Home > Politics > WFP Women’s Food Entitlement – The key word really is ‘entitlement’

WFP Women’s Food Entitlement – The key word really is ‘entitlement’

Beard Reel is mostly about media, but some things in politics simply must be discussed.

The recent earth quake disaster in Haiti has been in all the news, and rightly so. It was a truly devastating event which has left the country in ruin. It is extremely important that other nations help them to re-establish livable conditions.

However, I think the U.N. may be a bit confused on how to do that.

As reported on here, the World Food Program has a policy (readable here) which directs that all food resources be given out exclusively to women, as in ‘no boys allowed’.

The logic arises from the issues women can face in obtaining food when they have to confront larger, stronger men vying for the same resources. To resolve this the U.N. decided to just ban men all together from the food distribution compounds. They also seem to think that women are somehow better suited to the distribution of food.

This is messed up on so many levels that I’m not even sure where to start, but I’ll try.

First, there is the obvious (like the moon) flaw in this system: it excludes half the adult population! Apparently the WFP is going to take steps to ensure all the men get fed, but that is planned for stage 2, some time in the future. Too bad many of those men won’t live that long.

If it seems obvious that this is an attempt at unfairly empowering women, that’s because it is. That is one of the official reasons for it. Since empowering people is so important, I guess the old patriarchal system wasn’t so bad. In Haiti we are empowering women by giving them control over the food, something they are apparently better at using. By that logic, it was good that we used to give all the jobs to men, since they are better at them, empowering them to be better people. Empowerment is what really matters.

Seems fair to me.

What they are calling equality is pure sexism.

The men of Haiti are now going to have to go through women for their food, leaving them in a potentially life threatening position of submission. This leaves them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, just as women are said to have been in the past age of patriarchy.

If that was unequal, how is this any more equal?

As an additional insult to men, it seems the WFP intends for them to work as body guards to earn their supper:

The women are encouraged to bring male family members or friends to wait for them outside the distribution compound, to protect them and help them take their food home.

So the women are the only ones suited to get and distribute the food, but men are still expected to go out of their way to protect these women, and then have to rely on them to get any food.

It seems to me that it would have been easier to just ban women from the food centers. Then everyone would have been on the same physical standing, and the people could have protected the food themselves.

The misandry in this whole policy is mind-boggling, but I think the worst part of it is how it blatantly insults countless generations of male sacrifice. For millennia, it has been men (and often boys) who have died on the hunt, in the field, down the mine shaft and on the assembly line to provide food for their family, including their women. Now the WFP is insisting that women can better serve as primary providers and so should be given the food. However, they still need protection from men, not that the men should receive anything special for providing that protection. This is the first time I have heard of a group being expected to be both submissive to and protective of another group.

They just spit in the face of every man who has ever died for his family.

Maybe it’s time for someone to spit back.

Categories: Politics Tags: , , , , ,
  1. AQ
    February 12, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Wait, who should be spitting on whom?

    • February 12, 2010 at 9:33 pm

      ‘They’ (WFP) just spit on men through history.

      It’s time men take action against these misandristic groups.
      (Spitting was just a metaphor. Political protest would be far more effective and much more sanitary)

  2. AQ
    February 12, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    On a separate tangent, I would like to point you in the direction of some scary adds from the superbowl for inspiration for future posts. You can see a discussion here http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/02/08/the-super-bowl-and-madison-avenue-misogyny/ and there are some really good ideas (and even more videos) in the comments section. The blog that links to is a feminist blog, and so the main point is that these ads are misogynistic, which they are, but when you read through the comments you’ll see some acknowledgment of the fact that they are totally misandrist as well. I think this is a great example of how a lot of media imagery is insulting to men and women simultaneously. These ads reinforce absurd gender stereotypes and normalize (i.e. take for granted) this alleged “gender war”, and then suggest that the solution to all your marital and career problems lies in purchasing some product, of course.

    • February 12, 2010 at 9:32 pm

      Oh boy, that pro-family commercial!
      Have I ever been hearing about that.

      I almost laughed by liver out when I heard NOW complaining about it.
      I can think of about infinity commercials which glorify violence against men.

      As for the rest of them, I’ll still have to take a look at them.

      • AQ
        February 13, 2010 at 8:59 am

        Which is the “pro-family” commercial? The one that has caused the greatest stir is the Dodge ad where the guys is all seethingly (violently?) angry at his wife because he has to, like, do things sometimes, which is somehow her fault.

        • February 13, 2010 at 9:17 am


          The one with the football player tackling his mom.
          It’s a ‘pro-family’ anti-abortion ad.

  3. February 12, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Ayami -I used to order a small Heifer Project gift to a family in need for our holidays, remember? Read about their reasoning for focusing on women as resource distributors. Heifer and other similar organizations have steadily PROVEN that resources given to women are most likely to benefit children, men, families, and their local community. WHY would that be?

    Men’s own untrustworthy behavior in poor communities is the reason these systems have been established. It is not an unequal ‘favoritism’ or ‘entitlement’ for women that is the goal; it is a form of INSURANCE that resources will make it to the people most unable to fend for themselves. CHANGE MEN’s BEHAVIOR and then the distribution systems can change and become more equal.

    Any ideas how ??

    Often the negative / selfish male behavior these programs seek to circumvent is a direct result of US/Euro policies of colonization … Please think it through, take the longer historical view, and you will get to the root of this situation.

    Men in developing countries have been dehumanized by colonial repression and denied the dignity of their traditional village / cultural roles and status. They harbor great grief (rage) and are known to selfishly drink/gamble away a family’s safety net and become criminals much more often than women. If the men/families were not trapped in a vicious cycle of POVERTY, this whole picture would change.

    Women are the BEST HOPE as change agents right now, but not alone, they need men who become the change society needs.

    Are you yourself a change agent? vs just another online armchair critic?

    • February 13, 2010 at 9:14 am

      Reply to Marcy:

      I would like to reply to each of your paragraphs with a paragraph of my own.

      Giving cows to families is completely different from giving out food in a disaster area. Yes, it makes sense to give a cow to the member of the household who manages food, just like it makes sense in violent areas to arm those in the family most suited to combat, men. However, the food in Haiti is a matter of life and death for these men. How many died that first day WFP was there because they couldn’t get any food? If a ship got wrecked on the island, the captain wouldn’t hand out emergency rations only to the women, but that is what the WFP is doing here.

      Men’s behavior is a result of their society. Starving them out is not going to make things better. Giving food only to women only makes them more appealing targets for assault by larger, more powerful men. Trying to deal with a society of violent men by simply throwing vital resources at the women is like trying to tame a lion by kicking it and feeding only its mates.

      I never commented on the root of the situation. I often think feminists are stuck far too much in the past. What matters is the now and getting today’s problems fixed.

      Yes, poverty is the root of the problem. So, maybe instead of just feeding the women we should put our resources as assisting nations toward employing these men so they can feed their families.

      As for women as the ‘agents of changes’, I’d say turn on your TV or look out the door. American feminism has proven that women are just as cut-throat, bloodthirsty and self-serving as men. They exploit the system to their own ends, take advantage of others and ignore that they don’t like. Women have shown no tendency toward being agents of change, or peace or healing or any such nonsense. Remember, the genders are equal, that means both are just as evil. And please, please, please, let’s stop trying to claim men have to change to fix society, all while claiming women are just fine as they are. If anyone is going to be the agent of change, it is the children, regardless of gender. Heck, it is boys the modern education system is failing, so they seem even more likely to be the ones to fight for change.

      As for your last comment, I don’t even own an armchair.

      • February 18, 2010 at 4:41 pm

        Ayami – Wondering why you don’t trust that the UN emergency response agencies bases their decision on YEARS of front line experience in crisis situations? And why do you assume the women didn’t feed the men as well as the children?

        Why don’t you trust women as leaders? Is that what your own life has taught you? That all women are ‘ball breakers’ stealing men’s thunder? That our gender oppression is something in the past, no longer ‘real’ or ‘relevant? None of the above are factual, fyi.

        And how on earth can you state: women have shown no tendency toward being agents of change, peace or healing ???? As if Jane Goodall, Mother Teresa, Michelle Obama etc don’t exist ? Even the Dali Lama is encouraging women to step forwards into change agent roles.

        While it is great to see any young man work on developing positions on important issues, it is clear to we readers that you have a somewhat entrenched agenda and are not out openly exploring ideas. Posturing is more like it. These are quite obviously broad statements – and huge biases – you make that have little basis in fact or reality. (If you tink thehy do, list your sources, your refenrences, your proof, please.)

        BTW, of course a chair doesn’t need arms to be metaphorically a place where someone sits and critically observes the world, rather than be out in it BECOMING the change.

        • February 18, 2010 at 5:07 pm

          I never said that the women didn’t or won’t feed the men like the UN assumes. My problem is that they are acting on that assumption alone. I don’t care who is having resources withheld from them. What matters is that someone is having resources withheld.
          Like I said, it wasn’t reasonable to only employ men on the basis of them being men.

          Also, I never said I don’t trust women as leaders, at least no less than any other human. All I am saying is that women have no special tendency toward kind leadership.
          I never said that women are no longer oppressed. I only complained about men being oppressed in the name of women’s empowerment.
          The logic just doesn’t add up.

          Once more, ‘I never said’ that there are no peaceful women. I said that ‘women’, IE the whole of the female body of humanity, shows no special tendency toward such behavior, as in tendency above that of men. We have no reason to think women will make for more peaceful leaders.

          And while there are great female peace makers, there are also countless male peacemakers, despite propaganda which would lead us to believe that men are violent.
          Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., The Dalai Lama, to name just a few.

          The only broad statements I made are simple facts:
          This is unfair to men: simple logic
          Women have shown no tendency toward peace: just look at the post-feminist America
          Men have traditionally been the providers: this can be found in any history book

          As for biases, I thought I fairly clearly and honestly gave examples of how this treatment of men is no different that the old oppression of women. Therefor, anyone who sees problem with female oppression but not with this must have biases.

  1. July 12, 2010 at 10:13 am

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