Laurie Penny shone a light on this 'overshadowed undercurrent' in an article I missed just before the European elections. Here follows a large extract from Liberal Conspiracy:
(T)he BNP are pushing a specifically and deliberately sexist agenda. Stopping these stupid bigots from gaining any more of a toehold in our nation is a feminist issue, too. Here’s why:
The BNP hate what they call, without a shred of irony, ‘feminazis’. By this they seem to mean not just self-identified feminists but any woman who, in the words of a recent BNP candidate, is ‘unnatural and vile… it is a strange kind of woman who would want to invest [her] energies into her job rather than into a man.’ The BNP are specifically and explicitly AGAINST equal rights between men and women. Party leader Nick Griffin has described the very idea of gender equality as ‘feminist poison’.
One of the first things they plan to do if they attain power is repeal the anonymity currently granted to rape victims, on the basis that “innocent men who are falsely accused of rape have their lives ruined while their lying accusers cannot even be named” (P7, BNP manifesto). And it doesn’t stop there. Go on, read it for yourself in the BNP’s white paper on family law, but have a little bag to hand to be sick in. You’re going to need it.
This, lest we forget, is the same party which forwarded a senior London Assembly candidate who went on record saying that “rape is a myth…rape is simply sex, and women enjoy sex. To sugest that rape is a serious crime is like suggesting that force-feeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offence”.
Have you ever been f0rce-fed chocolate cake, Mr Eriksen? Finallyfeminism101 has a perfect debunking of this ugly reasoning.
The BNP also want to reform family and tax law, bringing back tax credit schemes that would re-establish women as dependents of their husbands; introduce strictly fault-based divorce law “aimed at protecting the injured party instead of the current gender bias against women”; allow only married couples to benefit from artificial insemination; ban all homosexual partnership arrangements and, yes, deport all furriners.
And in a shock move, the BNP is violently anti-choice.
Everyone’s experience of suffering the effects of racism, sexism, homophobia, ablism or any form of prejudice is different. However, the idiot, schoolboy logic of fascists like the BNP throws up some interesting similarities in the reasoning between casual and not-so-casual racism, sexism and homophobia. It’s the whipping-girl syndrome. It’s the process whereby a gang of disenfranchised, angry and often fairly personally inadequate people cast about for any convenient, preferably marginalised group to blame for the fact that they, the (mostly) white, (mostly) middle-or-working class, (mostly) miserable (mostly) men, are in so much bloody pain.
The BNP are angry, heartsick, dissatisfied, and terrified by how individually powerless they are. Easier by far to blame immigrants, Muslims or ‘feminazis’ than to turn and look at one’s own culture and how it shapes you and works you over.
Watching the videos of speeches available on BNP live tv, what I felt to start with was amused. Then nervous. Then angry at the reams and reams of stupid lies coming out of these people like so much oily drool. But beyond that, I found myself…moved. Yes, genuinely moved. I felt the stuttering rage of these men like a punch to the solar plexus. I felt their bewilderment. I felt their utter incomprehension at what was happening to a world they were once sure of growing up to inherit. And I felt full of thick anger at the sheer stupidity of misdirecting those emotions towards a pointless bullying of other people who, guess what, haven’t inherited it either.
In ‘Stiffed: The Betrayal of Modern Man’, feminist journalist Susan Faludi points out that
By the century’s end, [there began] a search for someone to blame for the premature death of masculine promise. What began in the 1950s as an intemperate pursuit of Communists in the government, the schools, Hollywood…would eventually become a hunt for a shape-shifting enemy who could take the form of women at the office, or gays in the military, or young black men on the street, or illegal aliens on the border…but none of it would satisfy, because the world and the fight had changed. The real fight was between men on the same side…Writing about feminism and equality movements often feels like one long game of ‘we are not your problem’. The further we get from living memory of what life was really like for men and women of all races and classes before the civil rights movement in the US, before the women’s movement, the more mythologised that time becomes. Certainly, old ways of life have been stripped away. Certainly, men in particular are suffering the loss of certain automatic loci of security and social status, and feeling their own disenfranchisement harder as a consequence. But if you or I asked even the most frothing BNP man if he genuinely thinks that he will be a happy, free, powerful, confident individual as soon as all the furriners and wimminz are sent back to their respective homes, I wonder what answer we’d get? Have they even bothered to think that far?
Vote them OUT. Not just because they’re sexists, racists, homophobes, xenophobes and crashing red-faced bigots who are a disgrace to the actually quite good country we live in. Vote them out because they’re stupid. They’re stupid. They’re idiots, idiots, crashing toe-sucking thickoes who shouldn’t be running a website, much less a department in Brussels. Please, if you’re a Brit, do your bit for your country and vote out the stupid.
About the author:
Laurie Penny is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. She is a journalist, blogger, student and feminist activist. She is a staff writer at One in Four magazine and a parliamentary researcher. She blogs at Penny Red and for Red Pepper magazine.· Other posts by Laurie Penny
(More about women's experience of rape legislation here and here.)
HOPE not hate, Norfolk recalls the manifesto of the recently defeated BNP candidate, the discredited cleric Robert West.
About women he claimed:
the market has been flooded with women working and it would be better if they stayed at home. The domestic sphere is a natural place for a woman to be. I honestly think it is woman's right to be at home. Women should get married and their first priority should be the home. Recently the home has been abandoned and this modern way does not work. I think many women agree with this, even though they are working themselves. This is my view and I hope to get the people of Norwich to listen to this.The people of Norwich North listened, the BNP lost its deposit and Robert West was bid a rousing good riddance.