Online discussions brainstorm

FAC has had a couple of online discussions recently, on topics that some of us feel passionately about, and disagree over. I’m really interested in people’s perspectives on how our interactions as a group are affected by the online tools we use. I’d love it if people would answer this completely unscientific poll.

As an aside, how gross is it that the company that provides the poll software is called ‘PollDaddy’?


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On Porn… The Chicken and The Egg

QUESTION: Is it that watching misogynistic porn gradually makes men misogynists- makes them hate women? Or is it that men who already hate women seek out and enjoy misogynist porn? Or is it that watching misogynist porn simply allows men to feel the can express their misogyny openly?

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Woman Police Sgt, Woman PCSO and Woman Magistrate Catch and Charge Cambridge Man

This is from the free local paper in Cambridge The News and Crier on 19/04/12:

Newspaper clipping of article with headline 'I just wanted to know the price of sex'

Man seeking to use women in prostitution is caught

Cambridge Pimps are Busted

This incredibly small piece is from the Cambridge free paper The News and Crier. Kudos to Cambridge Constabulary for busting the pimps. Shame on the legal system for the ridiculously light sentences.

The reporting leaves something to be desired too. Note how the men are never called pimps, although they clearly are. And the lack of coverage of this issue [this the only small piece in the paper which refers to this obviously quite far reaching investigation by the police] and the lack of outrage or condemnation of the pimping ring involved. One of these brothels was very close to where I live.

We don’t know what has happened to the prostituted women involved.

Newspaper clipping with headline 'Brothel trio are sent to prison'


Down the Rabbit Hole… [@ PinkVox]

The Marriage Foundation: dodgy statistics and Victorian-era morality

The Marriage Foundation is a lobbying organisation that was recently created by Sir Paul Coleridge for £150,000 to “be a national champion for marriage, strengthening the institution for the benefit of children, adults and society as a whole”. [1] It’s based here in Cambridge, run out of the Jubilee Centre, which describes itself as “a Christian social reform organisation that offers a biblical perspective on issues and trends of relevance to the general public”. [2]

It’s tempting to just laugh at this – after all, if people want to “be a national champion for marriage” what’s the harm? It seems almost too funny and old-fashioned to take seriously. But scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find a dangerous ideology that’s being used to justify vicious attacks on women, on families, and on the working classes in general. The people pushing this ideology just happen to be rich, and linked to the Conservative Party.

Sir Paul Coleridge, an older white man wearing a judge's wig

Sir Paul Coleridge: “As a senior judge, Conservative member of the House of Lords, company director, and descendant of a long line of judicial toffs, I am totally the right person to tell ordinary people how they should run their relationships.”

The ideology behind the Marriage Foundation

Here it is, in point form:

  • The only morally correct type of family is a married heterosexual couple with the woman doing the bulk of the child-raising work. Every other kind of family is morally bad.

  • The most important and fundamental cause of all social problems is families that are morally bad, i.e. families that don’t fit the married heterosexual mould. People who are poor, homeless, unemployed, addicted to drugs, or criminal, are that way because of their own moral defectiveness, and specifically because they (or their parents) are not married.

  • Thus the way to solve all of society’s problems is to make everyone get married. Obviously.

These ideas are so ridiculous that I feel silly even writing about them, except that they are actually being used by the government to shape social policy. This is the ideology behind Daily Mail headlines about “scroungers” and “feral youths” and “Broken Britain” and “neighbours from hell”, although you won’t catch the luminaries behind the Marriage Foundation using such uncouth language. And this is the ideology the government uses to justify its vicious attacks on the welfare state. The lower classes don’t need decent schools or Sure-start centres, or affordable childcare, or housing, or money for the unemployed or for disabled people or for those whose jobs to not pay enough for them to live above the poverty level; no, they just need to get married.

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Midwifery is the World’s Oldest Profession

Journal article with headline 'Bat Midwife Aids Mother-to-be'