Life certainly isn’t easy for Australian feminists “who have to keep on living as women in both the online and offline worlds” and “get to enjoy the myriad abuse that goes alongside that. Lucky us!”

Yes, the horrendous abuse never stops:

The obligatory reminder that all-women-are-helpless-victims out of the way, the sour grapes rant is on:

So I was unsurprised when a pro-feminist video made by prefects from Sydney Boys High School for this year’s International Women’s Day amassed a significant number of shares in a very short period of time. Predictably, the video was accompanied by glowing language and ardent praise for the boys involved. Wasn’t it fantastic that they were standing up for women like this?

Well, sure. It’s better than the rape threats and abuse that schoolboys often seem to throw about the internet … but is it really an amazing project deserving of heartfelt praise and gratitude? Prefects at Sydney Girls High didn’t seem to think so. In response, they wrote a blisteringly good letter critiquing the contradictory ways men and women are treated for speaking out on issues of gender inequality.

Predictably, they received a barrage of criticism for being such a bunch of radical feminazi killjoys, ugly bitches, just need a good root, can I speak to the man in charge, feminism is caaaaaaancer.

The girls suffered a barrage of abuse? Where and from whom?

Such a response is sadly familiar. As journalist Nina Funnell outlinesin her piece about the response from Sydney Girls High prefects: “[Last year], female students at Sydney Girls allege they were hounded, harassed and threatened with rape [by students at Sydney Boys High, although it’s not suggested these were the same boys in the recent video] after helping to organise a feminist bake-sale to raise awareness about the gender pay gap.”

A bake sale.

The boys’ 2017 pro-women video is there to view whereas last year different boys allegedly abused girls at a bake sale. Being male is enough to confirm guilt.

Let’s take a look at man-hater Funnell’s linked piece:

Now, in yet more disturbing developments, it’s been alleged that in 2016 male students at SBHS trolled, hounded and harassed female students — including making rape threats — after prefects of both schools organised a feminist themed bake-sale to raise awareness of pay inequality.

As part of the bake-sale female students were offered a 20 per cent discount off the price of cupcakes in recognition of the fact that across their lifetimes they will earn significantly less than their male counterparts.

When boys found out they went completely ballistic. (Because heaven help the poor soul who stands between a teen boy and his cupcake!)

The boys allegedly went ballistic, and who wouldn’t when confronted with the bogus 20% gender pay gap?

Rape threats were allegedly made against the Sydney Girls School captain. Girls were trolled maliciously online. A fake counter event to raise funds for “oppressed men” was promoted. At school the posters advertising the bake-sale were torn down, defaced or replaced with new posters claiming that the gender-pay gap is a myth. A letter was sent threatening legal action if the pay gap bake-sale went ahead.

Given this recent history, it’s not surprising that the current prefect body at Sydney Girls High would baulk at seeing their brother school heralded internationally as a “champion” for gender equality.

Funnell has parlayed a 2007 alleged almost rape into a lucrative “platform to campaign for the rights of all Australians to live free from physical and sexual violence” but ignores girls abusing boys:

One of [South Australia’s] top private schools is embroiled in a major scandal, after Year 12 girls created a “wall of boys” – a giant photo collage of their sexual and romantic conquests – and then “shamed” them on social media.

 The Wilderness School girls posted images and a slide show to social media with derogatory comments about the boys, largely from high-profile private colleges, including the hashtag “#quantitynotquality”.

The photo display – in the Wilderness Year 12 common room – was started early in the year. But the girls were not ordered to take it down until they featured it in an “unauthorised and inappropriate” end-of-Year-12 video a fortnight ago.

Outraged private schoolboys have complained of a double standard, saying they would have faced immediate and severe punishment for objectifying girls in the same way.

Back to Ford’s rant:

Men can play an important role in dismantling gender oppression, but it is not an action of support if it relies on them being showered with praise at the end of it.

Until we remove this impulse to reward basic decency, it will fundamentally never be an expression of equality because the act itself for men too easily becomes associated with the privilege of effusive acknowledgement.

If we establish the expectation that such actions deserve rewards (ironically perpetuating inequality in the process), where will the line be drawn? And how will the withdrawal of praise impact those who’ve come to expect it as compensation for their in-theory solidarity?

Praise was offered but not solicited. Given the power mismatch – she has a twice weekly column at Daily Life and a best-selling book – it is truly pathetic that a gesture of goodwill from a group of high school boys has so incensed Clementine Ford.

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