No. Odone has this to say:
"Willetts is right that feminists are responsible for the plight of working class men. But not because they have stolen their jobs. Feminists – or at least the kind that have gained the upper hand in this varied movement – have undermined working class men with their philosophy that all males are expendable. Women don’t need men: not as husbands or partners, not as bread-winners, not even as fathers to their children. This man-hatred has not only been taught, it has been rewarded: successive Labour governments have satisfied the feminists in their ranks by conceiving a benefits system that rewards single mothers who don’t let the father of their children live under the same roof. Women in low income families learn quickly that it is better to marry the state than any worthless man.
“ Thatta girl! You don’t need him! He’s rubbish!” – this is the refrain that working class men keep overhearing. Little wonder they feel demoralised and useless, and live down to these expectations."
Right, here's my problems with this:
- Odone says that feminists think that "[w]omen don't need men: not as husbands or partners, not as bread-winners, not even as fathers to their children". And to a degree, she is right. I don't need a husband or a partner. I don't need a man to be a bread-winner, and I don't need a man to raise any hypothetical children with. However, what she (and most right-wing, nuclear-family promoting people) seem to miss is that even though feminists might not believe that you need men for these roles, they don't believe that there's anything wrong with them actually doing it! Peddling the "all feminists are misandrists" myth gets no points.
- Labour (or any other political party) have never rewarded "man-hatred". The reason single parents get more benefits than couples (and bear with me here, because this might be a very difficult and complex concept to understand) is because they still have to pay the same rent and bills, but with only one income.
- Odone berates: "single mothers who don’t let the father of their children live under the same roof". Which are they? Are they single mothers, or are they women who are in a couple but live seperately from their partner? If she's actually saying that single mothers should continue (or even start) to live with the fathers of their children, that's clearly too ridiculous to even warrant my rage (I don't think she is, by the way, but you can never be sure with these types). However, even if she is having a go at women who don't live with the father of their children, so what? I know couples who have never lived together, but have been in a relationship for over 20 years. It's not for everyone. Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton have children together and live in seperate houses, and they seem to get along just fine. Of course, I suspect that her real problem with this is to do with the next point...
- "Women in low income families learn quickly that it is better to marry the state than any worthless man". I hate it when people push this opinion. It's ridiculous and offensive. It's essentially saying that all women in low income families are emotionally dead, grasping scroungers who would rather have a few extra quid a week than be in a loving relationship. Do the people who say this really think that there are legions of feckless women out there who decide to get knocked up by people they don't like for a bit of extra dosh a month? Being a jobless single mother is not a lifestyle that is so appealing that there's people up and down the country clamouring to get into it!
- Odone suggests that the reason 'working class men' don't have jobs or aren't socially mobile is because the poor little lambs are too disheartened to do anything because the mean old feminists don't want them. They don't "live down" to expectations forced on them by feminism, they "live down" to the lack of opportunity given to them by a society that's happy to blame women for the ills of the working class, rather than the destruction of industry and the financial barriers to social mobility.
So, there you have it. In Odone's mind, women are either misandrist harpies who want everyone with a penis strung from lamp posts, or docile, emotionless cows who are so grasping that they'd give up love for an extra bit of cash. And that's why men don't have jobs. Or something like that.
(n.b. I know I have approached this from a heteronormative and cisnormative point of view, but only because I was responding to Odone's points.)