Amid the sexual abuse, how much consensual sex is there?

Yesterday someone wrote one of those lengthy threads on Twitter which made the point, over and over, that despite the dozens of celebrities spilling tales of sexual harassment in Hollywood, nobody is naming names other than Harvey Weinstein’s. Perhaps they are afraid of a libel charge, but I doubt it: could all those allegations against Weinstein be proved now? Unlikely.

Via Tim Worstall, I now see that Christie Turlington has come out and said the fashion industry is full of sexual predators who prey on vulnerable young wannabe models. Maybe next week Scott Quinnell will come out and say rugby clubs were full of large, boisterous males who liked drinking and singing, and we’ll be equally surprised.

I have no doubt that sexual harassment and abuse is rife in the film and fashion industries, but what is being overlooked is that consensual sex is also rife. If disgusting fat film producers can proposition women for a part, you can be sure a lot of women are putting out for parts – many of them doing so quite happily. My guess is nobody is naming names because it will blow the lid on just how much consensual sex goes on in Hollywood, and how much of it is directly related to actors and actresses getting parts in a film. The moral standing of the pompous, self-righteous arses who presume to lecture us plebs at award ceremonies is already shaky; imagine what it would be reduced to should full details emerge of who they shagged and when – and, as we’ll be able to work out for ourselves – why. The underlying assumption people make of those complaining about Weinstein is they rejected his advances – yet never had sex with anyone else in order to advance their careers. That’s probably a big assumption.

Here’s something for the feminists to consider: if you want to stop men abusing positions of power in order to have sex, you also need to stop women having consensual sex with powerful men to advance their careers. It’s a two-way street, and it’s no coincidence that sexual abuse is more prevalent in industries where both men and women are able to sleep their way up the greasy pole.

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The Modern CEO

This interview with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki is illuminating:

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki was on vacation when Silicon Valley suddenly plunged into a bitter debate over sexism.

The now-infamous “Google memo,” written by engineer James Damore, argued against diversity initiatives at Google and said that female engineers were less capable of leading others.

That’s not what he said, but go on.

Wojcicki, who was part of the team at Google that decided to fire Damore, recalled talking about it over dinner with her children, to whom she had always tried to promote diversity and equality.

I grew up eating dinners in absolute silence while my mother listened to Gardeners’ Question Time. Compared to family mealtimes in the Wojcicki household, I think I got off lightly.

“The first question they had about it [was], ‘Is that true?’”

Were they asking about what Damore actually wrote, or the version you told them?

That really, really surprised me, because here I am — I’ve spent so much time, so much of my career, to try to overcome stereotypes, and then here was this letter that was somehow convincing my kids and many other women in the industry, and men in the industry, convincing them that they were less capable.

Either your kids can’t read, or you lied to them. Which is it?

That really upset me.

You’re a CEO, yet you get upset by someone writing an internal memo that gets leaked because it confuses your kids?

In response to the backlash to Damore’s firing by self-styled “free speech” advocates, Wojcicki said there’s an important difference between free speech on platforms like Google and YouTube, and free speech inside the companies’ offices.

That’s a handy confirmation that absolute obedience and conformity is a requirement of working in Google. I mean it’s pretty obvious, but rarely do you hear it stated so boldly.

In fact, James Damore did his first interview with a YouTube creator,” she said. “That’s fine to have on the platform. We have lots of rules, but we tolerate — we enable a broad, broad range of topics to be discussed, from all different points of view.”

But…

What did Ned Stark say? “Everything before the word “but” is horse shit.” A wise man, that Sean Bean:

“But it’s different if you’re within a company trying to promote more women,” she added.

Of course it’s different. It always is.

“Think about if you were a woman and James Damore was on your promotion committee, or to just see that the company was enabling this type of harmful stereotype to persist and perpetuate within the company.”

Alternatively, think about if you were a male programmer – or indeed an investor – and you were reading this interview. Wojcicki sounds less like a blue-chip CEO than a whining schoolgirl who can’t work the projector. It’s hard to believe she’s been at Google from the start, but she seems determined she’ll be there at the end.

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Not I

Andy in Japan asks my opinion:

BTW, what are your thoughts on this latest ‘me too’ Facebook circular jerk. My guess is about 90% of those posting are unwanted advances not actual harrassment/abuse.

That would be my guess too. Somebody started a ‘me too’ hashtag on Twitter so women who’ve been subjected to sexual assault in the manner of Harvey Weinstein’s victims could let themselves be known, and several million (mainly American) women responded.

This is self-indulgent, feminist-driven posturing. They have quite deliberately blurred the line between rape, sexual assault, and unwanted attention. Lewd remarks, being pestered by male colleagues in the office, and similar acts of unwanted interaction can be pretty unpleasant, but they are not the same as demands for sexual favours or unwanted physical contact of an overtly sexual nature. Most women sharing the ‘me too’ hashtag will simply be recalling the time a builder wolf-whistled at them to justify joining the victim bandwagon and advance their political agenda.

It is little different from a man setting up a ‘me too’ hashtag to highlight the serious issue of false rape allegations, and men retweet it if, at any point in their lives, they’ve ever been the victim of a woman’s lies. If ever there was a campaign guaranteed to achieve 100% saturation, that would be it.

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Feminists and Harvey Weinstein

As expected, deranged third-wave feminists are using the Harvey Weinstein revelations to amplify their theory that men as a group are a problem and all of us are potential rapists. Once again the Twitter feed of Laurie Penny provides the best examples of a common sentiment:

This bollocks needs to be put to bed quickly. Firstly, nobody I’ve read or heard is blaming young, unknown women from speaking out about Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour. As Laurie herself implies, who would believe them? Plus, they have a lot to lose if Weinstein decides to take revenge on them. But what none of these so-called feminists want to ask is why didn’t Hollywood’s most powerful women – some of whom had been abused by Weistein themselves – speak out? Angelina Jolie was a UN Ambassador for heaven’s sake, could she really find nobody to talk to about Weinstein? What about Gwyneth Paltrow, or one of the other dozen extremely rich, well-connected women in Hollywood who knew damned well what Weinstein was like. Why didn’t they speak out?

Secondly, there is something else not being acknowledged by feminists here. It is one thing for young women not to speak out against Weinstein. It is another thing for powerful women to not speak out. But it is altogether a different thing for those powerful women (and men) to constantly praise Weinstein, join him on stage at awards ceremonies, pose for photos with him at parties, and invite him to their homes (I understand he went to the White House 13 times under Obama). This is not merely remaining silent, it is actively providing cover for the man and bestowing on him a social acceptability that his behaviour doesn’t warrant. That is the real issue here, and feminists are doing everything they can to ignore it.

This is not a man problem, nor is it a woman problem: it is a problem whereby shitbag men are aided and abetted by other shitbag men and equally shitbag women. In short, it’s a shitbag problem. However, on Friday we had Emma Thompson telling the BBC we have a problem with “extreme masculinity”. Sorry, what? When I think of “extreme masculinity” someone like this comes to mind:

Not this:

Weinstein is a disgusting fat slob, and if you listen to the audio recording here he sounds like the biggest whining, beta male you’re ever likely to come across. The feminist reaction to the Weinstein revelations says more about what sort of men these women hang out with than men in general. Here’s Laurie again:

Well, speak for yourself, Laurie! While she might like to count rapists among her friends and partners (and if her previous writings are any guide, she does), I’d like to think most normal women don’t socialise with rapists. She compounded her idiocy with this:

And this is what it comes down to: feminists like Laurie Penny couldn’t give a shit about women, they only care about advancing their own fucked-up agenda. They have seized on the issue of powerful, shitbag men preying on vulnerable girls with the willing assistance of powerful, shitbag women in order to demonise ordinary decent men. Third-wave feminism is as much a danger to young women as fat slobs like Harvey Weinstein and his phalanx of groupies. It’s time more people realised this.

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On Harvey Weinstein

I have a feeling that this Harvey Weinstein story is going to be huge. It’s not that he was a sleazy Hollywood producer with a well-worn casting casting couch; that sort of stuff has been going on for ages. Nor is it that lots of people around him knew it was going on but covered it up; that too has been going on for ages. It’s more to do with who covered it up.

Since as far back as I can remember, Hollywood in general, and particularly famous actors and actresses, have been fully supportive of liberal, progressive politics and openly hostile to Republicans and conservatism. They worshipped at the feet of Barack Obama and went into meltdown over the election of Donald Trump. They have portrayed themselves as the moral arbiters of the nation, leading the way into a progressive new world by adopting every trendy cause going: Leonardo DiCaprio on global warming, Mark Ruffalo on fracking, Shia LeBeouf on anti-Trump, God knows how many actresses turning up in support of Planned Parenthood and other feminist-driven organisations. This culminated with Meryl Streep’s excruciating Oscar speech in which she positioned Hollywood celebrities like her as the shining beacons of hope in a country which would otherwise be nothing but ignorant white men watching football.

The Democrats, of course, have welcomed this unquestioning support for years, happy to hob-nob with Hollywood stars at swanky parties in New York and LA and receive millions in campaign donations along the way. Hollywood, Democrats, and liberal politics have become so intertwined it is almost impossible to separate the two. Also entangled in the whole lot is the media, which is largely the publicity arm of the Democratic party, and hence also firmly in bed with the Hollywood moguls. When Trump ran for president, everyone on the left – Democrats, the media, and Hollywood stars – lined up to condemn his misogyny and ill-treatment of women when the Access Hollywood tape (several years old) was mysteriously leaked at a crucial point in his campaign. This triggered the feminist-driven anti-Trump movement which after his election organised huge protest marches in support of women’s rights which they claimed were being eradicated under an administration which wasn’t even a week old. Several prominent Hollywood celebrities spoke at these highly-political marches, more attended, and the media gave them fawning coverage.

Now it appears that these same people have not only been close friends with a serial sexual predator, but they have been actively covering up his activities for years. The dyke was breached when Ashley Judd spoke to the New York Times about Weinstein’s behaviour towards her early in her career. Ironically, Judd subjected the masses to an unhinged political rant at the Washington Women’s March last January; one wonders why she chose to attack Trump – who she’s probably never met – than lodge a complaint about the man who actually abused her. I’ll get to the answer later.

Since then, the floodgates have opened. Several more prominent actresses have come forward with tales of abuse at the hands of Weinstein and with it dozens of pictures of actors, celebrities, and Democrat politicians cosying up to him while showering him with accolades. This would be less damaging were everyone in the dark as to what he was up to, but evidence is pouring in that his demands for sexual favours from young women was Hollywood’s worst kept secret. It was so widely known that Seth MacFarlane even joked about it at the 2013 Oscars, and everyone laughed.

It’s hardly surprising that few of these young women came forward to report him, and tempting though it is to point out that Judd only went to the papers once her career was over and her money earned, it is unfair. Yesterday an audio recording emerged of an encounter between actress/model Ambra Gutierrez and Weinstein. The conversation was recorded as part of an NYPD sting operation into Weinstein’s behaviour, and Gutierrez – who had been groped by Weinstein the day before – made the recording on their behalf. Weinstein admits on tape to inappropriate behaviour the day before, but the New York District Attorney – one Cyrus Vance Jr – decided to quash the case. If police recordings weren’t enough to bring about meaningful intervention into Weinstein’s behaviour, the mere word of a young woman wasn’t going to. As a measure of Weinstein’s clout, I read an anecdote on Twitter last week regarding an incident that took place at a very public event in New York. Some reporter had upset Weinstein and he grabbed him around the neck and basically threw him down some steps. Despite the dozens of photographers and cameramen around, not a single shot of the incident was published: nobody would dare.

Of course, covering up is one thing, actively defending the guy another. According to today’s Independent:

It’s been alleged by The Wrap founder Sharon Waxman that she investigated the accusations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein 13 years ago while reporting for The New York Times in 2004.

She claims this piece was cut from the paper due to both The Weinstein Company’s presence as an advertiser and alleged meddling by major Hollywood players including Matt Damon and Russell Crowe.

We also have this report from the New York Times which really doesn’t make Brad Pitt look too good after his then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow was propositioned by Weinstein:

She refused his advances, she said, and confided in Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time. Mr. Pitt confronted Mr. Weinstein, and soon after, the producer warned her not to tell anyone else about his come-on. “I thought he was going to fire me,” she said.

So Pitt knew about Weinstein since the time of this incident, which would have been around 1994, and said nothing. However, skeptics might point out that Paltrow wasn’t so traumatised that she couldn’t work with Weinstein afterwards in her defining role in Shakespeare in Love. Also in the NYT piece comes news that Weinstein also made unwanted advances on Angelina Jolie.

Okay, here’s the thing: I can understand why a young, unknown actress might not speak up about Weinstein, but Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow? Why are they only coming public with it now? Jolie has been one of the most powerful people in Hollywood for years, and Paltrow has been famous enough to brush off Weinstein for at least as long. Why did they not speak up sooner? And while we’re on the subject, why  haven’t these right-on Hollywood men responded to the Guardian‘s request for a comment:

The Guardian contacted more than 20 male actors and directors who have worked with the movie mogul over the years, some of whom have projects with Weinstein. All declined to comment or did not respond to inquiries about the accusations that the producer sexually harassed women over a period of nearly three decades.

The list of industry figures thus far remaining silent includes a number of male directors, such as the Oscar-nominated Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, the Hateful Eight) and David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter, Flirting With Disaster), who have both made numerous movies with Weinstein.

The liberal film-maker Michael Moore, currently working with Weinstein on a documentary about Donald Trump, also did not respond to a request for comment.

Here’s why. Firstly, nobody gives a shit about one another in these circles. Actors and actresses by nature are narcissistic, selfish assholes and would happily stab one another in the back to get ahead. Ditto Democrats and most of the media. That vicious, vindictive, nastiness that is ever-present among public figures who champion liberal politics – particularly celebrities – doesn’t simply disappear once they’re around friends. They don’t have any friends, just people they can use for now. I see Weinstein’s wife has just decided to leave him, as if she had no idea what he was like before. The directors of his company have fired him only because the public found out about his behaviour, not because they did. Paltrow and Jolie and all the other long-term, highly-protected A-listers are speaking out because as of this week it became the smart thing to do reputation and career-wise. Before that, they were happy to stay silent as women were abused and propositioned just as they had been when younger. So much for female solidarity.

The second reason is politics. For all the talk about Republican and right-wing misogyny, nine times out of ten any public figure caught abusing women in America will be a Democrat or one of their chief supporters. The notable exception is Donald Trump, but sharp-eyed observers will point out that he was a big pal of the Democrats throughout the entire period any bad behaviour was alleged to have taken place (and I wrote about his supposedly excusing sexual assault here). Only once he turned Republican did his misogyny become an issue. One thing this unfolding story about Weinstein will prove once and for all is that Democrats, liberals and their media lackeys will ignore, accept, and defend all manner of disgusting, sexually-abusive behaviour from men provided their politics conform with theirs. We could mention Roman Polanski, or Antony Weiner, or Bill Clinton; provided they are on the liberal, Democrat side of politics, anything is acceptable. But if you’re a Republican and you say you wouldn’t have dinner alone with a woman who wasn’t your wife, the liberal establishment goes into hysterics about misogyny and marches in protest, accusing you of “attacking women”.

I don’t know why Judd finally broke ranks and spoke to the NYT, but now the cat is out of the bag even his politics can’t save him (although some are trying, and others are rapidly backtracking). The liberal mouthpieces have now smelled blood in the water, a chance to take down an old, white guy, polish their third-wave feminist credentials, and push the narrative than women everywhere are subject daily to horrific sexual exploitation by male bosses. Presumably they think nobody will notice they covered it up for years purely because he helped their careers and espoused the right politics.

Commenter Phil B asked me yesterday why I continued to fisk the nonsense that Laurie Penny writes, and this is my answer. In yesterday’s post I commented on how she is happy to remain friends with somebody with a history of sexually assaulting women because she approves of his politics. In the post the day before I recalled how she allowed her rapist to get close to her because “he was a fun-loving, left-leaning chap who was friends with a number of strong, feminist women” she admired. Yet Laurie has decided that it is ordinary, decent, conservative men that are the problem – just as Hollywood celebrities, Democrats, and liberals say it is.

This Harvey Weinstein story is not just about Hollywood, it goes to the very heart of left-liberal politics from the top to the very bottom, and you can be sure he’s not the only one behaving like this. Other names will come out in due course, all with a similar history. This is why I think it will be too big to shove under the carpet.

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The Company One Keeps

Oh, happy days! Laurie Penny has given us over four-thousand words on the subject of consent:

The first thing you need to understand about consent is that consent is not, strictly speaking, a thing. Not in the same way that teleportation isn’t a thing. Consent is not a thing because it is not an item, nor a possession. Consent is not an object you can hold in your hand.

I think our award-winning journalist has discovered the abstract noun. Either that, or she’s being paid by the word.

I believe that a great many men and boys don’t understand this.

I believe this says more about the sort of men and boys Laurie associates with than anything else. And right on cue:

So, I’ve got this friend with a shady past. He’s a clever and conscientious person who grew up in the patriarchy, and he knows that he’s done things which may not have been criminal but have hurt people, and by people he means women. My friend has hurt women, and he doesn’t know what to do about that now, and from time to time we talk about it. That’s how it happened that, a few weeks ago, halfway through an effervescent confession in a coffee shop, the following words came out of his mouth: “Technically, I don’t think I’ve raped anyone.”

So Laurie has a friend who goes around hurting women and must resort to technicalities when assuring people he’s not a rapist. Little wonder she thinks men don’t understand consent very well if this fellow is typical of her circle of male friends.

“Technically, I haven’t raped anyone.” What did he mean, technically? My friend went on to describe how, over years of drinking and shagging around before he got sober, he considers it a matter of luck rather than pride that he has never, to his knowledge, committed serious sexual assault.

Sounds like a lovely chap.

The fact is that, like any number of men growing up in the last decade, his concept of consent could have been written in crayon. Sex was something you persuaded women to let you do to them, and if they weren’t passed out, saying no, or actively trying to throw you off, you were probably fine.

Oh, isn’t that neat! Laurie has a friend who behaves like a complete scumbag, and casually assumes all men must be like him.

That technically, of course, is not just something one hears from men.

That could be because most men don’t conduct themselves in the manner of borderline rapists.

You hear that same technically, in a different key, from girls and grown women who don’t want to think of the things that happened to them that way, even though the fact that those things happened to them, with or without their say-so, is the whole problem.

Like when they say “technically” they didn’t have sex because the deed took place on holiday where “it doesn’t count”? I’ve yet to hear a woman use the term “technically” to muddy the waters after a rape or sexual assault on her person.

We learn, just as men do, that our instincts about what we feel and experience are not to be trusted. We learn that our desire is dangerous and so we tamp it down until we no longer recognize the difference between wanting and being wanted. We learn that our sexuality is contemptible and so we crush it; we become alienated from our own bodies.

I have a feeling this “we” is operating in a small pond indeed.

I’ve told myself before that technically, this or that person committed no crime, so technically, I’ve got no reason to feel used like a human spittoon, and technically I did invite him back to my house, so technically, I should have expected nothing less, and technically, there’s no reason to be angry and upset, because really, what is female sexuality but a set of technicalities to be overcome?

I have no doubt whatsoever that Laurie has told herself this, but quite what it has to do with ordinary men and women isn’t clear.

The problem is that technically isn’t good enough.

Something you could have perhaps mentioned to your friend.

“At least I didn’t actively assault anyone” is not a gold standard for sexual morality, and it never was.

You’re preaching to the choir, honey. How about you tell this to the men you hang out with?

Of course, we have to start somewhere, and “try not to rape anyone” is as good a place as any, but it can’t end there. Our standards for decent sexual and social behavior should not be defined purely by what is likely to get us publicly shamed or put in prison, because we are not toddlers, and we can do better.

Says the self-declared polyamorist who believes the traditional family should be destroyed.

This is what consent culture means….It means adjusting our ideas of dating and sexuality beyond the process of prying a grudging “yes” out of another human being.

There’s more projection here than a plank with a hard-on. Laurie simply assumes that everyone’s dating experience is as miserable as hers.

Ideally you want them to say it again, and again, and mean it every time. Not just because it’s hotter that way, although it absolutely is; consent doesn’t have to be sexy to be centrally important.

This may be true, for certain people’s values of “ideally” and “hotter”. Alas, I’m not one of those people.

But because when you get down to it, sexuality should not be about arguing over what you can get away with and still call consensual.

Hands up all sane individuals who think it is?

But there are a great many simple ideas that we are taught not to understand and a great many more that we choose not to understand when our self-image as decent human beings is at stake, and that’s where a lot of men and boys I know are at right now. Bewildered.

Again, Laurie tells us her male friends and acquaintances don’t know what consensual sex is. Where’s she hanging out, San Quentin?

So let’s talk about getting away with it. Let’s talk about what happens in a society where women’s bodies are contested commodities for men to fight over. Let’s talk about rape culture.

Yes let’s. We can start with your pals.

The naming and shaming of rape culture has been one of the most important feminist interventions of recent years, and one of the most controversial and misunderstood.

By shaming she means remaining friends with dodgy men who technically aren’t rapists.

“Rape culture” does not imply a society in which rape is routine, although it remains unconscionably common.

It certainly seems that way in Laurie’s social circles, and now we know why.

Rape culture describes the process whereby rape and sexual assault are normalized and excused, the process whereby women’s sexual agency is continuously denied and women and girls are expected to be afraid of rape and to guard against it, the process whereby men are assumed to have the erotic self-control of a gibbon with a sweetie jar of Viagra, creatures who ought to be applauded for not flinging turds everywhere rather than encouraged to apply critical thinking.

In other words, it’s a cartoonish fiction dreamed up by deranged feminists.

I have never understood why more men aren’t offended by this assumption…

/Facepalm

I sincerely believe that a staggering proportion of straight and bisexual men are working with some ingrained assumptions about sex and sexuality that they have not fully analyzed.

Thank heavens Laurie wouldn’t work with “ingrained assumptions about sex and sexuality” when writing a piece, eh?

I’m sorry, I give up here. There’s another 2,500 words of this and it’s only getting worse. Having skimmed it, she seems to have given her rapey pal a free pass and decided to lecture the rest of us instead. As the latest revelations about Harvey Weinstein show, there’s nothing lefty feminists like more than hanging out with douchebags while condemning all men as violent, sexual predators.

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Trigger Warnings in Books

Via someone I follow on Twitter who is quite possibly mentally ill comes trigger-warnings in books:

I’m not sure what a reader is supposed to do here. Do they simply skip the chapters in question, in which case they are either missing something important or the chapters shouldn’t have been included in the first place? Or do they line up a row of multi-coloured prescription pills and brace for impact as the offending chapter nears? Perhaps they’d be better off reading something else altogether.

And 40 chapters in a book that size? Actually, I’ve checked Amazon and it’s 43 chapters in a book with 312 pages. A new chapter every 7 pages. Not surprising it comes with a warning.

My own book, which is currently with an agent who will hopefully point me towards a decent editor, will not come with any such warnings. Although I am quite certain it will piss a lot of people off, particularly women with sympathetic leanings towards deranged, third-wave feminism. As one author I know responded to criticism of his book:

“Oh, I don’t care if you liked it, hell I don’t even care if you read it. I just wanted you to buy it!”

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The Pussyfication of Society, Rugby Edition

From the BBC:

The UK’s chief medical officers (CMOs) are being urged to protect children from the risks of rugby injuries by removing contact from the school game.

Let’s see who’s driving this:

Prof Allyson Pollock, from Newcastle University, is presenting new evidence that banning tackling would reduce concussion, head and neck injuries.

So a woman is trying to ban the fundamental aspects of a sport that boys have enjoyed for generations. At this point I’d say the feminists have pretty much won, wouldn’t you?

A spokesman for World Rugby said it was unaware of any new evidence that would challenge the current position.

Good. Stick to your guns, boys.

Last year, the CMOs rejected a call for a ban on tackling in youth rugby.

Another relentless campaign. Who’s funding this crap? Want to bet it’s the taxpayer?

They said the benefits of learning, training and playing rugby outweighed the risks of injury.

And who’d want to bet that none of those trying to force these changes ever played rugby to any standard?

I hear the same thing is happening with American football across the pond: over-protective mothers and meddling feminists are running around waving scare stories about concussion, causing participation rates to plummet.

Prof Pollock said children who wanted to could still play contact rugby outside school, for clubs, but schools should not be able to enforce contact rugby.

Look, I grew up in Wales where rugby was a near-religion. I couldn’t run, pass, or tackle which meant I could only play prop, but I weighed six stone soaking wet and was skinny as a beanpole so that was out too. (I also knew to come in from the rain, further ruling me out as a prop.) So what did I do? Well, the lads who were decent got put in one group and the rest (like me) were put in another. The first lot did some proper rugby training and we just had a bit of a run about, enough to get us warm(ish), muddy, and out of breath. I don’t remember putting in many tackles, but you could if you wanted. But it was the boys in the first group who really benefited, because they would later go on to play club rugby and one or two even for Wales. If they were relying on clubs to teach them the basics most of them would never have gone, particularly the working class lads. Going to a rugby club relies on having parents who both care and have the time and means to take their kids there on a Saturday morning. Aren’t we forever being told we need to be more inclusive? It didn’t come much more inclusive than school rugby.

She said: “We call on the chief medical officers to act on the evidence and advise the UK government to put the interests of the child before those of corporate professional rugby unions and remove harmful contact from the school game.”

Oh please. Rugby has been a feature in schools since way before the game even turned professional. This woman hasn’t got the first clue what she’s on about.

The authors reported research that girls were found to be three or four times more likely than boys to be affected by symptoms of concussion for 28 days, and they also highlighted the links between head injuries and an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Wasn’t the argument for girls not playing rugby that they would not be up to it physically? Perhaps we ought to have listened, eh?

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The State of Women’s Football

The BBC has been running this story on its front page since last night, possibly assuming more than a dozen people give a shit:

Mark Sampson has been sacked as England women’s manager following evidence of “inappropriate and unacceptable” behaviour with female players in a previous role.

The Football Association says that last week it was made aware of the full details of safeguarding allegations made against Sampson in 2014 relating to his time as Bristol Academy manager.

Mark who? Oh, right. Okay. Women’s football. Sorry, where did I leave my paint-drying specs?

Saying that, I found the article illuminating but probably not in the way the BBC would want me to.

Sampson was also cleared this year of wrongdoing following discrimination allegations made by England [women] players, including Chelsea and England striker Eniola Aluko.

The concerns Eni Aluko raised were about perceived bullying and perceived racism. We have investigated those properly, there have been two separate investigations actually which have broadly concluded there’s no systematic evidence for that.

Top-flight women footballer complains about bullying and racism from her male coach. Subsequent investigation turns up no evidence to support the complaint. We then get a timeline (emphasis mine):

December 2013: Sampson becomes England manager having left Bristol Academy

May 2016: England forward Eniola Aluko is asked to participate in a cultural review of all England teams by the FA’s technical director Dan Ashworth.

December 2016: An independent investigation, led by barrister Katharine Newton, hears Aluko’s claims that during a meeting in 2015, Sampson made a “highly inappropriate remark”.

March 2017: The independent review clears Sampson and his staff of wrongdoing but it is understood that Aluko was paid £80,000 in a confidentiality agreement.

13 September 2017: FA says it received the full safeguarding review panel report on the allegations against Sampson.

14 September 2017: The FA says it could re-open its investigation into racism claims against Sampson after further evidence is submitted.

20 September 2017: Sampson sacked by FA

I’m building up a picture here. Are you?

Last week, the FA announced it was to re-open its investigation into separate discrimination claims against Sampson, first made in 2016.

Sampson was alleged to have asked mixed race England midfielder Drew Spence whether she had been arrested during a tournament in 2015, a claim which he denied.

The horrors!

The claim was first made by Spence’s England and Chelsea team-mate Aluko, and Spence has now submitted written evidence to support it.

In a further separate allegation, Aluko said Sampson told her to make sure her Nigerian relatives did not “bring Ebola” to an England game at Wembley in 2014.

Her background is Nigerian, eh?

Two investigations – one internal FA inquiry and one independent review led by barrister Katharine Newton – cleared Sampson of any wrongdoing.

He’s been cleared by two separate investigations, yet people are still unhappy.

Senior FA executives are set to face a parliamentary inquiry over the investigations after Aluko initially raised a “bullying and harassment” grievance against Sampson in response to an internal cultural review.

Parliamentary inquiries, investigations, grievances, internal cultural reviews? There is an entire sub-industry operating in women’s football it seems. Why, it’s almost as if…

Aluko, who has 102 caps and is a qualified lawyer…

Ah, they beat me to it.

Remember folks, this is a sport we’re constantly being encouraged to take seriously. Frankly, my solution would be to appoint a woman as the next England coach and let them get on with whatever the hell they want. Just don’t keep shoving stories about it under my nose, if I wanted high-drama about a load of women I’d watch Desperate Housewives.

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