After the massive impact of #MeToo we here at Tights packed away our Olivettis, poured our Tippex down the sink, put our feet up and cracked open the posh biscuits, safe in the knowledge that sexism was dead in the water. Men all over Twitter were coming out in sympathy with all the brave victims who were sharing their stories of sexual assault. “We didn’t know, why didn’t you tell us? ” they wailed, while 3 billion women gave the biggest collective side eye ever known. “We will do better” proclaimed the men and we all lived happily ever after. Except…
Fast forward to The Dorchester on the 18th of January where a group of rich, privileged man-children in matching suits gathered for a men-only night to raise money for various charities. Madison Marriage, a journalist for the FT, went undercover and what she saw wasn’t pretty. I’m sure you’ve all read the gruesome details but here’s a link to it just in case.
This banter-tastic lads on tour culture has been around forever, and we’ve all heard the phrase “ boys will be boys” used to excuse grown men behaving as if Jim Davidson were their gender relations guru, while treating women like h’orderves in high heels expected to serve them chablis. Well ENOUGH. Saying these women ‘knew what they were getting themselves into’ is about as pointless as Piers Morgan. We’ve said it before and we’ll come and tattoo it clumsily on to the forehead of anyone who still doesn’t get it, if it helps; but women have the right to autonomy over their OWN BODIES, regardless of their employment. They are not playthings, objects or automatons programmed to play hostess to anyone’s dick, regardless of how much money they have offshore
One of the root problems is that men and women are seen as two different species. Guess what? WE’RE NOT.
For too long men and women have been pitted against each other: Mars vs. Venus, blue vs. pink, a stiff upper lip vs. a quivering bottom one all ignoring the fact that men also have tear ducts, women can wear blue without immediately sprouting a full beard and current evolutionary science is pretty sure none of us are sodding Martians. The reality is we’re all as much the same as we are different; fun fact: we all start off female in the uterus which is why dudes have NIPPLES (IKR?!). There is no generic woman or man – just lots and lots of different personalities with their own likes, dislikes, fears, doubts, peccadilloes and stance on Marmite’s loveability.
It’s more than possible for men and women to socialise with one another AND alcohol, without anyone being groped, flashed, masturbated at or harassed. Fancy that. When I go out with one particular group of friends, there is always a solitary man that joins us. He’s a husband of one of our group, and he invites himself along. When we ask why he wants to sit with a load of drunk women all night, he says it’s more fun than sitting with a group of boring men. He admits that we make him laugh more than his male friends, there’s less aggression in the air (unless a drink is spilled – then god help the spiller) and he just loves the relaxed atmosphere. PLUS, I’ve never seen his genitals; win-win.
Maybe it’s time we debunked the steaming tripe that men and women can never be friends, throw away those ridiculous gender stereotypes and unearth square one. Here’s a good starting point: men (you know who you are) – if you don’t already, start looking at women as potential friends. Talk to them, tell your dick to stfu, listen and maybe you’ll realise that women are neither enemies, nor the spoils in some in some weird, binary gender war. Maybe, just maybe, ingrained sexism will dissipate and crowning, like a baby’s head triumphantly emerging from an exhausted vagina, will come the glowing realisation that woman are, in fact, human. And many, if not most of us, are pretty awesome humans, at that.
I would like, if I may, to dwell on the subject of our differing stance to My mate’s lover ability. Sorry, I mean Marmites lovability; I know nothing of my mates’ lover abilities and, if the truth be known, little about their lovability apart from that they would not b mates if I didn’t like them and they me.
We are surely all aware from the age of 5 how insidiously we are conditioned to proclaim ourselves either lovers or haters of a certain savoury-flavoured, molasses-like textured, dark-in-appearance, gloop. In reality there are probably myriad responses to whether the stuff is edible and with what level of emotional response it’s consumption demands of us; from those who avoid it in a similar way to their aversion to lashing engine oil on their lunch-time ‘Thick-Sliced-White’ through those with an aversion to the stuff -were back to Mamite now – some who are rather taken with the idea of having another taste, there being yet others who for the life of them cannot remember there being an alternative to the nectar they’re about to devour.
Now it may be stretching [even the word] analogies too far to apply ‘Marmite’ to women – in a metaphorical sense, of course, although those who love both a Marmite snack and a woman might find the reading of the last phrase appealing – but you’ve humoured me thus far so…
With respect to our stance on Marmite, not everyone is in one of two camps: lovers and haters. There are about as many approaches to a person’s relationship with Marmite -and make no mistake that I include us men in this assertion – as there are people who have eaten it out. [Pun intended ICYMI]. Therefore i truly believe that it will not come as a surprise to most men that there can be more than two ways of relating to women. True there will be some who do not like women – possibly those who don’t like company full stop, and those for whom conversation with a woman is only possible when they love her – and for ‘Love’ here Read ‘Lust after her body’. In truth these cases must be as rare as crap under a rocking-horse. I think it is safe to suggest that many who appear to be in the latter camp are probably those who have never tried to have any other type of relationship with a woman; possibly they’ve only tried marmite neat on a spoon and never in a sandwich, or with other fillings, or in toasty, or with an egg, or …well you get the idea. I believe there are so many of us men who would be quite capable of relating to women as friends and not just as lovers or as self-appointed leaders or tutors and yet don’t or won’t. Perhaps I am fortunate that my mates do not ridicule my friendships with women, they do not goad me to try to give her one when the chance arises – “you know, Mat, when she’sdrunk and she’s counting on you to lock the front door on your way out after making sure she’s safely asleep in bed.” – but I do not think most men, even if culturally they still tolerate sexist affray and label it ‘harmless banter’, would act on such advice but it is sad if they do not show enough backbone to teach their friends some home truths or even just act independently and assert their right to strike up platonic friendships with whichever Tamara, Nicki, and Harriet reciprocates conversationally and not just those who are likely to be as Marmite, spread tastily on his buttery knob!
While a beard is a signifier of maleness lots of women have facial hair – just like lots of men have tears ducts – we’re just socialised to hide it and be shamed by it the same way men are about crying … and your joke about women sprouting beards by wearing blue just adds to the stigma – which kinda undermines what it otherwise a good point. hav