A group calling themselves Shipley Feminist Zealots is protesting against controversial Tory MP Philip Davies after he gave a speech at a men’s rights conference in which he suggested “feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it.” The collective is hosting cake sales across Davies’ West Yorkshire constituency, raising awareness of their MP’s contentious House of Commons history and collecting money for Bradford Women’s Aid and CALM, which works to prevent men from committing suicide.
The man once dubbed “Britain’s most belligerent MP” complained in his speech at the International Conference on Men’s Issues that Britain has a “justice gender gap”, insisting the legal system favours women. In the speech, he said, “They fight for their version of equality on all the things that suit women – but are very quick to point out that women need special protections and treatment on other things.”
And, you must admit, it’s difficult to argue with anyone whose solid evidence consists of using the word “things” in place of anything concrete.
I’m interested in this for two reasons:
- I’m the father of a girl and I would like her to live in a world where her opportunities are not restricted because of her sex.
- Philip Davies is my MP, theoretically representing me in parliament (“Your Interests, Not Self-Interest” as his website says. But more of that in a bit…).
Davies was talking at an event organised by a pressure group, Justice for Men and Boys, that, according to the Guardian, wants to see the Equality Act scrapped so there are fewer women in high ranking positions in business, thinks men should claim pensions earlier than women because “they work harder” and publishes articles on its website with titles such as “13 Reasons Women Lie About Being Raped”. For his part, Davies wants to repeal the Sex Discrimination Act 2002 and once claimed that men struggle to be heard in the House of Commons. You might want to read the last part of that sentence again, because it is unlikely you will have believed what you read the first time around.
This is Philip Davies who struggles to be heard so much that he takes pride in his attempts to filibuster bills he dislikes so they can’t be passed. The art of talking for so long parliament runs out of time to vote is usually more associated with American politics, but Davies spoke for an hour to stop a bill that would have made it illegal for landlords to evict tenants who simply asked for basic repairs to be performed and 93 minutes to prevent a law that would allow carers to receive free hospital parking. Who could possibly think that’s a bad policy?
However, to disagree with the man would be to prove that I am, in his words, one of the “politically correct males who pander to this nonsense.” Or, you know, a decent person that thinks we should all be given a fair crack of the whip. It’s all semantics, though…
Davies and his mates are anti-positive discrimination and, I’ll concede, it’s an imperfect system. However, it’s the only way to make our society anyway near fair after centuries of ingrained segregation and discrimination. In the same way as supporting the Black Lives Matter campaign doesn’t mean that any other lives don’t matter, being interested in feminism doesn’t make you anti-man. There are some really important issues that need addressing that are related to men, particularly to men’s mental health, but to suggest that women are more privileged than men is palpably untrue. Davies is one of those people who is desperate to be a victim even though, as a white, middle-class male, he has no ground to claim he has been discriminated against.
The reliably-excellent comedian Richard Herring annually dedicates the whole of International Women’s Day to taking down the likes of Davies and his ilk on Twitter by personally answering the men who sarcastically ask when International Men’s Day is by advising them as to the date of the event they erroneously presume does not exist.
So I was happy to support the Shipley Feminist Zealots when they came to our village and, hopefully, through the power of cake, we might have made a point to our MP.