I have been accused of many things over the last couple of years and most of them I feel proud of. Like this accusation from the MENZ website (the website of John Potter husband of Dr. Felicity Goodyear-Smith see here) because of this blog I wrote sometime ago.
“Perhaps his judgement has been impaired by an overwhelming flow of warm female fuzzies”
Contrary to Mr. Potter’s views, I think I’ve always had a reasonably balanced view of gender politics, we’re all more or less equal, should be treated as such and the ways in which men and women are different should be a cause for celebration, not derision. I suspect that Alasdair Thompson would disagree though. According to him women are fundamentally less productive, and “victims” of their biology. See the interview from TV3 here and the Herald article here. From the short video interview Mr. Thompson shows all the hallmarks of a bully, and that is at least as concerning as his grossly ignorant views. It would be hard to imagine how any fair minded person would feel comfortable with him being head of their union.
It’s been a fair old week for gender politics of course, with the international phenomenon that is the “Slut Walk” having reached our shores. See here for the Heralds coverage and here for TVNZ’s. This movement was, of course, kicked off by yet another ignorant utterance of a public figure “in Toronto earlier this year when a police officer told students that women should avoid “dressing like sluts if they don’t want to be victimised”.”
This weeks Listener (July 2 – 8, 2011) covers this issue in depth and makes the excellent point:
“The trouble with precautionary talk about rape prevention, feminists say, is, first, that it assumes men will rape, given half a chance or a whiff of assumed encouragement, which patently is not true, and second, that rape is usually about sex and physical allure, which is untrue.”
These views, espoused in such an authoritative way by people in power, leave me feeling that this is not just a feminist issue, but a human rights issue. As a therapist it also has made me wonder about how people seem to express such downright offensive views with such confidence. And this leads me to what I think is the most disturbing part of these stories: these people believed their view to be objectively right.
Such narrow minded certainty is the enemy of free thinking and in many ways the opposite of psychotherapy. Therapists so often deal with the conseqences of these views, and the logical, albeit extreme version of holding these views, namely bullying and abuse.
So no, I ain’t in it for the “warm female fuzzies”. I belive as a therapist I have an ethical obligation to speak out about the abuse of power, bullying and ignorant dogma parading as fact. In fact, I think we all do.