UK MP Dominic Raab Attacks ‘Obnoxious Bigotry’ of Feminists

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A Tory MP (who else?), here in the UK, has hit out at the ‘obnoxious bigotry’ of feminists and has insisted that men are getting a raw deal in many areas of life in the UK. Dominic Raab has waded into the equality debate by describing feminists as bigots and saying that ‘flagrant discrimination’ against men is being ignored.

The Tory backbencher’s provocative statements have come amid controversy over the cost of implementing the former Labour …

… government’s Equality Act. In an article for the PoliticsHome website, Raab said he was in favour of ‘consistent equality’ between the sexes. But he also insisted that:

‘We are blind to some of the most flagrant discrimination – against men. From the cradle to the grave, men are getting a raw deal. Men work longer hours, die earlier, but retire later than women… Meanwhile, young boys are educationally disadvantages compared to girls, and divorced or separated fathers are systematically ignored by the courts.’

Another gem from Raab’s article is this:

‘There is also more subtle sexism. Men caused the banking crisis. Can you imagine the outrage if such trite generalisations were made about women, or other minorities? Feminists are now amongst the most obnoxious bigots.’

Raab also called for a ‘consistent approach to equality’ and for a ‘ditching’ of ‘outdated gender warfare.’ Predictably, Raab’s comments have sparked anger from women MPs. Labour’s deputy leader, Harriet Harman, said:

‘Whilst women still earn 20% less than men, domestic violence claims the lives of women every week and women bear the brunt of poverty in the developing world, the feminism is not bigotry – it is just a demand for equality and human rights.’

Quite right, I think. Raab has scored a total own-goal in terms of explicitly showing how out-of-touch the Tories are in terms of issues of importance to people in the UK. The comments are in no way female or family-friendly and Raab has rightly faced criticism (as well as some support) for his comments.

In my mind, though they may not have been perfect (no governments are), the equality and diversity agenda that was put in place by the previous Labour government has been hugely important here in the UK. In terms of levelling the playing field and creating opportunities for millions of people in the workplace, Labour undoubtedly did good things. Personally I’d like the new Coalition Government to ensure that they build upon the success of these Labour policies – and I really don’t appreciate Tory MPs who have led a privileged life spouting this type of unresearched crap in the press.


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17 thoughts on “UK MP Dominic Raab Attacks ‘Obnoxious Bigotry’ of Feminists

  1. Oh, give me a break. Anyone trotting out the inaccurate “oh noes, we make twenty percent less than the big bad men” statistic loses all credibility in my sight.
    The guy seems unable to see the irony in ‘feminists are bigoted’? That’s up there with ‘white people are racists’..

    He has a couple points – men get a terribly raw deal in the court system, due to the way women have decided that they can do anything a man can, but men can’t do anything a women can – but he’s turned it into a whine instead of a practical step, and isn’t going to get anywhere.

    • Kai, I have been thinking about the statement that there is no income disparity between the sexes, which you state doesn’t exist simply because “women take time off from their careers for motherhood stuff, etc and I have come to the conclusion that it is definitely untrue.
      Until we have a large group of stay-at-home Dads that return to the workforce to compare to, I’m saying bullshit.

      • I don’t say there is no income disparity. I say there is very minimal. The full numbers are much less than the stats some people like to throw around, and in most industries, there aren’t any. I absolutely believe that discrimination still exists in some of the very traditionally male areas (trades) and that that might show up in money, but it’s a very minor part.
        What I have a big issue with is the presumption that every woman is disadvantaged and not being paid what she deserves. I have no problem addressing the few instances where it is a problem, but I rarely see anyone trying for that – just pulling out the ridiculous 20% number.
        There are many reasons aside from discrimination that cause women to make less, and I’ll put some more info in a new reply below.

      • at the moment I have suddenly grown busier, and am going to be slow to compose with the amount of thought I’d like to put in.
        So I’ll address the point quickly, and try to put in more when i have a chance.
        I agree that we don’t have a comparable group of stay-at-home dads, but that only means that we don’t have good stats on parents. It is not reasonable to take parents to be all adults.
        We do have studies that show that women with children stay right up at equal or nearly so to men for quite a while. There usually remains a small gap, and it is this that is often explained by a difference in negotiations, and some choices for time off or flexibility or benefits rather than pure cash. But non-mothers don’t see anywhere near the same drop. Basically, the women who put their work first as the men often do, do about as well.
        There is a noticeable gap between women with children and women without children, and it is for this reason that we say it is the choice to have children, and the choices afterwards that make the big difference.
        But it WOULD be interesting to see a number of years down the line when there might be enough dads who took some years off to compare with the moms, and see if mothers are treated differently than fathers. I think this is different from simple gender discrimination against women, but discrimination against mothers would still be a problem. and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some there, as mothers are definitely seen differently – a view sadly perpetuated by many mothers.
        argh. Now I want to categorize it all and link some studies. i will try to get to this. but i wanted to quickly differentiate between a gap between men and women, and a gap between men and mothers.

  2. Sounds more like he’s complaining than anything. Although he does have a point about men’s rights to their children; that’s one problem I would love to see fixed.

  3. I do think that SOME women want the old style man opens doors, ALWAYS pays for dinner and yet they want equality in every other aspect of life and on that I call major bullshit. But I don’t think that is the majority of women (at least I hope not).
    What he describes isn’t feminism, it’s a female superiority that is just as wrong to me as male superiority. Overall I think he’s whining (except about the courts) but I strongly favor child evaluation in court cases anyway (it’s what saved me and my siblings from my father and his incredibly sleazy lawyer) which pretty much nixes gender based decisions with a therapist coming in and seeing who makes a better parent.

    • of course, ‘who makes a better parent’ is always subjective. I strongly support letting the kids choose IF they are old enough to have gone ahead and voiced an opinion. It’s definitely tough no matter what.

    • I think there are actually a lot of women who want it both ways: equality, but pay for my drink, dammit! However, I’ve noticed that women like that don’t like to identify as feminist, and that they tend to be of the “all men are jerks who are just after my luscious pussy” mindset. So I suppose you would make of that what you will.

      • worst of all, the “I’m an equal independent woman who is fully capable of doing anything and plays an even part in our relationship, but dammit, HE has to propose, and I want a diamond!”
        None of my friends are dumb enough to pull out demands on cost (that I hear…) but they all seem to need a proposal and a rock. I find it frustrating how people working fine in all other areas fall lightyears back on this front. I just don’t get it.
        And these are my friends. I generally like them and we’ve had discussions, and they are fully aware of the irrationality of some of these traditions, and the lack of equality in the need for an engagement ring proposed to them, but they still feel it’s necessary. Gah.
        Thankfully, despite being wedding season, I’ve seen everyone get caught up, but no total bridezillas. The next couple years are going to be fun…

        • Heh, I’m kind of guilty of that (minus the diamond, because diamonds are way expensive). Although I think the reason I want to be proposed to is that I think I’ll be ready to get married before the boy is, so being proposed to is a confirmation that he is ready as well. Although I’m also not in any mad fever to get married and show those single friends of mine how it’s done, so maybe I’m doing it wrong.
          I do recognize that it’s rather stupidly inconsistent, though.

          • My sister has been living with her bf for 3 years now, dating for about a 1 1/2 before that and it is ridiculous how many people demand to know when she is getting married. People she barely knows in her nursing classes somehow hear she’s been with him for several years and demand answers as to why she’s not married with a giant rock on her finger. My whole family thinks the MARRY MARRY MARRY!!! thing is ridiculous in this day and age, they’re happy, we already accept him as part of our family, what’s the rush?

          • And weddings aren’t cheap. Obviously, you don’t need to rent elephant rides for people and serve them dinner in the decapitated skulls of rare Amazonian birds, but it’s still a chunk of change for 50 people with dinner and somewhere to dance. I just can’t see getting married until I wouldn’t have to go into debt to do so (and I’m planning on cheap flowers!)
            Anyways, point being: I’m not sure why people who won’t even be invited to a wedding are so insistent that it happen. Even if you would be invited, why bug people about something they may not be able to afford?

  4. This guy has a point about custody – I know some men in their early 20′s fighting for joint custody of their daughters. One is fighting for sole physical custody; he bought a house and painted his daughter’s bedroom purple with stars all over it, and he makes her awesome mini pancake breakfasts. Her mom dumps her at his house on the weekends so she can go out and party and do drugs… but the court initially granted her full custody.
    I think it’s so messed up that someone would ever not fight for the right to be involved in his/her child’s life.
    But aside from custody, the man is being an ass. We could trade woeful statistics about the plight of man vs. woman all day, or we can all buck up and figure out what’s failing our male children in schools. It’s not the fault of feminism, it’s the fault of not developing programs for male children and the absence of a male role model in a lot of cases. Unfortunately this is unlikely to change because no one has the money for more programs, as places that offer that kind of thing are facing budget cuts to the programs they already have going.

  5. Shannon, I have to disagree with the latter part of your premise, but agree with the first 2 paragraphs.
    I don’t feel that the schools should have ANY role in this other than to support the parents.
    The whole issue comes down to bad parenting – or more correctly – outdated, unexamined attitudes towards parenting.
    If you bring up a child, your job as a parent is to teach them to be self-sufficient, kind and moral people. That’s people. Not men, not women. While there are certainly gender differences, how many parents do you know that fall into the traditional mindset of “she’s a girl – she will learn to help around the house, do the dishes, cook, etc”, and “he’s a boy, he can empty the trash, help Daddy work on stuff, mow the lawn”, etc?
    People make excuses all of the time – “his room is a mess, but he’s a boy, I’ll just clean it” and that sort of nonsense.
    I am a single mom, I have raised 5 kids – 2 boys, 3 girls. My eldest son is married. He does all of the cooking and cleaning because I taught him that doing so is simply part of maintaining a home. He enjoys it (he is a bit of a perfectionist – being brought up in the “do it once, do it right” kind of house), and his wife is very happy that he doesn’t have the traditional male gender stereotypes ingrained in him.
    I find it sad that we are in the 21st century and these attitudes are as strong as ever. There has been progress, yes. But mostly in the area of women being able to do more, which seems to equate to men doing less. Of course this is just one segment of life, but I feel it has a bearing on the overall quality of life and relationships.

  6. I see there is a debate as to what a “true” feminist is. I agree that it is unfair for a woman to expect to be treated equal but then be pampered. I admit, I like the idea of the man on one knee with the ring. I can understand objections to this, but I think it’s another one of those personal preference things. I’m not going to push for every man to be the one to propose, I just would like for mine to. I know my boyfriend would like to do so. As for paying for dinner, I have to fight him not to pay haha! He’s very traditional. Thankfully, he is traditional only in the “gentlemanly” sense, and wishes for me to have as many freedoms as an individual hould have.

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