What an excellent coincidence that this post should spring up in the Femmostroppo Reader just as I had this one nearly ready to go: OH HAI Naomi Mc, have I got an example for you! In the same week that, in Melbourne alone, two men set a woman and a girl on fire (the second man also raped the girl) there was a report in the ABC News opining that again, society is going down the tubes because of feminism. With a big, scary, hot pink feminist symbol! Brrr.
A senior lecturer in psychology at Charles Darwin University, Dr Peter Forster, says there is no truth to the argument that testosterone levels make men more aggressive.
He says social factors such as the rise of feminism in the last few decades could be behind the rise in violence amongst women.
I’m happy to give him points for biology not being destiny – a refreshing change from most antifeminists I’ve read – but what actual evidence does he have that the “rise of feminism” has kicked off a rise in violence among women? Has he demonstrated that there is a rise in female violence?
Has he told us what the increase(s) are and from what bases they’ve increased? No. Has he teased out increases in actual violence from increases in arrests and charges? Nope. Has he looked at whether violence overall is rising or static, and if so, is male violence rising as well (See also previous point)? No.
Has he mentioned that if you look at historical sources of milieux such as Victorian London and accounts of colonial Australia, the idea of women as gentle and delicate creatures who never threw a punch was somewhat class-based? No.
I went off in search of more information, because I thought that if the ABC had seen fit to publish an article about Dr Forster pronouncing on women and violence, it must be that Dr Forster and/or his department had come up with some ground breaking research, perhaps resulting in a report or peer-reviewed paper which we could read.
Apparently not. In fact, my usually effective google-fu hasn’t unearthed any publications or reports put out by Dr Forster on women, violence, or women-and-violence at all. So what’s he got?
…(P)eople were now looking at other contributing factors, particularly at social and cultural factors such as the effects of several decades of feminism which have largely removed the expectation that women would behave differently to men, and, more recently, the binge-drinking culture among young people, for the rapid rise in female violence.
“Studies have shown that at the age of 14, girls were just as likely as boys to be involved in fights, threats and stealing,” he said.
“This is supported by studies at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, where they have found similar rates of binge drinking by men and women, and women are also catching up in the use of illicit drugs, and these behaviours are linked with aggression.
“People” are looking at contributing factors. “Studies” have shown. I’ve seen undergraduate essays, let alone blogs, with more demonstrated evidence – and active verbs – than that. Well, there is a citation of sorts, the AIHW, which does exist, although would it kill him to point to the studies themselves? And there doesn’t appear to be anything to do with women and violence, but women and “behaviours (which) are linked with aggression.” Right! Men binge drink and set women on fire and king-hit other men on King street, while women binge drink and “get themselves” raped. See, equal!
The only actual piece of work done within the walls of Charles Darwin University that he seems to be able to point to is a study of road rage by his colleague Mary Morris.
“The research by Dr Morris has clearly shown that, in such aspects of road rage as aggressive gestures, sounding their horn at another driver and verbal abuse, there is no significant difference between male and female drivers. There used to be differences, but not any more,” Dr Forster said.
Road rage covers a continuum up to and including stabbing, shooting, thumping and running over people, so I don’t see that an increase in female horn-sounding and verbal abuse is very useful evidence of an epidemic of violent femmes. I haven’t been able to find Dr Morris’s study either, but I’ll take his word that it exists, so that’s one more on the topic than I’ve been able to find for Forster. It’s ironic that given that the subject is the evil power of feminism, he took her work and ran with it as “Expert Warns”.
Dr Forster hasn’t even begun to demonstrate any link between feminism and violence.
I have no idea why this should have been put out as a media release by CDU and why it should have been news, but unfortunately it’s one more brick in the wall of the bullshit “Feminism gone wrong” story that the media is hellbent on giving us, no matter how dodgy the source might be.