Friday, 18 December 2015

The Victorian social purity movement reborn

So what is going on – Jimmy Savile, Stuart Hall, Rolf Harris, ageing celebrities, teacher & pupil eloping to France, Graham Ovenden, teacher with images of children in underwear, sexualisation of girls, objectification, internet porn filters, child abuse images, teacher sends indecent images to pupil, no more page 3, lads mags banned, inappropriate touching, compulsory trousers for schoolgirls, predatory 13 year old girl and so it continues. This is no longer just a moral panic; the Victorian social purity movement has re-emerged in a new virulent form. The driving force is feminism, aided and abetted by children’s charities, the gutter press, opportunist politicians and the more neanderthal elements of the British public. The common factor in all the above news stories is that the 'villains' are all male and the 'victims' all female.

The aims of the Victorian social purity movement were to elevate morality, largely through the abolition of prostitution and the sexual double standard which existed between men and women. From the last three decades of the nineteenth century to the outbreak of World War I, the feminist crusade to purify sexual conduct focused on the need for men to control their sexuality, considering that it was the mission of women to re-educate them on their behaviour. The leading figure in the movement was Josephine Butler who condemned the double standard of sexual morality, in which men were allowed to engage in sexual activity outside marriage, while women who did the same were punished or ostracized. Her solution was to preach a single standard of purity and restraint for all. She believed women were naturally devoid of sexual impulses and that men must learn to control theirs. Male abstinence was considered to be the only way to end the evil of prostitution.

The movement was high minded seeking to elevate human relationships to a more advanced level, and for the most part was not openly anti male in its motivation. Moreover, the arguments were not without merit since prostitution was commonplace and venereal diseases were rife. At the time there was undoubtedly a double standard which has now significantly lessened, although it has by no means disappeared. But the long term effect, coupled with the severe prudery and puritanism of the churches, was to instil in society a widespread guilt and shame on sexual matters that was not lifted until the 1960s.

The current feminist campaign to control and denounce male sexuality is much less high minded since its object is to demonize men, although this is rarely stated openly. Modern feminism has its roots in Marxist thinking and thus it has been uncritically accepted by the politically correct elite who control British institutions. Opposition has been minimal to this incremental agenda. Most men are cowed into silence and are reluctant to voice their concerns about what is going on. Only a relatively small minority of women are openly feminist and thus they are unrepresentative of the vast majority of women, most of whom take a common sense attitude towards the opposite sex. Nevertheless, because of the enormous influence wielded by feminists, their orthodoxies are regarded by the liberal establishment as near unchallengeable. Feminist distortions are repeated endlessly without serious examination or challenge, with the end result that the public are now beginning to accept them as truth. The movement to control male sexuality has gained in strength since the Jimmy Savile furore broke, as the news items above demonstrate. Men will need to find their voice if they are to avoid being branded as sex offenders in increasing numbers under the new puritan regime.

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