Tag Archives: right

Not All Men

“Not all Men” I said and I meant it once upon a time, but not anymore.

I always felt it needed saying that whilst, yes some men are so fearful of Women they have to weigh them down at every turn, it’s not the case of all men. I was taught from an early age that ladies are equal, skin colour, religion and any other sub category doesn’t make anyone willing to work for something less entitled to have it. So my “not all men” comes from a family, more importantly a Mum, that have quietly championed equality, the odd insensitive joke and crass comment aside when ‘push came to shove’ no one was any less deserving of the best fairness that could be offered. They would stand against it inequality when they saw it and taught me to do the same. I felt it some kind of duty to remind these ladies making accusatory remarks about men, that while they might feel alienated and demeaned by men, not all of them think this way so change will come.

As with many things that have the best of intentions this ‘noble quest’ was flawed, only I couldn’t see it. I maintained a stance of “not all men”, going so far as do it more, because after all “why should I support a cause that isn’t willing separate me from the oppressors they scorn?”. I would argue with every kind of feminist that I came across, pitching the notion that to alienate ‘good men’ for their presence was surely going to backfire. Not because women aren’t capable, but because the men keeping them down lack enough empathetic intelligence to have their minds changed by feminism, men would have to be a  trojan horse in the single minded psyche of misogynists.

Eventually I abandoned my “crusade”, the deeper I went the more warped feminists were. It became more about vengeance than equality and started to cloud my thoughts on feminism. I began thinking about waiting on a time when a more inclusive alternative would rise like a mountain, forced up by the opposing forces surrounding it.  My belief in equality never tired, but I became transfixed on the platform of delivery. Modern feminism I felt was hypocritical, it’s to at risk of becoming the monster it’s fighting. To many “third” and “fourth wave” type terms, the narrow mindedness made the water to easily muddied by the few who do seek vengeance for oppression that runs far deeper than high heels and quips about driving ability.

Then one day I was hit in the face by a pan. A greasy, filthy pan that leaves it’s mark on your skin and seems to be everywhere once you notice it, leaving you craving a thorough scrub, preferably with a wire brush and industrial strength acid. Trawling though the world of social media I had been looking for pages that would give me up to the minute, accurate news that I could cross check almost in realtime, that meant following news agencies, writers, artists and journalists alike.  I noticed  a fair amount of ‘hub ub’ surrounding Lilly Allen, she was being lambasted for visiting “The Jungle” in Calais, specifically for saying to a young person their that she was sorry her country had failed them. Every opinion she tables is met with the sort animosity I wouldn’t expect the lowest forms of social life to endure, comments about her miscarriage that cut me deep, let alone her!  Then Tucker Carlsons news program featuring Lauren Duca hit the Twitter waves, again the comments being levied were vile and a sort of misogyny I thought was long gone, it is 2017 after all. I started to follow more female journalists, writers and academics, apart from variances in words the sentiments were still the same, women are lesser and men have the role of keeping them in their place. Then came the regularity of casual barrier crossing in the sexual sense, inappropriate touching on the underground, high heels being forced as part of uniform, manoeuvred into a vulnerable situations and propositioned forcefully, so on and so on and so on regardless of fame or fortune. A never ending cycle of daily small to large events that show misogyny isn’t dead, but lurking, shamefully waiting for each moment to reach out a lecherous hand and make contact. One story that really caught me was of a fifteen year old girl who started to ride the underground to work, one morning a man stood close to her on the platform, she didn’t think much of it, nor would I in fairness. For what ever reason they silently parted their mentally distant ways and she found her back pocket slimy and wet. The ‘man’ had used the crowded platform and close proximity to ejaculate into her back pocket, the first lady she spoke to was apathetic, it happens was the sentiment. Her first experience of independence similar to the scale she will experience ‘in the real world’ and she gets it tainted in a way few could have predicted, I suddenly saw why “not all men” carried no favour or merit.

“It happens” was the catalyst for a U turn on modern feminism and my, all be it nothing exceptional, stronger backing. Having a child and getting covered in sick is something that “happens”, cooking dinner and getting covered in grease is something that “happens”, getting wet because you forgot an umbrella is something that “happens”. Being a young lady and having some swine cum in your back pocket is not something that should just “happen” and be belittled or ignored. Going to work and being brushed aside in favour of a male counter part shouldn’t be shrugged at, tabling an opinion and having it ignored because your a woman isn’t something to scoffed at, being labeled a whore because you’ve had an abortion isn’t something to be swept aside and being payed less because of a different set of genitals isn’t something to begrudgingly accept. “It happens” is one of the terms used for cases of domestic rape when the law wasn’t so involved, its archaic and a sign of how little we as humans have really progressed, it’s a pathetic endowment of ‘us’ if we can sit back and let it carry on. I realised that whilst I am “not all men”, that makes no difference when a woman is faced with a barrage of ‘those’ men. It offers no help to the person being targeted and simultaneously has the potential of giving an escape route for the aggressor. The “it happens” of a man being caught under the umbrella of “all men” is a far less relevant than the “it happens” of sexual assault and oppressive sexism women are experiencing today, everyday. If you are saying to a lady arguing a case of misogyny that their statement has no merit because “not all men”, then your belittling the real life event that has created the need for it to be said. Ultimately you shift the focus away from women back onto men and how even when a woman is right she is still wrong. The biggest lesson I learnt was that however much I might have a point, it’s not bringing anything to the table that will effect change, the statement is simply like lighting a BBQ in the woods while firefighters are tackling a forest fire.

It’s true that there are some real batshit crazy women that will do and say things for attention or greed, but that is no different to the world of men. Every human entity regardless of sub category has it in them to be beautifully compassionate or a degrading shit! The one thing that can be clung to is that change can happen, but water doesn’t boil without enough heat. This pan is big, thick and regularly has chunks of ice dropped in for good measure, the water will boil and it when it does we can all share the warmth of the sweet tea it’ll make, but if “she puts the kettle on, men can make the tea”.

 

Medicine for the ‘Immoral’

 

Can we decide who should and who shouldn’t receive a costly treatment based on their life choices?

I recently launched myself headlong into a debate about whether the PRep drug should be rolled out. A debate centred around NHS Englands decision to turn its back on the obligation to provide PRep to people who feel they may be at risk of contracting HIV. The murky water that lashed against the shores of sanity seemed to be sullied with discussions of morality and justification. The argument was predominantly broken into two categories; those that felt condoms were enough of a barrier and by choosing not to use them the risk is a burden they must shoulder. The others questioned whether it was right to deny those most at risk a safety net and whether it was right to hold back treatment of HIV because of perceived promiscuity.

I foolishly entered the debate feeling as though anyone in the ‘for’ camp had pitched their tent high on the moral slope, safe from the rising tide of archaic judgment and persecutory rip tides. Peering down into the gloom of archetypal people throwing moral missiles at unyielding, light footed knights of justice and equality. My only argument at first being that the high court ruling was not an outright support of gay men, but in fact support for anyone who was at risk from contracting HIV.

The next stage of my ‘gallantry’ is where it began to unravel. I charged head long at a gentlemen for his outright objection to supplying a costly drug when “Avastil” is underfunded and unavailable on the NHS. My arrogance was to believe that the ol’ boy had deep rooted anti-homosexual, anti-promiscuity theories that were ingrained from a life of attending church every Sunday like a righteous soldier of faith. I have long held the belief that people can harbour atrocious prejudices if they tell the good lord that they repent for kicking the dog on Friday because ‘er’ in doors’ hadn’t gotten dinner ready on time.

I had judged all of this from one simple sentence questioning whether the NHS could afford an expensive drug and what would be sacrificed.

I questioned the gentleman on his conviction that it was right to refuse the drug based on a theory that they were to blame for their ‘hedonistic’ lifestyle. To try and justify the cost over the saving of a life to me seemed as though a finite numeric value was being placed on the heads of red blooded people capable of good and bad in equal measure. I replied with many well meaning and forceful counters to these arguments, cutting through the injustice with a sword of salvation for the under represented.

This went on for a bit with many others chiming in to offer different tangents as to why this person could have so much courage of conviction when talking about who is more deserving. It was at this point I felt I was being a shit, this guy was so strongly holding onto his opinion that I had to justify why I had the right to tell him was wrong. I began to ‘pull my punches’ and re-write my counters several times, omitting personal jibes and character assassinations, replacing them instead with alternative perspectives and justifications outside of moral notions. Others rightly questioned whether all people that sacrifice their bodies to aggressive illnesses should be excluded also, the answer of course was not needed as it’s already happening and will do so for the foreseeable future.

I couldn’t wrap my liberal sensibilities around the idea that one person is more deserving than another simply because they have lived a life of “thou shalt not”. Could it really be so simple? Could we really ‘play god’ because someone has been good in a relative sense? It just didn’t make sense, a good person inevitably has bad traits so how can mere mortals decide who has the right to medicine based on moral judgments? “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” as it goes. He cast his stone I threw my intentionally noble, but actually inconsiderate boulder back.

I suddenly realised that what he was talking about was an emotional thought process. To know the name of a drug and its effects is one thing, but to be able to use that name so abruptly and flippantly can only come from experience. To ask the question of whether its right to deny one party for the appeasement of the other could come from bitter experience not deep seated prejudices as I had arrogantly assumed. I swiftly attempted to make amends by raising my thoughts on his experiences without brazenly casting aspersions, I had after all cast more than my fair share already. A small ping and a red square appeared, a simple like, nothing pretentious just a like. My apology had been received, whether it had been accepted I don’t know nor do I wish too, for as long as I don’t know I can’t absolve myself from the judgment I had cast on a person I didn’t know. I was instantly humbled and there I wish to stay for I am human, fallible, flawed and ultimately in-perfect just like everybody else.

I did ask one thing to the gentlemen, a favour I didn’t deserve but I had to deliver in the hope of easing the trouble for all concerned. How it was received again I don’t know. I asked him not to be angry with the humanly flawed people for whom the debate was aimed at, not to be so heavily focused on who is more deserving of relief, but to be more focused on who is eating more than their fair share of the preverbal pie, for they are the real hedonists.

Can we decide who gets respite based on their life choices? That was my question, futile, simplistic and greyer than a British summer. Ultimately a rhetoric question, ‘we’ don’t get to decide.

The decision will not be made under a veneer of moral debate, nor will it be made on whether the ends can justify the means. It will be made based on a series of numbers, to dull for easily bored minds it will be plotted into block coloured bars so as to make the numbers more palatable, the higher the number on the y axis the more likely it will be rolled out. While we naively debate lifestyle over injustice they will debate net versus gross, we will share experienced stories based on first person perspective, they will share a golf cart on Thursday at four, we will pontificate whilst they propagate. We spend more time fighting each other in a Facebook Thunder Dome, desperately trying to re-take control of our destiny than we do holding our erroneous emancipators to account.

When did the placement of a decimal point hold the key to salvations we all deserve? Money makes money, it doesn’t make the holder judge, jury and executioner. We are not inanimate secondary colours filling cascading rectangles on a bar graph, we are people, committed to making mistakes and learning from them, muddling our way through life trying to balance what is right and what is rewarding, sadly they don’t always symbiotically travel.