DontMancriminate; how not to start conversations about Mens issues

So a post appeared on my Facebook wall recently, shared by a number of people, under the hashtag #DontMancriminate. It was a series of pictures depicting men being gagged with a little slogan and statements supporting the slogan and were doing the rounds on social media last year. I think I’m going to file it under “perfect example of missing the point” or possibly “how to completely trivialise real issues faced by men and women”. The fact they’ve made a re-appearance suggests that people think they have a point so here’s my take on them.

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Men can (and indeed do) wear heels or even large heeled shoes and wear makeup. Problem is doing so usually results in bullying from other men!!!! Companies usually make products to fulfil demand so perhaps the reason these products don’t exist is because men don’t feel comfortable wearing them due to social pressures? The same social pressures that make women feel forced to conform to strict beauty standards, which is why they wear make-up to avoid being branded ugly? As for stupid men being blonde, I know many blonde men who fit the stereotype and if men want “dumb men” jokes to be equal I’m sure there’s a comedian out there happy to oblige. But why would you want jokes made matching your hair colour to your I.Q?

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Here’s the thing with these 2; holding a door for someone, carrying their bags or giving up your seat is called courtesy; doesn’t matter if they’re a woman, elderly or disabled; but what have these got to do with this “It’s a man’s world”? Men haven’t had to fight very hard for rights , more often than not men are in power, men get portrayed as powerful in movies/books, men don’t get regarded as inferior purely because of their gender. Here’s the funny thing about these though. Women get free drinks because men buy them for them!! Women are completely able to buy their own drinks or buy them for men. Women get free entry because men let them in for free!! Women are able to pay for themselves or pay for men to get in for free. No one is forcing men to do this though and perhaps we should be asking why men feel compelled to act in this way toward women. Is there a sense of entitlement that some men feel, that when they buy a woman a drink they expect sex in return? Do men like to feel impressive and in control so they buy the woman a drink? How many woman actually enjoy the unwanted attention and are perfectly happy being left alone?

The last statement has the same root cause as the others above. Men don’t get sympathy because men have made it shameful to be weak!! As with wearing heels, men get bullied by other men for expressing emotions like fear, sadness etc. We’re told that men have to be strong and be the provider which is why they buy women drinks, let them in for free, give up their seats etc. Women accept these because they’re told they’re weaker than men and standing up to men often results in fairly dire consequences. If men are unhappy with women getting these things, then breaking the lies is the first step.

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Let’s get this bit out of the way. Yes, men are judged based on the size of their penis. Women judge them, but usually it’s other men judge them because the size of your penis defines you as a man according to society. For every article penned by a woman saying “size does matter” there are an equal amount saying it doesn’t. Also this picture is just flat out lying because men do discriminate against a “pussy” and we probably have pornography to thank for both problems. Rates of vaginal plastic surgery are huge and growing, far outweighing any equivalent seen in men. Much of this is brought on by porn and men claiming that vaginas need to look a certain way to be “clean”. They do nothing but reduce the value of a person to the size and appearance of their genitalia. This is an issue that does affect men but pitching it against women, especially lying in the process, is just not going to help anyone. We need to get away from us vs them and start having the conversation about body shaming and how it affects people.

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This is an awkward one because I actually agree with this one, but it also seems to trivialize the very real issue of domestic violence. Men suffer abuse at the hands of their partners, but don’t report it for the reasons I’ve said earlier: it’s too shameful and tied to a toxic masculinity. This is why it’s woefully under reported and men don’t get the support they need. When a woman attacks her partner and vice versa, it needs to be classified as domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is about power and control, far more than it is about rage and anger issues and women initiating violence towards men (statistically far less prevalent than the other way round) is usually also to do with control and domination. In which case, the phrase “I was wrong” is correct but is also equally correct for the male if he is the perpetrator. Instead the man simply repeats the all too common trope of “you made me hit you, look what you made me do, if only you had listened to me” etc. etc”. These can be used both ways but due to the ongoing stereotype of the man being the dominant partner in a relationship, are more common in men.

Now some will cite self-defence as a reason, I don’t have too many issues with this but possibly linked to the picture is this; what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear a story of a woman slapping a man? Now what about a man slapping a woman? Was it “self-defence” in the first instance and “assault” for the second? Domestic violence is a massive issue for all genders and pitching the 2 genders against each other in this way again blocks the very necessary discussion of how to tackle this problem. Why do people feel it’s OK to hit their partners? Many men have “anger issues” because anger is the only emotion that other men deem to be acceptable to express. Women can be abusers, let me be clear on that, and yes there is a disparity in how abuse is seen depending on who the abuser is, but instead of pitching this a gender equality issue, lets tackle the actual problem of abuse.

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As face value this one seems absolutely spot on. It seems very much the case that women get half the men’s savings in most divorce cases regardless of the reasons for divorce. However, a quick investigation (google search) into this showed that the situation is infinitely more complex. It seems studies have shown that women are usually much worse off after divorce and there are other factors in how the monies are split .

There’s also custody battles that come with this and statistics show that in the vast majority of cases women win custody of the children but again, this seems to be more complex than face value. This seems to be largely down to traditional gender roles which encourage us to see women as the automatic carers over men. This obviously needs to be challenged but when custody is court-ordered, Men Rights Activists etc. often blame this on feminism. Our court system is anything but feminist, never over the past few hundred years has it ever been feminist. The judiciary is arguably the most patriarchal of all our current institutions with a huge amount of judges being not only male, but also white and privately educated. I think the whole issue of divorce and custody are aspects that needs to be looked at but I guess my message on this one is things are not as simple as this makes out.

That last sentence, “things are not as simple as this makes out” could have been applied to all these pictures really. They oversimplify complex issues by ignoring root causes and instead of helping their cause of highlighting areas that men are impacted to help solve them (assuming that is their aim), actually damage it. All too often these discussions get dragged into “our issue is worse than yours” and these pictures just fuel the persecuted mentality some have developed. Men suffer many issues in this world and these need to be addressed, but pitching this against women’s issues or suggesting it’s women’s fault is just throwing up smokescreens. Until we acknowledge that whatever the root cause, it’s affecting everyone, we go nowhere.

 

Lets be like Thomas; doubt and certainty in one

I wasn’t always a Christian. I first came to know Christ at age 14 and was heavily involved in the church, eventually assisting the vicar with the services and I also did a lot of Bible readings for the services. But something happened when I was about 18 that led to a lot of questions but very few answers, and I was in quite major financial trouble. By 22 I made a decision to sort out the problems and eventually walked away from the Christian faith. But I never stopped questioning and challenging and after moving to Oxford in 2008, I got to know a Christian couple who went on to become very good friends of mine and came back to Christ in their front room. My whole faith journey has been built on asking questions, expressing doubts, challenging views, getting answers then repeat. So it will come as no surprise that my favourite character in the Bible is Thomas.

I like Thomas but I was being taught that we don’t want to be like Thomas, because Thomas doubted Jesus and that doubt is the enemy of faith. How much of that is actually true though? Did Thomas really doubt Jesus and are we really expected to have no doubts at all in order to have faith?

The main story that seems to have earned Thomas his reputation is in Johns gospel, specifically chapter 20 verses 19-31, but this isn’t the only passage where Thomas is asking questions. In John 14, when Jesus is telling the disciples he’s off to prepare a place for them, Thomas pipes up “Uh, Lord? We don’t know where you’re going so how can we know which way?” Jesus gave him an answer,

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him

Now, when Phillip, one of the other disciples chimes in with “Show us the Father that will be enough for us” Jesus reacts very differently; Phillip is given a serious rebuke, “How can you ask such a question? Don’t you know me? Believe me when I say I am with the Father, or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves” Keep that last bit in mind “believe on the evidence of the works themselves” because we’re going to come back to it.

Thomas also makes an appearance in John 11 which covers the death of Lazarus; Jesus is telling the disciples that he needs to go back to Judea. The disciples are like “You’re joking right? They tried to kill you last time and now you want to go back?” This is a justified reaction to be fair but Thomas, the doubter, the one we’re not supposed to be like, steps up and says “Come on guys, let’s go with him so that if he dies, we’ll all die with him”. It seems that Thomas was going to make sure that Jesus didn’t die alone. These 2 events capture Thomas perfectly; expressing doubts and asking questions but also showing complete faith by being willing to stand with Jesus no matter what.

So lets bring all this together as we look at John chapter 20. Verses 19-20 says;

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord

So Jesus shows the disciples his hands and his side and then they believed. Now, we know from verse 24 that Thomas was not with the other disciples so he’s not seen Jesus since he died on the cross. We pick the story up at verse 25:

The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.

Who is Thomas doubting at this point? He’s doubting what he’s being told by the other disciples and again, you can’t really blame him. Living in the first century under the rule of the Roman Empire, he’s know enough about crucifixion to know that unless they get a pardon, whoever goes up on that cross isn’t coming down alive. He has enough knowledge of biology and experience of life to know that dead people stay dead. So what has he asked for? Nothing more than the other disciples got; to see Jesus, to see the marks in his side and his hands.

So verses 26-28:

A week later, Jesus’ disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

What an affirmation from Thomas; my Lord, my God!. Thomas didn’t come to that place despite his doubts, he got there because of them. He was honest about his doubts and Jesus let him face them, allowing him to believe on the evidence of the works themselves as Jesus said back in John 14. The evidence that Christ had risen was him standing in front of them. Now, we don’t have that, we don’t have Christ physically standing before us which brings me onto verse 29:

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”

We haven’t seen Jesus physically risen as I said, but what do we have? The Gospels. John tells us in verses 30 and 31:

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Luke says something very similar in the opening of his account. Now this can lead to the question “how do we know the Gospels are reliable”, and my response is “Yes, great question. Let’s look at that and have a discussion”. This leads onto other questions about the Bible because there are so many translations and interpretations, and we need to check what we are being told. This brings us onto the last passage I want to look at briefly which is Mark 16 verse 14:

Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

Now, this passage is slightly contentious because it is part of verses 9-20 which don’t appear in early manuscripts and pretty much all Bibles have a footnote or some disclaimer saying as such, so that raises a set of its own questions. But who is Jesus referring to specifically when he said ‘those who had seen him’? The other disciples? The women at the tomb? All of the above? Does this mean we should automatically accept what we’re told regardless? This seems very dangerous as one US pastor found out when he took verse 18 and went with it without question;

they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

The pastor was ultimately bitten by the snake and died from the poison. We humans are flawed, our understanding is never 100% correct 100% of the time. We have to question things, otherwise we can end up doing things that are incredibly harmful to ourselves and others. It can also lead to great social changes. It was doubting the then current understanding of scripture that led William Wilberforce to lead cry’s for the slavery laws to be abolished. It was his expression of those doubts that caused others to take another look at scripture and then join the cause.

So what is Jesus talking about in that passage in Mark? I don’t know, it’s one of those things I wrestle with and what is our journey with God if not a wrestling match? Plus, it’s perfectly acceptable to say ‘I don’t know’ because faith is not an expression of certainty, it’s an expression of vulnerability. It says ‘I don’t know if I can do this, but I know you’re with me Lord.’ It says ‘I can see all the pain, all the injustice, but I’m holding on.’ Too often we’re told questions and doubts are signs of spiritual weakness. They really aren’t, they lead to a richer spiritual experience and understanding as we explore and walk closer with God. Certainty is no guarantee that you’re with Jesus. Peter was certain in John 13:37; he said “I’ll lay down my life for you” and Jesus said “Really? When it’s all said and done you’re going to deny me 3 times.”

I found a quote from Archibald Macleish, who was an American poet and Librarian of Congress which says, “Religion is at it’s best when it makes us ask hard questions of ourselves. It is at it’s worst when it deludes us into thinking we have all the answers for everybody else.” When Jesus said, “how can you take the speck out of someone’s eye when you have a plank in yours”, he was about asking us to take a long hard look at ourselves and our faults. How can we start doing something as huge as looking at our faults if we’re not even willing to start the process of doubting what we currently believe about certain things? Doubt is an inevitable part of that process. To quote Claus Westermann;

Where God’s words penetrate a man’s life and are taken seriously there are certain to be struggles and remonstrations and defeat; doubt and temptation also inevitably occur.

There are always things we are going to be certain of though. I’m certain in what I’ve said to you today and that doubting is not wrong and that nothing is beyond reproach. But doubt is not the same as unbelief, it’s a state between beliefs; so if you find yourself doubting, know that you are in good company and that it’s perfectly fine to be there. Jesus will be in there too, as he was with Thomas and as you walk with him with your doubts; and God is not going to be angry with you. Be ready to go places you were never expecting to go and be prepared for some conflict as you end up somewhere different to someone else. Doubts are only dangerous if we make them something to be ashamed of and we insist upon remaining distant from those who doubt and hold different beliefs. Like a splinter, pretending it doesn’t exist or thinking you are wrong for having one isn’t going to solve the problem and it can become infected if not treated.  Making people ashamed is the easiest way to get them to leave their doubts unchecked.

One final thing before I wrap this up; Jesus left us with the Holy Spirit before ascending. How can it be allowed to move, work, guide, show us something new, if we cling so tightly so our certainties and reject anything that contradicts them? It is through doubting that we grow, that we can walk closer with Jesus. Doubts are what make our faith our own, are what lead us closer to truth. It is impossible to be concerned with truth unless you’re genuinely open to the possibility that what you currently believe is wrong. There’s no 2 ways about it.

There’s so much more I want to say but I will end with this. I had my doubts, I still do and if I hadn’t explored them and wrestled with them, and still do so, I wouldn’t be a Christian now. We saw with Thomas that yes, he had his doubts but he was still willing to die with Jesus and that’s what ultimately happened to him when he was killed in India spreading the gospel. This is what we are supposed to be willing to do. I think we could do a lot worse than to be like Thomas. His doubts didn’t get in the way of following Jesus, and neither did they go away afterwards, indeed they were part of what allowed him to make such sacrifices because he explored, he doubted, he learned, he grew through those doubts and ultimately came closer to Jesus as a result.

 

How a tattoo showed we need to put our bibles down

So at the weekend I went and got this done:

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Many thanks to Darryl at Infinity Tattoos in Gloucester for doing it. Anyway, as I was immensely happy with it given the pain I went through to get it, I shared it over various social media platforms and forums. The response was largely positive but inevitably there was going to be one who didn’t approve and it didn’t take long for the Bible verses to come out;

Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD – Leviticus 19:28

This was followed up with yet more inevitability with comments of me disobeying God including this gem; “Guess people don’t understand the many verses about not being like the world. Then to top it off, they brag about it.” Yep, straight in with the Bible and how I’m bragging about my disobedience; and you know what that felt like?

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Now I did have people support my decision and defended me, but what stood out is that no one asked me why I got it done. They might have thought that it was probably the wrong question to ask and worse than jumping in with the Bible. Maybe it’s obvious why I got it but the story of why I got it says something about me, it’s important to me and it felt like that was not important. What seemed to be important was getting straight into debating whether it’s right or wrong and if you thought I was wrong, ensuring I knew about it from whatever Bible verse seems vaguely relevant. I was asked what I thought the Bible said that was the closest it came to people wanting to get to know me. It’s just a little thing but asking about something as (relatively) trivial as a tattoo shows you’re interested in getting know someone; but if you can’t do that with a tattoo, how are you going to do that with something much more fundamental to someone’s life?

I don’t mind discussions over what the Bible says, they’re important, but it should not be at the ignorance of everything else. We need to look up from our Bibles to see what impact our use of scripture has and is having. Better yet, we need to put our Bibles away and engage with the world in which we live. All too often the verses we chuck out end up hurting people because we haven’t thought about the context of the passage or the context of the situation the person is in because we haven’t bothered to take the time to. We may not be of it but we’re certainly in it. Before we even think about finding verses to throw, we need to get to know people and walk with them. Jesus didn’t respond to every question with scripture straight away and some he didn’t respond with scripture at all. But he got to know the situations people were in because he got to know them and we need to the same.

So next time you’re tempted to throw the scriptures at people we should take a pause, put the Bible down and get know the person because after all, God didn’t send a book he sent a person and there’s probably good reason for that.

Maybe we deserve to be treated with suspicion

So in a recent article on Premier, Andrea Williams from the Christian Legal Centre is quoted as saying “We are seeing a worrying trend, whereby Christian parents are being treated with suspicion because of their faith” and my immediate thought was “well, maybe we deserve to be”

Looking through the articles I’ve shared on the Facebook page, the majority have been along the theme of the mind bogglingly stupid things Christians have done and come out with. From trying to restrict the rights of same-sex couples by banning them from marrying or adopting children and then disciplining churches who stand for equality, to completely ignoring modern science and history regarding…..well, everything pretty much and trying to get our religious views into law to force onto everyone, topped off with details on disciplining your wife and covering abuse claims; and these are just the ones I can remember. Is it really a surprise Christians are treated with such suspicion?

Now I know there are many instances of Christians not doing these and it’s unfair to tar everyone with the same brush, but maybe we’ve reached the tipping point where our lunacy is outweighing any good we are doing. Even if it hasn’t, things can’t simply be swept under the carpet simply because they’re inconvenient and/or we don’t want to listen.

Maybe we deserve the contempt we get and if that isn’t sobering then perhaps we deserve even more.

Quick thoughts on the banned Lords Prayer ad; Part 2

So a couple of weeks ago the DCM (Digital Cinema Media) blocked an advert depicting the Lords Prayer from being shown in cinemas, and I penned some thoughts on why that was the correct decision and not a breach of free speech or an example of persecution. The controversy just won’t die down though and has been fanned into life once more with the news that cinemas are showing a short film which depicts animated Hindu gods; and once again Christians have whipped themselves into a frenzied mob including one very misguided Christian who put this together

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I say they’re misguided, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call it manipulative because this picture leaves some out some very key facts which when known, really make this whole controversy another example of the Christian persecution complex.

First off, the Lord Prayers ad was not a short film depicting people praying, it was an explicit advert for the website justpray.uk. The Hindu film is not an advert so the comparison is false. If you’re looking for a similar Christian example, it’s much closer to the movie God is not Dead which was not banned and shown in many cinemas. Indeed the only criticisms that were leveled at  it was the scathing reviews on how horrendously atrocious it was (and yet somehow it got a sequel)

Secondly though and linked to this, as it’s a film not an advert the decision to show it lies with the individual cinema companies themselves not the DCM as they themselves have stated. So the Christian anger isn’t just misguided, it’s aimed at completely the wrong target anyway.

If Christians want depictions of prayer in movies, there’s no shortage of them. Heck even Day After Tomorrow has a small poignant scene of the President praying in a chapel, not to mentioned Noah and Exodus. If they want Christian characters in movies or Christian movies in general, do what the makers of this Hindu film did and make one; just make sure it’s better quality than the aforementioned Gods Not Dead.

So it’s very much ado about nothing and another case of where people need to stop and think before brandishing the pitch forks.

Quick thoughts on this banned prayer ad

So unless you’ve been hidden under a rock or in a country where the internet really is censored, you’ve probably heard of the decision by Digital Cinema Media (DCM) refusing permission for the Lords Prayer advert to be screened in cinemas.

Claims of pandering to political correctness and rampant secularism to claims of violating freedom of speech and the crowd favourite, persecution have been plenty in Christian media. Now admittedly the way DCM have handled this has not helped. Claiming the ban is because “it could cause offense” is just petrol on the fire for those who already feel marginalized because they think they’re banned from saying Merry Christmas.

But the simple fact is, it’s nothing of the kind. First off, they’re not banned from making the video in the first place. Secondly, they’re not banned from distributing the video freely on the internet which has a far bigger audience than all the cinemas in the world combined. Third, no one is now calling for them to be arrested or worse. Fourth, DCM reserve the right to decline any advert on the grounds of if they feel the video is pushing  political or religious agenda. Fifth, Christians are free to complain about the decision and indeed appeal it.

So there’s no freedom of speech issues, no persecution. An authority governing aspects of cinema has made a decision regarding a piece of marketing material and deemed it inappropriate. If Muslims or atheists tried to make a similar video I’d expect the decision to be the same. But the biggest thing for me is that it’s a video advertising prayer and as soon as I saw that, the below popped into my mind:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:5-6

We don’t need to advertise prayer in an entertainment venue, I think everyone knows that Christians and people of many other faiths pray. There’s a lot of confusion over why people pray but the website seems geared towards helping people pray. I don’t know for sure but my experience is that if atheists are interested in prayer, they’re going to go to a Christian they know and if Christians are struggling to pray, they’re going to go to Christians they know. Now the site does offer some advice on what prayer is (how good the advice is is another matter) but if someone is having questions about prayer, chances are they’ll know someone who they can speak to and besides, the above passage is probably the best advice. But sadly it has once again shown Christians completely backward priorities. With many homeless this winter, refugees seeking asylum plus numerous other issues afflicting millions (which Churches do a great job with by the way), we’re up in arms over the fact an ad won’t be shown in a cinema.

So whilst I get the reason behind the campaign, I think it’s very misguided to try and put it in cinemas even though it is actually very good and the DCM could have handled it much better. It’s certainly isn’t a restriction on freedom of speech and because I’m free to do so, I’ve pasted the video below.

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International Mens Day is not just a men only cause

So yesterday was International Mens Day though you can be forgiven for not knowing that. For International Womens Day, my Twitter and Facebook feeds were awash with articles about women from history who have been forgotten, statistics on domestic abuse and why the patriarchy system is killing women. Women and men were both posting about it, standing side by side for this day.

So when it came to International Mens Day, I was wary about what some Men’s Rights Activists (MRA’s) would post but it got off to a good start as many men were posting about mens health issues; in particular the astronomically high suicide rates among young men (it’s the most common cause of death for men under 45). Then Rebecca Collins from The Great Initiative wrote in her blog

So, happy International Men’s Day everyone. Go and tell a man you love that he is valued, that his feelings matter, that he doesn’t have to live with fear of being himself. It could very well save a life.

It was pleasing to read a woman endorse International Mens Day and see the issues that men face; issues that are caused by the same patriarchy system that kill women, which teach men that expressing feelings is a sign of weakness and weakness is bad. We’re fighting the same enemy. If I was hoping for more of the same though, it became obvious as the day went on that it wasn’t going to come. Indeed, many statements by feminists were along the lines of:

  • Why do we need an International Mens Day? Isn’t every day that?
  • It’s nothing more than a celebration of patriarchy
  • Just another example of patriarchy

I kind of get it. Patriarchy is killing women and men are the weapons and a day dedicated to men can be seen as celebrating that. But this was a chance for men who are fighting patriarchy and encouraging men to change to be recognized, and for the damage patriarchy is doing to men to be recognized and to let men know that they’re not alone and there is another way. But the comments and general silence of many feminists sent out some very powerful messages;

  • Men are nothing more than the patriarchy system
  • There are no men worthy of celebrating
  • There is nothing about being a man that’s good
  • Mens health issues don’t concern them
  • Men dying at the hands of patriarchy does not concern them

These are incredibly damaging, both in the way it demeans men and in the way it seems some feminists are spreading the very messages they’re seeking to change. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about how feminists are silent when it comes to mens issues so it’s really hard not to be cynical right now. I still maintain the belief that the only way to defeat patriarchy and make the world better for all is for men and women to be working together, but events such as yesterday just reinforce that there are those on both sides who don’t want to work together and I’m tempted to just wash my hands of it all and go “fine, have it your way”. I have had to remind myself why I got involved in fighting this in the first place.

It should be pointed out though that not every feminist was silent. As well as Rebecca Collins, this tweet popped up

It’s sad that it needed to be pointed out that men are actual and real, not a system because isn’t this what many feminists accuse men of doing to women?  The lack of interest in International Mens Day from many shows precisely why it’s needed along with International Womens Day. This isn’t an either/or situation. It’s possible to be committed to defeating patriarchy and see the effects it has on both men and women, to raise awareness of both and celebrate both. After all, isn’t this supposed to be the aim of feminism in defeating patriarchy?