The Spectator: International men’s day debate descends into battle of the sexes

Our thanks to Chloe for pointing us to a short and rather superficial piece in a Spectator blog. I’ve added a few comments to a number already there, and invite you to do likewise. At long last the magazine is showing signs of waking up to the reality of gender politics. 30+ years later than it should have – it still features occasional pieces by e.g. Harriet Harman and Julie Burchill – but better late than never.

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About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • The article may be superficial but the comments are lively. I particularly like:
    “glass ceilings women have to face every day of their lives”. To face a ceiling one has presumably to be on one’s back…Best stop there I think Tasmina.
    Ho, ho, ho! 🙂

  • International Mens Day.
    Now there’s a catalyst for hostility if ever there was one.

    It’s interesting isn’t it? – Of all the most controversial topics of discussion in all of the world. Surely. Who’d have thought that a reasonable proposal regarding men’s well-being would not be possible among adults?

    Well, to be honest, many of us would expect it these days. It is symptomatic of present day gender politics and the vocal contribution of a minority of disgruntled individuals with a vicious propensity to shout the loudest.

    So I read the above article covering the Parliamentary International Men’s Day proposal with a sense of familiar sadness. Then an image came to mind: That of a children’s party… Picture this if you will:

    The children have finished their jelly-and-ice-cream desert, and they are about to play ‘pass-the-parcel’. The room is awash laughter, with birthday presents and wrappers from the boys and girls in attendance. These are mostly fortunate happy kids. Good News. Happy Days. There are birthday cards, and streamers, and balloons, and lemonade, and sweets…and many smiling faces.
    But then it gets difficult…The birthday girl doesn’t want to share any of her sweets. Emotions spill over. Recently learned social skills are forgotten.. A small boy gets pushed over. Someone starts crying. The girl gets into a strop and starts stamping her feet and raising the volume…
    “They’re MY sweets and you CAN’T HAVE ANY!!”
    It’s all getting a bit much.

    At such a party usually there is a well meaning but overly indulgent mother who desperately tries to placate her hyperventilating princess by attempting to remind her that “You’ve got lots and lots of sweets, darling.. I’m sure you can afford to let your friends have one…!?” Her voice trails of…she knows the routine…

    But in Parliament no such mother figure… or maybe there is.. either way it appears the same social skills have yet to be learned by some.

    That scenario to me sums up the attempt of raising the legitimate topic of Mens Health and Well Being yesterday in Parliament and generally on a wider scale in mixed company. A disgruntled sabotaging tantrum is never too far away in the repertoire of the self-indulgent social behaviours of some who appear to detest the idea that men have any value over that of expendable service.

    So in summary:

    Women’s Health Matters. This is patently clear. ‘We’ have an International Women’s Day to highlight it. (Notice the word ‘We’ there :-). Fair enough.
    And then Men’s Health Matters: …?…Surely the paragraph does not need to be duplicated.

    Yes indeed. Men’s Health Matters! It appears that despite the risk of upsetting people it needs to be repeated – Particularly when dismissed as if irrelevant and unreasonable by those who like to whinge and shout the loudest.

    With thanks again to Mike B and the Team and all those who are working Fairly, Respectfully, and Tirelessly towards an improving world of Empathy Compassion and Good Health for Men, Women, Boys, and Girls today. Without exception.

    • I thought you’d like this Pin on Pinterest…

      In addition.. in an attempt to redress the balance I’ve included a link here. I received this today and am reassured that quietly and determinedly there are others out there with good intent regarding the subject of men’s health and well-being.

  • It is a pity that our national parliament can’t have even 90 minutes a year to discuss specifically male issues without people wanting to trample down on us.

    Thankfully, I think there are plenty of open eyes these days, who see what is going on. The comments on the media put-downs of ICMI16 were telling, as are comments against the debate that lasted just 90 minutes. It is so sad that people who don’t want MPs to represent 48% of their constinuency members even have jobs in media.

    History was made yesterday. It took the men’s movement many decades to get here and we have a very long way to go yet, but that hour and a half was unique.

    “For the first time in its hundreds of years of recorded history, Parliament had a session to specifically discuss general men’s issues.”

    • Thanks Douglas. Philip Davies led a debate on IMD in 2015 of course, in Westminster Hall. But it was important symbolism that this year’s debate took place in the main chamber, where IWD debates have been held for many years.

  • Hi Mike – Here is a tpoical collaboration video we made with bane666au and 6 other MRAs:
    there is also a link to part one

    • Hi Realraven2000. Thankyou.
      That piece of work is an outstanding presentation if you dont mind me saying. Fantastic. I’ll share it where I can.

      For your related interest…I live in UK city.
      I work in town during the evenings. The streets are littered with discarded and spent consumer debris; bottles, drink cans, fast food wrappers, cigarette butts… and the homeless – the vast majority of which are men. A ridiculously large number of street corners has become a daily begging spot. Regular pitches have been established. I am not naive – a small minority appear to be opportunists making money as a lifestyle choice and it appears there is money to be had for those with the gall to ask for it. Seriously. But there are many others… those who have obviously fallen off the system completely and into the pit of despair and decline accompanied and associated with mental, social, and emotional crisis.

      There are one or two dishevelled women in their number and the sight of erratic abusive hostile behaviour between and among them all is commonplace.

      And the general public?.. out with their mates on a night’s social celebration.. how do they relate to all this? One suffering downandout last week looked as if he was dying, right there on the cold pavement. A contorted body with an artificial leg twisted beneath him… forehead to the cold concrete and glazed staring lifeless eyes. It was freezing. A crowd of alcohol led revellers staggered past. It was Bonfire Night.. November 5th. One calIed out – “Penny for the guy?!?!” …Snigger snigger. They continued walking as a couple of us there called for an ambulance.

      People have become desensitised to this stuff to an alarming degree. The local authority services?.. the police?.. all noticeable by their blatant absence. There appears to be no policy or proceedure in place apart from disinterested acceptance.

      Your posted video points to this issue among many others, so thanks very much for that.

      And the guy on the cold ground with the staring eyes? I saw him again last week. Same scenario. Exactly. Contorted body on the freezing cold hard ground. Disturbing, bizarre, and clearly unacceptible but apparently tolerated by what is supposed to be a civilised Western society. ?!?

      Getting these issues on a higher agenda has to be a priority until we all start to look out for eachother more and prevent these kinds of circumstances developing in the first place. Your video post makes that more possible so again thanks and Best Regards to you and your network of friends. sdw.

  • Accepted, Mike, and maybe it is just my prejudice showing but to me, Westminster Hall and the Grand Committee Room are just debating places for MPs, one step up from Committee Rooms, perhaps (a big step up in history, of course). When I think of “Parliamentary Session” I only think of debates in the Houses of Commons and Lords: places where votes are taken. As you say, it was important that men symbolically start getting the same attention as women.