“I am a man … I am not an idiot. I’m not daft, or bumbling, or childlike or sweetly stupid. I don’t get outwitted by small children or consumer electronics. People don’t roll their eyes or smile indulgently at my attempts to function in normal society. I don’t get into “scrapes” or commit unintentionally hilarious faux-pas,” (Dominic Utton. The Telegraph, March 2014).
Well said, Mr Utton. As the mother of two adult sons (I have a daughter too so there is no bias here) I am becoming more and more incensed by the media’s increasingly disturbing and constant denigration of men. How many more TV adverts and sitcoms which deliberately set out to make men appear moronically stupid must we endure? Men are criticised, emasculated and chided for being clueless about everything. They are subject to ridicule for their lack of intellect and emotional intelligence, laughed at, looked down on and generally sneered at. Conversely women are shown to be sassy, bright, sensible, practical and long-suffering. What sort of message is this sending out to young boys, and indeed girls.
Can you imagine the outcry if women were similarly portrayed as incapable idiots?
So what is the sub-text here? Well, perhaps we’re playing a game of tit for tat – a backlash against the undoubtedly unjust way in which women were treated by the media, and society, in the past, subjugated as second class citizens for centuries and viewed as good for little other than motherhood and keeping house (and I absolutely do NOT diminish the value of either by saying that). On marriage we became our husbands chattels, our money was his and we couldn’t own property or vote. We had to put up and shut up. It is absolutely right that things improved. But wasn’t it equality we wanted? It now seems that having gained exactly that in a great many areas, it’s not enough, for what women now seem to want, is supremacy. We’ve spent years shouting about not being defined by our gender only to allow the media to perpetuate the idea of the clueless male.
And when so many children grow up in homes with no father and and sometimes no decent male role model, it is unacceptable for the media to portray men so negatively. What will those children grow up thinking?
In an age when ‘Englishman, Scotsman and Irishman’ jokes are frowned upon, an age where the law forbids that someone is refused entry to somewhere because of their colour or religion, or a job because of their age, where equal rights are shouted from the rooftops, why are we letting this happen? We should be getting men on side and work together for equality for all, rather than making them out to be somehow less worthy than us women because that’s no help to anyone.