The Word Rabbit

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This article was written on 17 Nov 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

A response to Philip Davies

Philip Davies who, hilariously, is an MP, has said that men are the silent sex. No, we really aren’t. If we’re anything, we’re the bullshit sex, because so much of what we say is either vile or else wrapped up in so many layers of repression and coded self-hate that when we do cry for help it’s easily dismissed or celebrated by the people whose downfall we’ve spent the past few thousand years trying to engineer. If I was a woman who had been assaulted or brutalised by a man, or had friends who reported similar experiences, I’d feel like celebrating each time one of us died.

A measure of how far we’ve voluntarily placed ourselves beyond the pale is that every single piece of shabby sexism or violence by a man is excused or explained away so fast it makes your head spin and stomach churn. When Donald Trump talked about ‘grabbing women by the pussy,’ it was airily waved away as ‘locker room’ talk. Nigel Farage has made similar jokes about sexually assaulting Theresa May and any number of shrill, alt-right people, or fascists, as they’re also called, have celebrated recent events as somehow sounding the death knell of feminism and the final, triumphal ascent of the straight, white male to the detriment of everyone else.

When men do dare to suggest that all in the garden may not be rosy or require more in the way of advanced horticulture skills than a quick once-over with the lawnmower, they’re quickly told to ‘man up’ or to ‘get on with it’ or, that old classic that ‘boys don’t cry.’ Particularly vengeful and foul comments to other men are airily waved away with the immortal line ‘it’s just banter,’ and anyone who seems to take it to heart is told to ‘get over’ themselves. Men in the public sphere seem to exist in a sort of queasy half-world, dominated by right wing politics and an accompanying hatred for minorities, allied to cheap misogyny. Were I to be an observer, say from Mars, I would conclude that we really weren’t worth bothering with.

The attempt to solve this has come from men’s rights activists, known to Twitter as MRAs, amongst whom Davies can be counted, who have managed to fuck up every single issue they’ve tried to address with a truly staggering level of ineptitude. While women have being busily reinventing themselves and trying to see the barriers that, to date, have defined and limited them, these idiots see the barriers that limit and define men as deserving of celebration. Having eight pints and a curry with an exclusively male crowd appals me, as does talking about my partner’s tits, how big my cock is or guessing what a woman is like in bed. They think it should somehow be intrinsic to my character, or else I’m some kind of traitor.

What happens is that when you start to raise legitimate concerns, this chorus of idiocy drowns them out. Men are killing ourselves in large numbers, or else living lives of quiet desperation, so totally baffled by changing times that we are utterly and hopelessly bewildered. This needs addressing but, and here’s the kicker, it doesn’t need addressing by taking away women’s rights or acting as though the entirely just search for equitable treatment stands as some kind of insult. If your ‘rights’ are maintained by depriving someone of theirs, they weren’t rights at all. They were privileges which are incompatible with being a member of a civilised society and which need to be dispensed with immediately.

The only possible way for men to stop killing ourselves and break out of this prison is to recognise that the world, thankfully, is changing. Nobody worth listening to expects you to suffer all the foul torment of mental ill-health in silence. If you were expected to, suicide doesn’t just become an option, but it becomes pretty much the only desirable one. If the alternative to pain is oblivion, then I’d choose oblivion. Equally, we need to recognise that we aren’t the kings of our own little world anymore. We share it. And when you have to share, you have to behave like a human. That means not sexually assaulting people and explaining it away as ‘a joke’ and not acting as though each recognition of someone else’s sovereignty and autonomy entails a diminution of your own. Others have rights and one of those is a right to a voice. Men, particularly white men, need to get better at hearing other voices.

At least, that’s the idea. In practice, it can’t happen while people with the dubious sagacity of people like Philip Davies are busily getting a very public sad-on about suicide while doing nothing to address it beyond giving the media some soundbites. The men’s narrative needs to take place well away from feminism, because this is shit that we own, and it needs to involve a much more complete and total unpacking of the shrill, feeble idiocy which has ended up becoming masculinity in 2016. We either address this stuff, corporately, or we’re going to keep on dying and keep on being trapped by ways of living that owe more to the 1950s than modern life. People like Davies really aren’t the ones to do it, because they’re so closely tied to the old order. Younger, better men need to start speaking. And soon.

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