Stop asking me ‘what about men?’ 

Stop asking me ‘what about men?’ 

Everyone who follows my blog knows that my best work is written in rage, or port. But Christmas has gone now so no more port. 
Well, at least I still have rage. So back to that. 

Recently I have been getting increasingly frustrated with ‘whataboutery’ every single time I write or speak about women or girls. 
For those of you who don’t know what that word means, ‘whataboutery’ is when someone responds to a difficult issue or question with a counter issue or question that completely derails the conversation. 

Mai: My research focussed on the murder of women in Yemen 
Randomer: uh, this is a bit sexist. What about the murder of men in Yemen? Don’t you care about men? 

Example 2
Pam: I’m really upset with you for stealing from my purse 
Mel: What about that time you stole from the local shop? You’re not innocent either, you know! 
Pam: I was 9. 

Familiar with that? Yep? Thought you might be. Sometimes reminds me of gaslighting. 
Okay, so back to the rage. Rage that I need to put in context for this blog to make a jot of sense. 

Almost 5 years ago, my father in law died after we had tried everything to help him and begged every agency and service for help. We got the dreaded phone call from police to say they had found a body. It was his. We had to go and identify him. He was a very vulnerable adult struggling with addiction, homelessness and a very complicated trauma history. 

At his wake, my Husband and I decided to set up a charity for male mental health and well-being and we named it ‘The Eaton Foundation’ (TEF).

(Someone once laughed at me, ‘Bit narcissistic of you isn’t it, naming a foundation after yourself?’ and then went every shade of red whilst I told them it was my late Father in Law’s name.) 

So in 2013 we founded the charity, of which I am still the Chairperson. The charity only supports adult men. We grew exponentially. I mean – from like 10 men to 150 men in one year. In the second year of operation I managed to secure over £270k of funding and funded the renovation of a huge old derelict building which we turned into the first male mental health and well-being centre in the UK. 

My husband runs it on the day-to-day, along with his staff and volunteers. We now employ 6 people and have a further 9 volunteers. We see hundreds of men a year who benefit from completely free, lifelong support including counselling, benefits advice, food parcels, housing advocacy, legal advice, IT suite, music and band practice, employment clubs and training courses, fitness clubs, art therapy and so on. Some guys have been coming every day for years. Our clientele is between 18 and 85 years old from every walk of life you can imagine. 

Why am I telling you this? 

Because in those 5 years, I have NEVER received the amount of abuse and ‘whataboutery’ that I get for my work and research with women and girls. 
Most of you know me for my work with women and girls and my controversial tumble into CSE. My PhD focusses on the victim blaming of women and girls in society which includes one of the largest ever literature reviews of every factor in society that supports victim blaming of women and girls (I do mean every factor I could find evidence for – from porn to Hinduism). 

I have a career history in rape centre management and criminal justice management of vulnerable and intimidated witness programmes, which is where I built my experience and knowledge of sexual violence, homicides, trafficking and other serious crimes across my courts. 

I launched a study last year, exploring the many different forms of victim blaming women and girls can experience. Over 700 people responded. My other recent studies have included interviewing women who have been blamed for rape and abuse, interviewing therapists and support workers who work with women who blame themselves for being abused or attacked and a complex study in which I developed and validated a new psychometric measure of victim blaming of women. 
I honestly cannot express how much whataboutery I get. 

Here are some real examples: 

‘Don’t you think you’re being sexist by only writing about women in this article?’

‘This article is good but where are your studies on men?’ 

‘I don’t condone murder but don’t you think you are gender biased, only caring about the murders of women?’ 

‘You can tell the psychologist who wrote this study is a sexist bitch who hates men’

‘This study was ridiculous. All you care about is women! What about men?’

‘You should have your PhD removed. This is so sexist. None of your research is about men.’

‘By only caring about women, you basically say that all men are rapists.’

‘This is great Jessica! But I wonder if you can now build one of these for boys and men and why they aren’t included in the first place?’

‘Why do you only focus on women? Men can get abused as well, you know!’

‘What about men, cunt?’

Honestly, I could go on forever and ever. 

In fact, I did one study where there was a free text question at the end and a whopping 9% of respondents chose to use that box to criticise me for not researching men. I say whopping because the free text box didn’t even ask them a question about that and 63 people still managed to use the box to whack in some ‘whataboutery’. 
Not only that but a further 14% (over 90 people) left comments that were just plain nasty or abusive. One guy told me that my work was shit and he hopes I fail my PhD. And then left his full name and job title. He was an academic at a university. In my field. He even put some kisses on. 
And what perplexes me about all of this, is that I have no such experiences of running TEF. 

I can’t tell you about the hundreds of messages or tweets we get asking ‘what about women?’ – because it’s never happened. 

I don’t have any stories about the times we got sent a tonne of abuse when we conducted research with general public in the community about male mental health stigma – because it’s never happened. 
I can switch over to the TEF twitter account right now and write literally anything about men and nothing bad will ever happen. Our Facebook page has thousands of followers and we never get threats, abuse or whataboutery. 

Fair enough, my Twitter is currently at about 4.5k followers but my teeny tiny Facebook page is only on a few hundred followers and I get between 10-20 abusive messages and comments a week – almost exclusively comments about me focusing on women and girls – which usually results in me being called a ‘fat, ugly feminist cunt’ or something along those eloquent lines. 

Recently this has all caused me to reflect. 

Why don’t I get any abuse when I speak and write about men and boys? 
Why am I hailed? 

Why did we win 6 charity awards and over £300k in the first 18 months of operation? 

Why did I end up on every TV channel and radio in the UK? Why can I launch studies and campaigns and videos and appeals for TEF about male mental health and receive ZERO whataboutery comments?

And why do I get shouted down if I even dare post one tweet about violence against women or rape statistics or murders of women by partners? 

Why do I get hundreds of messages and tweets every week asking me:
‘But what about men?’ 

And actually, this isn’t rocket science. This is uncomfortable but it’s real talk:

Women are socialised into their gender roles (gender roles are harmful, narrow, stereotypical characteristics and expectations assigned to males and females to conform to a societal norm) to not even possess a shred of the sense of entitlement that men have. Women do not read a campaign about male mental health or male abuse or male cancers and furiously tweet back ‘what about women, you cunt?!’ because they didn’t think about themselves when they read it. They didn’t see the campaign as two fingers up to women.

Perfect example: Movember. 

Have you EVER in your life seen women kicking off that Movember is sexist? Or that the campaign should include women? Or that focusing on testicular cancer is exclusionary? No. Have you fuck. 

Second perfect example: Male suicide rates. 

We know that the leading cause of death in young men aged 18-35 is suicide. This is the strongest symptom of a patriarchal society where emotionless males struggle to cope with trauma and feelings, can’t open up, don’t feel safe to talk and become completely overwhelmed by emotions they are taught are ‘feminine’, which further induces shame and stigma. 
In all my years I have never seen women jump on those campaigns yelling ‘women commit suicide too, you know!!’ Or ‘what about women?’ 

Switch it over. Women’s marches. Pussy hats. IWD. Counting dead women. VAWG strategies. Women’s health screening. Women’s reproductive health. Women’s mental health. Rape campaigns. #metoo. 

There is ALWAYS someone saying ‘what about men though?’ under all of those issues. It’s as sure as taxes and death. 

Like a depressing new catchphrase nobody wants:

There’s only three things you can be certain of in life: taxes, death and some randomer yelling ‘what about men?’ every time you talk about women’s issues.’

‘Whataboutery’ comes from a place of misogyny. An arrogant, derailing technique used to respond to a campaign, video, research study, intervention, organisation or communication that screams ‘I don’t care about women, talk about men!!’ 
And the proof is in the pudding for me. Because when I do all those things with a focus on boys and men, I’m a fucking hero. But when I do all of those things and focus on girls and women, I’m a fat, ugly feminist cunt. 

So I need to explain something else. This is not about equality. ‘Whataboutery’ has nothing to do with equality. It’s not about reminding us that men suffer too. Social issues aren’t equal. 

When I write a tweet about women being murdered or raped, I didn’t forget men. I didn’t forget they could be murdered or raped. I didn’t accidentally miss them off my tweet. I simply CHOSE to talk about the experiences of females. It is not helpful, or clever, or promoting ‘equality’ to write to a researcher specialising in women’s studies and tell her in three paragraphs why she should focus on men. 

It is not useful to ‘send a gentle reminder than men can get raped too, you know’. 
If you’re reading this and you know you have done this to someone, please think twice before doing it again. It’s not helpful. It’s derailing. 
We do not need to centre men in every conversation we have. Women and girls are valid entities, independent from men.
We need to get to a point where we can talk about women’s issues and get the same level of respect we get when we talk about men’s issues. 
Until then, your ‘Whataboutery’ is unwelcome here. 

What about that? 

Written by Jessica Eaton 


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My new book is out in September 2018 – go to for the teaser! 

613 thoughts on “Stop asking me ‘what about men?’ 

  1. I hear your rage and frustration at trying to express what you are clearly passionate about. I hope you continue to express it despite whatever ‘whataboutry’ you may encounter. For every upset comment there’s someone who’s beliefs are challenged… and that is something that desperately needs to happen in our world. Your work needs to be done and your focus needs to be where it is. Stay the course.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. You’re brilliant and I’m so sorry that so many over entitled pricks are abusing you and simply reinforcing how inappropriate their behaviour is and how deep seated the problem is even in their own houses. It’s disgraceful!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Men are sick and tired of the media being primarily focused on the welfare of everyone but them so men are going to let you hear about it….they’re going to let everyone hear about it….whether they even read the article or not!


      1. No. We, men, are tired of society going weaker and weaker by day. As a race, we are facing global warming, overpopulation, shortage of water, AI issues but f**k it, let’s worry more about minorities, who struggle with absolutely everything on day to day basis. It kinda reminds me of the infamous ‘this offends me as a vegan transgender atheist who vapes and crossfits 4 times a week and im also a male feminist as I identify myself as a pastafarian apache helicopter’ sentence which recaps the second decade of XXI century’. Men doing ‘whataboutry’? That’s the side effect of feminism. For years now we have been told about the suicide rates, about how we are afraid of showing our feelings, what should we do and how we should be equal. I am not a fan of equality, massive fan of equity though. You are after equality? Then stop writing nonsense articles like the one above, take control of your life, start carrying the weight of responsibility, get a grip – instead of trying to make US as weak as yourself. Else you will be ignored, like every feminist conversation I heard in the last year.


    3. Hello,

      i quite liked your artical, here is my attempt at an explanation to some of my friends on facebook

      interesting so many other men feel completely abandoned by this gender binary. Honestly, its great that there is so much other there around women’s mental, emotional and physical well being, to all of you I say try being part of the other 50% of the populace who rarely discussed and often implied to be the cause of all the worlds problems. it rather sucks. I know you say its a mans world though we rarely see anything outside of men’s groups that values us in any way outside our man-child provider warrior image. I know its often comes across as childish, and yes you should be able to have your own identity but when every article you read says has titles like “save women from domestic abuse” or “read about women in refugee camps” I do feel we have a right to speak out that there are yes also men there and yes we also suffer.

      please just think about this next time you read an article telling you how special women are.


      1. The organisations supporting women and child victims of domestic and sexual violence have been around for some time. I am old enough to remember the early days. They started as tiny, dedicated groups with no money; women, and some men, seeing a need and working to do something about it. Over time they grew larger, receiving some funding from the state, and research on the issues started being done. Regressive attitudes in the courts and policing started to be broken down, though much remains to be done.
        The organisations and their members have spent a lot of time, energy and money developing public awareness of these issues. It seems to me that there doesn’t seem to be same willingness from men in general, who are not themselves affected, to actively organise and support services for men in abusive relationships, and victims of sexual assault. (Here in Ireland, at least, about 12% of the clients of the Rape Crisis Network are male).
        If men acted in solidarity with men, at the level women have done with women, we will hear a lot more about these issues

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Why didn’t you just come out with “I hate women” as the comment because that’s all that’s showing in this comment but clearly you are blinded with entitlement and must not have read the article

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I love that someone has replied to an article about “whataboutery” with whataboutery – could you get more case in point than this?! You can’t enlighten everyone I guess. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article (the first thing I have read from this writer) but will definitely be checking out more.

        Liked by 1 person

    4. Well this has been an education. An article entitled “stop asking me ‘what about men?'” is taken as a challenge to engage in whataboutery.

      Masquerading as reasoned argument, comment after comment attempts to steer the conversation away from women and on to men.

      Men being the centre of everything is so ingrained in our society that as soon as an uppity woman talks of women without mentioning men there is a huge emotional response.

      It’s fine to focus on men without including women though. There is never any outrage when a mainstream movie has an almost entirely male cast, for instance. I just watched the excellent Tresspass Against Us which had loads of men and only one female supporting character. It is fine because the movie was about fathers and sons but imagine the outrage if there were a mainstream movie with only one supporting male character. (I can’t think of one off-hand but I’m sure there are some film buffs out there who can suggest some. And I’m willing to bet that they are seen as Women’s movies of no interet to male audiences).

      The point is that women are used to living in a society where the default is male, we are used to accepting men belittleing and assaultng and silencing us as part of normal life.

      When we apeak out, all we are doing is pointing out the unfairness which is embedded in our society. It’s not about misandry or any of that utter bollocks. It’s not a war of women and men attacking each other and trying to get the upper hand. It’s just women taking their place alongside the men, where we can all work together to create a better way.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. So, what is the balance between supportive organizations for women and for men? Is the number close to equal? What is the balance between the number of publications about women’s struggles and publications about men’s struggles? Is that number close to equal?

    It is my experience that organizations that exist to help men are far less common than organizations that exist to help women. In fact, this is only the second such organization I’ve ever heard of. Couldn’t the whataboutery be because of that disparity? Maybe?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Jessica, you know that depends not only on the era, but the subject of whatever studies, as well as anything that currently may effect legislation or policy. For example, if one has a current study, that supports a particular group, and that study is serving as the basis for any policy change or funding justification, it would be germane, and even prudent, to look at other groups not included in the particular study, fitting perfectly into the definition of “whataboutery”.

        I have been following this thread after reading a very well written article, and the comments are very illuminating. Many, if not most, go well beyond the scope that you specifically begin to write about. In the context that a few have risen, the responses along the lines of “what about”, has to do with pointing out what appears to be hypocrisy on the part of some who are publically calling for policy changes. When confronted with their own hypocrisy, some have used the “it’s whataboutery” defense, which comes across as dismissing and dodging a valid criticism, instead of addressing it. In the broader context, ignoring the dodging and dismissive use of the term, is intellectually unsound.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Right, that’s why people that are focused on gender equality are trying to change that. For example almost all medical research is made with male subjects, with the expectation that the results would be the same for female patients. Looking forward, good science, and gender equality would mandate we look at BOTH female and male patients when doing medical trials or research before we draw conclusions from research trials.
        So I’m confused, are you saying we should make research gender neutral going forward? or gender specific? You seem to be arguing for keeping research separated by gender, and then surprised at the small but consistent backlash.
        Two wrongs don’t make a right.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s absolutely acceptable that research studies can be sex specific. For example, I conducted a qualitative study on the way men understand ‘masculinity’ and what they think that words means. I didn’t need to ask women. I didn’t want to ask women.
        We don’t need to match everything sex for sex.
        In medicine we do lol (unless it’s a sex specific disease like testicular cancer).


      4. Thanks for being a voice for women! Female abuse, health issues, or murder rates are still kept pretty much “in the closet”, while men are lauded for bringing these same things into the open. If you need a specific example, look at the number of women it took to bring Harvey Weinstein to justice, vs the single male who brought Kevin Spacey down.


      1. If I had the audacity to write “Stop getting offended women. Those fragile female egos. Ugh.” I would be correctly condemned as a misogynist.

        Male voices also deserve to be heard.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. @ Glen. Why would there be an equal number of support services/publications for men and women when there is not an equal amount of aggressions/traumas suffered by men and women?

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Umm, have you ever looked at statistics on victims of violence? Overwhelmingly male. Men are much more likely to be murdered, more likely to be victims of violence then women. In domestic relationships women are more likely to be victims of physical violence, but men are also on the receiving end, and they are more likely to be in a mentally abusive relationship then women. True, women are more likely to be victims of violent rape, but then the data is a bit skewed by the fact that the legal definition of rape has only fairly recently allowed for the possibility of men getting raped by women. And even data collected outside of police records, by interviews, can be skewed by the societal standards where many men believe and perpetuate the myth that men can’t be raped because they always want sex. Even to this day I talk to otherwise very liberal-minded men that honestly believe that men can’t be the victims of rape. So however difficult and re-traumatizing it may be for a woman to come forward with claims of rape, imagine how much more difficult it would be for a man to do this.
        Either way, this isn’t a competition for who is most victimized. But surely you can see why male victims might be put off and resentful of the services made available to women specifically when equivalent services are not available to them? Indeed wouldn’t gender equality dictate that men and women have equal access to such services? Why have such services discriminate based on gender at all? Do you begin to see their resentment at the double standards that call for “gender equality” by feminists but at the same time see themselves excluded from victim services, based on their gender?
        And while Jessica may feel exasperated by the “why not men” comments, rather than pause and wonder at the root cause of those comments, rather than take the time to explain why her research or project might justifiably exclude men in this one instance, she chooses to dismiss them entirely by creating new specifically sexist terminology. I understand her rage, I’m sure it can be frustrating to see a certain segment of the population seemingly reject the validity or utility of her research based on the exclusion of men, but her response isn’t constructive at all. I also understand it is not easy to be the bigger person in an argument. It really is much easier to denigrate and dismiss the authors of the comments, specially when they go beyond asking about the perceived sexism and go on to personally attack her.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Hi Phil, I think the point is that when many women try to have discussions on how women are affected, many people want to push the “men are also affected” part. While this is very true, in my street for example there is a guy that has been assaulted, run over, had poison thrown on him by female partner and is constantly abused by her…. he stays to protect the kids…. the police are carting her of at least once a month and she is constantly being released. Why do people find it necessary to hijack the conversation. The conversation about abuse of males has to happen, yes, but it doesn’t need to be used to hijack a conversation about females being abused. If you want to have that conversation, do so where the conversation hasn’t already started about females being abused. Please let me know where, if you do it online.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. I agree with Phil Franklin that it woukd be helpful to look into the causes of men’s comments and stated perceptions of short shrift when it comes to gender-based research resources. The comments may in fact simple misogynistic rhetoric, or they may reflect widespread cognitive impairment connected to male privilege Who tf knows? But it woukd be better to attempt to find out than to generate more cute buzzwords that do nothing more than polarize and inhibit honest inquiry into the issue. Thus ultimately colluding with male supremacy.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Oooohh … hello Whataboutery … obviously there have been less organisations for men because women are the ones who have needed the help more in this patriarchal society. The thing is .. women have had to fight, organise and lobby for the services they now have. Sounds like men could do the same if serious, or stop whining. End of story.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I was thinking that , there seems to be constant whining but none of them actually want to do anything about it , maybe they expect women to set things up for them

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on Always Fire and Honey and commented:
    This is actually a pretty interesting read about gendered responses to research, writing, and social programs. Friendly reminder, there is plenty of research about issues that affect men… you know, just in case I have to prevent any “what about men?” in response to this. A large part of the point of this article is that no one forgot about men when they wrote about women, it’s just that it’s perfectly ok to focus on men OR women individually when performing research, writing, or setting up health or social support programs and how, in contrast, no one is saying “what about women?” when talking about men’s mental health or testicular cancer.

    Quote from the article: “When I write a tweet about women being murdered or raped, I didn’t forget men. I didn’t forget they could be murdered or raped. I didn’t accidentally miss them off my tweet. I simply CHOSE to talk about the experiences of females. It is not helpful, or clever, or promoting ‘equality’ to write to a researcher specialising in women’s studies and tell her in three paragraphs why she should focus on men.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jessica, you make me proud. I am 62 in a few weeks time and I have been in a state of rage for about 50 years, about all the issues you research. I struggle every day not to hate all men, every day I remind myself that I KNOW there are good men in the world. It is hard not to just despair, because I believe sexism is getting worse not better. I believe attitudes to women are deteriorating not improving. All the campaigning I’ve done, all the marches, electoral campaigns on feminist platforms, television ‘participation’ programmes. What was the point? Did we change or more to the point improve anything for woman? I don’t know, I can only say that as a single woman I raised a daughter to be a proud feminist (she drew my attention to your article) and she is raising her daughter the same way. So we stay strong, we keep fighting, we support each other and the Whatabouters can go feck themselves. Fight on sister, fight on.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Good on ye, Mary! I think it’s our sons who we need to raising to have more empathy, less entitlement and more awareness of what privilege means. It seems men can’t see what they haven’t themselves experienced.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. It seems to me your most important insight into ‘whataboutery’ — a great neologism, by the way — is just tossed off: that it’s a form of gaslighting. This needs to be spread and discussed at greater length, everywhere!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I totally agree. I had someone say to me once, “We have a Ministry for Women’s Affairs,” – why don’t we have a Ministry for Men’s Affairs?” Imbecile.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well – why don’t we? Is it because men are expected to be tough and get on with it? Or is it because men don’t have real problems like women do?


      1. Dear A Man. The Ministry for Men’s Affairs is a large organisation which includes all the Governmental Ministries. Men’s representatiat all levels of Goverment is pretty high so issues affecting men have advocates with power. Look ar the cabinet – do you have enough male advocates do you think? Honestly, do fuck off.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Dear Kate,

        Are you actually arguing that the air force defending UK airspace only defend it for men but Russians are free to bomb women? That motorways exist only for men? That women are barred from hospital? That schools only teach men?

        When you break it down, what you have written is dogma with a good bit of bigoted hatred mixed in. I am not fucking off anywhere. I am going to challenge your echo chamber irrational assumptions about being the victim of a massive conspiracy against women telling you that you are wrong.


  7. So if! as the us thor of the article says above, 40% of the comments “what about men” are coming from women, then are these women also being, in Jessica’s own words, “arrogant”? Or would they merely be misinformed or affected by “societal misogyny”. And of the latter is true, why would it only be true of women?


  8. You are asking why “whataboutry” and self-reflecting.. There is no need to self reflect or be enraged, as its simply not about you or your research.. Its simply the fact that we’ve been talking about women’s issues for too long, and people are fed up with it. Women’s issues dominate all of the media. Society simply unconsciously restoring the balance by saying “enough”, its time to shift focus! Whataboutry is not going to go away, rage all you wish, until you realize it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lmfao. ‘We’ve been talking about women’s issues for too long’ – oh sorry to inconvenience you but female babies are still being aborted and killed, female children are having their clitoris cut out and labia sewn up, female children are being married to adult men in forced marriages, females are being sold as sex slaves into trafficking rings, females are being killed and raped and enslaved in wars, females are being covered up, controlled, abused, beaten, whipped, stoned to death all for contradicting gender role norms, dying from botched abortions because they aren’t entitled to them, or having loads of babies and miscarriages because they are not allowed access or choice of contraception, dying of cervical cancers because screening programs start too late on in life, are used as unconscious medical experiments for trainee doctors to practice on when having operations under general anaesthetic, killed and tortured in snuff films. Enough? Fuck off.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. A lot of good points raised in the article and some of these comments, but here you’re engaging in whataboutery yourself. The whataboutery reflex is part of our own rather privileged culture, in which such gendered programs and discussions have become integral – but most of your examples here are drawn from the oppression of women in other cultures, or from the extremes of our own. Different contexts. Melody’s comment, good or bad, is made within the context of our own mainstream.


    2. “Too long”? According to who? Is one article too much? Is one week too long? Do you count? Actually keep score? Of course not. Your perception is based on exactly what the author was saying. Many folks do think one is too much. Because they only notice or keep score of what makes them uncomfortable. The billions on the other side are just business as usual.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. We’ve been talking about women’s issues for so long because women are still treated like garbage, *despite* how long we’ve been talking about their issues. It’s almost as if some people aren’t listening to those issues, or ignore they exist. HMMMMM.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Call me crazy, but it might have something to do with the fact that men are constantly told that feminism is for them too and that there’s a place for them. That is, until they want to speak up and they’re told to shut up and listen .

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Spot on, Carolyn! I can’t tell you how BORED I am of being patronised by men who believe they have superior knowledge and intelligence to mine. In some cases they do but in most they are simply over confident, arrogant fuckwits.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. One has to listen too. You can’t just join a group and talk over them, never learn what it is about.
      Everyone has to shut up and listen at some point. Gasp, even men.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It is for them to speak up for and with women not a platform for them to start waffling narcissisticly about themselves smh


  10. I really don’t think society can develop fully when there are attitudes that produce words like “Women and girls are valid entities, independent from men” We are none of us so independent from each other whatever categorys we are defined by!


      1. I really liked the article, put some of my own feelings of being attacked into perspective when reading about #metoo. Thank you for doing that.

        However, those individual human rights are not worth the paper they are written on if we are not part of a larger group that enforces them. Hence dependence. I read above that capitalism likes ist subjects to be split. That is correct – divide et impera – and the coming split is not one between large groups like men and women, it is between everyone in the age of overstated individualism. Solidarity requires a sense of togetherness that increasingly seems to be disolved in a commodification of identities. But this criticism applies to all struggles of identity politics nowadays. That said I am very happy to see women having the ovaries to stand up for their opinion.

        Just my 2 Cents from Berlin.


  11. Great read! I love that you have a control group to compare to (TEF) which really helps illuminate that the whataboutery is really only cropping up on women’s issues. Sorry you have to take so much shit just because you are trying to improve the lives of half the population. At least you get acknowledged when you work on improving the other half of the population. 😏


  12. Is sad to hear about all the horrible abuse you get when you focus on women in your work. Thanks for all the work you do for people who are suffering in all kind of horrible situation. Keep up the good work!


  13. Your articles are biased and sexist, that’s the reason you receive so much backlash. I skimmed through your blog and none of your posts was actually examining the difficulties men face. Why don’t you go ahead and write a piece about all the men who get falsely accused in raping women, see what happens*. Hypocrisy is the reason you get so many complaints, and this article is not an exception.

    * – you can start with this one from December


    1. Hey anonymous, you read all of my posts, left a shitty comment and still wouldn’t leave your name. How brave of you.
      Do you have a blog? Do you write about Male issues? No? Shocker.

      Listen mate, I have spent 5 years UNPAID setting up, managing, funding, leading and controlling the first male mental health and well-being centre in the UK seeing hundreds of men. We have men who are dying of terminal cancer with no family to support them, men whose families all died in house fires, men whose kids were abused, men who were made redundant, men who have been abused as children, men who are currently being sexually exploited whilst homeless for somewhere to stay. Our work is hard. Our work is tiring and difficult. Our work is complicated and sometimes very dangerous. Men come to us with all sorts of problems. We protect them and support them for months or years.

      And you’re pissed off that my blog is about victim blaming?


      Liked by 5 people

    2. “I skimmed through your blog and none of your posts was actually examining the difficulties men face. Why don’t you go ahead and write a piece about all the men who get falsely accused…” What a twat. Way to go to illustrate Jessica’s point.


  14. Us men have an awful lot to answer for. Pretty much any subject will be altered to fit a male perspective. I believe that we need positive discrimination in society to reduce the male dominance of media, politics, journalism and so on.

    Great work and carry on the with the rage!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Thank you for writing it. Totally agree with you.
    So disappointed at the amount of hate mail you receive and of course the comment that’s ANONYMOUS who has missed the whole point. Doesn’t even have the balls to leave their name. Continue your great work.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Dear Jessica. Have you heard about ‘The Power’, by Rhonda Byrnes? If not, I recommend it to you. It seems to me that your points are valid and when you swear and use derogatory terms as ‘you fucks’ you show the same kind of behavior that you’re critizising. You are, inadverdently, attracting more of the reactions and the language that you hate.
    This is a kind peace of advise. Read the book, use what you can of it, and try to focus on your goal instead of your ‘opponents’. It is very important that you work with what you do. And your life and enjoyment of it is equally important. I wish you the very best, Jonathan


    1. Mate I will swear every other word until my dying day whilst simultaneously writing and speaking about world leading research. Swearing is part of who I am and where I come from. I am not ashamed of where I come from or how I express myself. I don’t need or want your ‘peace of advise’

      Liked by 4 people

  17. ‘Whataboutery’ is just a way of pushing back against a narrative that focuses on one part of a problem, and acts like that is the problem. This is one of the reasons why men like your father didn’t get help – male victims are not supported in the way that women are, and they are often victim-blamed by the system. It’s great that you started this charity, and I think it’s badly needed. As you say, it’s the first male mental health and well-being centre in the UK. That says a lot. Yet people are still being criticised for saying “what about the men” when faced with the narrative of patriarchy and male privilege that does not exist for men affected by issues like abuse and poor mental health.

    This is a screening checklist that Nottinghamshire police were using on men who called domestic violence services at least until 2013.

    It divides men and men only into “genuine survivors” and “predominant abusers”, and men are not told that they are being screened in this way. If men don’t feel ashamed of the abuse they suffered, don’t excuse their partner’s actions and carry the responsibility for the problems in the relationship, don’t feel responsible to protect their abuser, are clear about the fact that they are being abused or don’t minimise the abuse, they are considered less valid victims. If they assertively claim to be a victim, blame their partner for the abuse, make negative statements about their abuser, don’t show empathy for them and don’t spend their time thinking about everyone but themselves, they are considered to be a predominant abuser. If the police or member of the public treated women who claim to have suffered domestic violence like that, feminists would consider this to be a sign of a system that hated women – especially if men in the same situation were not treated in this way.

    You claim that “in those 5 years, I have NEVER received the amount of abuse and ‘whataboutery’ that I get for my work and research with women and girls.” Yet you are not in the same position in each case. As the chairperson of your organisation, you talk about your own experiences in that position rather than those of male victims or their families – who do experience victim-blaming and lack of support, as you yourself know. As a researcher, you are looking at how society victim-blames women, which supports the narrative that women are the ones predominantly being victim-blamed. You don’t look at those researchers and activists who say that violence is not gendered, and you assume that people who reject your gendered narrative are the problem. You don’t look at the way male victims were treated, and you make statements that suggest that you can speak authoritatively about a group you excluded from the start. If you want to focus on female victims in Yemen or victim-blaming of women, do that – but don’t make any assumptions about men, because that isn’t within your research. The fact that women are treated badly doesn’t mean that men aren’t. When people actually do research on male victims or even just include men in the research, they often find that they’re there in much greater numbers than were assumed – and have been ignored all of this time.

    >”The findings and recommendations presented in the report, entitled We Keep it in Our Heart, offer a starting point for unpacking and addressing a complex, under-investigated issue.

    >Given the challenges in researching this taboo topic, sexual violence against men and boys is likely occurring under a variety of circumstances not identified in this exploratory study. Additional investigation and attention are imperative to clarify the scope of sexual violence against males, prevent this violence where possible, and effectively meet the needs of survivors.”

    >“These are most disturbing accounts revealing just how grave the risk of sexual violence has become both for women and girls and, as shown by this recent report, also men and boys,” said Volker Türk, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection. “And it’s clear too that we are faced with a vicious cycle here of little help being available, limited outreach to male survivors, inaccessible services, and a culture of silence – all of which reinforce a myth that this problem is rare.”

    The culture of silence is reinforced by a culture that highlights female victims and ignores male ones, while dismissing criticism and complexity as ‘whataboutism’. Men are told that men who don’t talk about male victims are toxic, and so are the ones who do. Men who don’t show empathy and emotion are abusive, and those who do are fragile. Men are less likely to come forward, but this is often portrayed as a male failure rather than a societal failure. It’s no wonder most men don’t talk about it.


    1. Jonathan, this is interesting but wtf is it doing as a comment on this blog? Men’s issues deserve research of course but this is not a reason to try to silence a woman doing research on women. Do you have a blog? If so, that is where this article should be. It is not a zero sum you know – there is space for your interests AND Jessica’s.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m not trying to silence you or her; I’m using a space where anyone can comment on an article as a way to comment about the topic raised in that article. She tries to silence people who ask for an approach that doesn’t just focus on women, and you suggest that I shouldn’t comment on an article trying to shame men into silence. I think this is derailing and gatekeeping as a way to defend an indefensible narrative.

        Jessica is perfectly free to do research on women, and I’m perfectly free to point out the flaws of making general statements about a whole population based on research into one part. She didn’t ask men for their experiences, and even though she directly experienced the harm of a society that systemically ignores male victims, there’s no way that she would conclude that this is down to misandry. Everything is placed on a Procrustean bed and those who point out the double standards that are essential to maintain the narrative are criticised as if presenting contrary evidence is itself a logical fallacy. More evidence of gendered discrimination against male victims of IPV, which is often directly related to feminist narratives such as the Duluth Model:

        “Qualitative research has documented the experiences of men who seek help for female-to-male IPV (Cook 2009; Hines et al. 2007). For example, Cook (2009) performed in depth interviews of 30 men who sustained all types of IPV from their female partners and tried to seek help. This work shows that men often experience barriers when seeking help. When calling domestic violence hotlines, for instance, men who sustained all types of IPV report that the hotline workers say that they only help women, infer or explicitly state that the men must be the actual instigators of the violence, or ridicule them. Male helpseekers also report that hotlines will sometimes refer them to batterers’ programs. Some men have reported that when they call the police during an incident in which their female partners are violent, the police sometimes fail to respond. Other men reported being ridiculed by the police or being incorrectly arrested as the primary aggressor. Within the judicial system, some men who sustained IPV reported experiencing gender-stereotyped treatment. Even with apparent corroborating evidence that their female partners were violent and that the helpseekers were not, they reportedly lost custody of their children, were blocked from seeing their children, and were falsely accused by their partners of IPV and abusing their children. According to some, the burden of proof for male IPV victims may be especially high (Cook 2009).”

        In 1999, Ellen Pence wrote that, “By determining that the need or desire for power was the motivating force behind battering, we created a conceptual framework that, in fact, did not fit the lived experience of many of the men and women we were working with. . . . Speaking for myself, I found that many of the men I interviewed did not seem to articulate a desire for power over their partner. Although I relentlessly took every opportunity to point out to men in the groups that they were so motivated and merely in denial, the fact that few men ever articulated such a desire went unnoticed by me and many of my coworkers. Eventually, we realized that we were finding what we had already predetermined to find”. While she suggests that this changed their focus, I don’t find any real evidence of this on the DM website itself (which still only provides services to men as batterers, not victims) or the rhetoric and action of feminists addressing IPV. But still, this is only Whataboutery, and we shouldn’t hold feminists accountable for the harm of their actions and words, or expect them to use reality rather than ideology as a basis, even when their own first hand experiences belie their ideological bias.

        When we talk about the murder of women in Yemen, it’s important to note that it’s a quarter of the incidence of murder of women. In Mexico, it’s about 12% and femicide is seen to be a huge problem (which it is, but not on the same scale as murder of men). When most research and action ignores the vast majority of cases and people who object are treated as if they are the ones ignoring reality, I don’t think claims of misogyny or whataboutery hold any water.

        “And why do I get shouted down if I even dare post one tweet about violence against women or rape statistics or murders of women by partners?”

        Because it ignores many of the victims and presents an incomplete narrative specifically in order to blame men for a societal problem. It isn’t rocket science, and it isn’t misogyny. Treat made to penetrate as rape, because that’s what it is. Have equal standards of consent with men and women. Take prison rape seriously. Recognise that men aren’t a collective, and blaming toxic masculinity without addressing the needs of male victims is not productive. Black men, Muslim men and poor men are much more likely to commit rape or violence against women. Treat toxic masculinity as you would ‘toxic black culture’, ‘toxic Islam’ and ‘toxic poverty’, and you’ll probably be more on the right track when it comes to addressing issues productively without stigmatising groups.


      2. The premise of the article was that there was no issue with how men are treated as a gender. Sexism, this article argues, is a one way asymmetric street. Men have no right to a collective voice or identity in the way that women do.

        “Stop asking ‘what about men'”, unsurprisingly, rankles me, as much as “Stop asking what women” would rankle you.


      3. The premise of the article was not that AT ALL. It was about the level of abuse, whataboutery, name calling and horrid messages I get for my work with women whilst I SIMULTANEOUSLY work with men and get nothing but praise.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You are arguing for an symmetry here: –

        “We need to get to a point where we can talk about women’s issues and get the same level of respect we get when we talk about men’s issues. Until then, your ‘Whataboutery’ is unwelcome here. ”

        This is about establishing a hierarchy, with women’s needs promoted above those of men. You don’t believe men’s issues to be as valid as those of womens. You are arguing for asymmetry. If a man wrote “We need to get to a point where we can talk about men’s issues and get the same level of respect we get when we talk about women’s issues. Until then, your ‘Whataboutery’ is unwelcome here. ” he would be accused correctly of misogyny.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. You want men to act like ignoring male victims is OK, or that I’m the sexist rather than the ones pushing discredited narratives. I won’t be shamed for being an egalitarian, sorry. People are calling feminists out on their sexism, not attacking them as women.


      2. Jonathan, I would like to respectfully point out that you are missing the essential thrust of this post. You argue that Jessica is trying to get men to act as though ignoring male victims is ok. Do you not understand that she is arguing for time and place? No one can address all things all the time. As hazellance has pointed out elsewhere in these comments, women are coming from a position far behind men, so in many areas there needs to be a focus on them for a while to level the playing field. No one is ignoring men’s issues or pretending they don’t exist or requiring anyone else to pretend they don’t exist. But equally, men can’t pretend women’s issues don’t exist and what they shouldn’t do, when women’s issues are being addressed, is argue that it is sexist to focus on women’s issues. Because it’s not – it’s FOCUS. You can’t deal with everything, and Jessica’s academic work is about women. If you want to discuss men’s issues, that’s fine, but you need to go and find the place to do it, rather than – again – trying to drag the focus of the discussion away from women and back to men.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No, you’re just being a man, displaying an outrageous sense of entitlement, “if it is not about men, how can it possibly matter?”! If it is any consolation, it is still all about men, about how men rape, abuse & oppress women. Oh, those male rape victims? It is men raping them, so whichever way you cut it, it is still about men.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. “As hazellance has pointed out elsewhere in these comments, women are coming from a position far behind men, so in many areas there needs to be a focus on them for a while to level the playing field.”

        That isn’t actually true. Men are far more likely to be the victims of violence, and they get less attention and support. There is no imbalance here in their favour, and people who want to ” focus on women for a while” just don’t want to share the support. The examples given included Yemen, where only 20.5% of homicide victims are women. When men are shamed for saying that male victims also matter, yet BLM was shamed for supposedly ignoring the female victims (which are only 5% of the total), I don’t think even feminists think they’re evening the balance rather than just monopolising the conversation.

        Jessica’s academic work is about women, so she shouldn’t make any comments about the relative severity of their issues compared with men. She says that women face victim-blaming and singles out women because she didn’t actually ask men. The assumption from the outset is that there’s a huge patriarchy, and so there’s a really fuzzy line of argument switching between feminists recognising that men have issues and just wanting to be specific about women’s issues, or suggesting that women are at a disadvantage and hoping that we don’t fact check their arguments. Whataboutery is another ways of saying “LALALALALA, I can’t hear you”, but pretending that it’s calling out a logical fallacy. Men who disagree with feminists are misogynist, while feminists who disagree with men, shut down their speech and mean that they have to pay thousands in security fees are empowered or something. Feminists who smear men’s support groups don’t exist, apparently, and the death threats and constant harassment against their organisers aren’t a thing. Neither are the efforts to exclude men from women’s support and then complain about men’s shed’s excluding women. Neither is the structural sexism in organisations serving people claiming IPV victimhood, where men are automatically treated with scepticism and pushed into the ‘predominant
        abuser’ box for not blaming themselves. It’s certainly not because feminists hate men and don’t want them to have equality. I don’t know how anyone could get that idea.


      5. “Sorry I just cannot make any sense of this reply”

        I’m not surprised. To paraphrase Upton Sinclair — ‘It is difficult to get a feminist to understand something, when her movement depends on his not understanding it.’ Equality is not that difficult a concept though.


      6. “Oh, those male rape victims? It is men raping them, so whichever way you cut it, it is still about men.”

        Do you not see what you’re doing? You are treating male victims of men as if it’s some kind of own goal by the patriarchy, rather than a genuine victim who deserves as much support as a woman in the same situation. We are not a collective.

        Also, the idea that it’s just men raping men are based on statistics that exclude ‘made to penetrate’ from the definition and things like prison rape from the figures, and while including things like consensual drunk sex that the woman herself doesn’t consider to be rape. This acts like having a vagina is more important than lack of consent when determining whether someone was raped or not.

        Bur again, I DON’T CARE what gender the perpetrator is. This is not about attacking or smearing women, it’s about supporting victims without prejudice. I don’t care if you think men suck more than women. This should not come into it at all.


  18. You may have missed it, but feminism is entirely based on whataboutism.

    -You run a merchant bank whose managers are 99% male? Whatabout women!
    -You run a rugby club with all male teams? Whatabout women!
    -You go to an exclusive men’s only social club? Whatabout women!
    …yada, yada into infinity.

    The reason that you are getting razzed about your entirely female focus on things like domestic violence, is that those are areas where men are being ignored. So the men doing it are using precisely the same campaigning tactics of whataboutism, including the foul and abusive language, that feminists have been using for decades.

    Personally I don’t have a lot of time for the behaviour, but I don’t feel very sorry for feminists like you for being on the receiving end of it. Feminists created the precedent of bitching about what men are not doing for women, instead of telling them to do it themselves, so you can reap what you sow when some men decide to do the same.


    1. You seem to have missed the point yourself- that all the things you listed, like most business, government, arts, and just about anything you can name except fucking nursing and childcare IS dominated by men.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually most doctors are women, most trainee solicitors and accountants are women, and women have been outperforming men academically in public exams for the past decade.


  19. Yes Jessica don’t be derailed. Just plough on! The facts are two women per week are murdered by their partners!!°. This cannot go on. Women are our Mothers Sisters Aunties Friends GrandMas. We can NOT allow women to be so under valued.
    We have to dismiss whataboutery. It ain’t relevant.
    Just keep repeating the facts of how we denigrate women!


  20. You make some good points Jessica.

    I think where men are coming from in all this is that they’re seeing very high levels of gynocentrism (focus exclusively on women) in these discussions. They “trigger” because they’re so sick of it.

    Consider: In the realms of gender thought, gender issues, gender studies, gender advocacy, gender reality, gender relations, gender defining, gender complaint, and gender politics, there is feminism (“feminine-ism”) on the one hand and on the other hand there is nothing. If men are “touchy” about being left out, that’s why.

    Many will come back with, that’s because men have the power and women are the victims. But men in the know aren’t buying that anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If ti’s not acceptable to write “obviously women feel threatened and guilty. So they go on the attack” (and it’s not, being obviously misogynistic and disrespectful, as well as a hopeless genaralisation) then it’s not OK to write what you wrote.

      Why does feminism have to involve antagonism verging on hatred to men?


  21. Thank you. Your work is genuinely awe-inspiring and important.

    At no point do you belittle the importance of male abuse/suffering and how anyone can imagine you would after your incredible efforts at TEF is baffling.

    I can only suggest that you check out this link and scroll down to the paragraph in a green box that explains the story behind this campaign

    It isn’t about being able to do everything all at once. It is about choosing to take action and to focus your efforts on what you can. If everyone did this rather than blaming everyone else for their lack of action then maybe we could put out the forest fire as a collective, rather than fanning the flames with our wasted breaths.

    Keep going. Your actions speak louder than their slander.


  22. Great piece. Thank you. Progress is so painfully slow. It will only change if the momentum continues, but please don’t burn yourself out “debating” with blokes who are unarmed for a battle of wits.


  23. I dont understand why people get so caught up on certain phrases and things said. People can be pedantic and so easily raged on their narrow point of view. Look at the big picture. . This author is doing good in this world. She is doing the best she can and that’s above and beyond what the majority of others are doing. Those who write hateful and negative things should really ask themselves what are they doing for others? Give, be kind, be grateful


  24. In Australia we have Men’s sheds to give men somewhere to go to talk to other men to help them deal with loneliness, depression etc. They are set up for welding and woodwork to give men the opportunity to make things. They are a great idea but I have issue with them only being open to men and not woman, who also suffer from depression and loneliness, often made worse by being the primary caregiver, these sheds are not even open to young adolescents with whom the Suicide rate is very high. They are a asset to have in small country towns and a lot of money has been spent on them but only to be used of 50% of the population. I am keen on woodwork and metalwork but have been told in no uncertain terms I am not welcome at the local men’s shed and have been told to join a knitting group. Quite often the sheds are only used one day a week so what a waste for other members of the community.
    Gender bias is alive and well, but people like you help all woman push for change and I think things are changing, especially with younger men who have seen their mothers working and have wife’s that work and are stepping up to help with child rearing and household duties.


    1. Men’s sheds and IPV shelters should be opened up to both genders. Or if the shelters are OK, then women should make their own sheds. One of the other.


  25. I live in a country with a sexist past. A past that was sexually degrading to Women. Exploitation was common place and even considered to be acceptable.Times change however. We are in the year 2018 and the importance of Sexual Equality is recognised. The battle of the sexes should be over. It is but, unfortunately, a great many Women continue to fight for ‘Women’s rights’. One ‘victory’ is the decision by the Church of England to allow Women the right to be ordained as Priests. A right that was gained by Women more than 20yrs ago. Biblical principles over ruled in the name of sexual equality. There’s something of importance to point out though.The general nature of Women is different to Men. A man will lay down his weapon (if he was one of the few who had one) whereas a Woman will not so easily do so. Giving up the feminine crusade isn’t something Women like to do. There are so many who want to continue fighting for the cause when the need is gone. The feminist movement advances and does so without opposition. There is no masculine equivalent. Women fight on for conditions of absolute equality and are seemingly ignorant to a vital truth… The sexes are essentially different. Men and Women are not natures equals. We are not the same. We are emotionally and physically different. It’s the equilibrium of our species. Maternally humans express Love more obviously when raising our children. Females are more instinctively capable of nurturing. We recognise that. This understanding is why, other than in rare and exceptional cases, when Marriages end, Courts award custody of Children to the Maternal Parent. There are very robust Women but, on the whole, Men develop more muscular physiques. From the dawning age of Mankind, Men naturally suited the roll of hunter and protector. A time of sexual harmony that has not continued on into the present day. Today Women demand the right to act in rolls that were once, for just reason, filled exclusively by Men. As a result, we have an equal opportunity Police Force… A WPC is very much needed but when it comes to Policing our streets, tackling offenders and making arrests, they too often prove themselves a liability to themselves and to their fellow officers. They join because they can and because they feel they are up to the job and intend to show that they are comparable with their male counterparts. sadly for everyone, that’s not the case. Feminine ambition… Women for Womankind… The Feminist revolution… It’s responsible for how things have evolved today. Groups, societies, institutions founded by Women for Women… Men excluded! Therein lies the cause of male ‘whataboutary’! The male chauvinistic pig is a rare entity these days. The vast majority of Men have respect for Women now. They both have it and show it. It’s not enough though Ladies. There’s an ongoing sense of vengeance. A mindset that views ‘Men’ with contempt. As an enemy almost, that needs to be ovecome… To acheive something that qualifies as a victory… A point for the Ladies. An unfortunate intellect indeed.

    With sound reasoning, the Church of England withheld the Priesthood from Women. Lack of reason extended the Priesthood right to them. The result now, in 2018… Instead of a Priest being a servant of God, purified through prayer, a Minister without any gender association, we have mass gatherings of female Priests breaking open bottles of Champers, celebrating the 20 years that have passed since Women gained the right to be ordained and openly claiming the day as a ‘Victory for Women’!


  26. I think that one of the causes of the situation you describe is that women are better at raising their problems in the first place. Men tend to be diffident about admitting to anything wrong – it is seen as “unmanly” in some way. The result of all that is that there are more focus groups, self -help groups, research groups aimed at women’s problems than there are for men, which serves to encourage their whataboutery. If men would only speak up for themselves and see the need to help each other as women do then this problem would largely sort itself. Or am I being too simplistic?


  27. The reason you don’t hear “What about women?” Is because everything is already about woman. All the shelters, all the movements, everything for the past 50 years or more, has been about women.


  28. I just want to answer one question – even though it was rhetorical:

    “Have you EVER in your life seen women kicking off that Movember is sexist? Or that the campaign should include women? Or that focusing on testicular cancer is exclusionary? No. Have you fuck. ”

    I can’t remember having read a comment like that on Movember, but Movember is unfortunately not a big thing here in Germany. Yet I have read a lot of ‘whataboutery’ from women on other actions for men. At “Men’s Day” I read plenty comments that questioned the necessity of days like that, “since women do need way more care” or “men are just whining about every issue” or “every day is Men’s Day”, etc. Another example: When I read an article about a pilot project aiding men in abusive relationships there were comments that there shouldn’t be a focus on men since women are way more often abused in relationships than men.

    Sorry, I just needed to answer this rhetorical question, because there is a lot of female ‘whataboutery’, even if not that much in comparison to male.

    There are many things I could write about a part of the ‘whataboutery’ being not purely misogynistic but rather a clumsy cry for help – yet I think this is not the platform for this.

    Even though there is much progress made in the last years, real gender equality is still far away. I am happy to see, that there are people like you, taking a look at both sides. Thank you for your work 🙂


  29. Thank you for this. Superb! I have just seen The Red Pill as my partner wanted me to watch it (because I am a feminist and he spews a whole shitload of whatabout-fuckery all the time!) and you have managed to capture my feelings in a nutshell. Yes, of course, we as women care about men and boys issues. Just because we sometimes focus on women and girls issues doesn’t mean we forgot about men and boys. We want to help both sides and find equality across the spectrum. It’s just that when the focus is on men’s issues we do 100% less whining about it!


  30. I don’t think that pointing out that the volume of women’s only events / institutions / products is multiple orders of magnitude larger than that of men is whataboutery.

    Woman’s hour on BBC R4 is the tip of the iceberg. There are no special charities for men in prisons. Nobody is bothered by the way reforms to education (in particular coursework) have left boys educational attainment behind that of girls. The suicide difference has been debated ad nauseum. But what about the legal discrimination – government advice is that paying women enhanced maternity pay and men the basic statutory £120 per week shared parental pay is not illegal discrimination. Of course there is a pay gap – government regulation has the effect of depressing the employment of women of child bearing age. Courts by default award women primary (during the week) custody of their children in a 50:50 case, however much they will deny this case. Child benefit is paid to the mother. Feminism is politically mainstream – but the promotion of male identity politics is seen as misogynistic. Now yes, the vast majority of rapists are men – but not the vast majority of victims – it’s more like 65:35 .

    In particular, it is offensive to watch the #MeToo movement is being used by many to imply that #AllMen are aggressors here. And if I defend my gender, I’m mansplaining, I’m part of the problem,. the patriarchy, etc. It’s a complete travesty – of course men AND women should be allowed a voice.

    I feel we are in a transition between very set gender roles, and full gender equality, and both genders are finding it hard to let go. I’m not sure if the destination is every attainable, or just a theoretical construct that ignores millennia of evolved social behaviors.


  31. Anyone who thinks that people who address men’s rights and issues affecting men don’t get pushback should watch how feminists act around MRA conferences. Not only do they shout people down and not let them speak, but they also make threats of violence and even bomb threats, as well as causing property damage. They smear MRAs as hateful misogynists, and treat female MRAs shamefully. They complain that they feel unsafe when people use words they don’t like, and respond with violence, intimidation and censorship to make speech impossible.

    Feminists have been doing this for years – they haven’t got a leg to stand on when they complain that people disagree with them online and call them names. Fragile masculinity has nothing on the weaponised fragility and Whataboutery of feminists.


  32. It’s funny to see women respond with the comment – ‘why don’t you do something about it?’ as if they can drop their work and family commitments and overnight start a new support organisation for men.
    Yes, here is an organisation that provides support to homeless women. Should I – a)Ask that they use their already established buildings, staff, funding and support network to also help men, or b) Start building a new organisation which will have to compete with the existing organisation for funding and resources?
    And your comment about women not complaining about men getting support at the exclusion of women is total rubbish. I’ve seen plenty of female bloggers bemoaning the fact that men get support for mental health when women have more mental health issues than men and need more support.
    But you are ignoring the biggest ‘what aboutism’ there is. Whenever men build, achieve or succeed at anything the immediate question is ‘what about the women?’
    So Rafael Nadal wins Wimbledon, but what about Venus and Serena Williams? They obviously have had to work harder to get where they are.
    Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates build the biggest companies in history and change the way the world works. But what about the women? You must employ women and give them opportunities.
    NASA works to achieve amazing scientific and engineering breakthroughs with incredibly smart, perseverant and brave men risking their lives in a lot of cases to make it happen. But what about the women? There were women doing some maths at NASA and they had to walk a long way to go to the toilet. You have to make a movie about that.
    Whenever a man succeeds or achieves anything the immediate response is, ‘what about women doing the same thing’ or, ‘there must have been a woman supporting him along the way, let’s focus on the work she did’. If neither of those are applicable then women make snide derogatory comments like ‘boys with their toys’ or try to dismiss and ridicule the achievement as much as possible.
    Perhaps the male response should be ‘good idea, why don’t YOU work on that?’
    Lack of female nominees in the Academy Awards or Golden Globes? Why don’t you build your own women’s academy?
    Lack of jobs and opportunities for women in science and industry? You should build your own multinational software or electronics company.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Interesting article, and some interesting comments. My only contribution to the debate at this point would be to question your conclusion about where ‘whataboutery’ comes from.

    “‘Whataboutery’ comes from a place of misogyny. An arrogant, derailing technique used to respond to a campaign, video, research study, intervention, organisation or communication that screams ‘I don’t care about women, talk about men!!’”

    This just doesn’t feel right to me. I think it’s a lot more complex than that. Your conclusion says every man who comes with whataboutery is driven by arrogant misogyny, which I can’t accept. I was going to have a crack at a suggestion myself, but I can feel this is very, very complex and I need more time to think on it. But it could be a great discussion (if we could keep it civil, which I doubt)…


  34. I here you! I posted a picture on Instagram not too long ago with a reasonably long caption about womens bodies being seen as touchable objects, about how women cant walk around without a top on without getting horrible comments but men can freely shower the community with their nipples and chest hair. And guess what comments I got? A male commenting that I must hate men because I never mentioned them in my 3 lined paragraph. That I must be a feminazi etc etc ect. It goes on! Just because I am arguing for one point, doesn’t mean I am against another!


    1. Oh I know how that feels! I got one recently on a piece I had written about victim blaming and this guy just went in on me saying I must be lesbian and I hate all men blah blah. And I read and re-read my post and I just kept thinking ‘I didn’t even mention men in this post…’


  35. You work sounds incredibly interesting and worthwhile – amazing. And an interesting article – daily life is full of “whataboutery” and I agree, it can be derailing and unproductive. At the same time, it means that people are at least seeing the conversations – in previous decades, “women’s issues” were often left entirely to women to discuss. That has changed. We have more open communication now, which is good (although it would be a nice evolutionary step – eye roll – if responders could refrain from leaving abusive comments… such a shame you’ve had to put up with those).


  36. So, I’ve been through this post and I’ve tagged 8 hateful comments about men in general. And this is why men must keep asking “what about men”

    When it comes to sociology / gender studies research, it’s not coming from a place of academic rigor – it’s coming from a reaction to a strain of feminism which is fairly mainstream which has created a concept (“the patriarchy”) blaming #AllMen for the problems in this world. And that bias is one which men should challenge. – because it’s bigotry. We cannot let gender studies become a man hating echo chamber, and “what about men” is neccessary reminder that on this message board at least men suffer sexist hatred. It’s a feeling that the identity politics of feminism has become toxic and bigoted and needs to be challenged.

    Men should not have a problem with breast cancer research, or other essentially medical, gendered studies. They’re gendered on an academically neutral, rigorous, and don’t have a politicised bias. But that’s not a fair comparison to subjective academic work on “victim blaming of women and girls.” I see that as certainly having the potential to turn into a hate fest against men. And that’s why I’ll keep challenging such studies with the question “what about men”. Can you point me to studies on “victim blaming of boys and men”? It’s not like electrical and mechanical engineering – academic research of misandry barely exists, and there’s no corollary to “feminism.”


    1. First of all, 8 out of over 350 comments is not even 2% – hardly a hate fest. Second, there is entire literature base on the victim blaming of men and boys – Dr Sleath did her whole thesis on it. Hence why I chose to focus on female blame.


      1. Jessica, I never said your research was a hate fest. I said it has the potential to be. Men are deeply suspicious of soft sciences for having a baked in anti-man bias.

        To me as a Jew the word patriarchy has the same resonance of unfounded, hateful conspiracy as the word Rothschilds. The science of the patriarchy if to me the gender equivalent of the protocols of the elders of Zion. I’m obviously not denying the obvious differentiation between traditional gender roles. I’m asserting that it’s not clear that men have benefited from these arrangement; and that these arrangements were arrived at by men and women over millennia and not as a result of a conspiracy.

        I searched for Dr Sleath victim blaming men and boys. I found nothing on google? I searched female victim blaming and found on google scholar 73,900 results. I searched for male victim blaming and found 77,600, so you do have a point, and I will be guided by the facts. I concede I was wrong in this respect.

        I’m sorry that men (and women) are misogynistic or otherwise abusive to you, and there’s no excuse for that.

        Liked by 1 person

  37. Loved reading this piece. It really chimed with some of my experience working for Lewes Community Football Club. At Lewes CFC we have become the first football club (IN THE WORLD, unbelievably) to introduce pay and conditions parity for our womens’ and mens’ teams with our #EqualityFC campaign. Many have applauded our pioneering stance, but the criticisms have come from men who don’t believe women ‘deserve’ the same pay as they don’t attract the same crowds, and if we’re doing it for the women, what will it take away from the men? This argument is put to bed by 1) the fact that before the FA banned womens’ footie in 1921 (yes they BANNED it) women were attracting crowds in their tens of thousands, so we are starting from a level playing field, and 2) we have increased our overall budget rather than take money from the mens’ game (because, surprise, surprise, people want to work with an enlightened Club!). However, we are responding by asking people to come to our womens’ games in solidarity with our cause – our campaign is called #unlockthegate and, of course, co-oincides with the centenary of women getting the vote. We are actively trying to up the gate figures for our womens’ matches. We are not doing the same for mens’ games – not because we have forgotten about them, but because we are concentrating on our women at the moment for the reason above. We believe football is a canvas on which life s played out and we reckon if we can change things at The Dripping Pan (our home ground), we are doing our bit to change the world. If you’re ever in Sussex, come and watch a match and make a cause 🙂


      1. Agreed – it really is! Check out our website for a short and inspiring video which asks ‘How do you tell your daughter she’s worth less than your son?’ and please keep your spirits up: the more crowds we can get to womens’ matches, the more confident we can be of changing the bloody world 🙂 If anyone knows any womens’ groups or organisations that might like to turn up to some of our home fixtures, let me know and I’ll contact them and invite.


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