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Lit Review - "No more sex war:The Failures of Feminism"


Going back a while to a work from 1991, which is significant for a number of reasons. There are a few things to consider with respect to this book ...

The first is, perhaps, it's historical position. It is considered to be the first serious retort to feminist narrative, and it caused a sensation. The book was a lead on from an article published in 1990, and some boffins have managed to resurrect Neil Lyndons Bad mouthing, published on the AVFM website in early 2000. Now, it is difficult to over estimate the importance of this work, which, for the first time, attempted to expose the errors, damage and hateful agenda of mainstream feminist narrative.

You would think this was a good thing, but the second thing to consider in relation to the book is the response to it. This was also the first time that feminism exposed itself in a very honest and public way. From all quarters, the attack was relentless, but there were very few challenges to the work itself - almost all the attacks on the work derived from  indignation, that it was unacceptable to criticise feminism at all. There was no attempt made to respond to the arguments in the book, only to attack the author, and the idea of it (the audacity!, the temerity!). 

From this point on, there were two types of feminist - those who would not tolerate any criticism, and those who side-stepped the criticism by saying that "there are many types of feminism" (TAMTOF), or "not all feminists are like that" (NAFALT) - you may have seen these acronyms before, they are quite standard by now and are easily identified - which, after many years of pointless discussion were recognised for their insincerity. 

In modern discourse, anyone still persevering with either of these responses is, quite rightly, dismissed as a fool. Quite probably, this book was a contributing factor to the publication of the best seller, Backlash, in 1992, which gave a new language (and a new meaning to "backlash", which we still have today) of perpetual sefl-righteous victimhood to feminism and effectively silenced any criticism for more than a decade.

And lastly, one should consider the impact that the publication had on the author, (have a look at Neil Lyndons wikipage ), who was threatened from all sides, including life threats, had his career irreparably damaged, and who found himself on skid row for a decade. You can feel the seething anger, barely capped in an Indepedent interview from 1992

Was his experience to be a warning to others?.. perhaps. However, history has shown that he was right to intervene and stand up to the bullies. What the publication made abundantly clear was that a reasoned discussion was off the table. This may be the lifetime experience to-date of anyone under thirty, but for anyone beginning to question received authority, you should know that you are not alone, the wall of silence has been broken and there are many who will stand with you in demanding an explanation.

There was an interesting Guardian review from 2000  which tried to rake over the coals, and gives a reasonable overview of his experience. Thankfully, he is still working and you can see the journalistic work of Neil Lyndon in the Guardian.   Our own John Waters (not the film-maker, the columnist ) could probably empathise with Mr. Lyndon, but what is becoming more and more obvious is that there is a real need to address the current dominant social narrative and stand up to the bullies. It's constantly reiterated victim-status doesn't hold water in light of the obvious insincerity, intolerance and dogma of the ideology.

The book itself is well written, and the first thing one notices is the reasonableness of the tone. This was someone who genuinely believed that feminists (at the time) were not aware of what was going on. It sets out numerous claims and simply investigates their veracity. The information/data is obviously out of date, but the methods used to politicise and propagandise social issues are astonishingly familiar. To think that the distortion methods exposed by the book are a thing of the past is very naive - if anything, the methods have simply become more subtle. Like after the US armys experience of war journalism in Vietnam, there is a desire to avoid such an exposure happening again.

For example, in a chapter called "the great terror", the author investigates the domestic violence industry (and it was, already by this time, an industry as can be attested by Erin Pizzey, also referenced in the book as the founder of the very first womens refuge, who now has a website), which was/is the great cash-cow of the feminist movement.

He looked at the way in which, through a series of refinements, distortions and misrepresentations, a rough-guess estimate (because figures were unavailable) of DV-related calls from two specific boroughs (London has about 30 boroughs), went from around 850 calls/year to 100,000 women a year needing hospital treatment (which, by implication, accounts for only a small percentage of all the abuse).

It was extrapolated by simple multiplication (of the number of boroughs) to "about 25,000 calls a year" in the London metropolitan area (research authored by Dr. Susan S. M. Edwards). Incredibly, a book by Dr. Edwards soon asserted a figure of 58,000, and shortly after that Sandra Horley, (new director of the Chiswick Family Refuge ...remember Erin Pizzey?) declared, in a national newspaper that "the metropolitan police receive approximately 100,000 calls a year from women trying to escape male violence", which was then elevated by Dr. Rosalind Miles who asserted that 100,000 women a year needed hospital treatment.

In tandem with this, as with other investigations, he explains how this could happen, and how reasonable, well-minded people and public bodies were more than ready to accept and promote the error. However, his calm tone always points out the irrelevance of numbers with regard to tragedy, but simply questions the reason why this was done.

Just one of the many eye-openers throughout the book, and essential reading for anyone trying to make sense of the society in which they find themselves.

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