I’m back. Only just – this goes live as soon as my plane lands and I drag my sweaty arse through security. But I’m back. So here are two things to kick things off after my break – the New York Museum of Sex and some bollocks from UK MP and general waste-of-time Philip Davies. Ready? Let’s go.
The good: the New York Museum of Sex
Naturally I am a fan of any museum dedicated to fucking, especially when it explores all the nerdy details. This one’s no exception.
If you’re ever in New York, you should check out the Museum of Sex if you can. It has an exhibition on hardcore porn throughout the ages – what better reason could there be to go than that? Oh, perhaps the fact that the exhibition includes such eclectic yet FASCINATING things as a glory hole toilet door complete with ‘suck me’ messages.
If that’s not enough to persuade you, there’s also a brilliant exhibit which shows you lots of pictures of different animals humping in a variety of intriguing ways, and a hell of a lot of information on gender and sexuality in the animal kingdom. The short version here is: gender and sexuality are even more complex and interesting than I previously thought (and make no mistake: I thought they were pretty damn complex and interesting already).
I spent the entire time walking round this museum wishing I could take photos of all the displays to show you, but I felt like that’d be a bit unfair (and I’m not sure if it was allowed). I know I have a bunch of US readers, and certainly some in New York so: go if you can. Beware at the moment, though – New York is hotter than the fucking SUN. The Museum of Sex has air con, though. So there’s that.
The Bad: Philip Davies MP and ‘Justice 4 Men and Boys’
Philip Davies is the Conservative MP who last week spoke at a ‘Men’s Rights’ conference (in scare quotes because I’m not convinced these pricks know the first thing about rights or equality) and referred to ‘feminist zealots’ who are campaigning for special treatment. He’s trotting out an argument I’ve heard about a million times before: that women have enough equality now. PLENTY. We all need to stop campaigning for more equality, because otherwise women will have far too much equality, and men will be crushed under the weight of all the equality we insist on them carrying for us because it’s too heavy.
I can barely – just barely – be arsed with Philip Davies. He’s a tedious fuckwit. If you’ve managed to live to the age of… however old Philip Davies is… and not realise that there are still plenty more things to do in order to achieve a fairer and more equal society, then you’re probably fuckwitted enough that nothing I can say will convince you.
But I can still be arsed a bit, and here’s why: there are plenty of areas in which men really could do with more support. As Men’s Rights Activists are often so keen to tell me here when I write about feminism. You know what? I agree. I agree that there are areas in which men need more support, and where we need to work hard to challenge society’s expectations of men, because it’s actively damaging for them and makes their lives a hell of a lot harder. This is front of my mind at the moment because I went to an incredible talk by Charlie Glickman last week about masculinity in the 21st Century: he spoke about the pressure that men are under, and the way they are often policed if they step outside the boundaries of what society considers ‘acceptable’ in a real man. It’s a genuine and serious problem.
People like Philip Davies, and the ridiculous shower of twats that comprise the ‘Justice 4 Men And Boys (And The Women Who Love Them) Party’ (no that’s not a joke that’s the actual name of an actual political party), are – in my opinion – doing more harm than good. They ignore genuinely useful steps towards gender equality (such as shared parental leave, for instance) in favour of getting very very very angry about steps that have been taken to improve gender equality in the UK. In my experience, campaigners and groups that genuinely care about human rights are usually delighted to work with other groups to see where their causes intersect or align, and how they can help out. There are lots of people who care about men’s issues who do exactly that – Justice 4 Men And Boys don’t. In fact, they spend almost as much (if not more) time bitching about feminism as they do actually working to better the lives of men in the UK and further afield. They even offer awards for ‘Whiny Feminist Of The Month’, and suchlike.
Philip Davies MP could have picked something helpful to work on – male suicide rates, for instance, or the drastically shoddy way that family courts in the UK deal with custody post-divorce. He could have chosen to campaign positively to improve people’s lives. Instead he’s chosen to nail his flag to the mast of a group that actively works against equality in the UK, serving neither men, boys, nor the women who love them. He’s also managed to piss loads of people off, and make it so that when they hear about ‘men’s issues’ in the future, they will automatically assume the worst.
Well done, Philip Davies MP, on doing literally less than nothing. I bet other campaigners who genuinely care about men are delighted.