There can be few videos I’ve linked to more often than Alison Tieman’s excellent Men’s Rights Versus Feminism Explained With Magnets. It explains that society treats men as ‘actors’ and women as ‘acted upon’, leading to women not developing moral agency.
Rarely a day goes by in which I don’t see examples of women’s lack of moral agency, whether in the course of my day, or in the news. Yesterday we had the story of a drunk male barrister having intimate relations with a drunk female QC near a London railway station. Both were arrested and spent the night in the cells, and accepted police cautions the next morning. His face and details are over all the paper – he’s a married man too, for added humiliation – while six weeks after the event she claimed she’d been sexually assaulted, and will therefore enjoy anonymity for life, regardless of whether her claim turns out to have any basis in fact. Meanwhile the poor man will be hauled through the courts in an effort to save her skin.
I experienced another example of women’s lack of moral agency only this afternoon. Although I’m even busier than usual because of the demands of the conference preparations, I agreed to meet a London-based female journalism student – I’ll call her Lucy, not her real name – for an hour-long interview at Starbucks, in Bedford station. The station is half an hour’s walk from where I live, but I need the exercise, no problem there.
A week ago we’d agreed to meet at Starbucks at 14:00 today. At 11:26 I received this text message:
Hi mike its Lucy. I’ll be arriving into Bedford at 3 – does that suit you? Best wishes
No explanation for why she wanted to change the meeting time, no hint of an apology for possibly inconveniencing me. I replied:
Thanks Lucy, that’s fine
At 14:30 I left home for the station, but forgot to take my mobile phone, so I missed this text from Lucy at 14:46:
I’m getting on the 2:48 train – see you soon!
Given that the journey from St Pancras to Bedford takes 40-60 minutes, depending on the service, Lucy was clearly going to be late. Again, no hint of an apology. At 15:19 she texted:
What a beautiful train journey it is! I’ll be there shortly sorry for any inconvenience [at last, an apology!] but traffic to St Pancras was horrific – a nightmare I’m sure Bedford is exempt from!
Traffic to a major London train station on a Saturday was ‘horrific’. An utterly unprecedented phenomenon, I’m sure. Lucy clearly bore no responsibility for her lateness – no moral agency, in short.
I waited in Starbucks for half an hour, until 15:30, gradually becoming more agitated. I then left, arriving home about 16:00, and had just read her texts when she called. I made clear my displeasure about what had happened, and she predictably asked if I hadn’t received her texts. I explained I’d forgotten to take my mobile phone with me. She reacted exactly how I’d anticipated, saying triumphantly:
Oh… you forgot to take your phone with you!
The inference couldn’t be clearer. The responsibility for the meeting not taking place lay with me, not with her. I asked her to email me to arrange another time, another day. A few minutes later she texted me again:
Could I meet you somewhere more convenient for you now or would you rather another time?
I texted back:
Another day. You’ve messed me around enough for one day.
I’ll email her a link to this piece, but I doubt if she’ll grasp the point I’m making. In her world, I feel sure, a young woman should be entitled to treat men in a cavalier manner, and think no more about it.
[Note added 23.3.16: A second meeting in Bedford station was duly arranged. Entitlement Princess was late for that one, too.]