Updated: Sep 14
Controversy instantly arises in being asked to listen to any spoutings about this concept by a guy.
Arguably anything feminist it is an issue that any man should just leave well alone and step aside from feeling the need to offer their opinion on when we’ve ever been bolstered through male privilege.
Granted, the concept of an on a new wave male feminist is oxymoronic. As much as I should ever wish to advocate the cause of equality of the sexes, from making the genetic switch to XY as an embryo, have not been afforded with the correct genitalia to be able to identify and truly understand the struggles of Simone de Beauvoir’s Second Sex (1949). The point is, that I always want to fight for equality and as trite or even redundant as it may sound, I’d always try to associate myself with being feminist to the maximum extent with which is deemed that I am able.
How any sane person willing to use their bonce and do even a smidgen of thinking could ever think otherwise is beyond me and I’d dare to presume that the majority of civilization believes along these lines. Though it is through this supposition that I feel that the greatest danger lies.
That is in the belief that feels as though any fight for equality’s already been won, that does the greatest disservice to the more oppressed side of the coin. Rather than the numerous statistics that could be reeled off about the gender gap in the workplace or even the supposed inevitable justification of a ‘glass-ceiling’, I’ll just use the snippet of information that instigated my most recent snapshot of the imbalance between the sexes. Tragic as you may rightly view the exercise, during lock-down (I’d verify that it’s beyond pathetic to use a pathetic to use a pandemic to license idiosyncratic behavior!) I tried to compile a list of every [adult] book that I’d ever read.
Suffice to say – and I wouldn’t want to further embarrass myself by disclosing the exact figures – that the number of works produced my males more than quadrupled the writings of females. This is not even to touch upon what I should perceive as the general lack of women’s presence throughout the production of books. If I saw the word as fit for a great deal beyond 18th Century fiction, I’d say that it was obscene.
Shocked by the revelation is how I felt. Studying English Literature was half of my degree and I’d always allowed myself to believe that the amount of literature that I’d read should be pretty gender balanced. In itself this can be seen to expose the neglect afforded to the feminist cause, in that it is such an intangible and hidden fight.
Whilst I may now be making a conscious effort to try and consume a greater amount of books by female authors, but this is hardly the crux of issue. The shame that we have allowed this disparity of the sexes to shape our literary cannon should speak for itself. Even in such a – if anything, I’d always have presumed that the classic subject of English Literature attracted a female majority if – subject of overwhelmingly progressive and liberal minded people can be fed through such a male dominated store, what hope is there for society in general?
Just yesterday (10th of September 2020), I was struck by a Guardian article entitled “We should have the right not to like men’: the French writer at the centre of literary storm” by Kim Willsher. Explored in the article is the unprecedented French blogger Pauline Harnange has attracted upon bringing advocating the sentiment that all women have the right not to like men (in her case her husband has the fortune of being excluded) to fierce public attention. Automatically I may have felt my standard soft “nothing positive can ever be built upon such a generalisation of hate”, but in allowing myself to be detached from my initial impulse, I think that I can understand Harmange’s argument. The reasoning behind opens up a whole new can of worms around masculinity that must go beyond its plight, but given that the vast majority of violent and sexual crimes are committed by males, logic must vindicate her argument.
I’ll take any perceptions that it is not my place to enter into this discussion, in that I am merely hoping to help support a cause in a similar way to which many white people expressed their disgust in light of George Floyd’s recent brutal murder. The cause is far from over and as much as I can appreciate the vulnerability that exposing the inadequacies in the established hierarchy of the sexes may provoke in many, any man refusing to offer their support to the feminist cause is just overtly selfish and or lazy.