New Matilda furore dangerously misses the point

10 Dec

Victim blaming


The point of the Jack Kilbride article published in New Matilda earlier this week, is that women are responsible for adjusting our behaviours so that we do not incite male aggression and violence against us.

The website has since published three reactions to Kilbride’s piece, one supporting him, one attacking him, and one likening Clementine Ford’s experience to that of Adam Goodes.

Obviously nobody has read this Guardian piece, titled Victim-blaming rampant in Australians’ attitudes towards violence against women – study.

Read it. Read it and don’t even bother talking to me if you haven’t read it, because when you’ve read it you will see everything that is wrong with Kilbride’s piece, and any opinion that supports his position.

Overwhelmingly, according to the study, in Australia women and girls are blamed for male aggression and violence towards us. Our tone, our appearance, our failure to pay attention to a male, our attitude, our provocation: we must have done something or not done something to make him do it.

It is sickening to read the attitudes of apparently “ordinary normal” people to women who dare to report and protest violence against us. If you’ve experienced these attitudes you’ll know it’s like being violated all over again. The accusatory questions addressed to victims of violence: why did you/didn’t you? You should have/you shouldn’t have. All making the victim the focus of reprimand and disapproval, placing the onus on her, and not the perpetrator.

What these victim-blaming attitudes do is enable violence against women in all its forms. In shifting the responsibility from perpetrators to victims, the former are relieved of the necessity and the responsibility of owning their violence, instead taking comfort in the erroneous assumption that they were provoked in some way or other into acting aggressively towards us.

Until these attitudes change, there will be no lessening of violence against women. The depth to which these attitudes inform our society is painfully apparent in Kilbride’s piece. I have no doubt he is a nice, well-meaning bloke who wants a better world. Victim blamers aren’t necessarily overtly hostile. Indeed, women who complain about their frustration with victims complaining are engaging in yet another form of victim blaming.

The question that most urgently needs to be asked and answered is, why do we find it so necessary to blame a victim?


80 Responses to “New Matilda furore dangerously misses the point”

  1. Stewart Hase December 10, 2015 at 7:38 am #

    I was trying to frame a reply to your question about ‘why’ this occurs and no matter which way I tried to put it I could see myself being yet another make apologist for what I see as an uncivilised act on behalf of males. So, I’ll be vaguely brief but if anyone is interested I would be pleased to explain in detail in person. However, I think that being vague has made this response a bit over simplistic. But, what the hell-I like to be in this debate that needs to keep on keeping on.

    Being an unreconstructed Darwinist I think that there are some biological reasons why men (and some women observers) blame the woman for what happens to her. I’ll say no more on that here because that is the tricky bit. The rest everyone else knows.

    There is a failure by men to control their impulses and this is aided and abetted by social mores. In short, men want to control women and this is a social more, thankfully now being challenged in abundance. The failure to control impulses is, in my view, a failure to act in a civilised manner. We manage to do it in other ways such as not dancing naked in the street or smashing strangers in the face on the bus because we don’t like what they just said (well, most of the time). Rather we control our impulse to act in an anti-social manner (when sober).

    It seems to me that with biological driver and a set of social mores that support them by not seeing an imperative to control the impulse to sexually assault and control (physical and psychological abuse) that this is going to be a long battle that might take a generation to win.

    But win we must and it is men that must make the change and society support them by aggressively disavowing us of the belief that somehow the victim is at fault. Violence towards women, of every type, needs to become as socially unacceptable as many other behaviours that we manage to control by our force of will. Having said that, it is an unfortunate trait of humans that we’ll do what we can get away with. Consequences matter.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Jennifer Wilson December 10, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

      Thanks Stewart, but I think you’re being optimistic in suggesting one generation will get through this quagmire.

      There seems to me to be a failure of intelligence in the *blaming the victim* cohort, and failure of imagination, and likely a lot of it is wilful.I also suspect it is to do with the denial of vulnerability: that we take against the vulnerable because they remind us of what we are all always only a breath away from: victimisation, of one kind or another. So they are to blame for their own misfortune, that way every non victim is in charge of their own fate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • samjandwich December 12, 2015 at 2:27 am #


        I sort of agree with Stuart that there are “social mores” that lead men to have lax controls over their impulses… but for me this is an example of the machinations of patriarchy.

        And I’m sure this term is contentious for many of my fellow blokes, but what I’ll hold to is that the world is pretty good at providing men with the conditions for surviving in society without having to develop a level of emotional maturity that allows them to recognise how their thoughts and actions affect other people.

        And basically I THINK WHAT JACK KILBRIDE IS GETTING AT IS THAT THE (stupid caps lock) kinds of guys who get offended by Clementine Ford’s style are emotionally immature and therefore lower in class (perhaps we could say) than the more enlightened amongst us.

        Butchyeah, in summary it seems to me that both Clementine Fords’ and her antagonists’ perceptions of each other are driven by emotional immaturity… and many of us scratch our heads at the phenomenon of victim-blaming because it seems so outlandish as to be possible – and yet it’s so common.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2015 at 8:19 am #

          Society is pretty good at convincing us it’s ok for men to be infantilised and for women to do the infantilising.

          Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote December 10, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

      Men like to control women, indeed. And one way of doing that is by using physical strength and their testosterone-fuelled aggro.

      But women also like to control men; and the way they do that is usually not physical but verbal or psychological.

      Our present focus is on male violence against women, and I would suppose that very few would be willing to argue in support of male violence.

      That being so, we are arguing nuances.

      I would put it this way: violence by anyone against anyone else is not acceptable, except in self-defence.


      Stewart is right in mentioning the Darwinist view, that men evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to be bigger and stronger, and more risk-takingly aggressive. We can note too that women appear attracted to the bigger stronger and dare I say shaggier and rougher males.

      I’ve often thought that King Kong would be their perfect man.

      Is it victim blaming to say that women choose big boofy blokes? (?)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson December 10, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

        I have never been attracted to the type of male you describe, DQ.
        And I’ve nothing else to say…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. hudsongodfrey December 10, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    I think I could defend Kilbride’s relatively short piece, and that if I am to do so then it is by assuming only the very best of intentions on his part. Assuming otherwise I can also see how he fits the motif of victim blaming. I think on balance I have to go with what he says on the page rather than what I presume he may conceivably be dog whistling about. It might be better to simply say that the young man didn’t strike the right chord and use the opportunity that the drama surrounding the piece has created to hone in on what he should’ve said.

    I think he was right to offer a male perspective that says if feminists are going to tell us you hate us you’ll have a PR problem. His problem is that he doesn’t quite say that. I had to infer it from something he wrote about attacking the wrong men. He goes on to opine unconvincingly about how Emma Watson might fix this, but what he also doesn’t actually say is that victim blaming “she was asking for it” by the manner of her dress etc.

    It’s an awfully conflicted position for a man to have to take saying I’m a feminist but I can’t understand why I’m not committed enough to hate myself for the patriarchy. Excuse me for being a tad political here but when I think of patriarchy I go to Tony Abbott. It helps me to get past the self-loathing.

    I think Stewart is on to something with the social mores idea and I really appreciated the link to that Guardian article on victim blaming and bring to mind what Catherine Manning wrote about victims blaming themselves in connection with the SlutWalks campaigns a couple of years ago.

    Focusing our anger and our activism on the guilty in specific ways that are evidently most transgressive seems for me at least to make most sense. Sure I understand that even these are first world problems in some eyes, and have argued myself that if wolf whistles at the bus stop are what you’re dealing with then that’s one of the places your activism is most authentic. Yet losing sight of the fact that we rightly judge progress by the reduction in prevalence of rape is something we ought not to dismiss, because it absolutely and undeniably calls for social change. And to make that happen you have to get the message right and targeted persuasively to the right people, and those people are overwhelmingly male.

    We don’t get what I think we deserve out of feminism by commissioning a war or words to be held solely between women.

    Side note on the artwork. Again, I’m just reacting viscerally to the scenario, hoping for something more sex positive perhaps than the girl in the background saying “OMG she’s just asking for it”. Okay, sure the guy who thinks he can “decide not to control [him]self” and blame her for it is an utter boor. I hope he’s going hope with Mrs Palmer instead. But I’m torn between wanting him to be ANY kind of better man than that and her saying, “Yes” that she did indeed dress to seduce, and please kiss me passionately in front of that jealous……

    Liked by 1 person

    • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) December 10, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

      On the “striking [of] the right chord”:

      From the horse’s mouth, as it were. FWIW.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 10, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

      Completely agree that us hating men will achieve only a negative outcome. At the same time we can’t welcome the violent and terrifying male with soft words and embraces.
      I don’t think Kilbride was consciously engaging in victim blaming: I think he just needs some stuff explained to him and he appears to be capable of listening. I am rather angry with New Matilda, who it seems to me hung him out to dry by publishing his piece: they must have known what would transpire.
      Even if she did dress to seduce, he still has to control himself…:-)

      Liked by 1 person

      • hudsongodfrey December 10, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

        “Even if she did dress to seduce, he still has to control himself…:-)” Agree, but I’m annoyed by the mixed message as well.

        You know the way he writes Mr Kilbride sound to me like a young bloke who’d probably listen to good advice from feminists when they offer it. I’d love NM to give him a chance to write a follow up piece if that’s the case.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. paul walter December 10, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    I just read above and gone back to Kilbride and I am wondering if two different writers being discussed in Wilson’s calmly reasoned and presented piece, free of hyperbole and ever willing to present all sides dispassionately.

    Sadly, with my defective IQ I must inform the kind Dr that even multitalented she has not succeeded in making the case for me, except that I suspect she must be discussing a different writer and piece to the one I read.

    How can one sex be so evil and the other so unblemished..I will muse on this theory as I head off for an afternoon nap.

    No, not laughing. Just sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 10, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

      PW, I’ve never taken the position that one sex is evil and the other unblemished. There’s female fiends in my personal history, and men I deeply love and admire.
      I’m speaking of a particular situation in which physically and/or emotionally violent males perpetrate their aggression and hostility in a variety of ways upon women, and the view many people have that it is the woman’s fault he’s done this.
      Don’t muse on that theory – it’s not mine. Or yours, I suspect.


      • paul walter December 10, 2015 at 5:09 pm #

        Therefore, back to Dr Hase’ comment…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Marilyn December 10, 2015 at 7:10 pm #

        I watched an English doco last night the rise of violent women, it’s mostly booze and poverty and young women thinking it’s fun to stage knock down brawls and film themselves.

        What none of violent women did was blame the men because they are violent.

        In Australia we have generations of blaming the weak – we blame aborigines for daring to be here, we blame refugees for daring to flee, we blame women for daring to be battered and killed and we blame kids for being sexually abused by perverts.

        Liked by 2 people

        • paul walter December 10, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

          She is merely a component in the Consent Manufacture process. Issues like the ones that concern you are relegated to page 24 and an internal climate of fear and loathing in society instead developed to ensure the sheep vote conservative out of fear of various “others”. As Donald Trump does with Arabs, so Ford does with men.

          I don’t doubt she beleives she is right..inconceivable that any other consclusion could be drawn, in which case she is a dupe at best and complicit at worst for her survival in that industry.


          • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) December 11, 2015 at 4:39 am #

            Articulation and encapsulation: “… a dupe at best and complicit at worst …”.

            PW, you have triggered a memory of something written by Ford relating to Mel Grieg in the aftermath of the ‘Royal Prank’ of December 2012. I remember tweeting something both supportive and connective to her in relation to that article, and was a little surprised at the lack of any acknowledgement. I put that down to my relative online non-entity at the time. Now I will try to look it up to see if it makes more sense in the light of hindsight. Jennifer’s December 2012 post “When management fails, who pays the price?” and its (very long and meandering) comments thread may provide background.

            Given my view that much that enters the public domain as purported news or matters of public interest these days is far more intendedly manipulative of public opinion or response, I found it interesting, in a purely chronological way, that @JackKilbride1 first tweeted on 11 December 2012.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) December 11, 2015 at 5:26 am #

              Found it.


            • Jennifer Wilson December 11, 2015 at 7:01 am #

              What enters the public domain is what the orthodoxy needs to support and perpetuate its dominant narrative?
              All else is subversive & we’re on our way to jail.


              • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) December 13, 2015 at 8:57 am #

                I don’t entirely agree with your first paragraph as it comes across. I think that state of affairs is what ‘the orthodoxy’ desires, but one that is increasingly seen to be coming under sustained threat from the blogosphere. Under the pressure of that perceived threat those who would wish to remain dominant within that orthodoxy seem to be resorting increasingly to less credible and less ethical stunts in attempts to regain the initiative, IMO.

                Your second paragraph is too pessimistic, in my view. Sheep, as an example, is fairly regularly attracting around a thousand hits in any given 24 hour period. I like to think it, and other blogs in their respective fields of interest, are making significant headway in altering the orthodoxy’s perception as to what is genuine public opinion.

                The first of my connective leaps with respect to what is now known to be, to some extent, the Jack Kilbride stunt, was to the tweeted image of the Courier Mail front page response(?) to the findings of the three appellate judges in regard to the safety of the Baden-Clay verdict. Kill bride.

                There followed a relatively rapid response from Minister Dutton, proclaiming the law to be very definitely an ass, at least as far as it applies to cases of violence against women. My first thought? The rehabilitation of Dutton in the public view. Planned, as opposed to opportunistic. Compartmentalised, so that the failure or abortion of any one strand of a skein of stunts would not prejudice an attempt to take over the VAW narrative.

                I have made other connective leaps, perhaps in reflexive reaction to a collective shout, something which we haven’t heard much of, until just recently. But perhaps they are leaps too far …..

                Then again, who would have thought at the time that the Royal Prank was orchestrated by the orthodoxy to distract from the Guardian UK 2012 Person of the Year online poll (won in the end by Pfc Manning) and its attempted rigging? But if you’ve got time, patience and an inquiring mind, you can read all about it on Sheep. In the link to that very long meandering thread. Above.

                And, as you can see, Clementine Ford features in that narrative, too. Why would New Matilda want to pull a stunt like this, I wonder?


        • Jennifer Wilson December 10, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

          This is absolutely true. We are a victim blaming nation


  4. paul walter December 10, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

    Just working my way down and my eyes caught the tweet feed. Someone call@ theAL360.. something about Miranda Devine, then… “”Yes. Ford is abusive”.

    I won’t have thé wool pulled over my eyes with Ford.

    Yes, indeed Marilyn. And I have yet to read anything from Ford as to the other subgroups you mention, apart from women. Tell me the last article she wrote on refugees, aborigines or what causes refugee flows out of the middle east, or the enviro or the ABC or higher education being dumbed down, or a whole raft of things that help create the tensions that occur in society that create or stimulate violent traits.

    She’s given a position of privileged influence and wastes it on narrow belly aching and score settling, as do Devine and a whole raft of other columnists and is no doubt paid a fat salary for keeping the plebs steamed up while the people that run things quietly get away with looting the very monies that could make a difference on many issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nick December 10, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

      Paul, I’ve never read anything by Ford. But a quick google came up with:

      And I’m sure if you scrolled her Facebook and Twitter feeds, you’d likely find numerous links to other writers as well as support groups who do specialise in those issues.

      She’s not my cup of tea as a writer in any sense, and I find her style of relentless self-promotion fairly tiresome, but geez we don’t have to invent extra stuff to dislike about her do we?

      Liked by 2 people

      • paul walter December 11, 2015 at 1:32 am #

        I’ll go halfway.

        I’ve gone many times to the fairfax Lifestyle pages and many times checked her out to see if she could come up with something original, that clarifies or informs on big issues, builds consensus and is non abusive.

        I’m always turned off by the hate and leave before continuing reading.

        If I’ve finally given up and she has eventually tried to write something relevant, that is not a reader’s fault when she has made her column unapproachable.

        As for self promotion, it is not so much self promotion but psychotic writing, where the issue becomes the envelope for the hate. I doubt whether she is the tenth the victim many women are though.
        I suspect she is someone driven by a compulsion for approval and attention and other subjective drivers that give the lie to the conscious agent bit, short on life experience as she is at this time in her life.

        I think she will wake up one day and wonder at the opportunity she killed back in her column writing days.

        For my part, I wonder that a child should be given a column to write when so many others are denied the opportunity who could been so much more informative and constructive. ‘May people however dont welcome being on the end the hectoring tone and the berating…how dare her editors sool a privileged, clueless brat sitting in judgement from the pulpit onto millions of other people, condemning with contempt prior to investigation the lives of such people, who’s life and experience she knows nothing of.

        You links put forward a corrective, but I’ll still suggest the vcitimhood entitlement thing with her goes back to a notion of the internalised woman from feminism common also to Tankard Reist that combines with the subjective hatreds of a Miranda Devine to devalue and block communication without ever quite understanding why.

        The really sad thing is that there are authentic examples of women victimised by men whose real life stories we won’t hear- including several at this site, eg the owner- their stories are not heard because they cannot tell them when media and press are so fixated on “controlling the narrative”.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Nick December 11, 2015 at 10:43 am #

          I don’t disagree with a lot of that, Paul.

          Like I said, it’s not for me. Neither is a lot of what Fairfax prints.

          Personally, I find it positively gross to watch someone use their media clout to have someone fired – and in the process, unwittingly provide a platform for a large corporation to proclaim its progressiveness, without any actual evidence that this is in fact true.

          I think that was a mistake on her part.

          I also don’t enjoy watching people cheering on somebody’s downfall. I’m not against her actions, but I question her need to make the episode public.

          I don’t particularly agree with Razor’s position – and I think Jennifer’s criticisms are perfectly fine – but I’m probably not that far from it.

          I agree with you I think Ford will regret this in the future.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jennifer Wilson December 11, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

            Nick, when I first heard about this saga I thought, why didn’t Ford go to the police, there are laws to deal with it, rather than to his employer.
            Also, from what I can ascertain, Nolan’s abuse was far from the worst that’s been directed towards her, but I gather he identified himself while others don’t.
            I can understand why a woman who has been subjected to relentless online abuse, death threats, threats of injury etc decides she’s had enough and she’s going to take action on her own behalf.
            I agree with you on the platform provided for corporate “progressiveness.” sacking their employee doesn’t mean they are progressive.
            I think they were wrong to sack him: some education ands mentoring would have been a better alternative, and I’d like to see corporations take on that responsibility, rather than sacking people.


            • Marilyn December 11, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

              I am very uncomfortable with the idea that anyone should be sacked due to comments and always have been. Stuart McIntyre would probably agree after Turncow got him sacked for telling the truth about war.

              Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson December 11, 2015 at 6:43 am #

        For mine, the issue was violence against women, not Ford personally with whom I disagree frequently.


      • paul walter December 12, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

        Well, I’m baffled again.

        The tone and language at her SMH column is totally different to the article on “guarding our boarders”…pity she didn’t do more of that sort of writing and less of what turns up at SMH Lifestyle.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. paul walter December 10, 2015 at 9:52 pm #

    Anyway, why do I get steamed up at this. Is it because, after all, domestic violence IS a serious issue and should not be played with as some sort of game.

    There will be deaths and maimings in the future and I will have my little complicities haunt me.

    I just hope the same applies to self righteous Ford and the ilk.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. paul walter December 11, 2015 at 2:27 am #

    Just a quick thought as to something Nick said. I actually blame the executives and editors more than Ford.

    Also, being reactive just makes me another Ford and it’s msm and ultimately the sorry state of consumerist society that so seems to maim and block people and their communication.

    I will retreat to a musical interlude, after all, “Lest Athens sin twice against philosophy”.

    This in honour of my long-suffering host, who I love deeply in spite of the current divergence…. a couple of little tunes

    And this

    and finally one for Battaille and the Culture of Excess

    First time; last time…

    Liked by 1 person

    • paul walter December 11, 2015 at 2:28 am #



    • Jennifer Wilson December 11, 2015 at 6:58 am #

      I’m so glad you’re back PW.
      Pink Floyd I will always love (Comfortably Numb)
      Guns n’ Roses I haven’t listened to for ages.
      Thank you for your musical gift.


      • paul walter December 11, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

        You are a diamond.

        Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter December 11, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

        Just back to G and R, have not been a huge fan either, but November Rain is ubiquitous and I thought of it as something Baudrillard might have been alluding to as to economics of excess, glut and surfeit, commodification and a drowning in supefluity, hence the version with the film clip, based on an actual experience for a member of that group and the death of close girlfriend.

        We live in the age of affluenza. Glut and surfeit breed complacency, loss of sensibility, dislocation and psychosis and block a capacity to relate to the condition of another..The character learns too late that in his high and heady days, represented in that crass wedding feast, his attention has somewhow diverted away from his lady and her problems…too late he realises, “what he had and what he lost” a nd the end guitar solo is his wail of epiphany.

        I think glut actually increases a lazy complacency and then conservatism that actually reinforces the ambience behind domestic violence, amongst other things. You don’t know what youve lost till it’s gone then their is remorse to fill the void, of the sort you see at the end of the Jeremy Irons film “Damage”.

        Of course you are right re Comfortably Numb..the subject has been taken by his vices and they are extracting their revenge for being taken for granted. It is a brutal process when there is no end in sight.

        You see, I write this in relation to your brief comment as to violence being the issue, not Ford or others trying to make sense of it- I can’t see how much is going to get done when society is at a stage where a gruesome brew of cornucopia and excess juxtaposed to inequity, poverty, fostered greed and resentment reinforce the sort of situation I’m watching this very moment on the giggle box re the Cronulla riots (turn it off, Paul) and with domestic violence.

        Ford and the other activists make me bitter.

        Do they really think people like me and the others who post here would have things as they are if we had the slightest chance of changing things?

        Yet the activists seem to blame us.. well wtf are we supposed to DO? it’s not the way things are set up and Clem Ford and others need to rethink who the people are that they excoriate and look a bit more deeply at how society itself is configured against change, as we have also seen with refugees. Would it be of no consolation to her that it grieves people like myself and the other contributors at this thread also?

        The economics of excess demand conspicuous wastage of resources in the presence of those who need those resources and the abnegation in particular of the socially disadvantaged (bogans) and their hapless spouses and kids as production has them act out escapist, over compensating behaviours tha tmorbidly thrill the viewers watching six oclock news or poring through the Telegraph. but as we also found out re MTR, the Society of Excess is paradoxically also a society of icy Ralph Nickleby skinflintyness, since, I suppose, meanness is also a form of excess.,,Murdoch is its motif and from stems much of the rest, yet evolution seems not yet to have the species ready for an EQ determined world, if the heart is just not there.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson December 11, 2015 at 5:56 pm #

          For mine, PW, as I just replied to Nick, it is time corporations took responsibility as well: as we agree society is configured against change, capitalism has no time for humanity, and we continue to turn against one another.
          The image, as Baudrillard would have it, has become the reality and as a consequence we are a fucked people.
          The comments of NM editor Chris Graham make it clear that Kilbride was exploited, a patsy, in the perceived interests of the publication, and so it goes on and on and on….


          • paul walter December 11, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

            I’d interpret that slightly differently, oh querrelous one.

            More later, after the soccer..

            Liked by 1 person

  7. hudsongodfrey December 11, 2015 at 6:04 pm #

    For what it’s worth I thought this was worthwhile without necessarily agreeing 100% with them about it. If you don’t know of TYT they’re fairly big on YouTube they make decent money because of the huge number of view that they receive and obviously they have to be biased towards ignoring the comments, because they’re just too numerous. Which is just to say Ford was/is in a slightly different position and that informed what she did, and I believe she was correct. It is nevertheless interesting to see how the story travels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 11, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

      Hey, that’s interesting, HG thanks.
      I think it was OK for Ford to out that man, it was his employer’s decision to fire him. Probably, as I’ve already commented, not the best decision, how good would it be if his employer had instead invested in some education and mentoring for its employees. Corporate responsibility.


    • paul walter December 11, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

      You’re right. You can’t blame her for bagging him. The more you mediate on it the more you conclude she had no choice, for self respect.

      It’s a good look for this to be offshore now.. Thanks, bogans . Very little intelligence in it as to the bogan.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. fnpneytiri December 12, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

    For the first time since I subscribed to your blog I’ve found myself in complete, and highly surprised, disagreement with you. Often I find myself in a different positional camp, which is fine, but on this occasion I don’t agree with your opening paragraph *at all*. I have read Kilbride’s piece via the link you provided and I really can’t see how you can support your assertion regarding the “point” of his article. The thrust of his piece is not directed in the slightest toward the behaviour of women, or its culpability in fomenting abusive behaviour…it’s squarely centred on the vastly smaller point that attacking your detractors won’t be a useful strategy in changing their minds. That’s all he seems to be saying, and on that relatively small question, I completely agree with him. I would have appreciated his thoughts on what *would* be likely to “close the gap” by making these mysogynists change their minds, but that inadequacy is not even a distant cousin to your rather bald interpretation of his meaning. I have to conclude that you yourself have missed the point of his article – a strange experience indeed as I’m used to finding your intellect infallible! I suspect the wealth of your knowledge on this vexed and enormous question is preventing you from taking Mr Kilbride’s relatively modest thesis at face value. Apologies if I’m missing the point myself, but based on the straightforward meaning of the actual words on the page, I think not? 😉 Love your work, thanks for the regular intellectual workout.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

      fnpneytiri, So, probably the best thing to do here is to bring in another opinion of Kilbride’s piece!
      This is a response written by someone who has deconstructed it in far more detail than I have, and I don’t think I can do it any better. I don’t agree with all of the points made, but it does give a comprehensive explanation of why so many feminists are so outraged by the Kilbride piece.

      I’m so glad to have disabused you of the notion of my infallible intellect – that is much too big a burden and responsibility for me to carry, and I can be as blind as anyone else to some things.

      Thank you for posting this comment, and no apologies necessary at all for disagreement and challenge!

      Will be interested to know what you think of the piece. Cheers, Jennifer.


      • doug quixote December 12, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

        What a load of rubbish!

        Xiaoran Shi tries hard, so hard to emphasise her command of the jargon of feminist theory:

        “Without interrogating one’s own masculinity or the polyvalences of masculinity generally, one will inevitably reify male supremacy, and we can see this clearly manifest in the ‘feminist’ masculinity promulgated by Kilbride, which reproduces the privileging of male needs, desires, psychologies and perspectives that is endemic to the traditional model of patriarchy.”

        That is, it really isn’t possible for a man to be a feminist – my point raised earlier. He can call himself one – the fool – but cannot be one.

        The article is the quintessence of female academic wanking.

        Liked by 1 person

        • paul walter December 13, 2015 at 12:48 am #

          Separatist feminism as conspiracy theory.

          It is a pain in the guts, but worse still alienates sympathy and action in favour of womens rights and the paranoid tone detracts from the justifiable sympathy many women deserve, with its stridency. The paranoia may well be justified in many cases, but THIS is what becomes obscured with this sort of writing.

          Sorry, Jennifer..

          Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson December 14, 2015 at 6:49 am #

          Oh, DQ, you are harsh.
          Theoretical “jargon” of all kinds has always been a challenge I’ve enjoyed. It’s like decoding a new language, immensely satisfying. This is why I almost always read a page or two of Foucault before I go to sleep at night. Or Deleuze. Or Derrida. Or Butler, Cixous, Irigaray…
          Sometimes even something I wrote myself that I can’t understand and believe I must have channelled…


      • hudsongodfrey December 12, 2015 at 6:49 pm #

        I was a little annoyed with Shi here to be honest. She misrepresents Kilbride’s premise thus,

        “The cost of alienating misogynists and perpetrators of gendered violence is too harmful to the movement, Kilbride argued, and the answer lies instead in addressing such men with deference and inviting them into feminist discourse with open arms”

        Whereas my reading of him was to say something like treating all men as the monolithic enemy risks alienating all men from feminism as opposed to focusing blame on just the “misogynists and perpetrators of gendered violence”. I don’t think he achieved great clarity or a strong conclusion along those lines falling short of that mark that I think Shi perhaps rightly sets for him.

        Shi goes on to take Kilbride to task in more or less contradictory terms saying men can adopt the label “feminist” and reject online sexual harassment yet never in a million year it would seem dissociate themselves from patriarchal privilege. I’m sceptical that she’s giving Kilbride or any of us blokes a fair go here, or that she doesn’t verge upon labelling us all as misogynists in a move that seems uncannily like either of sexism or slut shaming in that the common factor is one of projection.

        Worst of all neither of them would in a debate go far beyond uselessly trying to apportion blame to one another, and on that score both badly disappoint.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson December 14, 2015 at 6:43 am #

          No, none of you were afforded a “fair go” by Shi, and I think were Shi to respond to your comment, she would point out that society doesn’t give women anything like a “fair go,” so why should it be expected, demanded from us?
          I think the point is, what is being asked is that those of us already disadvantaged in a million ways that affect our lives (equal pay, superannuation, etc etc etc) are being asked/ordered to give a “fair go” to those who are perceived as our oppressors.
          Ford and Kilbride are the symbols in this instance.
          It seems to me that if blokes aren’t being given a fair go, they have only other blokes to blame for that, not women.
          *Puts on armour and prepares for battle.* :-))))

          Liked by 1 person

          • hudsongodfrey December 14, 2015 at 9:19 am #

            Yes, its reasonable to feel unfairly done by under the circumstances, and perhaps some would go on to argue by extension for a couple of thousand years of matriarchy before the imbalance is redressed. That might even be a good thing, but I think we know it isn’t going to happen, or at least not in our lifetimes.

            In fact it probably isn’t my place to say this, but the argument against punishing the patriarchy would have to be a case of two wrongs not making a right. It would all things considered be quite clearly an exchange of fairness that is being called for here.

            To the extent that I hear and understand anything about feminism there are lots of opinions but it’s equality feminism that most men support, and equality under the law that society imposes. So, sorry if it sucks to have to hear this from a bloke, but its always the case that not wanting to be treated unfairly is reasonable but wanting to be treated better comes across and selfish and entitled. Generations of blokes have unironically said as much of one another without as much as blanching at their own quite enormous hypocrisy, so if it helps we ought to know.

            We’ll occasionally support merit. but as I think everyone knows the whole problem with patriarchy is that it were as if merit obtained from what you are rather than what you deserved. Part of what Kilbride may infer is that in part patriarchy owes its continued existence as a foil to a, probably irrational, fear of the kind of matriarchy that would be equally bad in the opposite direction.

            So once again I hear your grievance but don’t think Shi or Kilbride made deserving arguments. If there’s any kind of positive to be taken from this “furore” its that when people are having a bit of a conversation about who’s entitled to say what, it probably means they’re not so sure themselves. If it plays out the only way I suspect it can for progress to ensue then they’ll eventually gravitate to the view that neither is entitled to dominate the other.

            Finally we might get back to meaningfully dealing with merit based arguments about good and bad behaviour within a less gender biased framework, because Kilbride was wrong to duck a stronger conclusion but ultimately right about one basic thing. Bad men doing awful things really are the problem when it comes abuse. Shi in trying to smuggle in that all men are responsible for the attitudes that lead to abuse by taint of patriarchy may well be airing a valid grievance but ultimately making a case she can’t support. Patriarchy in those terms is a label that for better or worse is inherited rather than merited and that’s not sustainable or borne out in relation to abuse.

            I hope some of this makes sense, achieving universal agreement on this would be like reaching the seventh stage of enlightenment from scratch. It’s not expected. But we’ve some metaphorical climbing to do so take of the ridicuolous bloody armour 🙂


    • hudsongodfrey December 12, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

      Read the article Jennifer has posted for you if it helps to get across that Kilbride made a good point about bad feminist speech but as a male self-identifying feminist offered very little better feminist speech. What he did offer was Emma Watson’s somewhat platitudinous speech. What Shi probably needs to hear is that bad men, sexists and misogynists are responsible for bad behaviour and a patriarchal society which good women and men everywhere have a responsibility to change. What she actually said was something I found less helpful than that. I know I didn’t relate to it, but perhaps it all heads vaguely in the direction I’ve indicated here.


  9. paul walter December 13, 2015 at 1:45 am #

    Am moved to share a little thought as to another musical interlude.

    This would feature a toon from a young lady called Lilly Allen, within whose mouth butter wouldn’t melt, from earlier this century. But since the song I think of is exclusively directed toward George Bush rather than we fellows engaged in non-adhominem, rational and good faith conversation with the site owner, unlike Billy the Goose who attacked Ford in such a crass manner, I can not move further without consensus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 13, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

      Go on


      • paul walter December 13, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

        Yes.. you KNOW the song, don’t you?

        Liked by 1 person

        • paul walter December 13, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

          Liked by 1 person

          • paul walter December 13, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

            Anyway, am to speed on this girl’s eye view stuff now- just watched a monologue from a valleygirl called Amy Schumer on ABC2.

            As a result I am now enabled to a permanent sympathy for women..Even a grinch like myself was moved to pity.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Jennifer Wilson December 15, 2015 at 6:52 am #

            The lyrics are timeless, PW. It’s for Tony Abbott now.
            I really like this little ditty, btw.


  10. paul walter December 13, 2015 at 9:28 am #

    Gotta say, am intrigued at how this thread has actualised:.. a conversation between one exceptional woman and a small group of on the whole probably reasonable men who would not lower themselves to referring to someone as a slut on a FB page- I am the least of these…I suppose evenbigger yobs would not bother with a site like this, to their own cost.

    The only other woman to comment here has been another exceptional woman, Marilyn. I can say that, in possession of knowledge of Marilyn not accessible to all here.

    I also nearly mentioned Fiona, another exceptional individual who forsook the easier ways for the demanding path less travelled and copped hard knocks along the way for her pains, on her path to self realisation… if this is the person I think it is. But checking, Fiona commented on a parallel thread instead.

    My suspicion is that others are back in the shadows observing, seeing how the conversation goes, perhaps grinding teeth a little depending on viewpoint and understanding, who also grasp who can communicate, hopefully meaningfully, or in error, then sink to the level of Billy the Goose with Clementine Ford or perhaps, less likely, the bitterness of women wronged.

    You see, I realise Wilson is way beyond me for brains, discipline and learning and that she coud unpack a huge panoply of po mo and feminist thought the like of which would take me months to develop even a basic grasp and demolish this writer in seconds. But I beleive a meaure of her substance is that she understands there is a basic break down of communication between men and women, a sort of Tower of Babel is extant and forsook the cheap out of nastiness, on curiosity, concern and a hope for a general sharing of ideas and feelings with those who feel also frustrated, on the other side of the fence.

    This thread may have been hard work for her also, so therefore I want JW to understand that, eventually, I feel honoured to be permitted to talk with the grown ups, not sent packing…I do not want to be someone who falls to the level of the sort of abuse Billy the Goose sank to, for the want of an opportunity to work through my own feelings and thoughts regarding a complex topic in the wider sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 14, 2015 at 6:35 am #

      I’m not as inclined to the type of feminist rhetoric to which I last linked as I once was, PW. Nonetheless, I don’t dismiss it as there’s often useful material to be found within it.
      As a means of general communication though, it’s sadly inadequate and rather alienating, so I don’t often refer to it here.
      As ell, I honestly wasn’t as interested n the personalities involved in that MN spat, Kilbride or Ford, as I was in the split they represent between the perceptions of women and men, and the consequences of falling into that abyss.
      I don’t see much point in arguing about Shi’s piece: I was likely as exasperated by some parts of it as was DQ, but not sufficiently exasperated to dismiss it out of hand.


      • paul walter December 14, 2015 at 8:00 am #

        I overreacted. I think. The heatwave and the dregs of a minor ailment had me that way, mansplaining at this later juncture.

        OTH, I am back to the proposition that “womens voice” is not adequately heeded by men and this leads to a mutual detriment and of all people I should understand the edginess of the one(s) excluded.

        Can there be an understanding without men and women swapping lives? Would being in a woman’s body/head for a while induce a shock, or for that matter, what would a woman make of a man’s experience if shut up in the machine indefinitely (love to put Murdoch in the bodies of some his victims)?

        How does the mix of culture, quick historical change and biology operate and constitute…obviously a social scientists picnic?

        Perhaps I have to understand that women will do things quite independantly of any observation i make and are following their own logic in doing so. What seems daft to me may have significance when played out for the individual involved in the given process, especially if the objective is real and attained, bringing satisfaction. What would I know?

        I just wish many woman would understand that many men are not acting out of personal malice, not all the time although we are human and possess the vices of reactivity and spite in abundance. If I read someone like Shi, it is with a sense of comes across, too, as defensive if not outright spiteful nonsense. How would she know, at her age?

        It is despicably weak to beat up women and pathetic to control or confine them. The world of Jane Eyre is not as distant as the accolytes for twenty first century civilisation would propose. Is it the same underlying system? Also, how are women to know who the bad male apples in the barrel are?


      • doug quixote December 14, 2015 at 8:03 am #

        She has a point, well buried in the jargon: a man cannot simply call himself a feminist, set out his feminist credentials and then go on to tell women how they should react, as if he has that right.


        • paul walter December 14, 2015 at 9:30 am #

          DQ, can I put you on the spot?

          What is the background to this Baden Clay case across the media this morning?

          Apparently many feel the appeals court went soft on him?


            • paul walter December 14, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

              Ok, I don’t know enough about the case or the law..I should not rush to judgement. Maybe I’ll await Doug’s comment and sleep on things before rushing in where angels fear to tread.

              I have to be careful because I’ve already formed an impression, but will say this: that the writer has poorly framed her article in suggesting that the issue is about a refusal in setting an example as to male on female violence, rather the situation for me is about the law being applied rationally on the evidence.

              The failure to set examples is not even peripheral.

              But what I really would like to understand is how and why the judges came to the conclusions they did despite the evidence over the span of events.. the evidence seemed good enough for the trial judge and jury.

              Thanks for the link..


              • paul walter December 14, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

                I should add, a situation of justice not only done, but seen to be done.


            • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) December 15, 2015 at 8:44 am #

              For the record. The Courier Mail in loco judicus.

              The immediate impression this created for me was that of a massive contempt of the court. Was/is it the spearhead of an attempt to hijack the VAW debate?


              • paul walter December 15, 2015 at 9:02 am #

                Makes for interesting reading.

                No denying that it is a classic Murdoch ACA tabloid populist beat- up.

                Just the same, I wonder if some of the “contempt” is not a healthy contempt.

                The authorities have had decades to prepare for the Baden Clay situation by reforming the system after many previous cases and yet another strange court decision is the response- unexplained as to the wider public as usual, as the establishment keeps a tower of its citadel unbreached.

                Unfortunately, the VAW debate is not hijacked but consolidated through this unfortunate event.

                Liked by 1 person

          • doug quixote December 15, 2015 at 1:08 am #

            I’ve just now read the full judgement.

            It seems to me that the court was taken with the argument that it was not possible for the jury to be satisfied that there was intent to kill or intent to cause grievous bodily harm (ie murder) from the evidence presented.

            It seems that there was no previous history of violence between the couple. There were other factors, of course, such as the attempted cover up; but that merely demonstrated that he knew that what he had done was wrong and he in so doing sought to avoid punishment.

            Mind you, the result will be a high-end manslaughter conviction. He should get 12 years or thereabouts, as opposed to the 15 years non-parole period for murder.

            The verdict seems acceptable, but the High Court may yet get a crack at it.

            Liked by 1 person

            • paul walter December 15, 2015 at 3:50 am #

              Ok, thanks for considered reply.

              I suppose you would explain that the manslaughter verdict is safe..all the paper shuffling he was doing just before she died was coincidental.

              Sections of the msm have gone tabloid on it, but the bar is high for a capital crime as to evidence.

              Just the same, it has triggered a sense of depression.

              My subjective intuition is that society has failed a more vulnerable member of society (again) and that a basically good, or at least promising system has been drafted to the service of an objective involving the inverting of its basic aspiration, justice.

              It looks ugly to me, resembling to something akin to a good woman put out to work the streets by a Ralph Nickleby…could be just my state of mind, which is rarely good around xmas.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Jennifer Wilson December 15, 2015 at 6:47 am #

                PW, I see some advocates are calling for laws to be changed as a result of this case, as they feel it sends the wrong message about violence against women.

                I’m not a lawyer, but from what I can ascertain, it wasn’t possible to prove he intended to kill his wife, ergo the verdict must be manslaughter, intent being the key concept in these verdicts.

                I would be very leery of any change in the law. It seems to me the question of intent is fundamental and we must have a distinction between murder and manslaughter.

                That it apparently favours some in some instances is the price we have to pay for justice for others, I suppose.

                I don’t agree that the change to manslaughter detracts from the seriousness of violence against women and the penalties for that. It seems to be a matter of law, that applies in every case. It likely mattered more when the punishment for murder, but not manslaughter, was death by the state.

                It was woman slaughter, actually.

                Liked by 1 person

                • paul walter December 15, 2015 at 8:40 am #

                  I think the crime was premeditated and involved money.. psychopath 1, system and victim, 0.


                • doug quixote December 15, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

                  Yes, well said Jennifer.

                  I think this was an unfortunate result, for many reasons. However:

                  “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”

                  – Blackstone’s formulation, from the 1760s.

                  Liked by 1 person

            • hudsongodfrey December 15, 2015 at 10:23 am #

              I read about this the other day and without claiming to have followed it closely offer my own considered opinion that they should upon deciding to reclassify his crime nevertheless give him the same sentence.

              As I understand in relation to the investigation and trial the facts are that the evidence presented was circumstantial. The defendant’s account of himself was, as indicated by the jury’s rejection of it a fabrication calculated to avoid taking responsibility for his actions.

              He declined to admit guilt but was not and could not be believed.

              I will of course agree with legal experts who say that crimes are classified differently by reason of severity, meaning they deserve to attract different punishment. I may differ however from others in this case in rejecting the notion that an unremorseful killer can by legal machination secure a lighter sentence for the same crime in this particular manner.

              It may indeed be fairer, more just, to saddle him with a lesser sentence, but without his admission of involvement I take a very dim view of offering him a lesser plea in the absence of his full and frank confession.

              I’m not offering a legal opinion or broaching argument on that score. I am instead addressing the notion that for justice to be both done and be seen to be done manslaughter should only be available as a plea in cases where defendants themselves claim mitigating factors in speaking to their intentions. Liars (the jury can’t be overturned in considering him to be one), who take their chances deserve the full weight of the law.


  11. doug quixote December 15, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    “Avoid legal punishments as far as possible, and if there are any doubts in the case then use them, for it is better for a judge to err towards leniency than towards punishment”.

    – Muhammad

    It’s a pity Islam and Christianity can’t be rewritten to include just the good bits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • paul walter December 15, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

      And see the back of the worst of the priesthood, or at least the demagogic, controlly component active in all major religions.


  12. paul walter December 15, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

    No rancour. I just think it probably gets easier to avoid recognising something wrong if you wear enough blindfolding. Is this a sense of the sophism involved?

    Doug, nevertheless I yield, withthanks what’s more, to your superior mind and legal training as to it, but I think you will find it will only make a lot of women who rail against the likes of us the more bitter.


    • paul walter December 15, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

      I should add that dq was also sceptical of Oscar Pistorius elsewhere, despite Pistorius at least having the excuse maybe of a panicky genuine brain fart or rush of blood as to his daft crime…dq isn’t soft on violence.


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