“You’re a feminist, aren’t you?” Jonny asked Camilla, in a voice so loaded that he wouldn’t have to break tone if he switched feminist with terrorist.
Thus began the Love Island version of the argument that’s been habitually played out online, with your nan and with that angry guy from your work who collects knives and has a million opinions on women but strangely doesn’t seem to have any female friends.
But since Jonny’s (in my view, misguided) views are commonplace, allow me to volunteer my bullshit-free male guide to being a feminist.
You’re A Feminist, Not A Hero
Don’t get me wrong. It’s good that you’re a feminist. And altruism aside, it makes sense to be one too. Feminism may not directly be about men, but increased equality materially benefits men too: Paternity leave, broadening the definition of rape to include men (in 2012, people!) plus men who date feminists (I presume of either gender?) report better relationship and (ahem) sexual satisfaction. Empowered people have empowered sex. Who knew?
But don’t wave being a feminist about like a badge. You’re not a hero for being a decent human being. Unless you’re a feminist fireman. Then shout all you want, dreamboat. Just don’t use it as a chat-up line.
The View Looks Different From Above
My brother was born when I was 5. I’d been an only child and I was used to monopolising my parent’s attention. All of a sudden I was only getting half of what I’d previously had all to myself. What injustice! Suddenly everything revolved around this cute, soft-skinned addition to our household! I won’t lie. I was jealous. And angry. In response to nothing more than EQUALITY.
I COULD have started a Bros Rights Activist group and waxed lyrical with other older siblings on 4Chan, whining, “He says he wants equality. But where’s my pram?!” Instead, I just grew up.
Feminism seeming unfair is just what the game of life feels like to someone who’s only ever played it in God Mode.
Mount Your Digital Horse, Good Knight And Slay Some Trolls…
Good news lads. Like Jonny insisting he pay on a date, number three lets you engage your archaic sense of chivalry!
After an unexpected late season loss to unfancied West Ham put paid to their title hopes, Countdown star and football fan Rachel Riley said no worse than a million men in a million pubs when she quipped on Friday Night Football that Tottenham had done a “proper bottle job”.
She promptly got death and rape threats (just another Friday for opinionated women on Twitter) by a squadron of delicate bro-flakes for daring to invade their Sky Sports safe space.
Depressingly, this shit happens ALL. THE. TIME. If you see it, speak (and tweet) up! Believe me, the pricks will come for you next. You don’t want to write a poem starting, “First they came for Rachel Riley…”
The Sun ran a superficially sympathetic article about it, but slightly undermined their bona fides by embedding an unrelated video clip entitled “Rachel Riley’s dress bursts open on Countdown”. Classy. When Ryan Giggs talks football, they never link to any videos from the time he impregnated his brother’s wife. Strange.
Understand That Reality Is Often Exceptional
“The Prime Minister’s a woman. It’s not like it’s a boy’s club” – Jonny
Yes, the Prime Minister is CURRENTLY female. But equality? A female PM is like Halley’s Comet. Something that happens every hundred odd years and is heralded by the retrograde as a harbinger of doom.
Equality? When the Daily Mail sees fit to splash a quasi-upskirt shot of Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May’s legs on the front of their ‘newspaper’ under the headline: “Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it?” I don’t recall the issue where the Mail led with a crotch shot comparing Tony Blair and George Bush’s cock contours next to the title “Never mind Afghanistan, who’s packing the biggest Afghani-ham? Check out their ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ on Page 6.”
When women say they face difficulties breaking into industries, that their opinions are disregarded, that their unique skills aren’t valued, don’t dismiss their concerns by citing the one exception to the rule that is their lives. Instead, just listen.
I discuss these issues and more in my Edinburgh Fringe show ‘Pockets of Equality’ inspired by when I accidentally wore my girlfriend’s jeans and learned the hard way about how pockets are a feminist issue too.