Online abuse, is it a man thing or woman thing?

imagesThere’s been a lot of talk about online misogyny in the past week after Twitter made a public apology to women who have been subjected to rape threats. So is online abuse a gender problem? Is this another area of life where “women have problems and men are problems”? And if misogyny is a problem, what about online misandry?

We don’t pretend to have all the answers but you can rely on the National Conference for Men and Boys to always try and offer a broad range of perspectives—which is another good reason to buy your conference tickets online today.

In the meantime, here are some of the most interesting voices talking about online abuse from a gender perspective relevant to men and boys in the UK that we’ve heard so far:

It’s not misogyny it’s just plain bad manners

“What is problematic is that the organisers of Trolliday do not see this as a question of manners, but of misogyny – hate crime, in other words. The women-hating trolls do not show that society has a problem with misogyny……the most pleasant places to live are those where…..men in particular have an incentive to be viewed as gentlemen – a word sadly missing from this debate about the treatment of women.”

Ed West, The Spectator, Why do people write abuse on the internet?

This is a man-made problem and women are the victims

“This is a men-on-women issue. Guys are pretty much doing it to the girls. Which, thankfully, is where our good friend socialism steps forward. Because this will not stand for those of us who are socialists. We are all equal.”

John Niven, Daily Record, Trolls who abuse

It’s not a gender issue 

“I don’t think it’s a gender thing at all….I couldn’t say whether it happens more to women or to men but it’s quite clear that men and women will both abuse people online and be the recipients of that abuse.”

Professor Mark Griffiths, BBC, Why cyberbullies are targetting women

Women don’t troll

“There are very few female trolls because women are more virtuous than men….. women of any age will never hate men as much as teenage boys hate women.”

Jennifer Wright, The Gloss, Where are all the female internet trolls?

Women do abuse men online

“A female tweeter I didn’t follow…tweeted that I was a **** – an interesting word for a self-confessed feminist to use. I replied to the profanity….My words were immediately re-tweeted. For the next 24 hours I was subjected to abuse and threats of violence from many of this writer’s 70,000-odd followers….Despite a reporter’s thick skin, I’ll confess to a sleepless few nights. I’d never received such constant abuse and it certainly affected me emotionally.”

Niall Paterson, Sky News, What About Male Victims?

Women abuse other women

“Abuse also happens online by women against women. This includes  harassment, cyber-bullying, Gaslighting, mobbing, verbal abuse. It also happens within feminism. And yet…..feminism is deathly quiet on the issue. The anger & volume that we collectively use to denounce male violence is noticeably absent when it comes to women that abuse.”

Portia Smart, Feminist Blogger, We need to talk about women

People who live in glass houses….

“Caitlin Moran might well fall foul of a new, improved “report abuse” button. She’s been quite vociferous in her condemnation of the attacks on Caroline Criado-Perez, even proposing a 24-hour boycott of Twitter to protest about the site’s failure to deal with the abuse problem. She appears to have forgotten that, three years ago, she was pretty abusive towards me. Here are a couple of things she tweeted while I was debating Germaine Greer on BBC2’s Late Review:

“God, the reliability of Toby Young to be a total C*** could be used to power the atomic clock.”

“Oh, Germaine Greer. You’re still F***ING MAGNIFICENT. Please end this brilliant monologue by running a sword through Toby Young’s face.”

Toby Young, Daily Telegraph, Most twitter trolls are harmless attention seekers

Most trolls are boys (and so are most victims)

“I was really surprised to find the level of boys admitting that they got involved in cyber bullying and the number of boys who have been victim of cyber bullying. Sixteen percent of males said someone had sent them a threatening message online, compared with 7 percent of females. And 11 percent of males said that they had sent threatening messages online.”

Sarah Pedersen, Huffington Post, Cyber-bullying, are boys worse than girls

I’m a man and I love to troll 

“I come from a cohort and culture of males in which a cheap jibe or insulting comment is part of everyday interaction, held under the banner of ‘crack’ and ‘banter’. I am not condoning abuse of any sort, I realise that it occurs amongst peers causing a great degree of harm. In combating fascism we tread the fine lines of freedom of expression, but we must be sure in distinguishing the difference between what is actually offensive and what is an impulsive comment towards people enjoying their 15 minutes of fame.”

Daniel Swanson, TEDx Salford, What to do about trolling

Kill All Men? Ignore it, it’ll go away

“It can be very tempting, when one’s human sub-group is challenged, to respond in kind…..we tend to react strongly when our “team” is called out. That’s why the recent Twitter trend of appending the #killallmen hashtag to various female grievance-oriented posts is such a frustrating phenomenon: It’s a direct provocation, and something of a mass movement, but it’s also too crazy to pay much attention to.”

Michael McKenna, Ask Men. Why #KillAllMen is a thing that exists

Autistic men need better protection from online bullies

“Because of my autism I can’t do social things like go to the pub or go to nightclubs. Ninety per cent of my life is spent online. The entire social aspect of my life is online. But every time I go online I get abuse. Current laws against cyberbullying just don’t work at all. They haven’t worked for me.”

Kevin Healy, Autism Campaign speaking to BBC,  Why cyberbullies are targetting women

Men get bullied by girls

“There’s something about a bully that really annoys me. They’ll say something online that they’d never dare to say to your face.”

Comedian and self-professed “troll slayer” Dom Joly who discovered that one of those who’d threatened him was a 14-year-old girl with nine different online identities. BBC: Trolling who does it and why?

There’s more misandry  than misogyny 

“There is ten times more misandry expessed in the west than there is misogyny, but people have been trained not to notice this…..Blocking men’s voices on the grounds of ‘misogyny’ is common on internet forums, websites and social media such as Facebook – even when these voices are clearly not misogynistic at all. The upshot is that misogyny is going to continue to increase until men get a fairer deal and until they can express their views without being continually blocked by the overly politically-corrected and feminist-dominated. Of course, those rape threats were, in my view, completely unacceptable. But I can assure you that men have been on the receiving end of similar threats ever since the internet became a place where men and women have been in verbal conflict.”

Angry Harry, Blogger, commenting on Why do people write abuse on the internet?

When it’s a male victim we ignore the gender

“Women’s groups have been very adept at ‘genderising’ any and all problems that affect females, and are able to exploit the media’s obsession with women-specific issues. As the current Twitter abuse issue shows, they have asserted that it is almost always women that receive these kinds of comments. On the other hand, abuse aimed at men is assumed to be non-gendered, receives no attention, and is usually considered fair game. Complain, and you’ll never be far from a ‘man up’ style dismissal. As is so often the case, there are double standards in play here.”

Tim Reed, commenting on Why do people write abuse on the internet?

Online abuse is not limited by gender

“If you cast a wide enough net you soon discover that online abuse is not limited by gender. If we want to live in a less sexist society it does mean finding ways to tackle misogyny. It also means taking time to understand and address the experience of male victims of violence and abuse too.”

Glen Poole, National Conference for Men and Boys, writing in The Guardian Comment Is Free section

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Why is the G20 Killing not Violence Against Men?

article-2385185-0B6382D100000578-583_634x513Glen Poole of the National Conference for Men and Boys organising committee offers a personal opinion on our collective tolerance of violence against men and boys.

This week, the Metropolitan Police Service has apologised “unreservedly” for the “excessive and unlawful force” that killed a man at the G20 protests in London in 2009.

Ian Tomlinson, a 47-year-old newspaper seller, was caught up in the demonstrations in the City of London as he walked home in April 2009. He was attacked with a baton from behind by Police Constable Simon Harwood, collapsed minutes later and died of internal bleeding.

Harwood was found not guilty of manslaughter but was later sacked by the Met Police for gross misconduct.

An inquest jury found Ian Tomlinson was the victim of an unlawful killing, but what nobody seems to be saying is that Mr Tomlinson was also the victim of violence against men and boys.

Every year, all over the world, men and boys are four times more likely to die a violent death. According to the World Health Organisation, men and boys account for 81% of the people who die violently each year. In total nearly half a million (455,000) men are boys are killed violently every year at a rate of one man dying of violence every minute of every day.

We are, it seems, more tolerant of violence against men—that’s all of us, men and women, together we have a greater collective tolerance of violence against men.

For every woman who is killed violently, four men are killed and there are no global campaigns to end violence against men and boys, yet there are global UN-sponsored campaigns to end violence against women and girls.

Women account for 19% of violent deaths and the international community has decided we need a global campaign to end violence against women and girls, but no campaign to help men and boys—and this is symptomatic of the fact that all over the world men and women are more tolerant of violence against men.

Can we say without doubt that the tragic death of Ian Tomlinson was because he was a man?

Tomlinson was a separated father who had struggled with alcoholism and was living in a homeless shelter. He was working casually selling the Evening Standard newspaper and got caught up in the G20 riots while trying to take his normal route home from work—by all accounts he just wanted to get back to his homeless shelter and his way home was blocked by police—and as the film footage clearly shows, one of them attacked him from behind.

Did this happen because he was a man?

As a man we can certainly say he was at far more likely to be separated from his children, have alcohol problems and be homeless—as a man we can also say he was far more likely to be the victim of violence on the street and it seems reasonable to speculate that if the police had attacked and killed a female passer-by that day, that our reaction would have been different because we are collectively more tolerant of violence against men and boys.

I saw this collective tolerance in action whilst watching a video of an anti-fracking protest in a nearby village in Sussex this week. Men and women joined arms to form a barricade put the police broke it up by inflicting pain on two of the protestors—it was a level of pain that would  no doubt be deemed as “reasonable force”, but it is notable that the pain wasn’t inflicted on two women, or even a man or woman, but on two men.

Why as men, if we go on a demonstration, are we more likely to have pain inflicted on us than any women we go with? Why as men are we more likely to be hit by a baton and die? Why as men are we more likely to be killed in the street by a stranger? Why as men are we four times more likely to die a violent death.

Is it simply because of our gender? Did being a man make Ian Tomlinson more likely to be killed when he got mixed up in the G20 protests. Is it because we tolerate violence against men more than we tolerate violence against women?

We certainly seem to tolerate men’s disposability more—whether it’s male soldiers dying in combat, male suicide, men dying at work, men like Ian Tomlinson being separated from his children, becoming homeless, becoming alcoholic, being killed by the police.

Readers in the UK and USA will be familiar with the names of Stephen Lawrence and Trayvon Martin—young black teenagers killed probably because they were black and definitely because they were men.

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission in the UK tells us that black men are twice as likely as black women to be the victims of race hate crimes and gay men are twice as likely to be the victims of homophobic hate crimes. Because they are men—because we are more tolerant of violence against men —gay men and black men are at greater risk of violence than their female counterparts.

I grew up not in the Seventies and Eighties when it was deemed acceptable for male and female teachers—even the terrifying dinner ladies who paraded the playgrounds—to physically assault children. Though in reality it was the boys who took the bulk of the physical punishment. The last assault I was on the receiving end of personally was from a male teacher in 1985 — he grabbed me by the hair and shook me shortly before I took one of my O Levels—not the best preparation for an exam!

I often saw boys pulled about by the hair by adults in school—but never girls—because we are more tolerant of violence against men and boys.

Why when the Home Office tells us that six out of 10 people killed by someone they know and nine out of 10 people killed by a stranger are men and boys do we have a national strategy to end violence against women and girls, but no strategy to help men and boys?

Who is looking out for the boys around the world who are beaten and bullied at school, the men and boys sent to war, the men and boys subjected to rape and sexual abuse and domestic violence who find it far harder than their female equivalents to access help and support?

Why on earth is there no law to stop people cutting off parts of a boy’s genitals without an anaesthetic for no medical reason, when there are laws to prevent lesser procedures on girls (like piercing or nicking). When it happens to girls we call it violence against women and girls. When we hear that a baby boy bleeds to death from the end of his penis in the UK in the 21st Century there not a single MP prepared to stand up in parliament and say this must end—and no-one dares to call it violence against men and boys.

So where are the feminists who claim to be fighting for gender equality in all of this? If women were four times more likely to die a violent death than men it would be a gender equality matter—so why not when it’s men?

Maybe that isn’t feminism’s job. If not, then where are the men’s rights activists? Why haven’t they created a global campaign to help the men and boys of the world be free from violence and abuse?

Part of the challenge is that to acknowledge our collective tolerance of violence against men and boys, men’s rights’ activists would also have to acknowledge that the majority of (not all) violence against men is perpetrated by men—they couldn’t credibly blame feminism or women for the majority of violence against men and boys—though some would try.

And because of this—because of the tendency of men’s rights advocates to see the world through the filter “men have problems and women and feminism are the problem”—focussing on stopping all violence against men and boys detracts from highlighting cases where men are victims of women’s bad behaviour.

As a result, it is currently pro-feminists who seem to be more likely to highlight the issue—or at least part of the issue of our collective tolerance of violence against men and boys. There is a growing “patriarchy hurts men too” narrative evolving that is mostly pro-feminist and is shifting the narrative on violence from “women have problems, men are problems” to “women and some men have problems and it’s men and patriarchy who are the problem”.

What pro-feminists struggle with is acknowledging that men are far more likely to be victims of violence than women —because this takes focus away from female victims— and they also struggle to acknowledge the violence that women do to men and boys—the mothers who beat and abuse their children, the women who beat their partners and husbands, the women involved in elder abuse.

And so between them, between the men’s rights activists and the feminists who all proclaim to be for “true equality”—no group is standing up to end our collective tolerance of violence against men and boys.

Only when we take a gender inclusive approach that acknowledges men and women as both perpetrators and victims will we ever create a world free from violence and abuse for everyone.

Men are four times more likely to die a violent death than women. The Met Police didn’t kill a genderless passer-by in 2009, they killed a man—our collective tolerance of violence against men and boys makes it more likely that there will be more deaths like his in future.

IF YOU HAVE EXPERTISE IN REDUCING VIOLENCE THEN COME AND JOIN US AT THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR MEN AND BOYS. BUY YOUR TICKET HERE NOW.

Your personal invite to the UK’s 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys

A personal invitation to come along to this year’s 3rd National Conference for men and boys in Brighton & Hove from 26th September to 29th September.

To buy your tickets online today click here now.

Is this a new movement to end sexism against dads?

father-s-day-426875363-1355733Is there a movement to end sexism against dads bubbling up in the UK?

There seems to be a growing willingness to challenge sexist assumption about men’s ability to parent and it’s coming from lots of different angles, some of which we highlight below.

Does all this dad-friendly discourse constitute a movement or are the people speaking out too disparate and disconnected to have a shared voice?

The Third National Conference for Men and Boys is a unique opportunity for people who think differently about dads to get together and find out what they have in common and how they can push together in the same direction in future.

If you care about fatherhood, or any other issues facing men and boys, then why not join us at the National Conference for Men and Boys—you can buy your ticket online today.

And to whet your appetite, here we present some of the key themes that the nation’s “Dadvocates” are talking about.

1.     Challenging sexist assumptions that “mum knows best”

The Fatherhood Institute recently sparked a social media debate about casual sexism towards dads after one father said he was referred to as “Mr Mummy” when he dropped his children off at school.

In his blog post about the debate —“He needs mummy: keeping dads in their place” —Jeremy Davies of the Fatherhood Institute said:

“Within families, men and women are finding new ways to share the breadwinning and caring – throwing away decades of social expectation in the process….but no matter how much more involved fathers become, the world around them seems insistent on keeping them in their place: playing a supporting role to a more present, more competent, more loving mother.”

His sentiments echo Gideon Burrows, father and author of “Men Can Do It”  who wrote a comment piece in the Huffington Post on why he thinks “Both parents are to blame for unequal parenting”.

According to Burrows: “All around us, we are fed the idea that parenting is a woman’s job. Mums alone have a special bond with their babies and children that fathers just seem to lack. It’s no wonder we’ve all convinced ourselves that women make naturally better parents. This drip-drip-drip of the special mother-baby relationship allows us all to assume childcare is none of men’s business.”

2.     Challenging sexist media portrayals of dads

There is a growing willingness to challenge sexist portrayal of dads in the media. Last Christmas the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received more than 600 complaints about Asda’s “behind every great Christmas there’s a mum” campaign—helped in part by Fathers 4 Justice mobilising supporters. On this occasion, the campaign was unsuccessful with ASA ruling in January that the advert was within its guidelines.

In June, netmums added its voice to the “stop sexism against dads” movement with a survey revealing that nine out of ten parents claim children’s shows don’t represent real-life dads and three out of ten say the way dads are portrayed in the media is a “subtle form of discrimination” according . “The type of jokes aimed at dads would be banned if they were aimed at women, ethnic minorities or religious groups” says Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard.

Over in the States, Daddy Blogger Chris Routly has demonstrated the power of the effective lone crusader causing two leading brands to pull ads that were sexist against dads. Chris led a successful campaign against a sexist Huggies nappy ad last year.

Proving he isn’t a one hit wonder, Chris scored a second success last month and persuade the Clorox bleach brand to pull a sexist ad that said:

“Saying ‘No-no’ is not just for baby. Like dogs or other house pets, new Dads are filled with good intentions but lacking the judgment and fine motor skills to execute well. Here are a few dangerous no-nos new Dads might make, and some training tips…..”

3. Challenging sexism against separated fathers

Fathers 4 Justice has been making national headlines again recently with high profile stunts targetting national works of art like the Haywain, but is sexism against separated fathers being acknowledged elsewhere?

When the best-selling author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernier—patron of the charity Families Need Fathers—spoke out on Fathers’ Day. He highlighted the “general mythologising of fathers as irrelevant and feckless abusers” and slammed the family courts for treating “fathers heartlessly as mere sperm donors and bankers”.

Ally Fogg in The Guardian made a similar point, saying “sweeping generalisations are made about “deadbeat dads”; separated fathers are portrayed as probable abusers”. And Karen Woodall at the Centre for Separated Families says in her blog post on dignity, equality and respecting the difference between us that “Dads are discriminated against in family separation policy, that is why they are disaffected, disappearing and desperate.  There is nothing more, nothing less to say about it.”

4. Challenging sexist laws and policies

Continuing the theme of sexist laws and policies, the way separated fathers are treated isn’t the only area of law and social policy where dads are discriminated against.

The laws of parental responsibility—which give automatic parental rights to all mothers but place conditions on which fathers can be given automatic rights —have been indirectly flagged up by David Lammy MP on the left and the Centre for Social Justice on the right, who both propose ensuring all dads’ have their names are put on the birth certificates (an act which grants all dads automatic parental rights).

As the former Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) commissioner Duncan Fisher said, when a Welsh dad whose partner died in childbirth was legally prevented from leaving hospital with his new born child:

“In UK law, a father can only be a father if the mother approves him. She can do this in two ways – marry him or invite him to sign the birth certificate. If neither of these happens, he is not the father until the family court approves him. A man has to be vetted by the mother or the state before he is allowed to be a father.”

A similar principle applies in UK parental leave law introduced by New Labour in 2006 which Fisher described as “one of the most unequal parenting leave entitlement regimes in the world”.

In 2011, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg promised to reform this system saying the laws on parental leave marginalise dads and deny them the chance to play a hands-on role.

Ultimately, while the Coalition reforms are more flexible than before, they still discriminate against fathers. According to Ben Moxham at the TUC “the incentives in place for fathers are so poor that even the government estimates that only 2 to 8 per cent of dads are likely to take this leave” adding that “unions will need to step up bargaining with employers to strengthen what will be fairly minimal shared parental leave entitlements”

Duncan Fisher’s analysis of this issue is that reform didn’t happen because:

“A business lobby, keen to ensure men do not bow to domestic responsibilities as women have to, and the maternal lobby, keen for mothers to remain in charge in the home, combined forces in an unholy alliance, and this Government, like its predecessors, was no match for the pincer movement from both sides.”

5. Challenging our sexist society

Many commentators are also pointing to sexism in our social and economic structures which conspire to discriminate against fathers.

Traditionalists like Peter Hitchens  in the Daily Mail talk of a “national experiment in fatherlessness” caused by what the Centre for Social Justice describes as a “tsunami” of family breakdown that creates “man deserts”. In a similar vein, the Education Minister, Michael Gove, spoke out about the impact of fatherlessness on children saying “more children are growing up in homes where the male authority figure will be fleeting or absent”.

Interestingly, Nelson Fraser, editor of the right-wing Spectator magazine is none too complimentary about some of the hands-on fathers in his neighbourhood, saying in his “work is becoming a woman’s world” comment piece:

“Where I live, in Twickenham, cafés are full of kept men buying breakfast because they could not be bothered to make it – sometimes pushing prams with one hand and holding toast in the other. Teenagers are not the only ones responsible for record pre-order sales of PlayStation.”

Meanwhile, Professor Lynda Gratton from the London Business School speaks more highly of  a new generation of men are leading the charge for a change on fatherhood and says that it is our attitudes to work and parenthood that need to change and “specifically the assumption that parenthood should be practised in a singular and specific way by women.”

Pointing the finger at the corporate world, Gratton says: “Organisations need to adapt out-of-touch policies, many of which are still shaped by social and working conditions that are no longer the norm. Organisations need to let go of outmoded thinking about gender roles and realise that fathers are increasingly as likely as mothers to be active in parenting.”

SO WHO IS BEHIND ALL THIS SEXISM AGAINST DADS?

So who is to blame for sexism against dads? Is it men or women? Is it left-wingers or right-wingers? Is it capitalism? Is it the patriarchy? Is it feminism and the women’s movements? Is it different fathers’ groups going about tackling the problem in the wrong way?

Maybe there’s some truth in all the perspectives listed above—afterall, none of us is smart enough to be wrong all the time. And if you want to deepen your understanding of issues like these then the place to come is the Third National Conference for Men and Boys.

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Why we have to make crime a men’s issue

men celebrity wentworth miller prison break 1600x1200 wallpaper_www.wallpaperno.com_39Crime is a men’s issue. Men are more at risk of becoming an offender and more likely to be a victim of crime and violence.

Yet crime is rarely approached as a gender issue and that’s something that the National Conference for Men and Boys aims to highlight.

If you want to be part of this important conversation then click on the following link to BUY YOUR CONFERENCE TICKET TODAY.

We’ve been looking at the statistics in recent years and asking why 95% of the prison population is male? Is it because men are naturally criminal? If that was the case surely all classes of society would be equally represented in prison.

When you look beneath the statistics you see that boys who are fatherless, in care, excluded from school and have literacy problems are more likely to end up in prison. Have a look at these statistics:

These aren’t simply men and boys who ARE problems, these are boys who HAD problems and we failed to use those problems as an opportunity to work with these boys and help them find a way to flourish and fulfill on their potential.

At last year’s conference we invited the charity Safeground to come and share the work they do helping men in prisons. Last month Safeground held their 2013 symposium on the theme “It’s A Man’s World” which you can read about here.

According to Safeground traditional ideals about men “can lead to men feeling under a great deal of unrealistic pressure, with many becoming involved in violent, criminal and anti-social group behaviour as a result of wanting or needing to fulfil stereotypes and expectations that demand aggression, fearlessness and risk taking. ”

Their symposium included a debate between Guardian commentator Ally Fogg, who also made his first visit to our conference last year, and Professor Brigid Featherstone.

Fogg challenged the idea that there is a “crisis of masculinity,” saying:

“Young working class and minority ethnic men have lost an empire and not yet found a role. There is something grotesque about blaming young men for their failure to step up to the plate when the plate has been snatched from under their feet.”

You can read a summary of Fogg’s points in this debate on his blog here.

Featherstone highlighted that boys and young men at risk of offending need help and support, saying: “Poverty, oppression and ill health are written all over their bodies……early years are no more important than adolescence….what of the young people written off because of this focus?”

One organisation that doesn’t write off young men is the excellent abandofbrothers who have attended every previous men and boys conference, including the local pilot in 2010.

The rites of passage charity works with young men and teenagers in need of support and guidance including young offenders and prison leavers.

Their chief executive, Nathan Roberts, wrote in the New Statesman this year:

“Men are perpetrators of over 90 per cent of violent crime in the UK. If you believe, as abandofbrothers do, that “hurt people, hurt people” and that violence is a manifestation of prior psychological woundings on the part of the perpetrator rather than the expression of an inherent evil, then this too points to the disadvantage of men and boys.”

From Men’s Rites to Men’s Rights, and the focus of activists in this area tends to be on the unequal ways male and female offenders are treated. The Conservative MP for Shipley, Phil Davies, delighted men’s rights campaigners last year when he attacked the different ways that men and women are treated by the criminal justice system. He told parliament:

“There appears to be sex discrimination in the sentencing of offenders, but the people being discriminated against are men not women….men are treated more harshly by the courts than women. For every single category of offence, for all ages and in all types of court, men are more likely to be sent to prison than women.”

To read more about what Phil Davies had to say see the article at A Voice For Men—UK MP Takes a Stand For Male Prisoners.

Ally Fogg also picked up on the issue  in The Guardian in March this year saying in the comment piece “Yes, reduce prison sentencing , but not just for women“.

This prompted Glen Poole, from the conference management team, to post a comment under the article:

“Interesting to note that problems where women are in the majority (eg primary carers) or in the minority (eg prisoners) are considered women’s issues. Problems where men are are in the majority (eg prisoners) or in the minority (eg primary carers) are not considered men’s issues.

“When men are in the majority – murder victims, workplace deaths, prisoners – it’s just considered normal – cos hey, men commit crime, get killed and fall off ladders – typical men! So we have a situation where some people are interested in prison reform and some people are interested in gender equality.

“Unfortunately – and here comes a generalisation to make a point:

  • those who are interested in prison reform aren’t interested in men’s gender equality
  • those who are interested in men’s gender equality aren’t interested in reform – they tend to want women to get harsher sentences to make it all equal

“So our challenge is to persuade prison reformers to get interested in men and to get men’s campaigners interested in reform. And probably more importantly get those with a vague interest in prison reform and men’s issues – much more interested in prison reform and men’s issues.”

All of this provides a rich foundation for productive debates and discussions about making a crime a men’s issue at this year’s Third National Conference for Men and Boys.

We welcome all viewpoints and perspective so if you want to be part of this conversation then make sure you book your ticket online today here: GET YOUR TICKET NOW!!!

10 Media Articles About UK Fatherhood

imagesFatherhood is always one of the top topics of conversation and debate at the National Conference for Men and Boys and this year will be not exception.

If you can’t wait until to September to join the debate then here’s a summary of ten conversations about dads that have been taking place in the media in the past month.

And if you haven’t booked you place at this year’s conference why not take action and buy your tickets online today here…

1. One Million Children Growing Up Without Dads

The Centre for Social Justice (the centre right  think tank set up by the former Conservative Party leader Ian Duncan Smith) released a report on fatherhood in the run up to Fathers’ Day. The report warned that a “tsunami” of family breakdown was creating “man deserts” with a million children now growing up without fathers. Responses ranged from Peter Hitchens  in the Daily Mail saying the the “national experiment in fatherlessness” was costing the country £49 billion a year to “Scouse Bird” in The Guardian  saying that fatherless was the result of Liverpool mums not putting up with the stupid, incompetent, gobshite behaviour of dads! The Centre for Social Justice is now shifting its focus to researching some of the barriers dads face to father involvement—they probably won’t be asking “Scouse Bird ” for advice!

2. The Left Needs to Talk About Dads Too

David Lammy continues to be the Labour MP who seems to be  most concerned about fatherhood and while he didn’t endorse the tone of the Centre for Social Justice report he said “at least the right is engaged in this issue…..hen did a left-leaning thinktank last publish a report about fatwhers?” In the past month Lammy has submitted a report on fathers to Labour’s policy review and penned a commentary on fathers in The Guardian and and article on young fathers at Central Lobby.

3. The Media Discriminates Against Dads

Nine out of ten parents claim children’s shows don’t represent real-life dads and three out of ten say the way dads are portrayed in the media is a “subtle form of discrimination” according to a survey by netmums. “The type of jokes aimed at dads would be banned if they were aimed at women, ethnic minorities or religious groups” says Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard.

4. Dads Arent Duds. They Deserve Better

The Observer picked up on the Netmums survey in a positive editorial about dads to mark Fathers’ Day. “The majority of fathers want to spend more time with the family while research tells us the most stressed men are those who work full time and regret not having sufficient hours to ‘father'” said the Sunday newspaper.

5. Fathers 4 Justice Makes an Art of Protest

Fathers 4 Justice has had a colourful month heading to Westminster in June to launch a political petition sponsored by the Respect Party MP George Galloway and subsequently declaring that it was “refusing to deal with the government” after two high profile protests targeted works of art including a portrait of the Queen and Constable’s Haywain. The issue has sparked media debate include commentary by Ally Fogg in The Guardian, Iain Dale at Conservative Home and Glen Poole (part of national conference team) at The Good Men Project.

6. Courts Treat Dads Like Sperm Donors Says Author

The link between art and fathers’ rights was deepened further when the best-selling author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernier—patron of the charity Families Need Fathers—spoke out on Fathers’ Day. He highlighted the “general mythologising of fathers as irrelevant and feckless abusers” and slammed the family courts for treating “fathers heartlessly as mere sperm donors and bankers”.

7.  Gender Neutral Laws Discriminate Against Dads

“Gender neutral laws in a gender biased society, deliver gender biased outcomes” says Karen Woodall at the Centre for Separated Families. “Dads are discriminated against in family separation policy” she said last month, “that is why they are disaffected, disappearing and desperate.  There is nothing more, nothing less to say about it.  In a gender analysis, it is quite simply a fact.  Now we either live with it (and the fatherless society that it creates) or we do something about it.”

8. Children Lack Male Authority Figures Says Gove

The Education Minister, Michael Gove, spoke out about the impact of fatherlessness on children at a Church of England seminar saying “more children are growing up in homes where the male authority figure will be fleeting or absent, where there will be what we now call ‘guesting parents……while it’s very far from being a majority of parents, manifestly, it is a growing and troubling minority and often concentrated in particular areas.”

9. It’s Time For Dads To Pull Their Weight

Gideon Burrows, author of the fatherhood book “Men Can Do It”, probably agrees with Michael Gove that children benefit from involved fathers, though it’s hard to imagine him using a phrase like “male authority figure”. Burrows is an advocate for men and women sharing childcare equally and says in The Guardian article “why men don’t pull their weight” that men only pay lip service to equal parenting.

10. Happy Gay Fathers’ Day

There are thought to be 12,000 same-sex couples raising children in the UK, an increase of 300 per cent since 2010 according to a feature in The Scotsman exploring the lives of gay dads north of the border.

And remember it doesn’t matter if your are of interest is young fathers, separated dads, dads sharing parenting, policy on fatherhood or the experience of gay, bisexual and transgender dads, whatever your interest in fatherhood you are welcome to join us at the The Third National Conference for Men and Boys.

Buy your tickets to the conference online today here