Day 37. 86 pages, 41,460 words.
The other day, I was amused by a new Twitter hashtag share-rage social activist trigger. Hey, what can I tell you. I’m easily distracted and the Internet rarely disappoints me.
Now I think some of these “questions for men” are entirely valid, and need to be addressed. And there’s plenty going on that is not getting talked about in this post.
But some of them? Idiotic.
It’s probably counterproductive to say so, though, because it invites discarding of the entire line of thought. And that’s definitely not right. So I decided to sit down and give each of the cited tweets my own personal assessment, because I am nothing if not generous.
Clementine Ford: Question to the male writers/speakers etc out there. Is it common for you to be called an ‘attention seeker’? Or do just women get that?
I don’t think it’s just women, but then – I am an attention seeker. You need to learn to revel in it.
Clementine Ford: #QuestionsForMen: When you have a hostile disagreement with someone, is it common for them to say you’re angry because no one will fuck you?
“Dude, you need to get laid.” Yeah, not entirely uncommon in an argument. And preferable to a punch in the face. Although the better solution is to just try to avoid having hostile disagreements with people.
Jane Caro: #questionsformen In a job interview have you ever been asked how you will juggle work and home?
Yes, because it’s a valid question. Suck it up, crybabies.
Her Gourdliness: Would u be comfortable w only women weighing in on the debate about your productive organs? Or proposing policy/law re: it? #QuestionsForMen
No, that would suck. But this is not happening. Only men are weighing in on the debate about abortion? No, that’s a lie. And even for the group of out-of-touch male legislators who somehow feel qualified to make their dumb statements, the reaction I have seen is almost universally derisive and angry, and rightly so. These guys should butt out. But let’s keep it on planet Earth, okay? Men are not the only people weighing in on this, and most people seem to think women should be the ones to decide one way or the other.
Mikey Nicholson: #QuestionsForMen Have you ever expressed a strong opinion and been called a meninazi? @clementine_ford
Mikey, I’m sure you’re trying to help, but you just made up a stupid word. Even “mascinazi” would have been better given the etymology, but still pretty stupid. If you mean “Have you ever expressed a strong opinion and been called a male chauvinist?”, then yes. Of course I have. Again, let’s stick to the planet with a breathable atmosphere for this debate, shall we? The rich, methane-heavy air of Planet Bullshit is alright for some, but it’s clearly making you lightheaded.
Clementine Ford: #QuestionsForMen Have you ever read a thinkpiece by a respected female writer explaining why and how men aren’t funny?
No (although I am sure they exist), and I wouldn’t read one by a male writer either. Except to see how amusingly full of shit it was. Stop crying and go tear it to shreds.
G: #questionsformen How does your wife feel about your career?
Yes? How does one’s spouse feel about one’s career? Um, good? They feel good? Or if one’s career is meth cook or high-class assassin, maybe they feel conflicted? Dumb question, G.
Kirsty Webeck: #QuestionsForMen have you ever had trouble breaking into your chosen field because it’s a ‘girl’s club?’
In my line of work it is known as a “pink collar” job, and no. I broke into it because I am good. If I failed, I wouldn’t blame the gender to which most of my superiors and competitors belong. Because I fancy myself a grown-up.
But yes, I do understand that the ‘boys’ club’ (please learn to use apostrophes correctly) is a thing, and these sorts of issues are weighed far more unfairly against women than men. Credit.
Julie Fairey: #QuestionsForMen Are you glad you waited until you were established in your career before becoming a father?
Why yes. Yes I am. What’s wrong with this question exactly?
Flynn Malice: How often have you needed to lie and pretend you had a partner to try to stop someone hitting on you? #QuestionsForMen
First of all, this question seems to automatically brand any and all hitting-on as negative and unwanted. I know Twitter’s not the most forgiving medium in terms of word-count and nuance, but you’re really only talking about fugly, obnoxious, overly-insistent, creepy or otherwise unwelcome hitting-on, right? And that will say more about you than about the hitter. All the hitter is guilty of at this point is not taking a damn hint. And possibly also using the “worm do” line.
Back in the days when this was even an issue for me, and on those rare occasions when I was being hit on by someone I wasn’t interested in (hey, it totally did happen!), and when I in fact did not have a partner, sure. Of course I used this lie. It’s a let-down-easy for nice ones, and if it turns out they don’t care if you’re taken, they’re not nice and you can move on to more abrasive discouragement.
Cassandra Joyce: #QuestionsForMen have you even been judged on the length of your pants?
A few times, yeah. I’ll admit, though, that this has always been in a more “you look like an idiot” or “you’re not getting into this club wearing shorts” sense, not so much in a “you’re obviously a slut and deserve to be raped” sense. That shit is wrong. So, points for this one.
Kirsty Webeck: #questionsformen when you achieve something great, do you expect the female reporter to say, ‘give us a twirl, who are you wearing?’
Ah Kirsty, back with more, eh? Your punctuation is still a little messed up but let’s just move on.
Personally, I’ve been over this one:
And I stand by it.
Basically, if you’re an entertainer (and believe it or not, sportspeople are entertainers), then your appearance and wardrobe are fair game. Nobody bats an eyelid when women leer over male sportsmen, and nor should they. Obviously you’d need a more male-equivalent demand for the reporter to make, and it always depends on the area of achievement, but yeah, I think there should be more of this.
 A woman who achieves something great in the field of literature or physics, for example, and then gets asked this question, should be legally allowed to kick the testicles of the man who asked it. And a man who is asked a similar question in a similar context should, I don’t know, get a free boob-honk out of it or something.
So to (finally) answer your question, fair enough. No I would not expect to hear this question asked of a man. And it should be. Another good point from Kirsty!
Margaret O’Connor: #questionsformen Have you ever had to fight for a 10% share of the conversation with women who think that you’re actually taking 80% share?
Yes. Every time I enter a discussion on women’s rights in basically any position or context. But I have to adjust for the fact that, as a privileged white male, my entry-level commentary on an issue may get more “share” awarded to it by default, so I’ll give this one a pass, too. Certainly unfair.
Kelly Trudgen: Has your body been compared to an unlocked car, wallet or other object that can be carelessly left unattended? #QuestionsForMen
No, not really. That’s odd. I assume this is something to do with rape culture or women as possessions. Yeah, let’s make this sort of question go away.
Penelope: Do you struggle to identify with playable male characters because they are hyper-sexualised objects of fantasy?#QuestionsForMen
Yes. Often. Suck it up. Next.
Laura Hartnell: Are you able to watch shows with more than two men on the panel without it being dismissed as a men’s show? #QuestionsForMen
I don’t watch shows with panels if I can possibly help it. If I’m watching something like Qi and there’s more than two women on the panel, then that means that Alan and Stephen are the only men so it probably would be a women’s show, because Alan is the only regular and Stephen is the host.
Not sure where that leaves us.
Chelsea Ayling: Do you send your mates a message to let them know you’ve gotten home safely? #questionsformen
Sometimes. Although a triumphant Facebook status normally suffices these days. As previously, given that this question speaks to rape culture and the practice means different things for men and women, I’ll give it a pass.
Gyan Yankovich: How many times have you been told you’re “such an independent young man” like that shouldn’t just be a given. #QuestionsForMen
Not very often, but then, I am not a very independent young man. I’m just a man, and I’m pretty dependent.
Nicola Gaston: Have you ever considered the advantages to be gained from signing your work using only your initials? #QuestionsForMen
No. And I have read about female friends who have faced this issue, so fair enough. This should go away too.
Paula Roe: #questionsformen ever been called a ‘boy gamer’ while girls are just… Gamers?
No, but then a lot of gamers who are female quite happily and proudly call themselves Gamer Girls or ‘girl gamers’. You want them to stop too? I get that it implies minority or negative-special status and feeds into a lot of other bad cultural stuff, but I don’t know if this is the hook you want to hang your social activist hat on. Maybe instead of whining about it, you should try owning the term.
So, there it is. Ten dumb questions, seven decent questions, three sort of in-between questions. And I have done my part as a judgemental male patriarchal hegemony-lord. You’re welcome, ladies.
I told you there was a point at which I got off the crazy train. This is not it – there is a lot of good sense in this issue and there are plenty of questions out there that highlight a horrible inequality. And ten dumb, seven smart and three meh is a pretty good mix, for a Twitter debate. Even if these were the ones they cherry-picked for maximum “win”.
It should be noted that all of these questions also invite the “not all men” response I have basically given to every point above, and as I have already ranted about on other occasions, “not all men” generally isn’t helpful.