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 Clueless feminist: "Sexual discrimination laws are for everyone – but it still jars me to see men using them"

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Clueless feminist: "Sexual discrimination laws are for everyone – but it still jars me to see men using them" Vide
PostSubject: Clueless feminist: "Sexual discrimination laws are for everyone – but it still jars me to see men using them"   Clueless feminist: "Sexual discrimination laws are for everyone – but it still jars me to see men using them" Icon_minitimeSat Apr 19, 2014 10:40 pm

Get your grubby male hands off my equal rights

Clueless feminist: "Sexual discrimination laws are for everyone – but it still jars me to see men using them" BarbaraEllen

Here's a question. When you think of sexual discrimination laws, do you automatically think of equal rights or women's rights? If your instinctive honest answer is women's rights, how long does it take to correct yourself?

A group of caretakers and tradesmen, originally employed by Swansea Metropolitan University, which merged with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) last year, is suing their employers for more than £700,000 for sexual discrimination, claiming that for years they have been paid less than female counterparts (library assistants, secretaries).

Their solicitor, Paul Doran, who has represented women in similar pay disputes, says that the case is unusual. "Here we have men who are alleging that they are the ones who are being discriminated against when compared with female colleagues on the same pay grade."

Unusual is one way of putting it. For me, initially at least, it was jarring.

Why did this take me aback? It was slightly strange to see burly guys in overalls and safety helmets claiming to be victims of sexual discrimination, but that soon passed. If it turns out that the men have been underpaid, one could only sympathise with their grievance, and commend them for fighting their corner. What rankled went deeper (and weirder) than that. It was something that I knew was wrong, illogical, unfair, even as I felt it.

That feeling was: what are men (any men!) doing using legislation that was brought in to help women?

As I say, wrong, illogical, unfair. Sexual discrimination legislation wasn't brought in just to help women – it was to enforce equality for everybody, regardless of gender. Those men, and any others, have every right to bring sexual discrimination cases.

Still there it was – the flicker of surprise, even irritation, at seeing a "female" law being used to protect the interests of men. So what's going on? Am I just a big old female sexist, someone who covertly, and perhaps not so covertly, believes that sexual discrimination in the workplace and everywhere else is a one-way street? Are people like myself really as supportive of equal rights (as opposed simply to women's rights) as we like to think we are?

While sexual discrimination laws belong to everybody, does everybody truly feels that way? Or, like me, do they tend to see only the female point of view – excluding the male, because we feel that men could never be victims of sexual discrimination in quite the same way?

Historically, this legislation was the preserve of women. Moreover, in employment terms, there are still biases against women (the massive earnings dip that comes with having children; the mere possibility of having children). Few could seriously deny that sexual discrimination remains predominantly a women's issue.

Perhaps this explains the atmosphere of farce and embarrassment surrounding men and sexual discrimination suits – that they're somehow being ridiculous, even "unmanly", to turn to such laws.

An underlying insinuation is that they're "trying it on", subverting and exploiting important hard-won "women's rights" for their own ends.

It could be that part of the problem lies with the tiny but highly vocal minority of men who appear to operate a crude and provocative good for the goose/good for the gander sex wars agenda. Which, in turn, makes women feel somewhat protective and tribal about "female-friendly" laws.

Maybe this explains why people, myself included, are instinctively taken aback to see men using sexual discrimination arguments.

Momentarily, it could register as an opportunistic misuse of valuable "female" resources. Obviously there is a middle ground here – where women acknowledge that men have every right to such legislation and men promise not to abuse it.

In the meantime, I'll work on not being a big old female sexist.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/19/sexual-discrimination-men-women-equal-rights

 Devil lol
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Clueless feminist: "Sexual discrimination laws are for everyone – but it still jars me to see men using them" Vide
PostSubject: Re: Clueless feminist: "Sexual discrimination laws are for everyone – but it still jars me to see men using them"   Clueless feminist: "Sexual discrimination laws are for everyone – but it still jars me to see men using them" Icon_minitimeSat Apr 19, 2014 10:42 pm

Just laugh 
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