“There seems to be a whole industry now purely based around hating Bettina Arndt”
This was a recent tweet commenting on the tirade of public abuse and personal attacks appearing whenever Bettina is published. It has become orthodoxy among Arndt-haters that because Bettina writes often about men, she must be anti-women. Her sympathetic discussion of men’s views about sex and gender relations are regularly attacked by female journalists and bloggers.
She writes about men’s lives not only because she is keen for men and women to understand each other better but she is concerned that men have dropped out of the cultural debate about gender and relationships. Public discussion around these issues is conducted almost entirely by women with men rarely daring to express their views. They have been silenced.
Here’s a selection of articles and blogs showing the irrationality of some of these attacks. Enjoy!
Here’s Bettina’s favourite blog article, entitled: “Bettina Arndt – Rape Cheerleader”
Read Janet Albrechtsen, well-known columnist for The Australian, discussing the Arndt Hate Campaign:
Arndt has always been attracted to issues deemed unmentionable by cultural gatekeepers. Thirty-five years ago, sex was the taboo subject. As editor of Forum, she challenged that orthodoxy. Read full story
Here’s a profile on Bettina by David Leser, published in The Australian Women’s Weekly, and a comment from Bettina about her interview with Leser:
Bettina returns from the kitchen with our cappucinos. The froth is nearly overflowing and by her own admission, she is ‘pissed off.’ With this interviewer, not the coffee machine. Read full story
“The journalist, David Leser, who is well known for pushing his own agendas, was determined to present me as a fire-eating, conservative old dragon lady. He fails to mention that the reason I became so annoyed with him was that during our two hour discussion he proudly announced he didn’t believe in social science research – somewhat irritating for a woman who has spent her professional life interpreting this type of data.
His article is full of deliberate inaccuracies, i.e my Four Corners program was not about rape but about sexual negotiation in ordinary relationships. The business about the flashers referred to a treatment program run by psychologists at the University of NSW. He conveniently omits mention of the fact that I sent him the solid research which shows defacto relationships are less stable than marriages. And he somehow forgot that I have spent much of my life writing about women as well as men – including recently spending two years writing features for The Australian Women’s Weekly.”
Some of Bettina’s recent articles have made waves, provoking a huge amount of public discussion. Such as this article on the politics of cleavage:
“Everywhere you look, women are stepping out dressed provocatively but bristling if the wrong man shows he enjoys the display. And men – well, they are in a total state of confusion.” Read full story
Here is some of the reactions:
- Catherine Deveny – It’s Bettina Arndt Men Wonderful
- Jane Caro – Some women are ASKING to be ogled?
- Stephanie Smart – It’s not what young women wear, it’s how men think
Writing about men’s sexual restraint in Lust for Life also created a stir:
“We hear constantly about men in trouble over sex. Men in trouble for not keeping their trousers zipped, for groping and harassing women, men caught out looking at pornography, or gazing at women in the wrong way. But what we never hear about is men’s restraint, the remarkable stoicism of current generations of heterosexual men who cop it sweet, despite their immense frustrations.” Read full story
Here’s Amy Mullin’s response in The Drum:
“It is safe to say Bettina Arndt successfully insults both men and women in her latest tirade against society’s maltreatment of the rampant and practically sacred male sex drive. That’s if they managed to finish reading the article without tearing up the newspaper and throwing it to the floor in disgust. I can only hope no-one read it on an iPad…”
Men passionately argued in defence of Bettina’s article in the comments following the posting of the Mullin attack: “Don’t slag off Bettina Arndt for discussing it. I’m glad she is. It’s real, it’s out there, and no-one else is talking about it. It helped us – it made us realise we weren’t the only ones.”
Bettina’s article was also published on The Good Men Project which led to another interesting debate.
Then there were the women’s studies students at the Australian National University who demonstrated when Bettina was due to give a public talk at the university. Their objection was to Bettina’s suggestion that consideration of your partner’s sexual needs is part of the give-and-take in marriage.
Here’s a comment on the demonstration, published in The Drum:
“There is a wonderful photo that accompanied the article in the local rag. Bettina in semi-lotus position, hands outstretched, making what I am sure was a fine point. Circled around her were ten young women looking pretty angry and one bloke looking like that thinker statue, deep in contemplation.” Read full story. (See photo at top of this page)