REVIEW: ‘The Case Against the Sexual Revolution: A New Guide to the 21st Century’ 

George Hook was back on the radio recently, talking to Shane Coleman and Ciara Kelly on Newstalk Breakfast. Good for George. At 81, he is still a larger than life character, a little bit rough around the edges, and not so keen on playing it perfectly safe. Mick Heaney in the Irish Times sums up the impact of someone with character on today’s radio proceedings,

Still, his appearance gives a palpable lift to proceedings. If Coleman and Kelly occasionally sound like they’re indulging a dottily unreconstructed uncle, they also clearly enjoy their guest’s return to the airwaves. For all his foibles, Hook reminds listeners of the outsized persona, sweeping opinions and broad humour that made him an unlikely broadcasting star in the first place.  

Why not have him on the radio more often, you might ask? Well, George was cancelled for wrong speak five years ago. On Newstalk. And he was replaced by Ciara Kelly.

In discussing a rape case from the UK, Hook said:

“But when you then look deeper into the story you have to ask certain questions. Why does a girl who just meets a fella in a bar go back to a hotel room? She’s only just barely met him. She has no idea of his health conditions, she has no idea who he is, no idea what dangers he might pose. But is there no blame now to the person who puts themselves in danger? You then of course read that she passed out on the toilet and when she woke up the guy was trying to rape her. There is personal responsibility because it’s your daughter and my daughter.”

This was ill judged and intemperate language on a difficult subject, for which he apologised almost immediately: ““It was unacceptable to suggest in any way that blame could be attributed to victims of rape. I apologise for the comments which caused hurt and offence, and for this I am truly sorry.”

It wasn’t sufficient to save his job and thus his career. Luckily he was 76 at the time and had a life of work behind. He wasn’t afforded any of the sufferance that the curmudgeonly old uncle in the corner would normally be allotted by the much cleverer and sophisticated university going grandchildren over Christmas dinner.

He had done the unthinkable, He misspoke. There can be no coming back from that.Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland at the time Hook’s demise, said: “His apology is welcome but you could ask if it’s too late. I do think it’s coming to a point where his position is untenable in Newstalk.” There is no room for context, nuance – or even contrition. And his position was deemed untenable.

Five years’ later, Louise Perry, columnist with the lefty New Statesman and campaigner against male violence, releases a book saying pretty much what George Hook was saying back in 2017. She isn’t a reactionary pale, stale, male. She isn’t some backwoodsman who has missed the world turning for a few generations. She fits all the feminist labels. She spent years working in a Rape Crisis Centre. Campaigns against male violence. Supports nearly all the feminist causes. Luckily, that does not hold Perry back from going against the grain.

Her new book, released by Polity Press is called ‘The Case Against the Sexual Revolution: A New Guide to Sex in the 21st Century’ is more aligned with what the Iona Institute would recommend than the National Women’s Council of Ireland.

What is the point of Perry’s book? If it were sometime not too long ago, it would be, as she entitles the conclusion to the book: Listen to your mother. Good solid advice, particularly for young women. Your mother wants what’s best for you. She wants to keep you safe and out of trouble. Let’s save the advice until the end.

Why does she offer this advice? Well, 95% of men are able to out-muscle 95% of women, all the time. Or something like that. Essentially nearly all men can beat up nearly all women. It’s a physical and biological fact that forms the spine of the book. Or that ‘almost all men can kill almost all women with their bare hands. And not vice versa’.

The author is not really a fan of men. That comes across in her book and she has a career of dealing with the fallout of male violence. But she doesn’t view it as other feminists do: she doesn’t think that the problem can be dealt with by moralistic posters, by 45 minute workshops – it is nature much more so than nurture. Although she does not deny the role of nurture – she is very aware of the supplementary influence of violent pornography and video games on the male psyche. She does not feel that a utopian solution of male perfectibility is possible and that this reality cannot be ignored.

She says ‘If you wanted to design the perfect environment for the would be rapist then you couldn’t do much better than a party or a nightclub filled with young women who are wearing high hells (limiting mobility) and drinking or taking drugs (limiting awareness). Is it appalling for a person to even contemplate assaulting these women? Yes. Does that moral statement provide any protection to these women whatso ever? No.’

Perry is of the view, and she argues it quite strongly, that the sexual revolution, the hook-up culture, and the idea that only consent matters, is an approach to sex and relationships that is only of benefit to the male. Why is this so? Contraception and abortion suit the male – especially the ‘cad’ male who is only interested in a hook-up, no strings attached; and despite what the liberal feminist narrative may try to convince the world, males are much more hardwired to be much higher in what she calls sociosexuality. In this regard, the male and the female are, at population level, wired very differently.

Perry is at pains to stress throughout the book, that yes, some women do not mind and even like this, but the majority do not and even find hook-up culture distressing. The sexual revolution tells women to ‘[date] like a man’ but really what they are saying, according to Perry is to ‘date like an a***hole’. 

Perry describes the narrative sold on the sexual revolution as ‘luxury beliefs’, beliefs that can be afforded by a certain class, but whose costs are disproportionately borne by those ill-equipped to benefit from or to resist them. That for many, promoting sexual liberation values is virtue signalling without any cost. The promotion of sex-work as simply ‘work’ is one of those – its proliferation for the benefit of the male while the majority of the ‘workers’ are poor, vulnerable, addicted with little choice, working for $20 each time – not the glossy $300/hour escort that is often the ‘whatabout’ example.

In the same way, a durable marriage is becoming a luxury of the wealthy while relationships fall apart or never materialise for women on the lower end of the economic spectrum. The consequence for children in single-parent homes, is, statistically, the likelihood of being worse off in a myriad of ways.

One shocking statistic Perry highlights is that a step-parent is forty to one hundred times more likely than a biological parent to kill a child.  Marriage may be dismissed as old-fashioned, antiquated or bourgeois but it is often forgotten that a prohibition on sex before marriage “served female, not male interests, because it protected the group that bear (literally) the consequences of an extra-marital pregnancy.”

What is that advice then that Perry gives to young women? The list is longer than I will write here but it includes not having sex on the first date or the first month (it will tell you if the man is serious about you); only have sex with a man you would want to be a father to your children (even if you don’t intend having them, it is a good gauge); monogamous marriage is the most stable and reliable foundation on which to build a family.  She also believes that women (and society) has to minimise the chances of letting bad men have the opportunity to do bad things.

  • Consent workshops are mostly useless. Rape is reduced by keeping rapists in jail or reducing their opportunity to rape.
  • Women aged 13 to 25 in particular, but all women, should avoid being alone with men they don’t know or who give them the creeps. Trust your instincts.
  • Get drunk or high in private and with female friends rather than in public or in mixed company.
  • Don’t use dating apps. They cant tell you if the other person has a bad history.

All that all sounds very much like what George Hook was trying to say even if he got the words all wrong. Is it time he was afforded a proper apology?


 

 

 


Dualta Roughneen

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