Friday, 10 December 2010

British Feminist Kat Banyard - Hardtalk BBC TV programme.

Watch or download:

(The following is a discussion between a feminist, and a black female journalist.

There is more than I have space to summarize here, but I do recommend watching this programme to see the feminist make some rather ridiculous claims, which she is not allowed to get away with.

I also found it quite amusing when they get into the subject of women and race.)

'Is it still a mans world?

So many decades after the feminist and womens lib movement, one young British activist believes equality is still just an illusion in the west.

My guest today on Hardtalk is Kat Banyard. Described as Britains most influencial young feminist.

How far is womens inequality tied up with sexual politics?'

Interviewer to Banyard: "Why do you believe it's still a mans world?"

Banyard: "Well, there's not a single country on earth, where women have the same access to economic resources and political power that men do."

Interviewer to Banyard: "What are the main threats to womens equality, in your view?"

Banyard: "Well, we're still fighting old battles. So, violence against women*, rape*, domestic violence*. We're still trying to translate legal pledges such as the right to equal pay*, which is not felt in this country. But we also face new challenges. I think theres non so great, and so harmful, as the global sex industry."

Interviewer to Banyard: " Lets just take the United Kingdom where you've based most of your research. There are 30 million women in the UK, less than a quarter of 1 percent work in the sex industry. How does that fact translate to women in society at large?"

Banyard: "Because the sex industry doesnt exist in a vacuum. So the attitudes, the beliefs that drive so many men to think its acceptable to buy women in prostitution. To buy women that perform in strip clubs, are beliefs that are coming from the society that we all live in."

Interviewer to Banyard: "But Im still not clear how the dehumanization of women through pornography and the sex industry has an impact on the pay gap between men and women, that you talk about here in Britain. What is that link?"

Banyard: "Well, essentially, its the belief that women are 'lesser'. Of 'lesser' value.

Interviewer to Banyard: "Who has that belief?"

Banyard: "Well, its embedded in our society."

Interviewer to Banyard: "Getting back to this idea that its only a tiny minority of women in Britain that work in the sex industry. Its also a tiny minority of men who use these (strip) clubs, and even if they do, does that mean they go on to beat up their women folk when they're at home?"

Banyard: "First of all, the sex industry comes in many different forms, but perhaps the most prolific example is pornography, which is essentially filmed prostitution. Now, you cannot say that its only a small minority of men that are using pornography. Infact, you would have a hard time finding a young man today who would not use pornography."

Interviewer to Banyard: "And they're not nice guys? Can nice guys not use pornography? is that what your saying? All men that use pornography are horrible, sexist men, who are going to beat up women, and dehumanize them, and degrade them? They cant treat them (women) in a respectful manner? All men? Is that what your saying?"

Banyard: "Addressing this issue is difficult, and its uncomfortable for many people, and for many men that use pornography, or who have done in the past."

Interviewer: "But Im asking you about the link?"

Banyard: " Well, what we know from men themselves, is that they say it affects the way they think about women, and the way they treat women. Infact theres extensive scientific research into the effects of watching pornography. When I started out researching my book, there was so much controversy around pornography and the effects it has.."

Interviewer to Banyard: "But you've not demonstrated those effects to me. You've not told me, how the simple act of watching pornography, be it in a club, or on film, or in a book, actually translates into that man treating his partner, or the women in his life in a way that lacks respect."

Banyard: "Ofcourse its not a direct link in every single case. Pornography supports attitudes which perpetuates violence against women."

Banyard: "What we havent talked about, is the impact that being in the sex industry has on those women involved. What we know of women who are in prostitution, 68% of them have post-traumatic stress disorder. Now thats on a level of the effects seen in victims of state sponsored torture."

Interviewer: "Looking at other factors, for instance race. There are lots of black women who would say to you "If I had to fight against gender discrimination, or racism, racism wins each time. Professor of Economics Cecilla Conrad, associate editor of the 'Feminist Economics Institute' said "If I were to quantify it, I think race has been a bigger barrier than my gender."

Banyard: "Feminism is not about separating gender out and saying.."

Interviewer to Banyard: "But you do. You talk about sexism, much more, and you ignore the other things, you tend to look at it in isolation."

Banyard: "Well no. Whats been a really important development over the past 30 years, is a growing scholarship and activism thats based around the multiple identities, and the double-discrimination that black women in particular face because of the racism that they experience, and the sexism. And I think a very good example of that is in pornography. So, often you will see, not only highly sexist images (of black women), but its sexualized racism."

Banyard: "So often in pornography, black women will be portrayed as even more deserving of violence and abuse."

Interviewer to Banyard: "But you accept that racism may be more incidious for some women, and most black women say it is actually the bigger obstacle."

Banyard: "But thats not to say that their lives are not indelibly wrapped with the lives of every other woman across the planet, by virtue of the fact that, plain and simple, they are women."

Interviewer: "Across the planet..."

Interviewer to Banyard: "Do you feel that there are any gender differences between men and women that may explain why women perhaps dont thrive so well in the work place?"

Banyard: "Well unfortunatley, thats still a very prevalent belief. That somehow, boys inherently like blue, and girls like pink."

Interviewer to Banyard: "So you say there are no gender differences?"

Banyard: "There is no scientific evidence for inherent differences between men and women, that manifest themselves in their (womens) abilities and aspirations. Its just an excuse, and it perpetuates inequality."

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