The release of David Benatar’s scholarly exposition of the “Second Sexism” has caused a deluge of articles by feminists, eager to shout down his achievement. This scholarly work distributed by the renowned academic publishing house Blackwell has, rather than attracting critical reviews, been confronted with standard feminist lies and derision.
None of these feminists offer any serious analysis of Benatar’s well developed and referenced arguments. In fact, many appear to not even have read the book. They attack the concept that unfair discrimination against men could even exist and then grasp the opportunity to distract the agenda with stale factoids inflating female victimhood.
This is exactly what junior Radfem journalist “howling Clementine Ford” did in her opinion piece titled “Men are marginalised, claims book” published at stuff.co.nz.
Before you laugh yourself into a coma at the desk where you’re no doubt earning two thirds of your male counterpart’s salary.
Ford demonstrates her ignorance of formal logic; claiming something is humorous is not an argument against its validity. Still, in this case, it provides her an opportunity to append the repeatedly repudiated myth of a gender wage gap. 
Benatar’s thesis therefore attempts philosophically to address the ways in which men ALSO experience discrimination in a rigidly patriarchal society.
Here Ford resorts to capital letters, rather than literary skill, to shout rather than howl, that the word “also” is important. Indeed had she bothered to read the work she would know that Benatar clearly states:
This book is about the second sexism. Accordingly it is not about that sexism of which females are the primary victims. That is not because I deny the existence of such sexism. It clearly exists and has existed for a very long time.
Ford finds it offensive that any attention should be given to discrimination against males and such offence is intended as an argument against such a study. She distorts Benatar’s thesis by misrepresenting it as relating to “rigidly patriarchal society.” Most of, but not all the focus of the book relates to circumstances in highly pro female western societies and the term patriarchy/ or patriarchal does not have a single occurrence in the book (I know because I have a searchable electronic copy). Ford simply invented this.
Benatar correctly states that discrimination against women has been extensively researched and written about, but that researching and describing discrimination against men has rarely occurred in academia. He notes:
Discrimination against females has been the subject of almost all the discussion about sexism. I do not plan to add to it here.
There is so little formal research into discrimination against men that the true extent of it remains to be elucidated.
Benatar has structured The Second Sexism to establish certain sequential aims. In the introduction he clearly defines the terms used and scope of his work, and contrasts alternate terminologies and meanings used elsewhere. For example whist everyone knows what we mean by sexism in common usage, academics define and apply the term in different ways. In Chapter 2 he presents the source data and describes the instances of male disadvantage he will later examine in more detail. Chapter 3 attempts to understand why these disadvantages have arisen, looking at beliefs, attitudes, biologic and social factors, whist chapter 4 seeks to determine if these examples of male disadvantage are due to unfair sex discrimination.
The 5th chapter is devoted to addressing the various objections likely to be raised by those who would deny or minimise the second sexism. These include in addition to the well-known logical fallacies, the inversion argument where examples of discrimination against men are contorted and claimed to be examples of discrimination against women.
The cost of the dominance argument is that men must pay in some way for their supposedly privileged position in society. The distraction argument, in which instances of male disadvantage may be begrudgingly accepted but are considered unimportant or unworthy of attention as female disadvantage, is considered a more pressing problem – finally uses the technicality of defining discrimination as a way to deny anti-male sexism. Typically feminists deny that members of dominant groups (to which men are naturally considered to belong) are by virtue of their dominance unable to suffer discrimination. Ford and others have not disappointed him.
In response to a list of examples of discrimination against men, and noting that whist many men occupy positions at the top echelons of society, a similar number are at the rock bottom.
Evidently, this is supposed to cancel out discrimination against women by invoking the rules of the world’s most logically unsound game of Rock, Paper, *Headdesk*.[sic]
This is a distraction argument. Clementine, the book is about discrimination against men, get used to it! What relevance rock, paper, scissors headdesk has is beyond me. It is as logically unsound as using asterisks for quotes.
Ford notes in relation to the fact that men are more likely to be victims of violence that this is “usually at the hands of other men, but that’s apparently beside the point.” This tired retort of course denies women’s complicity in violence enacted on, or by men, on their behalf (see JTO’s Violence by Proxy) as well as the substantial violence against men perpetrated directly by women.
Family violence is one of the areas where gender bias has historically focused research predominately if not entirely on women’s experiences of violence. Despite this there is a growing body of evidence that women are equally if not more violent in interpersonal relationships as men.
We know in Australia that at least one in three victims of family violence are male. The academic and scientific literature is clear that women make up the majority of perpetrators of child abuse and neglectincluding murder of ones own child or children. Perhaps Ford would consider these victims “beside the point” and unworthy of assistance or redress as well?
But it would be folly to write Benatar off as some kind of mad troll suddenly lumped with a megaphone and a mission. Unlike some of the more fervently frothing men’s advocates barking up trees they can’t see the wood for.
Unfortunately, so used have we gotten to deflecting the spittle that shoots forth from these self-fancying modern day slaves that Benatar’s argument will likely (and perhaps understandably) be met by exhausted ranting and cynical eyerolls.
Name calling and describing the disparagement with which some feminists might receive his work does nothing to argue against or negate its inherent truths. In fact the reactionary and intellectually vacant proliferation of feminist tripe the book has generated, is likely to draw extensive attention, to what is destined to become a classic for advocates of men’s rights and true gender equity.
Perhaps the greatest condemnation of Ford’s hypocrisy should be directed to her comments about war and war deaths.
While we could argue that the price of men starting wars is that they have to fight them, is that really the answer? ‘Men’ don’t start wars – governments do. Governments are typically overrun by men and structures of power that favour masculinity. And the people who start wars very rarely actually fight in them.
So is it sexism against men that leads to their lives being considered, in this example, more expendable? In part, yes – but unlike the discrimination experienced by women, sexism against men occurs in a counterintuitive fashion.
So Ford sees of sexism involved in the social expectation and legal compulsion of predominantly men being sent to war as a cost of dominance argument, but that’s ok because it’s only “counter intuitive” sexism. Women those bastions of intuition and compassion for life need to reject their innate humanity to condone such discrimination. They have to rationalise that having men protect and suffer violence on their behalf is worth reducing men to the role of disposable utilities because it benefits women. She then makes the following assertions:
People don’t bristle at the thought of women being sent home in body bags because women’s lives are inherently given more value; thousands of years of history has a pretty solid company line on this. They bristle because women aren’t considered naturally capable of Getting The Job Done – because, in an obscure twist of logic, they lack the natural masculine attributes of strength that apparently help men both protect their fellow humans, and kill them.
No, Clementine, evolutionary biology and psychology tell us that women are the “reproductive bottleneck.” For a group to survive you can expend most of the males but still repopulate if enough females are protected, which is exactly what has happened repeatedly in history. Women have had the privilege of exemption from conflicts that threatened the group and that has always been the “company line.”
Yes, it may be a biologic fact that men in general are stronger than women (nothing to do with twists of logic), but women’s inferior strength has not precluded feminists arguing that they should have equal opportunity in any other occupation in which strength may be a prerequisite; firefighting and law enforcement, for example. It is unfettered hypocrisy to claim biological determinism when it suits and social construction when it does not in justifying female privilege and entitlement.
Next she presents a barrage of blatant lies:
(if Benatar wants to argue extremes of discrimination in men’s education and economics, he can begin by addressing the fact that women make up 66% of the world’s illiterate adults; 3 out of 4 fatalities in war are women and children; gender based violence is the biggest cause of death of women aged between 15 and 44; and that even while men may be being sent to war, tens of thousands of women are being raped as a weapon of it.)
Another distraction argument, Benatar is not obliged to address any of the false stats you quote, but I will.
If you want to look at literacy rates, look at western feminised countries where boys consistently fall behind girl’s literacy ratings.
Where did you pluck the 3 out of 4 fatalities in war figure from I wonder? Which war or wars are you talking about? Given you are an Australian how many Australian women and children do you believe have been killed in wars compared to deaths of Australian men? Of course when counting children just add them to women because there are never any boys in the civilian casualty figures and children are of course possessions of women. Show me where in the Australian or US military doctrine rape is listed as a weapon, or as tactic? How many cases of alleged or proven rape by Australian or US forces can you document?
As for gender based violence being the “biggest” cause of death for women aged between 14 and 44, that statistic relates to “death, disease and disability” most of it is“disease and disability” and even then the methodology in calculating this“burden of disease figure” is at best dodgy.
At one point Ford states “it’s not a competition” but in the following sentence is obliged to point out that “women undoubtedly suffer the lion’s share of patriarchal oppression.” Nope it’s not a competition but women win hands down anyway in the victimhood stakes and don’t you sexist men forget it.
Sorry Clementine, male disadvantage is real. It is often due to unfair sex discrimination and a growing number of men and women are becoming aware of it, studying it and informing others. Your fallacious illogical bleatings will never stop that. If anything, bigots like you are simply fuelling the men’s rights fire. Please keep it up.