IoS letters, emails & online postings (18 January 2015)


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I agree with Joan Smith about the links between conflicted masculinity and outrages such as the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo (“These troubled men who project their self-hatred on others”, 11 January). Perhaps part of the problem lies in the images of masculinity with which young men are presented by popular culture. These seem to fall into two broad categories, hen-pecked “wimps” and gun-toting “heroes”.

Over the past half-century women have made remarkable social and economic advances, a major contributing factor to this has been the change in the way they are represented and therefore how they see themselves. Once freed from the shackles of being either victims or dependents they have achieved agency and begun to realise their full potential.

We need a corresponding revolution in how popular culture represents young men. A determined effort to break down tired clichés allowing a new image of a sensitive and intelligent modern man at ease with himself and others; who is able to confront the challenges of life without resorting to violence.

Adam Colclough

Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

I sympathise with Arifa Akbar and with the vast majority of Muslims who, understandably, feel very upset and angry over calls for them to apologise on behalf of Amedy Coulibaly and his ilk (“No, Mr Murdoch. I am not responsible”, 11 January).

However, it is quite disingenuous to compare such jihadists with terrorists like Anders Breivik. Breivik freely admitted that he did not believe in Christian doctrines of salvation and redemption nor in a personal faith in Jesus Christ. In contrast the Kouachi brothers were devoted believers in Allah and Mohamed and professed allegiance to major Islamic terror organisations Al-Qaeda in Yemen and Islamic State and to their puritanical version of Islam.

Stephen Glasse

Kingsbridge, Devon

I wholeheartedly concur with Jane Merrick’s column, “A Patronising Manifesto” (11 January). Domestic violence is commonly committed by men, so why aim the issue solely at women? Indeed, why single out any of the said issues for women only? Especially childcare. Producing young and continuing the human species is apparently not something that all human beings are  pre-programmed to find important. Just the females. As a result women cannot be interested in the mundane issues that “normal” political manifestos are centred upon such as immigration, the NHS, climate change, transport, taxes, business, foreign policy and the economy!

Politicians need to stop treating women as a vulnerable section of society that constitutes an effectual other species. Women, men, trans, whatever – we are all human. We are all equal. Treat us as such.

Helen Brown

Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Surveys show that consumers overwhelmingly support the right to re-sell spare tickets and theirs is the only voice that should matter (“Ministers let online touts off the hook”, 11 January). A study of over 2,000 adults by Opinium Research in December shows that where they were not able to attend an event, 64 per cent of UK adults think they should be allowed to re-sell tickets. Only 14 per cent agreed that “the original seller or venue can determine how I re-sell my tickets”.

As an open marketplace, StubHub does not price tickets to any event including the tickets for the One Direction concert in September that was highlighted in your article. Neither do we own tickets to any event. Our focus is on providing the highest levels of customer service and a brand that consumers can trust.

Brigitte Ricou-Bellan

General manager, StubHub International

I refer to the article about the chef who no longer serves beef because of the amount of grain consumed by beef cattle (Interview, 11 January). Like many beef producers, I raise cattle entirely on grass. I would worry about patronising a restaurant whose proprietor is so ignorant about food sources.

John May

Exeter, Devon