I rarely get a seat on my morning – or evening – commute. I join the train late in its journey and the seats are all filled with businessmen, heads down looking busily at their phones or bashing away on their laptops, legs spread wide and elbows at sharp angles.
It never bothers me usually – but then comes the period. And when Keith Moon is belting out his greatest hits on my ovaries and I’m desperately clinging onto a pole trying to stay upright and I’m praying for the drugs to kick in, I hate feminism.
Why? Because 40 years ago, those men would have given their seats up for a woman. Now they look the other way – especially when a pregnant woman gets on, or one who is obviously suffering it seems. Oh yeah, they’ll get up if you ask (as I have, for one poor soul who was clearly near fainting point – ovarian cysts, she told me after I’d got her a seat) but otherwise that in this, feminism has done them a favour. Woman suffering? Nah, we’re all equal now, so stand and die.
Which got me thinking of how feminism seems to have done more for men than it has for women. I mean, it has done very little for women – we’re still underpaid, do the majority of the domestic chores and look after the children.
Don’t believe men are the true beneficiaries of our great-grannies throwing themselves under horses? Read on…
Now, granted, this is a benefit for men and women but the advent of the pill changed the emphasis. Now women were in control of their own fertility (if they could get approval from a male doctor), men could bonk and go without fear. If the stork was on his way, feminism also did away with the need for a shotgun wedding as women proved they could manage on their own. Win win, for some blokes. Added to that, feminism said women could enjoy sex too and were responsible for enjoying it. No more lying back and thinking of England.
Soft porn for free
Added to that, men no longer have to fork out their hard-earned cash (paid at a higher rate than their female colleagues) to look at naked ladies. Thanks to mostly male-run advertising agencies – I’m worth a hell of a lot more than a £8.99 lipstick, thank you very much – feminism has taken on a perverted new tone where “empowerment” means taking your togs off. (Poor Rosie the Riveter, with her bandana and overalls, thinking she was a man’s equal. If only Kim Kardashian had been there to show her the error of her ways.) I’m not ashamed of my body, but until David Cameron shows off his dodger at PMQs, I’m not going to buy the idea that flashing it to the world is any more empowering now than it was when Barbara Windsor went camping.
Without women campaigning for childrearing to be taken seriously, men wouldn’t be able to spend so much time with their family. Yet while women see their careers falter due to having children (even those who don’t have a family, who are hit by lower wages), working dads get a boost: a new study shows they get, on average, 21 per cent more than childless workers. So, they now get time off with their newborn AND have more income.
Then there’s the added kudos for househusbands who have bravely left the rat race – and all those male stereotypes – behind to do what women have done for centuries.
Think David Beckham could have been as successful without feminism? Now I don’t think burning bras had anything to do with his power with a ball, but it has certainly allowed him to be so beautiful. (Note, beautiful, not handsome. He is beautiful – as my 20 minute stint standing in front of Sam Taylor Wood’s David will testify.) Feminism has allowed men to take care of themselves without fear of being scorned, to be able to use more toiletries than just a bar of Imperial Leather. It’s fine for David Beckham to be a peacock.
Breast cancer, periods, hysterectomies – my mam used to whisper these words à la Cissie and Ada. Thanks to feminism, these are now matters of public interest rather than shameful secrets. Consequently, men have been able to discuss their health problems, too. I doubt my dad had even heard of prostate cancer let alone imagine a world where Karl Pilkington could have an examination on TV. Knowing that a doctor wants to stick his finger up your bum – you have us to thank for that, boys.
No more paying on dates, no more pressure of being the breadwinner, wage rises because, you know, there are women on the team and you have to be paid more then them because you have XY chromosomes….
Oh yes, we are responsible for you being able to watch Jeremy Clarkson crash a Robin Reliant and Richard Hammond catapult caravans over a ravine. Feminists are also the reason you can spend Saturday afternoon in the pubs cheering on 11 men scrabbling over a ball. Without feminism laughing with the likes of Clarkson (oh, how this will kill him), he and his ilk would be consigned to repeats on Spanish TV with Benny Hill. Feminists said it’s okay to be a woman, so therefore it’s okay to be a bloke. I watch Top Gear along with Mr 50 Sense and cry over Hibs and Rayo in exactly the same way.
And do I mind all these benefits? No, because feminism is equality. We don’t want to be better than men, or have things all our own way, we just want to be equal. But if you do see me looking a bit squeamish on the 08.12 to Waterloo, bunk up, eh?