Big world, small minds

Monday night I received a call from Lebanon, asking me to go on Turkish telly, to talk about an American advert, from London.

Globalisation is cool and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I agreed.

The request came because I wrote something about the new Gillette advert and what it says about men and masculinity.

I can’t quite believe that a week on the alt-right characters in the so-called Men’s Rights Activist community who like to bait and bully anyone with a conscience are still being triggered about an advert for razors. But there we go. It’s almost as if they are just old-fashioned bullies and misogynists who don’t like having their out-of-date worldview challenged by anyone, even an advert.

Certainly that was the impression I got from the chap put up to ‘debate’ me on the programme, a show called Newsmakers on TBT, the Turkish version of BBC World.

I did a bit of due diligence, I’m aware of the Turkish government’s record on freedom of speech and their extremely bad habit of locking up journalists. But TBT seemed OK. (Please do correct me and share evidence if I’m wrong, I want to know).

My opposite number was a fellow called Michael Buchanan, founder of the Justice for Men and Boys party that garnered a total of 216 votes at the 2015 election, across two seats. His website reveals him to be an unpleasant character with unpleasant views. But by the end of the TV feature I just had to laugh at him as he claimed a conspiracy by radical feminists to take over every conceivable organisation he disagrees with from the American Psychological Association to the New Statesman. If he’d got more votes at the election, if I thought there was a bigger swell of support for his extremism out there I’d be worried. But he’s just a sad man and the very existence of the Gillette advert proves he’s on the wrong side of history. Men and masculinity are changing, that’s why Gillette have come up with an ad designed to tap into the new masculinity. They are in the business of making money, nothing more and nothing less. Talk of brand values and such is wide of the mark. We live in a capitalist system (for good or ill) and the only brand value any company truly sticks to is making cash.

Do watch the clip. I was particularly impressed with the show’s host who called out some of Buchanan’s patent nonsense. I’d like to see more of that on UK television when guests are so obviously talking toss.

Anyway, here’s the bit in question (there doesn’t appear to be a way of embedding the clip unfortunately). Feel free to share your thoughts on my presentation or on the issue at stake.

And if you think I’d be worth inviting on your TV/radio show to discuss the same please to get in touch!




9 thoughts on “Big world, small minds

  1. Hi James. Your sneering condescension – such a common trait among progressives – doesn’t do you any favours.

    The clip is on our YouTube channel, our media team posted it a few hours ago:

    You utterly failed to engage with my substantive points, and more than a few people noted you laughing when I raised the issues of women who are violent against male partners, paternity fraud, and the killing of unborn children (42+ million last year alone). Among the points I made was that the human rights of men and boys in the UK are assaulted in at least 20 areas, almost always to privilege women and girls. Our manifesto explores them:

    There are no areas in the UK today where the human rights of women and girls specifically are assaulted by the state. None. So feminists (such as you) in the UK today are seeking… what? An end to Male Genital Mutilation? More women working in sewers? An end to paternity fraud? Money spent on seeking to tackle male suicide, the #1 cause of male deaths under 45, in all age groups? Money spent on male victims of DV? More money spent on healthcare provision for males? No. None of these things.

    Oh, before I forget, the foremost blogger on gender issues in the world is William Collins. You could learn a huge amount from his work, but you won’t. His piece on the ridiculous APA, “APA versus Data”:

    As for the New Statesman, Laurie Penny is a contributing editor. I need say no more.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. James, maybe it is the difference in location or maybe some confusion over what it is to campaign for men’s rights but I wonder if you can tell me what it is about men campaigning for equality that makes you label them “alt-right characters”. Is equality no longer something the left believe in, in your part of the world?

    There’s another matter that confuses me. What part of standing up for masculinity – the default condition of almost half the people on the planet – do you consider to be about bullying or misogyny? I am aware of the APA’s very unscientific nonsense (I suspect you would be able to see that it is not science if you didn’t already believe that your very maleness is some kind of illness) but obviously masculinity throughout the ages has represented protectiveness (admittedly, possibly over-protectiveness of females) and respect. Without masculine men building society while feminine women built the home and taught children, I doubt we could have lifted our societies beyond living in caves.

    As to who is on the wrong side of history, that has surely yet to be seen and is far too early to call yet. I was active in a consumer campaign that changed the history of beer in my country: it was not the commercial companies we campaigned against that were on the right side of history, as time has proven. I have campaigned for the public to be more conscious of environmentally-friendly packaging to the point where some companies have lost massive market share: again, it was they who were on the wrong side of history. Perhaps being preached to by companies who <a href=""have no moral compass and who hold their profit to be more important than society’s well-being will be the future. I certainly hope not and suspect that they, too, will turn out to be on the wrong side of history as those who care about men and boys, families and society will show.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The ridiculous conflation of MRA types with alt-right types is counter-educational. I found that this false comparison told me more about you (whom I’d never heard of) than Mike Buchanan (whose work I have long admired from afar, but alas don’t get on with). That evidence of ignorance on your part alone made it difficult for me to take this write-up of yours seriously. Far too much self-importance and cheap jibes, and not enough grappling with the actual issues.

    What’s funny about domestic violence, by the way? You had a grin on your face like a Cheshire Cat when Mike mentioned that topic. Do you think domestic violence doesn’t matter?



    1. Hi John, I have to respond to your last point. I do think domestic violence matters. The vast majority of it is carried out by men against women. That is a fact. Consequently I’m concerned about what drives men to behave in that way and I arrive at the answer that toxic masculinity – aggression, a lack of respect for women in particular – is at least in part to blame.
      Feel free to reply with your explanation, I’d be curious to hear it.
      Thanks for reading.


      1. I’m sure John will respond, but let me comment on just two sentences. You write:

        “The vast majority of it (domestic violence) is carried out by men against women. That is a fact.”

        As every MRA in the world knows, but you clearly don’t, that is NOT a fact. It’s a relentless feminist lie, and has been debunked countless times by researchers, over DECADES.

        Martin Fiebert is a psychologist, since 1978 a psychology professor at California State University, Long Beach. The full Abstract of his 2013 paper examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners (an updated annotated bibliography) is this:

        “This annotated bibliography describes 343 scholarly investigations (270 empirical studies and 73 reviews) demonstrating that women are as physically aggressive as men (or more) in their relationships with their spouses or opposite-sex partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 440,850 people.”

        The Fiebert study:

        Click to access 140901-martin-s-fiebert-bibliography.pdf

        The highest rates of violence are found in lesbian couples. In most heterosexual couples where domestic violence occurs, it is reciprocal in nature – the men and women are at different times perpetrators and victims. In the minority of heterosexual couples where the violence is one-directional, the perpetrator is slightly more than twice as likely to be the woman, rather than the man.

        You really need to educate yourself on gender issues, before coming out with such ridiculous statements. The true nature of DV has been understood and published by researchers since before you were born.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Come on Mike, I think you know that citing one study doesn’t debunk anything. I’m sure you’re well aware there are lots of studies, lots of evidence that most victims of domestic violence are women. By all means disagree and challenge them as is your right, but dismissing them as a ‘feminist lie’ is just silly.


      3. James, you clearly didn’t make an effort to read what I posted. This isn’t “one study”. From the Abstract I cited:

        “This annotated bibliography describes 343 scholarly investigations (270 empirical studies and 73 reviews)…”.

        I invite you to send me something as comprehensive, which backs your assertion that the vast majority of domestic violence is carried out by men against women. A lie repeated a million times doesn’t become a truth.

        We covered the issue of DV in our last manifesto (pp. 26-30):

        Click to access 141228-V10-General-election-manifesto-RGB.pdf

        I’ve never known a feminist willing to engage with rational arguments that challenge their beliefs, and you surely won’t be the first.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. “I do think domestic violence matters.”

        Then why did you smirk when Mike Buchanan mentioned victims of DV?

        “The vast majority of [domestic violence]is carried out by men against women. That is a fact.”

        That is a big, fat, feminist lie, which any number of academic studies has debunked. This isn’t my area of expertise, but I dare say Mike will provide the necessary scholarly citations once you publish this.

        Because DV isn’t highly gendered after all, still less “gender violence”, I don’t need to call 50% of the population “toxic” like you do, or come up with an alternative “explanation”, in order to explain a non-existent correlation.

        Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone on O2

        Liked by 1 person

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