06 October 2005

Equal rights for men now!

From BBC news: Equal rights take a back seat.

I find myself in agreement with the premise of the initial objection... The woman was unreasonable (but is that because she's a woman or that she's just an unreasonable person?). (And let's not forget this was on a First-to-breakdown-Scotrail overcrowded commuter train, where tensions tend to be higher than the norm.)

I want equal rights for women, and with that comes equal responsibility. I don't see why men *have* to be sole breadwinners anymore (in a heterosexual relationship...); every couple should come to an agreement that does not depend on the old gender roles.

I don't expect a man to open doors for me (and am still very unsettled by the way some men *refuse* to let me open doors for them, to the extent that they reach past me to hold the damn door even though I've already opened it... trying not being churlish here, but there comes a point where it feels ridiculous). I'd give my seat up on a bus/train for anyone, man/woman/indeterminate of whatever age if they looked uncomfortable standing.

But at the same time, I find myself vaguely unsettled by the bloke's reasoning:

"You're joking, aren't you? What? You want my seat and the right to vote? Forget it."

What the hell has the right to vote have to do with it? Now he's just being a bit of a dinosaur...

But we should consider his reaction: a little more vehement than I would expect. Are we (modern females, that is) ostracising men? Are they frustrated? The writer of the BBC piece considers himself a minority:

But, I suppose, being a member of THE most discriminated against minority (white, middle-aged, heterosexual males) that my opinion will be dismissed as male chauvinist claptrap.

Is that his perception? Or is it real? Are men discriminated against? By who? Other men? Women? As a female, I know that discrimination against women in the workplace is very much alive and kicking. It gets worse the higher up the hierarchy you go. Is this the same for men? Or is it that they see policy makers publically favouring women with tax breaks or maternity leave for having children? While it may look one-sided, my very biased opinion is that these measures are only slowly narrowing the gap. The Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaws they may imagine when they think of modern women don't really exist in RealLifeTM.

What next? Will men take to the streets in protest?

2 comments:

CuriousHamster said...

I agree that discrimination against women is still a serious problem. And I agree that this woman was out of order. The response does seem rather extreme.
I suspect this guy reacted as he did because he wants the world to be consistant and he thinks this is an example where it isn't but it could be. Us men are hopeless at accepting anything we perceive as inconsistent (he said, generalising massively). I try to keep things in perspective, there are still a lot more unfairnesses in the other direction if you see what I mean, but I actually do know quite a few men who feel strongly about this sort of thing.

Will men take to the streets in protest? It'd be misguided in my view, but it wouldn't surprise me if we see a fair bit of this in the next ten years or so. Fathers for Justice might just be the start.

There's nowt as queer as folk, as they say.

bramble said...

Now that I've started to look for it, I'm hearing some rumblings from male voices. I overheard an undergrad complaining about the girls in his class having things easier, doing better in classes with male professors (lecturers).

Conversely, I've also overheard in the past a female student grousing about her female lecturer giving the females in her class a hard time because she didn't want to seem too "soft on the girls".

I guess so long as there is a "gender war", nobody wins.

As for Fathers for Justice, I have some sympathy for them. Without knowing the details of their cases, and just generalising out loud here, it's unfair to find against the father just because he's... well, not the mother! It's a false argument because there are plenty of non-maternal mothers out there, and plenty of families where the men take on the key care-giving role. And while I think they're going about it the wrong way, they've certainly got our attention now.