Friday, 17 April 2009

Celebrate the Differences

Driving to work this morning and a wee black bird flew across my path, with a twig as long as its own body gripped in its beak. As it sped across my vision a spot of white splattered on to my windscreen. Ah hah, methinks...while building his new home he manages to save time and have (how can I put this tactfully?) a dump while still on the wing. I say “he” deliberately, to demonstrate that the male of the species can indeed multi-task.
I can’t stand sexual stereotypes. Just because I happen to have been born with a penis any partners I’ve had (both of them) have expected me to be handy with a screwdriver. Bollocks to that. I’m unashamedly crap at doing any of that kind of stuff. If I was in the scouts I’d have a “Cannae Be Arsed” badge and frankly I’d rather pierce my scrotum with a fishhook than do D.I.Y.
And if I hear accusations of “man flu” at the next guy in the office with the sniffles, I swear I’m going to lose it. Women can be equally as pathetic when they’re not feeling well, so get over it ladies. Anyway, back to the wee bird and the multi-tasking. Which reminds me of something else that sets the GRRRR reflex on maximum – clichés like “multi-tasking”...
...the action of performing several tasks similtaneously is something we men can do with ease. Let me prove it to you. The other morning while I was on the toilet, I read a chapter of a book. Other things I can do while I’m on the throne...cut my finger nails...wipe dust from the shelf that holds my aftershave...pluck my nose hairs. Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera. Although with the last action timing is something you have to be very wary of. It’s difficult to (how can I put this tactfully?) squeeze and pluck at the same time. To be avoided while in public lavatories. Passing strangers may be alarmed at the sound effects.
Still on the issue of stereotypes...while I was watching some TV the other day with my 11 year old son he asked a question. ‘Dad, why is it that in these adverts the man is always being made a fool of?’ His face was screwed tight with indignation. ‘It’s just not fair, Dad. How would women like it if it was them?’
This got me thinking and got me alarmed. I don’t want my son to grow up with that sort of mind-washing. Next time you’re watching a channel that shows adverts, count the ones that go for “humour” where the man is the butt of the joke. Now I fully understand and agree where in the past the powers that be stopped the portrayal of women as sex objects in this very medium. Women quite rightly were concerned at the mindset this might engender. So why is it okay to repeatedly portray the male as a buffoon? In these adverts the woman is always strong, assertive and capable of making the right decision (and why not?) but the counterpoint to this is a male who is inept, idiotic and feeble.
Advertising is an amazingly powerful medium. One that companies budget a spend of billions of pounds each year to entice us to spend our hard-earned on their product. If it didn’t work they wouldn’t spend a penny.
One of my “favourites” is one for a company that sells spectacles (Oh, lets name/ shame them: Specsavers). The “action” culminates with every member of the family turning to the man, who has been set up as the idiot who has lost his village, and saying in that tone, ‘Oh, Daaaaad.’ Makes me want to track down the clown that came up with it and multi-task a screwdriver up their arse.
...and breathe...
In any case, why can’t we just dispense with all this sex war nonsense? Colour me purple and call me naive but surely after thousands of years of evolution we can learn to live together without bunging our brains up with all that crap?
If sexual stereotypes are your thing you could argue that women (in general) watch crap TV, follow the blue line on the map (ie the river) and wonder why they got lost, and when it comes to parking are shite. Men (in general) can’t multi-task, are crap at housework and end up trashing their baby son’s new cot because they don’t know one end of the screwdriver from the other.
I say we’re different. Get over it.


  1. Dere boy, I agree with almost everything you say (except the man flu thing. That's a phenomenon). I have a son and am frequently horrified by the messages he's getting about men being stupid and incompetent, mere toys for the benevolent amusement of smart sassy women. If the roles were reversed...?
    However, I want you to know I will be haunted all weekend by the image of you piercing your scrotum with a fishhook. I probably won't sleep.

  2. Awesome blog Michael.

    I shall keep reading and commenting.

    How's the writing going? Give us an update!

  3. I liken most men to the Terminator (first movie) as they purview their life. They have a mission and they go forth accordingly, their heads turning only as far as it necessary to measure the lay of the land. And, like the Terminator, they tend to be quite frightening as they ruthlessly tear through the bricks of people's lives to attain their goals. Perhaps the one way for women to interrupt that programming is to jam up the signals with seemingly illogical comments about their innate stupidity, or disgusting habits (such as using the toilet while clipping nose hairs)for which they are so proud of, or whatever it takes to interrupt the lawn-mowing mentality of most men. Please don't take it personally.

  4. I think Thea has had a bad experience with a bloke. I'm sorry for that, but as the mother of a son I think such narrow-mindedness is a shame and self-defeating. Generalisation, eh? Whether about race, gender or sexual orientation, it's the greatest curse of our society. Except for the absence of a sense of humour of course...

  5. i am the mother of two sons, but i am not blind to the generalized goofiness of both sexes. i find it all rather humorous, even if i can't evade some sly bloke who can charm me into washing his dishes. but i also thought the Terminator was a very romantic movie. Man comes from future to save the woman he's loved forever and his leader, who just happens to be their son. I mean, what theme, what romance. all in the midst of bomb throwing, wall crushing, truck blow upping.