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The fact most males are paid way beyond females is terrible, but hardly surprising. The gap is pretty vast. This is part of the reason why I find it extremely hard when women, have said to me in past, theres no real need for feminism anymore. Very difficult indeed!
On hearing the story break, I wondered if Jodie Whittaker will earn the same kind of money as previous male doctor whos?
Trade union Equity said in a statement: “The apparent pay gaps in gender and for those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background are troubling.”
There is also a gap between the pay for white stars and those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background.
George Alagiah, Jason Mohammad and Trevor Nelson are the highest paid BAME presenters, each receiving between £250,000 and £300,000.
The highest-paid female star with a BAME background is BBC news presenter Mishal Husain, who earned between £200,000 and £250,000.
Its a shame as it really was one of those dating apps I had hoped would gather the attention for good reason, bumble seemed to eclipse it for reasons I’m unsure it deserves. They certainly were blogging and saying all good things. I was just waiting for it to come to the UK and of course Android.
I especially liked this post about what a feminist app would look like.
Here at Siren, we like to consider ourselves feminists, and on the surface, it might be easy for us to claim to be a ‘feminist dating app.’ After all—we’re a tech company founded by fierce, empowered women of color, aimed at fostering intimacy and undermining the culture of objectification that runs through so many dating apps. But is this enough?
In light of current national and global political circumstances, we feel it is incumbent on us to declare that no, this isn’t enough. Feminism is an ongoing process, not a special club or a badge to wear with pride. So here are a few of the ways we are challenging ourselves to earn the title “feminist dating app,” and as always, we welcome your feedback on how we can better fulfill this mission.
Great words and I had planned on blogging about this much earlier in 2017, especially point 5.
MEN CAN BE FEMINISTS, TOO
We get it—all this talk about empowering women can be intimidating for men. Does our emphasis on the struggle for women’s liberation mean that we hate men, or respect them any less than our female, or nonbinary members?
On the contrary. We’ll be frank: men, we need you, too. There are conversations that will never catch on with the culture at large without male allies amplifying our voices, and let’s be honest—sometimes you guys are sexy as hell, to boot!
So if you are a man who dates women—or would like to—we’re glad you’re here, and we have created resources especially with you in mind.
Another call for distributed online dating?
This certainly fits under John Oliver’s “how is this still a thing?” On last week tonight
I can’t quite remember who first pointed me at the UK petition; but glad they did because I read the petition, was taken a back and signed it straight away.
It’s still legal in the UK for a company to require female members of staff to wear high heels at work against their will. Dress code laws should be changed so that women have the option to wear flat formal shoes at work, if they wish. Current formal work dress codes are out-dated and sexist.
Yesterday I got a email telling me 152,420 people signed the petition, which is great as 100,000 was needed to get it debated.
Parliament is going to debate the petition you signed – “Make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work”.
The debate is scheduled for 6 March 2017.
Once the debate has happened, we’ll email you a video and transcript.
Look forward to hearing the outcome on this throw back to the past.
I was reading no bad dates just good stories and read the point about Bumble.
Bumble is full of feminists?
And this is a problem why? Sweet Jesus, a dating app that puts women in the driving seat, whatever next? Quick guys, delete it – don’t let the vagina army overthrow your seat in power.
I liked the concept of Bumble, love to meet more female feminists being one myself and know there was a massive backlash from the manosphere (read with caution!). But it should be a dating site I’m regularly on.. but I’m not?
When I first signed up it was early and there was little people from around Manchester on it. Then suddenly there was a ton of supermodel type women showing up. Most men would have loved it. But something didn’t seem right, I couldn’t tell for sure but it felt like quite a lot might be fake (from previous experiences and what I’ve read, it certainly seemed possible)?
Fake profiles is a quick way to keep people on the site and interested, or keep them using the app?
That was off-putting but then they changed the terms so if a woman messaged a man, had 24 hours to reply. Encouraging/forcing you to look everyday at least. This for me is not the habit I can not see a positive outcome from. I understand some of the reasoning but it feels unsustainable, at least to my mind? I check my dating profile only once or twice a month (to be fair this is very low), unless I’m chatting with a woman or planning a date of course. I have to question the benefit to the people using Bumble vs their ability to tell investers they have a large number of uniques per day?
I have to say checking your dating app everyday can not be good for your wellbeing; be it bumble, okcupid, tinder, grindr, hinge, pof, etc. It leads to cognitive burnout, which is something a lot of regular daters talk about in different terms. This is why the idea of a online dating break is a real thing.
Regardless, I’m willing to give it another try, but frankly if it’s not a big improvement I’m not going back; another good idea executed badly in faviour of business? Maybe its time for total distruption as mentioned previously?
I just posted a blog about undressed which I tagged #nsfw, as I recognise certain people will find the whole premise a little difficult to stomach? So because of this, I thought I’d post a blog I have had as draft for a long while.
Sex works rights… Why?
It’s the injustice which winds me up. Like the debate around Ecstasy, I haven’t got any skin in the game (if there was a better word I’d use it) but I can see the logical conclusion without social/societal bias.
The idea of sex workers is something which makes people go red. run away or ignore the whole thing. It’s frankly shocking and so crazy that we haven’t grown up enough to talk about this in a practical way. I mean there are many peoples lives at risk simply because we go all red when thinking about sex.
There are sorry parallels with the sorry state of sex education in schools.
Everyone has an opinion about how to legislate sex work (whether to legalize it, ban it or even tax it) … but what do workers themselves think would work best? Activist Toni Mac explains four legal models that are being used around the world and shows us the model that she believes will work best to keep sex workers safe and offer greater self-determination. “If you care about gender equality or poverty or migration or public health, then sex worker rights matter to you,” she says. “Make space for us in your movements.”
Valerie Scott always wanted to be a sex worker and has extensive experience in her chosen profession. She is a founding member and legal co-ordinator of Sex Professionals of Canada, a sex worker rights organization. She has been a passionate advocate for her colleague’s human, civil, and legal rights for the past 30 years. She has testified at Canada’s Senate and at several Parliamentary committees. She has spoken at numerous community meetings, colleges, universities, and conferences about the humanity of sex workers and the need for full decriminalization of adult sex work.
Both are powerful talks, and well worth watching. Deep down it’s about the rights of people to live a life without violence, fear and shame.They both talk about New Zealand which decriminalised sex work and rejected the legalisation model used in Sweden. The reasoning is very sound and very enlighten.
Hopefully more countries will follow suit or at least try (similar to the legalisation of drugs maybe?) because right now the whole sex work industry sounds like a total mess. (just like the UK right now, to be honest) Too many people (mainly women) are caught in the middle one way or another. Frankly we all are letting down these people by simply not listening.
At TEDWomen, Tony Porter makes a call to men everywhere: Don’t “act like a man.” Telling powerful stories from his own life, he shows how this mentality, drummed into so many men and boys, can lead men to disrespect, mistreat and abuse women and each other. His solution: Break free of the “man box.”
I need you working with me and me working with you on how we raise our sons and teach them to be men – that it’s OK to not be dominating – that it’s OK to have feelings and emotions – that it’s OK to promote equality – that it’s OK to have women who are just friends and that’s it – that my liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman.
So profound a point and ever so elegant and simple!
I don’t quite know when it happened to me, but at a early age I could see and smell the macho hierarchy bullshit. It generally drove me a little nuts. I mean how dare people tell me I can’t have female friends who are not simply potentials. This honestly was said to me multiple times over my life. Either they are potentials or they are not worth investing time in! Seriously! This warped view for what? The dream of being alpha king kong of the jungle?
It might have been strengthen by the film 187 with Samuel L Jackson?
I could literally pull out many parts of the macho bullshit out of many pickup/selfhelp books for men. For example AMOG
1. noun [alpha male of the group or alpha male other guy]: a socially comfortable male who competes with a pickup artist for a woman or interferes with a pickup artist’s game.
2. verb: to remove a potential male competitor—through physical, verbal, or psychological tactics—from a group of women. Also: outalpha. Origin: Tyler Durden
Some key points of the macho bullshit…
- Don’t cry or openly express emotions
- Do not show weakness or fear
- Demonstrate power control
- Show aggression and dominance always (be the alpha)
- Do not be “like a woman”
- Do not be “like a gay man”
- Make decisions, do not ask for help
- Don’t ask questions?
- View the oppose sex as property or objects
You can see this stuff play out in books like the game. Its something I have battled against many times, as I’ve seen too many good men around me hold themselves to similar rules, unknowingly buying into/clinging onto some type of old fashioned/myth of what makes a man?
I hate certain situations when I don’t have the energy to battle against this macho bullshit or manbox if you prefer? I feel like those Manchester couples at Salt and Paper in Eyespy, wanting to say something but not having the energy or enough fight in me to do so. I’ve taken a slightly more manipulative approach now, as that doesn’t put me directly into competition/conflict with their own view. It takes longer but I’ve seen glimmers of a break through.
I had a chat over brunch in VividLounge with Chris, and he recommended via Rosie, Doctor nerd love. I did say it sounded like a blog I read called the rules revisited. The one which originally Valeska pointed me and I mentioned earlier So I had a look and found on the front page a post titled How Toxic Masculinity Hurts Everyone.
Toxic masculinity is a narrow and repressive description of manhood, designating manhood as defined by violence, sex, status and aggression. It’s the cultural ideal of manliness, where strength is everything while emotions are a weakness; where sex and brutality are yardsticks by which men are measured, while supposedly “feminine” traits – which can range from emotional vulnerability to simply not being hypersexual – are the means by which your status as “man” can be taken away.
Sex, in particular, is an important part of “being a man”. Sexual conquests (and believe me, that word is chosen deliberately) are part of how men establish and reaffirm their manhood. The need to “get” sex is all-encompassing because the more of it you have, the higher “status” you have as a man.
I was actually going to post about the horrible rapist who got off (words used deliberatly) extrememly lightly mainly because of some messed up privilage. I watched the video of the news reader reading out the letter from the victim. I simply couldn’t help but shed some tears for such a tragic and nasty thing to happen to somebody/anybody!
But on the idea of how to stem the toxic masculinity I found this interesting when considering what I said earlier.
With all this in mind, we’re forced to ask just how we can start fixing men and repairing the damage done by toxic masculine ideals. And the answer is to speak up. The answer is to push back. The answer is to take responsibility. The answer is education.
We need more men to step up and be counted. We need more men to call out others for their shitty behavior, to refuse to let sexual assault be “get some action”, to intervene when we see harassment or assaults going down regardless of the gender of the victim.
I have been told… I need to push back more.
Its great to see more positive female role models in the media, but I wonder if they go far enough?
The first episode of CBS’s forthcoming Supergirl series has leaked online a full six months before it was scheduled to air. Two versions of the 46-minute episode (one in full HD and another in lower resolution) made their way onto torrenting sites late last week, with BitTorrent news site TorrentFreak describing the leak as a “complete surprise” to the pirating community.
I watched the pilot episode and it struck me as fun and very like the Flash (not really a surprise as its the same kind of team). I’m not the only one who says so either in this spoiler free view.
After Agents of SHEILDs got very samey, I pretty much ignored Agent Carter till I saw people talking about it.
Cannot believe there is a question over renewing #AgentCarter. She’s fucking awesome, the show’s awesome, yet somehow there’s doubt? Why?
— Suw (@Suw) February 8, 2015
To be fair I checked out a couple of episodes but it hasn’t grabbed me, so its just sitting there waiting for me to watch the rest sometime. However, I have to admit its got a good feeling throughout.
Agent Carter, is a sly analogy for the state of women today, especially women in geek culture. The show reflects pop media buzz topics, like Gamergate, Fake Geek Girl memes, and the sexual harassment of creators, through the lens of a time that seems archaic. However, the topics, the misogyny and inequality that Peggy deals with, is anything but archaic. These are things that modern women deal with on a daily basis: the street harassment, the catcalling, the sexualization, the dehumanizing, the diminishing, and the belittling.
Peggy Carter is the modern woman, capable and strong, but forced into a world that will not accept her for who she is and will not listen to her speaking out against the men who put her down
Some reviews are less sure about the feminist angle.
When I first saw posters for the Madmax reboot, I pretty much dismissed it but then I started hearing how interesting it actually is and how it passed the Bechdel test…
The Bechdel Test is a film litmus test. To pass, a movie must have two female characters, with names, who talk to each other, about something other than a man. It’s not perfect but it helps illustrate how utterly underrepresented women’s voices are in film. “Mad Max: Fury Road” passes on a level heretofore unheard of outside “chick flicks.” There is a moment late in the film when no less than twelve women — seven of them named — are talking together. On the one hand I am mortified this is cause for celebration. On the other hand, it’s a decisive victory worthy of a fist pump.
I’m not saying this is all something new, just interesting to see a few come out about the same kind of time. It would be nice if Hollywood would take more risks with the under represented.
Sure its a glitch in the matrix and we’ll be back to the 50 shades of greys again soon enough…
Although I’m going to say, it would be amazing to turn some parts of Girl with a one track mind into a film?
Its certainly could/would work better than as a TV series which diary of the call girl got turned into. Its worth reading both blogs as they so very different in many accounts! The feminist message of empowerment could really work well, wonder if Zoe ever considered it as a film, especially as she use to be in the film business herself…
— Rosie Campbell (@RosieCampbell) January 7, 2015
Recently I have butted head with different women over feminism. I don’t know what it is but so many women really hate the term and will never consider themselves feminist.
I do not need to identify myself as a feminist to believe in equal rights and opportunities. I live in a world where I am free to make this choice, it is my right to do so, even if you don’t agree with it.
I agree, and I support her rights to make the choice not to identify as a feminist. Its ultimately up her, I just suggested she might want to consider it.
I do not believe that men and women are equal. I believe we should have equal rights and opportunities, but I celebrate our differences, and I can accept that these difference may lead to a divide in political, economical, cultural and social representations. This does not necessarily mean that equal rights and opportunities were not given.
Its all about equal rights and equal opportunities. Everybody is unique and different, I do celebrate this too. But they should have equal rights and opportunities.
So I think were saying the same thing pretty much, although she doesn’t use the label. However when it comes to the movement against and women against feminism, I’m less certain we agree.
It is my opinion, that in more recent times, feminism has been tainted. Something must be causing these women to feel like feminism is trying to make them feel like a victim, claim oppression, or be ashamed of wanting to be a stay at home mum instead of lawyer or doctor. These feelings don’t come from no where, and whether or not feminism represents these ideas or not, it does not make the opinions of these women any less valid. Maybe in their cases they don’t need feminism anymore because for them, the feminist movement has done its job, but I think it’s a damn shame that such an amazing movement has become so misunderstood and warped by today’s society.
I feel people are people and in groups, there will always be parasites. Or in this case people who claim to be feminist who don’t respect other peoples right to make decisions for themselves. For example when Jody wrote about her breast augmentation in the Guardian. The hateful comments from radical, self righteous, hypocritical, or even judgmental feminists was shocking.
I will admit I am finding more smart women who subscribe to the values of feminism but refuse to be called one. And its their right. I feel the word is in transition of being reclaimed, maybe in many years it won’t be a taboo to be called a feminist…. maybe?
— Andy Powell (@p0welly) January 11, 2015
He asks the question about FEMINIST verses feminist. Or I you could say big F vs small f feminist. I did find the language politics highlighted by Tom Scott very interesting too. Although I can’t get behind Equalist.
…because of the attitudes of the FEMINISTS I find it difficult to claim I’m a feminist, so Im just going to go on record as saying I’m an Equalist.
Equalist for me is like when somebody says I’m African American. I have been called it before while in America, to which I had to say I prefer Black thank you . I understand and respect why some people want to use that term but it feels like a half way house, and for what?
Feminist stirs the pot and conjures up thoughts in the people who hear it. Same as Black, same as Gay, same as Geek…
I guess at the end of the day as long as the values are equivalent it doesn’t matter what you use. Now thats something I can get respect.
— Victoria Walberg (@vickyjo) December 10, 2014
I was going to write a very detailed take down of the first link which is all about Men giving up on women and checking out of society. Then I saw it was written Milo Yiannopoulos. Milo is one nasty piece of work and I just try and ignore eveything he says and does… for example…
Its no point in pulling it apart because Milo will keep writing hateful and spiteful nonsense regardless. I feel like I have already given him enough of a platform… As a friend said what a tw**!
The second url… Why women should never go halves on a date!
Paying for a women on a date has nothing to do with feminism.
To me, it’s a way for a man to show, very clearly, that he likes you. Enough to try to impress you. Enough to make some effort. On a bigger scale, it’s a way for a man to prove he will be a good boyfriend – thoughtful, kind, generous and supportive.
Of course relationships are not one-way streets. Many women earn more than their partners and end up being the ones supporting their family financially in the long-run. But that initial gesture of paying for a simple dinner, a lunch or a tea signals an intention to support you, as well as showing that they come from a good family that values manners. In short, it says ‘I like you and I’d like to look after you.’
I disagree! Why is it that the writer (Yvette) assumes the man should “sweep the woman off her feet!” Why is it the man needs to prove he will be a good boyfriend. Human beings, like to be swept off their feet at some point. But equally everybody needs to prove there self worth to potential partners regardless of the sex.
This emphasis on going Dutch from the start makes my heart sink. How exactly is a man supposed to sweep you off your feet if he can’t buy you dinner and roses any more?
If you can’t think of another way to impress, that with your credit card… you are doing it all wrong! The point of going dutch is to take the whole pay/cost off the table. I wouldn’t mind being swept off my feet every once in a while, just because I’m a man doesn’t mean I should expect anything less? As Yvette says it has nothing to do with feminism but I can already see people like Milo relating the two.
Doing my bit to Inject feminism into daily conversations with other men (people!) I have been more and more aware of how controversial my enlighten views on feminism seem to be. Luckily I have recently been surrounding myself with people who are equally enlighten in their views. Rebecca posted on her facebook wall something which is linkbaity but I clicked and read/watched for about 30mins solid. The 39 most iconic feminist moments of 2014, will have you almost in tears and punching the sky in a FTW style.
Some of the best parts for me include…
Mo’ne Davis made everyone want to “throw like a girl.”
When the 13-year-old Davis led her team to the Little League World Series, it’s safe to say she captivated the nation. Poised and confident, Davis was an instant role model for millions of little girls — and boys — and also was the first Little Leaguer to grace a Sports Illustrated cover. To top it off, she was also recently named Sports Illustrated Kid‘s “SportsKid of the Year.” You go, girl.
Beyoncé danced in front of the world — and a gigantic feminist banner.
…Beyoncé’s 16-minute performance was quite literally a sight for sore eyes. The world’s biggest diva proved feminism wasn’t just accessible, it was cool. As Time remarked, the entire show was about women’s empowerment.
Aziz Ansari broke down feminism for dudes.
During his appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman in October, Aziz Ansari made some crucial points about feminism to an otherwise pretty mainstream late night audience. “If you look up feminism in the dictionary, it just means that men and women have equal rights,” he said. “And I feel like everyone here believes men and women have equal rights. But I think the reason people don’t clap is that word is so weirdly used in our culture.”
Aziz Ansari is exactly the point of view enlighten man should be thinking. That is what everyman can do to help the movement of diversity and equal rights for all. And further to that, the words play deconstruction is great.
Ansari’s message was clear — feminism is not about pitting men and women against each other. “If you believe that men and women have equal rights, if someone asks if you’re feminist, you have to say yes because that is how words work,” he said. “You can’t be like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m a doctor that primarily does diseases of the skin.’ Oh, so you’re a dermatologist? ‘Oh no, that’s way too aggressive of a word! No no, not at all, not at all.'”
Whats also interesting for me is continued rise of black women. Outside of the Beyonce’s, Olivia Pope’s, Lupita Nyong’s, etc. You have Roxane Gay, Shonda Rhimes and so many many more strong black women standing for their rights and doing the right thing.
Women stood at the front lines of Ferguson.
Despite reports of women being silenced or interrupted by male activists, women made sure their voices were part of the growing chorus of dissent coming out of Ferguson, Missouri. “Historically, women have always been leading,” protester Thenjiwe McHarris told MSNBC. “A lot of times women are often unseen leaders because women are all just doing it — we’re all just doing the work.” In addition to helping lead marches and chants, women like Jamilah Lemieux from Ebony also fearlessly reported on events from the ground. Although police Officer Darren Wilson was ultimately not charged in the killing of Michael Brown, the conversation about racial justice will continue, with women as some of its most invaluable warriors.
— Bipartisan Report (@Bipartisanism) December 5, 2014
Absolutely the protest/rally I was a part of last week was arranged and put together by black women wanting to show their support from Manchester. This is why I was so upset when it got hijacked by other organisations.
Looking at the battlegrounds of #Blacklivesmatter, its easy to look at it and think, “well theres little I can do…?”
But just like feminism, we need support from all sides. You don’t have to be Black to understand or at the very least listen…!
When a woman tells you something is sexist, believe her.
When a black person tells you something is racist, believe them.
Don’t be an online bystander in the face of sexism.
Don’t be an online bystander in the face of racism..
I find the link between feminism and racism far too obvious in my mind but so many people don’t get it. Its about being who you are and not an idealised version which the media and society want you to fit into. Being a woman like being black is not something you can just tone or up/down to fit in with the patriarchy.
— Bipartisan Report (@Bipartisanism) December 5, 2014
I could be talking about another race, age, LGBTQ, Disabled, etc, etc people. We should never have to apologize for who we are
On the last train home to Manchester last night from Newcastle, I was on a very very busy train between Newcastle and Darlington. I did have to throw somebody out of my table seat but he was pretty understanding in the end. His friend was less understanding but by the time the train started moving, he started talking to me. Now to be fair it was 10:15pm on a Saturday night so there was a lot of alcohol involved. but he started talking to me about racism.
— Bipartisan Report (@Bipartisanism) December 7, 2014
“I don’t see colour…” So I engaged and carefully suggested maybe he does and actually it might be better if he did? (wasn’t going to bring up the fact he was talking about it with the only black man on a predominately white train) might be counter to his argument). Anyway the guy who I throw out of the seat, standing next to me. Could hear the conversation and seemed a lot more sober, and interjected about the doctor whom saved his daughter who was black. As you can imagine the conversation went on quite a bit but the crux came down to not or seeing colour.
My thoughts is you need to see diversity before you can respect it and do something about it. Pretending we are all born equal is not a mistake. Yes we should/must strive for equality and also celebrate diversity but we are a long long way from either right now.
Its 2014 and one of the fun things I’ve been doing in 2013 is joining Nguana’s radio show Upfront, on BBC Merseyside. Partner in crime Jody, keeps the whole thing turning into a Ian vs Nguana and friends verbal wipping. Trust me it would turn that way…
This time the debate was “has femisim gone crazy?” Not exactly what it was planned to be but go with it…
As I said in the post previously…
I have already declared myself a feminist in the blog post my crisis with masculinity and how feminism set me free. I originally was expecting lots more push back than I actually got but not being far from a good debate.
So it went really well, the debate was more about common decency to not just women but all humans. We did slowly get into more feminist topics but we ran out of time before we could get going. It was clear that a part 2 is needed. Hopefully some of the other guests will be on too, so they can add to the debate.
You can listen to the whole show for another 6 days on BBC iPlayer on Demand (about 90mins in for 25mins). Otherwise and for the international readers/listeners you can listen to a clipped version I created for archive purposes without the music.
I have already declared myself a feminist in the blog post my crisis with masculinity and how feminism set me free. I originally was expecting lots more push back than I actually got but not being far from a good debate I thought I’d let you all know that this Sunday on BBC Merseyside, I’ll be on talking about feminism in the context of online dating.
Of course it would be simply weird if it was just me and host Nguana debating. So we’ll be joined by my lovely partner in dating crime, Jody. Theres also other guests to going to join us, but expect fireworks and outrageous debate on a Sunday night.
You can tune in live by listening to the live stream from between 9pm and 10pm on Sunday. Not sure if Nguana is taking phone-ins but you can try calling in if we upset you in some way. Of course you can listen on-demand via BBC iPlayer later for up to 7 days. I’ll try and make a archive copy without the music again for those living out side the UK.
If you want to hear the fun we have on air, listen to one of these other shows…
Through the women I have met and dated, I have met other people who have slightly shaped my world view or even brought things into focus.
One of the most noticeable recently was Valeska who I met through Architect Jane one day at a party she held. I don’t even know how we got on to the subject but she recommended a post which I didn’t know but had been thinking about in many different ways since. “My crisis masculinity and how feminism set me free.”
I have always been deeply moved by injustice of women face in this world, and have tried to do my part where ever possible. I hadn’t really thought of myself as a feminist but only because I always tied being a feminist with being a woman. The notion of being a feminist was like the guys who claim to be black inside.
Which always reminds me of that scene from Go when Marcus and the guys are travelling to Las Vegas…
TINY: Yo, I told you, my mother’s mother’s mother was black!
MARCUS: Your mother’s mother’s mother, f*** – this ain’t “Roots”, mutha… Man, I wanna see a picture of this Nubian princess. If you were any less black, you would be clear.
MARCUS: Look at your skin.
TINY: I see black because I know I am. Color is a state of mind.
MARCUS: Thank you Rhythm Nation.
How can I as a man truly understand what its like to be a woman? I might be able to identify with some of the problems, injustices, wrongs being a black man but really?
I’m lucky; I’ve been surrounded by remarkable women from an early age. My grandmother, who successfully ran two shops despite the bricks thrown through the window and “Pakis Out” graffiti common on the south London council estate where she lived, or my mother who, having been kicked out of Uganda by Idi Amin in the early Seventies, learned English from scratch while running a household at the age of 11 and is now managing director of a major healthcare consultancy. The women in my family are truly something to behold. There’s a financial analyst, a management consultant, an actuary, a New York ad exec and, in laughably stereotypical fashion, a multitude of doctors. They’re not perfect, but they’re as close to super women as I’ve ever seen.
Just like the author, I was surrounded by very strong woman. My mother is amazing, she works so hard and came to the UK with one of her sisters alone. They lived through a very bitterly racist Britain and laid the founding ground for the rest of the family to come from Jamaica. My Anties are all strongly opinionated women, my mum was the peace keeper in comparison. It wasn’t just my mums side either, my dads side also has some insanely opinionated women.
We men are still letting ourselves be bound by arbitrary and utterly ridiculous ideas about what a man is supposed to be, and I don’t just mean that which manifests itself as violence or systemic oppression. It’s also in the silly, day-to-day stuff: I have very close friends whose commitment to equal rights and representation amongst the genders I could hardly fault, and yet they still would be resistant, due mostly to the hot pink font on the DVD cover, to watching Bridesmaids. NB chaps: you’re sorely missing out. Similarly, I’m met with howls of derision if I order so-called “girly” drinks in pubs, even though everyone knows how unequivocally delicious they are. As far as I’m concerned, if we’re still gendering drinks, feminism isn’t finished.
It is a total joke that a man wouldn’t watch Bridesmaids because its pink (by the way Bridesmaids is funny but also quite toiletry in parts), but I’ve met guys who are so constrained by the notion of masculinity that they won’t have anything to do with Pink.
Girly drinks is a massive a problem I have. I like good cocktails and cosmopolitans are good solid cocktails. I must have told the story (which is in my book) when I was on a date in somewhere I should have known better. She wanted a pint of something, and so I go her it and I thought I’d give the cocktails a try. Ordering a cosmopolitan gives me a idea if they are good or crap at their cocktails. So I got a Cosmo. Slowly walking back with the pint and cosmo. I gently put the pint in front of my date and the put the cosmo in front of where I was sitting opposite her. Within a few minutes a guy walks up and says.
“Hey I think you got the drinks mixed up…?”
Oh how we laughed, not!
Many times I have to deal with the idea that a highly potent cocktail is a girly drink because its pink and it appeared on sex in the city a few times. How crap is that…!?
I’m actually convinced this is the reason why there is a metropolitan cocktail.
Seriously, if having a pink drink makes you less masculine, then I might as well check out now.
We do need to talk about masculinity, or indeed the myth of it. There is a generation of young men out there who are sick of being told to “man up”, who tire of the patronising way that they are treated by the advertising industry and who hate the fear of being ostracised from many of their peers if they don’t participate in “banter” or acquiesce to social pressures to objectify women. Those for whom “being a man” is a daily burden – there’s more of them than you think. We can show these men that there is a community of people out there who will accept them for who they are. To me, this is as powerful an example of the life-changing potential of feminism as you could think of.
I can totally understand this. No one likes to be left out, the same way no one wants to be the last picked at Basketball. Social pressure is massive but group think is also very real and very scary. I have witnessed banter get out of hand, it takes a very strong willed person to stand up and say, “thats out of order”. Very few are willing to rub there hand against the social pressure like the thick sandpaper on a grinder. Heck even myself sometimes think “this isn’t the time to bring it up.” But if you pull each person aside and say “hey I think that was wrong” most would agree with you.
I declare I am a feminist and actually this is the new norm, if most modern men looked at their values deep down. I love to think most would side with a feminist view point. The same way the new norm changed to stand in favour of equality for all many decades ago. It doesn’t make you less sexually a man, you still love woman but your views are enlightened. It was hard to bring myself to say it but its so strikingly obvious to me now. Its this simple…
My belief structure is that people should be treated equally, women are people too!
Saying and thinking so, is so liberating – crisis over… thank you Valeska
Don’t worry let it soak in, you will all be saying it in years to come.