EYEis delighted to report that there is so much to be positive about when considering this year’s coverage of International Men’s Day.
First and foremost a massive round of applause to the Daily Telegraph. Not just for their coverage on the day from the likes of Ruth Sutherland, CEO, Samaritans and Glen Poole, UK co-ordinator for International Men’s Day but also for their sustained determination over the year to behave like every day is a day when it’s ok to talk about men’s issues.
Indeed if it hadn’t been for last month’s coverage of one Honourable Member’s perception that every day is International Men’s Day then the proposal for a first ever Parliamentary debate on Men’s issues may very well have been successfully vetoed.
Not all of the Telegraph’s Wonder Women considered this to be a positive development, but then the whole point of a debate is that both sides get to speak, so fair dues to Rachel Argyle for speaking for the side of the house who appear to sincerely support Jess Phillip’s archaic misandry. Hopefully Rachel will reflect on why it is that the very vast majority of the 10,000 people who took the time to read her article voted against her point of view.
Dan Bloom at the Mirror focused on the debate in Parliament, while BBC online news offered some positive coverage along with newsbeat who talked to young entrepreneur Jamal Edwards about why he was getting behind CALM’s campaign.
In the Huffington Post – Luciana Berger, Labour’s shadow minister for mental health discussed why she was taking part in the Parliamentary debate and why it is right that this important issue is being properly discussed.
Over at the Express, Felicity Thistlewaith offered an insightful piece on the alarming suicide statistics. She also featured SBVT’s #dontbeastatistic venture in support of CALM, including Rapman’s Rollercoster video, as did The Star’s Alison Maloney, Anna Mangle from theDebrief and Joel Taylor for Metro.
Liz Conner at the Evening Standard wrote a short supportive piece. Meanwhile The Mail provided the most thorough coverage about the fallout at York University. The University cancelled an event scheduled to mark the day after 200 academics, alumni and students wrote a letter warning that celebrating the event ‘amplifies existing, structurally imposed, inequalities’ and ‘echoes misogynistic rhetoric that men’s issues have been drowned out by the focus on women’s rights’.
York has the fourth largest male suicide rate in the United Kingdom, the majority of York students are female, and tragically one of their own students lost his own life on the day they decided to pull the event. Which is just three reasons why York MP Rachel Maskell spoke in support of the day in Parliament and over 4,000 people signed Ruth Morris’ counter petition in support of her fellow students.
It’s worthwhile noting that possibly the most positive trend this year is that even the inevitable haters paused for at least a paragraph to acknowledge the shocking suicide statistics before sticking the boot in and shamelessly embracing their sardonic sisterly silencing tactics.
The Commissioning Editor of Independent Voices is a case in point, as she enlightened us with why we don’t need international mens day and interpreted the York University row as being about a bunch of man babies stamping their feet and ‘fighting for the rights to low paid jobs with poor prospects that women often find themselves trapped in’.
Even for a journalist with such an obvious Vagenda, her thesis was frankly farcical but it set the tone for the day which Beth McKernan duly followed (twice), making the Indy the perfect place for Jess Phillips MP to announce that she was ducking out of the debate she tried to stop and take one last swipe before retreating to her safe space in Yardley.
For me it is up there with needing a white history month, or able body action day. Men are celebrated, elevated and awarded every day of the week on every day of the year. Being a man is its own reward. You hit the jackpot when you are born a boy child. Jess Phillips MP
Still at least the Independent had the ladyballs to just say it as they see it, unlike the Guardian who took a more nuanced approach.
For the second year running they pushed forward one solitary (male) ‘liberal’ voice to (sort of) acknowledge that International Men’s Day is (kind’ve) a thing, whilst essentially undermining it’s merit and predictably proposing that (at the end of the day) every other day is also International Men’s Day.
This is what lots of feminists now think Richard Herring looks like.
This year’s metropolitan male micro-aggression was delivered by none other than comedian Richard Herring. Personally this was the biggest disappointment of the day because EYE is a fan and had decided to celebrate IMD by improving on his ‘heroic act of twitter pedantry’ and spend the day tweeting all the haters under the (wrong) impression that every day is International Man’s Day.
At least the Guardian’s sole contribution to the day did some good for an ovarian cancer charity and hopefully next year they’ll have finally caught up with all the people who are entirely down with the concept that everybody hurts sometimes.
By comparison radio and TV coverage was relatively muted with the BBC a particular disappointment. As far as I could tell Radio 4’s Today Programme maintained radio silence and missed an opportunity to make up for their part in (and subsequent silence on) the Tim Hunt witch-hunt. At the other end of the day PM kept any listeners waiting for any topical talk of gender equality waiting till the very last segment, only to reward them with a discussion about the equal pay gap in Taiwan.
Even BBC Parliament didn’t feature the debate, Channel 4 just embarrassed themselves, leaving Channel 5 to offer the only TV coverage that I noticed.
Finally while #internationalmensday was top of Thursday’s twitter trends, The Office for Women and Equalities spent the day celebrating Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, which has been magically added to the United Nation’s already busy schedule for the day. As did Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities who also contributed an article to Huffington Post about the gender pay gap, but at least the Equality Human Right’s Commission knew what time it was.
The Everydaysexismproject kept their powder dry by tweeting contact details for www.survivorsuk.org, even if they couldn’t quite bring themselves to acknowledge why but Caroline Criado Perez couldn’t contain herself
…and as the world moved into a new day, contributing editor to the New Statesman, Laurie Penny marked Universal Children’s Day by cracking that joke…
…then equating criticism with abuse…
…before remembering that ‘freedom of speech does not mean freedom from responsibility for the consequences of your speech’, that she generally likes to see herself as someone who speaks ‘on behalf of everyone with liberal tendencies’ and deciding to belatedly join in with the #trending celebrations…
There is, in fact, a free speech crisis in the West. The crisis is that the very principle of free expression is being abused in order to silence dissenting voices and shut down young progressives. These are truths that should outrage everyone who pays more than lip-service to liberalism. In the name of free speech, those who have always enjoyed the largest platforms and audiences are defending their entitlement to do so without challenge or criticism. The free speech delusion has gone unchallenged long enough. It’s time to end this wilful stupidity. Laurie Penny
Hopefully the 19th of November 2015 will be remembered as the day the UK finally woke up to the fact that not every day is International Men’s Day for every man. Hopefully we’re starting to see more and more progressive thinking, fair minded feminists waking up to the fact that most people getting behind these issues aren’t man babies, misogynists or abusive trolls… even if a lot of influential, biased or lazy gatekeepers in the media would like them to think that.
EYE started the day with an appeal to Richard Herring that went down like a lead balloon. It’s likely this will be as unsuccessful but it seems appropriate to finish this review is with an appeal to Mike Buchanan, leader of Justice for Men and Boys (and the Women who love them).
One of Mike’s favourite quotes comes from Ghandi: ‘first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win’…. It certainly feels like the equal right’s movement has moved a lot closer to the end of that sentence than the start but it’s still all too easy for fainting couch feminists to derail important debates by dismissing us all as mean minded man baby misogynists
Every man has got to go their own way but Mike…take the higher path, be the bigger man and pretty please with sugar on top quit with the whiney women of the month awards. Start acting like statesman you’ve always dreamt of being.