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Kevin Myers: Feminist meme now dominates and corrupts almost all discourse on women and violence

THIRTY years ago, the British Darwinian Richard Dawkins invented the concept of the "meme"; this is a mental "gene" that exists solely in the mind and which is transmitted throughout society.

A meme predisposes people to believe certain things, rather as a gene predisposes people to have dark hair or be left-handed. And one meme has been utterly triumphant in western society over that time.

The meme of aggressive feminism passes through both sexes, and can cause the most atrocious corruption of decency and love. Hence the radio advertisement for Childline, which declares that if your daddy wants you to keep a secret, why then, something is wrong! Call us at Childline! Now I'm sure the Childline people are themselves decent and loving individuals, so why on Earth are they allowing this creepy, totalitarian Big Brother intrusion into the relationship between fathers and their children?

They cannot plead the greater good of child protection: for what good is being done by making girls fear their fathers? The TV advert consists of a boy being slapped around by dad -- because in the social meme that dominates all portrayal of abuse, the male is always the culprit, even though we know that mothers are often the main physical abusers of children in a family.

A recent brochure from Sonas House, a women's refuge, states: "One-in-five women in Ireland has experienced some form of domestic violence from a current or former partner."

Reader: do you really believe that? Do you think that in any group of five women that you know, one of them has been violently assaulted by her male partner? Or are we dealing with metaphors? I remember how one delightful feminist redefinition of violence put it a few years ago: if a man looks angrily at a woman, or slaps the table in the course of a row, these too constitute a real act of violence against her. (Sigh).

The feminist meme is so powerful that entire policies are formed from its DNA, and so causing many government quangos to spring into existence. Yet the pioneer-discoverer of domestic violence, Erin Pizzey, has repeatedly but vainly pointed out that such violence breaks down roughly half and half, with a slight majority being male in origin. She of all people should be heard and heeded -- but the countervailing meme is simply too powerful.

Moreover, any man who takes on the institutions of ideological 'memery' enters the Valley of Death. Hence the lonely figure of Kenneth Clark, the Tory MP, on his broken-down dray being bombarded by the massed artillery of feminism for stating the obvious -- that some kinds of rape are worse than others.

In the limited space here, I cannot do justice to the contemptible travesty of an interview with Ken Clark by a meme-stooge named Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Radio 5 live, in which she harangued, misquoted, and misrepresented almost everything he was saying. Please google it yourself on the BBC website, and then share my disbelief that any grown adult could possibly then round on him for his innocent comments, rather than on the perfectly dreadful Derbyshire, who is clearly the main culprit in all of this. The BBC Radio 5 live controller of programmes should have disciplined her for her unprofessional and hysterical hectoring; but this is as likely in the current meme-demented climate as Harriet Harman entering a Topless Miss World Competition.

Quite simply, the feminist meme, being itself unreasonable, cannot allow reason on any issue affecting it. When Ken Clark states that 'date rape' -- in which an unwilling woman finally submits to non-violent coercion -- is actually not as bad as being violently raped by a stranger, the meme will compel news-desks to find some unfortunate woman who has been traumatised by date rape. Her tearful recollections will then be judged as the norm, beyond any dispute or discussion. Anyone who says otherwise clearly approves of rape and of violence against women, (as he harrumphs beside the fender in his men-only club: "The damned hussy was asking for it!")

ALL complexity of human conduct is lost as the meme of victimhood conjoins with the meme of feminism; up goes the cry, rape is rape! Any attempt to introduce some reality into the discussion is defeated by an Orwellian 'heads I win tails you lose, when did you stop beating your wife' kind of argument.

The meme trumps all -- as it does in those revolting radio adverts slyly telling children that if Daddy wants you to keep a secret, he's probably a very bad daddy, and you should ring us right now (and who knows, if you're really, really lucky, maybe daddy-waddy will end up in prison-wison).

The feminist meme now dominates and corrupts almost all discourse on women and violence, women in the workplace, women and equality. It is so deeply established that it is no longer even perceived as a malevolent influence, but simply as a "norm". This makes it all the more insidious, not least because those whom it controls do not even notice -- never mind respond to -- serious criticism. In other words, I'm wasting my time, again.

Irish Independent