You would be forgiven for mistaking it for a Daily Mash headline – but no, it’s real. The Guardian has published a piece today under the headline “’I didn’t choose to be straight, white and male’: are modern men the suffering sex?”
The premise of the article is that men are feeling “silenced” by the spectre of gender equality.
As I walk down the halls of hallowed institutions admiring the rows of (white male) portraits of former leaders, and I watch our Prime Minister (only the second female in a long line of white males) attempt to shout over her cabinet of predominantly white male MPs, I have to remind myself how silenced white men are.
The press, the politicians, the police, the powerful…notwithstanding the undeniable fact that these are all still predominantly male, and white straight males at that, men are feeling silenced.
Forget about the billions of women worldwide who are literally silenced by patriarchal oppression, poverty, racial inequality, and femicide. No, the silencing of men in the western world is now the social issue du jour. And we know this because they’re complaining and being interviewed about it.
Apparently, a “well-educated, professionally successful and mostly very progressive male friend” (you have to enjoy that qualifying “mostly”) sent Guardian journalist Rose Hackman a video of women beating up men, presumably to make the point that feminism is running rampant with its violence and its misandry and its general advocating of beating men to a pulp.
Forget the estimated two women dying every week in the UK as a result of domestic violence, or how violence against women has been the norm in pretty much every culture in the entire world at some point. Forget that. Hey, look at this YouTube video!
According to this mostly progressive male, women are “having their cake and eating it too”, profiting from an unfair double standard and “getting away with stuff men never would”.
Like sexual assault? Like mass shootings? Like war crimes? Like terrorist attacks? Like human trafficking?
Forget the statistics which show how disproportionate the gender divide of these crimes is. Apparently, women are committing these atrocities just as much as men – but they’re getting away with it. Political correctness gone mad!
Apparently, the “increasingly equal society has made men the suffering sex”, and there’s no denying “the consistency, and therefore validity, of the feelings being [expressed].”
I had no idea that if a feeling is consistent, it must be valid. Thousands of racists rejoice – your feelings are now “valid”.
Sexism debates during the Olympics
Sexism debates during the Olympics
1/5 Helen Skelton
Viewers were forced to defend Skelton after scrutiny over her outfit.
2/5 John Inverdale/Andy Murray
Andy Murray was praised on social media for reminding the presenter about the "existence of women". This came after Inverdale called Murray 'the first person ever to win two Olympic tennis gold medals', forgetting Venus and Serena Williams have won four each.
3/5 Chicago Tribune
This tweet from the Chicago Tribune was roundly mocked after referring to the newly crowned trap shooting bronze medallist Corey Cogdell-Unrein as 'wife of Bears lineman'.
4/5 Katinka Hosszu
After Hungarian swimmer Hosszu won the 400m individual medley, NBC were criticised for calling her husband/coach "the person responsible" for her accomplishments.
5/5 Alexa Moreno
Viewers rallied around Mexican gymnast Alexa Moreno after she was body shamed while competing in the gymnastics.
I have a bit of a problem with the microphone “being handed over” to men for their views on how women becoming seen as real and equal humans might be negatively affecting them. But then again, women have had the monopoly on public discourse since language was invented. Women have had the podium for long enough – decades, in fact. That’s more than enough time. We should actually hand the microphone back to men.
According to Michael Kimmel, executive director of the Centre for the Study of Men and Masculinities (imagine their mailing list) the world used to be “our locker room” where men could say what they wanted.
“Now a lot of guys have to watch what they say. That’s got to be hard.”
It is, Mr Kimmel! Wouldn’t it be excellent if we could all shout about our burning cystitis every time the bus goes over a bump? Wouldn’t you love to finally admit to your co-worker that their voice you want to stab yourself in the face? Watching what we say is so hard!
The Guardian article provides a selection of male voices to wax lyrical on how silenced they are, men chosen for “a lack of overt disrespect towards women” – that’s a category you don’t want to lose in.
Highlights include Tom, a butcher from Seattle, who howls: “We talk about accepting people – that someone didn’t choose to be trans, or gay…I didn’t choose to be straight, white and male.”
Because of course, you can equate the political struggles, emotional trauma, hate crimes, prejudice, under-representation, imprisonment and murders of the global gay or trans communities with the frustrations of a white male butcher.
So to all you over-privileged, economically advantaged and socially unpersecuted white cisgendered males out there, I say this: I’m sorry you’re suffering. I’m sorry you didn’t choose to be born who you are.
I didn’t choose to be born into a racially segregated patriarchy where menstruation and childbirth render me intolerant of your suffering, and where I’m statistically more likely to be raped, murdered or discriminated against than you.
But we all have our crosses to bear.