not that big a deal.

Naglfar
Naglfar
6 months ago

@Steph
My question is how nobody noticed her many, many awful endeavors before giving her the award. One would hope that some background research would go into these kinds of things.

TiredFeet
TiredFeet
6 months ago

Are men ever culpable for their actions or is everything a woman’s fault?

As usual, misogynists manage to have it both ways when blaming women for family annihilation by men:

1) She drove him to it because she kept his “babies” from him.

But also,

2) If he was so dangerous, why did she have children with him and allow him access to them? She was a bad mum who put her sex life before her kids! “Real” mothers would do anything to protect their kids from dangerous people. Etc etc.

Also, if I see one more person respond to Hannah Clarke’s story with “I don’t understand why these women don’t just leave”, I’m going to scream. She left. He killed her and her kids. It’s not as simple as “just leave” because victims of domestic violence are in the greatest danger when they’re making plans to get out or have just got out.

Lainy
Lainy
6 months ago

I think a lot of people don’t realize that if you try to leave an abuser, doesn’t mean the abuser is going to let you go.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 months ago

I know no-one everyone here understands why; but this is a good book anyway; and a handy resource for educating people who don’t get it.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Doesnt-She-Just-Leave/dp/0595163750

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I think a lot of people don’t realize that if you try to leave an abuser, doesn’t mean the abuser is going to let you go.

It drives me up the wall when people have that “why doesn’t she just leave?” attitude. Leaving the abuser is the most dangerous time. That and pregnancy.

Jennifer Wells
Jennifer Wells
6 months ago

The copper who made those comments was removed from the case, so I guess that is….something? The media added to the usual misogynistic drivel by referring to the murderer as a football star and a loving father, and there was speculation that football had damaged his brain so much that he didn’t really know what he was doing. Ugh.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
6 months ago

Loving fathers don’t set their children on fire.

Skye
Skye
6 months ago

@Surplus

Loving fathers don’t set their children on fire.

This.

Always and forever

Jennifer Wells
Jennifer Wells
6 months ago

Well yes. There is alot of speculation and bullshit about how the father wasn’t allowed to see his kids. I think if you set your children on fire….. Bloody hell.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
6 months ago

@Lainy:

I think a lot of people don’t realize that if you try to leave an abuser, doesn’t mean the abuser is going to let you go.

As an indirect personal note on this… I may have told this story before, but here goes:

I was called up for jury duty (I think it was the fourth time I was called up). We sat in the courtroom waiting, got told to wait, got told to go to lunch, got told to wait, and then the judge came in to explain what had been going on. The original case we had been called in for had been settled the night before, but since we were already there anyway, the jury panel got used as leverage in another case.

The new case involved what was originally a sexual harassment case, with a man who had been stalking his ex-girlfriend. Over the years since the initial case he had racked up a laundry list of a couple dozen charges of harassment, stalking, contempt of court due to violations of restraining orders, inappropriate use of resources (he’d got a police officer to look up his ex-girlfriends new address, I forget the actual name of the offence) and other things. I repeat above: this had been going on for years.

The man in question had his previous two lawyers quit on him, had fired his court-appointed lawyer, was representing himself, and was in fact a disbarred lawyer. Pretty much a perfect storm of ‘things no judge ever wants to see in his courtroom’.

So I was nearly on a jury about a guy who refused to take ‘no’ for an answer for over two years and multiple court orders, and he wasn’t even obviously violent. I have no trouble believing that this sort of thing happens.