Let’s talk about feminists who want to have their cock and eat it

So International Woman’s Day has come and gone for another year, as always offering equitable minded people the world over a perennial opportunity to celebrate the wonder of women and reflect on the many challenges they can experience in their lifetime.

Supporters of International Women's Day in Lahore on March 8, 2016.
Supporters of International Women’s Day in Lahore on March 8, 2016.

This year’s theme was ‘Pledge for Parity’ with participants invited to submit an online pledge to to take pragmatic action with the purpose of helping accelerate gender parity.  Action such as creating inclusive, flexible cultures; valuing women and men’s contributions equally and challenging conscious and unconscious bias.

For the third year running comedian Richard Herring did his bit to challenge conscious bias head on by embarking on his annual titanic act of clictavism aimed at schooling the hundreds of ‘outraged men who think that having a sole day (out of the 366 available this year) dedicated to women’ is a tad sexist.

The popular consensus in polite society appears to be that, on the very day that the United Nations leads the world in a celebration of the fairer sex, anyone pointedly enquiring why there isn’t a similar day for men must be a mean spirited, mysoganistic, cheese helmet of a man baby who is so cognitively challenged that they are incapable of using a search engine to discover that there actually is.

Consequently, heroically, Richard spends 24 hours every year policing the world wide web while attempting to make twitter a better place for feminists by targeting any transgressors thoughtlessly tweeting this terrible triggering thoughtcrime to the twitterverse.

And in a succinct act of public shaming he retweets their enquiry to his 181,000 followers whilst smugly pointing out that there is indeed an International Men’s Day and that it’s November 19th.

I put myself through an extremely horrible experience in order to make a point that is that men should back the fuck away. It takes a man to do that job, I think [because] if a woman did it then the people I was challenging would have a different response.  

EYEsay smugly because he positions himself on the moral high ground by proposing that November 19th currently provides parity to the people in a busy annual calendar of campaigns and celebrations. And yet, like so many in the modern, metropolitan middle class movement of proud card carrying (#trending) networked feminists, he seems to sincerely believe that the notion of a ‘Men’s Day’ is stupid because, by default, ‘every day is international men’s day’ (with the possible exception of March 8).

As someone pointed out in my mass of Twitter replies, you have an international workers day and not an international fatcat capitalists day for a reason. To have one for both wouldn’t be promoting equality.

In his stand up routine Richard refers to March 8th as ‘International Idiot Men Asking when’s International Men’s Day Day?’ but not everybody is laughing.  His March 8 antics now generate more press coverage for him annually than anything he attempts in the name of commercial comedy the rest of the year leading some critics to suggest that March 8th is staring to feel a bit like ‘International Richard Herring Day’.

EYEbelieve that he is motivated by genuine noble intentions but it’s not hard to see why some are more cynical, especially given that the conveniently timed trailer for his latest DVD features his IWD routine front and centre.

My main observation is that Richard seems to want to have his cock and eat it (so to speak) or at least doesn’t doesn’t quite have the cajones to fully acknowledge the ‘jag’ within his ‘joke’ and the personal politics he promotes with it.

He will have almost inevitably profited from grabbing some of the limelight on March the 8th to peddle his patronising pedantry presented as a public service. With that in mind, you’d think that the least he could do is be slightly more charitable to his fellow man when the seasons turn towards winter.

Instead he finds it impossible to hide his disdain for the notion of encouraging champions of gender equality to spend 24 hours (of the 8,760 annually available) promoting positive messages about men and reflecting on some of the unique challenges they face.

Some blame the media for not promoting it, but I’d say it’s pretty clear that most men aren’t interested in such a day and the ones that claim to be are in fact only interested in the babyish concern of why women have a day and they “don’t” (I mean they do, so you know….).

Hopefully the slow chipping away via ridicule from me and the many other people will stop people asking about male equality (which ultimately is the same as female equality anyway if you think about it).  Richard Herring 8 March 2016

Herring has effectively appropriated one social justice campaign day as the butt of a smug, simplistic, shaming joke that he cracks to champion another.  Worse still he co-opts both to justify calling out thousands of complete strangers, (men and women) and publicly imply that HE is oh so much cleverer than them and that, based on an imperfect criteria, THEY are nothing better than childish chauvinist cheese helmets.

Which is nice.

EYEdon’t mean to be unfairly disingenuous, EYEget his ‘joke’ and the fact that some of his targets probably deserve to be called out by a minor celebrity for mean mindedness.  But instead of stoping at simply honouring women and celebrating feminism, Richard carries ‘the joke’ over the line, exposing his own smug blend of chauvinism as he goes.

Most pathetically, he claims ignorance when challenged with the notion that his joke about sexism can be perceived as being more than a little bit sexist in itself.

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The comedically overt chauvinism, not to mention hypocrisy of many modern feminists is just one reason why 91% of women in the UK don’t identify with Richard’s personal political ideology. Let’s face facts, it would be ludicrously selfish not to acknowledge that some women are much more in desperate need of a day campaigning for their basic human rights than others. International Women’s Day champions a noble and vital cause but these days it is also used to hawk Beyonce tickets and entirely exclusive, expensive beauty products.

Even so, and in reality, EYEhas never actually met a man (or woman) who is ‘absolutely furious’ about the concept of an International Woman’s Day and for every one Herring things he’s sniffed out EYEcan point to thousands that feel entirely comfortable with the idea and the notion of openly supporting it.

And if there really are increasingly larger numbers of ‘furious men’ who can’t just bite their lip and keep their powder dry, then maybe it’s time to start asking why?

Because Richard has so ably exhibited, there are plenty of people who are remarkably hostile about the other International Gender Equality Day.

Some people simply dismiss the notion because they genuinely don’t see the merit. That’s fair enough but some of the more ferocious supporters of March the 8th can be pretty vicious in communicating their contempt for men on November 19th.

And they can also be quite ferocious about implying that you’d be an idiot and a misogynistic bigot to dare disagree with them.

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(Relax Guys!) No one is denying that the little Phoebes of the 21st Century are going to experience all sorts of challenges in their lifetime but increasing amounts of equality duty data emanating out of the Office of the Minister for Women and Equalities’ own backyard point to one or two challenges for the next generation of Little Richards as well.

Given the social justice challenges of recent decades, it’s hardly surprising that IWD has been a firm fixture in the modern calendar since the 1970’s.  By comparison IMD is a relatively new, less famous, less funded and less favoured campaign but there is a reason why it exists and a reason why most of the media have begun to take it seriously

My problem with Herring’s ‘joke’ is that it if you look below it’s two word punchline you can see that it’s set up is built around the clumsy fourth wave feminist mantra that ‘every day is International Men’s Day’, thus justifying Richard’s heroic annual act of ‘punching up’ and demand that men should ‘back the fuck off’ on March the 8th.

Well here’s a radical thought that EYE is going to presume to propose on behalf of mothers, fathers, boys and girls and brothers and sisters and wives and husbands up and down the British Isles and beyond.

If he can’t find anything nice to say, and in the interest of the ‘equality’ he professes to crave so much, maybe Richard could at least follow his own advice just for one day in every year.

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Obviously comedy has a lot to do with personal taste and opinion but I like to think that EYEhas managed to improve Herring’s joke whilst still dedicating it to the purpose of promoting harmony and equity between the sexes.

EYEhas also come up with a clumsy comedic mantra of my own that I hope some people will reflect on at least once a year.

Say it with me now…

Every day is not International Men’s Day for every man.

In the UK, in the year 2015, every day was the last day for 13 desperate men and boys who lost their life to suicide.

With the greatest respect to the women we love and honour on February the 14th (Saint Valentines Day), the 6th of February isn’t International Men’s Day (it’s the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation) and neither is the 23rd of June (International Widows’ Day).

The 11th of October isn’t International Men’s Day (it’s International Day of the Girl), or October 15th (International Day of Rural Women) or October 19th (Menstrual Hygiene Day), or November 25th (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), or the entire first week in August (World Breastfeeding Week) or even the entire month of March (Women’s History Month).

But every dog should have it’s day.

In the case of actual dogs, their actual day is the 31st of August. It used to be August 26th but that clashed with American Women’s Equality Day so to avoid offence the nice dog lovers kindly switched.

Some American economists believe that the gender pay gap is largely based on false equivalencies and that the approximation of any difference between the median earnings of all men and the median earnings of all women (classified as full-time workers) has as much to do with the number of hours worked, personal career / life & family choices, experience, work life balance and statistical cherry picking as it has to do with blatant mean minded sex discrimination by mean minded men.

But even if woman don’t literally work for free for the last 8 weeks of every year, Equal Pay Day does definitely exist and in 2015 it was on November 9th, or April 15th if you live in America (or twitter), or November 2nd if you prefer European Equal Pay Day.

Further evidence if it is really needed to debunk the notion that every day is International Men’s Day (when it’s only really November 19th).

Indeed, if you ask the Ambassador for the United Nation’s HEforSHE global campaign, she might even agree that it is slightly disingenuous to argue that every day is International Men’s Day for every man (including her four less rich and famous brothers) when, according to Ban Ki-moon’s diary, not even the 19th of November is International Men’s Day.

The 19th of November is actually Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.  Mind you, as the men and women behind that campaign courageously claim:

Every day is Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.

19 Nov

Next | One Day

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Gender Mereology

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