About four months ago I was in a discussion on The Jeremy Vine Show, a BBC Radio programme which regularly attracts 6-7 million listeners. Here’s a link to that discussion:
Also in the studio was Laura Bates, founder of The Everyday Whining Project, as we call it. She herself – along with her miserable band of whiners, both female and male – calls it The Everyday Sexism Project.
Prior to the programme I sent a few polite emails to Laura Bates with links to various posts, so she’d have the opportunity to better understand our positions on a number of matters, and thereby prepare more thoroughly for our discussion. She said nothing on this show to suggest that she’d ready any of that material. Once we were ‘off air’ she had a hissy fit and demanded I stop sending her emails. She then strode angrily out of the studio, leaving a shell-shocked Jeremy Vine to remark, ‘Wow! Interesting… thanks Mike!’
I mention this because yesterday’s Sunday Times carried a full-page article by Francesca Angelini on the topic of sexism, giving huge exposure to material provided by The Everyday Whining Project. Ms Angelini called me on Saturday afternoon, and we had a lengthy discussion, but sadly little of it appeared in the final article – to be fair to her, she was up against a very tight deadline. I’ll restrict myself to reproducing just two paragraphs from the article. The second refers to the incident following which Foreign Secretary William Hague apologised last week, after being caught mouthing the words, ‘Stupid woman!’, to a Labour MP during last Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions.
It pains Mike Buchanan, 55, the founder of Justice for men and boys (and the women who love them). He claims women simply whine more than men. ‘The Everyday Sexism Project is all about attracting dissatisfied women and telling them all their problems are down to men, which just infantilises them,’ he said. ‘They’ve attained incredible power and it’s terrifying.’
Even some women think their own sex is too quick to take offence. Amanda Platell, the former Tory party spin doctor, leapt to Hague’s defence last week. ‘As it happens, Cathy Jamieson, the MP he targeted, IS a stupid woman’, she insisted. ‘But I can only say that because I’m female.’
(Amanda Platell is the Daily Mail columnist who wrote an outstanding piece on abortion for last Saturday’s edition of the paper.)
In my defence, I don’t believe I referred in my discussion with Ms Angelini to The Everyday Whining Project having ‘attained incredible power and its terrifying’. I certainly don’t believe that. I may have made the remark in connection with militant feminism.
The Everyday Whining Project is simultaneously influential and laughable, fighting such ludicrous battles as shaming Tesco, the nation’s leading supermarket chain, to ‘Lose the Lad’s Mags’ – a battle I predict they’ll win before long. And when they do win it, they’ll inevitably move on to ‘Lose The Sun‘ until such times as that paper loses its Page 3 topless models. Oddly, no woman has ever claimed she was forced to appear on Page 3, and I understand ‘lad’s mags’ are inundated by women keen to appear in the magazines, without being paid.
Maybe we should start a campaign for Tesco to ‘Lose The Romantic Fiction’. Books in this genre invariably show men on their covers, who are:
– rich and/or
– handsome and/or
– tall and/or
It’s not fair that the general public, and male store workers in particular, are exposed to such objectifying imagery, which must surely damage men’s and boys’ self-esteem and body image.