The Inequality of Fighting for Equality

As a campaign group we are proud of the steps we are taking in lobbying for reform with the intention of parental alienation being officially recognised and managed accordingly as a form of abuse.

As a growing community of alienated parents, step-parents and grandparents we are proud of the support we show one another.

As a movement we are proud of our constant promotion of the awareness of parental alienation.

All of our efforts are done in the interests of promoting equality and minimising harm to all those effected by parental alienation.

In the Oxford English Dictionary, equality is defined as follows; the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities. 

In my humble opinion, equality by its very nature and definition should not be turned on and off to suit a particular movement’s motives or needs. If an individual, group or movement is fighting for equality for a particular section of society, they should not, by the very definition and intention of equality, be opposing or seen to be suppressing the equality of other sections of society.

For example take Emily Linden’s tweet on 21st November, 2017: “Here’s an unpopular opinion: I’m actually not at all concerned about innocent men losing their jobs over false sexual assault/harassment allegations.” 

On the same day Linden also tweeted the following: “Sorry. If some innocent men’s reputations have to take a hit in the process of undoing the patriarchy, that is a price I am absolutely willing to pay.”

I would like to employ some critical thinking in analysing and exploring Linden’s above comments. As with many contentious issues, it can be all too easy to unnecessarily arrive at a somewhat knee-jerk and judgemental opinion.

Emily Linden is the founder of The Unslut Project. Linden claims that the purpose of this movement is to promote gender equality and challenge sexual bullying.

“No one, regardless of gender, age, disability, religion, belief or sexual orientation should be discriminated against.”

Linden states on her homepage “since The UnSlut Project started in April 2013, it has expanded to include the stories of people of all genders, ages, backgrounds, and nationalities. These shared stories not only provide hope and solidarity to girls who are currently suffering – they demonstrate to us all just how widespread the issues of sexual bullying and “slut” shaming really are.  Join us in spreading the word and changing our world.”

In terms of promoting equality, this is indeed a worthy cause. No one, regardless of gender, age, disability, religion, belief or sexual orientation should be discriminated against. To be discriminated against on any grounds is totally unacceptable. I am yet to come across any kind of excuse or rational justification for any form of discrimination. It is morally wrong, unethical.

If we look at the online #MeToo movement, it’s intention is clearly well intended. According to Wikipedia, it is an international movement against sexual harassment and assault.

The phrase “Me Too” was first used in 2006 on social media outlet Myspace by social activist and community organiser Tarana Burke, with the intention of providing support for survivors of sexual violence.

The phrase garnered more publicity via numerous social media outlets when in October 2017 American actress Alyssa Milano tweeted the phrase “Me Too.” The subsequent response was that numerous female celebrities then tweeted the same phrase. Arguably, due to these responses, it could have been seen as a movement that only supported women.

However in numerous interviews since 2006, Burke has stated that the movement has now grown to include the supporting of women and men who have been victims of sexual assault, violence or harassment. Statistics inform us that more women than men are victims of sexual abuse. However 1 in 6 men have also experienced some kind of sexual abuse in their lives.

Despite Burke’s comments from 2006 onwards, the movement has continued to have it’s fair share of critics; most notably public figures, celebrities, the majority of which were men. Which in itself has arguably created somewhat of an exacerbation of the division of the sexes and unfortunately diluted what was an appropriate debate and critiquing within the public domain of the movement’s aims and intentions.

Following such public criticism of the movement Burke stated the following in 2018 “those of us who do this work know that backlash is inevitable.” Burke went on to say that while the majority of any criticism had an underlying sentiment of fairness, she stated that the her movement was “not a witch hunt as people try to paint it.” Burke made the point that engaging with the cultural critique of the #MeToo movement was more beneficial than simply calling for it to cease. I totally agree.

So with the above clarification of the origins and aims of the #Me Too movement, why are public figures such as Emily Linden making such derogatory and negative comments under the banner of equality? I would argue that any inappropriate opposition to the movement’s genuine aims (as clarified by Burke), particularly by men is causing more of a division between the sexes.

So in the interests of equality, I feel the same standards should be used when critiquing Emily Linden’s aforementioned tweets, which she made under the banner of the sexual equality movement.

So lets remind ourselves of what Linden tweeted in November 2017: “Here’s an unpopular opinion: I’m actually not at all concerned about innocent men losing their jobs over false sexual assault/harassment allegations.” And on the same day she tweeted the following: “Sorry. If some innocent men’s reputations have to take a hit in the process of undoing the patriarchy, that is a price I am absolutely willing to pay.”

Several questions and points come to mind regarding Linden’s very bold public statements. Regarding the first tweet, Linden interestingly recognises that she is about to express an unpopular opinion. However I am intrigued as to whether Linden considered why such a comment might be deemed unpopular. Secondly and rather more pertinently, where is the sense of equality in her comments?

“Where would the equality be in such an approach?”

If I were fortunate enough to engage in a debate with Emily Linden regarding her above comments I would question her understanding of parental alienation. Anyone that has ever been negatively effected by genuine cases of severe parental alienation will no doubt be aware of the incalculable number of false allegations that are all too often part of the alienating parents’ tactics. I wonder if Emily Linden has even heard of parental alienation?

Statistically there are more fathers than mothers that are victims of parental alienation. This is a statistic that we are more than aware of. However if as a movement we were to offer support, guidance and advice to only men, this would be discriminatory and not in line with our movement’s ethos. We would ultimately be excluding and arguably ostracising women who are victims of parental alienation. Where would the equality be in such an approach?

Lastly, I would challenge Linden to read one of our most read articles entitled The Story of a Great Man and a Great Father who Suffered at the Mercy of an Alienating Parent. I would then respectfully ask her to reflect on her above comments, particularly the following sentence of hers “that is a price I am willing to pay.”

The American feminist, journalist, and social and political activist Gloria Marie Steinem once said “a feminist is anyone who recognises the equality and full humanity of women and men.”

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