Hannah Smith is the NSW President of National Union of Students (NUS Australia). Hannah is upset about some posters that appeared at the University of Sydney courtesy of the recently-established Men’s Rights Sydney. Hannah writes:
After talking to my housemates about it though, I realized that misogynistic “men’s rights” discourses start with a whimper and not a bang. A few years ago we would’ve not heard of such groups on university campuses, now we have proposals for entire courses on men’s rights at some universities. We have pro-life groups funded by our student unions and proposals for “men’s clubs” as well. When we let MRA posters onto our campuses (even those with poorly designed webpages), we are legitimating their claims that there is a ‘debate’ to be had about feminism and gender equality. As women’s activists, we know there is lots of debates to be had about feminism, but none of them should involve questioning the core premise; that women are fundamentally unequal in our society.
By allowing them a place in our intellectual institutions we are detracting from the fights that need to be had and allowing ourselves to be dragged back to square one of the movement- defending its existence. The person who saw these at our uni tore them down. I will be doing the same and encouraging others to do so also. Some will disagree with this tactic because it stifles “debate” and free speech. But I know there is no debate to be had. The stats and figures speak for themselves.
The posters were apparently so absolutely vile and disgusting and caused such fear of a pending misogynistic men’s rights discourse on campus that the only recourse considered by Hannah and her cronies was to tear down and deface the said posters.
Posted at around 8 pm Sunday night, a spokesperson for Men’s Rights Sydney told AVFM that “by 9.30 am Monday more than half had been removed or defaced.”
But Hannah’s work was not yet done. Ambivalent about “wasting energy on pushing back on their feeble intrusion on our campus” when important issues like students’ reproductive rights were in question, she did what students do and resorted to that citadel of wise consul, her housemates. So convinced that this could be the thin edge of the wedge Hannah penned a 344-world treatise to stop this whimper becoming a bang.
After all terrible things are happening on campuses in Australia; some “pro-life” groups are apparently being treated equally to pro-abortion groups and given a platform to speak on campus and student feminists not happy about it; equality is only championed when it suits their agenda.
Worse still, according to Hannah, some “men’s clubs” and “men’s rights courses” have “been proposed.” Hannah gives no example of a proposed “men’s club” but in relation to “men’s rights courses” links to a disingenuous and misleading article in the Adelaide Advertiser by notorious feminist bigot Tory Shepherd.
Hannah’s bio states that she “is failing her Political Science and Economics degree because of her passion for student unionism.” I can see why. She does not seem to be particularly good at research, argumentative logic, or composition. It appears her student activism is mediocre as well if her brief article is any thing to go by.
Firstly she has does not address the message on the posters. She just give an emotional reaction to these supposedly hateful words:
“You don’t fear and hate men do you?
MEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS”
Do you fear and hate men Hannah? Certainly many of your feminist icons do, and feminist dogma is based on spreading, legalising and sanctifying misandry. You probably don’t hate all men, just those who dare challenge feminism and stand for gender equality for everyone, not just “equality” for women. Possibly you even like or love some men–you know, the useful idiots, male feminists?
Do you believe men have rights Hannah? Are those rights human rights? You know what human rights are, don’t you Hannah? That they apply universally to all human beings?
The preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.”
Do you believe men are human beings Hannah? The declaration is for everyone. You should read it and then tell my why you object to the statement men’s rights are human rights. We don’t deny that women’s rights are human rights.
But no, you prefer to manufacture straw men, yet are incapable of even defeating those.
Reproductive rights in Australia for women include free or Medicare-subsidised contraception (via Family Doctors and other services such as Family Planning Australia), easily available and safe Medicare-funded medical and surgical abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, and after 20 weeks where medically indicated. Women have the right to give up children for adoption or for care without question or penalty, or to keep the child and claim child support even if they deny the father any opportunity to parent. What exactly else is it that you want? Legalised late term abortion, neonaticide and infanticide perhaps?
Contrast the reproductive rights afforded men in Australia in the event of an unplanned pregnancy: men only have input into the situation if the woman allows them too, and there is no guarantee that the man’s wishes will be respected. Want gender equality? Then give men the same choice to opt out of fatherhood without penalty that women in Australia currently enjoy.
What’s that you say? They should keep it in their pants then they won’t have any problems? So true, and in an equal world woman would keep their legs closed and wouldn’t have any problems either. But you would never dream of challenging women’s sexual freedom by telling them that! So we don’t live in an equal world do we?
“Men’s Rights Courses?” Really Hannah? I’m sure you mean the Male Studies courses being offered by the University of South Australia. Very frightening stuff indeed. The first certificate is a Professional Certificate in Male Health and Male Health Promotion. Perhaps you have heard that men’s life expectancy and health indicators significantly lag’s women’s. If you doubt it you can easily access the information from the ABS (that’s the Australian Bureau of Statistics) or the AIHW (that’s the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) or even the Australian Government (that’s the Government of Australia) who produced the first Australian Men’s Health Policy in 2010.
I could provide you the links, but you really do need the research practice. Now given feminism is about equality I would assume you should support activities that aim to even health outcomes between men and women–yet this appears to be something you fear. We are not about making female health outcomes worse or deflecting resources from women’s health that already receives a disproportionate excess government funding, it’s about attempting to improve male outcomes to match the enviable ones women have achieved. You know about advocating for equality.
You say Hannah that “The stats and figures speak for themselves.” Yes they do there are many stats that highlight male disadvantage. If you are unaware of them then it is simply ignorance on your part, they are freely available online and we’ll also be happy to help you find them if you can’t.
You “know there is no debate to be had.” Sorry that is just plain wrong. A debate is being had, it is happening all around you, you may choose not to partake and pretend that it does not exist but it will not go away.
I have invited many feminists who take your stance in denying that men have legitimate issues that are worthy of addressing to debate me. All have declined. All sorts of excuses but I can’t help believe that the real reason is that deep in their hearts they know that their beloved feminism is not really about gender equality, and they fear that this may be exposed.
I am happy to give you also the same opportunity: let’s have a public discussion or debate. I fully expect you to decline, but the offer is sincere, so, go ahead prove me wrong: name a time and place and let’s see who can put forth the best argument for equality between the sexes.
Editor’s note: you may also want to use Twitter to contact Hannah’s NUS Women’s group to ask of they support this fascistic censorship @NUSWomens. You may also want to contact The Advertiser newspaper @theTiser and ask if they still stand by Tory Shepherd’s lies, or if they support the censorship being bragged about using the work of their journalists. You may also want to contact reporter Miles Kemp @bykemp at The Advertiser, who has expressed interest in men’s issues in Australia. –DE
Note: Nazi book-burning photo used under Creative Commons license from Wikimedia Commons.