Credit where none is due

I can see what’s happened here:

Twelve-year-old Michelle Flores shared a special moment with her family at FIU this past Saturday: She and her sister Gabriela joined their parents, FIU alumni Leonor and Henry Flores MIS ’01, to watch a 950-ton section of a pedestrian bridge swing into its permanent position across Southwest 8th Street.

Leonor Flores ’98 is a project executive and one of 63 FIU alumni who work for MCM, the construction firm building the FIU-Sweetwater UniversityCity Bridge, which will further connect FIU and its northerly neighbor, the City of Sweetwater. She was excited to share her work with her family, especially Michelle, who is interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in school.

Michelle said she might want to follow in her parents’ footsteps and go to FIU when the time comes, and that it was fascinating to see her mom’s work in action. “I’m interested in the architecture and the design of the bridge, and the math portion of it,” she said.

Said Leonor: “It’s very important for me as a woman and an engineer to be able to promote that to my daughter, because I think women have a different perspective. We’re able to put in an artistic touch and we’re able to build, too.”

Then the bridge collapsed across eight lanes of highway crushing people underneath, and FIU provided this update:

UPDATE, March 16, 2018, 11 a.m.: To clarify, Leonor Flores did not work on the FIU-Sweetwater UniversityCity Bridge project in any capacity.

When you read the original text carefully, you can see it doesn’t actually say that Flores worked on the bridge. But by including her heart-warming tale of women in engineering in a story about a bridge installation, that’s what they implied. It was a deliberate attempt to link Flores and female engineers in general with this particular project, which at the time was looking like a success and attracting publicity. However, now people across the internet are questioning the wisdom of having a woman put “an artistic touch” to something that goes on to fail in deadly fashion, they’re having to come clean.

This sort of manipulation is not unusual in modern engineering projects, or anywhere else in today’s corporate world. I once worked for a large multinational engineering firm who had on their books a rather photogenic female Russian safety engineer. Sure enough, she featured prominently in several of the quarterly magazines (or whatever they call those propaganda rags that get hoyed in the bin by anyone who does something useful). Now she wasn’t a terrible engineer, but she didn’t deserve so many puff-pieces in short succession. Speaking to friends and colleagues who’ve worked on sites and in yards around the world, whenever there’s a photo session going on the women and ethnic minorities are placed in prominent positions and white men told to stand to the side, preferably behind a large object. An exception is in Nigeria where a European woman, who’d played a key role in the engineering of the installation, was asked to remove herself from the group because having no white people in the photo made Nigerians happier. Go through the prospectus of any company or organisation these days and you’ll get interviews and quotes from women and ethnic minorities, half of whom I suspect don’t even work there. I am absolutely sure most of the “staff” photos are from stock.

I don’t mind women or ethnic minorities being interviewed, and I even don’t get upset if they’re given a little more prominence than perhaps they deserve (it’s PR, after all). But to interview someone who wasn’t even involved with the project is pretty cynical. I’m sure there were women working on this bridge and doing a fine job, but presumably couldn’t provide a twelve year old daughter who comes out with cutesy lines right on cue. I wonder what they thought of the interview when it was first published? I can imagine “Who the fuck is she?” was asked quite a lot.

If companies want people to take women in engineering seriously they need to quit pulling stunts like this, or they might as well go and hire actors.

(With thanks to Lord T and JerryC in the comments.)


Indian Takeaway

Following yesterday’s rather serious post and the heated discussions that followed (thanks everybody), here’s something a little lighter:

Is online dating racist?

A question that keeps my readers awake at night, I am sure.

It’s hard out there on hook-up apps — but it’s even more of a challenge when you have an ethnic name, says Radhika Sanghani

I have more than 100 messages in my Tinder inbox from men of all different races, and a quick count suggests that a quarter of those mention my race/ethnicity/name in some capacity — even the fellow Indians.

She’s on a hookup app where one’s interest is signaled based on looks alone. Tinder’s use varies between countries, but in London it’s main function is to find a simple, uncomplicated date for the same evening followed by meaningless sex. She pretty much admits this in the next sentence:

There are questions about where I’m from, whether I’m religious

If you’re online looking for a serious relationship, asking where a potential partner is from and their religious beliefs seems somewhat sensible. Of course, if all you’re looking for is a crude shag with some random bloke, I can understand why such questions feel like an intrusion. Better just skip the small talk and get down to business. Women are empowered these days, don’t you know?

It’s exhausting having to field questions constantly about your ethnicity but the real problem is the racial bias that underlies it.

A Tinder profile comes with a set of pictures and your name. Insofar as talking points go, there’s not really much to go on so anything remotely unusual gets picked up on, e.g. a tattoo, or a funny hair colour, an exotic setting – or a foreign name. And yes, you’re in the UK not India. If I were to set up a Tinder profile in Delhi with the name John Smith I’d be fielding a lot of questions as to where I’m from compared to someone going by the name of Harbhajan Singh.

I wouldn’t mind talking to people about the meaning of my name (I’m named after a goddess, naturally) if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve been unmatched when people realise I’m originally Indian.

Not everyone in the UK wants to date an Indian. And I wonder how many of these unmatchings occurred when the question “Are you Indian?” was followed by three screens worth of feminist harangue.

I’ve been asked about cooking curry, and I’ve been fetished for my skin colour.

Exotic foreign woman on hook-up app complains about men liking her skin colour? Start burning those bras sisters, there is much work yet to be done!

Research from OkCupid shows that black and Asian women are less popular on the dating app than white and Latina women — with black women ranking as the least popular.

Dating apps seem to be the last bastion of the internet where one can actually state ones preferences without fear of being branded racist and hounded off the platform. I expect this won’t last long.

“On an individual level, a person can’t really control who turns them on — and almost everyone has a ‘type’, one way or another,” says app co-founder Christian Rudder. “But I do think the trend — the fact that race is a sexual factor for so many individuals, and in such a consistent way — says something about race’s role in our society.”

Oh, it does. It says that, in general, people prefer dating partners of their own race, and that a minority find other races exotic. But we didn’t need data from dating apps to learn this.

Another app, The Grade, ranks the “hottest” names for men and women in terms of receiving the most matches online. There is not a single obviously ethnic name in the top 50 for either sex, with the most popular including Erika, Lexi, Brianna for women

To me, this suggests men are attracted to women who share their names with porn stars.

In a bid to prove this racial bias on apps I once changed my name from Radhika to Rachel. I kept my photos and bio the same and swiped left on 100 men for both avatars. In an hour, Rachel had 28 matches — double the amount as Radhika — and not one of hers asked about race. Radhika wasn’t so lucky.

So men prefer dating women who, based on the extremely limited information available, are more likely to share their language and culture. Also, note that earlier in the piece she was complaining people were asking her about her name and “fetishing her skin colour”. Now she’s complaining people are put off by her name. So if you like her name and ask about it, it’s a problem. But so too is not liking her name. She sounds a bit confused, the sort of person best avoided on a dating app – or anywhere else.

The hope is that things are starting to change. In a study this year, Tinder found that 68 per cent of its users are “very open” to the idea of interracial dating or marriage

Tinder? Marriage? Gulp.

When I was with my (white) ex, I did notice our lack of emoji representation, and in true #FirstWorldProblem style, was forced to use separate emojis to symbolise our relationship.

I can’t imagine why this lady is still single.

Interracial emojis will fix this problem,

Ranking alongside penicillin, the transistor, and the internal combustion engine as a contributor to the betterment of mankind.

and may even join the royals in spreading awareness of the very real issues couples of different races still face today.

Few people are better placed to communicate the difficulties everyday mixed race couples face than a prince and a TV celebrity (whose blackness I am only aware of because people won’t stop going on about it; I certainly couldn’t tell by looking at her).

As a journalist and author with a public profile, I have added struggles.

Yes, I’m getting that impression.

Apps such as Tinder and Bumble automatically link to your Facebook account, so potential dates know my first name and profession.

I thought you were a journalist?

For Radhikas who are journalists, this is enough to pull up everything about me on Google, including articles that touch on past relationships and political views.

This would explain those sudden unmatchings. How do women with Indian names who aren’t insane fare on Tinder?

It means I’ve been on far too many first dates where men have admitted they’ve Googled me.

Everyone does this, including her. And she seems to have been on a lot of dates, but she’s still single. I can’t think why.

In a bid to escape the weight of my ethnic name, I have resorted to drastic measures. I have created a new Facebook account with my nickname “Rad” to link up to my dating profiles


I do feel guilty about it — am I denying my roots just to get a date? — and it brings with it the awkwardness of realising you’re on a third date with someone who still doesn’t know your full name.

Word’s probably got around that anyone who mentions your name, or asks anything about it, or makes a passing reference to your roots will find themselves on the receiving end of a lengthy diatribe on racism. And if they met you on Tinder, they’re likely more interested in the name of your nearest Underground station than your surname.

Plus, it works. Not a single man has managed to ambush me with my life history on a first date since I became Rad.

So the measure of success of her dating efforts is not actually finding a partner, but avoiding anyone talking about her background, culture, job, political views, and articles she’s written when on a date.

I fear it will take more than interracial emojis to help this woman.


Women’s Day

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day.

In Russia, when I was there, this meant the women from the office would get dressed up, apply makeup, do their hair, and be showered with chocolates and flowers by all the men and after lunch they’d crack open the champagne and get drunk, celebrating the joys of being a woman.

In the west, from what I can tell, a subset of women piss and moan about how terrible it is being a woman and demand their lives are improved at the expense of men. The majority of women carry on as normal.

This morning on the BBC we had a female presenter (the same one I mentioned in this post) say something like this:

“There are reports that women find it harder than men to attract investment from hedge funds and other investors. Which is surprising because many women start their own businesses. They’ve realised that with having a family and taking care of kids they can’t have a full career in a big company, so they start up on their own to get the work-life balance they want.”

I’m trying to think of something more damaging to the campaign for women to be taken more seriously in the workplace than having a female presenter come out with that on national television. Her guest, another woman, wholeheartedly agreed.

I miss Russia.


Have Roof, Want Sex

From the BBC:

“All I’m asking for is sex in exchange, yeah?”

It’s a Friday evening in central London and I’m sat across the table from a 25-year-old man who is offering to share his east London bedroom with me, rent-free. The catch? I’ll have to have regular sex with him if I want to keep a roof over my head.

He is not the only man offering rent for sex. When I log on to a popular classified adverts website, almost immediately I find dozens of ads offering rooms in exchange for “adult arrangements”.

Isn’t this pretty much a marriage, minus the white dress and expensive ceremony? Oh wait:

“It’ll be fun,” he says. “Trust me.”

Not a marriage, then.

I arrange to meet a number of landlords – and am stunned by the diversity of people I meet. One is just 24 years old, another is offering up his daughter’s bedroom now that she’s at university, and a third says I can stay in a log cabin he built in his back garden – if I’m willing to have sex with him in return. Most of the landlords I meet live alone, but one says he has tenants, and then there’s the guy who lives in a London house share who wants to tell his housemates I’m his girlfriend.

Man provides woman with basic material needs in return for sex. A Pulizter beckons.

The 24-year-old landlord, who I meet in Scotland, says he’s looking for “sex every second day or something” and tells me he is “taking the human aspect out” of sex. “I’m treating it as a business transaction,” he says.

Millenials are so bone idle even Tinder is too much effort.

I’ve portrayed myself to these men as a vulnerable young woman who is struggling financially and has nowhere to go. I’m struck by how nonchalant these landlords appear while asking me to sleep with them in order to keep a roof over my head. They don’t seem to consider how I might be affected by what they’re asking of me.

Why should they? Firstly, you’re a complete stranger selling them a sob-story. Secondly, you can always say no. Thirdly, whatever happened to strong, independent women taking on the world as it is?

In fact, most of the landlords don’t seem to feel they’re doing anything wrong – but Rent For Sex adverts could be illegal. Offering a room in a house in exchange for sex might be classified as incitement into prostitution, which carries a prison sentence of up to seven years in England and Wales.

This assumes any woman accepting accommodation in return for sex is a prostitute. Or, presumably, any woman entering into a mutually beneficial arrangement where she gets material comforts and the man gets sex. We’re back to marriage again, aren’t we?

In fact, when I wrote to the landlords after our meetings to reveal the investigation and ask for their response, only two replied. One said he was looking for a consensual sexual agreement and had done nothing wrong…

A reasonable answer, I think.

But the reality is that the people responding to these adverts are likely to be broke, vulnerable and have nowhere else to go.

So they expect to be accommodated for free by a complete stranger? And supposing some are quite happy to put out in return for three squares a day and a warm bed, even if it is in a log cabin out the back? What business is it of a middle-class SJW? Who made her matron?

I met a young woman who had entered a ‘Rent For Sex’ arrangement when she was 20.

And I wrote an entire book about a young woman who entered a “Passport for Sex” arrangement when she was 21. It’s a handy route to US citizenship, apparently. There’s even a TV show based around the same premise. This isn’t something new.

She didn’t realise what the arrangement was until she moved into the property and realised she’d be sharing a bed with the landlord. She told him she didn’t want to sleep with him, but he would consistently try to touch her. “He didn’t force himself on me, so I am grateful for that.”

She didn’t go to the property during the day and ask “Where’s my room?”

She was homeless before meeting him, and stayed there a long time despite the harassment for fear of becoming homeless again.

Again, what did she expect? Free accommodation?

When I asked the landlord about it, he said he believed the fact she had stayed meant she was not unhappy. He claimed he never asked for or had sexual intercourse with her.

This seems broadly consistent with the girl’s account, does it not? He sounds less like a sexual predator than some sad, lonely old bastard who thought doing a homeless stray a favour would mean she’d sleep with him. Other than pathetically pawing her in the night, he doesn’t seem to have done her much harm.

I confronted a middle-aged landlord who was offering a Rent For Sex arrangement at the Newcastle flat he lives in, alone. Initially, he stormed out of the café where we’d met, but he eventually agreed to talk. He told me he was looking for “companionship”, saying, “it wasn’t just about the sex”.

So the guy is looking for a girlfriend, albeit going about it in a cack-handed way probably because he’s desperate. Is this so bad?

He told me he “didn’t know he was doing anything wrong”. When we explained that a woman staying with him might have felt obliged to have sex, even if she didn’t want to, in order to avoid homelessness, he said he understood that this is a grey area for consent.

Apparently it’s now wrong to do anything for a woman that might make them feel obliged to have sex, even if she’s not in the mood? Married men are in more trouble than I thought.

The landlords I met did not seem to grasp that what they are doing is wrong.

Well, yes. Not everyone shares the values of a chippy middle-class feminist. Sure, some of these men sound like scumbags or weirdos, but you can’t expect the entire world to be handing out free accommodation to waifs who’ve fallen on hard times.

“In our society, it seems acceptable for people to wield their power over the vulnerable in order to get what they want, no questions asked,” explains Ellen Moran of Acorn, a tenants union and anti-poverty group.

Because attractive young women never wield power over men in order to get what they want. Yes, it’s always the men doing the exploiting, isn’t it?

“That power is entrenched and such actions are ignored by law enforcers.”

This woman wants the police to monitor consensual sexual relations.

Her organisation is now campaigning for a change in legislation to make Rent for Sex specifically illegal – possibly under modern slavery laws – so that landlords can be prosecuted.

There are going to be a lot of men in prison if providing accommodation in return for occasional sex becomes a criminal offence. And will women who enter into any such arrangement be charged with prostitution?

Sometimes, though, this happens because people are alienated in their society to such an extent that they crave physical affection without knowing considerate ways to get it. Sometimes it is a mixture of those two things.”

So sad, lonely bastards offer homeless women a roof and a hot shower in return for companionship and, possibly, sex. Unless there is assault or rape going on, what the hell is the problem here? Any man entering into such an arrangement is likely to end up with a far bigger headache than the woman.

“The authorities need to publicly recognise that it is a crime and act on that by prosecuting in order to dissuade perpetrators,” says Moran.

“We need real change in order to solve this problem.”

And here we are, back to the morality of modern feminism: women should utilise their sexual freedoms for any purpose and without restraint, but men should be prosecuted just for trying to exercise their own.


Surprising results fail to surprise

An article on incivility at work:

Women report more incivility experiences at work than men, but who is at fault for instigating these mildly deviant behaviors? One UA researcher set out to answer that question, with surprising results.

Surprising for whom?

“Across the three studies, we found consistent evidence that women reported higher levels of incivility from other women than their male counterparts,” Gabriel said. “In other words, women are ruder to each other than they are to men, or than men are to women.

“This isn’t to say men were off the hook or they weren’t engaging in these behaviors,” she noted. “But when we compared the average levels of incivility reported, female-instigated incivility was reported more often than male-instigated incivility by women in our three studies.”

This will only be surprising to those who have never observed women sharing a workplace.

Participants also were asked to complete trait inventories of their personalities and behaviors to determine if there were any factors that contributed to women being treated uncivilly. The research showed that women who defied gender norms by being more assertive and dominant at work were more likely to be targeted by their female counterparts, compared to women who exhibited fewer of those traits.

I understand there are entire programs devoted to encouraging women to be more assertive in the workplace. Now we find this serves to attract the ire of other women. Meanwhile, men are busy getting on with the job, and their lives.

The researchers also found that when men acted assertive and warm — in general, not considered the norm for male behavior — they reported lower incivility from their male counterparts. This suggests men actually get a social credit for partially deviating from their gender stereotypes, a benefit that women are not afforded.

Hang on. Men acted assertive and warm. The previous paragraph said nothing about assertive women displaying warmth. Probably because they’d not found a single example of it across all three studies.

Evidence emerged in the three studies that companies may face a greater risk of losing female employees who experience female-instigated incivility, as they reported less satisfaction at work and increased intentions to quit their current jobs in response to these unpleasant experiences.

Yet we need to increase female participation in the workforce.

Organizations should make sure they also send signals that the ideas and opinions of all employees are valued, and that supporting others is crucial for business success — that is, acting assertively should not be viewed negatively, but as a positive way for employees to voice concerns and speak up.

Acting assertively isn’t viewed negatively if the person in question – either male or female – retains some form of humanity and doesn’t come across as a nasty, vindictive, petty individual bent on settling personal scores. Perhaps the best solution all around is not to employ assholes of either sex? Sadly, most modern corporations seem to recruit their management teams primarily for that characteristic.


Survivor’s Demise

Two tweets over the last couple of days inspire this post. Here’s the first:

Up until recently, the term survivor was reserved for people who were alive when the odds said they probably ought to be dead. People who stave off cancer, for example, or those who walk away from a plane crash in which most other people were killed. “Survivor” was never used to describe somebody who is still alive after merely being in close proximity to a catastrophic event, or having had their chances of dying increased. Even soldiers who come through a battle or war aren’t described as survivors, except on those rare occasions when a unit is almost obliterated.

But in the past couple of years American liberals, particularly feminists, have started applying the term to any woman who has been raped, sexually assaulted, or – in some instances – had mean things said to her. Now being raped or sexually assaulted is pretty horrific, but they are not, in general, life-threatening. Sure, women do get raped and murdered, and anyone who survives an attempted rape and murder is a survivor; but being raped alone does not merit the term.

I may sound harsh here, but the recent use of the term survivor is a deliberate hijacking of the language for political purposes. The people who use it inappropriately, as Antonova does above, do so because they believe it gives their cause moral authority, granting their side of the argument a gravitas it doesn’t deserve. “I’ve met trafficking victims” would be far more accurate, but doesn’t carry the same force as a word which implies these women are exceptionally lucky to be alive. Yes, trafficked women do get killed. Yes, being trafficked is horrific. But it’s not, in terms of mortality, the same as being in a ferry sinking or a plane crash. Nor is trafficking the same as attempted murder. If victims of campus sexual assaults deserved the term survivor, and these assaults were happening at the rate feminists say they are, the grounds of American colleges would look like the beaches of Iwo Jima.

Over the last few days, the term has been hijacked further – again for political purposes – to describe any teenage left-wing political activist who might have been somewhere in the vicinity of the Parkland school shooting. Now if you were cowering under the desk with bullets flying around you, watching your classmates getting shot, then I’d grant you the right to call yourself a survivor. If you were in the class next door and jumped out the window before the gunman came in and massacred those who remained, perhaps then also. But if you were merely at the school – which covered several acres – and did nothing more than hear the gunshots I’ll concede you’ve been through a very traumatic experience which should not be dismissed out of hand, but you’re not a survivor in any meaningful sense.

But what we’re now seeing is a bunch of teenagers from Parkland school catapulted onto the national stage to argue in favour of progressive political policies and given “survivor” status to justify their new-found fame and to deflect criticism. As one person on Twitter wrote:

When I was at school an Argentinian boy was killed when a tree blew over in storm, crushing a load of those underneath. They were out playing army cadets and had taken shelter under an enormous beech tree. The squall was short but brutal, and blew the thing over. At the time I was a few hundred metres away, also playing army cadets, and I sheltered my squad under a different tree. When I heard screams and saw people racing to the other side of the playing fields I knew something was up, so ran over myself. I found utter carnage, a dozen or so bashed-up schoolboys in army gear lying in a jumbled pile of wood and branches, blood everywhere. The dead lad – Nick Montanaro – caught a branch right on the back of his head, and his face been covered by a combat jacket by the time I got there. I still remember how grey his hands were, though. By some miracle he was the only fatality, but a couple of the other kids were badly smashed up. Once had severe leg injuries, but I think everyone made a full recovery. I’d say the fellows who were under the tree at the time could call themselves survivors, especially the ones who were injured, but the idea that I was a survivor of that incident is preposterous.

It’s another example of a perfectly reasonable and useful term with little ambiguity that has been hijacked by the left and rendered meaningless. My advice is to assume anyone using it inappropriately is flogging an agenda, and shouldn’t be taken seriously.


A helpful response to my post:


White-Knights and Prostitutes

*This post has been updated*

A month or so back some people I follow on Twitter who are Russian-focused recommended someone’s writing, so I followed her. Thus far I’ve not seen much to justify the recommendation (her latest piece is a lame satire of Trump, as if there’s a shortage of that sort of thing) but following such people can nevertheless throw up some interesting discussion points. Last night the lady in question, a Ukrainian-American, took to Twitter to complain about how men stereotype her. Here’s how I responded to one of her tweets:

Bear in mind she started the topic with “Let’s talk about stereotypes of Slavic women”, and that she purports to be a professional writer and journalist; in my naivety I thought maybe she actually wanted a discussion. It turned out she didn’t, but I see no reason why I shouldn’t have one here.

Russian women do get stereotyped and it can be unpleasant for a normal woman when its assumed she’s a whore. But, as I point out in my tweet, there’s a reason for this. My Turkish friend, for example, takes a very dim view of Russian women because in her home country they are synonymous with the thousands of prostitutes who turned up to ply their trade, many of whom were at the very low end of the business having unprotected sex with truck drivers which spread disease and broke up families. It might be a view that’s unfair to Russian women, but my friend hasn’t had the pleasure of meeting ordinary Russians and so she’s going on what she knows. And there is no denying that there are a lot of Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish prostitutes working in European cities – more than Turkish, Egyptian, and Portuguese, for instance.

If I walk into a bar in Thailand, or even down the street, the locals assume I’m interested in a prostitute. If I found myself in Pat’s Bar in Lagos after the rugby had finished, most people in there would think I was after a prostitute. If I went into the York International Hotel in Dubai in 2004, most people would assume I was there for the hookers. Similarly, when Brits turn up in certain Mediterranean holiday resorts, the locals expect trouble. If the England soccer team are playing away, the local police flip the safety catch off the water cannon before they’ve even cleared immigration. Any discussion on stereotypes and assumptions made about you based on your nationality must take into account the origins of those stereotypes. So in the case of this lady above, she ought to at least acknowledge that, for many people – especially the Arabs and South Asians she mentions specifically – the only Russian or Ukrainian women they’ve ever encountered have been prostitutes, and that many of her compatriots are prostitutes.

Ah, but this is Twitter and I should have known better. Within minutes of posting the white-knights appeared.


Alas, this is pretty standard on Twitter: a vaguely attractive woman posts something and you get a handful of men falling over themselves to agree with her. If you say something remotely contradictory, they all pile in. This is why I am so fond of this pic (origin unknown):

Naturally, the original poster didn’t respond, but was content to like the responses to me. But that’s by the by. What i found ironic is the assumption that these tens of thousands of Russian and Ukrainian women who worked as prostitutes had no choice (note the usual lefty debating trick of deliberately conflating “most”, “many”, and “all”).

There’s a habit of western men when they first meet a bunch of developing-world prostitutes to assume they’re all bright young things down on their luck whom life has dealt a miserable hand and they’re in need of saving by someone just like them. Anyone who’s spent more than five minutes with a bunch of third-world prostitutes will know they’re ruthless bitches who have lied so many times they barely remember their real name. When it comes to Russian prostitutes, they became adept at telling gullible men they were well-educated and wanted to work in a normal job but had no choice but to become prostitutes in Dubai and Bangkok because of the economic hardships at home. I used to hear this back in 2003-4, then I worked out these women were not well-educated, they came from broken homes with seriously fucked-up childhoods, and simply made the choice to make some good money quickly. Again this is fair enough, but one should never forget that for every woman who chose to become  a prostitute, there are plenty who faced the same hardships but chose differently.

Now there might have been some women from Russia and Ukraine forced into prostitution, by which I mean they’re in chains and controlled by gangsters, but I I’m not convinced more than a negligible number work abroad in such conditions. Certainly this was the case when I lived in Dubai, because the girls would have talked about it. They were bound to their sponsors once they got there (as are many legitimate workers) but nobody forced them to come, or hoodwinked them. Long-time readers may remember I actually witnessed one girl being recruited for the job when I made that trip to Nizhnekamsk in 2004 in the company of another girl who knew the process rather well and, without batting an eyelid, told me everything about how it works. And as has been discussed in the comments at Tim Worstall’s on several occasions, trafficking Eastern European women for the purposes of prostitution makes absolutely no sense whatsoever: all major cities are awash with young women working voluntarily and prepared to do pretty much anything for a couple of hundred quid. Where’s the economic sense in kidnapping a woman, chaining her to a bed, and risking a lengthy jail term for people-trafficking in such a market?

What the white-knights are doing is assuming these poor Russians and Ukrainians had no choice but to become prostitutes, thereby implying any Russian or Ukrainian will turn to prostitution should the right economic conditions arise. Given these remarks appear in a thread in support of a Ukrainian woman complaining men often presume she’s a hooker, it’s rather ironic. Even more ironic is she approves of these remarks. It’s a funny place, Twitter.


The whole thing turned into a big pile-on yesterday afternoon. One person in particular took objection to being called a white-knight:

A man on the internet leaping to the defence of a woman who is “a personal friend” after incorrectly believing someone insulted her, followed by an attempt to look tough, is pretty much the textbook definition of a white-knight. Does this guy not realise he’s so deep in the friend zone that he could tweet his little fingers off all day long and still not get anywhere? His threats didn’t stop there, however:

I’m trembling so much my knees are knocking.

Some others were simply dim, chief among them this woman:

She’d give Cathy Newman a run for her money. Then white-knight pops up again:

According to Twitter, the reputation Russian and Ukrainian women have in the Middle East and elsewhere stems from women who were trafficked there, forced into prostitution against their will. If you follow the thread, we learn none of them have actually met any of these women – but from their offices in the US and Canada they have read reports and studied papers which show they have been trafficked and few are there voluntarily. How so many are free to take boyfriends and get married remains a mystery. Perhaps their pimps are the romantic sort?

Finally, given this started out with various women complaining men treat them like prostitutes, allow me to pass on some advice to my female readership. If you find men are routinely presuming you to be a prostitute, I recommend you:

1. Look at the places you are hanging out in.

2. Look at the men you are hanging out with.

3. Look at your own behaviour.

I know many women, and many Russian and Ukrainian women; very few have told me they get mistaken for a prostitute. If it’s a problem for women, it doesn’t appear to be universal.


Breast Practices

This story amused me:

A transgender woman has been able to breastfeed a baby in the first recorded case of its kind, researchers say.

The woman had been on hormone replacement therapy for six years, but had not gender reassignment surgery, when she approached doctors with the aim of breastfeeding the child.

Before the baby was born, doctors put her on a three-and-a-half-month course of treatment to help her artificially produce milk, usually given to women who have adopted babies or who have them via surrogates.

This included breast pumping, taking hormones produced by biological mothers, a drug which can stimulate milk production and a male hormone blocker.

For some time now, breastfeeding mothers have been nagged into monitoring very carefully what they eat and drink, telling them that any nasties they consume will be passed onto their infant child via the breast milk. I suspect this is largely propaganda aimed at frightening mothers into adopting puritan lifestyles, but it has been very effective. I have met several breastfeeding mothers who will not even have a glass of wine, certain that to do so will harm their baby, and women who drink while breastfeeding receive disapproving looks and remarks from prodnoses nearby.

Yet here we are celebrating the fact that a man, having been pumped full of chemicals in the hope that his body will start mimicking a woman’s, is breastfeeding. I’ve always known consistency was an early casualty of the progressive cause, but it’s not always stated as plainly as this.


Are the giant overseas charities another Hollywood?

Two things. Here’s the first:

Mark Goldring, the chief executive, claimed critics motivated by an anti-aid agenda were “gunning” for Oxfam leaving the charity “savaged”.

In an interview with The Guardian, he said: “The intensity and ferocity of the attack makes you wonder, what did we do? We murdered babies in their cots?

The second:

The husband of the murdered MP Jo Cox has resigned from the two charities he set up in her memory after being publicly accused of sexual assault.

Together they made me come up with a theory.

The revelations that Oxfam was running orgies in disaster areas confirmed my long-held suspension that these giant do-gooder organisations are run by people who don’t consider themselves accountable to anyone, probably because they genuinely see themselves as modern day saints. Goldring’s comments are the words of man who thinks he operates on a higher plane than us lowly plebs, and lives in a world completely detached from the man on the street. The news about Brandon Cox being a sex pest only surprised me because I had no idea who he was until his wife was murdered, but those who knew of him before aren’t surprised in the least.

So here we have an industry whose leaders virtue-signal for a profession yet appear to tolerate gross and blatant sexual misconduct and turn a blind eye to sex pests. We’ve been here before, haven’t we? Could it be that what we saw with Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood is replicated across the charitable sector? All the signs are there. We have a closed industry protected by powerful politicians and the media where older men hold considerable sway with a steady stream of young, impressionable men and women turning up to help out in any way they can. How do you think the assignments are doled out among the volunteers? Who gets to stay in which hotel, ride in which vehicle, sleep in which tent? In whose lap do the plum jobs land, and who makes the decision? A lot of these people are volunteers so there’s no question of the organisations recruiting and paying for marketable skills like a commercial business does. If a pretty young thing shows up in the developing world for volunteer work in an organisation which doesn’t think twice about decking out Haitian waifs in company t-shirts and shagging them in front of everybody in a penthouse apartment, do you think nobody is going to make a move on her? Nobody is going to invite her up to the hotel room for a drink or two, and make promises of promotion in return for her nocturnal company?

There’s also the fact that these do-gooder organisations are very left wing, and as I’ve written before, many young left wing women tend to make themselves extremely vulnerable by judging a man’s character solely by his political opinions. Provided the man is spouting the right progressive mantra, dim lefty women seem quite unable to spot he’s a sex pest. And because he is spouting the right progressive mantra, those with power will defend him, and destroy her, when she complains. Like the protest groups and polyamorist circles, these organisations are ripe for sexual predators to come in, flatter the people in charge with a few well-placed lines of boilerplate progressivism, and help themselves to any fucked-up young men or women who come their way.

So here’s my prediction. In the next few days, weeks, or months we’re going to hear of quite startling revelations of sexual assaults on volunteers working for the big charities or environmental groups which would make Harvey Weinstein wish he’d answered that request to make a documentary with one of them after all. We’ll hear of a class of untouchable senior managers who openly boast of taking their pick of the prettiest staff, make blatant approaches towards underlings during parties and drinking sessions in the hotel bars, and all of this will be common knowledge among anyone involved with the group. Complaints would have been lodged and either ignored or the complainant hounded out of town, and national news reporters would have received dozens of stories but declined to run them through fear of upsetting their friends and political allies. Now The Times has broken ranks and published the Oxfam revelations, and stories are pouring in of similar happenings in other charities, I reckon they’ll be a new #metoo movement springing up before we know it. I find it highly unlikely, set up and staffed as they are, that such incidents are not commonplace in the big overseas charities and environmental groups.

You read it here first.


You’re through to a feminist, how may I lecture you today?

An article on sexism, from the BBC:

Although you are likely to have dealt with both male and female call centre agents, the fact is that 71% of workers in the global call centre industry are female. Dubbed the “female ghetto” or, more positively, “female-friendly workplaces”, women are significantly over-represented in call centres.

My initial, gut-instinct response is that, with women now pouring into the workplace by the million, someone needed to find something for them to do. Hence the growth of HR departments, process-driven bureaucracies, NGOs, and – for the dimmer women out there – call centres.

With the closure of factories, automation, and a shrinking army the options for dim young men are narrowing, but they can still work as security guards or lug stuff around on a building site. But what are the dim women supposed to do, now they’ve been encouraged (or forced, due to house prices) to enter into the workforce? Cashiers are dwindling thanks to automation brought about in part by the minimum wage, leaving them with few options outside a call centre. The author has other ideas, though:

My research sheds light on this phenomenon. After extensive interviews with call centre managers and agents, as well as an investigation into the industry’s working culture and practices in Scotland and Denmark, it became clear that call centres are built on the sexist attitudes embedded in society.

Of course. What else could it be?

Call centres are intensely regulated and target-driven work places. Agents are instructed to speak to customers in certain ways. The extent to which they follow these instructions is monitored by managers, and their salaries and career advancement can depend upon it.

Agents may be told to use the customer’s name, create small talk and interject with prescribed “listening sounds” such as “aha”, “OK” and “I see”. The purpose is to ensure that agents keep the call on track and also give the impression of a personalised service.

Call centre employees need to be agreeable? I’m not sure this required much research to figure out, but okay.

When I compared male and female call centre agents’ compliance with the language prescriptions, an interesting pattern emerged: it was invariably the female agents who complied more. This was the case for both the Scottish and the Danish women.

Women are more agreeable than men, on average, so tend to do well in customer service roles. Who knew?

Why would female agents comply more than their male colleagues with the linguistic prescriptions?

Because their natural behaviours are more in line with what their managers are asking them to do? Apparently not:

There is evidence from child development and schooling research that girls are rewarded for complying with the rules and sanctioned more severely than boys for breaking them – such as messing around or shouting out in class.

Women working in call-centres are more agreeable than men because when they were at school they were cowed into submission by sexist teachers. Like many profound revelations, it’s obvious once pointed out.

It is conceivable that these socialised differences carry over into the workplace. These differences then show up particularly clearly in highly regimented workplaces, where following instructions and meeting targets is how your performance is measured.

Note that none of these differences are natural; they’re purely socialised.

Greater female rule keeping would explain both these phenomena. But while rule compliance is valued and rewarded in schools, by the time young women enter the professional arena it may start to work against them.

On the contrary, the plethora of process-driven corporate and government departments seems to have sprung up at precisely the time women entered the professional workplace en masse.

It keeps them in highly regimented jobs with low prestige and little influence.

This will come as a surprise to anyone who’s worked in a modern corporation.

Interviews with call centre managers and recruiters suggest that female workers are preferred over males because they stick to the rules.

Women being preferred over men is an example of revolting sexism against women, is it?

Of course, greater female rule compliance is just one among several explanations for why women are disproportionately represented in call centre jobs. Some women may choose themselves to work in call centres. Call centre work is often amenable to flexible working, which makes it attractive to women of child-rearing age. And, of course, there are deep-rooted beliefs in society about the different strengths of each gender. Service jobs require emotional labour, which women are believed to be particularly good at.

And just like that, the premise of the entire article disappears in a puff of smoke. But the author being a senior lecturer in English Language and applied linguistics, from the Open University no less, soldiers on:

Call centres have opened up new opportunities for women in the UK and across the world. However, in the longer term, the over-recruitment of women to the industry could be detrimental to gender equality.

Translation: women deserve better jobs than working in nasty call centres. Because, wimminz.

Call centre jobs are notorious worldwide for their high levels of turnover, absenteeism, employee burnout and emotional exhaustion. Agents are at constant risk of angry outbursts from customers, sexual harassment and outright abuse.

As if men don’t find themselves working dirty, dangerous, poorly-paid, and soul-destroying jobs.

If women are driven into these low-paid and stressful jobs, where they have little influence and low status, talent will be lost.

Just think of all those potential power-skirts wasting away in a cubicle under the colossal weight of a headset.

It also potentially discriminates against men who could and would want to do the job.

Heh! I like this: men shouldn’t be discriminated against for jobs we feminists think are beneath us. For the good jobs, we need quotas and diversity targets.

If we want to have a more diverse workforce and exploit everyone’s talent to its full potential, it is time to start challenging call centre recruitment practices.

And there’s the gender equality movement in a nutshell: we want women to have all the well-paid, cushy jobs in air-conditioned offices; the men can do all the shit we don’t want to.