Dude throws tantrum on account of 'sexism'; feminists laugh their faces off

The most stressful thing about taking the bus is all the strategizing that I have to do in order to avoid getting harassed, crowded, or ogled by some creep. My proposed solution? If you are a dude, give women some space. For men I assume that sitting on the bus doesn’t require much planning or anxiety. For many women it does.

I once got into a fight with a boyfriend because he encouraged me to sit down next to some dude who I felt uncomfortable sitting next to. I was happily standing, not having to worry about having to make an awkward escape on account of getting creeped on, but didn’t have the nerve to explain publicly why I didn’t want to sit. I said “no, no, I’m fine” and he didn’t get it and pressured me to sit. I’m sure he wasn’t intentionally trying to make me uncomfortable, it’s just that it wouldn’t have occurred to him that it’s more comfortable for me to stand on the bus than to sit next to a man. I explained to him afterwards that I didn’t (intentionally) sit next to men on the bus and that if I am standing, there’s probably a reason and to please just leave me be.

I seriously doubt that very many men think twice about where they sit (or for that matter, who they are impacting whilst sitting on the bus — keep your leg to yourself, dude. You are just as capable of keeping your legs together as anyone else is.) on the bus. For me, it’s a constant source of anxiety. I wear headphones that play nothing, specifically to discourage drunk men from talking to me. Am I being sexist? No. I have had to adapt to a world where women aren’t safe in public spaces.

So Virgin Australia has a policy that says that men are not to be seated next to unaccompanied minors on their planes. Recently, a man named Johnny McGirr was asked to switch seats with a woman because he was seated next to two young boys (usually the seat will be kept empty unless it’s not possible, in which case Virgin will seat a woman there). So what did McGirr do? He threw a fit. Obviously. Because he is an entitled dude. Because the safety of children is far less important that his comfort.

McGirr declared that this policy was sexist! And discriminatory! Because a white man having to switch seats is exactly the same as centuries of oppression perpetrated by and specifically benefiting men just like him. Making Johnny switch seats officially makes him a part of a minority group, you guys.

Sigh. This is so, so stupid but it is also so, so typical of how male privilege allows men not to see or understand how inequality works and how it feels to be a minority. The fact is that it is far more likely that children are going to be molested by a man than by a woman. Statistics show that approximately 90% of sex offenders are male.

So what’s more important, Johnny? You being slightly inconvenienced for about 2 minutes out of your life until you are sitting down again in another seat? Or potentially avoiding some kids having to sit next to a pedophile?

If dudes like Johnny actually gave a shit about sexism and, like, actually wanted women and children to both feel and truly be safe in this world, then there are some things they are going to have to do: a) stop molesting/assaulting/raping/beating, b) stop standing by while  other men molest/assault/rape/beat, and c) stop covering up for and protecting creeps and abusers.

What’s next, you ‘re going to force me to sit next to you on the bus because otherwise I’m sexist? Shut up.

Sexism will not be eradicated by pretending it doesn’t exist. Women and children not being raped or exploited is more important than your comfort. I wish it wasn’t the case that taking the bus to work was a cause for stress. Every single day. But it is. And THAT is because of sexism. Get it? Men raping women and children is what inequality looks like. Being afraid that a man is going to harass or assault us is sexist, yes, but it is NOT SEXIST AGAINST MEN.

This is what male privilege looks like. Johnny thinks that his feeling “angry, embarrassed and acutely aware of how society has become fearful of everyone” means that he has *gasp* experienced sexism first-hand! It doesn’t occur to him that maybe his “embarrassment” doesn’t really hold any weight in comparison to the trauma suffered by women and children who are sexually assaulted.

If I had my way, I would really love it if I never had to sit next to another dude on the bus ever again. I would love it if I just didn’t even have to think about it. I would love it if I could just relax instead of being constantly, acutely aware of who is getting on the bus and whether or not I’m going to have to get up and move because they want to sit next to me and breathe on me or touch my leg or stare at me or say something gross. And that doesn’t make ME sexist because the truth is that, as of today, not one woman has sexually harassed or ogled me whereas dozens of men have.

Virgin Australia’s policy makes sense and they should keep it. Sexism is Johnny McGirr crying a river over having to switch seats (and having the nerve to call it discrimination) without it even occurring to him that someone’s else’s safety could be more important than his own comfort. The fact that he’s gone so far as to try to bully Virgin Australia into changing their policy, which exists to prioritize the safety of children traveling alone (NOT specifically to humiliate you, pompous-Johnny) is pathetic.


Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

Like this article? Tip Feminist Current!

Personal Info

Donation Total: $1

  • Thank you for this post! It’s just so upsetting that the people that love me would rather put the feelings of a few males before the safety of women! It just sickens me!

    • Herr Keizenhowertz

      I can see your point, but try to see the polar opposite; entities showing emotional affection would rather select the feminine minority in a situation thus causing hazard to masculine entities. This is a predicament created from a fallacy, yet in the giving situation putting all reality aside, would you have justice or be biased. Before slaying me for the typical “what if” logic, remember such events may have happened. I neither support masculinity nor femininity but rather neutrality.

  • martin dufresne

    The Huffington Post write-up – http://huff.to/QrqSk9 – mentions that “a Virgin spokeswoman told the paper that the policy was shared by Qantas, Jetstar and Air New Zealand”. One factor that should be taken in consideration is that a lot of the men who travel around Southeast Asia are sex tourists. Protecting unaccompanied children by such a sensible policy should not be derailed by a “men’s rights” show of force.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Good point, Martin. Are we now going to be accused of discriminating against/stereotyping men who are just innocently trying to buy and exploit women and children? Poor guys…They can’t hardly help themselves.

  • Thanks for this post, Meghan. What an ass this man is.

  • BK

    The MRAs will run with this i’m sure…*sigh* so pathetic

  • Chris

    I’m on the fence with this one.

    “I’m sorry ma’am, I’m sure you’re a nice muslim, but we know some like to blow up planes, so we’d like to make sure children don’t sit right next to you.” (I won’t even bother going into the logic of this.)

    On the other hand, “we’ve had a number of children harassed after sitting beside unrelated males so we want to take some precautions”.


    I believe any woman (or man or child) who feels uncomfortable with a given situation should be accommodated politely and as a matter of course. No one should have any reason to object to this. I certainly wouldn’t want to tolerate the protestations of the “poor”, “oppressed” white male who had to move a few feet to a new seat.

    But. How do you do this fairly? You get an American couple who doesn’t want to sit next to the “terrorists” (they probably aren’t referring to the white Quebec seperatists sitting behind them (they aren’t terrorists either!)). Given the latest news, many are quick to suggest that if they are really Sikhs, that’s okay (because they aren’t muslim!), but that’s even worse isn’t it?

    I agree completely that people need to not only be made to feel safe, but measures need to be taken to ensure they actually are as safe as possible. If this requires moving people around or even giving the flight attendants tasers, that’s cool. I don’t object to a specific focus on white men because they may be the most likely perpetrators, only because I worry rules of this sort have tended to get out of hand in the past.

    I really have no answers here. Maybe someone else has a good suggestion on how to deal with this?

    • Meghan Murphy

      But Muslim women are not more likely to blow up a plane than other people. Also Muslim people don’t have white privilege. In fact they are discriminated against often. White people discriminate against Muslim people, not the other way around…

      I hear your concerns about things getting out of hand but I really can’t think of any situation that’s comparable. I mean, when children are traveling alone I think it’s perfectly reasonable to try to protect them as best we can from predators and the truth is that predators are men…

      • Chris

        Certainly true. I completely agree that white privilege needs to be destroyed. I also agree that minorities (who are actually becoming the majority) obviously suffer far more discrimination and violence that the majority, and of course, it is usually perpetrated by the majority.

        I agree with all attempts to restrain and arrest white privilege. My only concern was that such attempts might inadvertently cause unanticipated consequences. How do you set a rule on an airline? As I said, we should accomodate all concerns, but avoid any possibility that the implementation of such efforts could be used in a racist manner. We have already seen what has happened with rules about watching for “suspicious” characters. There has been far too much racial profiling.

      • Brigitte

        But I’m still on the fence about this. The same way I wouldn’t want to be asked to sit somewhere just because of I’m a girl, I can understand this man’s objection at being painted with the same brush as pedophiles. It’s hardly every man who’s a molester, even if most molesters are men. I understand the impulse the protect minor children traveling alone, and I understand why a woman should sit next to them. I get all that, but I also think it’s super shitty for blame-less men to be asked to sit somewhere else. It’s making the best of a bad situation, but it IS a bad situation and it’s ok to say that it is, no? And yes, as a white man he’s got some privilege, but it doesn’t take away the insult of being asked in front of other passengers to change seats because the airline thinks he might abuse these kids. I don’t see how this is about white male privilege. Ah… maybe about him being an asshole and making a fuss about it, where someone not so privilege would have just looked down and changed seats. I can see that.

    • Jemma

      Don’t appropriate racial struggles. Seriously not cool. If you can’t argue that men should sit next to children despite child molestation without appropriating racial struggles, then you should sit down.

  • George Simich

    I agree with Meghan and have no issues with this policy.

  • Emelia

    I don’t know, statistics will probably show that in modern times more middle eastern men have hijacked planes than none-middle eastern men but I don’t support every middle-eastern man being barred from planes.

    Of course this is less extreme, and the minor inconvenience of moving seats is stupid for Johnny to get upset over. But we have no grounds to say he himself was a rapist or “stood by” anymore than anybody in reading this blog.

    And this statement “I seriously doubt that very many men think twice about where they sit (or for that matter, who they are impacting whilst sitting on the bus…” is the dumb kind of generalizations we need to avoid to not look like the exact thing we’re fighting against.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Men don’t think twice about where they sit on the bus based on the possibility that they might get sexually harassed or assaulted. That isn’t a generalization.

      No one accused Johnny of being a rapist. That doesn’t mean that the policy doesn’t makes sense. His comfort/discomfort shouldn’t be prioritized over the safety of children. He wasn’t moved because he himself was assumed to be a racist but rather the policy exists because sexual predators are men (which is not the same as saying that all men are sexual predators).

      • Chris

        Agreed. Men don’t have to think about where they sit. It’s a non-event. Women and children do have to think about it because they live in a society where rape and assault are common and rarely defended against. This is where we agree.

        I would also say that I think Emelia’s statement is somewhat racist. It’s also wrong, although the two are different things. I would suggest looking at perhaps the past 100 years of imperialism and then making comments on who are the main perpetrators of violence.

    • Jemma

      Stop appropriating racial struggles to argue for expanding male dominion.

    • Josh

      How about we all just get along and stop disliking people for having a different ethnic-background/gender/age-group/sexuality/religion than ourselves, yeah? Things are never going to be completely equal everywhere, there will always be pockets of discrimination against women and against men, against whites and against blacks. It’s obvious that the world we live in isn’t equal, and it never will be but we aren’t so naive as to expect it to be ideal. I can understand why some random guy would object to being told to leave his seat because they suspect he might be a pedophile, and I can also understand that statistically, he *IS* more likely than a woman to be one.

      This is one of the major ethical dilemmas that we must resolve as a society if we want to treat each other with dignity and respect. Are we going to play this like Utilitarians and make statistics and precrime a guiding principle of our policies? It would certainly save some children from being abducted by men and some terrorist acts from being successful — but what’s the price we pay for profiling people like this? Is it really worth living in a society where we are classified by our race/religious beliefs/gender and judged based on the likelihood that we are secretly deviants? I’m not so sure.

      On the other extreme we could avoid profiling anyone. Men could sit on buses next to minors and foreign nationalists could be let on planes without question, and 99.9% of them could be benign and never do anything bad. But what’s the price we pay for taking such an idealistic approach and not being suspicious of anyone?

      The world isn’t black and white, it’s shades of gray and there is no clear-cut answer. There is no act of legislation that we can take to level the playing field that doesn’t infringe on someone else and we shouldn’t expect to find one. If we want things to change it starts with you and me, it’s up to the individual to decide to operate with a sense of empathy for the people around them. Because nothing the governments of the world can do with the force of law, despite their best efforts, is going to force individuals to play nice with each other.

  • Pingback: Reverse Sexism, Child Safety: One is More Important (and Real) Than the Other « Life In The Patriarchal Matrix()

  • Max

    On the scale of things to get upset about, this is way down the list, but I kinda sympathise with the guy. I’m not about to throw a tantrum if I get asked to move away from some kids, but I couldn’t help but feel just a teensy bit offended by the suggestion; for the same reason that an Arab or Pakistani guy can’t help but feel offended when the TSA guy asks him to step aside at the security check and undergo an explosives trace test.

    For context, look into Johnny’s background – he’s a firefighter. I don’t know a lot of emergency service workers, but those I do know went into their line of work because they want to help people. He may tie a lot of his self-worth up with being a doer of good deeds. He’s probably more likely than most people to take personally any suggestion that he’s out to cause harm.

    Megan – you make the comment that if Johnny and his ilk actually wanted to make women and kids feel safer they would need to “a) stop molesting/assaulting/raping/beating, b) stop standing by while other men molest/assault/rape/beat, and c) stop covering up for and protecting creeps and abusers”.

    In saying that, you’re projecting the actions of a small minority both onto Johnny as an individual and onto men as a whole. I don’t think it fair of you to make assumptions about the guy; or to treat “men” as a monolith – any more than it’d be fair of me to assume all feminists are man-hating dykes (or take your pick of the usual MRA boilerplate), or for me to treat “women” as a monolith.

    Unless you’re planning on going down the Valerie Solanas route of resolving the battle of the sexes I don’t think alarmism about men and sexual assault advances a feminist agenda. It’s assuming that all men are innately predatory and incorrigibly wicked – slavering beasts all.

    I might be wrong, but the vast majority of guys seem to be able to get through a day without being violent, rapey or even just a little bit creepy.

    “Because male privilege” is a pretty glib way of dismissing an individual’s concerns about the way his gender is portrayed.

    • Missfit

      ‘the vast majority of guys seem to be able to get through a day without being violent, rapey or even just a little bit creepy.’

      Not sure about that, I heard that ‘the vast majority of guys’ watch porn regularly…

      • Josh

        Yes there are many people who watch porn both male and female, and the majority are male yes. Why do you care what someone watches in their free time? I can understand if you are concerned about the portrayal of women in pornography and maybe some of those concerns are legitimate. So instead of generalizing broadly, why not just voice those objections so they can be considered instead of just painting everyone who enjoys adult entertainment with the same brush?

    • Thali

      Congrats on inserting the classic violent and degrading lies that hyperdefensive men make about feminists into this thread! And the way you push-polled it so newbies might actually believe you were against those stereotypes of feminists instead of actively promulgating them…genius! What gave you away was the leap from asking a man to switch plane seats as a basic safety precaution to feminists committing mass extermination of men. Next time, try to hide your MRAism better.

      “It’s assuming that all men are innately predatory and incorrigibly wicked – slavering beasts all.”

      I agree that pornography is a powerful insult to men’s humanity, which makes it strange that men should purchase and view it almost daily to make pornographers profits of billions. You’ve really got your finger on the pulse of what’s wrecking men’s naturally altruistic reputations and making people distrustful of having men around unaccompanied kids.

      • Max

        Funny – the one time I was dumb enough to post on an MRA forum I got called a “white knight” and a “feminist bitch”.

        Okay – sorry for using hacky tropes. It’s not my intent to “push poll”.

        Not sure when we got into porm

        • Thali

          That’s terrible. I would like to see that forum thread. Link, please.

          • max

            I’d go find it, but I have a meeting of my shadowy cabal of the mens to organise.

            I mean…ah Damn…rumbled…

          • Fame

            Why wouldn’t you give the link?

            Give me the forum name and the username if not “Max” and I’ll do the 30 seconds of work you’re unconvincingly slithering out of. Alternatively, you could just admit you’re a man who doesn’t know how not to lie (poorly) to women.

          • Max

            Would it help if I did? You seem to have formed a pretty fixed opinion already.

            Alright. If it helps you sleep at night, I’m a lying liar telling great big lying lies. You can hop up from behind your keyboard and do the superior dance now.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Max. If you aren’t going to contribute to an intelligent/productive conversation, you’re just trolling.

    • marv wheale

      I heartily concur with the airline’s policy and action. Furthermore, to argue that because many men do not rape it is unfair to treat them as a “monolith”, is misguided and self-justifying thinking. To use a parallel, during the antebellum period many white men did not actually own slaves and some were ideologically opposed to slavery. Yet they did not take political action against it. They “stood by”. (White women were not allowed to own property which is what slaves and white women were).

      Our society is built on male social and political structures too. This is institutional violence as slavery was institutional violence regardless of how well or unwell the slaves were treated by white men. If men are not actively working against male structural violence towards women and children (and other men) then they are as unjust as the slave and non-slave owning white men of the black slavery, pre-civil war period.

      • Max

        Marv – let’s leave aside your comparing women to chattel slaves (Wow. Just – wow) and cut to the substance of your comment.

        In effect, I gather what you’re saying is “You’re for us, or you’re agin’ us”. Way to polarise.

        Most people only know of patriarchy as something that academics talk about. The majority of guys aren’t even aware of patriarchal structures. The don’t see “societal violence”. Society just is.

        Now – these are guys who you could probably get on your side after a bit of debate and explanation; if you can explain to them that a patriarchy isn’t much good for anyone except the few at the top.

        Patriarchy is a pretty tough concept to get your head around. I’m only starting to get the gist after a hell of a lot of reading and thinking, and what I get is probably half-right or plain wrong.

        But nope, you just go straight out and tell them to make for the barricades without telling them what they’re fighting.

        Getting back to your analogy, it fails because it’s not a true analogy. Everyone in the Antebellum south was aware of slavery. Not everyone can perceive something as abstract as patriarchy.

        Again – cut the dudes some slack. We’re not trying to be evil. We’re not clinging to privilege. I come home exhausted and dirty after a 12 hour day at work and I don’t feel too privileged, regardless of the deeper fact of the matter.

        • Meghan Murphy

          I’m sorry Max, but that’s ridiculous. Patriarchy is not, by any means something only academics talk about. Men don’t see patriarchal structures because of male privilege. THAT’S WHAT MALE PRIVILEGE IS. The privilege to not see or be affected by oppressive structures.

          I understand that all men are not ‘trying to be evil’ but the feminist movement has been around for about a century now, it would take a whole lot of effort to ignore it.

          • max

            Megan, with the greatest respect, I suggest that as a radfem blogger and broadcaster, you breathe a rarified air.

            You’d certainly have to have been living under a rock not to be aware of feminism, but that doesn’t connote any understanding of it.

            As most people what feminism is about and they’ll cite practical examples, like equal pay for equal work, stopping dv, preventing sexual harassment, or the availability of quality child care.

            Abstractions like patriarchy theory or male privilege don’t register.

          • Josh

            Are you sure about that Meghan? I had never even heard about patriarchy until I took a sociology class in college. I was telling some of my friends about it later, and the girls didn’t know what I was on about either. So yes, I’m going to say that its something that mostly academics talk about.

        • marv

          -Max an analogy is not an equivalence or a conflation. I was attempting to accentuate the magnitude of the social injustice of violence against women which many people deny. I think you (and I) also don’t apprehend the sheer scale of the sexual trafficking and prostitution of women and girls. These are forms of sexual slavery whether you admit it or not. Pornography, sexual harassment, battery, rape and obligatory PIV are also systemic in the world. They all keep women and girls severely oppressed because of their socially created sex class.

          -Male dominance polarizes men and women as social groups and as individuals, not me alone. I am not as powerful as you think.

          -This blog is about educating people in regards to patriarchy. Some of its aims are to open the eyes of of those who “aren’t even aware of patriarchal structures” so that they can ‘see “societal violence”‘, and to unmask the fiction that “society just is”. If you want to know more, listen and learn. Meghan and the other feminist responders have lucidly expounded time and time again in her various blogs that patriarchy is an intersectional system that doesn’t just benefit “a few at the top” but that advantages and disadvantages accrue to all social groups depending on sex, race, class, sexual orientation, ability….. Please read her other blogs including the one she posted today, authored by Owen Lloyd. Anyone, female or male, is free to read them too. So I can’t see why you expect me to give other men a detailed analysis of “what they’re fighting” when its already available for all to see. Do we have to fully elucidate what patriarchy is every time we make a comment?

          -Of course everyone in the USA knew that slavery existed. They also recognized that at the end of life we die. The point is that most white people thought slavery was natural and/or divinely instituted. It was no more a political issue for them than the subordination of women – that is until the abolition movement gained momentum (see Abolition: The History of Slavery and Antislavery, by Seymour Dresher).

          -My reflections weren’t about male moralistic ideas of good and evil; they were about gender inequality. Since you work 12 hours a day in the male capitalist system you are definitely exploited but not because of your gender but because of your class status. And I am very sorry to hear that. As a lower class person I understand some of your misery.

          -So please do more studying.

          Apologies for taking up so much space in a women’s and girl’s forum, Meghan.

          • max

            Hey Marv – sorry ’bout the delay in replying. I’ve been workin’ for the man. Don’t feel too sorry for me. He pays my mortgage and keeps me in books and fine wine. I might not feel privileged, but I can’t say I feel exploited.

            You’ve wandered off topic in that first paragraph. Sex trafficked chattel slave women in the current day have it as bad as chattel slaves back in the the antebellum. It’s a horrifying and widespread problem, and more needs to be done to stop it. But women do not equal chattel slaves. Particularly in the west.

            Porn, sexual harassment, battery and rape are all lesser manifestations of the same power-over, slavery mindset. But you lost me a little bit with the “obligatory PIV” bit. Sure, there’s plenty of women who aren’t into it, and shouldn’t be forced into it…but I’ll remind my wife that she’s being oppressed next time she wakes me up in the middle of the night.

            People in the antebellum who hadn’t got on the abolition wagon might have been part of the problem, but only insofar as it wasn’t an issue for them. A lot of them were just as likely fair-minded individuals who go on board as soon as someone convinced them it was an issue. They weren’t bad people.

            Anyways – American history isn’t my strongpoint. I’ve only picked bits up here and there. I gather you’ve read at least one more American history book than I have.

            Oh, I plan to do more studying. Why do you think I’m posting dissenting opinions here? If I found a blog filled with people I agreed with all the time I wouldn’t learn a damned thing.

            And jeeze – apologising for taking up too much space? I don’t think Megan’s about to run out of internets ;P

        • “Marv – let’s leave aside your comparing women to chattel slaves (Wow. Just – wow)”

          Are you for real? Obviously we’re not saying the state of women was EXACTLY THE SAME as that of black slaves, but there is an obvious similarity and conceptual connection. The fact that you’re unable to see this speaks volumes about your intelligence.

      • Sasha

        “during the antebellum period many white men did not actually own slaves and some were ideologically opposed to slavery. Yet they did not take political action against it. They “stood by”.”

        Funny, I thought they died in their tens of thousands to get rid of slavery.

    • Jemma

      Stop appropriating racial struggles to argue for expanding male dominion.

      >For context, look into Johnny’s background – he’s a firefighter.

      Totally arbitrary. Basketball players, football players, cops, and other “heroes” have all been rapists. This is a tired, old, antifeminist trope. Why are you on feministcurrent.com?

    • This stupid comment got 46 likes? What kind of creepy mofos read this blog? :I

  • BlancheDevereaux

    It’s sad that society is in such a state (patriarchy/consumerism gone mad) that an airline (Virgin Atlantic, isn’t that the same airline that was promoting some sexist-ass shit a while back?) has to have a policy like this. I remember on a Christmas eve flight my partner (a male) and I sat next to a small boy traveling alone (just by chance, my partner sat next to the boy). We shared cookies and my partner was able to speak with him in the boy’s language, and we learned that his parents had sent him off (during Christmas !) and we felt so bad for the little guy! He was obviously and rightfully feeling very alone and sad and unloved. But our interaction with him made him feel a little better and not so lonely. It’s sad that because of horrible repercussions of patriarchal society that boy would have traveled on Christmas eve alone without any company at all.

    • Max

      Blanche – how is a repercussion of patriarchy that this poor little sod is travelling alone at Christmas? You kinda lost me there – isn’t that a little bit “1+1=3”.

      But then, I’m kinda new to feminist theory and I’ve got some ground to make up. I’m happy to be enlightened.

      • Audre

        Max – This goes back to your earlier contention that Meghan was attempting to condemn all men(or something, not even sure what your point was), so I may as well speak on it here.

        From the article: “b) stop standing by while other men molest/assault/rape/beat, and c) stop covering up for and protecting creeps and abusers” You see, rallying against the sex industry (porn, prostitution, et al), protecting children from predators, and all these various things you seem to have taken issue with are WHAT feminism is kind of all about. All of those things work together, because the patriarchy has shaped culture in the way that it has (violence and subjugation of women). So, the dismantling occurs: not allowing men to sit next to unaccompanied minors and have a first-day to the world understanding of how men are nearly always the predators; needing to tell men why women have to think constantly about who is around them every second that they are in public; the responsibility of men to approach and condemn men who are predators instead of just watching it happen; and you know, all those other things you’re gonna have to do if you are a man and “want” to “be a feminist”.

        Also, the patriarchy doesn’t exist in academics, that is one of the most absurd things I have ever heard.

        • Max

          Audre – did you even read what I wrote?

          Where did I take issue with women and kids being protected from predators? My contention is that taking actions like Virgin is treating men as a monolithic predator, and isn’t helping an agenda of equality.

          Also – my contention about patriarchy is that it’s not widely understood in anything but the very vaguest sense outside academia.

          Finally, I didn’t say I’m interested in becoming a feminist. I just want to avoid being a jerk and to understand the world better. Given that women are half of the people in it, well…You can call it what you like.

        • Richard

          Audre: First of all, when you’re not sure what point someone is making it’s pretty hard to argue against it well.

          “not allowing men to sit next to unaccompanied minors and have a first-day to the world understanding of how men are nearly always the predators”

          Is the argument that this taught the guy something he would not already know? I think everyone in our society already knows that men are nearly always the predators and that’s a problem. The airline’s policy of reinforcing this dichotomy that men are predators and women prey is bad for everyone. It means men who are raped feel emasculated because there is no way for a man to occupy the victim role and it makes rape an appealing affirmation of masculinity because being a predator=man, or at least not-woman which is often the same.

          While it may be statistically true that most predators are men that doesn’t mean that we should act on that. Most illegal immigrants are Hispanic but a lot of people object to laws in Arizona that would allow police officers to search people based on reasonable suspicion, even though they would probably find more illegal immigrants that way. Now I’m not saying this compares to that in terms of the harm it causes. Being harassed by police is nothing like having to change your seat. What I do mean to say is that the logic you are using is the same as the logic behind any sort of profiling and you need to be aware of that.

          Also on this: “Also, the patriarchy doesn’t exist in academics, that is one of the most absurd things I have ever heard.”

          MAX didn’t say this, he said that an intellectual understanding of patriarchy exists mostly in academics. Therefore it’s strange to morally condemn people for not fighting against it when not everyone has the economic privilege to be a part of an environment where it is discussed. I don’t think this means that ignorance excuses sexism. I think it means that it excuses being a part of the more subtle parts of patriarchy because not everyone has the privilege to be aware of those,

  • Lotus

    I don’t know if I agree with the policy but what I resent is that he is making it into a big deal.
    In the grand scheme of things, the discrimination he has experienced is negligible in comparison to what we women have to face everyday of our lives. A more enlightened human being would think about his experience and maybe say, “Gee, it really does feel awful when people think you are crap for no other reason than your sex. This is how women must feel all the time, and the consequences of the discrimination against them are far worse than what I have experienced here today! This little incident has made me think. Maybe I should have more empathy and compassion for those less privileged than I!”

    • Argamel

      So if you see an injustice, you shouldn’t try to fight it? You should just think about how much worse that injustice could have been?

      By that logic, women in first world countries shouldn’t feel anxiety about possibly sitting next to creepers on the bus. They should just be thankful that they aren’t being forced into prostitution in a third world country. In fact, it’s totally okay that they feel anxiety on the bus because that experience gives them more empathy and compassion for third world sex slaves!

      After all, the discrimination that women in first world countries experience is negligible compared to what women in third world countries face everyday of their lives.

  • Chris

    The following article was just posted and I think it provides a good perspective on this issue:


    • Meghan Murphy

      Such an awesome article, Chris! Thank you for sharing!

  • BlancheDevereaux

    Max: I meant the repercussions of patriarchy is men who abuse kids, hence, we have to make rules like this, hence, kids miss out on the bad AND the good encounters they may have had. Those are (some) of the repercussions of patriarchy.

    • Max

      Blanche – thanks for taking the time to answer.

      Not sure I agree. I think child abuse is a pathology, and it would exist patriarchy or nay.

  • kidvelociraptor

    Then again, I was triggered by reading “For context, look into Johnny’s background – he’s a firefighter. I don’t know a lot of emergency service workers, but those I do know went into their line of work because they want to help people. He may tie a lot of his self-worth up with being a doer of good deeds. He’s probably more likely than most people to take personally any suggestion that he’s out to cause harm.” Max meant well, I know, but knowing how sometimes ANYthing can start the flashbacks, I guess I dunno how worthwhile warnings are. I usually read on regardless.

    To Max: A friend of mine was raped by a firefighter on a bus when she was 14. I’ve known a few firefighters. I married an EMT, who’s in med school. Some of the firefighters I’ve known were good people. Some of them were risk junkies. Being addicted to adrenaline didn’t mean they weren’t also good people… just as being firefighters didn’t mean that they weren’t also potentially rapists, molesters, abusers.

    I dunno. I just can’t seem to make myself give a fuck how many men are made slightly indignant by a policy that makes it just a little less likely that a child traveling alone is molested or raped. I understand intellectually that generalizing about a group of people in response to the actions of a few is bad mmkay, but I just CANNOT MAKE MYSELF CARE. I probably really should. But I don’t have that kind of energy.

    Max; you seem fairly thoughtful & intelligent. Remember, though; just because a feminist says it doesn’t make it a feminist theory, or practice. (This isn’t really in response to anything in particular, it was just on my mind. Also: I like porn & I have ovaries.)

    • Richard

      “Max; you seem fairly thoughtful & intelligent. Remember, though; just because a feminist says it doesn’t make it a feminist theory, or practice. (This isn’t really in response to anything in particular, it was just on my mind. Also: I like porn & I have ovaries.)”

      I like this, feminism is too often seen as a monolith by it’s critics.

      “I dunno. I just can’t seem to make myself give a fuck how many men are made slightly indignant by a policy that makes it just a little less likely that a child traveling alone is molested or raped. I understand intellectually that generalizing about a group of people in response to the actions of a few is bad mmkay, but I just CANNOT MAKE MYSELF CARE. I probably really should. But I don’t have that kind of energy.”

      I also like this, it makes a lot of sense. I think the policy reinforces a dichotomy that men are offenders and women victims which hurts people who don’t fall in those roles and makes fitting into those roles an affirmation of your gender. But that’s a subtle thing and there are other things which encourage this dichotomy more. I just wish that had been more of the reaction in the blog. That he’s in the right but it’s hard to give a shit.

  • Odeo

    Yeah, this Johnny guy is such a dick. I mean, I would LOVE it if someone insinuated that I was a potential pedophile! Wouldn’t everybody love that? Isn’t that everybody’s ultimate fantasy? I can’t imagine why someone would be offended by such a thing. Yeah, he must be a privileged, misogynistic asshole, that must be it. Only a sociopath would get offended by being called a pedophile, because that’s such an abnormal reaction, isn’t it? It’s almost as if this guy thought that being called a kiddy-fiddler was a negative thing. How dare he be offended at things! It’s as if most people in society don’t want to live their lives in accordance with rad-fem blogs on the internet, which is weird.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Odeo. You are an idiot. No one accused Johnny of being a pedophile. No one called him a pedophile. It’s a policy put in place to ensure the safety of children, not a policy that assumes or accuses ALL men of being pedophiles.

      • marv

        Yes Meghan, Odeo’s unintelligence is staggering and disgraceful though not exceptional. Too many commentators(generally men) in blogs have no comprehension of society’s patriarchal context. They make such imbeciles of themselves when they express opinions. I can’t imagine how you cope with filtering all their shit.

      • Max

        Megan – Odeo might have been ranting and over-egging the pudding; but there’s a point buried away in there.

        Child abuse is a massive taboo. The merest suggestion of child abuse is enough to destroy reputations and ruin lives.

        The symbolism of him having to get up and move away from two kids could sting. I sincerely doubt anyone on the plane would have thought “child molester!” when he stood up, but it would still be humiliating.

        The humiliation of having to move in front of everyone is what got him all het up. If they had told him “we can’t put you in seat x, because it’s company policy not to seat men near unaccompanied minors” at check-in, he might have been put out, but I doubt he’d have gone ranting onto the interwebs.

        • Meghan Murphy

          I agree. It would have been much better to have simply not seated Johnny there in the first place. My point is that in comparison with the potential of some kids being seated next to a child molester, Johnny’s temporary embarrassment or awkwardness is insignificant.

        • a

          “Child abuse is a massive taboo. The merest suggestion of child abuse is enough to destroy reputations and ruin lives.” A TABOO? Holy hell, don’t start with feminism. Please go back to anthropology and sociology 101.

      • Argamel

        And if I walk across the street when I see a black man coming toward me, I am not assuming that he is a criminal. I am just ensuring my own safety.

        • Jemma

          Stop appropriating racial issues for the purpose of expanding male dominion.

  • Dingbat

    I find this post to be profoundly disturbing. Your argument seems to be that policies that seek to prevent potential harms by placing restrictions on a category of people (based on population-level statistics) are not problematic whatsoever. Is that really an argument that you’d like to stand behind?

    In your last comment, you say that the benefit of avoiding potential molestation (assuming that Virgin’s policy is effective in doing so) outweighs the cost of making an innocent individual feel like he’s being a suspected pedophile. Even if you grant that it’s true in this case, since molestation is very bad and the embarrassment of one person is a relatively small price to pay, is it that hard to imagine a circumstance where that same logic is used against you, or against someone whose feelings you actually respect?

    • Audre

      Under capitalism, what is a business supposed to do, Dingbat? The policy is to not sit anyone next to unaccompanied minors. When that is not possible, the airline will seat a woman instead of a man. There’s not really a better policy a company under capitalism can really have. It’s basically as progressive as it can get.

      • Dingbat2

        Discrimination is discrimination. Is there a history of children being molested on planes and airlines being sued? No, this is just discrimination for its own sake. Males are being pushed further and further away from our children because society suddenly views every man as a pedophile.

        Blacks commit more crime than whites, would it be equally fair in your world to insist it be a white woman beside the child?

        • Jemma

          >Discrimination is discrimination.
          if you ignore the past, and how systems of oppression work.

          >Is there a history of children being molested on planes and airlines being sued?
          I’m not sure about the airlines being sued, that’s irrelevant, but there is a history of children being molested. 90% of the time, by men.

          >Males are being pushed further and further away from our children because society suddenly views every man as a pedophile.
          Maybe you should teach your brothers to stop raping children. Instead of spending energy demanding every man have unfettered access to children.

          >Blacks commit more crime than whites, would it be equally fair in your world to insist it be a white woman beside the child?
          Stop appropriating racial struggles to expand male dominion. Plus white people are more likely to be a victim of a white criminal, and black people are more likely to be a victim of a criminal.


          • Sabrina L.

            Awesome link, Jemma!

          • Daniel

            Firstly, equality does not have to be a zero-sum game; I don’t believe that by comparing one injustice to another it detracts from the significance of the first.

            On the point of this article I think there’s an important point that is missed. The very purpose of feminism, as I understand it, is to see the abolition of gender discrimination. (am I wrong?) Any argument on a specific feminist issue can be traced to this point. equal access to education….to representation, to employment….the argument that women should feel safe in public is framed as discrimination (rightly) because men do not experience the same form of threats when they are in public.

            Surely then we must recognise that the primacy of feminism is to see and end to discrimination in general. To expand; to judge an individual on their sex is abhorrent. Better we judge them on the conduct of their character. Correct?
            I think then an argument can, and should be, made that imbedded in this notion is that ALL gender discrimination is wrong, not solely gender discrimination against women.

            This, of course is not to say that male-targeted gender discrimination is a significant or widespread occurrence. One only needs a high school education and luke-warm IQ to understand this. Bluntly, the pendulum of gender discrimination had been and continues to be to the detriment of women, not men. Not to recognise this is truly a crime against logic, reason and justice.

            And yet the principle remains, it must remain, because to contradict it is to contradict the purpose of feminism itself. (do you not agree?) Any person judged on account of their sex and not their own character is a victim of discrimination. So take this case. This Johnny McGirr was asked to move to another seat because of his sex. He was asked to move because Virgin Australia’s policy is to assume the worst of men. To make a blanket policy to judge all men are potential paedophiles and it is better to separate them from their potential victims then to assume, as the law demands that we are innocent first until proven otherwise.

            Now arguments have been made that the safety of children should be put before the comfort of men (the word comfort is rather cynical it should rather been) freedom from discrimination. I tend to have sympathy for that argument but surely, we can find a way to preserve the safety of children on airlines and still protect the principle of freedom from discrimination?

            Daniel Zucker, dtzuc1@gmail.com (feel free to reply to me by email if you want)

          • Meghan Murphy

            Um yes. You are wrong. Feminism is not about ending “gender discrimination,” it’s about ending patriarchy and the oppression of and violence against women. I know you’re pretending to be sincere and logical but you’re just making all the same old intentionally obtuse arguments all the other MRAs are making. Nice try.

          • Daniel

            To Meghan Murphy.

            Thankyou for your reply

            As far as I understand it, Patriarchy and gender discrimination are one and the same, are they not?

            As feminist and political theorist Carole Pateman writes, “The patriarchal construction of the difference between masculinity and femininity is the political difference between freedom and subjection.” Pateman, Carole (1988). The Sexual Contract, Stanford: Stanford University Press, p. 207.
            Patriachy enforces a seperation between males and females, one free and one subjugated

            Sylvia Walby articulates how patriarchy manifests itself in society
            The state: women are unlikely to have formal power and representation
            The household: women are more likely to do the housework and raise the children.
            Violence: women are more prone to being abused
            Paid work: women are likely to be paid less
            Sexuality: Women’s sexuality is more likely to be treated negatively
            Culture: women are more misrepresented in media and popular culture
            Walby, Sylvia. Theorizing Patriarchy. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1997

            Breaking apart those manifestations of it in society combats Patriarchy; to combat gender discrimination is to combat patriarchy.

            Surely that ethical and political opposition to patriarchy is the ethical and political opposition to gender discrimination? Right? How can it not be? Why would a person be opposed to the first and not the latter?


          • Meghan Murphy

            “As far as I understand it, Patriarchy and gender discrimination are one and the same, are they not?”
            Um, nope? Patriarchy is male domination (and female subordination).

            “Surely that ethical and political opposition to patriarchy is the ethical and political opposition to gender discrimination?”
            You’re missing some key words here: “women” and “men.” Simply saying “gender discrimination” obscures what is actually happening under patriarchy.

          • Daniel

            To Meghan Murphy.

            Thank you again for your reply,

            I do understand what you mean. When discussing gender discrimination I agree that it is important to specify, as you argue, that it has and continues to be, overwhemingly a one way street.

            What I am attempting to assertain, is if you believe, as I do, that having a political and ethical opposition to patriarchy makes one obliged to be ethically and morally opposed to all gender discrimination? And if that’s the case…. how do you feel about this specific eample of discrimination?

            At the end of the day, I would agree that it’s a trivial example to be arguing over, the main reason I have been so persistent isn’t the blog post but the comments that I’ve read.

            If I we’re there, however, I too would be very embarrassed, I don’t think anyone would want to be publicly implicated as a pedophile. And it worried me because I would like to be a father one day, and it concerns me that I will have to segnificantly alter my behaviour with my children in public, in a way their mother would not have to, because there is an automatic assumption that adult males are a threat to children.


          • Meghan Murphy

            I don’t understand what “gender discrimination” you are talking about? There’s no such thing as sexism against men — is this what you are implying? No one was “publicly implicated as a pedophile,” but maybe if men would stop being abusive fucks, women and children would feel safer sitting next to them, eh?

          • lizor

            FFS Daniel, you must be very tired out with your herculean effort at obtuseness.

            Do you lock your vehicle door? Do you lock the door to your home? If I walk up to your front door and find it locked I guess you, by locking the door, are accusing me of robbery? Not ALL people steal, you know!!! How dare you implicate me as a criminal! Whaaannh!!!!

  • NSG

    The link for ‘far more likely’ within the article (pointing to Dept. Veteran Affairs) also cites the statistic that only about 1 in 10 child molestation cases happen between strangers. So should fathers, grandfathers, uncles, coaches, etc. actually be resat more than strangers?

    Also if this is a policy carried out for preventative measures, does Virgin/Quantas screen for convicted felons?

    I’m all for a balance of liberties and protections, I just think this is specifically an unbalanced methodology.

    • Indeed. Also, one would think that molesting someone would be difficult and easily caught on a plane. Does this actually happen or is this the non-issue it seems to be right off the bat?

    • Fame

      That 1 in 10 statistic means fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and coaches need to stop raping children so very much that the numbers of stranger rapes seems insignificant in comparison.

      I means sure, you can say 100,000 kids getting raped by strange men isn’t as bad as 1,000,000 kids getting raped by men who knew them, but only a man afflicted by toxic masculinity would use those numbers to say, “See, only a hundred thousand and not a million, what’s the big deal?”

  • Shayne O

    I have to admit I’d find the request deeply uncomfortable. I fully acknowledge the reasoning, but the implication is a bit rough if its in sight of a crowd of people.

    But its not sexism, its just a problem that could have been better solved at the ticket booking stage, rather than embarassing a passenger at seating time.

  • Chris

    It sounds like the main driver behind this policy is that 90 percent of sex offenders are male. I feel like there are a lot of policies that could be justified by statistics that most people would not be a fan of.

    Also, I’m pretty uninformed, but I’m not really sure what this airline policy has to do with feminism. I could see why MRA’s or child safety advocates would get in a huff over this, but I’m not entirely sure why feminist blogs would take the time to feature this.

    Also, I was curious about the statistics for children being molested during air travel. I looked for a little bit, but no dice. Could anybody link to that info if they have it?

  • Sam

    I noticed two statistics (without citations) mentioned in recent comments which combine to make an interesting conclusion.

    “90% of sex offenders are male” and “only 1 in 10 child molestation cases happen between strangers”.

    Chance of offender being male = 0.9
    Chance of offender being a stranger = 0.1
    So chance of offender being male and a stranger = (0.9 x 0.1) = 0.09

    Chance of offender being female (assuming an exclusive gender binary classification) = (1 – 0.9) = 0.1
    Chance of offender being known to the child = (1 – 0.1) = 0.9
    So chance of offender being female and known to the child = (0.1 * 0.9) = 0.09

    If the airline’s rule is based on a dispassionate analysis of the statistical likelihood of a child suffering abuse, then logically they should not allow children to sit next to the women that they’re travelling with. The numbers say they’re just as likely to abuse the child as a strange man is.

    Of course both the numbers are probably made up, and even if they are based on real research it would almost certainly have not covered the specific situation of being in the quite strange environment of a passenger plane. But just such a misapplication of statistics is being used to justify treating all men as sexual predators.

    • Fame

      Even if your simplistic “statistics” were correct, which they aren’t, men are much, much, much more likely to abuse a child they don’t know than the miniscule number of women who sexually abuse any child at all, stranger or known.

      In 2009-10, men were perpetrators in 91% of all violent incidents in England and Wales, and almost all murders where the victim was unknown to the perpetrator are committed by men. Men much, much, much more than women get sick satisfaction out of hurting total strangers, whereas women’s much rarer instances of violence are almost always personally motivated.

      Ministry of Justice figures for 2009 show men to be responsible for 98% of sexual offences.

    • Fame

      I realized that saying 98% of sexual offences are committed by men is a goddamned invitation to the male posters here who have proven themselves to be petty, didactic fucks trying to twist their way out of any responsibility for the heaps of violence their half of humanity perpetrates against everyone, so let me clarify that the statistics for CHILD sex offenders says 99% are male.


      • Keyser

        That’s right Fame, every man should take responsibility for violence that a few men commit. Just like all Japanese people should take responsibility for Unit 731, all Germans should take responsibility for the Holocaust, all Koreans should take responsibility for camp 22, and all Serbs should take responsibility for the Srebrenica massacre. Right? When a few people commit violence, every member of their demographic should take responsibility for it, is that how you see things? Is that how you think?

        It’s real simple; I will never take responsibility for something I haven’t done. Never. Nobody should ever take responsibility for a crime they had nothing to do with. Why would you think otherwise? You have a totally ridiculous world-view.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Men are responsible for perpetuating a patriarchal culture, yes. Stop individualizing privilege and power.

  • Sam

    I’d like to question why the article refers to Mr McGirr’s reaction to the action as “throwing a fit” and “throws tantrum”.

    By his account (in full here: http://therantnation.com/2012/08/07/my-virgin-experience-as-a-paedophile/)

    “She [the cabin crew member] spoke to a 20 year old women and asked if she would mind swapping seats because I wasn’t allowed to sit next to the children. That was the explanation given.”

    “As I collected my things from the seat pocket I could see people looking at me and wondering why I was being moved. I was red from embarrassment. I felt like I was being judged and found guilty of a crime I hadn’t committed. It was an uncomfortable situation and I felt ashamed which was a weird feeling because I hadn’t done anything wrong.”

    By his account that was the extent of his physical reaction at the time, and no conflicting account has been offered that suggests he did anything that could be thought of as a tantrum or “fit”. He watched quietly as strangers were told that he was deemed too dangerous to be around children, and followed the cabin crew’s instructions promptly.

    To quote this article:
    “So what did McGirr do? He threw a fit. Obviously.”

    If someone described a woman’s similar actions in such inaccurate terms (probably with references to hysteria or “emotional” in place of allusions to violence) it would rightly be considered disgustingly sexist. By choosing to represent a calmly acting man as a tantruming beast are you not reinforcing the unhealthy gender roles at the heart of patriarchy?

    • Meghan Murphy

      BECAUSE CALLING WOMEN EMOTIONAL/CRAZY/IRRATIONAL/ETC IS SEXIST. Men have not historically been discredited in this way. No false equivalency please.

      • Sian

        So because women were discredited unfairly in the past, that means it’s justifiable to discredit men unfairly now?

        I mean. Seriously?

        How do you ever expect to achieve equality with the attitude that innocent males deserve to be punished in the same unjust way that innocent females have historically been punished.

        How about noone is discriminated against based on their gender? Radical idea around here it seems..

        Just a little FYI, domestic violence rates between gender are nearing parity these days.

        • Meghan Murphy

          What ‘innocent male’ is being ‘punished’ from your perspective? Asking this man to change seats hardly constitutes ‘punishment’.

          • Grackle

            When you’re privileged, any small slight seems like a form of injustice.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Inconvenience = discrimination. How entitled can you get?

      • Sian

        Or, are you suggesting that it’s unacceptable to call women emotional/irrational/crazy because it’s sexist, but to call them violent/aggressive would be okay, because it’s not sexist?

        So if this article had been about a female reacting to a difficult situation calmly, it would have been acceptable in your view for the piece to describe her as “going on a rampage” ?

        • Meghan Murphy

          Yes. Calling women ’emotional/irrational/crazy’ has been used historically to dismiss women/women’s voices/women’s righteous anger. To call someone violent or aggressive, if they are being violent or aggressive, doesn’t hold the same connotations and is not sexist.

  • Hank

    I have always heard that feminism is about equality for all people.

    It sounds like you believe that white men cannot be discriminated against. Is this what you mean, or am I misreading?

    Also, how do you know Johnny doesn’t care about sexism? You seem to be asking for him as an individual to compensate for the serious shortcomings of his demographic.
    Is it fair or reasonable to hold an individual responsible for “a) stop molesting/assaulting/raping/beating, b) stop standing by while other men molest/assault/rape/beat, and c) stop covering up for and protecting creeps and abusers. ”

    I don’t think that men have it tougher than women. I just don’t know if so much anger is the best way to fix this.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Feminism is about ending patriarchy. Not about women being ‘equal’ to men. And no, there is no such thing as reverse sexism or reverse racism, if that’s what you mean.

      • Tom

        The feminist movement is entirely about generating equality for women, not ending patriarchy. If you take that stance you then become a cause of what your fighting against and that is equality. Furthermore there is no such thing as reverse racism or reverse sexism, because that implies that racism and sexism should only apply one way. If you read the definition of sexism: “Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination on the basis of sex.” and racism: Prejudice or discrimination directed against someone of a different race based on such a belief”. You will see that all sexes and all races can face discrimination.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Hey Tom! How about you let the feminist movement decide what the feminist movement is about, eh? No dude gets to define feminism. Ever. In any case, you are wrong. About most everything.

          • Hank

            I understand to a certain extent why you feel a man should not define feminism. I don’t understand why you would oppose ending sexism though. Stereotypes do exist about men.

            You say that Tom is wrong about most everything. What do you mean exactly?

  • Chris

    I’ve noticed a lot of confusion, some real, some fabricated, over what the word “feminism” really means. Some of this is justified, some of it is not. In any area where specialized knowledge is employed, language shortcuts are needed. Hence, acronyms are used and common words are appropriated for other means. This is why the language used by doctors, engineers, miners, farmers, midwives and many others might not be immediately understandable by an outsider. Specialized knowledge requires specialized communication. This is a trend that began shortly after the publication of the Gutenberg Bible in the 15th century.

    In academic settings, this can sometimes get worse, since precision is often needed, but it comes at the expense of accessibilty. I like a lot of what Catherine MacKinnon has written, but I must admit I sometimes find her prose to be a bit obtuse. So, we get some people saying “feminism” and “patriarchy” are abstract concepts they can’t be bothered with. This is a general problem. Canadian scientists are well aware of how dire the environmental situation is, but the ability to communicate this is complicated by both goverment censors and the ability of scientists to speak using common language.

    So, I would like to make a humble attempt to define feminism and patriarchy in a way that anyone can understand, whether or not they might agree with it:

    Patriarchy is the oppression of women by men.

    Women are subject to extraordinary levels of assault, rape, discrimination and other crimes. The perpetrators are males, or those who have adopted male privilege. This isn’t complicated. It’s the thug in the street raping a women, it’s a woman being denied a job based on gender, it’s a corporation using lack of birth control as a profit motive in the third world, and it’s a western woman stealing a third world woman’s passport in order to guarantee house cleaning services.

    Feminism is the fight against Patriarchy.

    This is simple enough. Kill the rapists, stop discrimination, change the education system and create a just social system. Okay, maybe not that simple. 🙂 But the goal should be clear. The goal of feminism is to stop the abuses of patriarchy. Who wouldn’t support that?

    • Hank

      I was led to believe that women too could further patriarchy. Do you think they can?

      • Chris

        Of course, I just gave an example. There have been some recent cases in Canada where women homeowners have been holding immigrant women as virtual slaves by confiscating their passports and paying them virtually nothing to serve as “housekeepers”. These women are benefitting from patriarchy. Christie Hefner (former CEO of Playboy) is another example. There are many women who benefit from patriarchy.

    • Rick

      I would be ok with your definition. But I have one major problem Chris. Karl Marx and others have warned us – this goes back milennia actually – about the abuse of power. Unfortunately, Marx got the diagnosis right, but prescribed the wrong cure. Hence, we’re back where we started and Communism failed.

      People in power continue to do bad things to others without power. Hold on, this is going to get MUCH worse and soon. All the while the people with power, the abusers and users continue to do what they do, and the deflect the blame to a broader category.

      The worst part in all of this is that the folks who are abused the most tend to be the least educated – and yes, I put women in that category – and so they actually side WITH the abusers. It is un-freaking-believable!

      The vast majority of men are good decent people. They get no press because they are “boring” and average. They get no respect because they have no power. hey get no voice because they have no resources. They are among those who shoulder the burden in silence while those who are supposed to be their partners in life get sucked into this simplistic stupidity.

      This is happening at an alarming rate.

      I guess I am not the first man to feel old school. The type of men like me are going away. Maybe this is as it should be.

      But when the next generation of men wake up and see what is happening, I suspect that marriage will become a thing of the past. And the culture and gender wars will rage on with reckless abandon.

      That does not sound very appealing to me. And that sounds decidedly not very patriarchal.

      Bottom line – stop taking our your anger on men when it is the people in power who should be held accountable.

      • Chris

        No group gives up power willingly. And when their power and privilege starts to be challenged, they cast themselves as the victims. White South Africans felt victimized by the anti-apartheid struggle. Israelis stealing Palestinian land say they are the real victims.

        The issue is not whether or not men are good people. Of course many of them are. Many white South Africans were good people, and I’m sure many slave owners were also good people. That doesn’t mean they have a right to their privilege. If and when their privilege is removed, that’s not a punishment against them, it’s justice.

        The idea that women are “in power” is ridiculous. But the fact that some men feel “victimized” by feminism is significant. It means it’s working.

  • I honestly don’t understand why these dudes are coming on a radfem blog to complain about discrimination. The point of the airline rule is NOT statistical, that such or such percent abuse children. The point is that we live in a Patriarchal society where men have the upper hand and that the imbalance is “compensated for” by such rules (I don’t agree that men’s woman-hatred should be “compensated for” instead of fought and exterminated, but in the case of children’s safety, we need a little immediacy). It really does NOT matter what the percentage is, because that’s not the point. Women know that men are a threat for children and that precautions must be taken. It will do you no good to feel asshurt about it because you are a “good guy” (which usually means: I am a bad guy but I want you to think I’m sensitive). Who cares?

    • Meghan Murphy

      Francois FTW!

  • Tom

    In my opinion this policy implemented by Virgin is wrong, morally speaking. It discriminates on the base of sex. If a policy were to be implemented on the grounds of race, a massive uproar would follow and rightly so. Discrimination in all forms is wrong and this policy is discrimination, whether it be to protect the children or for any other reason it is still wrong. To be more accurate the majority of cases with sexual abuse and children involve a relative or close friend of the family, someone the child already knows. So should we not then be preventing children from being with their family. After all its to “protect the children”. Megan also spends the first half of her article explaining as to why she would “really love it if I never had to sit next to another dude on the bus ever again” not only is she profiling and wishing for segregation which is entirely against a feminist movement for equality she also slams John stating that “without it even occurring to him that someone’s else’s safety could be more important than his own comfort.” when its not a matter of his personal comfort but his personal dignity. She uses this as an example to slam John but then puts her comfort in front of all others on a bus, something which strikes me as hypocritical.

    • So, women should just trust every guy that they run into on the fear of being accused of “sexism”? Excuse me, while I play a small violin for the fragile egos of the world

      Politely asking someone to move to another seat is not “discrimination.” Women get harassed by men all the time. Hell, I am for an all woman bus for the purpose of protecting women from possible harassment from men. Men and women experience society in very different ways and women suffer the punishment either by conforming or refusing to conform.

      • Person

        The issue for “all women” sections of public transportation is they may be actually kind of questionable as far as safety. Mainly, predators know women will be in them and enter those areas on purpose to find victims. At least, I’ve heard that making “women only” cars in trains in Japan has posed this problem.

        It’s a huge shame that people have to suffer because a portion of the population consists of galactic-sized asshats. I remember when I had to walk to work because the bus lines didn’t go anywhere near where I worked and I didn’t have access to a car. I had to pick a different route almost every day because of dudes cat-calling me. I was afraid if I walked the same route, they’d notice and go after me.

        For the record (since tons of guys like to insinuate that it’s what you wear that causes this issue) I was wearing a pants-suit. The other times where I felt harassed to the point where I genuinely feared for my safety I was wearing a baggy hoodie and jeans. One was when I was jogging with my mom (she was around the bend because I run faster), and another was after club at college when one of the members decided to stalk me to my dormitory. It was super obvious because I had walked there part-way with a group of friends who lived on the same side of campus as him. We parted ways and then he turned around and started coming after me. I immediately ran back to the club room and waited for someone else to walk with.

        The issue for being inappropriately approached is mainly you’re being targeted for being vulnerable, not how you’re dressed. It’s a huge reason why women like to travel in groups. Unfortunately, you can’t have your BFF glued to your hip 24/7 so sometimes you have to put on your big girl pants on, put the sharper car keys you have between your fingers like a make-shift brass knuckle, and hope for the best. And I’ve lived in suburbias my entire life. The only guy I’ve ever met who understood on what it was like to be super careful like that came from Brooklyn.

        The other time I remember was two young kids (maybe 10 or 12?) said they wanted to get together with my friend who was sitting next to me (we were college aged). When she ignored them they said they were going to rape her. We didn’t take it seriously because well, they’re kids and we were big enough to beat the crap out of them if they tried anything. But still, those kids will one day be grown men. And it makes me ill knowing that they already have that kind of mentality.

    • Erm… according to your own reasoning, we should never arrest murderers. Start over (except if you actually do believe that too, in which case I would love to hear your justification).

  • Dan

    “The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.” – Hitler, Mein Kampf.

    Whilst men predominantly sexual abuse children, it counts for less than 10% of overall child abuse. Nearly 80% is due to neglect and seeing as women are awarded custody of children the majority of the time during divorce, that would mean that, statistically, children have more to fear from women that men. But that’s beside the point.

    Once we ingrain an attitude like this in society, it wont stop with men. The government will then have to take children away from women also. You know, for there protection and so forth. Think about that before you start saying how good this policy is.

    And if your so scared of men, why do you employ men (men make up most government enforcement positions) to protect you?

    Think it through before you start praising the death of the patriarchy.

    Stats on child abuse can be found here;


  • Rick

    My teenage son sometimes complains to me about the “injustices” he faces when he has to clean up after dinner, or do a chore. He may have a good point – after all, HE didn’t make the mess. But he misses the larger picture; we all have responsibilities to people other than ourselves.

    The shocking tone of the responses to this are quite telling. While women have every right to push for equality and to expose male oppression where it can be found, such simplistic an knee jerk pieces do more harm to your position than you realize. There is a larger picture to be had.

    Women who complain that this man finds the seating policy bizarre and offensive should think long and hard about this. I doubt that the commenters here will do this. Just like the goofballs I have read on some MRA websites, reason and logic are boring and so they do not sell.

    To support such a ridiculous and offensive policy is disgusting and disturbing. The vast majority of men I have known are good and decent people. I wonder how it would feel to have a “women only” seating section so that abused boyfriends can sit without the discomfort of sitting next to abusive women. Before you launch into a tirade about historical wrongs, look at the current VALID statistics on these things.

    I would argue that such a rule would be ridiculous – to you and me perhaps. But what about those few who are fearful of women? What about THEIR rights?

    I hope I do not have to spell this out any more. Anyone who sees where this naturally leads would not likely respond negatively. If you respond negatively, I encourage you to do so. Those MRA guys need all the ammunition they can get.

    • Meghan Murphy

      “Those MRA guys”? Your response is very clearly aligned with classic MRA wonk-reasoning. Men afraid of women? Give it a rest.

      • Rick

        Really Meghan? This is your best response? I don’t know you but I am honestly disappointed.

        Men are indeed afraid of women. You are living in a bubble if you do not see that and worse if you don’t get it.

        Men have historically been taught to “suck it up” and “be a man” and they communicated problems much less frequenly than women. I believe that this single issue is responsible for an inordinately large number of instances of abuse by men. With no outlet other than to “suck it up” some men become enraged.

        These old school gender roles are toxic and ridiculous in many ways. What surprises me is that there are so few women who are intelligent, principled or honest enough (pick the shoe that fits) to admit this major elephant in the room.

        Men from lower socioeconomic classes bear the brunt of the blame heaped on them by – well everyone above them. At the same time, the transgressor men ignore feminists. You have no power over them and you both know it. So you alienate the very men who would gladly side with you to truly fix these problems.

        Again, that would be boring and does not translate to ad revenue. So while my perspectives maybe aligned with MRA sensibilities in some areas, I am first and foremost a human being who is seeking answers to big questions.

        I am not finding them here, nor with the MRA wonks.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Ha! You are so right that my motivation for writing about feminism is purely ad revenue. So far I have earned $0.00. Men as a class are not afraid of women as a class excepting for the fear that women might one day become powerful enough to have choices beyond fucking men in order to survive. EEK!

          • Rick

            Did you just say that “men as a class___”?

            What the hell does THAT mean? Tell me you are joking Meghan. Please.

            There is no such thing as the male class as if it is some sort of socioeconomic level. Men are a gender and we are all human. For far too long, the good men of the world have sat back and watched while this dialog has become more and more dominated by the extremes. What I could never have predicted is the degree to which this would actually affect me.

            Women are more powerful than you either a) recognize, or b) are willing to admit publicly.

            What is missing from all of this is an accurate understanding of history. There is no way for me to fix that here, but your comments have so many bad assumptions embedded in them that I doubt that you are the sort of person who is concerned with such things as facts, accurate data, and rational dialectic. There are men like you out there too and women usually call them a**holes.

            I have a gut instinct about you Meghan. I think you are better than this. I think you are capable of deeper insights. Too many Americans jump on sound bites and make election decisions based on such things.

            I will leave you with this – if the world were in your hands, what would you do with it? Wouid you change anything you said above?

          • Meghan Murphy

            DUDE. You are SO much better suited to the MRA threads on reddit. Go back there.

  • Rose

    I find the willingness to denigrate the man in the story absolutely appalling. And frankly, I find the vitriol towards him to be no better then the sexism levied against women. Yes, women have been put down through out history. That is undeniable. But it is hypocritical to stipulate that women should not be discriminated with and then turn right around and say that this particular brand of sexism (and it IS sexism) is alright just because it’s a man.

    A note on your statistic, however. I am familiar with it. However, you should keep in mind with any statistic that crime statistics are rarely conclusive because only 1/3 of all crimes are even reported and rapes/sexual assualt/ect (whether by a female victim or a male victim) are even less then that (24% or less). Child abuse is one of the most underreported . And studies have show then men are much less likely to report abuse/rape/ect then women. There is also a large stigma (even in the criminal justice world) against the idea of a woman molesting/raping/sexually assaulting/ abusing a man or young boy. And these cases often go extremely under reported as a result. So while I know that certain studies have statistics that show the 90%, and these findings are more then concerning so I’m not trying to belittle that factor, it still does not warrant a broad based rule such as this. If the airline wished to monitor the child and their safety more closely, the unaccompanied minor could be moved closer to the airline attendants area for better monitoring. If they were willing to move the man for the safety (and possibly behavior) of the child then it would be much more conducive (and less demeaning to all involved) to move the child somewhere with more supervision. And it could be done without the need for a broad-based, sexist policy.

    So once again, yes, women have been oppressed. Yes, we’re still disadvantaged. But that does not give us the right to say that discrimination of any kind is alright, whether it’s against men, women or trans* individuals. Sexism is sexism. And it goes both ways. I find shortsighted to assume otherwise.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Alas there is no such thing as sexism against men.

      • Evan

        How could you ever think sexism doesn’t exist for men? I’m a large, somewhat intimidating looking bearded young man. I experience things like mothers sheltering their daughters as I pass in the park; I’ve even had a woman accuse me of stalking her when I tried to return her purse!

        It’s going to be pretty damn hard to make any changes when you simply say ‘This plight only applies to us, and while it may seem like these situations happen to other sexes, well it’s just justified then’.

  • DarkEngel

    As Benjamin Franklin one said “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”

    Before we know it we’ll all be in prison for our own security

    • Meghan Murphy

      Blah blah blah libertarianism blah freedom of speech blah blah WHAT ABOUT ME.

    • I’ll happily trade off the liberty of men to molest children for the safety of said children. If you don’t agree, I really don’t give a shit.

      • KittyGalore

        Men do not have the ‘liberty’ to molest children, and neither do women – it is a crime. The airline’s policy makes sense in that children are less likely to be molested by a woman, but the statistics on either a man or a woman doing so out of the entire population are very small. Please can we remember that castigating all men as if they are all rapists and child molesters, is utterly untrue. Such exaggerated language as has been displayed by some of the posters on this site actually FUELS women’s fear! It is appalling that women have to fear very real threats to their safety from a small number of men, but trying to make women feel fearful and hatred of all men based on a small number who are misogynistic and disturbed is just wrong.
        The airline’s policy needs to be handled with care so as not to cause embarassment to anyone. In this instance, the decision of where to seat the children/the man in question was carried out far too late and therefore caused upset to the man who felt that he was being singled out based on his sex as being a greater risk to those children in a very open and embarassing way. I am not surprised he felt deeply upset at this.

        • river

          He IS a greater risk. Can you go comb through some stats and then, just go? What special privileged life have you been living that you don’t know that men are a risk to children and women? Period. Class male. Risk.

          (I cannot believe the idiocy. Usually this comes from men. Oh wait, Kitty with the Galors of wtf is male.

          In this particular case, the dood prostesteth too much.

          • KittyGalore

            Oh River, I have made some very reasonable and balanced statements in my post above. But it is no surprise to me that I have been insulted and belittled and accused of extreme priviledge for making those reasonable comments, because you do not do balanced and reasonable.

            I am a lower middle class woman (perhaps you’d like to vet my genitalia to make sure?) in the UK. I have lived in a variety of areas of the city and yes there are certainly times when I have felt vulnerable or impinged upon, such as walking home late at night when I hear footsteps behind me, or being caught in a conversation with a man I do not want to have as he is standing too close for me to casually walk away, or being intimidated by a group of men’s whistles and calls as I walk along the street. This is not enjoyable and it upsets me that they feel they can treat me like that because I am a woman.

            However, when people lose perspective as they have become so deeply obsessed with a particular issue such as the one we are discussing here, they can convince themselves that ALL men are a threat to them and to all children at all times. Thus, women may actually intensify their fear of men unnescessarily and make day-to-day life far more uncomfortable than it need be. Any sensible and aware woman will be on the lookout at all times for potential threats to their safety. And yes, this is not something men have to carry around with them as a general rule, and that is wrong. Yes, I agree that men are a greater threat to women and to children, this is proven. I have never claimed otherwise.

            I was justr asking for more tact to be used when seating passengers in the situation above, and remembering not to label the many good men out there (and I know a few) who do not deserve such contempt.

          • Lotus

            Kitty, people are getting frustrated with you because you are not listening to them. You keep bringing everything back to the individual. You need to think big picture.

            Maybe this analogy will help you to understand.

            If a school organizes trips to a public theatre and too many of the students act like little shits during the performances, the theatre has a right to tell the school they don’t want them to come back. While not every student who went to the shows behaved poorly, too many did and so the school needs to rethink the system of discipline they have in place. It’s too bad for the individual students (men who don’t molest children) that didn’t disrupt the performances, but they should be mad at the many STUDENTS (Men as a group) who DID behave in this way and thus gave the school a bad reputation ,and not at the theatre (airline). And the school(society) needs to acknowledge that there is a larger (systemic) problem with the behaviour of their students and then deal with it if they ever want to be allowed back into the theatre.

          • KittyGalore

            Hi Lotus, Yes I can see your analogy of a small number of disruptive kids meaning that the whole group ends up suffering, and how that applies to men. Of course we need to push for changes, education and possible law changes in order to change men’s lack of realisation of their priviledge as it’s something they don’t have to even question, it’s just ‘there’. I do not disagree with the airline’s policy at all, only that they are more discreet in implementing it. If my children were to travel alone, I would want to know that they were protected as far as possible from possible threat, and I would want them seated near the airline staff with no-one next to them at all. This is a problem due to the airline’s promotion of their economic power above the safety of children travelling alone, actually. If they had a rule which said that seat next to the children absolutely had to be kept empty (the best scenario), they would lose out on the cost of that seat price by not allowing it to be for sale. Also, they are more worried about being sued should something happen on board one of their planes than actually protecting children’s safety, so we shouldn’t really be praising the airline all that much for this policy!

  • Steve Fresh

    “For men I assume that sitting on the bus doesn’t require much planning or anxiety.”

    wrong, assumptive and insulting, fyi.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Because men live in fear of being sexually harassed/assaulted? Give it a rest.

  • KittyGalore

    Meagan you are totally wrong to insist that there is “no such thing as sexism against men”. As a woman, and a feminist, I find this comment really quite embarrassing, seeing as you are a ‘spokeswoman’ for a more extremist sect of feminism. It is so extreme that you seem quite happy to do the same discriminatory things that women have suffered under patriarchy, to men. That is not ’empowering’ or ‘winning’ or whatever, it is vengeful. Two wrongs do not make a right, as the saying goes. Such language and attitude towards men simply antagonises swathes of men who would otherwise have been in agreement regarding the patriarchy and sexism. You come across as that stereotypical parody of a radical feminist – a tunnel-visioned, unreasonable, extremist man-hater. Your view that Mr McGirr was upset about the way Virgin Australia’s policy was handled on board “because he is an entitled dude. Because the safety of children is far less important that his comfort” immediately imparts the view that this man is, by default of being born male, a selfish individual who cares little for the safety of children. Utterly wrong. I completely understand why he felt uncomfortable at being asked to move in front of a full aircraft, as if he had done something to those children or was a paedophile (and I imagine if you had been on board, you would have started whispering to the other women in your vicinity that he is a man and therefore ever-so dangerous to all children and all women! What about the Salem witchcraft trials – your language exaggerates the truth based on your own personal prejudices against men. You seem to go about life viewing all men with fear, making presumptive decisions about their character based on their sex. I’d call that SEXISM. Yes, it is true that more crimes of this nature are committed by males, but women are inn the statisitcs too. Overall out of the populartion, the number is miniscle, yet you talk about the topic as if practically every man you pass on the street is planning to rape you or sexuallyt abuse some children! It is histrionic and extremely damaging! Why can you not see this?

    • Meghan Murphy

      There is no such thing as sexism against men. Anyone who believes that there is is a moron.

      • KittyGalore

        Meghan, you are so blinded by your tunnel-vision beliefs that you have to resort to insulting those who do not agree with you. I am not by any means a moron, ans you are a disrespectful, bullying fool for calling me one. I am an intelligent woman capable of critical thought (which is often missing in the comments on this site) with over 30 years of personal and intellectual experience and knowledge of ways in which patriarchy affects my life, and take issue with it where it occurs. So far on this site over a time-period of approximately 3 weeks, I have been called – by women – a ‘racist’, a ‘misogynist’ and a ‘moron’ based on nothing more than unrelated assumptions by posters (the first occurred by a poster suggesting that I had said that the 13th Amendment on banning slavery was a negative when what I was actually talking about was the Swedish model on prostitution and nothing to do with race). You are your followers can stay in your extremist, holier-than-thou, antagonistic and bullying – yes, BULLYING – bubble and get nowhere at all because most people who are able to critically analyse patriarchy, sexism and misogyny will find your attitudes deeply insulting and unreasonable. You insult and drive away fellow women who are curious to discuss the issues on which you post, as well as any men adding very reasonable and articulate posts constantly. But clesrly most of you do not care about that as all you care about is the power – POWER – rush you feel when slating reasonable comments, making assumptions about people based on their sex or because they do not entirely agree with an opinion.

        • Meghan Murphy

          No, no. There’s no ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’. Sexism and racism are structural. People who can’t see that are, indeed, stupid (and blinded by their own privilege!). You don’t get to have an ‘opinion’ on that issue. It’s very simple. Which is why it’s so clear that those who don’t understand are morons. Understanding that systems oppression exist is not a difficult thing to do for intelligent human beings to do.

          • BK

            dear god, what about teh menz!!!

        • NitroGirl

          There is no sexism against men imo. I would like to personally say it was women similar to Meghan Murphy that drew me into Feminism as bloggers, because people (men and women) who subscribed to your kind of thinking pampered the privileged White Male far too much to give an honest forthright critique of patriarchy and its affects on women.

          When the privilege are coddled like this, the more the under-under-privilege suffer because some feminists are too afraid to rock the boat. (Some women are double minorities who cannot afford to play nice with men when it comes to their oppression.)That turned me off. That brand of Feminism looked like a DayCare Center for heterosexual White Men.

          You label Meghan as an “extremist” feminist because she dares to put the concern of women and girls to the foreground without having to bat her eyelashes like a real doll and say “Not all Men are like that” or “But remember boys and girls-men can suffer from sexism,too!”? Seriously?

          No,they can’t. Side note, I hate the word “sexism” and “racism”,because now the oppressor class can try to lay claim on having experienced it. We need to steer clear from this word and use misogyny.

          • Meghan Murphy

            It’s true. “Sexism” seems to allow people to make it about individuals rather than acknowledging the structural/patriarchy as a system.

          • KittyGalore

            But NitroGirl, misogyny and sexism are two different (interlinked) things, by definition. Misogyny is a pathological hatred of all women because they are female. Sexism on the other hand is an attitude demonstrated againt (most often) females by males, but also sometimes by females against males. It tends to be stereotypical statements like ‘Oh no wonder that driver is so bad – it’s a woman!’ or ‘Women are only good for one thing’. It does not mean the speaker actually hates all women, but that they are resorting to stereotypical cultural assumptions. Pathological hatred of all women is not the standard belief of the majority of men.

          • NitroGirl

            It doesn’t happen to men,though. Most women’s reactions towards men come from trying to live in a male dominated society. Most of what men think is “Sexism Against Men”, is because of patriarchy,something they as *males* perpetuate. They could stop the effects of patriarchy on men if they really,really are tired of being “oppressed based on their sex”,but it seems as though the oppression of females is more important than their liberation from patriarchy to a lot of them.

            I don’t believe men can experience sexism and if they do it’s not even on a large (they dont.),threatening scale women face. It’s pretty much like the White people chanting “reverse-racism”. There is no system backing up the alleged oppression of either group, and that is what makes their claims insignificant in comparison.

            What people seem to do in these cases,is set up a false equivalency,to try to legitimize that the dominant majority can be oppressed by the oppressed minority. They make a claim that an a certain “ism” can “go both ways” by mentioning how they’re a large male and people are afraid of him because of that (which is really more about Size-ism than anything else.Because try being a big woman and you’ll get the same crud.) and how that equates to lets say, a woman fearing some guy is going to rape her because she’s been raised in a society where it tells her not to get rapped or attacked instead of telling people to not inflict violence upon women.

            You can’t compare individual instances to years of continual,undeniable sex-based oppression and call it sexism against men. I just don’t believe it. You won’t reach equality by being the majority who wants to set up false equivalences.

          • Meghan Murphy

            YES to all of that. Yes.

  • Jessie Boots

    saying there is ‘no sexism’ against men doesn’t mean there is no sexism against men. no matter how many times you say it. sexism goes both ways and to use your words, those who don’t see that are morons.
    see how useless that line of defense is??

    • Meghan Murphy

      Not useless. Just straight to the point. If you say something stupid, I will tell you that you’ve said something that is, indeed, stupid. The most clear and concise way to convey that is just to just say it, yeah? You are wrong, I am right. I don’t need to defend that. There’s simply no debate.

      • KittyGalore

        Meghan, if you are talking about institutional sexism, it exists towards women far, far more predominantly than for men. In the workplace, I am sure the rate at which it happens in most companies for men is nonexistant. In that situation, it could be said that there is no sexism against men. However in culture, there is sexism against men, it all depends on the context. Some of the comments on here towards men are simplistic and sexist. It happens right here on this site!
        Yes you are straight to the point. I am also telling you that you are stupid yourself to take such a hardline stance regarding what sexism is, in a way that is clearly wrong to me and many others. Your approach stirs up antagonism towards women and is damaging towards achieving the changes we still need culturally and institutionally regarding women’s status.
        So no, I’m afraid there really IS a debate to be had around your belief. How do you explain the sexism towards some of the men who have commented on this site, when they are tarnished for no apparent reason with the idea that they are probably a rapist because they are male? That is reductionist and insulting! You will probably make some reference to my being so taken in by patriarchy that I cannot see how there is no sexism against men. The thing is, it is you that cannot see it as you are so blinded by the apparent unquestionable validity of your words and beliefs – because you are the omniscient feminist woman.

        • Meghan Murphy

          @KittyGalore – because “the context” is patriarchy, you are wrong. I’m not taking a “hardline stance regarding what sexism is”. I’m telling you what it is (or rather, what it is not). You can argue as much as you like, but you will continue to be wrong. Saying something that is true is not “my belief”, it’s just stating the truth. There’s no debate. This isn’t just “my opinion”. There’s no such thing as sexism against men because of this “context” you mentioned. The problem seems to me to be that you don’t actually understand what the “context” is and how it functions with regard to structural and systemic inequality and oppression.

  • Kim

    “Reverse sexism” (or, even more ridiculous, “misandry”) and “reverse racism” are the whines of the poor little white boys of the Internet. They don’t exist. Legitimate rage about being oppressed and exploited is what women, blacks, indigenous peoples, and other minority groups feel. Sexism and racism are what white males have used to gain and to keep power. One is the result of someone hating someone else’s inherent way of being–female, black, etc–and wanting to hold a position of undeserved power over that someone else. One is the result of being abused for millenia. I’ll let you puzzle out which is which.

  • Pingback: Naming Violence Against Women: Malala, April, Jessica, Jill | Sarai Walker()

  • smilingpistachio

    What! Are people really whining about a safety measure just because “somebody’s feelings might get hurt”? SERIOUSLY?! My feelings get hurt too every time I have to go through security checks at airports because that’s implying I’m a potential terrorist. And I’m sure that woman’s feelings were hurt too because placing her beside kids emphasised her stereotypical caretaker role in the society as a woman and the traditional “women can’t penetrate therefore can’t perpetrate” myth.

    Give me break!

  • Russ

    I honestly can’t tell if your blog is a joke or not, as it’s full of logical fallacies in the same vein as those used by a troll.

    Take this for example:
    “If dudes like Johnny actually gave a shit about sexism and, like, actually wanted women and children to both feel and truly be safe in this world, then there are some things they are going to have to do: a) stop molesting/assaulting/raping/beating, b) stop standing by while other men molest/assault/rape/beat, and c) stop covering up for and protecting creeps and abusers. ”

    You’ve provided no evidence that the fireman on that flight has ever done any of the things you’ve said. Unless he’s been convicted of paeodophilia, then there’s no reason to treat him like one. It’s really that simple.

    Painting everyone with the same brush is prejudiced, and making policies around this is sexual discrimination. It’s sexual profiling – no need to get carried away with dogma. .

    We’ve fought against institutional discrimination against women, but it works both ways. If your blog is true and honest, then you clearly have a huge emotional bias against men. The ideal is to make things equal and fair /now/ for everyone.

    • Meghan Murphy

      He didn’t do any of those things, stupid. Learn to read.

    • stephen m

      @Russ, this is a feminist blog. Please read and think a little deeper about what is being said in this blog for a few months before you embarrass yourself again with this sort of stupid and cliched comment again.

      • Russ

        You haven’t identified exactly what is stupid and cliched about my post promoting the ideals gender equality, so I’m guessing you weren’t able to (or you’d have jumped at the chance to do so and prove me wrong).

        I see some of the viewpoints raised here as dangerous logical fallacies, e.g. “it’s impossible to be sexist against men”. When you say such a thing is impossible, it basically a double-think that gives you permission to be as sexist and prejudiced as you like.

        I’ve shown this page to a number of my friends and family, men and women included, and the typical comment was “well this is why no one takes radical feminism seriously”.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Dear Russ,

          Thank you for filling me regarding the opinions of your friends and family on feminism. What an eye-opener! Based on your comment, I’ve decided to quit feminism forever.

          Thank you for changing my life


          P.S. Everyone on the Internet thinks you’re stupid and that you should quit the Internet.

        • Rye


          Assuming you are sincere, I think you misunderstand radical feminism. Not that I am an expert, but what I know is actually very consistent (I apologize to anyone if I misrepresent radical feminism below).

          Radical feminists aren’t saying that someone can not hold irrational and prejudicial beliefs about men. Rather, I believe they are saying that measures intended to correct class privilege are confused with systemic discrimination. Systemic discrimination occurs in a society when one class of people is privileged at the expense of another.

          So although Johnny McGirr may have felt embarrassed and wronged, the airline’s policy wasn’t sexist. The policy was intended to mitigate child abuse, as 90% of pedophiles are men. So it’s not an example of systemic oppression against men by women, but a measure intended to mitigate an abuse of male privilege.

          Additionally, you apparently didn’t read the entire post because you missed a lot of key information. For example, you missed the point that it’s unfair to compare McGirr’s “inconvenience” with sexism, because his “inconvenience” does not compare to the systemic sexism that women commonly experience. McGirr was simply asked to move. By contrast, women live as members of the sex class. Women are expected to be fuckable for men, which explains a whole lot of things including the nature of the cosmetic industry, pornography, marriage and sexual harassment.

        • stephen m

          @Russ, Your general argument is not new and it is a regular occurrence for a man to try to prove that feminism is wrong headed. The stupid part is that they try to do this on a radical feminist blog, arguing with women who are head and shoulders brighter that they are. It ends up being an embarrassing situation for the man, every time.

          Should you be serious in your endeavor to understand feminism better you will have to do some reading of feminist authors with an open mind. Then you should discuss some of the many issues with an articulate feminist friend who you respect. This must also be done with an open mind.

          For a general attitude adjustment
          http://mansplained.tumblr.com/ http://www.everydaysexism.com/
          every day for a month or two.

          good luck and happy reading

  • Duelle

    Every time I fly I think about this petty man.

    I think of how humiliated he probably felt going through all that airport security overkill of x-ray scanners, pat downs, and shoe removal. Then he was asked to move on the plane and exploded his rage at being manhandled in airports onto an innocent stewardess.

    Johnny McGirr is no better than men who get car-related tickets then take their anger out on their wives because cops are untouchable in a way wives aren’t.

  • scaldingmay

    To all of the male commenters saying this is a “problematic” rule on the airlines:
    Notice how you’re writing things like “it’s wrong to see men as a monolith,” “sexism against men is exactly the same as sexism against women,” equating this policy with racial profiling even though it has nothing to do with it, and appropriating other minority group’s struggles to express a fear that this policy will result in an Orwellian dictatorship at 40,000 feet?

    THAT is the male privilege that we feminists are always talking about. As a man in this society, you have the luxury to think that porn watching is just something that affects the individual. And that prostitution is a victimless crime. And that whenever women express concern over our own and our children’s safety we’re over reacting and being mean to the nice men. Women aren’t crazy guys, YOU are!