Man Talk

Der grosse familien-katalog frühjahr/sommer 1974
 

It seems that I am having one of those weeks where the only remedy to my distress is to pluck at my own eyeballs with a gravy-stained chipfork. However, I am also aware that what I am about to write could cause me considerable carnage in the feminist department (and no, that’s not a term for the vaginal playground). Let me explain. Even though I consider myself a feminist I occasionally read a phrase of such arse-tearing short-sightedness that I wonder if I am surrounded by blindfolded goldfish. Yup, kraken-lovers, for that you can blame that ubiquitous and idiotic bloody refrain of “All men are bastards!”.

What a steaming cauldron of suppurating ballsack. You see, nothing makes me want to disgorge the contents of my spleen more than when I hear the entire male population being decried as so inherently evil that every one of them belongs in the chorus line of Exorcist! The Musical. Worse, after we women have been on the business end of the engorged generalisations of many men for thousands of years, you’d think that by now we’d have thought of a better retort than to just splutter something equally inept. Yet just as some men claim that all women are one tea-set away from being Anthea Turner, some women now claim that all men are one short wank away from rape charges.

And while the key word in that last sentence is ‘some’, there are women who extrapolate from that the notion that every man is a tube station-haunting arse-grabber. Yeah, misogyny needs to be kneed hard in the nuts until it is dead and yes some blokes are such inhuman twat-baskets that I’d be hard pushed to donate their organs before or after their death. Yet how this translates into every man being the shit on this season’s stiletto is beyond me. It’s the equivalent of saying that Rainbow’s Bungle is a bear, therefore all bears have a best friend called Geoffrey.

Fact is that not all men are not bastards, much in the same way that not all men are freckled or scuffing their socks with the length of their nuptial weaponry. And no, this isn’t a wholesale defence of men (have you seen the rest of this blog?), it’s a defence of common frigging sense. That’s because I happen to be a feminist who likes blokes and also has enough male friends to know that not all men are bleak-hearted perverts. I also happen to be married to Conjugal Kraken, a man who is as behind the feminist cause as I am. So am I supposed to write off him and my perfectly upstanding male acquaintances simply because other men behave like infected monkeys? Well according to some women I am.

Oh, and before I go any further don’t tell me to check my privilege, OK? Not unless you really do believe that happily married women can’t possibly be feminist because, somehow, marriage erases every other shitty experience of men that they’ve had before and will ever have again. Happy marriage does not equate to terminal amnesia. Anyway, while feminism has to consider the experiences of all women to be effective, it certainly doesn’t have to involve a frantic race to the bottom of the privilege barrel. This isn’t Top Trumps.

So how far is the ‘all men are bastards’ shtick going to get us? No-fucking-where. Apart from it being as inaccurate as an Iain Duncan Smith’s benefit-based fantasies, it’s creating rugged mountains where there should be lush plains. Exactly what is wrong with feminism recruiting those blokes who agree with its values and aims? Believe me, when I say I want equality that is exactly what I mean. You can keep a society that see-saws between male or female domination, because it sounds like relentlessly tortuous and ineffective work.

Anyway, aren’t there advantages of having men on the side of feminism? Look at it this way: when an outdated male spouts his misogynist spaff, who is he going to listen to if we want him to change? A wildly generalising woman who believes that all men should be put to death or an enlightened bloke who can point out the error of his pestilent ways? If I can’t persuade a misogynist to buck up with the toe of my boot then I’m happy to let his female-friendly man friend to do it for me. Or is the women’s movement now going so well that we can actively afford to ignore half of the global population?

That’s why this ‘all men are bastards’ arsiness needs to be kicked back to the 80s where it belongs. It doesn’t stop misogyny. It just makes women look hysterical and illogical, exactly what sexist blokes think we are already. Perhaps it’s time to stop adding fuel to their fire simply by demonstrating more sentience than them (which, let’s be fair, ain’t hard). Believe me, with the fight we women have on our hands I’m happy to take help from wherever I can get it.

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4 Responses to Man Talk

  1. Lucy says:

    Top work on the picture research, on top of the incredibly well written blog post – it’s a stunning image.

  2. Marianne says:

    I tend to correct people when they do that, man or woman! In a way it’s funnier/more stupid when men say it. Overcompensating, much? “I’m ashamed on behalf of my gender” – why? Do you have anything in common with them besides the cock-and-balls stuff? And even then, that’d be ignoring all the trans* men so you can’t even go that far.

    Why on earth be ashamed of half the population? Be ashamed of the people who never challenge the crap. Be ashamed of the people who buy into it. Be ashamed of yourself for ever having participated. Do better! Don’t apologise for people you have zero connection to, eejits.

  3. John Adams says:

    The most common sense I’ve seen written in a long time and delighted to see it come from a self-proclaimed feminist. I would consider myself a masculist but I don’t believe can you can be a masculist without also being a feminist. Both movements simply want equality (yes men do have equality issues that need to be addressed: unfair paternity leave, lower life expectancy, increasingly poor educational performance etc).

    Needless to say, there are some horrible men out there. I wouldn’t deny that. Likewise, I’m not going to tell you that all women are great company. Most are, but some aren’t!

    More like this please Cath!

  4. John Adams says:

    The most common sense I’ve seen written in a long time and delighted to see it come from a self-proclaimed feminist. I would consider myself a masculist but I don’t believe can you can be a masculist without also being a feminist. Both movements simply want equality (yes men do have equality issues that need to be addressed: unfair paternity leave, lower life expectancy, increasingly poor educational performance etc).

    Needless to say, there are some horrible men out there. I wouldn’t deny that. Likewise, I’m not going to tell you that all women are great company. Most are, but some aren’t!

    Great post Cath!

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