| From Times Online |
August 18, 2005
Buerk backtracks in sex war
The BBC newsreader Michael Buerk today performed an about-turn on his reported tirade against the female sex which culminated in a warning that men would soon be little more than "sperm donors".
The urbane presenter took to the airwaves this morning to claim that his interview, printed in Radio Times magazine and followed up extensively in the national media, had been misrepresented.
Unusually animated, he renewed his assertion on the Today programme that women were setting the agenda across the board, but insisted he had never said that men had been consequently reduced to "sperm banks."
Buerk, 59, who lives with his wife Christine in Guildford and has twin sons, repeated his assertion that women were setting the agenda across the board but added: "I didn’t say women ruled the world, I didn’t say that would be a bad thing even if they did."
He went on: “I did say that women increasingly set the agenda in business, in politics, in the media, in society at large, that women’s values are now considered superior to men’s values.”
He also today dismissed suggestions that he had said a crisis of emasculation was damaging men’s sperm counts.
In the original interview, Buerk was reported to have told the Radio Times: "Life is now being lived in accordance with women's rules. The traits that have traditionally been associated with men - reticence, stoicism, single-mindedness - have been marginalised.
"The result is that men are becoming more like women. Look at the men who are held up as sporting icons - David Beckham and, God forbid, Tim Henman.
"What's more, women are becoming more like men! More girls than boys are drinking alcohol at 15. Go to a nightclub and it's the women who are 'out on the pull'."
He continued: "Men gauge themselves in terms of their career, but many of those careers have disappeared. All they are is sperm donors, and most women aren't going to want an unemployable sperm donor loafing around and making the house look untidy.
"They are choosing not to have a male in the household. Here's a scary thought: the modern male sperm count is half of what our grandfathers' was."
He told Today that while he was happy to point out what he perceived as a half humorous, half serious struggle, but he was in no position to propose any solution.
The former Nine O’clock News presenter, who now presents bulletins on BBC World, recorded his opinions for the first of a television series on the personal gripes of celebrities Don’t Get Me Started! to be broadcast on Five on August 23.
Whether Michael and his wife will be tuning in may depend on who holds the remote control in the Buerk household.
Reaction on Buerk
| From The Sunday Times |
August 21, 2005
Focus: Of course women don't rule the world. (Just don't let them tighten their grip any harder...)
‘I didn’t say women ruled the world,” said Michael Buerk carefully. “And I didn’t say that would be a bad thing even if they did. I did say that women increasingly set the agenda in business, politics, the media and in society at large, and that women’s values are now considered superior to men’s values.” Buerk, a veteran broadcaster, was talking to Sarah Montague on Radio 4’s Today programme last week. It was a terse exchange because he had come in for a lot of stick after daring to express his view that men now possess a lowlier status than women.
The female of the species had taken over the top jobs in broadcasting, he had initially been quoted as saying, and “life is now lived in accordance with women’s rules”. Men, he had said, were reduced to being “sperm donors”.
When those views appeared Buerk, hardly the most tactful of people, was accused of living up to his name. But he fought back, continuing his defence by telling Montague: “Look at the way we have so many lifestyle programmes — aimed at a female audience — at the expense of current affairs and documentaries. And look at how men are continually portrayed in adverts, drama and sitcoms as clueless and idiotic.”
Many commentators rejected his remarks. Buerk is just jealous of his high-achieving women colleagues, they sneered. But even if you think he is moaning because he no longer reads the prime-time news (think Fiona Bruce instead), you do not have to look far to see what he means.
Take a series starting on BBC2 this week called Bring Your Husband to Heel. Its premise is to use a dog trainer to help women to control the men they married.
One such technique involves toilet training.
“You will not always be around to lift the toilet seat for your husband,” explains Annie Clayton, a canine behaviourist. “So try giving him a target — such as a sticker — to aim at in the bowl. If the worst comes to the worst and his aim doesn’t improve, you could always put him out in the garden with the dog.”
It is not the first time that a BBC show has set out to ridicule men in a way that would cause outrage if the target were women. A current documentary series on BBC3 called The Week the Women Went (Feck: anyone seen this?) presented the carefully edited consequences of removing girlfriends, wives and mothers from a village in Nottinghamshire.
Not for nothing did a recent newspaper cartoon depict a woman rushing to the living room door and yelling upstairs: “Quick! Kids! There’s a positive male role model on the television!” Buerk suggested that the thrust of these broadcasts has something to do with the unusually high proportion of senior women at the BBC — and it is notable that at the Beeb the directors of television, radio and news are all women.
Commercial TV has essentially the same outlook as the advertising breaks make clear. John Webster, who has created several of Britain’s best-loved commercials, confirms that it is always best to laugh at men while “it’s pretty dangerous to poke fun at women”.
Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young, drawing on ancient Greek, describe the modern contempt for men as misandry, the opposite of misogyny.
Nathanson is a writer, editor and film critic. Young is professor in the faculty of religious studies at Canada’s McGill University. Their book, Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture, spells out Buerk’s thesis in detail: “Misandry has become so deeply embedded in our culture that few people — including men — even recognise it.”
It can be found in almost every genre: books, television shows, movies, greetings cards, comic strips and commercials. It works in various ways: laughing at men, looking down at men, bypassing, blaming, dehumanising and finally demonising men.
“Misogyny has been studied and taken seriously for decades,” the authors write. “Political pressure has eliminated or at least hidden a great deal of misogyny.
“No pressure has been used to eliminate or hide misandry. On the contrary, pressure used against misogyny has directly or indirectly exacerbated it. As a result the world view of our society has become increasingly focused on the needs and problems of women and the evils and inadequacies of men.
“We will not know the full effect for many years,” they add, but attacking the identity of any group of human beings is “an extremely dangerous experiment”.
Oh do pull yourselves together, retort Buerk’s opponents. Of course it is still a man’s world. Just look at who has got all the money and power. After all, 70% of elected representatives worldwide are men, as Dr Rosalind Miles, author of The Women’s History of the World, points out.
“And all the money in the world is in the hands of men,” she writes, “with one or two startling female exceptions.” But her point assumes that the men in question pay no heed to women.
Nobody seriously believes that Tony Blair patronises Cherie, the high-powered barrister, or talks down to the Queen at their weekly meetings. Bill Gates, to name just one plutocrat, explicitly acknowledged his wife’s influence when he named his charitable fund the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
True, women do not occupy the same proportion of senior positions as men — not by a long way — and women trail men financially. But the “glass ceiling” is hardly overlooked. It is discussed all the time as if there were no topic of greater importance.
It sometimes seems that if we could only get 51% of the publicly listed companies under women’s control, all our troubles would be over.
In addressing this topic, people trot out the most incredible nonsense. A recent article in The Economist argued that getting more women into senior positions was “urgent”, but without making it clear who would benefit apart from the few women involved. It quoted a certain Maria Wisniewska, who once headed a Polish bank.
“The links between the rational and emotional parts of the brain are greater in women than in men,” she asserted. “If so, and if leadership is about making links between emotion and intelligence, then maybe women are better at it than men.”
You can imagine the howls of protest if such rot appeared in print with the words “men” and “women” swapped. In nothing of importance is it permissible to suggest that men are better than women. So why is it okay the other way round? Besides, in many ways the fact that women are more likely than men to be able to choose whether or not to have a career or be a wage slave is a measure of the subtle shift in the balance of power between the sexes. Men might nominally have more control, but women have more freedom of choice.
The chief executive of The Economist Group, as it happens, is a woman. Helen Alexander is one of very few female CEOs to have succeeded a female CEO. (Marjorie Scardino, the former CEO, went on to become chief executive of Pearson, the FTSE 100 company.) Alexander believes that the role models who matter most come much earlier in life: at school or in the family. And they include fathers.
Research shows that children of primary school age who remain close to their fathers enjoy much better exam prospects at 16 than others and are less likely to have a criminal record at 21. Fathers who devote as little as five minutes a day to their sons can massively increase the chances that those boys will grow up as confident adults.
However, the rise in economic freedom has allowed women who cannot be bothered to lift loo seats for their husbands to bring up children without any help from men. Only bolder men than Buerk would dare to venture outside to look after somebody else’s children. The Daycare Trust estimates that just 3% of childcare workers are male.
The government wants to attract more men to nurseries, but that will not be easy because men who work with children are liable to be regarded as sinister and creepy.
“There’s a lot of fear in childcare, and political correctness,” said Ben Black, director of Tinies Childcare. “You’ve got men trying to be equal and women saying, ‘Get out, get out, you filthy man’. It’s bad, isn’t it?” Black is even more outspoken than Buerk. “Women have come in and they’re much better at things,” he said. “It’s like the Planet of the Apes. They rose up and now they’ve conquered.”
Fay Weldon, the author, is more measured. “Women rule the media and education,” she confirmed. “And this is very serious because they influence how people think and behave.
“Buerk has a point. He’s a dinosaur, but he’s a wise old dinosaur. Men are being undermined. Their role is hard to define now because if women can look after themselves, what are men for?” Buerk’s half-serious suggestion was that the only role that men are good for now is as sperm donors. But even there the opportunities may become increasingly limited. Professor Steve Jones, a geneticist and author of Y: The Descent of Men, points out that every time a man has sex he has enough sperm to fertilise every woman in Europe. (Feck: Pretty cool)
“So the question is: why are there so many men?” said Jones. “Why isn’t there just one? Why do you need so many when you’ve got a deep freeze?”
Additional reporting: Sarah Keenlyside
And another article with an interesting view on the future of men
| From The Times |
August 22, 2005
I've seen the future and it works for men
BEAUTIFUL 18-year-old women in tight vests cavorting in backlit joy, long blonde hair swirling around their fresh, laughing faces? Hello! It must be August when, as the dwindling readership of such newspapers as The Daily Telegraph must surely believe, only ravishing young girls get their A-level results. This probably isn’t an example of the type of female agenda-setting that Michael Buerk had in mind when he spoke out about the growing female hegemony. Life in the UK, he said, was now being lived “in accordance with women’s rules . . . the traits traditionally associated with men have been marginalised . . . men are becoming more like women.”
While it seems that the men who choose the pictures for the front page of the Telegraph are immune to this transformation, at least for now, Buerk does have a point, but I fear it might not be the one he was making.
I met him last year when I was on his Radio 4 programme The Choice and failed to rile him even though I forced many retakes by repeatedly concluding answers to his questions about why I had chosen to go back to sea with the observation: “Of course, at that point, I had no choice.”
However, men do have more choice about their roles in modern life than Buerk suggests. For instance, the eight fathers taking part in the BBC’s latest foray into insultingly sexist reality TV could have said no. He’s Having a Baby (Feck: How many sexist Tv shows are their in the UK?), which started on Saturday, right after The Weakest Link (which appears to be what some producer considers fathers to be), seems to be more of the same “Ooh look, aren’t men useless and funny” sexism served up by the BBC in the horrendous The Week the Women Went.
Modern men could also decline to drop neatly into demographic fictions dreamt up by marketing executives to sell us moisturiser. The so-called “metrosexual” was invented by the same US advertising executive whose latest foray into pop sociology, the book The Future of Men, appeared appositely in The Times last week, illustrating some of Buerk’s points.
Author Marian Salzman is part of an advertising industry that has helped to set the tone for an era where men, in her words, “have moved from defining the world . . . to having their world defined by women”. By women like her, actually. As she says (with a straight face), men are the butt of every joke, whereas no one laughs at women because that would be politically incorrect. Wait in vain for programmes such as The Day She Tried to Change a Tyre.
But Salzman’s latest shtick seems (like most of the BBC’s “reality” output) to have overlooked the reality: while men have never had it as good as some women like to think, the measurable gap between the sexes is closing. And when it does, the joke ultimately could be on women.
“Men’s work” — the hard and nasty business of heavy industry — is in decline: service jobs today account for one in five UK jobs, compared with one in ten in 1981. Then, one in three jobs held by men was in manufacturing. By 2001 it was one in five. No wonder male grooming’s booming. Twenty years ago, men had three million more jobs than women (many of them grim); now it’s around 12 million apiece and more men than women are being made redundant every year.
Even the pay gap is narrowing. Average weekly pay grew by 4.7 per cent in 2003-4, but it was up by 5.3 per cent for women and just 3.8 for men, leaving the gender pay gap at its smallest ever: in April 2004, women’s hourly pay was 85.7 per cent of men’s, compared with 85.4 per cent the year before. (On the other hand, “working age” for men is still defined as 16-64, whereas women can bail out at 59 — and work fewer hours. No wonder they live longer.) Men do still account for 75 per cent of all suicides but every year fewer and fewer top themselves: the 5,755 adult suicides in the UK in 2003 was the lowest since 1973.
The survivors, however, emerging blinking from the brutal reality that was a “man’s world” right through the industrial revolution, countless wars and the often bitter social upheavals of the 20th century, are more than tough enough to deal with the modern world and their role in it. Bullied by TV shows into the kitchen, the nursery and the salon, men have never been so independent (and fragrant). They are finding that raising babies while holding down a job isn’t as daunting as they were always led to believe. And that cooking sure as hell beats coalmining.
The future of men? I reckon it’s women who are facing redundancy.
I´ll mark feminist myths or should I say "blabla" and interesting points
| From Times Online |
August 23, 2005
Are 'real men' in decline?
The BBC newsreader Michael Buerk has renewed his assertion that women are setting the agenda, and that female values are now considered superior to men's. Outperformed by girls at school, emasculated by women at home and at work, the hapless joke figure in TV commercials - is it time for men to say enough is enough? Do women have too much power and is it time for men to reassert their masculinity? If you're finding it hard being a man in a woman's world, let us know why by using the form below
The comment that "women have had to endure prejudice and oppression for thousands of years" is typical of the illogical arguments used by feminists to justify the unjustifiable - that women should have special privileges and perks simply because of their gender. No, women have not been oppressed. They have been protected (by men who have fought horrific wars for them); watched over (by men who fill all the emergency services); housed (by men who have built all the homes you can see the length and breadth of the country); provided for (by men who have worked all the hours God sends them); fed (by men who have transformed the land into farms); cosseted (by men who have invented all manner of machines and made discoveries to make women's lives easier); educated (by men who have developed all the great disciplines and schools of learning); entertained (by men who have invented devices such as TVs, radios and computers); given power over their own bodies (by men who have led the way in medicine, contraception and obstetrics - we gave women the pill too, remember); and of course, simply loved (by men who have made endless sacrifices for them). You see, it has really always been a woman's world. But if they just don't appreciate any of it, and figure that being taken from hiding in caves and cowering from wild animals to living safe, well-fed and pampered existences at men's expense has been a journey not of privilege but of oppression and suffering, well that's just too sad for words. So perhaps we really should reverse the roles for a change. Over to you, ladies. Paul Parmenter, Norwich (Feck: The same from our forum? This is great stuff!!!)
I don't believe you can say that today's world is a woman's world or that the feminist movement and everything that came with it has been completely positive. As has already been pointed out the proportion of working women who hold top positions is still far less than the proportion of working men, although whether this is due to prejudice is unclear (it could be because more women work part-time and take more time off to look after the family). However, it is definitely true that men today (especially in families) are often portrayed as being the objects of ridicule, and not to be taken seriously (especially in TV adverts, sitcoms and and animated comedies such as The Simpsons). It is also true that it is easier to make generalising, derogatory statements about the male gender in public. Despite the greater freedom women obviously enjoy today they are still under immense social pressure of a different nature. They are expected to be successful in their carreers, while at the same time looking perfect and they are still doing most of the work at home. I believe it is impossible to be in a highly demanding carreer and take on all domestic and family responsiblities as well. Women who chose to sacrifice career time in order to devote themselves to their families and children should be more highly valued, and not just women who have successful carreers. Bara El-khayat, Southampton
The feminisation of the Western world over the last 30-odd years or so has been its undoing. Men's values of competition and risk-taking have been emasculated to accommodate women's values of fear, worry and insecurity. Politicians have created the "nanny state" to appease these women's concerns. Men's values have been ridiculed and demeaned, and denounced. So too, advancement in the West has ceased and become regressive. This is not the case in the patriarchal states of China and India, which are bursting ahead with technological progress. I'd reckon that by about 2050 the West will be in a global shadow, eclipsed by a tsunami of masculine achievement. Meanwhile, the women of the West may not be in the halls of Western power just yet, but they've certainly got an awesome grip on their politician's testicles. John Gardiner, Sydney, Australia
To me, the problem is not so much the representation in shear numbers or percentage of women in positions of power and authority, nor is it that a "feminine" viewpoint is somehow better or worse than a "masculine" one. The problem lies in the fact that today it appears that the masculine must immediately surrender to the feminine. The problem is that today the viewpoint on anything regarding gender MUST be defined by women and those who don't agree will suffer the consequences. Patrick Mullay, New York, USA
Michael Buerk is just saying what the UK men's movement has been saying for ten years. It has taken a long time to sink in. But that is true of the media pundits generally. Because the media have been is dominated by feminists, they have not reflected the sort of views I hear from ordinary, fair minded people, who don't think all men are abusive, all boys are intellectually inferior, and who think the traditional family unit is best. Galileo was forced to recant the observation that the Earth went round the Sun. The idea went against the political correctness of that time. Nowadays, the President of Harvard University has had to make a public apology for saying maybe the male brain is better wired for scientific and mathematical reasoning. Women in the UK outlive men by about seven years on average. That is unequal enough - but what about this? Men still have to work five years longer for their state pension, i.e. working five extra years for twelve years less pension. William Coulson, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
If we live in a such a feminised world why is it that so many male-dominated professions are only just admitting women? The whole arguement is nonsense sinch any posistion of any profession should be based purely on ability. I'm studying as an Entomologist in a male dominated profession, working in a male-dominated museum. Seems strangely at odds with this so call feminised era. Patty Ramirez, Oxford (Feck: What would the male nurse say?)
It is interesting to hear that female values are now considered superior to men's. I did not realise that all women share the same set of values - and the idea that all men share the same values is frightening. Given the evolutionary process, it may not be a surprise that human females share some basic drives that made them more likely to survive and reproduce in our "hunter/gatherer" phase. I’m not sure I would describe these as ‘values’ though. Values probably emerge through the way we are brought up. Our parents’ attitudes and our childhood experiences may have a significant effect on the values we develop. These interact with cultural values as we grow up, so the whole business of developing values is quite complex. Trevor Hood, Leatherhead
There can be little doubt that men are being increasingly marginalized in Western Society. When most voters are women, and women command more disposable income than men, I don't really see how people can say women are politically and economically behind men. It's early days yet, though. I have no doubt that when we start reaping what we have sown (namely a stagnant society and a decrease in scientific endeavor as more highly gifted males must miss out due to "fairness"), society won't be long in reasserting itself. Perhaps "feminism" will be regarded as one of the worst political ideologies ever? Matin Robinson, Bangor
The Government promotes wealth as the prime value, but broken families and absent fathers mean boys lack good role models - and celebrities are generally lousy ones. Women are no longer economically limited and can raise children alone, so men have lost their confidence. Until men aim at qualities like integrity and commitment they can't expect to find their feet. Real men don't run away. Piers Young, Coventry (Feck: ITS ALL MENS FAULT!!!1!!111!!)
Thanks to the internet, the "men's movement" is growing, as is the rising anger among men. Men are beginning to see how they are being continually demonised, disadvantaged and discriminated against in many important areas of their lives. My belief is that the backlash against feminism is going to be huge. And I, for one, will be helping to ferment it. Charles Williams, London
Are modern women (who've never faced the treatment our mothers experienced in the workplace) trading on past injustices for personal gain? Are you a victim of anti-male bigotry? Feeling abused? Emasculated? Put-upon? It all sounds a bit whiny, doesn't it? Looking for someone to complain to, looking for protection? Distinctly girlish if you ask me. Being a man has always been tough. If it isn't getting mauled by sabre-toothed tigers, it's getting ridiculed in advertising. Gee, change the channel, at least you've still got the remote. Humanity has survived its millions of years of evolution by fighting tooth and nail. Britain survived its wars in part by easing up on the overdeveloped sense of fair play and fighting to win. We're in a new kind of class war. Let's stop complaining about it and beat these opportunists. If an individual gets ahead on some basis other than merit, he or she is fair game. Let's be men, and fight. Rick Braun, Beverly Hills, California (Feck: BE A REAL MAN NOT A GIRL!!!!11!!1!)
Rather than being outraged by some of your readers' blatantly bigoted comments, I instead found myself chuckling. While men might complain that the fairer sex is robbing them of their masculinity, it is good to see that we women have not yet managed to rob them of their ability to whinge. Name and address withheld
Mary Ann Sieghart's criticisms of Michael Buerk and his comments on the female dominance of current society reveal her inability to construct a coherent argument. She suggests that until there have been a long succession of female governors of the Bank of England and Director Generals of the BBC, then Buerk's argument is void. But she is using a historical argument to criticise Buerk's contemporary observation. Buerk's point is that it is now, in this present day and age, that women's values are overvalued. No one, least of all Buerk, would challenge the male dominance of society in the past. His point is effectively that the pendulum has swung too far against male values. For Sieghart to suggest male dominance in the past undermines Buerk's point about contemporary female dominance is clearly ludicrous. Kevin Law, Oban, Argyll
Well this is a difficult one to address. I mean you can't really say much about gender nowadays without being called sexist. I think women who have "too much power' deserve it because they've obviously earned it. As for being out-performed at school, that is purely down to culture. Lads at school think they have to adopt a "cool" attitude, where it is cool not to do work and to mess around instead. Girls, well the majority anyway, have their heads screwed on. They know what they want to do and what to do to achieve it. If men want to gain back their masculinity they should take note from the girls and start by performing well at school. They need to be taught from an early age that their futures are important, and as well as having fun comes responsibility to perform well at school/college to get them to where they want to go. Matthew Buckle, Birmingham
Boys are generally outperformed at school because the whole education system has been feminised and dumbed down. It may make women and the feminist lobby happy, but ultimately society will pay the price. It is a simple fact that women are very poorly represented at the highest IQ levels (this is the glass ceiling). It is these individuals that bring about progress and improvements in society and technology. Women are beginning to dominate the sciences and humanities industries through affirmative action (sometimes hidden but increasingly not) and this will inevitably result in a dropping off of scientific, technological and sociological advancement. I think that we as a society are starting to go backwards already because of this. It is ironic indeed that the backward world that women are indirectly creating is more suited to the more violent, more robust and less intelligent men - in fact exactly the type of men that the feminists supposedly hate. The choice is simple - an intelligent thoughtful man's world or planet of the apes. Dr Derek Sinclair, Dundee
Are we truly in decline or is there a certain amount of spin placed upon the issue by female journalists and insecure males? Name and address withheld
It is a fact that women still have less financial and political power than men. This "debate" seems to be based on a weird twisting of the facts, whereby women being less disadvantaged than they were before is recast as women being more privileged than men. The cause of this may be the desire of some men to keep equality at bay just to be on the safe side, since you never know when it could slip over to the "other side". In the meantime, it's unclear what women of high intellect and creativity are meant to do. Pretend to be useless so that men who never learnt to share feel that having a high IQ is their province alone? Follow their grandmothers into twilight years of regrets at all that potential lost? Demand a return to the days when girls' 11-plus results were doctored so they couldn't compete? Somehow, I don't think this is going to happen. It's a good job most men and women today have the intellectual and imaginative capacity to see the human potential in both sexes. Victoria Dutchman-Smith, Oxford
The good doctor of Dundee must surely have been absent from Earth while he was undertaking his learning; had he never heard of, for example, Marie Curie, or, for that matter, Marie Stopes? The present "backlash" would simply appear to be an idiotic outbreak of incomplete thinking aimed at the hitherto male-dominated society, within the modern sphere of which any ordinary scientist or moderately competent literarist of either gender would automatically acknowledge a history of gender inequality and inequity. Joseph White, Shepshed, Leicestershire
What I am certain of is that the confidence to ask difficult and unwelcome questions has been thoroughly squashed, and that our emasculated society is so cowed that it goes along with what is effectively a totalitarian feminised party line. It is by no means clear that a feminised society is a better society; in the medium term probably not even a viable one. The instincts of women are incompatible with (I do not say incapable of) rigorous and challenging thought with all its uncomfortable consequences, and they would never conceive of the need to defend a culture or an intellectual belief system such as that on which the success of the Western world has been built. We see the results of this all around us in the unravelling and over-running of our society that no one is brave enough or wise enough to contest. This is not a criticism of women, but just a statement what happens when hubris and cowardice overwhelms our sense of reality and responsibility. Name and address withheld
The women's movement and their so-called achievments have irreparably damaged our society and led to the breakdown of families with the consequent increase in crime from undisciplined children. Poor school attendance, high divorce rates, bad public behaviour, binge drinking, depression in men, the decline of a once thriving manufacturing industry can all be blamed on the dominance of women. Why on earth did we listen to them in the first place? It seems that the Sixties were the start of Britain's downfall, when women's lib and the stupidity of multiculturalism first raised their nasty heads. Will we ever learn? Michael Eastoe, Sarasota, Florida
Males are today's easy target. In a stationer's yesterday I saw a range of notebooks designed for schoolgirls. They had "Boys are stupider, send them to Jupiter" on the cover; inside, it said that boys were made in the "stupid factory". I found no similar notebooks for boys. Would it be acceptable to say "Girls all smell, send them to Hell"? I don't think so. We could do with less dehumanisation all round. Something like "Girls are clever, they'll last for ever" would probably sell as many notebooks without denigrating anyone. Norman Paterson, Anstruther, Scotland
That men and women are different is obvious. The depth of the differences is only minimally understood. The differences between individuals of the same gender are also poorly understood - why may identical twins differ in talents despite identical genetic constitutions? No answer is available. For a fairer society, the education system needs to provide everyone with appropiate basic learning skills and a thirst, a drive to learn more. Every individual's talents need to be encouraged and trained, so that they may be healthy productive participants to society. James Rooney, Webster, Massachusetts
Women have had to endure prejudice and oppression for thousands of years. Now, after a few paltry years of not having total control (in the West) some men are whining about their lot. What a laugh. Gosh, it's a drag to feel oppressed, isn't it? As for the "dumbing down of school" by "feminisation" - the highest grades/test results in my school in the 60s and 70s, were usually achieved by more girls than boys, and used to be attributed to girls maturing earlier - not to some inherent lack of male intelligence. Since the "dumbing feminisation" wasn't in operation then, what is Dr Derek's explanation for those higher test results? As for IQ, sorry, Dr Derek, but I will put my genius intellect up against yours any day. Name and address withheld
Of course it's a woman's world. Women like Georgina Bush took us into an illegal war with her pal, Antonia Blair. All those powerful women running the countries of the world, like Mrs Berlusconi, too. Then we see obscenely-paid females such as Davina Beckham prancing around the globe playing silly games. Chris Bowman, East Kilbride
Women are effectively in complete control. It is as difficult to criticise or make comment to a woman without being accused of sexism, just as it is difficult to critisise someone of non-English origin without being accused of racism. Jonathan Thompson, Evesham, Worcestershire
I must agree with Mr Paterson who says we can all use less animosity. Whether man or woman, and whether the sometime hostility between the sexes is a result of a feeling of inferiority or superiority, it seems unhealthy. By now, we all know each sex can find ways to assert their authority over the other. But, must we constantly try to prove it? Josh Iungerich, Phoenix, Arizona
Well done Michael Buerk for speaking up. Let's hope this is the start of a serious uncensored dialogue on the benefits of feminism, or lack of them as I view it. Julian Abbott, Oxford
Men are not becoming obsolete, far from it. In this age of shared parenting responsibilities and two-career families women need them to be our partners in the most real sense of the word. As a career-minded female doctor and researcher, I certainly need my boyfriend, a thoughtful academic at Oxford who is thriving, thank you. Regarding the opinion aired above that women can't produce good science, my experience in biomedical research at Oxford suggests this is not the case. The sexist paranoia displayed by the person from Dundee shows that there is still a way to go before female success is seen as just another person doing well and not a threat to male existence. Nicola Kalk, Oxford
In his catalogue of women's privileges, Paul Parmenter seems to have missed off the following: raped and beaten by men, deprived of their children, of their property, of a say in government, of her own passport and of a legal voice; blamed for all the evil in the world and excluded from education. No, this is not a description of a woman's lot in some far-flung land, but what she has had to endure as a second-class citizen of the UK within the past 150 years. It is only within the past 80 years that a woman has had the right to vote and sit in Parliament, own property without any restrictions, have equal access to divorce courts, be entitled to the custody of her own children, be able to carry her own passport, have an equal voice in a court of law, or be able to bring a charge of rape or cruelty against her husband. Some of these privileges she has had only for two or three decades. Stop whingeing Michael Buerk, you men had things all your own way for centuries. Angela Barratt, London (Feck: Alot of bullshit in this one. We know mens right to vote came ten years before the female vote came (in the UK))
Joseph White says: "The good doctor of Dundee must surely have been absent from Earth while he was undertaking his learning; had he never heard of, for example, Marie Curie, or, for that matter, Marie Stopes?" OK, you've come up with two examples. It would be interesting to see how that stands up as a ratio against male scientists and inventors. You have also convieniently overlooked the fact that Marie Curie had a male partner in research, her husband Pierre. On a more general point I would like to know why it is that when men complain about unfair treatment it's called "whinging", but when women do it, it's called "standing up for your rights"? Not a woman's world? If a TV show were broadcast suggesting that men should train their women on the level of dogs (as the BBC have done with men) the Sisterhood would burn the studios to the ground. Jonathan Jayne, Cinderford, Gloucestershire
I think the core issue here is the lack of willingness by the Government to look at and effectivly tackle areas where males are clearly discriminated against. This has been partly because of an ideological stranglehold by politically correct feminists in our culture and the indifference of men to admit that perhaps in some areas there are problems. Now come on, if girls spent seven years in a primary education system dominated by men we would clearly be aware of a problem. We are all too happy to secure positive discrimination to get women into the top jobs but where are the highly publicised campaigns to get men into education or the NHS? We all accept that society was weaker for having women in a subordinate role but why are we setting up a system where the roles are reversed rather than equal? Nicholas Burnett, London
Is it not funny how comments made by one man has caused such a response, and he was not even criticising women. He was merely making a point. It seems one cannot mention anything these days if it is not "woman friendly". Men, however, have to go through daily ridicule and humiliation and we can see this by just switching the TV on. Not much I suspect, even though the article is completely biased against men. I would not be suprised if a "Male Gag Order" law is passed in the near future. Anything said that is not "woman friendly" will be punishable by law. George Kondos, Dublin
And of course a woman writing a book about being a "real" man again
| From The Times |
August 17, 2005
Future perfect: how to be a 'real' man again
Women rule, says Michael Buerk, and feminism is triumphant at home, at work, even in TV ads. Marian Saltzman tells Carol Midgley how men can reclaim their masculinity, and we publish an extract from her new book
WHO’D be one of you, eh chaps? Let’s be honest, your CV these days is hardly enviable. Outperformed by girls at school, emasculated by women at home and at work, shockingly dislocated from your emotions and the hapless joke figure in endless TV commercials and sitcoms whose message is that females rule and men are fools. Well wise up, because apparently it’s time to say enough is enough; the ridicule of men must stop. The pendulum of power has swung too far into the female corner and you must stand up and assert your right to masculinity. Stop apologising for it, be comfortable with it, but while you’re at it try to embrace a few female traits such as compromise, communication and learning to multitask.
It is called M-ness and it is The Future of Men — at least according to one particular woman who has written a book with just this title. Marian Salzman, with her co- authors Ira Matathia and Ann O’Reilly (Feck: 3 women talking about the future of men....uh oh), is the American trendspotter who helped to popularise the term “metrosexual” to describe a certain breed of straight, sensitive, modern men who see nothing wrong with exfoliating and going to see a weepy film (Feck: Oh god...). Now she has come up with another concept to which all males must apparently subscribe if they wish to reclaim “their space, their sense of worth and even themselves”.
Indeed, she believes the revolution is already under way and that this is the “dawning of the Age of M-ness”.
What’s that being shouted from the bar of the Ferret and Firkin? “What a load of bollocks”? Undeniably there will be plenty of men who will laugh into their pints at the very idea. But Salzman, an executive vice-president at the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, has serious points to make about where men go from here. Society has changed for ever, she says, so males must adapt if they are to reassert themselves in a world increasingly defined and dominated by femininity.
It is not just men who are fed up with male-bashing. Research shows that women, too, want men to assert themselves as confident, vital, masculine partners. They want “real” men back. But because we will never return to 1950s patriarchy — the genie cannot be put back in the bottle (Feck: Damn was ST always right?), thank God — men must redefine masculinity to accommodate who they are today. They must find, says Salzman, their own personal version of manliness.
“What has happened to men over the past 30 or so years is that they have moved from defining the world . . . to having their world defined by women,” says Salzman, 45. “Men have been the butt of the joke for too long. TV is the snapshot of our everyday lives . . . there are men making jokes about men, women making jokes about men but not men making jokes about women because that would be politically incorrect.
“We used to worry about teenage girls losing their voice . . . but now I’m feeling very worried for 15-year-old boys. Where do they feel they fit in any more?” She believes the young working-class male is most demoralised in the new, female-orientated society, having, outside sport, few strong role models to admire.
Michael Buerk, the veteran BBC newsreader, echoes these sentiments in the current issue of the Radio Times. He asserts that life is now lived according to women’s rules, that traditional male traits of “reticence, stoicism and single-mindedness” have been marginalised, that men have been reduced to little more than “sperm donors”.
The TV programme Queer Eye for the Straight Guy emblemises the problem.
“It is basically saying that no straight man knows how to dress himself,” says Salzman. “So at the top you have women and the next most refined individual after that is a gay man — and at the bottom of the pecking order you have a straight man.
“What needs to happen is that the genders need to move closer together, not necessarily to be like each other but to respect each other . . . not be threatened by each other and achieve proper mutuality.”
M-ness (also known as my-ness) is defined thus: a masculinity that defines the best of traditional manliness (strength, honour, character) with positive traits traditionally associated with females (nurturance, communicativeness, co-operation). A lifestyle that emphasises higher-quality emotional and physical pleasures, male pleasures, that come from knowing oneself and one’s potential. (Feck: Mness....buhahaha)
Confused? Well, according to Salzman, a classic example of M-ness man is Guy Ritchie. He is the alpha male tough guy who married an even tougher woman. But have his masculinity and identity been diminished by Madonna, arguably one of the biggest female icons in the world? No, says Salzman.
If anything they have been enhanced because Ritchie is so comfortable in his own skin. Here lies the essence of M-ness.
Ditto Bill Clinton, believe it or not, who scored M-ness points for apologising publicy for his infidelity (admitting you were wrong is a very feminine trait) and has not been threatened by taking a back seat to Hillary. See also the Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, in marrying Maria Shriver, a famous Democrat, showed simultaneous respect for her beliefs and absolute confidence in his own. You could argue that Sir Paul McCartney demonstrates M-ness in his support for the career of his wife, Heather Mills (Feck: Now we know where this all went...). And might there not have been a touch of M-ness at the heart of Sir Denis Thatcher, whose sense of self was never compromised despite being married to the most macho female in living memory?
Salzman’s point is that you can have M-ness whether you are a happily married house-husband or a 45-year-old serial dater, a physician or a soccer coach. You must do whatever makes you happy, gives you self-respect and makes you feel whole while respecting the other gender’s right to the same. But you must be multidimensional. You must love your family, have male friends to whom you are not afraid to show affection, have one or two hobbies.
“We need to move to a place where each gender can co-exist mutually and happily,” says Salzman. “There is no society that we can learn from on this — we have never had that kind of equality.”
Ultimately men will learn that their future is not about control as it has been in the past, it is about co- operation.
Men - and women- are fed up that men are the butt of every joke
SO WHAT does the future hold for men?
We’ll see more focused and more organised efforts by men to regain the societal and intrafamily respect they used to take for granted.
Husband-bashing, believe it or not, is on its way out — not completely (never completely) and not quickly — but we’ve finally reached a point at which men are truly fed up with being the butt of every joke, and even women are beginning to see that it’s gone overboard. We’ve seen this trend in spurts and fads such as Promise Keepers and the “surrendered wife” phenomenon. Now we’re going to see it move beyond the Religious Right and other conservative groups, and make it into the average household. And that, in turn, will put television executives and advertising creatives on notice that using men, fathers in particular, for cheap laughs has run its course.
It’s time to give Dad a break. Just about everyone agrees on that.
Further broadening of what’s “masculine”
M-ness, or My-ness, signals a shift in society’s definition of what can and should be considered masculine, loosening the reins on male behaviour and providing greater choices to those men who refuse to be denied entrance into what has long been considered the “women’s world”.
We’re not talking men in dresses and false eyelashes. We’re talking about men being able to have open and loving platonic friendships with their male buddies. We’re talking about men not being ashamed to admit that they like the feel of cashmere or spending an hour getting a facial (Feck: Probably a facial is not what I am at the moment thinking about it). We’re talking about more men being who they are and doing what they want without fear that they’ll be “outed” as unmanly.
Adopting female traits
As men are asked to take on new responsibilities at home and cope with increased competition from the female of the species everywhere else, they will need to develop the skills that have allowed women to succeed in these areas — multitasking and collaboration, for instance. Julius van Heek, 40, a gay designer living in Chicago, summed it up nicely: in his view, men have been propped up by women throughout history. Now that women are putting themselves forward, it ’s up to men to pick up the slack and do for themselves those things that used to be taken care of by the women who supported them. “As I have matured I have come to my personal conclusion that men have not ruled the world in modern times,” he said.
“They may think they have, but it is either the support of women or the prompting of women that has allowed these men to give the perception that men rule the world.
“Generally, I believe the veil is being lifted as women’s roles have become more visible and/or more accepted as well as respected. I believe that women’s power position(s) and how important they are have become more clearly understood by the mass public . . . (Going forward), men will continue to learn how to become more well rounded, more like women, particularly those who balance work, home, and life goals. Men will have to become better ‘project managers’.”
Letting everyone play
The latter half of the last century saw the strengthening of the civil rights movement in the United States, followed by the women’s movement, followed by the gay rights movement.
The cumulative effect has been that straight white men, while still dominant, have had no choice but to play nice (or at least more nicely) with new entrants to the game.
There’s no stuffing the genie back in the bottle, certainly not in the Western world. And that means even more changes to come as the composition of the classroom, the applicant pool and (eventually) the executive suite changes. Jimmy Szczepanek, 34, who works in PR in New York, anticipates that day: “Physical strength is no longer a defining factor in success,” he says. “Therefore I think that women will continue to play a more important role in business and politics.
“In addition, as generations of people grow up with different sets of ideals, there will be more opportunities for others . . . Adolescents are accepting their homosexuality at earlier ages, which signifies a degree of acceptance. There is an increasing number of African-American executives. Therefore, I anticipate a more level playing field and (hopefully) the end of white male rule.”
New ways of living and working
As the rules in one area change, the pressure is on to be more flexible in other areas. Cathy Lasowski, an American baby-boomer based in Paris, anticipates “an increasing percentage of men falling behind or beginning to opt for non-traditional ways of working/living (as women increasingly do).”
This, in turn, will change the ways men view themselves in relation to their jobs and titles.
“Changes in jobs — outsourcing, working at home, less allegiance to a single employer/job — could have an enormous effect on how men see themselves and their place,” Jim Frank, a 50-year-old magazine editor in the US, asserts. “With luck,” he says, “and with more and more women not just entering the workplace but rising within it, men won’t have to feel that they are the sole breadwinners, that they must ‘provide’ . . .
“Will the majority of important positions (business, political, economic) be held by men? Yes, but the percentage will shrink.
“Until there are significant changes in the concept and biology of childbearing, women, unfortunately, will never quite reach equality across all people. Individual cases, absolutely; across ‘mankind’? No.”
Equality and success redefined.
“Equality” — if we’re looking at it as equal success and status — will increasingly be tied not just to career achievement, but to a broader definition of success that incorporates family, friendship, and life balance. So we believe true equality is within reach of women. As working hours and job stress both increase, there will be a breaking point, and society — multicultural, male and female society — will call into question whether what the white, middle-class male historically has decreed to be success any longer meets our needs and wants. Already, “equality” for many women has less to do with job titles and incomes than with a more fair division of labour and equal access to free time.
Being a Real Man (Feck: I really can´t hear this anymore) today means knowing and doing what it takes to get what you want, when and how you want it. That may include an attractive partner (male or female), power and wealth, health and physical prowess, or extended hours of unhurried time with family and other loved ones. After all, we’re living in an era of infinite choice. This is the “Dawning of the Age of M-ness”.
Does modern man have a future?
Yes, indeed. He has the power to shape it just as women shaped theirs in the last century. Man’s greatest battle is not against women or other men or even changing times. It’s against the inertia that falsely tells him that he’s on top and will always be on top. It’s against the false sense of security that what always has been will always be. This isn’t a battle that women will instigate or fight on men’s behalf.
They’ve fought their battle — and they’ve won. Now, it’s up to men to fight their own revolution.
Extracted from The Future of Men by Marian Salzman, Ira Matathia and Ann O’Reilly
Seems to be the female opinion on MGTOW....M-ness....what a name *shrugs*