Thursday, 13 May 2010

Strange ideas

Feminism - in my opinion - is about women having more choice of roles than mother or housewife. There are obviously many other concerns which spring from that but that is the basic tenet of feminism. It follows from that - though it is rarely mentioned - that different roles should also be available to men. There has always been the tacit assumption that as men are in charge and if they want to change their gender roles they can do so - though I think someone forgot to tell many men that they can change roles.

I have very little time for the idea that a man should always be the breadwinner in a family. I see it as a joint responsibility and a joint decision - just as childcare and housework should be a joint responsibility. So no I don't, and never have, seen a man, any man, as a walking wallet to be exploited. Do intelligent, thinking women still think like that? Maybe some do but I would think most don't.

Chivalry - why should anyone lie down and let me walk all over them? I don't want that. In my opinion this side of chivalry is outdated. But common politeness - which is usually described as chivalry is still relevant and should be practised by both sexes - holding doors open, helping with heavy bags, giving up a seat on public transport if someone needs it etc. This should not a male/female issue but a polite/rude issue. I have never asked a man to pay for all the costs of a date and frequently have paid them myself.

Feminism - at its best - is not about women having priority over men or preferential treatment. It is about equality. The problem here is one of perception - many men think if others are gaining power they must be losing it - what is often referred to as a zero-sum approach to the problem.

Violence - as I often seem to be saying these days - is not a male/female issue. Both can be victims or aggressors. But you can't get away from the fact that there are more men in prison for violence than there are men and much of the violence is men attacking other men.

Men do dangerous jobs - but that doesn't mean all men have to do dangerous jobs. There are women who join the armed forces, the police and fire service. Women are not allowed on oil rigs - not sure how that squares with discrimination but there we are. Men do dirty jobs - but so do women. I think jobs such as care assistant, cleaner etc - that are traditionally regarded as women only jobs can also be regarded as dirty and dangerous - but these seem to be overlooked and underpaid and men don't want to do them. Should men get preferential treatment because they risk their lives at work? I would say such jobs ought to be well paid because of the risk. But then so should nurses - who risk attack by patients - as do care assistants.

So why are so many men against feminism? Why are so many men - on the Internet and in ladmags - demonstrating such misogyny? I would have thought men would benefit from feminism as it removes the automatic assumption that men should provide the money in all situations. Feminism encourages women to provide for themselves and not to assume men will provide. Many men seem to want women to get out of the workplace because they're taking men's jobs. But they don't want to support women financially themselves.

Now some - and this article was written by a woman - are saying Christianity is against men and is pushing men out of the Church. I don't quite get it myself.

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