Mansplaining domestic violence. The 2015 Award.

10 Feb



It’s very early in the new year to be handing out awards for anything, however this piece by psychiatrist and White Ribbon ambassador Tanveer Ahmed on domestic violence earns the author the 2015 No Place for Sheep Order of Arrogant Ignorance for mansplaining violent domestic crimes against women and children perpetrated on them by the men in their lives.

Mansplaining, if you aren’t sure what it is, is defined in this timely piece in The Conversation by Monash academic Howard Manns.

I know. I know.

“Mansplain” has been declared the word of the year by the Macquarie Dictionary:

verb (t) Colloquial (humorous) (of a man) to explain (something) to a woman, in a way that is patronising because it assumes that a woman will be ignorant of the subject matter. MAN + (EX)PLAIN with s inserted to create a pronunciation link with explain.

Admittedly, Dr Ahmed was explaining his theories on domestic violence to everyone who reads the Australian and that’s not just women, nevertheless, in this writer’s opinion, he is still deserving of the Order.

Owing to the Murdoch press paywall which is sometimes by-passable and sometimes not, I’ve copied Dr Ahmed’s piece and you can read it at the end of this post.

Basically, Ahmed is claiming that “male disempowerment” caused by 1970’s radical feminism has led to a power inequality between the genders. One way some men address this imbalance is by beating the women and children in their lives, sometimes to death, or murdering them by other means.

In reaction to this male violence against them, women have formed a “cult of victimhood” that has so skewed society’s perceptions of male behaviour that beating women and children in acts of intimate violence and sometimes murdering them has led to a “psycho-prejudice…in which what men and boys do is seen as socially disruptive.”

If men and boys beat and murder anyone outside their families it is certainly seen as “socially disruptive.” Think king hits.

But that’s not all: “The growing social and economic disempowerment of men is increasingly the driver of family-based violence…[working class male work] has become “feminised.”

In other words, domestic violence occurs entirely in the working classes, “newly arrived ethnic groups,” and fatherless sons of single mothers are apparently particularly prone, says Ahmed.

This is drivel deserving of a hundred Orders of Arrogant Ignorance. It is well-estabished that domestic violence occurs in every demographic, and I can personally attest to that, the perpetrator in my family of origin being, like Ahmed, a doctor, and not at all economically disempowered, or disempowered in any other way either.

While it is true that there are male victims of domestic violence and they shouldn’t be neglected, drivel such as this is of no help to them or anybody else.

It’s also true that a particular view of gender relations can at times be less than helpful. However, domestic violence and murder are crimes, and those who perpetrate the crimes are criminals. Gender relations do not a beater and a murderer make, and men like Ahmed need to grasp that.

With mansplainers like White Ribbon Ambassador Ahmed as our “friend,” who needs enemies?


Men forgotten in violence debate



THERE is too little acknowledgment of the importance of male disempowerment in debates surrounding domestic violence. Gender relations have changed dramatically in the past few decades, but discussions about family violence are stuck in the mindset of 1970s radical feminism.

This emphasises power inequality in gender interactions and on perceived societal mess­ages that sanction a male’s use of violence and aggression. The focus is on male villainy, denial of biologically based sex differences and a cult of victimhood. This is part of a broader movement that defines normal maleness as a ­risible kind of fatuous and reactionary behaviour. As US anthropologist and masculinity expert Lionel Tiger, who coined the term “male bonding”, says: “We have a psycho-prejudice, in which the norm is the female norm and what boys (and men) do is seen as ­socially disruptive.”

The Prime Minister’s move to acknowledge the Australian of the Year award to Rosie Batty and community outpouring on domestic violence through a COAG committee is worthy, but it risks becoming dominated by ­radical feminists and a worldview around the powerlessness of women.

Just as women are now more likely than ever to enter university, be breadwinners and have affairs, they are also more likely to commit family violence against partners, children or relatives. But the anti-feminists who focus on female perpetrators of family violence, such as Michael Woods from male advocacy group Men’s Health Australia, forget the growing social and economic disempowerment of men is increasingly the driver of family based violence. Woods is a strong critic of what he says is a domestic violence industry and diluted measures of what constitutes violence.

The focus on female disempowerment alone will not achieve an improved existence, since they are often surrounded by disempowered men. Men for whom the security of unionised labour in the manufacturing industries is becoming a distant memory are experiencing a huge displacement from modern economic trends. It’s been replaced by casualised, service-oriented work with relatively low wages. In essence, their work has been feminised.

British social researcher Paul Thomas questioned British youths of different backgrounds for a study in 2010. He found white, working-class men feel they are the real outsiders and disenfranchised from opportunity.

Likewise, family violence within newly arrived ethnic groups is often related to the sudden dilution of traditional masculinity, leaving men lost and isolated, particularly as females enjoy greater autonomy and expectations. This is primarily positive, but a greater acknowledgment of the huge displacement such men endure from the cleavage of the institutions of family, clan and tradition in less than a generation may help alleviate their sense of humiliation.

Despite the cries of domestic violence being an epidemic, we should also consider that fatherlessness could fit such a category, with 40 per cent of Australian teenagers living without their biological fathers. It was Margaret Mead who said fatherhood was essentially a social invention. But as the Left increasingly dilutes the notion of biological differences in sex, amusingly illustrated by Greens senator Larissa Waters imploring parents not to buy gender-specific toys for Christmas, we are downplaying the notion that fathers are even desirable.

Statistics don’t lie. It is true one woman a week dies at the hands of a partner, current or former. As part of a broadbased strategy, it is critical that improving arrest and prosecution rates, establishing shelters and abuse hotlines, pushing for state provisions against stalking, and creating protections for immigrants all have the goal of getting victims out of abusive ­relationships.

But the broader movement that has long fought against violence towards women remains stuck in a view of gender relations from decades past, which will limit its effectiveness in stemming the problem in an inclusive way.

Tanveer Ahmed is a psychiatrist and White Ribbon Day ambassador.


20 Responses to “Mansplaining domestic violence. The 2015 Award.”

  1. Stewart Hase February 10, 2015 at 7:12 pm #

    I also read, ‘Bring back patriarchy and put women back in their box’. I particularly ‘liked’ the bit,” It’s been replaced by casualised, service-oriented work with relatively low wages. In essence, their work has been feminised”. This women’s work is service-oriented etc etc. Try telling that to Julia Gillard, Quentin Bryce, Gail Kelly et al.

    This was a cry for ‘the good old days’ when women knew their place and when men could keep them there. This is likely a misogynist in disguise complete with white ribbon.

    I’d be worried if he was my psychiatrist and I was a woman.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. doug quixote February 10, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

    One may wonder where Tanveer acquired this article. The psychiatrist is also apparently a serial plagiarist.

    A Looters (“Liberal”) Party member as well, naturally.

    After all that, the content is unacceptable.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Toni Blackmore February 10, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

    The terrified child who will always walk with me is just a little contemptuous that setting aside non-inclusive gender relations from decades past is even mooted in this context. With ambassadors like that, White Ribbon doesn’t need detractors, it needs a pest inspection.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. hudsongodfrey February 10, 2015 at 9:15 pm #

    Maybe we have to mansplain that domestic violence is wrong to men!

    Sure women justifiably resent being talked down to. No surprise there!

    But looking at some people’s attitudes to violence…. The apparent willingness to make exceptions to the rule against murder when it comes to offing the occasional drug trafficker who doesn’t look enough like us to count. Or conduct a drone strike on IS because they’re killing cartoonists and coffee shop patrons don’t you know! Isn’t the difference in gender just another exception we tacitly condone among a far long list of exquisitely nurtured apologia for double standards?

    Part on the mansplain might draw distinctions between self defense, “collateral damage” or appeals to deterrence and some of the lesser motives for spousal abuse. And of course it’d have to explain away blame shifting onto alcohol and other mood altering substances….. The path would be long slow and unbearably tedious, as I’m sure women can probably imagine.

    Would it be too damn hard to simply put the case that violence of all sorts is something civilized society ought to be better than? Or that the kind closest to home simply has to be the place to start?

    I feel like I need to mansplain it because I find it incredible when we don’t seem to relate to this on such a basic level.

    As for male dis-empowerment. I dunno! If it HAS to have a gender element to it then be empowered to do right by other genders?


  5. paul walter February 10, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

    Have to careful here or I will be hung out to dry. is a shame the article was in the blowhard OZ where it would be read by lots of cranky grumps, rather than somewhere like here, where we could have had an adult discussion.

    Obviously, the glaring fault is a non-recognition of power relations.

    An eight stone woman is not usually likely to dish out hard stuff to sixteen stone men.
    And women, especially with kids, will generally have more difficulty as to the acquiring of economic security

    So the tendency to have men blame women for male disempowerment (and not all of the article is wrong about change over the last forty years) rather than Capitalist disruption is sadly, not avoided sufficiently.


  6. Team Oyeniyi February 10, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

    Disempowerment is a word I detest in the context of family violence. While Ahmed’s heart may be in the right place, all I hear when I read such “justification” is men trying to cling to patriarchy.

    OMG, we are so disempowered we have to murder our women. Sorry, I DO NOT buy it one little bit.

    I am quite prepared to consider there has to be a psychological shift for men after generations of forcing women to be subservient, however I don’t buy this whole “so lost we have to beat and kill” think.


    • paul walter February 10, 2015 at 10:21 pm #

      I knew someone would try to take it the wrong way.

      In blaming capitalism I certainly would not be condoning violence against ANYBODY..I made that pretty clear in my comment


      Men and women are disempowered by socio cultural change under Late Capitalism and if you want healthy people you have to have a healthy society, not one where every one is humiliated and demoralised.

      Blaming men OR blaming women just obscures an investigation and consideration of what is REALLY going on.


      • Team Oyeniyi February 10, 2015 at 10:26 pm #

        Paul I really wasn’t considering your comment when I commented. I am sorry if I didn’t make that clear. I was commenting on the article and only the article. I’m not sure capitalism has much to do with it either, although I agree with you about a healthy society.

        Have a look at some satire on love from Nigeria. Developed way before capitalism.


        • helvityni February 11, 2015 at 8:15 am #

          Team O, read elnathanjohn, loved it, very very funny. Here, as the better half of the Oo Team, I’m happy for GO to cook, lovingly…

          Liked by 1 person

  7. paul walter February 10, 2015 at 10:53 pm #

    Capitalism has EVERYthing to do with it..The system licences violence, injustice, greed and brutality to self reproduce and the same sort of people always do well out of it and the same sort of people miss out.

    If all men are thugs, how come I and many other men don’t beat up women?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Selkie February 11, 2015 at 1:14 am #

    I’m not sure about yours or Ahmed’s claims about male disempowerment.
    Yours seems to be that dv happens across many socio economic strata. This is kinda popular right now among relatively priviliged folk but I know that stressors such as poverty, trauma and natural disasters are more common factors when it comes to male violence against women and kids. Our ability to combat poverty and trauma is usually based on our socio economic circumstances, our access to education and the culture we live in.

    Trying to think while typing this on my phone is shitting me. I’ll get back to you.
    Love your work.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. helvityni February 11, 2015 at 8:26 am #

    ” establishing shelters and abuse hotlines…”

    Are there still some shelters for the poor abused women and children? As for the hot-lines, I don’t think they any good, I tried once to contact someone on ‘injured wombat’ hot-line, I think the volunteer/ helper had gone to sleep..

    To be of any help, we have to become more professional, it also does not help that people like Abbott sees these poor abused people as ‘leaners’…..I wish we gave them someone/ something to lean on….

    Liked by 1 person

  10. doug quixote February 11, 2015 at 8:44 am #

    Just to note that Tanveer has been reprimanded by the White Ribbon organisation he supposedly represents, over this strange article. I don’t have a link as yet.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Mansplaining shrink gets the flick, or the death of the author | No Place For Sheep - February 17, 2015

    […] and columnist Dr Tanveed Ahmed, winner of the inaugural No Place for Sheep Order of Arrogant Ignorance for his mansplaining article on domestic violence, has just been “let go” by The […]


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