Women versus men, part 2


by Sunny
28th May, 2006 at 11:19 pm    

Last week I wrote a little bit on women v men discussions on the internet and their contributions to online discussions on politics.

Research now seems to support this:

They discovered that chatroom participants with female usernames received 25 times more threatening and/or sexually explicit private messages than those with male or ambiguous usernames.

But I want to extend this further. In this article Heidi Schnakenberg writes:

The presence of female opinion journalists has remained virtually unchanged over the past 25 years, with only 10 percent to 20 percent of all op-eds in the country being written by women. Only about a quarter of nationally syndicated columnists are women and they tend to be white and right-wing.

In my case, I was attacked, and then retreated into self-censorship for a period of months and in that darkened room I found no mentors and little support from editors.

Rekha Basu is the civil liberties voice at the Des Moines Register in Iowa, and she is a woman, liberal and Indian. She’s been called a Hindu-worshipping slut, an Arab terrorist, a whore, a lesbian, a cunt, a skanky Muslim. Most insults are via e-mail and on Web sites, where attackers can remain relatively anonymous.

She’s been stalked and followed on the highway and told readers can’t wait to read her obituary in the newspaper. But nothing hurt like the time a reader said they hoped her husband, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease, would hurry up and die so she would leave the country.

That isn’t very different to the kind of rubbish that Polly Toynbee was sent. In fact it isn’t that different to the reception that Indy columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown gets. Not only is she a woman but a brown liberal! God forbid! That really pisses off the white and brown right-wingers.

Does this have any impact on their behaviour? Scribbles gave an example with her own behaviour:

I’ve always been quite a plain speaker and up for a good debate, without I hope any sense of aggression, but after so many years of university seminars, pub discussions, business meetings where I’ve managed to make people incredibly defensive and had to put-up with men and women telling me to “chill” or feeling they have to placate me, I had to learn to modify my behaviour. I am simply not allowed to talk with passion about anything; it makes people feel uncomfortable.

Sonia said the same thing in the last discussion:

Back in 1995 when i used to sit around bulletin boards and irc channels, i used to use 2 nicknames – psychotic and neurotic. Everyone assumed by my username i was male and also by the things i said. apparently i was ‘aggressive’ – this was mentioned when it somehow came out that i was female. when i was thought to be a man – there was no such comment.

So what does this mean? That it is primarily a right-wing thing to attack liberal women columnists, as Neil Harding suggests, or just a manifestation of sexism online? Do men still secretly want women to be quiet and submissive even if they don’t pretend so openly?


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  1. Indigo Jo Blogs

    Abuse of women op-ed writers…

    This is a piece I found linked on Comment is Free’s “Best of the Web” section: all about the hate mail directed at women who write op-ed columns, particularly those of a liberal tendency; most of it seems to come……


  2. Indigo Jo Blogs

    More on female commentators and abuse…

    MediaGuardian.co.uk | Media | The anarchy and the ecstasy Further from the earlier link about female “pundits” and the abuse they get, Georgina Henry reports on the culture at Comment is Free (the Guardian’s comments blog), the “raging argument abo…




  1. jamal — on 28th May, 2006 at 11:32 pm  

    I thinks people in general that attack in this way do it because they are unable to do otherwise due to lacking in areas of elequence, logic and rationale.

    I do think many men do want women to be quite and submissive, but not just due to sexism, but also because they have rigid views.

  2. Katy Newton — on 28th May, 2006 at 11:53 pm  

    I think there is a tendency to characterise men who speak passionately as passionate and forceful, and women who speak passionately as hysterical.

    I think women are as bad at this as men.

  3. Amir — on 28th May, 2006 at 11:57 pm  

    Yeah, women are pretty hysterical. :-)

  4. Katy Newton — on 28th May, 2006 at 11:59 pm  

    You can’t see, Amir, but I am extending the middle finger of both hands towards you.

    I am doing this in a temperate, rational, non-hysterical sort of way. :)

  5. Katy Newton — on 28th May, 2006 at 11:59 pm  

    I made an emoticon!

  6. squared — on 29th May, 2006 at 12:00 am  

    Do men still secretly want women to be quiet and submissive even if they don’t pretend so openly?

    Yes.

    Being in a male dominated environment, I’ve managed to learn just how sickening things really are. Men will happily befriend an intelligent woman, but when it comes to positions of power (be that in a marriage or in politics), they need the control.

    We’re just lean, mean, breeding machines, innit?

  7. Amir — on 29th May, 2006 at 12:01 am  

    Katy, you’re ginger?

    A ginger Jew?
    Awesome! :-)

  8. squared — on 29th May, 2006 at 12:02 am  

    Heh, Katy.

    On female presidents: “The once a month, will she or won’t she push the button thing…”

  9. Sunny — on 29th May, 2006 at 12:03 am  

    Lol, that’s the first time Katy has been rude on this blog. Woohoo!

    Squared – They don’t have to be that lean.
    (I’m kidding!)

  10. Amir — on 29th May, 2006 at 12:04 am  

    And she was rude to me!
    What an honour 8)

  11. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 12:21 am  

    I am indeed a ginger Jew. I have rarity value! Also no-one ever realises I am Jewish. I am like the Roger Cook of Jewry.

    *beams proudly*

  12. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 12:25 am  

    Actually I don’t mean Roger Cook, he was rubbish at being undercover. I mean that bloke who went undercover with the animal rights activists and the football hooligans. Oh, you know who I mean.

  13. Clairwil — on 29th May, 2006 at 12:44 am  

    I’m fairly amused by personal abuse. In the last week I have been accused of being part of a ‘race of scum’, called a bitch and sent an e-mail telling me to kill myself. I have to say I laughed myself silly at all of them, though the ‘bitch’ comment irritated me in that it came from someone who should really have had the wit to come up with better. The anonymity of the internet encourages more abuse. That most of that abuse is directed towards women is just a reflection of men spending more time online and the freedom anonymity gives them to be more abusive than they would be face to face.

    On an entirely different subject Katy Newton is fucking fantastic.

  14. Amir — on 29th May, 2006 at 1:43 am  

    Katy,
    My Jewish Gillian Anderson.:-) :-)

  15. Amir — on 29th May, 2006 at 1:53 am  

    Sunny,
    Bro, ‘Lost’ is going to get very, very, very sinister during Season II. My friend has already watched all 25 episodes and he says (I quote):

    ‘For starters, you learn why the plane has crashed. You learn some nasty things about characters that you previously respected. You learn some dark shit about the Hanso Foundation and the DHARMA initiative: including the numbers. And by the way…. THE ‘OTHERS’ ARE PURE EVIL’

    I have my own theories if you want to hear them: I’m up to episode 6/7 (i.e. the unfortunate termination of ‘x’ character in the woods).

  16. Sunny — on 29th May, 2006 at 2:32 am  

    Amir, on an off-topic note (I’d rather stick to the topic after this) I don’t know how Katy feels about this but I find it a bit irritating you keep referring to her Jewishness. It’s a bit patronising like constantly referring to someone as ‘my Asian friend’ sorta thing :)

    On your other point, I’m up to episode 23 on the second season, so I know exactly what your friend means. The damn series has so many twists it’s unreal.

  17. Don — on 29th May, 2006 at 3:12 am  

    OK, no more sly hints about ‘Lost’. It doesn’t matter to me and I’m not making a point of watching this series, because I’m better than that. I’m not sucked in. Just no bloody spoilers. Not that I care.

    Back on topic, even Sunny has a slight head-patting, well-done little lady approach to female bloggers here. I try to avoid that and treat them as equals. Because chicks dig that respect thing.

  18. Robert — on 29th May, 2006 at 4:21 am  

    As a half-Cuban, half-Tibetian, one-quarter Jewish, two-thirds Muslim, one-eighth Armenian, deaf, lesbian Tory OAP, I can confidently state that my tactic of masquerading as a generic white, middle-class English bloke has paid huge dividends.

  19. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 10:22 am  

    I’m back!

    A Woman Speaks:

    Clairwil – thank you, I think you are fab too. Esp the Shoplifting for Africa thing. I believe the phrase is “lol”.

    Sunny, Amir – I don’t mind the Jewish references; I have to keep them running myself because otherwise I can’t accuse everyone of antisemitism when they disagree with me. But watch what you say about redheads, dammit.

    Don – I don’t find Sunny patronising, or haven’t done yet. But I shall keep a careful eye on him.

    PS Amir, how do you get the smileyface with the sunglasses? I MUST know.

  20. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 10:25 am  

    Dammit, I’ve already posted all that when I should simply have said:

    “I don’t mind if my Asian friends refer to me being Jewish.”

    :)

  21. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 10:26 am  

    (:

  22. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 10:26 am  

    Stupid, fickle emoticons.

  23. Jai — on 29th May, 2006 at 11:13 am  

    Re: Online discussions involving women.

    I think it depends on the specific blog (obviously along with how well it is moderated). For example, Sepia Mutiny has several women involved in running the blog, and large numbers of (mostly Asian) women worldwide participate quite forcefully on their various discussion threads, including topics involving political issues.

    As SM regulars would know, the ladies concerned are also more than capable of very effectively cutting to shreds any guys who try to pull any stunts involving misogyny or the usual patriarchal attitudes.

    =>”Do men still secretly want women to be quiet and submissive even if they don’t pretend so openly?”

    Depends on where you go and the personalities & social circles of the men concerned.

    Amongst Asians — at least those living in the West — there are also often intergenerational differences in this matter. It’s significantly more prevalent amongst the older generation, but it can sometimes happen amongst some of the younger crowd too.

  24. Roger — on 29th May, 2006 at 12:05 pm  

    “On female presidents: “The once a month, will she or won’t she push the button thing…” ”

    Given the permanent effect of testosterone with men it’s a continuous “thing”. Perhaps the solution would be to require all leaders, regardless of sex, to have their genitals surgically removed for their term of office.

    In general, why bother to identify people at all, beyond a vague reference? I am completely uninterested in what commentators look like [in fact, I would rather not know what many of them look like], or what race, sex or religion they are. If they reverted to “From our Correspondent in…” or “By the author of…” it wouldsave a lot of trouble and people would look at the arguments not the arguer.

  25. squared — on 29th May, 2006 at 1:21 pm  

    In general, why bother to identify people at all, beyond a vague reference? I am completely uninterested in what commentators look like [in fact, I would rather not know what many of them look like], or what race, sex or religion they are. If they reverted to “From our Correspondent in…” or “By the author of…” it wouldsave a lot of trouble and people would look at the arguments not the arguer.

    But then we wouldn’t be famous for having cool opinions. :(

    I’m fairly amused by personal abuse. In the last week I have been accused of being part of a ‘race of scum’, called a bitch and sent an e-mail telling me to kill myself.

    And I thought Barficulture (sunny’s other bid to take over the world) was bad… Whether or not they openly say it, you can tell it’s full of brownies who think women belong in the kitchen. Over the past couple of weeks, people have taken issue with my casual swearing – calling it not very “ladylike”. It’s not even as if the swearing is directed at anyone. :|

    Aside from the actual abuse, I find it patronising when people tell me how women SHOULD behave. They mean it innocently when they’re like “WOW, I SWEAR I THOUGHT YOU WERE A BLOKE FOR 3 MONTHS BECAUSE WOMEN DON’T POST ABOUT SCIENCE AND CURRENT AFFAIRS!!” What rock have they been under? :S

    I’m just sitting there thinking, huh? Maybe my screenname should be “princess”. :|

  26. Sunny — on 29th May, 2006 at 1:54 pm  

    Squared – you should have your screen name as something like ‘xxhugsxxLOLZxxkissesXXXXX’ – and then write on science topics. Heh.

    Katy – here you go, all the smileys you want :D
    http://codex.wordpress.org/Using_smilies

  27. Bikhair — on 29th May, 2006 at 3:45 pm  

    What is the big deal if men secretly want women to be submissive and quiet, when we openly want them to make money and protect us? Whats the problem? It works out perfectly.

    Feed him.
    Sex him.
    Take care of his kids.
    Clean the crib.
    Shut up sometimes.
    Stay fit.

    Peace and Harmony.

  28. squared — on 29th May, 2006 at 4:21 pm  

    HAHA, sunny, I did sign up as hornykuri247 once for a joke. :P

    I’m making that my official username dammit. :|

  29. squared — on 29th May, 2006 at 4:22 pm  

    Feed him.
    Sex him.
    Take care of his kids.
    Clean the crib.
    Shut up sometimes.
    Stay fit.

    That’s fine. Provided he does his equal share. Nobody wants a whiny, unfit man who’s too much of a lazy arse to do his chores and spend time with his children.

  30. Amir — on 29th May, 2006 at 5:07 pm  

    Bikhair,

    Now, that’s my kind of woman! Did you have to marry so soon? Jeez.

    I particularly like #1 (feed him), #2 (sex him), #5 (shut up sometimes).

    And to top it off, I love black women…

    Let’s just hope that your husband appreciates you, listens to your needs, and, as ‘squared’ points out, reciprocates.

  31. Amir — on 29th May, 2006 at 5:29 pm  

    Sunny,

    Not only is she [Yasmin Alibhai-Brown] a woman but a brown liberal! God forbid! That really pisses off the white and brown right-wingers.

    Hang on a moment here. Majority opinion in the English-speaking world, especially among the under-40s who tend to be over-represented on the web is generally egalitarian, agnostic, and tends towards the cultural Marxism known as political correctness. There’s a lot more animosity (some of it warranted, some of it unwarranted) directed towards right-wing writers such as Richard Littlejohn, Peter Hitchens, Melanie Philips, Keith Waterhouse, and Derek Draper.

  32. Shallow — on 29th May, 2006 at 5:37 pm  

    ‘Feed him.
    Sex him.’ etc.

    Just a question (or two), Bikhair. Would you say the above describes your relationship to your husband? And would you pass on this advice to your sons and daughters?

  33. Shallow — on 29th May, 2006 at 5:46 pm  

    ‘There’s a lot more animosity (some of it warranted, some of it unwarranted) directed towards right-wing writers’

    Not in blogworld, Amir. Not if you take ‘Comment is Free’ as representative of pol blog culture. The comments sections there are stocked by (and imho, the worst for) the groupies of those heavyweight superstar legend-in-their-own-lunchtimes, liberal-baiting bloggers.

  34. Sunny — on 29th May, 2006 at 6:10 pm  

    Amir – I know Yasmin personally and believe me she is as much against political correctness and the ‘victim mentality’ as we are. Thus your attempts to box her in that department won’t work with me.

    And no, while most of us think the likes of Richard Littlejohn and Melanie Phillips are just downright mad, we don’t waste all our time pouncing on their every word and spending hours trying to fisk them. As I said on CIF, it’s like taking candy from a baby. But the right-wingers love spending all their time doing it.

  35. Kismet Hardy — on 29th May, 2006 at 6:31 pm  

    Male newspaper columnists think:

    Important people will be reading this, I need respect. Even in controversy, I must show I know what I am talking about, should I need to defend my stance on a radio show tomorrow morning. I might even get a call from Newsnight. For tjis purpose, I must read several newspapers to get all sides of the story, even take a few notes from the Spectator and Private Eye to get my wit in check, sit back and wait for that call from Faber & Faber

    Female newspaper columnists think:

    What does she think she’s wearing?

  36. sonia — on 29th May, 2006 at 6:47 pm  

    i think both men and women reinforce gender stereotypes in an online environment just as in RL. and obviously as the two aren’t disconnected as early cybersociological theories suggested! many women id say are guilty of trying to keep ‘woman’ equal to ‘fluffy’. also another interesting point that’s shown up time and time again in studies focusing on identity construction online is ‘gender signalling’ – the use of nicknames. lack of physical cues meant women were often communicating these cues textually. use of certain type of language, nicknames to indicate femininity.

    p.s. i remember a lot of girls in irc channels when they found out i wasn’t a bloke weren’t very interested in talking to me anymore – or treated me very differently.

  37. Kismet Hardy — on 29th May, 2006 at 6:51 pm  

    I go to a lesbian chatroom under the name cherry

    They love me

    Don’t all act surprised

  38. sonia — on 29th May, 2006 at 6:52 pm  

    oops some garbled typing up above..

  39. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:02 pm  

    8)

  40. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:03 pm  

    argh!

  41. Bikhair — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:05 pm  

    sqaured,

    Perhaps. I dont know what you mean by chores. The Muslims have an example of Prophet Muhammed doing chores. However, if you want help around the house, try going to his job and helping him out. I didnt think so.

  42. Bikhair — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:06 pm  

    Shallow,

    I would but not in those words. I would tell my daughters and my sons that in their religion their spouses have rights and those rights should be respected.

  43. Kismet Hardy — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:15 pm  

    Bikhair, you’re a man

    J’accuse.

    I claim my £5

  44. squared — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:23 pm  

    Perhaps. I dont know what you mean by chores. The Muslims have an example of Prophet Muhammed doing chores. However, if you want help around the house, try going to his job and helping him out. I didnt think so.

    Wow, I think you just managed to insult the intelligence of BOTH sexes in the same sentence. Paid jobs are too difficult for women to go and help with? And chores are too difficult for men? Jeez, how patronising.

    And what makes you so positive that I would be incapable of doing his job anyways? It may well happen that we work in the same place. ;)

    But then that thought wouldn’t occur to someone who only envisages women at home, would it?

  45. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:30 pm  

    I don’t think anyone’s really applying their mind to the true issue here, which is that the emoticons are secretly plotting against me and refusing to come up. :-)

  46. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:30 pm  

    Ha! Newton – 1; Emoticons – 0.

  47. Kismet Hardy — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:32 pm  

    For Bikhair,

    Be a woman: It’s one thing to demand equality, but unless you are prepared to assume the roles particular to men and women, don’t expect to play happy families. Don’t mistake being a wife for being a maid – you are not a skivvy, you are the one that runs the house.

    Divide and rule: Set separate tasks for every member of the family, according to their skill. Men can feel like they’re getting in the way when you’re on a clean-up mission. He’ll be happy with the manly tasks – the garden, redecorating and so on. Don’t tell him to do it; tell him you can’t. Don’t treat kids as helpless – encourage them to help you.

    Be house proud: Seeing as a housewife is literally married to the house, you should treat your home with as much care and attention as you treat your husband. If he sees how much devotion you have to your home, he will treat it with the same respect. Be prepared to show as much interest in his working life.

    Setting standards: Don’t expect too much of him, lest he feels a failure. But don’t lower your expectations either, as he will blame you if he starts letting himself go. Help him to be the best man he can be, and take note of the suggestions he offers you in the spirit in which they are given.

    Give to get: Your husband loves being taken care of as much he enjoys looking after you. If he’s had a hard day, give him a massage. Pamper him when he deserves it and you’ll get your reward in the bedroom!

    Make it fun: Just because you’re a proud wife does not mean you’re not all woman. Don’t make him see you just as a dutiful wife and a wonderful mother. Arrange nights where it’s about the two of you – keeping the fire of the honeymoon night burning.

    Be yourself: Wives who become everything she thinks her husband wants lose themselves. Remember, to love and be loved, you have to love yourself first.

    Hope this helps

  48. Kismet Hardy — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:32 pm  

    It’s because I care

  49. Kismet Hardy — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:34 pm  

    Katy. You should know real men don’t show emoticons

  50. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:36 pm  

    “What is the big deal if men secretly want women to be submissive and quiet, when we openly want them to make money and protect us?”

    Many women of my mother’s generation subscribed to that theory and many of them wound up divorced and penniless in their fifties as a result.

  51. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:37 pm  

    Kismet, are you saying I’m not a real man?

  52. Kismet Hardy — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:38 pm  

    Asian women didn’t used to get divorced.

    Now the divorce rate among Asian women are going through the roof.

    I blame evil western influences such as Sex & The City, Desperate Housewives and Strictly Come Dancing

  53. Kismet Hardy — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:41 pm  

    That’s what I’m saying Katy. I don’t believe you’ve ever taken a spider out of the bathtub without maiming it, lifted a bonnet to see and fix the problem, or taken out your homosexual agression by wrestling on a pitch with several sweaty large men, no

  54. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:48 pm  

    1. 100% of spiders removed from the bathtub and the house generally, by me, regardless of size of spider, lived to fight another day. This is because I adopt the tried and tested glass bowl/postcard technique.

    2. My car is mid-engined so I have never looked under the bonnet because there isn’t anything there apart from the battery. But I have lifted the special little grille thing over the engine on several occasions, mostly to top up the oil and water, but also to fiddle with the starter motor because the connections were slightly corroded and I didn’t have time to take the car to the garage.

    3. I have certainly never wrestled on a pitch or anywhere else with several sweaty large men. What sort of woman do you take me for?

  55. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:50 pm  

    And I have never picked up a cylindrical object (e.g. 2litre coke bottle, tube of wrapping paper, large butternut squash) and held it against my crotch to make other people think it is my penis. I suppose I’m not a real man after all ;-)

  56. Kismet Hardy — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:53 pm  

    Spooky! I do the same thing with a bottle of coke. But I don’t pretend it’s a penis of course, seeing as I already have one (I have proof, thanks to the zoom camera and photoshop). Can you guess where I stick my bottle of cola?

  57. Kismet Hardy — on 29th May, 2006 at 7:54 pm  

    I’ll spare you the restless night.

    My arse

    Pepsi just doesn’t do the same for me

  58. squared — on 29th May, 2006 at 8:05 pm  

    I can’t help but feel that my love for kismet hardy remains unrequited. :(

  59. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 8:06 pm  

    Really? Have you tried both whilst blindfolded?

  60. Kismet Hardy — on 29th May, 2006 at 8:18 pm  

    Really? I’m sitting on edge of my bottle cap

    Squared, you’re the only box I’d like to stick my circle in

  61. squared — on 29th May, 2006 at 9:38 pm  

    That makes me incredibly moist.

  62. Kismet Hardy — on 29th May, 2006 at 9:43 pm  

    The first Pickled Politics wedding!

    Let’s be rash and head off to my uncle’s 1-star B&B in Forest Gate to start the honeymoon

  63. Bikhair — on 29th May, 2006 at 9:47 pm  

    squared,

    “Paid jobs are too difficult for women to go and help with? And chores are too difficult for men? Jeez, how patronising.”

    It is not about one being more difficult than the other. If your job is in the home and his is outside the home you cant expect him to help you out with your job at home while you wouldnt expect to go to his job and help him out.

    “And what makes you so positive that I would be incapable of doing his job anyways? It may well happen that we work in the same place.”

    Not the issue. See above.

    “But then that thought wouldn’t occur to someone who only envisages women at home, would it?”

    No, only if they are home. If they arent that is a completely different story. Read above.

  64. Justforfun — on 29th May, 2006 at 9:49 pm  

    2. My car is mid-engined so I have never looked under the bonnet because there isn’t anything there apart from the battery. But I have lifted the special little grille thing over the engine on several occasions, mostly to top up the oil and water, but also to fiddle with the starter motor because the connections were slightly corroded and I didn’t have time to take the car to the garage

    Fiat X1/9 ?

    Justforfun

  65. Justforfun — on 29th May, 2006 at 9:52 pm  

    Bugger – Sunny get us a preview back !!

    Justforfun

  66. Katy Newton — on 29th May, 2006 at 10:25 pm  

    Justforfun – nope.

  67. Old Pickler — on 30th May, 2006 at 1:09 am  

    Do men still secretly want women to be quiet and submissive even if they don’t pretend so openly?

    Do bears shit in the woods?

    Lefty men are the worst. That’s why they love Islam. Lets them put the genie of women’s lib back in the bottle.

  68. squared — on 30th May, 2006 at 2:02 am  

    Bikhair – The point was, you immediately envisaged male/female roles as career/homemaking, respectively, without bothering to think of the alternative. Lazy.

    If I wanted to be a homemaker, of course I wouldn’t expect the hubby to come home after work and continue working. I’d have been given more than enough time to cope on my own, but that’s just common sense.

    What isn’t common sense is to automatically assume the male is out there doing ALL the hard work and then expected to come home and wash the dishes by a lazy wife who doesn’t help him with anything. That’s incredibly narrowminded, don’t you think? Not to mention patronising.

    Kismet, I’ll even brush my hair for you. :)

  69. squared — on 30th May, 2006 at 2:08 am  

    If your job is in the home and his is outside the home you cant expect him to help you out with your job at home while you wouldnt expect to go to his job and help him out.

    Homemaking isn’t a 9-5 thing, especially with children. It’s also something that both men and women have the ability to do, regardless of whether or not they can do each other’s career work.

    If you have the ability and the time, why not? I wouldn’t like a husband who refused to look after his kids because it was gone 5pm and work time was over. That’s just ridiculous.

    Marriage isn’t so black and white that you can divide roles equally.

  70. Amir — on 30th May, 2006 at 3:37 am  

    Old Pickler

    “Lefty men are the worst. That’s why they love Islam.”

    Ahh, Old-Pickler? When was the last time you got to sow your oats? Quite a while judging by these vituperative comments. Lefty men are dicks because they want to ‘rehabilitate’ serial killers and rapists (rather than punish them), because they scoff at patriotism, and because they love immigrants more than their fellow citizens. But these narrow-minded diatribes against Islam are wholly ungrounded. By all means, feel free to criticise the nitty-gritty doctrinal issues. Feel free to mock and hurl abuse at the petty theocrats and religious commissars (who distort many of its original teachings). But don’t be so arrogant as to judge all Moslems as sexist chauvinists. Is it because you acquire all of your information from Oriana Fallaci, Robert Spencer, Ibn Waraq, and Daniel Pipes? Huh?

    Islam is a hygienic faith, involving a strict moral code, respect for the family and especially the elderly, charity for the poor, and the nurturing of a monotheistic worldview. Submission to the omnipotence and omnipresence of Allah is the defining feature of Islam – not forcing women into submission.

    Amir

  71. Amir — on 30th May, 2006 at 4:01 am  

    Squared

    “The point was, you immediately envisaged male/female roles as career/homemaking, respectively, without bothering to think of the alternative. Lazy.”

    Now, this is just patronising :-) Bikhair isn’t trying to sell some profound philosophical treatise about the role of women in society, the origins of femininity, the hermeneutics of phallo-centricity etc. She was stating her preference for a healthy, stable marriage. And if it makes her happy, we should all congratulate her. It’s ‘lazy’ to assume that every woman wants to be like Samantha (Sex & The City), Ling (Ally McBeal) or Gabrielle (Desperate Housewives). The key word here is ‘choice’, not compulsion.

    In fact, I think it’s quite refreshing that someone is sticking up for the institution of marriage. Without strong families, the development of conscience is stunted, private life diminished and the power of the state increased.

    Amir

  72. Amir — on 30th May, 2006 at 4:13 am  

    Don

    “I try to avoid that and treat them [women] as equals. Because chicks dig that respect thing.”

    Not necessarily. If a man isn’t assertive enough, the female loses interest, or what I call ‘lapdog syndrome’. Every woman has a secret masochistic desire to be dominated by the opposite sex – mentally (i.e. being wooed/charmed/bedazzled) and physically (i.e. ravaged in bed). This isn’t a universal axiom, but it appears quite often in romance novels, film, and everyday conversation/flirting. It has a massive effect on male-female interaction.

  73. Katy Newton — on 30th May, 2006 at 7:20 am  

    Amir, I think you mean “ravished”. “Ravaged” sounds considerably less appealing. :-)

  74. Kismet Hardy — on 30th May, 2006 at 9:27 am  

    Both give me the horn

  75. Jai — on 30th May, 2006 at 10:56 am  

    Amir,

    I think you’d find that while many women may do the “coy submissive” thing on the outside, in reality — on the inside — they’re the ones holding most of the cards and in control of the situation, even if they nudge things along as and when appropriate, and make the guy think he’s running the show.

    Women do often like to be “wooed”, “chased”, and so on — but there is a marked distinction between this and the idea of being “dominated”. Women will maintain underlying control of matters but in a passive-aggressive way*.

    *I do not mean this in the negative sense of the term.

  76. justforfun — on 30th May, 2006 at 12:24 pm  

    Older than a Fiat x1/9 ?

    Can’t be a mid -engined Jap or German car with dodgy starter motor electrics ;-) or can it?

    Please don’t say another certainty in life is destroyed :-(

    Justforfun

  77. Jai — on 30th May, 2006 at 12:32 pm  

    Katy,

    I’ve just been glancing over your website and have to commend you on it — it’s brilliantly written and very entertaining.

    Has everybody here noticed that ladies called Katy (or Katie/Kate) tend to be really nice people ? You never meet a nasty Kate. It’s like women called Lucy — you never meet a nasty Lucy either (well, apart from the one in Charlie Brown).

  78. Roger — on 30th May, 2006 at 12:43 pm  

    ” Lefty men are dicks because they want to ‘rehabilitate’ serial killers and rapists (rather than punish them), ”
    You think the two options are mutually exclusive, Amir?

    “Every woman has a secret masochistic desire to be dominated by the opposite sex ”
    Every woman? You’ve checked them all, have you? Doesn’t this apply to men, too- or at least to many? after all, it’s said that Mrs Thatcher’s political appeal came from her sex appeal. even if this is true, how far is it genetically determined and how far culturally?
    In general, one of the problems with blogs is that people find themselves making gross and unsubstantiable generalisations.

  79. Kismet Hardy — on 30th May, 2006 at 12:46 pm  

    I’ll fight you Jai. I’m in love with Katy

  80. Jai — on 30th May, 2006 at 12:48 pm  

    Amir,

    Following on from Roger’s comment, with all due respect I think you may lack sufficient life-experience to be able to comment accurately on some of these matters.

    It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t voice you thoughts, of course, but perhaps it is something to bear in mind before firing off your posts, especially if you use aggressive and/or dismissive language towards either the subject matter or other commenters. Some of your thoughts are indeed spot-on; however, others are definitely not.

  81. Jai — on 30th May, 2006 at 12:56 pm  

    Kismet,

    Ah, but is she in love with you ?

    Or has she been hanging around her Indian girlfriends* too long and, already, has a rakhee wrapped up and ready to be tied around your wrist like an anti-Viagra handcuff, crushing your dreams of breathtaking romance and forcibly imposing brother-sister platonicism, like a true-blue Indian girlie from “The Exchange” shopping centre in Ilford ?

    *Girl-friends, not literally “girlfriends” in the kinky sense. I know what you’re thinking.

  82. Roger — on 30th May, 2006 at 1:01 pm  

    “In general, one of the problems with blogs is that people find themselves making gross and unsubstantiable generalisations. ” and not saying all they meant to say when they post. This should continue ” that they would never say if they had a few seconds thought or even an edit button.”
    A practical example of what I wanted to say.

  83. Rakhee — on 30th May, 2006 at 2:00 pm  

    UGH. What is going on?

    Kismet. Sweetheart, come with me in to the 21st century. Be under no disillusions, it’s a scary place for someone like you…;-)

    Sunny, how about you challenge Picklers to engage in a debate without it ending up about penises (Katy, the penis culprit to blame yet again ;-) ) or Muslims.
    What you might find is that more women may want to engage in a blogging a little more..

  84. Amir — on 30th May, 2006 at 2:10 pm  

    Jai and Roger,

    “with all due respect I think you may lack sufficient life-experience to be able to comment accurately on some of these matters.”

    With regard to female sexuality, my views are supported by the Electra Complex in psychoanalysis, sociobiological studies of gender, and cognitive models of domination and submission. But, of course, the politically-correct man has no urge to consider this, does he? You prefer to see women as tabula rasa, am I correct? Freud’s experience compensates for my lack of it. Although, to be fair, female sexuality is one of the few areas I can amplify my knowledge. ;-) ;-)

    Every woman? You’ve checked them all, have you?

    Well, I’ve checked quite a few ma bra’! No, seriously… Roger, if you paid more attention, I actually said… ‘This is not a universal axiom’. Get it?

    “Both give me the horn”

    Miss Hardy, you crack me up no end!
    Katy – sorry about that mistake (late night).

    Amir

  85. Amir — on 30th May, 2006 at 2:30 pm  

    Rakhee,

    I hope you liked my poetry?

  86. Amba — on 30th May, 2006 at 2:32 pm  

    Dude, you get your ideas about women from Freud? Even the dippy denizens of Psych departments don’t take Freud seriously any more. Some knowledge of Sigmund’s seminal works is required if you want to understand Woody Allen’s earlier movies, but it won’t get you very far with the ladies.

  87. Amir — on 30th May, 2006 at 2:37 pm  

    Amba,
    I acquire some of my knowledge from Freud.

    But I don’t use his work to ‘pull women’! Ha ha!

    Even the dippy denizens of Psych departments don’t take Freud seriously any more.

    That’s not true. Freud – along with Albert Einstein, Lenin, George Orwell, Foucault, and Karl Popper – is one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th Century. Period.

  88. SajiniW — on 30th May, 2006 at 2:41 pm  

    An interesting point from the original article –

    Only about a quarter of nationally syndicated columnists are women and they tend to be white and right-wing.

    Are women considered to be the ‘conservative’ bunch?

  89. Amba — on 30th May, 2006 at 2:51 pm  

    One can be influential and profoundly wrong at the same time, Amir; do you think Lenin’s influence was to the good? In my (mercifully brief) time in a Psych program, Freud was treated as part of the history of psychology, not as a thinker who still has contemporary relevance.

  90. Jai — on 30th May, 2006 at 2:57 pm  

    Amir buddy,

    I wasn’t talking just (or even mostly) about your views on women; I was mainly referring to some of the other comments you’ve posted higher up this thread. However, I still stand by what I said. Generally-speaking, theoretical, second-hand knowledge is no substitute for actual, direct personal experience and observation, coupled with a healthy dose of common sense. As you may recall, this was actually one of the concepts which resulted in my disagreement with Ismaeel a few weeks ago (although fortunately we have subsequently had significantly more amicable chats and have even managed to find some common ground in some matters).

    I don’t mean any of this in a nasty way so absolutely no offence is intended — it’s just something I’ve realised myself over the years, you can take it or leave it as you wish. And by no means should you just take my word for it either ;)

  91. Jai — on 30th May, 2006 at 3:03 pm  

    Rakhee,

    Apologies for any confusion, my jokey message to Kismet was referring to “rakhees” in the raksha-bandhan sense — I wasn’t actually talking about you (if that’s what it accidentally sounded like).

    Your second paragraph suggesting an expansion of PP discussion topics is also a very good point — it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a broader range of matters to discuss (something Sepia Mutiny does very well, for example) and certainly something more positive and upbeat, rather than yet another topic enabling Asians to criticise, insult, and look down on other Asians in true desi-style.

    A little more balance would be a constructive way forward. Just a friendly suggestion, anyway.

  92. Kismet Hardy — on 30th May, 2006 at 3:23 pm  

    “Kismet. Sweetheart, come with me in to the 21st century”

    What’s that, a club?

    Rakhee just asked me out on a date. That’s never happenned before. Mum shall be pleased.

    Sorry Rakhee, I only have the horn for Katy. And her kinky girlfriends Jai was talking about

  93. Rakhee — on 30th May, 2006 at 3:56 pm  

    Amir – what poem?

    Jai, no worries, I got what you meant. As for your comment ‘A little more balance would be a constructive way forward’. HURRAH! At last some rational support.

    Kismet, your Mum? Let’s not go there.

  94. Kismet Hardy — on 30th May, 2006 at 4:02 pm  

    Why not? We always go to visit mum before a date.

    Pick you up around 2.30pm?

  95. Jai — on 30th May, 2006 at 4:12 pm  

    Kismet,

    Don’t forget to have her back home before sunset. And remember — only 2 or 3 dates, after which you have to make a firm decision on whether you wish to spend the next 50 years together. Stop complaining; according to Asian tradition, 2 or 3 dates is all you need to base this on. None of this “go out with each other for an extended period and actually build up a proper one-on-one emotional relationship” bukwaas.

    Rakhee,

    Make sure you’ve got your best sari/salwaar-kameez ready when you meet Auntie. None of this skinny jeans & 6-inch stilletos nonsense.

  96. Kismet Hardy — on 30th May, 2006 at 4:17 pm  

    What happens at sunset Rakhee? Do you turn into a pumpkin?

    I’m not prejudiced if you do. I am fond of fairy tales as much as I enjoy a bit of religion from time to time, plus who among us hasn’t at some point or another, felt compelled to deseed a ripe, gorgeous, throbbing vegetable?

  97. Old Pickler — on 30th May, 2006 at 5:39 pm  

    ladies called Katy (or Katie/Kate) tend to be really nice people ? You never meet a nasty Kate

    My name is Katy. Really, it is.

    Ha ha.

  98. Jai — on 30th May, 2006 at 6:20 pm  

    Kismet,

    Bro you’re determined to push the boat out as far as possible in terms of badmaashi, aren’t you ? ;)

    Very funny, though. I bet you get slapped a lot.

  99. Rakhee — on 30th May, 2006 at 6:29 pm  

    I swear if anyone asks the question ‘why don’t women blog?’ again, I will scream and then politely direct them to PP.

    Kismet – go find a counsellor.

    Jai – for the record, my 6 inch heels rarely come off.

  100. Jai — on 30th May, 2006 at 6:37 pm  

    =>”Jai – for the record, my 6 inch heels rarely come off.”

    *Jai thinks of a number of very saucy responses but decides against it as this is a family show*

    Rakhee, you should definitely put that on your biodata.

  101. Katy Newton — on 30th May, 2006 at 7:10 pm  

    My ears have been burning all day! Curse my lack of internet access.

    Jai – thank you! Where is that blushing emoticon? Not that I’d be able to make it work anyway.

    Kismet – yes, but it is a love that we must hide, to spare Clairwil and squared. And possibly Rakhee.

    Rakhee – it’s all about the penis. Apparently. :-D

  102. Katy Newton — on 30th May, 2006 at 7:31 pm  

    Ooh! And justforfun, it is neither Japanese nor German…

  103. justforfun — on 30th May, 2006 at 9:03 pm  

    I was thinking Italian as it doesn’t like the rain – but then of course I had forgotten about the MGTF.

    It has to be an MGTF :-)

    Justforfun

  104. Katy Newton — on 30th May, 2006 at 9:26 pm  

    Except for the T bit you are absolutely right!

    Er, but you don’t get a prize or anything.

  105. Jai — on 31st May, 2006 at 11:21 am  

    =>”Kismet – yes, but it is a love that we must hide, to spare Clairwil and squared. And possibly Rakhee.”

    Now there’s a Bollywood classic in the making…..

    Flame-haired English temptress engages in cross-cultural romance with slightly dodgy Asian dude, runs around trees in Forest Gate whilst miming to Hindi lyrics, and quick-witted Indian woman with a penchant for 6-inch heels completes the triangle.

    Don — the hero’s sensitive and understanding father.

    Amir — the hero’s intellectual and poetic younger brother. Provides some comic relief too.

    Sunny — the heroine’s austere and disapproving father.

    Bikhair and Ismaeel — their friendly but “traditional” Muslim next-door-neighbours (excuse for a nice qawaali song during one of the more tragic moments of the film, along with some Pathan-style handkerchief dancing when their son Raz gets married).

    Jai — the special guest star who arrives during the final few minutes of the film and catches Rakhee’s eye, who suddenly decides this might be a good moment to sacrifice her love for Kismet and nobly hands him over to Katy. And no I will not be played by Salman Khan.

  106. Pocahontas — on 31st May, 2006 at 12:20 pm  

    I hear Govinda is in London, Jai.

    He might be a suitable choice to play you??

  107. Jai — on 31st May, 2006 at 12:29 pm  

    Akshay Kumar might be a closer match in some ways, Pocahontas…..I’d say Hrithik too but I’d need to hit the gym a little more than usual for that to go ahead (and I don’t have green eyes either)…..

    Now, if we can get Angelina Jolie to do an item-number song, this might get interesting…..

  108. Pocahontas — on 31st May, 2006 at 12:34 pm  

    Madame Jolie might start ass-kicking…unless you are into that kind of thing of course. I wouldnt want to presume on your taste as I dont know you. (Hrithik does not have green yes, they are grey; I should know)

    I am trying to stick to the expected role of a woman here. Bikhair take note.

  109. Kismet Hardy — on 31st May, 2006 at 12:42 pm  

    =>”Kismet – yes, but it is a love that we must hide, to spare Clairwil and squared. And possibly Rakhee.”

    You forgot squared Katy, she said her love for me is unrequited.

    And I know from AiM that Pocahontas wants to suckle my man boobs.

    Shocking isn’t it? A guy who can’t tell his arse from his elbow when it comes to politics getting all the ladies’ attention.

    That never happens in the real world…

  110. Pocahontas — on 31st May, 2006 at 12:46 pm  

    It cant be your animal charm and gigolo looks by any chance?

  111. Kismet Hardy — on 31st May, 2006 at 12:56 pm  

    Depends if you find ferrets charming.

    The looks I can’t argue with…

    Oh and Jai, sure i get slapped. I love slappers, me

    (I’ll get me coat)

  112. Neil Harding — on 1st June, 2006 at 9:36 pm  

    You know what Sunny, I never thought of the female angle, I was just saying right wingers like to smear a leading lefty when they find it difficult to refute their argument – like the attacks on Michael Moore in the US. But I think you are absolutely right. Now I come to think of it Polly does get accused of being ‘shrill’ and ‘emotional’. I’ve never seen that kind of put down used on say, Jonathon Freedland, yet I personally think in style and ‘leftiness’ these two commentators are similar.

    By the way, thanks for the link.

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