Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Demonisation of Men

The sun teetering on the edge of shining has necessitated a morning spent inside, doing the usual humdrum stuff and listening with increasing irritation to the radio. What seems to be a trend (maybe increasing, maybe it's always been there) is the demonisation of men: men represented as 'other', wholly hostile, lacking in redeeming features. What is particularly striking is that the language used and the attitudes assumed (what do you expect, they're men, they have no empathy, can't multitask, are inferior carers for children) disturbingly echo superior end-of-empire attitudes to 'foreigners'. I would be tempted to add '.....and what makes it worse is that this demonisation comes from women!' but that would undermine my following argument.
Having moved from a position of passivity to one of notional equality in the social and economic sphere (OK that's debatable, as some will no doubt point out), some women seem intent on completely overturning the male/female roles and behaving towards men in a way that would have been abhorrent to them had the positions never have been reversed. And for this we burnt our bras? The point of equality between the sexes is surely that of equality. Men and women are, after all, human beings: this commonality should overcome and perceived sex-differences.
But this doesn't seem to be the case. Like the child in the playground who bullies and whines until it is given the best toy, women seem to have run scampering into a corner mouthing streams of abuse over their shoulders. There is a terrible complicity in 'sisterhood'. Friends of mine are complicit in their condemnation of their spouses and partners, treating them as they would recalcitrant children who have to be coerced and manipulated into performing what are seen to be appropriate activities; shopping, decorating, childminding. This is often accompanied by general head-shaking and chortling which would be intolerable were the boot on the opposite foot. It appears to me that women are 'getting their own back'. It's an ugly, crass attitude that negates the improvement in womens' status in the last few decades. We are debasing ourselves.
Likewise the 'feminist agenda' and 'readings' that are retrospectively applied to texts that do not require any particular sort of reading to be applied to them. They stand on their own merits, written for humankind. By humans. So what if women don't get much of a mention?
Similarly any other sort of agenda is divisive. It's not clever scholarship: it's corrosive, divisive and demeaning to both those who apply it and to those works to which it is applied. Get over it please. Lift your eyes to see what is good and noble and binds mankind together. Stop squabbling. Grow UP!!!!

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