Editor Christopher Writes: A Poem A Day For A Year – 16/01/15

I’m starting today with a controversial thought.

I do not agree with feminism. Now I’m fully aware that may put some of you against me right from the start of this but let me explain (and this is my own actual thoughts on the matter, as possibly ill-informed as they are.) I agree with the aims of feminism. To put women on the deserved same platform as men. To have an equal chance of getting great jobs and being treated and spoken to the same. I agree that a woman has the choice to dress how she chooses without fear of something awful being said to her or done to her, or being objectified (though, let’s face it, we all objectify people, no matter who we are. It’s just part of human nature). I agree with all that. I don’t agree with the limited cope of its aims. That these things are just for women.

The feminists have a really strong platform to do something really positive for society, to fight for those things for everyone. For the disabled, the mentally handicapped, people from less-wealthy backgrounds, basically anyone who is at a disadvantage in society’s limited scope for openness. I know that every subjugated demographic has its own support network and charities and so on but we can all agree that feminism has the loudest voice and I think feminists have a duty to speak for everyone.

While I am thinking on it, I know that this is all very rich coming from someone such as me, as healthy, fit, white, male. Believe me, I am in no position of privilege. I support everyone’s right to be treated just as well or a poorly as they deserve on individual merit. If someone in a wheelchair or homosexual or female or whatever is a dickhead, I will treat them a such. I won’t give special dispensation just because of their circumstance, because of their biology. That is prejudice and I do not tolerate that. It is more offensive to look down on people with patronising self-worth than it is just to treat them as a person.

What I also do not agree with is the hypocrisy of feminism. Last year, and for a number of years, we have seen the ‘No More Page Three’ campaign come into swing because it objectifies women. Well, yes it does. When I was younger, I knew a girl who would go on to become a page three model. Through mutual friend, a number of years later, I found this out. For a time, this mutual friend would talk about her if she was on the cover of a ‘lads mag’ or on page three that particular day. The model was proud that she was being put into these publications. She changed her body with plastic surgery in order to become what she is.

Now, there is a separate issue here with the addiction to aesthetic beauty that is pushed onto us by the media in this age. Should she have done this to her body because she felt the need to fit into the mould that society finds acceptable? Well, possibly not. None of us should feel compelled to change ourselves just to tick someone’s box. We should just be who we naturally are and bollocks to everyone else. But this was what she wanted to do. It was her choice so should we really judge her on that?

If things like page three were done away with, wouldn’t that also limit the chance of paid work that these girls have? If jobs for women are so hard to get, it makes no sense to slash the job market, does it?

The hypocrisy of the ‘No More Page Three’ campaign struck me while I was sat in Manchester one afternoon on a bench. Someone walked past with a bag from FCUK that featured a man, all abs and nipples, naked from the waist up and only boxer shorts on waist down. Not that I am one to do so normally but this got me thinking about the advertising campaigns for products such as Calvin Klein underwear by David Beckham and all the other things that have ‘hunky’ men half-naked all over them. Isn’t this objectifying men? As I have said, feminism has one of the loudest voices in the world so if it is campaigning to stop things like page 3 on the ground of objectification of women, does it not also have a duty to fight for the objectification of men, or is that OK because it is for the titillation of demographics that are object to prejudice?

Then there was the case of Matt Taylor, one of the scientists involved in the Rosetta expedition last year, helping to land the probe on the comet. While he was on television talking about this phenomenal achievement, he was wearing a bowling shirt with scantily-clad women. The uproar was enormous and he was forced to make a weeping apology for this. This shirt was designed by a woman. It wasn’t offensive in the slightest. I have spoken to quite a few women since then who had no problem with the shirt and said they would probably wear it themselves because the art-work is fantastic. All the uproar did was to forever bitter what should have been one of the proudest days of Taylor’s life.

Wise up. Stop fighting for causes that are just going to antagonise and with which the people you are fighting for do not fully agree. Some of you are probably now going to think I’m sexist for taking a stand against feminism. You would be wrong. I just do not agree with selfish cause. Feminism should be fighting for everyone. It should really be called ‘everyoneism’. Until it is, it’s just hypocrisy.

And I know I’m not sexist because some of my closest female friends are female.

Here is a poem. The prompt today comes from the wonderful Manchester-based band, Johnnie Squizzercrow. The first two lines are credited to them.

Rusted rivets, rotten to the core,

a structure, once magnificent, no more.

Gardens in decay, blooming flowers

turned to grey

piles of ash, petals drifting to the floor.

The tiles have slipped and fell

the rafters, sodden, start to swell.

The torrent gushes through

the ceiling flowing straight down to

the cellar, a tide that neither time nor space can quell.

Broken brick, mangled mortar,

carpets, floorboards drip with water.

In this biblical bout of rain

I look upon this house with pain

inside my heart, emotions, thought begin to falter.

This house contains my past

which nature took from me too fast.

The canvas has been wiped clean

and now it occurs to me

that history is never built to last.

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