The feminist twitter bullies have been in full force the past week decrying the recognition of Bettina Arndt's work in the 2020 Australia Day awards for her work toward gender equity by highlighting the inequities often faced by men. This is important and valuable work, however it rubs up against the dominant feminist rhetoric of the lives of women being significantly disadvantaged in all arenas, that women are always victims and that men and male traits are predominantly toxic.
Bettina certainly experienced this on social media. Typical of those with little rationale to support their rhetoric, the feminist brigade brought forth their best attempts to discredit and demean, all in effort to both distract and silence Bettina and those supporting her.
This process is a part of what I have termed Perspective Gatekeeping in my research on manipulative discourse. Designed to distract people from the real issue, in this case the inequality of men, and to discredit the messenger in such a way that it ensures others toe the line for fear of the same treatment.
It has the added effect of taking the target's attention and resources away from the cause and into a pattern of defending. For Bettina the attack was largely on the way in which her professional qualifications have been misrepresented over time and allegations that she is a pedophile apologist and victim blamer. Bettina has addressed both of these issues repeatedly across several forums, for example here and here.
What is interesting is how often and in how many forums she has been called to provide such defense. This is part of the ongoing strategy of the bullying feminists who seek to distract the general public from her actual message, attack her credibility and demean her in the worst ways possible.
This is where I have identified what Bettina and so many who come under such fire are doing wrong. Accusations used in these ways are usually baseless, either totally fabricated or the result of misrepresenting information, or sometimes even with an element of truth but so out of date or off topic as to be irrelevant to the issue at hand.
Yet because of the nature of the attack on the credibility, professionalism and/or reputation on the target, they feel compelled to defend it, pouring time, resources, and often much anxiety into that process. Yet the fact is, for the most part the allegations are only a ploy to discredit and distract and most of the middle ground of people couldn't care less. Nobody really cares if the media has misrepresented Bettina's qualifications, whether it was last week or 30 years ago, not the people who now support her cause, nor the feminists who are trying to build it into something it isn't.
The latter just want to draw attention away from her work. If it wasn't an issue of qualification, it might be a series of parking tickets from the 60's. If she was qualified as represented it would be about ridiculing the qualification. They will not argue the issue because they know they have no rationale against the evidence that what Bettina is saying about the unfair treatment of men is factual.
This strategy has become so commonplace on so many ideological issues today that one wonders if all the Lefty brains have simply fallen out for the lack of intelligent debate they are capable of.
Perspective Gatekeeping is just one half of the overall strategy designed to force compliance of the masses. Along with Alarmist Recruitment... the strategy of spreading disinformation in alarming ways... 'the planet is dying'... 'all men have the potential to kill'... 'women will die in the thousands without liberal access to abortion'.. .in order to recruit the middle ground to the cause, the process of discrediting, silencing, and controlling what is allowed to be said can be grueling for those subject to the bullying.
It not only wears down the individual, but silences onlookers who fear for their own reputations and ability to withstand the attacks. The only way to stop this is for more people to become courageous, to speak up, to stop being distracted in defense of the attacks and stay focused on the issue.