Monday, November 23, 2009

Men's Societies? Oh God, no.

There's only one men's group I've ever heard of that I actually approve of. That was set up by a serving British soldier in Italy to discuss masculinity as a way of undercutting the culture of beastings, racism and misogyny. As I recall the army hoofed him out for his trouble.

So when I heard about the rise of Men's Societies at universities I fetched the sick bucket in preparation for an extended projectile pukathon.

There are two versions of what these Societies get up to. The first, from their detractors, says they are obsessed by "Top Gear shows, gadget fairs, beer-drinking marathons and Iron Man competitions".

The very thought makes me want to bulldoze all the universities to wipe out these enclaves and then follow up with squads of flame-thrower teams to ensure the pestilence has been eradicated. That may be an over reaction though.

The second version is from the organisers themselves. Watching Alex Linsley on News 24 just now he said "It's because men are confused about what it is to be a man, we're trying to be the best men we can be... it's a celebration."

Grrr.... it makes my blood boil! In the Guardian he's quoted as saying "There is so much conflicting information for men. There is massive confusion as to what being a man means, and how to be a good man. Should you be the sensitive all-caring, perhaps the 'feminised' man? Or should you be the hard, take no crap from anybody kind of figure?"

Here's a thought, instead of worrying about what you think you 'should' be why don't you just be yourself? If you have need of virtues work hard, be polite, honest and be more forgiving of other people's faults than I am of yours. Love your friends and try to be fair to those you can't find it in yourself to like. It's not rocket science is it?

For the first and last time in my life I agree with the editor of Loaded who said "I don't think men are remotely confused about what it takes to be a man. They just get on and do it. My generation would not sit round and build a website about being confused. It's complete navel-gazing bullshit."

Sorry Alex, but can't you just get on with being yourself and not worry about what you should or should not be? Please, no-one talk to him about his feelings, it'll just encourage him.


The Third Estate said...

My mad friend Jonny - you met him once - went to Big Green Gathering and discovered they had a men's tent as well as a women's tent there. When he sat in the men's tent, he found that it was a circle that discussed how to be a good, caring, feeling, progressive, feminist male in modern society. Duly he suggested they should be talking about Mad Max, fighting and chopping people's arms off with chainsaws. I don't think he went down too well there...


Jim Jay said...

Hehe! On this occasion only I'm with him.

Aaron said...

I particularly like the bit about the flame-thrower.