Check Your Power


The Spokes podcast

A new Irish podcast series produced by Colette Colfer and Terry Hackett, and presented by Colette Colfer.

John Gallen writes:

‘One of the leading female critics of feminism in the world today, Janice Fiamengo (top), has said she has received a number of letters from men in Ireland expressing concern about new rules on women-only teaching posts in Irish universities [under the Government’s Senior Academic Leadership Initiative 45 senior women-only academic leadership roles will be awarded to Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) over three years].

Dr. Janice Fiamengo, now retired, taught at the University of Ottawa as a Professor of English for 16 years. She is the creator of the Fiamengo File, a series of videos about academic feminism, freedom of speech, and men’s issues. In 2018, she published Sons of Feminism: Men Have Their Say‘, a collection of personal essays by men about being male in a feminist culture.

Below is an excerpt from her conversation with Colette. In this section Janice describes her journey through university from student to Prof and her falling in and out of love with a seductive ideology. As well as a short mention of the recent move to create a number of women-only positions at third level institutions in Ireland.’

Janice Fiamengo – “It’s hard to actually explain the power of that indoctrination, but when everyone around you accepts it. Some people, maybe, are quietly sceptical, you don’t hear voices robustly denouncing the hideous injustice and hatred of these ideologies. So you think, these people [Profs/Lecturers] are smart, they seem like good people, and there is something extremely attractive about those ideologies”

Colette Colfer “Did you have favourite thinkers at the time?”

Dr Janice Fiamengo: “I loved them all, and the more radical the better. There is something so exhilarating about that conviction, that you are advocating, that you are part of a movement that is going to overthrow injustice. And you are going to create a whole new world where nobody is ever improperly treated. Of course, the fact that white men in particular is going to have to pay for that alleged sins of their fathers that doesn’t strike you as wrong. I like all the feminists, Andrea Dworkin who was the radical feminist from the late 1970s, 1980s; Catherine McKinnon, a very radical legal theorist; Robyn Morgan.

I found them all, I loved their anger, I loved their conviction of righteousness, and of course it is very empowering for those who can see themselves as righteous victims in the schema that is being advocated, and yeah, the literal empowerment in the sense that you can speak out at rallies, in the classroom, in the public square, you can stand up and tell your story of victimisation, you can make your demands, you can shame other people merely for the colour of their skin or for their sex and most people, the vast majority will listen. And will not speak back to you. The power of that is incredible.

All you need are a few slogans and your personal story of how you were oppressed and you can go really far with that. And in fact you can now get a degree on the basis of that. So yes, it’s very seductive ideologies. I went all in, I have to admit, I was an adult, I went all in, I wrote my feminist PhD thesis and it was really only afterwards when I started teaching.

I mean, I’d already to a certain extent started to question but once I got first full time job at the University of Saskatchewan in 1999, by that point I was in my early 30s and that was when the whole thing started to look like a house of cards quite quickly because I could see that the young men in my classes were not privileged, they did not have an entitlement mentality. They, they were just, if anything, they were puzzled, they were hurt by this ideology. It had nothing to do with the way they had been brought up to be, behave, the way they lived their lives, and I just started thinking ‘wow! what a trip’, to use that language, to put on these kids.

These are 18, 19 year olds, clean-cut guys, never done anything bad in their lives, they’ve never wanted to hurt a woman, they’ve never wanted to force themselves sexually on a woman, and they’re being told that because they are male, especially of they are white, they are responsible for all the evil in the world and the only thing they can do a-la that Professor Susanna Walters who wrote the ‘Why Can’t We Hate Men’, is step back, shut up, listen, echo feminist talking points, and allow their sisters, their moral superiors to take over the world. And be thankful, that such superior moral beings exist to tell them about the errors of their ways.

That was basically it, and I thought this was just crazy and as soon as I started kind of investigating the, the lies of the whole movement became apparent to me.”

Colfer:  “OK, so the first step in you seeing was in teaching and relating to the students that were in front of you and then that lead you to explore a bit. It wasn’t that you came across a thinker that challenged you, or in a discussion.”

Fiamengo: “No. Not really.”

Colfer: “So you started to search out then?”

Fiamengo: “You know, it took a long time. I mean, it was also just becoming aware of the obvious exaggerations, and misrepresentations, of feminist scholarship ’cause I was absolutely immersed in that world. And you read all of these papers. And as you’ve, yourself have already said. In making this awful, extreme, hateful claims, the extremity of it, the hyperbole, and also the lockstep thinking, nobody ever dissenting, the vision of the world so uniformly, over and over again. The vision of the past. You know when seeing things like, talking about the suffrage struggle and associated issues, seeing claims made about how women being excluded from war was an example of patriarchal oppression of women.

The blindness to it, the men are the ones being maimed and killed in order to protect the women and you’re [feminist theory] saying that, that is an example of patriarchal oppression of women, and that, those kinds of claims, in every situation imagineable even when the mangled bloodied bodies of the men are right there for all to see, those claims are just made over and over again. Yeah, it just struck me as obscene after a while. So, you know, so for years then I dissented, I began to, when I would review books of feminist criticism, for example, I would voice my dissent. Although at that point I still kinda considered myself within the feminist camp.”



Colfer: “You did mention Ireland …are you aware of much of what is going on in Ireland yourself, have you heard of anything, been in contact with people?

Fiamengo: “I do get letters from Irish men and certainly the one issue I’m very aware of is that there is a very strong move going on in a number of Irish universities to have women-only positions. Because certainly there has been this notion that women have been held back,  for centuries, and now at last it is women’s time and so we’re going to create all these professorships that are only available to women. We could spend an hour just talking about that.

This notion that we’re gonna make a generation, or more… certainly that kind of hiring has been going on, maybe not that quite officially, it’s been going on in Canada and the United States for decades. It creates all sorts of problems, and of course it creates, inevitably, resentment on the part of the men who were excluded from those positions, understandably so. But also creates a lot of problems for the women hired into them as well.”

Full podcast here

61 thoughts on “Check Your Power

  1. Nigel

    ‘Of course, the fact that white men in particular is going to have to pay for that alleged sins of their fathers that doesn’t strike you as wrong.’

    What does this mean? A society that is more equal for people who aren’t white men is a form of punishment on white men?

    ‘you can stand up and tell your story of victimisation, you can make your demands, you can shame other people merely for the colour of their skin or for their sex and most people, the vast majority will listen. And will not speak back to you.’

    That people can speak up and other people will listen seems like progress. As for not speaking back to you, has she heard about the internet?

    ‘This notion that we’re gonna make a generation, ‘

    I’m pretty sure there aren’t enough women-only positions in the world to provide for an entire generation.

    ‘seeing claims made about how women being excluded from war was an example of patriarchal oppression of women.’

    Women were excluded from war? That’ll be a relief to, eg, the female populace of Nanking, circa 1937.

    1. AC

      I think she meant women were excluded from war in the sense of joining the army, putting on a uniform and fighting on the front lines in the vast majority of cases. Nanking what you describe is where the Japanese army did an nightmarish war crime on the Chinese civilian population.
      Think she is pointing out also the theory that what matters now is our group identity and not the individual identity where the individual is sovereign.
      She questions now women only positions. She states other countries like the U.S and Canada have been doing it for decades and that the results of which have not been good.
      Think it would be interesting to hear her debate someone qualified on the topic.

      1. Nigel

        Yeah and my point is that women have never been excluded from war. Their mangled bloodied bodies are lying there to be seen, toom usually at the hands of the men who get given guns and training and the authority to rape and kill them.

        1. AC

          Nigel, you sound like an enlightened individual who could match her intellect. Could broadsheet arrange for you to debate her?

    2. Clampers Outside

      Are you “mansplaining” to a woman with a PhD in the subject of discussion…. Lol
      That’s sarc for anyone not hearing the wooooooossshh!

        1. GiggidyGoo

          There used to be a saying about an older married man knocking off another woman as
          “Digging his own grave with his P (enis)’

    1. GiggidyGoo

      Did I read somewhere that poor old Ray Darcy’s Saturday Night chat show is being replaced by a new one with Deirdre O’Kane?

      1. Rob_G

        That could be down to the fact that Ray D’Arcy is poor broadcaster, rather than some wider gender politics thing

    1. Clampers Outside

      Judging people by gender, sex, skin colour etc. is de rigueur for today’s ‘progressives’

  2. Commenter #1

    This is a welcome new direction. Poor Bodger was reduced to about four posts about road traffic today. Leaning into half-baked anti-feminism will be a great value-add for Broadsheet going forward.

        1. curmudgeon

          It is a sad state of affairs when people laud discrimination based upon what you are (sex,skin colour etc.) versus what you can do.

  3. Clampers Outside

    It is a welcome refreshing look to see how a passionate feminist can move through an academic career only to come to a point of having to question the doctrine with years of accumulated knowledge of the subject.

    The trite objections to her views are just that, trite. They only display what Ms Fiamengo is speaks of, that to challenge the doctrine, its’ lies, and failings, blindspots and misinformation, is to leave oneself open to petty remarks from those not willing to acknowledge the integrity that is demonstrably lacking in feminist “academic” pursuits.

    Fair play to Ms Fiamengo.

    For example, of lies, ideological blindspots and misinformation, one need only look at the feminist hold on what many counsellors call the ‘domestic violence industry’.

    A recent FOI request in the UK has shown that not one, not 1, single female abuser has been put forth for a perpetrator programme, despite the fact that they are in the hundreds –
    What’s worse is that CAFCASS in the UK won’t even recognise a female perpetrator programme.
    Why is that?
    From my own reading and from the counsellors I’ve seen speak on the matter the reason is ideological, feminist ideology.

    In the realms of domestic violence, the feminist ideology is manifest in The Duluth Model of DV Intervention and insists that there are no female perpetrators of domestic violence… Let that sink in.

    This is just one example, an example in a field I’ve read a lot on.
    Ms Fiamengo points out a wider range of issues with feminist ideology, to ignore them is nothing more than zealotry. To acknowledge them and desire to fix them is rare and from what I’ve seen, usually ends in the person demonised for daring to challenge the doctrine.

    Go you Ms Fiamengo, fair play.

    1. V AKA Frilly Keane

      Equality doesn’t do this or that
      Or where and when
      Attempting a here or there for the application of Equality
      Or Equality as it suits or when it’s more convenient
      Is not Equality

      In fact AC – your own example there
      equality of outcome rather than equality or opportunity
      Denies equality even exists

      We’re either ALL equal
      In everything; inherently, rightfully and as a matter of course and fact
      Or we’re not
      And since it’s the latter
      Then equality still hasn’t been achieved, at all

      So Equality still has a long way to go

      1. Clampers Outside

        That second para, quoting AC… Ye what? Seems nonsensical, or that you don’t understand what he said.
        How does that statement of what many feminists strive for, deny equality exists?

          1. Clampers Outside

            I understand more has to be done for “equality of opportunity”, and that there are areas for equality of opportunity for both sexes to strive for. I’m sure we agree on that.

            But your statement also tells me that you believe “equality of outcome” is an attainable fair minded goal to strive for? Am I correct in reading that from your last two comments? If not, or even if correct, can you clarify how “equality of outcome” is fair at all.

          2. V AKA Frilly Keane

            Would ya stop making a show of yourself Clamps

            There is no such thing as one type of equality or / versus another, or that one use in practice can be considered superior to another another form of application
            Equality cannot be dissected for parts
            Or compared to itself

            equality of opportunity / equality of outcome
            I didn’t make those statements, I referred to them
            Suggest you take it up with AC

            Do not put words into my mouth
            Especially your ones

            Your inability to comprehend, tolerate and appreciate Equality is why you can’t recognise it

            Get help

          3. Clampers Outside

            Eh, no V.

            You said the quoted text… denies equality exists.

            I simply asked for an explanation of this statement.

            If you don’t want to answer, that’s fine. But no need for the rant that is simply a play the man instead of the ball type deflection.

            Thanks for playing, all the same.

          4. V AKA Frilly Keane

            Keep your hectoring and bullying tone for your local that’s wimin for ya branch

            I did explain
            You’re just too thick
            Or perhaps your misogyny is so deep it’s not allowing you to be tolerant and patient enough to absorb any other view
            Like late stage syphilis, it’s taken over your instincts
            And has the run of all your senses

            Equality is the same in any scenario; like exactly the same. Wherever it exists.
            So there are no separate explanations or definitions
            So you only need one

            That last paragraph
            If you don’t want to answer, that’s fine. But no need for the rant that is simply a play the man instead of the ball type deflection.

            Thanks for playing, all the same.

            Whatever you do. Never respond like that in the workplace. To anyone

        1. Commenter #1

          If you’re striving for something to exist, then by definition it doesn’t exist yet. Otherwise why would you strive for it?

          You can have that little logic lesson for free.

          1. Clampers Outside

            Please, lend me your logic, and tell me how striving for “equality of outcome” is an ‘equality’ at all, of any measure?

          2. Clampers Outside

            Here’s a scenario…

            Two kids, same family, same opportunities, same upbringing, etc.
            Turns out, one is smarter than the other.

            Do you disadvantage the smarter kid to get the same result in exams to achieve ‘equality of outcome’ in exams?

            Do you believe this is fair? By your reckoning, it would appear that you do, but I won’t assume to know that, so I ask, is it fair? That is, do you believe the two are treated equally to achieve the outcome?

          3. Commenter #1

            I don’t accept your premise.

            Why not support the other child to do as well as their sibling? Why must the argument be made in terms of disadvantaging one (lucky) cohort, when we can think instead about improving the situation of another (unlucky) cohort?

          4. Clampers Outside

            OK. So, the kid gets extra tutoring, works really hard, has plenty of supports without disadvantagibg the smarter kid but still performs less well in exams, simply because the kid is not as smart as the other.
            So, in this scenario, the supports are given and tried.
            Now, how do you achieve equality of outcome?

          5. Commenter #1

            Theoretically, which is all this is, there is no reason why each child wouldn’t do as well as one another. So again your premise is off.

            In truth, equality of opportunity/outcome are more interrelated than they appear to be. It’s a false dichotomy, which is why I don’t agree with AC’s position that feminists rather one over another.

          6. Scundered

            Why would anyone want equality of outcome when the scientific data clearly shows human interests vary massively between men and women (and countless other group classifications)… Look at how many great female nurses you would have to deny just to get the same amount of male nurses, which would be disastrous, do we start disallowing people to make their own career choices so?… Hardly a surprise that women are more interested in people, and men more interested in things… So why do some get upset when they see these differences in traits, instead of celebrating them. Let people have the free choice, we are not robots, not yet.

            Equality of opportunity is all we should be striving for. Equality of outcome is a reprehensible idea.

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