When Laura Bates started the Everyday Sexism Project, the story goes that she did it to provide women with an outlet to talk about whatever they wanted. The project itself specifically only asks them to relay stories about sexism. Unsurprisingly this resulted in a website full of nothing but sexual assault accounts, making it appear that sexism is rampant in society. Now, having carefully manufactured her facts, Laura is insisting we have to listen.
Laura most certainly should be allowed to holler, shout, blubber, whine, stomp her feet and carry on like a shrill harpy with a hashtag. But we don’t have to listen. There is an important difference between those two attitudes: One is right and one is stupid.
While freedom of speech offers people the important ability to speak their minds and convey their ideas it does not mean that anyone need be forced to listen. Having the right to an opinion does not make your opinion right.
Laura, and her ilk, believe that filling a website with unverified descriptions of events which may or may not have happened, perpetrated by unknown assailants, and relayed to us by anonymous internet users, equates to legitimate social research. It’s not her fault though. Feminist so-called scholars have long been allowed to corrode academia to the point where statistics can be created through citation alone, and subjective anecdotes are renamed “lived experience” then treated like scientific data.
Laura Bates can hardly be held accountable for her incompetence since, as Laura explained, she didn’t even know what feminism meant two years ago but is now, miraculously, considered one of its leaders. This isn’t a big problem since Laura is a professional actor. Well, she didn’t quite make it as an actor in film and television but she certainly hit it big with the new fourth wave feminists. Their standards are apparently lower.
Laurie Penny, for example, wrote an article for the NewStatesman this week which informed us how the Patriarchy feels about her haircut. And people took her seriously.
These two feminists, Laura and Laurie, should get together and have a chat.
Laura claims that women don’t want male attention but Laurie asserts in her byline that “choosing to behave consciously as if the sexual attention of men is not [her] top priority has made more of a difference to how [her] life has turned out than [she] ever imagined.”
The key words here are “as if.” Laurie seems to be admitting that male attention is, in fact, her top priority and she must struggle to act as if it is not. I’m not convinced that Laurie intended to reveal this to her readership but the truth is out. Meanwhile, Laura insists that women are bothered by sexual attention and every evil male gaze, catcall, or graze of the hand is an assault of great magnitude. Both of them rely on “lived experience” (anecdotal evidence) to validate their claims.
Laurie’s problem, aside from considering pick up artists (PUAs) to be men’s rights advocates (MRAs), is that she has “rubbish” hair and can’t grow it long. She copes with her misfortune by recognizing that women put so much time into managing and grooming their tresses it’s amazing they can still hold down an outside job. So when feminists, like Laura Bates, claim that women do nothing to draw male attention, we have Laurie Penny to set us straight on the matter.
It takes energy and money and attention. …The point is to look like the performance of femininity matters enough to you that you’re prepared to work at it.
The Everyday Sexism Project is a fact-fabrication project, pure and simple. It takes the feminist-despised cover of internet anonymity to solicit vitriolic and disparaging comments for which the users reasonably feel they will never be held accountable. According to feminists, there is only one difference between the descriptions offered as proof of sexism on Laura’s project and the negative response emails she’s received from those who oppose her narrative: Anonymity for women is empowering and should be trusted, but anonymity for men is malevolent and turns them into dangerous predators.
To make sure we don’t discount her as an invested party in the outcome of her project, Laura assures us that she only expected to get about twenty-five or fifty replies. From her friends. The astounding response “proves” to Laura that her current world view is the correct one. She knows this because “lived experience” (anecdotal evidence) trumps research in the modern world.
Given that Laura didn’t know anything about feminism prior to starting her “original” idea it is forgivable that she didn’t know her idea had already been thought of many times. It had, in fact, already received much mainstream attention up to, and including, the former leader of the UK “holler back” campaign also helped promote slutwalk as an award winning activist. It’s forgivable because Vicky Simister mysteriously disappeared from the “Everyday Sexism” scene a couple of months before Laura Bates launched her own #shoutback hashtag to replace her.
What is surprising is that the mainstream media went all Orwell on us and erased history to pretend that Laura Bates was a pioneer of an event that they’d already hailed as “new” two time before.
It’s something between a circus and silly place.
Back to Laurie Penny for proof of absurdity:
While mocking an MRA argument that biological psychology explains attraction to long, luscious hair as a sign of health and fertility, she tries to refute this logic while simultaneously sharing the sad story of her sister who lost her long luscious hair because she became ill. If that wasn’t enough, she then goes on to describe the ideal woman she thinks MRAs are looking for:
The “ideal woman,” who wakes up looking like an underwear model, who is satisfied with her role as housewife and helpmeet but remains passionate enough to hold a man’s interest, who looks “bangable” but never actually bangs, because that would make her a slut, is almost entirely fictional.
You read that correctly. Ms Penny thinks that men covet women who tease but won’t fuck them. Yes, Laurie, you have successfully created a fictional man who loves a cock-teasing piece of slime.
If we are generous and exclude Laurie Penny as an anomaly in a sea of otherwise coherent women, we are still faced with the generalizations about men that every other feminist makes. Is it wrong to generalize about all members of a gender based on a single person’s lived experience?
Apparently, it’s only wrong if you’re someone like Samantha Brick.
Samantha caused a major hoopla when she accused women of being scathing bitches to each other. Ms. Brick published an article claiming that women hate her because of the male attention she receives. Samantha asserts that women are particularly vicious to each other and that they have a social problem.
This is Samantha Brick’s lived experience, but feminists lost no time expressing their lack of support for it.
According to psychologist Emma Kenny, a repetitive experience of negative responses is an indication that if everyone reacts to you in a negative way it’s probably something wrong with you instead of them.
Emma Kenny elaborated.
One of the big questions is; if, as a person, everywhere I go I am met with a certain reaction from people, for example that reaction is negative,…well if you just hear me out… If I get that reaction I have to in the end embrace the fact that actually it might be me that needs to change and not the society around me. The very fact that you are entertaining these relationships with people, you instantly have a paranoia.
Paranoia? Interesting she should say that. Paranoia is the base problem with the interpretation Everyday Sexism, Laura Bates, her predecessors, and feminists of all sorts, paint their descriptions with. All described events are coloured by their assumed motivations projected onto men.
Why is Samantha Brick delusional yet Laura Bates is not? The answer is simple: in Brick’s description women are the villains and we can’t have that. In the preferred narrative, men are the only aggressors.
When Samantha Brick explains, as the Everyday Sexism Project tries to assert, that her experiences absolutely happened even though they were spread out over the span of her life, now being 41, Emma responds “so what you’re actually saying then is is that this is a very minority of experiences… this doesn’t apply to the generic population, which is what you stated.”
Where Samantha Brick is honest and acknowledges that her experiences didn’t happen all in one day, feminists are quite happy to make you think twenty or forty years worth of secretly harboured memories happened to them every day of their lives. It simply is not the case.
Samantha Brick is also not anonymous. She is prepared to face the multitude of women who attacked her, true to character, for telling them that they–women of all people!–ought to behave themselves in a more civil manner.
Half of the thousands of email responses Samantha received were from the very hateful women she sought to describe. The other half were from women who recognized the phenomenon Samantha outlined and thanked her for speaking out on their behalf. Who is listening to Samantha Brick? Certainly not the feminists.
So why does Laura Bates think the world now has to listen to her and the Everyday Solipsism Project? Has Laura Bates addressed Samantha Brick’s problems? Does Laura Bates not agree with Emma Kenny, the feminist psychologist, who thinks a woman who encounters daily negative experiences has a personal problem which she is projecting onto society?
Laurie Penny’s haircut will not be the answer to this problem.