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Ukraine’s disposable men: exposing the latest feminist hypocrisy

By Bettina Arndt - posted Friday, 18 March 2022

The tragic video of the Ukrainian father breaking down when saying goodbye to his family was heart-wrenching. But even as it attracted attention across the world, no one seemed to be asking the obvious question: How come the life of this young father is considered expendable whilst most fit, capable Ukrainian women are being hastily shipped off, out of harm's way?

Where is feminism's demand for equal treatment of women, when every male age 18 to 60 is being forced to stay and "defend his country"?

One lone male voice on TikTok dared to call out the feminist silence; he attracted a wave of criticism and his video was removed. The TikTok user, @notpoliticalspeaking, had the temerity to point out that the reported 32,000 women in the Ukrainian military weren't all that many – given that, according to his estimation, the country has 17 million women of age.


Social media ran hot with dozens of articles claiming the TikToker was being "called out for his ignorance and misogyny." People piled on with comments pointing out how many courageous women were now enlisting, showing photographs of women soldiers, and grandmothers with machine guns. This photograph proved a favourite – a very moving NYT photo of a Ukrainian volunteer, a teacher, awaiting deployment.

But none of this refuted the point the TikToker was making. It is revealing that there has been so little intelligent commentary on the way the Ukraine crisis is exposing the glaring hypocrisy of feminism today, where feminists talk about equality but happily exploit old-fashioned chivalry, which demands only men are disposable.

"Women are too valuable to be in combat," said Caspar Weinberger, US Secretary of Defence, back in the 1980s, a time when military leaders were still allowed to say such things. Now feminists muzzle such comments and demand women have access even to front-line combat roles. Yet they sit back silent as Ukraine forces their entire adult male population to defend their country, while the valuable women are safeguarded. Traditionally this has been justified using the evolutionary argument - that the size of the next generation is constrained by the number of fertile females and a species can tolerate the loss of males more easily than the loss of females.

No one dares point out that that hardly applies to all those forty-something single women past childbearing age that we watched scrambling to get on those crowded trains out of the county.

The other arguments for offering women special protection just don't hold water anymore. The active role played by women in the military puts paid to traditional arguments about women's lack of strength – and gender-based strength is irrelevant when facing most modern weaponry.

Let's face it – whilst no one would quarrel with the need to protect children and arguably their mothers, the view of women as a protected class is simply a legacy of traditional, chivalrous thinking which is far too useful for feminists to discard. So they have their cake and eat it, taking every possible opportunity to pretend that this isn't all about exploiting men by claiming women suffer too – perhaps even more than men.


Here's our very own Michael Flood, the Australian academic who has built his career on denigrating men.

Along the same lines, here's an AP News story highlighting the travails of women and children forced to flee alone because their men weren't allowed to leave-an entire article about how hard it was on the women that the men could only help them as far as the border before being made to turn around and face possible death on the battlefield.

The women-suffer-more tactic was made famous by Hillary Clinton who declared: "Women have always been the primary victims of war" because they "lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat" and because they are "often left with the responsibility, alone, of raising the children".

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About the Author

Bettina Arndt is a social commentator.

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