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HeForShe, two for tea, so long as it has a good jingo.

Like all political parties, SF sees itself as progressive and there are many opinions on what that means or whether it's applicable.

However, whatever your political leanings, there is one traditional leaning which is common to all parties. 


Some call it gynocentrism, some call it chivalry, some call it white-knighting, along with numerous pajoratives, but, by and large, it is seen as the decent thng to do, the proper thing to do and the underlying message, always, is that men must do more to help women.
Well, of course, men do help women, always have, but there is a rapidly growing number of men, particuarly young men who are sick to their back teeth of the duplicity, the mendacity and the rhetorically insulting cant which is the bedrock of current political and social discourse.

Below is a recent speech transcript by a Sinn Fein member from the North of Ireland.
For anyone who is as yet unable, or unwilling to understand what is being said, some explainatory notes have been added.

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As a councillor joining a new council, it was quite encouraging, as a young woman, to hear about the Women’s Steering Group that Belfast City Council have established. <she implies this is something new, sort of a green-shoots image. There is noone unaware of "gender issues" and this initiative is not the first by any means> To hear that this civic body had already recognised the need to address gender inequalities and put in place measures to support women in the workplace in itself shows that they feel the importance of this issue. However, I was slightly taken aback to hear was that this group was only represented by women. It seems obvious to me that women would want to have their say on this issue, we have a vested interest in it. But where were all the men? <standard deflection - already it is not enough: a steering group dedicated to the interests of only half the voters is still not enough - it needs men in order to validate the claim that it is for "men too", but not mens issues>

Gender Equality isn’t solely a female issue, but we are the most vocal on it. <No, you are the ONLY voice, since it's inception, feminism has spent most of it's resource attacking dissent, and speeches like this are preemptive to that end> It’s widely accepted that discrimination in this regard, affects us the most<only when you define descrimination in a particular, narrow, way>. But without the support and buy in of men, we will never achieve equality.<define equality please? true equality, meaning equality of opportunity or substantive equality, meaning equality of outcome> I believe that ‘He for She’ creates the mechanism for us to throw down the challenge to the men throughout this city to actively lend their support.<why is there the assumption that heforshe is just and correct? The only way this makes sense is if it is viewed through the lens of an ideology or belief system. Yes, she "believes", but her belief system has no place in politics.. or does it?>

I like many others, was moved <moved to tears, depression, laughter, vomiting?> by a speech delivered by Emma Watson at the launch of the ‘he for she’ campaign in the UN, I recognised in Emma, that many of the concerns that she had in describing herself as a feminist, I too had. It seems like such a harsh word. A word frequently used as an insult and the stereotypes often portrayed by media surrounding this word, lend itself to this view <the "media" is not creating this image, it is a reflection of the activities, writings,  lobbyists and academics representing the "movement". Feminism doesn't need the media for a bad image, it's doing perfectly well on its own, evidenced by the nonsense contained in Emmas speech>. Yet, how can I not be regarded as a feminist when I fundamentally believe in the social, political and economic empowerment of all women.<because that is not what is represented by academic or political feminism> Should this not be something that each and every one of us as civic leaders, leaders within our communities and indeed this city in this support? <the grand, rhetorical, sweeping finale in the knowledge that not one single male issue has been addressed by feminist discourse>

Tonight I ask for your consideration of the endorsement of the He for She campaign, I ask we commit ourselves to raising our own awareness of issues of gender inequality, and actively campaign for gender equality throughout this city. <only when it affects women or girls> We have the opportunity as an organisation to build on and expand the work of the Womens Steering group in our new council, and I feel this campaign gives us the mechanism to do this. This campaign provides a focus on 3 clear strands and if time will allow I will briefly discuss them.

Ending Gender Based Violence Research shows that 1 in 4 women have been or will be victims of domestic violence in their own lifetime.<apart from this figure being empirically incorrect and sensational, what of men and boys? Unfortunately, we don't really know because even asking the question is considered to be anti-women, by some cognitative dissonance. However, what research there is does indicate that the number is significant but is ignored because it does not fit the ideological narrative> And this accounts for roughly one fifth of all recorded violent crime. Yet the PSNI and other organisations dealing with victims on a daily basis, would suggest that these figures are not representative, and that this issue is still massively under reported <bogeyman, anyone?>. And we know, that domestic violence does not only affect women, but men too.<thus reinforcing the story that this is only a small, secondary issue> We need to vocalise our support for those victims, and where possible, create a safe space for those victims of domestic violence.<if they are women> But we also need to send out a clear message to those perpetrators that domestic violence is never ok, that we don’t accept it, that there are no excuses<if you are male>. We need to start addressing the problem, not the victim.<how very magnanimous, to include the tiny, insignificant portion of female domestic violence. There, in one sentence, we have the classic double-take by saying that dv doesn't only affect women, but that dv only affects women. In order to address the problem, the narrative that men are the sole problem - whiteribbon, mile-in-her-shoes, ManUp - should be dropped as unhelpful and real research into the csuses of dv should be carried out. No, wait, that's not necesary, because it's already established dv is caused by men, all men, so there's no need.>

Women’s role in Politics and Peace Building

51.2% of this city, under its new boundary is female, but within this chamber we make up only 1/3 of the representatives <can we have that fraction again?, with regard to travellers, asian, african, disabled, roma, transgender, homosexuals, lesbians - if we're going to do this, lets do it right, so that everyone is represented fairly>. Unfortunately this issue is not unique or confined to this chamber. It’s replicated throughout wider society, where only 33% of women make up the membership of professional boards and senior executive roles.<how many women are street-sweepers, manual labourers, electricians, plumbers, taxi drivers, manufacturers, etc.. you know the ones who enable the city and boards to function?> And with strong female leadership at the helm, and at every tier of this new council, we have the perfect opportunity to encourage more women to positively engage in politics and city life. But how can we support them to do so.

As a woman, following my first ever council meeting, a member <which member?> approached me from across the chamber (not in this council I might add!) <which chamber?>. Instead of welcoming me or acknowledging me during the meeting came up to me to tell me it was great to see a ‘pretty young thing’ in the room for a change <this is against the law, did you report him, make an example, so that this would not happen again?>. To say it made me more than a little uncomfortable was an understatement <to say that your story is a little incredible is also an understatement, but it tries to establish your credentials as a victim>. Yet this welcome gave me a clear indication of the value that this man placed upon my abilities as an advocate for my community <which man? is he still in office? why have you done nothing?>. I’m sure this wasn’t the response that my colleague Cllr Carson received when he joined a year or so later<No, it was probably something more appropriate and just as humiliating, except it was probably done in public, in front of others, repeated in print and without the need to invent a myterious letch - something along the lines of "old boys club", "patriarchal privelidge", to undermine any achievements, integrity, support or commitment he might have - but it's best not to mention that, because it might give people the impression that you are not a victim>

In politics, I have often heard the phrase ‘token woman’ when it comes to the appointment of women into civic or public life, particularly from the nay say’ers. Is it any wonder women don’t feel comfortable putting themselves forward with attitudes such as these?<that's the inevitable result of quotas and positive discrimination, which is of course going to happen when the overwhelming number of applicants are male, but policy requires a female>

And representation is not the only issue where those in this room can affect meaningful change.

Women’s economic empowerment

In prehistoric era’s men became the leaders of their tribes because in the survival of the fittest, those predisposed to greater muscle mass and bone density, were the strongest<cart before the horse here - male physicality is as a reult of evolutionary selection, by females, not the cause of it, and it wasn't just their brawn. Their familys survival depended on many other factors too. Leadership and reproduction was the reward of heroism,  altruism and self-sacrifice among many other things>. Survival necessitated this order, many thousands of years later; this is no longer a necessity.<in other words, we no longer need the best, in any endeavour, male or female, for any role, so long as a female is guiding the activity, but not in danger>

Today, we have a highly genderised society and economy, where women favour caring or administrative roles<safe, warm, unchallenging, relatively lower paid>, and males are most frequently found in skilled trades, business or managerial roles<notice how "favour" is dropped, and these roles represnet cold, hard, challenging, dangerous, relatively well paid work - the kind of work that can support a family>. How can we encourage both men and women to consider professions outside these gender stereotypes? Where we get the best, most creative person for the job. Where men and women both feel comfortable, and confident putting themselves forward to be judged based on merit and ability, and not gender.<drop all quotas?> Exam results would suggest that academically girls, out perform men, why isn’t this translated into or even seen throughout our economy at every level.<why isn't this addressed as a gender-issue by ideologues such as yourself? It is doubtful if you would have the same opinion if boys were out-performing girls>

We need to focus on the economic empowerment of women in our city. Many believe that the Equal Pay act provides all the necessary cover to ensure that pay is a gender neutral issue, yet there still exists a gender pay gap in favour of men<if women "favoured" the cold, dangerous, stressful, challenging roles, that might not be a problem>. In 2011, women, fulfilling the same roles as men <it's not possible for two people to have the same job, different jobs=different wages>, were paid only 91% of the salary that their male counterparts received across the North. 80% of those in part time employment are female, and during times of economic hardship it is women who are hit the hardest, as they tend to rely more heavily on support from benefits, and tax credits to top up their income.<?? seriously?, the way women are worse affected by war, by having to deal with the stress of not being dead?>

I don’t have the answers to many of the questions I have asked here tonight, but I do have the willingness to work together to address these issues, and the many others that we will be faced with to achieve gender equality.<so we are to assume you are willing to talk about male issues relating to suicide, divorce, sex crime, domestic violence, paternal surrender, access to welfare, criminal sentencing disparity, the education gap, fathers rights, childrens rights, access to shelters, homelesness?> As i alluded to earlier -This isn’t simply a female issue, the points I have raised are discussed from a female perspective because they are what I know.

But what I also know is that by placing ourselves into a pigeon hole about these gender stereotypes and not challenging them, we assign our future generations to the same issues and the same struggles. We allow young women to think that their greatest contribution to society is as a carer, or mother. That they can’t become successful if they wish to have a family, or that they are indeed a failure if this isn’t what they want at all. We allow young men to believe that ‘big boys don’t cry’ or that their role as fathers is secondary to a mother.<well, that is supported by legislation, not just a belief>  What we need to do, is have a meaningful conversation about how we best challenge these assertions, and theres a challenge to this council as well, in how we do business, in how we organise and our future policy decisions.<This is to be done by accepting an ideological belief system and agreeing with the dogma or face political, social and physical attacks because the ideology has its roots in a preexisting norm. Perhaps the first thing to do is to listen to men, not just to the men who agree with you through cowardice>
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