The absence of genuinely accessible commentary on what it is to be a man is sometimes a delight, sometimes a sore. It’s a delight because it means I occupy a niche space with this blog, and it’s a sore because I have no idea how underdeveloped my own viewpoints are. It makes me very jealous sometimes that websites like AntiRoom exist, channeling some genuinely challenging and exquisitely conveyed thought into a readily accessible space. And some of it as as funny as all hell.
Men’s blogging tends not to focus on that element of their identity – partially because, for reasons set out before, there is no need to vindicate the male spirit or to claim anything for the sex taken until very recently to be intellectually and economically dominant in our society. So men write about eveything but being men, because the very act of existence is so often male-defined. Pint for the gentleman, fruit based drink for the lady.
As a result, a google search for blogs on male identity will chuck up a huge number of pieces talking about a male identity crisis which may or may not exist, and which, if it does, may simply be a failure to instantly adapt to changing economic, educational and social circumstances – depressingly, men may simply be reconstructing their identity without reading the manual or stopping to ask for directions.
There does need to be a non-reactionary space for men to write without cant or cliche about the experiences shared between the sexes but about which it is traditionally the role of women (!) to be pissed off. There does need to be a space for the diversity of men to write about sexism – not from a sexuality but an equality standpoint, and from a standpoint opposed to the cultural pollution that most public sexism represents.
There needs to be a space for straight, red-blooded men to say that sex is awesome, but the Hunky Dorys ads with women in underwear smeared in mud catching rugby or GAA balls is utter bollocks, objectification and as likely to make us buy corn snacks as being vomited over in Copperface Jacks.
There needs too, to be a space for straight, red-blooded men and gay men and women alike all to point out that ‘bits’ traditionally refers to the genitalia, not the breasts of a woman, and that a 45 second cinema advert seeking to conflate squeezing breasts with squeezing oranges actually creates brief congnitive dissonance and reminds us that we really want a Coke.
The ether is the space, of course, and people are free to tilt at windmills to their hearts’ content on blogs and facebooks and Twitter, but the one thing the chicks have on us is that AntiRoom already exists and is exquisite, and the danger of having men write about their experience of sexism and gender identity is that someone will seek to write some gubbins about domestic violence against men on the rise and women getting all the top jobs.
This then, is a call to something approaching action. I am prepared to set up and host a web page for men not to write shit on, to serve as an outlet but never a reaction to sites like AntiRoom. If I can get a small group of men – straight, gay, bisexual, whatever – to write what they want to say rather than what they think they ought to say, then I will do so. If I have overlooked such an outlet, please let me know.
email@example.com or comment below.