An open letter to Philip Davies

TW: Rape, domestic abuse

Maya Jones takes on the Tory MP Philip Davies.

Dear Philip,

I am going to start this very simple; like the beginning of any letter, I will allow you a little context. I am writing with the intention that this will be published on a feminist website. The subject of this letter is – you guessed it – feminism. You may now reach the logical conclusion that I, Maya Jones, am one of those. That terrible F word, I am a zealot, a militant even. Your words, not mine.

Now, a video has emerged of you speaking at the International Conference on Men’s Issues, which, as you know, is an event organised by the Justice for Men and Boys party (J4MB). Naturally, you decline any involvement or affiliation with this party, but you must see my concerns. Just as I chose a feminist website for my feminist views, it is reasonable to suggest that you share mutual opinions with this group.

A quick visit to their website tells me that this is not a party dedicated to fighting real issues that men face; real issues that, ironically enough, arise from patriarchy too. Instead, J4MB is a party threatened by equality – so much so that they resort to petty sexism to undermine women. I should be careful; merely speaking up may earn me a place on their highly original ‘Lying Feminist of the Month’ table. But this is an old and out-dated game. You can label us toxic and whiny and even gormless and we still won’t stop.

Back to you, Philip. Your track record tells me that affiliating with this party is not a one-off mistake when it comes to your views on gender equality. Take your claim that in parliament, ‘the opportunity for men to raise issues important to them is very limited’. This is the same parliament where MP’s cannot speak in PMQs because of a chorus of men like you chanting and booing. Then there was International Men’s Day. Oh, what a mistake. But congratulations, you managed to turn a discussion about women into yet another discussion about men.

You will notice my tone is condescending: from my matriarchal throne, what did you expect? Now, I am bored of laughing at your backwards record and my fickle nature (that’s another stereotype in case you did not know) brings me to the point of this letter: anger.

Your beliefs are flawed, disgusting and archaic. In your warped view of hierarchies, you have placed your poor self at the bottom whilst a crowd of angry feminists crush you further and further into insignificance. You lack any understanding of the hierarchies of privilege that actually form our society and your general knowledge fails at the first and most simple point: you sit at the top. You are a white, wealthy man with influence and this is what scares me the most.

You are an MP in my constituency, elected to represent people of all genders and beliefs. Somewhere, in your years of experience, you have forgotten this simple fact. You are here to help us all: women and feminists included.

You were also elected to represent those in our society who are victims of violence, domestic abuse and rape. I wonder if you remembered this when you claimed that ‘women use their children as a stick to beat the father with’ in family courts. I expect it did not even cross your mind that for some women the roles are reversed and the stick is not as metaphorical as you intended.

I also wonder how these women felt when you took the stand at this event organised by a group that actively denies the prevalence of rape culture in our society. Do you think they laughed when they read ’10 reasons false rape allegations are common’? Do you think they felt safe in your constituency?

To take the stand when a fellow speaker has likened Malala Yousafzai to Osama Bin Laden is unforgivable. By staying silent on J4MB’s policies, you are perpetuating their opinions and endorsing their promotion of violence against women. You cannot remain an MP if you choose to continue this blatant sexism. Maybe you will listen to your own words: you can’t have your cake and eat it.

Yours sincerely,

Another feminist zealot


Image by Jess Baxter

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