Battling Gender Bias

Tom Martin quit the London School of Economics after only six weeks. His reason:

… [Martin] claims in papers lodged at the Central London county court that lecturers ignored male issues.

He is claiming some £50,000 citing breach of contract, misleading advertising, misrepresentation, and breach of the Gender Equality Duty Act.

The 39-year-old, who attended the university last year to take up a Gender, Media and Culture Masters degree, said there was “systemic anti-male discrimination”. But he said an internal investigation carried out by the university in the wake of his complaints found “no evidence” of bias.

Martin argues that the core texts used by LSE’s gender studies department included misandrist discrimination and exaggerated views on women’s issues. He contends that the texts blame men for women’s problems to justify ignoring men’s issues.

Ironically, the university’s response supported Martin’s position:

The university’s legal team has asked for the case to be struck out, claiming the core texts were not compulsory, merely recommended readings, and that the texts were equally available for both men and women to read, so therefore did not directly discriminate against men. The team also argues that “any discriminatory effect [against men] was plainly justifiable”.

It is doubtful that Martin will succeed in his suit against the school, despite the probable ease with which he can prove his claims. Feminists are pretty entrenched in academia, and they hold a lot of power politically. Any ruling in Martin’s favor will spell trouble for the judge or judges who make that decision.

Few feminists have commented on Martin’s case. Jonathan Dean responded to Martin in the Guardian:

[…] Firstly, the perception that gender studies is doctrinal and dogmatic is simply untrue. It is sceptical of traditional distinctions between fields of research, and is more dynamic, innovative and open to new perspectives than established disciplines. And far from sticking to a crude “women good, men bad” line, gender studies programmes encourage students to acknowledge the diversity of relations between men and women, the limitations of a victim-centred understanding of womanhood, and the complex ways in which gender intersects with race, class and sexuality. The development of this more holistic approach to gender analysis is one of the reasons why the name “gender studies” is now usually given preference over “women’s studies”, although the name of the field remains a controversial topic.

Dean cited Jeff Hearn, R W Connell, Keith Pringle, Michael Kimmel and Terrell Carver as men who address men’s issues, yet none of those men write about father’s rights, physical and sexual violence against men, men’s health issues, homelessness among men, or boys’ education problems. Rather, they ignore, dismiss, or downplay those problems in favor of addressing, as Dean put it, “class and racial inequalities between men, the causes and consequences of male violence, the lived experience of different kinds of male sexuality, and the ways in which ideas of masculinity influence social and political thought.”

In other words, they blame men for women’s and society’s problems. That sounds like the very point Martin argued in his suit.

The Guardian allowed Martin to respond to Dean’s claims:

Dean, a former researcher at LSE’s Gender Institute, denies everything: “Gender studies programmes encourage students to acknowledge … the limitations of a victim-centred understanding of womanhood.” Fine words, but a close analysis of the core texts shows all the old, male-blaming biases are still there.

Patriarchy theory – the idea that men typically “dominate” women – is omnipresent, when research shows women tend to boss men interpersonally. Texts highlight misogyny but never misandry, its anti-male equivalent – despite research finding that women verbalise four times more misandry than men do misogyny. And the core texts highlight violence against women only, despite decades of research showing that women are more likely to initiate domestic violence.

Martin also called Dean on a very obvious contradiction:

By pretending men’s issues are disproportionately focused on, and by implying there is lots of anti-female bias elsewhere, Dean attempts to justify the continuation of attacks on men, and avoidance of men’s-issues debates, as is standard in the gender studies orthodoxy today. When “women’s studies” became “gender studies” departments, it signalled a new era of inclusion for men’s issues – a rejection of this now is a betrayal of men and equality.

Last year’s backlash against Lionel Tiger’s Male Studies proposal shows the kind of “women good, men bad” approach Martin speaks of. Men’s studies courses are little more than women’s studies courses. They rely heavily on feminist doctrine and dogma, and ignore all issues that do not fall into the feminist purview. Gender studies should include all positions, not only feminist positions. It should examine things from all perspectives, not just feminist perspectives. Feminism itself should be examined and questioned, not blindly accepted as fact. Yet this does not happen.

Martin is, contrary to what Dean believe, dead on in this matter.  By refusing to address those issues and balking whenever asked to do it, Women’s Studies departments and feminists show themselves to be, ironically, sexist. They show themselves as deliberately attempting to silence men’s voices and views because those views do not fit in with feminist doctrine. That violates the very rules feminists got instituted to prevent sex-based discrimination. That they seemingly want to ignore those rules when it suits them speaks volumes.

That said, there is one place where Martin faltered. He stated:

Texts highlight misogyny but never misandry, its anti-male equivalent – despite research finding that women verbalise four times more misandry than men do misogyny.

Martin provided no evidence to support the claim that women are more misandrous than men are misogynistic. That kind of unsubstantiated claim will hurt his chances of winning his suit and also hurt his credibility. Gender studies courses and texts are provably biased. It takes little effort to show this. One does not need to create strawmen to knock down when there are perfectly good dummies standing right in front of you.

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9 thoughts on “Battling Gender Bias

  1. Whenever Womens/Gender Studies is criticized as being too ideological and dogmatic, there are two common defenses that you see. These defenses also happen to contradict each other.

    The first defense you see is the one being used by the good Dr. Dean: that Gender Studies is NOT in any way a kind of ideologically-based indoctrination. Nonsense. Perish the thought. Now, let’s continue yesterday’s talk on the oh-so subtle differences between Eco-Feminism and Vegan-Feminism…

    The second defense you see is that ALL education is political indoctrination anyway, so what’s the big deal if Gender Studies does it? Everyone in the world is shilling for the Capitalist-Patriarchy-Rape-Industrial Complex, so Gender Studies is perfectly justified in cranking its own indoctrination knob up to Eleven.

    So which is it? Is Gender Studies expressly NOT indoctrination? Or is it blatant indoctrination because that’s all that education is anyway?

  2. Actually, this ring some warning bells about Dean’s article:

    “Firstly, the perception that gender studies is doctrinal and dogmatic is simply untrue.”

    But he starts-off with: “Feminism makes some men very scared, others very angry.”

    Okay– Feminism IS a political doctrine. Yet, Gender Studies isn’t doctrinal. If it’s not a doctrinal course, why start-off by basically admitting that you have to follow a doctrine?

    It’s as if I were to say: “Some people don’t like the purple paint I have on my house.” followed by “I have no paint on my house.”

    I do have to give Dean some credit. He is correct that Gender Studies does not postulate “a simplistic view of women as victims and men as perpetrators.” It postulates a wildly intricate view of women as victims and men as perpetrators.

    Here’s a hint, folks: If a person with qualms about abortion on demand cannot pass your class, then you might not be engaging in actual teaching.

  3. I am the man suing LSE’s Gender Institute. Thank you for your coverage of the story.

    I would like to set a few things straight.

    Firstly, the reason I did not reference my claims in the Guardian piece I penned, was because the editor told me not to. The Guardian then went on to do a follow-up piece, disparaging me for not including references. And they closed the comments section on my article after only 12 hours too. The article still got 660 comments though.

    The missing reference, to support my point, that women are four times more misandric than men are misogynistic, is as follows: Goodwin and Rudman (2004) ‘Gender differences in automatic in-group bias’.

    Unfortunately, it is necessary to do more than just read the abstract, but the whole paper itself as I have, as the abstract is written in an obfuscatory victim-feminist style, to cover up the full extent of the findings, damning as they are, about the attitudes women typically hold and express about men. Nevertheless, here is the link to the misleading abstract:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15491274

    Misogyny and misandry are a problem, and you cannot eliminate one, withou eliminating the other. The core texts in gender studies, ignore the larger side of the problem.

    Lastly, be assured, the facts of my case are particularly strong, and I intend to win. The contract I entered into with the university specifically ruled out sex-discriminatory learning materials, and I have proved beyond reasonable doubt, that the core compulsory texts are indeed very full of anti-male bias.

    For an overview of all the press to date, and blog coverage, and to donate to the fighting fund, please visit www dot sexismbusters dot org .

    I have received £700 so far, from 26 donors, male and female, from 5 countries. Another £600 will cover the court hearing fee – so please dig deep, to see justice done.

  4. I must say, Tom, that’s really impressive. Receiving donations really shows you’ve got people on your side.

    Good luck with your fight.

  5. Tom: “Firstly, the reason I did not reference my claims in the Guardian piece I penned, was because the editor told me not to. The Guardian then went on to do a follow-up piece, disparaging me for not including references.”

    Sorry, I just noticed this.

    It was pretty obvious they were setting you up to make you look like the bad guy. It’s typical of mainstream media.

  6. Hi Ed,

    Thanks for all the support so far.

    Please see the press release below, and do your best to let everyone know:

    #####

    Interview with man suing gender studies department for sexism

    Tom Martin, the man suing the Gender Institute at The London School of Economics for teaching sex discrimination against men, appeared on A Voice for Men Radio on Wednesday to discuss some of the anti-male academic practice he alleges took place at LSE, and, Mr Martin suggests, across a broad range of other academic fields too.

    The radio interview is conducted by men’s rights activists (MRAs) Paul Elam, and John the Other (JTO) – Tom also fields calls from listeners.

    The show is archived at:

    http://www.sexismbusters.org/

    (The interview with Tom Martin begins 36:30 minutes into the show)

    The story has been covered by The Evening Standard, The Guardian (x4), The West End Extra, Forbes Magazine, and many websites – these links all available at http://www.sexismbusters.org/ too – including a contact email for Mr Martin.

    ######

    Thanks for spreading the word. Please blog, tweet, follow sexismbusters on twitter, facebook like, and keep up the momentum.

    Tom Martin

  7. Press release:

    Friday, November 5th, 2011:

    Tom Martin, the man suing the London School of Economics (LSE) for sex discrimination in one of its gender studies Masters degrees, appears in a new video asking LSE students if they think discrimination against men in a curriculum is justifiable, as the university’s defence team have argued.

    Watch the video at youtube, typing ‘tom martin lse’…

    Some students get aggressive, telling Tom that discrimination against men in a curriculum is indeed justifiable, as ‘… men don’t face any discrimination’. Those who claim to have read gender studies or feminist literature appear to be the most ignorant, aggressive and oppressive on gender politics – opposing men’s issues debates outright. Tom says “Elite students should be aware, that to espouse such bias and man-hatred is completely wrong – but a lot of the students I spoke to don’t seem to have an internal alarm bell. They just blurt it out. We have all learnt to recognize and reject misogyny, now its time the educational establishment accept, and teach, that misandry is completely unacceptable too.”

    The case still awaits an initial trial date, and Tom asks all those interested in supporting equality for men in education to donate to the fighting fund at http://sexismbusters.org/ – 49 men and women from six countries have done so, the total currently standing at £1375, with a further £900 needed for further vital legal advise fees in preparation for the initial court hearing.

    Tom also asks people to like, follow or subscribe on youtube, twitter and facebook – and do anything else they can to keep spreading the word.

    ##########

    For media and all other enquires, Tom can be contacted directly at sexismbusters@hotmail.com

    Thank you!

  8. Pingback: A Dose of Stupid v.74 | Toy Soldiers

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