Time for the most hazardous of exploits: a dalliance with matters gender and sex. The last time I entered that particular fray, the sound of mushrooming psychos online popped like a gaggle of clowns sprinting over bubble-wrap. One even threatened to buy one of my books and burn it. They should have bought and burned 20 – that would have really shown me.
So, let me firstly open my (Apple) Mac and whip out my limp credentials. Society is generally skewed in favour of men. This isn’t news. Some misogynist psychos will see this as the result of some innate superiority of man over woman, but the reasonably well-grounded will have discerned that, while men and women are different, inequality stems from what we do and what we permit to be done.
It is a therefore a social construct, and insofar as I am able to grasp the concept, feminism is about dismantling discriminatory structures in order to establish a level playing field. Now, as a man, that is all I really need to know, but not all I need to do. From this point, the role of men is to listen and do things that make change happen.
Seems a reasonable proposition, so what could possibly go wrong?
Enter an increasing number of men, clambering for the front row of the gig, who claim to be a feminists, and injecting the fruit-juice of their deliberations into the feminist discourse.
So, breathless with exasperation, I pause to consider a salient question. How could I, with no lived experience as a woman, truly know what being a woman in an unequal society actually entails? I won’t elaborate any further – I cannot, period.
Even my initial interest in the subject is that of an’ outsider’. After writing this piece, I will turn my thoughts to other questions because this perspective does not sit within me, guiding everything I think and do. My knowledge of it is an account passed to me by others, as it is for any man.
And now for the big reveal, or not. I am prone to sexist thoughts and behaviour in spite of my efforts to change. Perhaps I need to try harder, but I am not going to claim that I am immune to years of social conditioning – and the comfort of the status quo – and can flick the switch of character transformation simply because it might be fleetingly beneficial to float out a facade.
I will leave that to the virtue-signalling gender Trojans, who are fronting learned scripts to garner woke credentials and to avoid being cast into the bucket of bad bastardy along with all the other truly grim chauvinists.
And frankly, any man stepping in and identifying as a ‘feminist’ has more than just a slight whiff of sexism, with what is surely a blatant appropriation of the female voice. It is telling that we arguably cannot avoid enacting the dynamics of patriarchy even when we are trying to articulate just how egregious all that caper might be. It is ingrained in how we operate through years of repetition and practice.
Even those who make the feminist claim with the best of intentions do not seem to get it. Women are more than capable of speaking up for themselves. All we need to do is listen, act, and stop pretending. Consequently, the well-intentioned wannabe gender slacktivists might even come to feel less exposed and may focus more on constructive deeds than vacuous humbug.
Je ne suis pas Bernard Manning, nor is this about manning up. This is about a call for honesty and not a crocodile-teared response to any frisson of male vulnerability. However, embracing the soundbites is snatched up by too many as a pass on ownership and responsibility. not to mention the relinquishment of power and influence, which will be an essential corollary of equality.
And that’s the real barrier – parity is going to hurt, chaps. Even more than the pain of childbirth that you have never experienced but still know and feel (from videos and books, of course).
I’ve lost count of the workplace rogues who spout off about gender equality while remaining relentlessly content to accept their automatic promotions via the boys’ club culture and who thereby continue to block opportunities for others and maintain a male-oriented status quo.
This fakery of course casts its shadow over every aspect of the discourse on social inequality. Those who find it hip to be dripping in diversity while feathering their own nests at the direct expense of others through their scripted performances
However, not all invaders of gender politics are brazen blaggards. Those whose brass necks are not as polished stop short of snaffling the feminist moniker. They settle for the self-appointed status of the ‘ally’, which almost assumes a sense of self-sacrifice in the face of the oppression by one’s own tribe.
Sacrificing themselves on the cross of equality, but not really.
Which is what this malarkey is really all about.