Plus ca change - a historical snapshot of male and female offending(13 Posts)
For convoluted reasons, I looked up who was executed in Exeter back in the day. Reading through the list of people who were executed and their crimes, it was striking
1) how many more men than women were executed (roughly 25:1 M:F)
2) the difference in the crimes between men and women (lots of women executed for killing "their bastard child", for example, whereas men were charged with murder, treason, theft etc)
3) the number of men who were executed for murdering their wife or another female family member
The website where I got the information is here
Obviously this isn't perfect data (it only covers those who were brought to trial, convicted and executed) and I've made assumptions where it isn't clear on whether the perpetrator was male or female based on their names. But it really brought home to me how little has changed over the years, including right now.
Why aren't we asking how to reduce / eliminate male violence? Why is asking this question seen as "man hating"? Why aren't men - as a class - horrified at what other men do (both to women but also to other men)?
I am eagerly awaiting Eve Was Shamed - Helena Kennedy's follow-up (25+ years later) to Eve Was Framed. Nothing will have changed ... not for the better, at any rate.
And that 25:1 male to female ratio is despite the fact that some of the female "crimes" were witchcraft - i.e. being female and one of your neighbours thinking you were a bit odd, not actually doing anything wrong.
Exeter was (IIRC) the scene of the last burnings for witchcraft in England.
Yes, Hairy - that was sort of why I was looking at this macabre list in the first place! In the interests of balance, I should point out that one man was executed for witchcraft too, but only one that I can see...
As many of the posters on the Feminism board love to remind us, men and women are biologically different. This stretches from strength and reproduction to hormone production. Violent and offending behaviour should, of course, be addressed. However, your thesis is fundamentally flawed if you assume men are violent solely because of socialisation. It’s innate. Just look at the animal kingdom.
Now, this is where I suspect I’ll lose you. The same hormonal and chemical drivers that make men more violent, more criminal are the very same ones that make them more creative, innovative, competitive and to take greater risks. There are more men at both ends of the ‘bell-curve’ than women. That’s not to say there aren’t women who are more intelligent or creative (or criminal) than every other man, simply that it’s far, far more likely among men.
Even more uncomfortably, these are the factors that have driven most of our greatest discoveries and inventions. The historically incomparable wealth of modern Britain is thanks to these kinds of men (and yes, some women).
The historically incomparable wealth of modern Britain is thanks to these kinds of men (and yes, some women).
It helps that they don't have to stay home and look after kids tho' AMIRITE?
I mean, we can all be wonderful and creative and driven, if we have nothing else to worry about.
This is what we call confuddling 'cause' and 'effect'.
And if we had the same education as our brothers ...
It puts me in mind of the Jackie Fleming cartoon of the woman in floor length skirts, pregant belly nudging the easel with the painting she's been working on, saucepan upside down on her head, toddler tugging at her knees and the caption "Why have there been no great women artists? Question number 76 in the series of great questions by great men..."
Well quite, Hairy.
It's much easier to be creative or take risks or put in the hours required when there's someone else doing the wife work. And when you are less likely to be committed to an asylum (or burned) if you behave like a tortured genius. And when no-one is likely to take the credit for your brilliant idea
Exactly. Even in households of reasonable equality you'll find the male spending more time on his creative persuits than the woman who is inevitably either doing wife work or exhausted by said wife work.
The animal kingdom.. you mean the one where females are deadly hunters and men lay about waiting for dinner and sex?
Also there's the issue of the only acceptable source of income for a woman until very recently being the "owning" man in her life - her father or her husband. So being allowed to "pursue one's hobby" was very much dependent on the man in your life. So for example Anna Ruysch painted fabulous still lifes with flowers, encouraged by her father who was a botanist, but gave up painting on marriage. Alma Mahler famously quit writing music because Gustav made it a condition of their marriage; his ego couldn't cope with being married to another composer. The mathematicians Mary Somerville and Emelie du Chatelet were lucky in their choice of husbands (Somerville remarkably so, given her parents, who used to confiscate her candles at night to stop her doing maths in case it made her unfeminine and unmarrigeable).
Oh yes, human beings do this weird thing where they treat each sex differently from birth onwards but let's ignore all that and look to the animal kingdom for answers.
Nothing is going to change, unfortunately, until men take a real good look at themselves as a class. Which is hard work. And there's really no incentive for them to do that kind of hard work as men as a class are the ones in power. Male violence is useful to the patriarchy. The threat of male violence helps keep women in check.
I think part of the difficulty, too, is the neoliberal focus on the individual rather than class analysis. It's very easy to loose focus of the trend when you're focusing on the individual "monster" that's in front of you. It's easy to dismiss individual violent men as aberrations instead of part of pattern.
When feminists talk about male violence, they're talking about men as a class, not individual men, but men listening seem to take it personally, on an individual level, rather than as the class-based analysis that it is. It seems that they hear "all men are violent" which is not what feminists are saying.
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