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Challenge misogyny everywhere


blutarsky
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At End of the road festival a couple of months ago, I went back to my tent on the Saturday night to have a chill out drink before heading back out to party. There were 4 young drunken blokes chanting and singing about raping and battering women. I shouted at them to "shut the fuck up", but they either didn't hear me or ignored me. I looked for a steward to call security but couldn't find one. I looked around the campsite for any like minded blokes to help me confront them, but there was no-one around.

So, I ended up doing nothing else. If I'd have confronted them on my own, I have no doubt they'd have kicked my head in. I felt bad about it, but what can you do?

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11 minutes ago, Punksnotdead said:

So, I ended up doing nothing else. If I'd have confronted them on my own, I have no doubt they'd have kicked my head in. I felt bad about it, but what can you do?

Yes, pick your battles.

Someone recently made the point apropos of nothing that "all adverts have black people in them nowadays". It was not much more than some latent racism, but I knew that I couldn't even explain why it was problematic without it developing into a row, let alone change their point of view. I'm not happy about it. I'm trying to think of a good response... Maybe "Yes, I know, it's great, isn't it!" and try and draw out something more obviously problematic that I can deal with, but I don't want to get into mind games with anyone.

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36 minutes ago, Punksnotdead said:

At End of the road festival a couple of months ago, I went back to my tent on the Saturday night to have a chill out drink before heading back out to party. There were 4 young drunken blokes chanting and singing about raping and battering women. I shouted at them to "shut the fuck up", but they either didn't hear me or ignored me. I looked for a steward to call security but couldn't find one. I looked around the campsite for any like minded blokes to help me confront them, but there was no-one around.

So, I ended up doing nothing else. If I'd have confronted them on my own, I have no doubt they'd have kicked my head in. I felt bad about it, but what can you do?

I don't think you can do anything in those circumstances - people aren't going to listen to some random bloke anyway. It's why the initial post in the thread was so important - if you're at someone's wedding, presumably you have a pretty good friendship with at least one of the parties involved, so there's a chance that person might actually listen to you. I'm pretty sure nearly all of us can identify at least one "problematic" friend in our friendship groups - not even necessarily the ones saying stupid shit out loud all the time, but the ones that have an "off" attitude towards women - stare at them, get a bit too touchy, constantly talking about their partners in a negative light.

In a way it's harder to have a conversation with those people that it is a bunch of strangers, but it's far more likely to create change.

20 minutes ago, maelzoid said:

Yes, pick your battles.

Someone recently made the point apropos of nothing that "all adverts have black people in them nowadays". It was not much more than some latent racism, but I knew that I couldn't even explain why it was problematic without it developing into a row, let alone change their point of view. I'm not happy about it. I'm trying to think of a good response... Maybe "Yes, I know, it's great, isn't it!" and try and draw out something more obviously problematic that I can deal with, but I don't want to get into mind games with anyone.

I've always been privileged enough to live in a diverse area, but it's shocking how white the UK is, and when it's so focused in cities, it just shows you how completely white-washed much of rural England is. It wasn't until I spent a few months in such a place I started to understand why those people think non-white people are over-represented in the media, it's because they hardly ever see them in real life. 

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3 hours ago, Jay Pee said:

I largely agree with oneeye and the general sentiment on this thread.  That is appalling Blutarsky but I have to clarify that I served 22 years largely embedded with some challenging units including Special Forces (from several countries) and nobody teaches anyone to "bang women out in basic".

Seriously, if we both attend Glastonbury in 2022 we should spend a few hours chatting through it all.  I find it quite cathartic and it helps with my PTSD.  I am meant to be working so will need to keep an eye off this thread as I will lose the afternoon but some initial thoughts.

The front line Army units in particular have always aimed to recruit inner city fighting aged males and harnessed that aggression in a uniform.  They make the best killers which is what the Army is after.

They do not want to someone to question why when they ask them to bayonet charge.  They want the person to run into someone at full pelt and stick them through the rib cage.  The training for this cannot be done in anyway other than to desensitise and brutalise.

Military people do not bond on the parade square.  They bond in the boozer fighting other people.  The military used to recruit into specific geographic regiments.  The kings were Manc's and Scouser's in the same regiment.  Basically United, City, Liverpool and Everton Hooligans in uniform.  Not only did they fight wherever they went, they robbed the place also.

This kind of activity has happened for hundreds of years but only now does wider society discuss things like this because of the information we have available to us.  My grandfather was evacuated from France as part of the British Expeditionary Force at the start of WWII.  They got absolutely smashed to pieces. He then went back through Normandy in 1944 and assisted with concentration camp liberation.  He never really talked about it and took most of the secrets to his grave. And neither were people very aware of the inner secrets of combat and they certainly did not debate the rights and wrongs.

When I spoke to the old concierge of the factory I worked in when looking to join up in 1990, he was delighted and said he would bring me some pictures in from his time in the war.  He brought some pictures in the next day holding the severed heads of a German Tank Crew! I was speechless.

I raise these different points from very different eras to try highlight that the people that are expected to do the worst of the fighting are trained to kill people and do it without question.  This comes at a cost and we all bare the scars if we spent a period of our lives doing this.  I do and always will.  

People join up for different reasons.  I joined as I needed to get out of the later 80s Manchester raves and do something with my life and in that respect, it really did help me regain my life.  I worked hard and came out with a couple of degrees and a second career and loving family but jeez, I know so many people who did not make it or did make it but could not live with the demons.

Armed combat is exhilarating, terrifying, brutal, deadly, life altering and many many other things but until we find the day where we can live happily as a species across the globe, there will always be a need for people like us.  I don’t like to type that but it’s a fact.

One last thought.  Some of most abhorrent, deplorable, misogynistic and unforgivable behaviour I have seen in public drinking situations has been from "rugby lads".  None of them military.  

The point of the thread wasn’t to call out “forces culture” - the fact he was in was incidental really. That said, of all the forces people I’ve known, I can only think of one who hasn’t regularly displayed problematic attitudes, and he didn’t join up until he was in his 30s which tallies with some of the other posts here about why he’s an anomaly. 
I agree with your point about “rugby lads” and do so from a position of relative authority - I’ve played roughly 400 national league rugby matches! 
Certainly when I was at uni misogynistic, homophobic and racist comments were made regularly. I would own up to making them myself in a way which I believed was ironic, until I stopped and thought about the company I was keeping and the way I was behaving and how it was contrary tO my beliefs. 
Summed up well in this post: 

2 hours ago, stuartbert two hats said:

That's really important.  When I was a teenager, my group of mates (including me) said lots of awful things "ironically".  Which meant that it didn't count of course.  But after a while, I got sick of it and stopped because I took the position of "walks like a c**t, talks like a c**t - hang on, we're all being c**ts". 

So I packed it in and started telling my mates to stop being so c**ty.

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Well said @blutarsky, I sent a letter out to my school community just last week on a similar vein... basically saying how we need to educate at an early age against it.

 

 

 

Edited by vintagelaureate
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3 hours ago, stuartbert two hats said:

That's really important.  When I was a teenager, my group of mates (including me) said lots of awful things "ironically".  Which meant that it didn't count of course.  But after a while, I got sick of it and stopped because I took the position of "walks like a c**t, talks like a c**t - hang on, we're all being c**ts". 

So I packed it in and started telling my mates to stop being so c**ty.

Yup. Can't speak for @blutarsky as I'm a few years ahead, but I look back at the culture around my rugby days (particularly at uni) and I pretty much cringe myself inside out.  There was never any direct nastiness, intimidation or deliberately unwelcome behaviour (in fact those who were out of line tended to get a bit of a "decorum chat") but the general vibe was, in hindsight, not good.  Even with the "we're not being mean, it's just a joke" glasses on, a big group of large lads singing about the stuff we sang about is fucking grim. 

Really couldn't be part of it now, and deliberately avoid the big group stuff. Even if it's not misogyny, I'm hugely conscious of being a big group of very loud, very boisterous, very LARGE men and fucking up everyone else's evenings by extension.

Can't change what I was doing then, but I can be better now.

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1 hour ago, blutarsky said:

The point of the thread wasn’t to call out “forces culture” - the fact he was in was incidental really

I wasn’t trying to say everyone in the  forces is a nutter. Just an anecdote from a few years ago. I’ve got a lot of family who have served. Not everyone who goes through military training has all humanity taken from them.

Paratroopers are a bit of a different breed though. Anyone willing to exit a plane before it’s landed are a little on the unhinged side. My mate wasn’t like his colleagues though. He has more respect for women. 

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And I wasn't trying to in some way justify poor behaviour because they are in the Armed Forces either. Which it may read like.

It can be a brutal Job leading to some of the blackest "humour" one is likely encounter. 

100% agree about calling out the behaviour and have done all my life and will continue to do so.

The other post nails it anyway. Who the F*** gets married on a Monday?

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I'm afraid that I haven't read anywhere near the whole thread, but hope to when able. Some people will know that a few weeks ago my neighbours boyfriend (a martial arts black belt / cage fighter / kick boxer) had her up against the wall by her throat. Her kids knocked on our door crying and telling me and my wife what was happening to their mom. I didn't really need my wife to tell me 'Fucking get around there now', but she said some such anyway. So, I did. I am not bigging myself up, but it doesn't take a genius to know that such a violent man is going to re-direct his anger to an intervening bloke in his domestic situation. Yes, I did come out the worst for having done so. Would I do it again. The answer to that is yes - in an instant.

Now switch back to a number of years ago when I was working as a Contract Manager for a firm of builders. I had to walk into an office every morning with anywhere between 30 to 40 blokes present. No women were present, at all. It was just blokes. Now, some of them would say misogynistic statements / jokes on an everyday basis. Did I call them out? No I didn't? Why not? It's because there's no way that I would have 'won'. My life, everyday, would have been made intolerable. I also chose not to because some people are beyond 'educating'. I'm not one for pissing into the wind - well, not for very long anyway!

And there's the rub. It's not direct interventions like the above that will solve this problem. They will go some way to assist, but it's education from a very young age that will achieve this. Hopefully that process will water down and water down this despicable trait until a point is reached whereby it's virtually non existent (you'll always get some people who hate other people ./ all people eg, serial killers / misanthropists etc).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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