Posts tagged: UK

The Cost Of The Culture Of Masculinity

By , December 2, 2011 3:31 pm

The U.K. Guardian published a piece by two professors about the human and financial cost of “masculine culture.” On International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (which was November 25th) Cynthia Cockburn and Ann Oakley made the case that men – who aren’t held accountable in that day’s name or mandate – are the overwhelming perpetrators of violence.

The fact that men are mainly responsible for violent and health-harming behaviours, not only against women and children but also against each other, is so taken for granted that it slips beneath the radar of commentators and policymakers.

The authors quote numerous statistics to make their point:

In 2009-10, men were perpetrators in 91% of all violent incidents in England and Wales. The figures vary by type of incident: 81% for domestic violence, 86% for assault, 94% for wounding, 96% for mugging, 98% for robbery. [U.K. Ministry of Justice] figures for 2009 show men to be responsible for 98%, 92% and 89% of sexual offences, drug offences and criminal damage respectively. Of child sex offenders, 99% are male. The highest percentages of female offences concern fraud and forgery (30%), and theft and handling stolen goods (21% female).

Men even commit more traffic and speeding violations – 87% and 81% respectively. Men are responsible for the vast majority of dangerous driving offenses (97%) and accidents causing injury or death (94%).

On the financial side, the Cockburn and Oakley project the money saved from injuries of the crimes themselves, lost work and productivity, and the costs of trying and incarcerating criminals would be in the tens of billions of British pounds.

I don’t doubt any of these numbers. I’m sure the statistics trend similarly in the United States. Our prisoners are overwhelming male: over 90%. And I wouldn’t be surprised if prison costs in the U.S. were even more than in the U.K. given our comparatively larger prison population.

Cockburn and Oakley conclude with:

The case we are making is that certain widespread masculine traits and behaviours are dangerous and costly both to individuals and society. They are amenable to purposeful change. The culture of masculinity can be, and should be, addressed as a policy issue.

Ok, but how?

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Don’t Stifle Social Media After UK Riots

By , August 12, 2011 4:15 pm

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Parliament is exploring ways to ban social media during situations of widespread emergencies like the riots that have swept the country for the last weeks.

Speaking in the House Of Commons on Thursday, he said:

Mr Speaker, everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organised via social media.

Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill.

And when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them.

So we are working with the Police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.

Logistically, it may be impossible and his statement may have just been “bravado,” but it’s a bad idea to suggest that stifling or banning communication over social networks is a good tool to fight crime.

Laws over speech and expression in the UK are different than in the US. The libel laws are much stricter, and you can’t even make fun of a session of Parliament even when they’re being complimented by comedians like Jon Stewart (see below). Those differences aren’t reasons for a Western democracy to restrict free speech like a dictatorship. Fighting and preventing crime is a priority in any country, but things get tricky when you’re dealing with speech. One person’s threatening language is another’s good idea.

Journalism professor Jeff Jarvis wrote this about Cameron’s suggestion to block social media: “When anyone’s speech is not free, no one’s speech is free…Censorship is not the path to civility. Only speech is.”

A clip from The Daily Show With John Stewart.

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Four Reasons There Aren’t Riots In The US Like Those In The UK

By , August 11, 2011 7:33 pm

This is a guest post by Kameko Jones.

Sitting by the computer after making the perfect cup of English tea, I am still amazed (for lack of a better word) at the breakout of riots across the UK. Over the past few days I have been scratching my head as looters took advantage of London neighborhoods like Brixton, Hackney, and Lewisham, and other British cities like Birmingham, Liverpool, and Leeds. I sit back in disgust and outrage as an American viewing from overseas, but also as a person who has lived and traveled throughout the UK.

The shooting of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old father of four, is what sparked the initially peaceful protest in Tottenham, London. People in the neighborhood were protesting unlawful and aggressive acts by police.  (It is now known that Duggan did not fire a shot at police.) Somehow, on Saturday, August 6, the protest turned violent and the people protesting started to assault police on the scene. The protest went from throwing sticks and bottles to lighting vehicles on fire and smashing the windows of shops.  I do not condone violence but there was definitely tension in the neighborhood between police and residents. The police did not take the right steps to calm the crowd.

Some chatter on Twitter by bloggers, journalists, and others has said that riots could start in the United States over the current situation plaguing our country. We have gun violence in schools, millions not covered by health care, rising unemployment, and a government caught up in its own nauseating partisanship fight. The victims in all of these are the working and middle class. So, why haven’t there been riots across the United States like those over in the United Kingdom? There are several reasons.

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Men Are Targets Of Cameras And Crushes On The London Underground

By , May 20, 2011 12:11 pm

Would it be offensive if there was a website where men took photos of women on the subway without their knowledge, posted them online, then added comments about how attractive they were?

It probably would be.

If the genders were reversed, would it still be offensive?

Check out to find out. It’s a UK site in which pictures are taken of men – without their knowledge - on the London Underground. The photos are submitted to the site and then the folks at TubeCrush write captions like this:

Let’s play a game shall we? It’s similar to Simon Says, but this one is called Jack Will. Basically you stay stuff that you think he should do, and he’ll do it. I’ll go first…

Jack will…make my jaw hit the floor because he’s so hot.

Next up…

Jack will…take his top off….(well, we can dream can’t we?)

Kind of cute? Kind of cheesy? Yes. Offensive? Not to me. None of the pictures I’ve seen go down shirts or up shorts. They don’t show anything explicit.

The viewing and consuming a male body by a woman is different than a man looking at a woman’s body. The nature of what makes a man physically attractive is easier to talk about in polite conversation. “Take off his top” from the caption above, is a lot different than “Take off her top.” Men are generally more sexually aggressive and perceived as more sexually threatening than women. And a man gawking at a woman – especially without her knowledge or consent – can be threatening.

We’ve reached the point where if you’re in public, anything you do is up for grabs by a camera. (So, be aware what you’re doing.) When non-consensual photographs are taken for sexual titillation, though, and regardless of the shooter, viewer or subject, the whole endeavor still gives off a whiff of creepiness.

But it matters who the shooters, viewers and subjects are, I wouldn’t say there’s a double-standard when it comes to TubeCrush. A website with pictures of women for a male audience wouldn’t be the same situation.

What do you think?

H/t: Salon. See also: Good Men Project

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Taking A Stand Against The Royal Wedding

By , April 28, 2011 9:34 pm

Despite all the media hype and coverage of the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Catherine Middleton, I’m not going to get up in the middle of the night to watch it. I’ll watch the clips later, at a reasonable Eastern Daylight Time (emphasis on daylight). I’m interested, but not wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night interested.

I bring up my moderate interest in the wedding because of the very extreme ways people are reacting to the wedding. There is the news media who are going over the top with coverage. It’ll be interesting to see if they’ll feel it was worth the expense and effort when it’s all over.

But then there are the folks at the other end of the interest spectrum. Not the people who shrug off this real-life over-the-top reality show like they would shrug off a made-for-TV over-the-top reality show. This is anger. Check out Lawrence O’Donnell on “The Last Word:”

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

First: The TV networks “obviously would have been on the side of the British” in the Revolutionary War. Huh? And second: The “British Crown has spilled more blood around the world and caused more oppression and suffering in the world than any other regime still standing”? History should never be forgotten, but why is O’Donnell still fighting a war we won over two centuries ago against a country that is one of America’s closest allies?

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