Today is International Women’s Day, a day of solidarity and respect. A day of celebration and hope. A day of men asking why there isn’t an International Men’s Day.
DON’T PANIC. Stop swearing and mentally composing an ALL CAPS REALLY REALLY ANGRY TWEET. Don’t even think about sounding that klaxon. For every mention of women’s days, all female shortlists and women’s officers, there will be the inevitable male questioner asking “but what about all us poor hard-done-by men?” Usually they’re met with disdain by women and other men alike, but because I’m a feminist, and I believe in equality, I’m going to really consider that question in today’s blog. I’m going to take it very very seriously indeed, because if the dictionary describes “equal” as “being the same value”, then men aren’t equal to women, and maybe it’s time to do something about that.
We could start by sending out guerilla groups of women who could grind up against men in nightclubs, grope their bums and whisper dirty things in their ears. What the hell, let’s not stop at nightclubs – let’s send them to bus stops and shops and building sites, and when they’re not within touching distance they can just wolfwhistle instead and shout things like “get your penis out for the girls”. When their male targets protest, there are a few options; follow them home maybe? Get aggressive? Or we could just resort to the age-old favourite and decide that they’re frigid and gay. Why else would they turn down our advances? We’d just be complimenting them after all.
We could get a bit more hardcore than this; currently a new woman reports an incidence of domestic violence every minute, so it’s vital to up the number of male victims in the name of equality. We could have so many that shelters and crisis centres can’t support them all, and then we could make 90% of policy-makers females who just don’t understand men’s issues, and they could put these shelters at such a low priority that their funding might be cut and the male victims left homeless and scared. I think at this point it would be important to create a culture in which we’re not sympathetic to these men but blame them for their fate; they must have asked for it, or nagged too much, or not made a sandwich when asked. While we’re on it, best to start some kind of campaign that tells men not to take their faces for a walk so as not to provoke those with an inescapable urge to punch them – after all, there’s currently no other crime but rape where victims are blamed for their fate. Better even that up since we’re striving for equality.
Of course, a pay cut would be necessary too. Probably about 25% – those angels asking for an International Men’s Day could kickstart the campaign, and we could use the money saved to fund research into male pregnancy so that they too can be turned down for a job or dismissed from their position because of the possibility of starting a family. Men currently make up 78% of MPs, 85% of high court judges and 95% of newspaper editors despite making up 49% of the world’s population, so fairness in the workplace is a big task. Jobs will be lost. Of course, when things get more equal we’ll have to start questioning how all these men made it there in the first place – there can’t possibly be that many competent men out of 31,320,000. So we’ll have to assume that they slept with the boss or had a particularly nice body, and then we’ll need to make it our business to take them down a peg or two by commenting on this all the time.
In the interests of equality, let’s have a giant picture of a penis on Page 3 of The Sun. It would only alienate and objectify half their readers, after all. We could have men wearing PVC on the front of magazines, sucking their fingers and pouting. We could have loads of stories down the side of the Daily Mail website about how Ryan Gosling went out wearing no make-up, and how Jay-Z’s looking fat. We could have male politicians described as “hunky” and “trendy”. We could even have a ‘male’ section on the website. It could cover things like engines and meat and dirt. You know, all that stuff that men’s lives revolve around.
We’ll have to take away control of their own bodies. In countries where genital mutilation takes place, we’ll make sure to hack their privates off and sew them back up with substandard medical equipment. We’ll make sure they know it’s not acceptable to go outside without having ripped all the hair out of any visible skin – except that on their heads of course, which must always look the perfect balance of glossy and voluminous. We’ll put them in shoes they can’t walk in and we’ll give them push-up boxers to ehance their crotches since everyone will be looking at them all the time. And since they’re so keen on equality, we’ll subject them to intimidating and harmful tests, stigma and disapproval when they want to get an operation to remove a foreign body that they don’t want and that could ruin their life and damage their mental health and well-being. Kind of like an abortion, then.
The inequality between men and women is huge. Changes will have to be made at every level and in every sector, but if we’re committed to equality I’m sure we’ll manage it. Thank god for those enlightened men who brought this to my attention in the first place with their talk of men’s officers and male empowerment. Hundreds of years of campaigning for women’s rights is all very well, but of course it’s taken a man to figure out what’s really going on here. They’ve suffered for too long with all that excess money, bodily autonomy and policy-making power. It’s time to redress the balance. It’s time for equality.