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What's more important, freedom of expression or women's rights?

(31 Posts)
AWholeLottaNosy Tue 18-Nov-14 00:18:32

Personally I have no conflict about this. Anyone who attempts to influence or indoctrinate men into thinking it's ok to use sexual violence against women needs silencing and banning and I'm proud that recent online petitions have been effective in silencing misogynists who want to encourage other men to abuse us. However, there are people who would disagree...

prashad Tue 18-Nov-14 02:11:02

I don't think censorship is the way to do things. That is, I think it would be wrong to make laws that would prevent the expression of certain views (even sexist or misogynistic ones).

There is a lot of art throughout history that we value today that would never have existed if the common consensus of the day had been allowed to suppress things they didn't agree with.

I think it is better to leave these things exist, but to publicise what is wrong with them... as has happened with the 'Dapper Laughs' thing. That's not censorship though, that's just activism. It's been gotten rid of without being banned, and it's banning that I'm against.

I believe that freedom of expression is important, but exposing nonsense like this is effective; the 'comedian' behind Dapper Laughs has had to bin the character and I suspect his whole career is over because of the activism of those opposed to it.

Perhaps if we censor things like this, people in the future will forget how terrible and dangerous ideas can be. Don't we need 'Mein Kampf' to remain in print so that we don't forget it's legacy?

MyEmpireOfDirt Tue 18-Nov-14 07:50:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChunkyPickle Tue 18-Nov-14 07:51:35

Freedom of expression is very important, perhaps we should allow that bloke into speak - on the understanding that his incitement to violence which is clearly spelled out on his website means that he is prosecuted for every act of violence done against women by a man who has watched him, and that every woman working in or near that theatre is compensated for a hostile work environment created by his incitement to abuse women.

Freedom of expression is not a freedom from the consequences of your own actions

MyEmpireOfDirt Tue 18-Nov-14 07:52:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AWholeLottaNosy Tue 18-Nov-14 08:10:22

Cos it's just 'banter', innit?

kim147 Tue 18-Nov-14 08:25:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PuffinsAreFicticious Tue 18-Nov-14 08:38:24

Prashad, forgive me, maybe I'm a little jaded by your views on rape, but, did you really mean to say that men who make their living advocating that other men should sexually assault and emotionally abuse women shouldn't be censored because Hitler?

People can say pretty much what they like, and they do, often and loudly. In some ways it helps to differentiate between 'people I wish to speak to or listen to' and 'people I believe to be utter arseholes' in my head. However, that doesn't mean that men who incite others to commit crimes or acts of violence should be given a soap box to stand on.

The man behind the Dapper Laughs character will no doubt come back with a different character and all shall be well, because hopefully his next character won't advocate touching women's 'minges' 'accidentally' as being a joke. I don't think there's much hope though for men who hate women as much as Julien Blanc does.

Callani Tue 18-Nov-14 09:18:15

I don't see what's particularly contradictory with freedom of speech and women's rights - it is freedom of speech, not freedom from the consequences of your speech.

So the consequence of Dapper Laughs being a foul, misogynistic ass is that his "comedy" show bombs and his contract doesn't get renewed. The consequence of Julian Blanc teaching men to abuse women is that he gets arrested for inciting people to violence and hate crimes. The fact it is gendered is neither here nor there, he is advocating criminality.

As an aside, most people defending freedom of speech seem completely oblivious to the fact that it is meant give someone the political right to communicate their ideas and opinions without being persecuted by the government as long as they do not break the law themselves. What it doesn't mean is that a single person with particularly vile views, can demand to have their views broadcast in the media without criticism.

MyEmpireOfDirt Tue 18-Nov-14 09:42:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

prashad Tue 18-Nov-14 11:51:25

It's not freedom of expression if you can be jailed for your expressions. It makes no sense to say 'freedom of expression, not freedom from the consequences of expression'.

I think the current laws are too restrictive regarding race, religion, etc too.

We can't blame artists and entertainers for other's crimes. It is the individual who chooses. Seems a lot like blaming Marilyn Manson for columbine.

There are objections to films, books, plays and TV programmes evervyear from interest groups and a lot of good stuff wouldn't be made if we get reckless with censorship. It's a slippery slope and I'd rather no censorship at all.

LurcioAgain Tue 18-Nov-14 11:56:59

What about women's freedom of speech, Prashad? You seem very invested in defending the rights of men to threaten violence and rape to women who disagree with them, but not so much invested in the freedom of those women who are being threatened to air their (usually moderately and politely expressed opinions) without being threatened with violence as a result.

kim147 Tue 18-Nov-14 12:02:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

prashad Tue 18-Nov-14 12:27:47


Nowhere have I said that it's right for women to be threatened with violence or rape for expressing their views. Please don't put words in my mouth.

There's a distinct difference being making a threat, and making sexism the content of a performance.

ChunkyPickle Tue 18-Nov-14 12:28:45

Of course it's freedom of expression even if you can be jailed for it!

Just look at what journalists who actually need these laws put up with in countries where they don't have them!

People are held responsible for their own actions and that includes their own negligence. If I tell someone that it's OK to wire up a plug socket in a dangerous manner, and that plug socket hurts them, both I and the person who did it is in trouble. If I whip up a mob into a frenzy and they riot, then of course I should be punished too. How about a bomb threat? No harm to anyone yet I'm going to be having some words with a judge if I exercise my freedom of speech to call one in.

Are you seriously suggesting that anyone is free to say whatever they like, and shouldn't be punished if people come to harm because of it?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Tue 18-Nov-14 12:45:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QueenStromba Tue 18-Nov-14 14:39:08

I said on another thread about JB that if you replaced the word "woman" with e.g. "black person" or "muslim" then he would be quite rightly arrested for hate crimes. I'm sure that he's responsible for numerous sexual and physical assaults against women by men who have been inspired by his seminars. Hopefully a prosecutor or detective somewhere will have the time and inclination to cross reference men who have attended his talks with violent crimes against women and will be able to bring a case against him.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

prashad Tue 18-Nov-14 15:34:25


Yes, I would argue against Abu Hamza's arrest.

There are obviously limits to freedom of speech... Direct threats, calling in bomb scares, etc. But other than that I think we've veered too far towards censorship in this country.

Mitchy1nge Tue 18-Nov-14 15:38:46

freedom of expression, obviously

everything is more important than women's rights, with possible exception of women in Other Places who Have It Worse

BobbyDarin Tue 18-Nov-14 15:59:49

There's a world of difference between freedom of expression and a platform for expression. We should have as few punishments as possible for what people say. Incitement to violence, or threats or blackmail or lots of other things are illegal already. Those are different from honestly held opinions.

The problem with criminalising bigotry is that it makes it far harder to challenge. If people secretly hold sexist or racist views then how can you try to challenge them or persuade them they are wrong. It's far better in my view to allow people to say what they really think. Has racism disappeared because racist language is criminal? Not at all. Look at the 'immigration' debate. It's a veil for some people's racism. All that's happened is that the language has changed - the sentiments remain the same.

That's not the same thing at all as allowing people to have a platform to propagate their views. Dapper Laughs shouldn't be sent to jail for making crass, sexist, tasteless jokes but why should he be allowed to make them on TV, or on stage unchallenged? If a chorus of people shout him down, or criticise him or his backers, there's nothing wrong with that, and his freedom of speech is not being interfered with. He can still say what he wants.

kim147 Tue 18-Nov-14 16:02:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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