Misogyny is like a virus. It can be fatal – something I realised when I
covered the Yorkshire Ripper murders in the late 1970s. It has the
capacity to mutate, which is why I wrote a book called Misogynies in the
plural. And it is infectious, which is why public life is so toxic for
women at present.
Just think about it. Last month an inspirational Labour MP, who also
happened to be the mother of two children, was shot and stabbed in her
constituency. The murder of Jo Cox
rightly caused an outpouring of emotion, from shocked disbelief to
calls for more civility in public discourse. But memories are short,
especially in the feverish atmosphere of a Labour leadership contest. I
could hardly believe my ears when Owen Smith, in a campaign speech about
equality, said he was upset that Labour did not have the power to “smash” Theresa May “back on her heels”.
Smith’s careless use of language is not just offensive to women who
have painful memories of domestic violence. In recent weeks, the Labour
MP Angela Eagle has had a brick
lobbed through a window at her constituency office. She has received a
torrent of abuse, including death threats. Her colleague Luciana Berger has contacted police after being sent a picture of a kitchen knife and a message telling her that she was going to “get it like Jo Cox did”.
I have never known a time when woman-hating has been so seething or
When Misogynies was published in 1989, I believed I had
identified something that was on the way out. I was angry when I wrote
the book, mainly because it wasn’t long since I had witnessed the
hopeless police investigation into the Yorkshire Ripper murders at close
quarters. Between 1975 and 1981, Peter Sutcliffe killed 13 women, while the police chased after a hoaxer
who taunted them on an audiotape. After years of nightmares, I realised
that the murders were part of a wider and age-old phenomenon.
Researching the book, I found plenty of evidence of misogyny, from
Roman poetry in the first century BC to Page 3 of the Sun. But it was
bearable because equality legislation was coming thick and fast and job
opportunities were opening up for women. I counted myself lucky that I
had missed out on witch trials and the selling of captured women into
slavery. I never imagined that, all these years later, that I would
begin to see photographs of men with long hair and straggly beards in
Syria, crammed into the back of trucks under a sinister black flag. It
is hard to believe, but if I were writing Misogynies today, I would have
to include a chapter about Yazidi girls being sold in slave markets in
the Isis stronghold of Raqqa. Or Boko Haram, a terrorist organisation so
implacably opposed to girls’ education that it kidnaps Nigerian
schoolgirls and forces them into sexual slavery.
Woman-hating has come roaring back, borne on a tide of recession,
economic uncertainty and religious extremism. In this country, we have
just witnessed misogyny in its “jokey” form, prompted by May’s arrival
at No 10 Downing Street. “Heel, Boys” declared the Sun, showing a pair
of kitten heels trampling on the heads of six of her most senior
colleagues. Haven’t you got a sense of humour, love? It revived memories
of an old trope of Margaret Thatcher as the Conservative party’s
dominatrix, confirming that some people cannot see a woman assuming
power without thinking of men being humiliated.
Tragically, the presence of women in powerful positions seems to
unleash misogyny rather than curb it. Hillary Clinton’s first attempt to
win her party’s presidential nomination was accompanied by a campaign
of breathtaking nastiness. Last week’s Republican convention ramped up
the misogyny with witch-hunting chants of “Lock her up!” Angela Eagle’s
courageous bid to challenge Jeremy Corbyn ended when more of her
colleagues backed Smith, a man with much less experience. Anyone
who thinks Eagle’s campaign was flat should bear in mind the fact that
she was receiving so much abuse that her constituency staff had to take
the phones off the hook.
Misogyny has deep roots. It sometimes becomes dormant – usually when
the economy is doing well – but it never really goes away. It is a
mistake to regard it as just another form of abuse; it is a peculiarly
intimate form of hatred, rooted in relationships carried on behind
closed doors but that frequently spill over into the public world.
(Racists rarely marry their victims but misogynists often do.)
It needs to be met with zero tolerance, because once it starts being
culturally sanctioned, there is no end to it. When a well-known woman
starts receiving rape threats on Twitter, hundreds of other people join.
In a more extreme example, the prohibition of rape has been abolished
in areas of Iraq and Syria occupied by Isis, attracting recruits who
like the idea of having coercive sex with 14-year-old girls.
Misogyny flourishes when politics become polarised, for a simple
reason: it is as prevalent on the hard left as it is among religious
extremists. Look at the number of supposedly radical men who rushed to
defend the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, when he faced accusations of sexual assault and rape in Sweden.
Some of them are still batting for this narcissistic misogynist, four
years after he became a fugitive from justice in the Ecuadorian embassy
A day after Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, the three great offices of state in his shadow cabinet
were given to men. It came as no surprise to feminists, who know that
the hard left rarely pays more than lip service to a movement it regards
as a distraction from the struggle against imperialism. Nor am I
surprised that Labour has become a poisonous environment for women MPs.
Last week 45 of them signed a letter to Corbyn, demanding that he do more to stop harassment, vilification and intimidation.
I have watched these developments with outrage – and a weary sense of
deja vu. Many brave women died for freedoms that are under attack once
again, all over the world. And I am as offended by people who play down
outbursts of misogyny as I am by those who unashamedly revel in it.
After the murder of Jo Cox, I don’t want to hear anyone telling worried
female MPs to toughen up or whining that they have received death
Woman-hating should be a nasty anachronism, but it’s back and we have
to confront it. I know what I’m talking about: when it comes to
misogyny, I really did write the book.
So this episode of Star Trek has someone trying to replace the Enterprise’s crew with a computer
the last two episodes had Kirk beating a situation by reading the declaration of independence to people, then the one before that is them deciding that Jack the Ripper was a like space ghost that kills over the course of centuries
Just a thought: If only soldiers, explorers and politicians return as ghosts, how does this work with the Japanese?
If you’re referring to the Japanese psychics, I noted in the previous post that sometimes psychics choose to stick around. The in-world rules are much the same across cultures.
However, Greek Key has Helen of Troy and Archimedes. (There’s also a reference to Jack the Ripper in the context of Well, we don’t think he stuck around, but if he did, he’s probably really powerful, so let’s stay out of certain alleyways in London, just in case). Helen was a politician and a soldier, so that makes sense. And I like to think of scientists as explorers on their own merits, so Archimedes fits: there’s also a spoiler at the end to show that he does go exploring. So these rules can be stretched as plot-appropriate.
Much like Koala Princess’ vision in the Eucalyptus Jungle in Season 5, Episode 13 what you saw on the Boardwalk the other day was not what it seemed. I was only pretending to date Kiki to defend my family’s honor, just as the Kanga-ronin did in Season 1, Episode 3!
Please, come back to me! Without you, I’m like a Super Sentai Sugar Glider without a gliding membrane! I’m like the Walkabout Warrior without his talking digeridoo!
To quote Prince Joey in the Koala Princess OVA, Koala Krisis Down Under: “You’re a ridgey-didge sheila. And Bob’s your Uncle if I don’t think you’re ripper.” Which I think means you’re cool and I like you a lot.