On Thursday 12th October, the University of Bristol, in partnership with local magazine Consented, hosted an event titled “Do We Need to Abolish Masculinity”. Thankfully, the organisers were ever so kind as to not insult our intelligence by falsely referring to this event as a ‘debate’ because it was far from it. They did, however, refer to it as a ‘lecture’ on their Facebook page.
The event was mired in bias from the get-go, their choice of speakers showing the ideological leanings of the event before the doors opened:
Dr Finn McKay: Founder of London Feminist Network & “revived” Reclaim The Night. Spoke at Feminism in London 2013.
Amit Singh: Writer for Consented.
Sian (?): Female to Male Transwoman. No details of her (?) are on either of the event pages.
Natalie Fiennes (Chair): Co-editor at Consented.
Even the online library of Consented is saturated with far-Left thought, listing Bell Hooks, Karl Marx, Noam Chomsky, Antonio Gramsci, Michel Foucault and Che Guevara. To expect balance at the event would be foolish.
The event opened with one of the university staff informing all attendees to mind the “safe space” policy, to treat everyone with respect. This went straight out the window as soon as the panelists started speaking as they all spent at least 90% of their time demonising men, masculinity, white people and whiteness. They argued race is tied in with gendered structures of power so to ignore whiteness’ role would be improper. It was a public execution. I wish I could tell you I was joking.
The question was then proposed by the chair: do we need to abolish masculinity? Panellists were given five minutes to pitch their cases.
What you are about to read are my notes as I took them from when the panelists were speaking and from during the succeeding Q&A, I’ve edited my notations such that they are cleaner and flow. I recommend finding a stiff drink before reading any further. I have also taken the liberty of providing the occasional thought in brackets. You’ll realise from my notes that some speakers had more to say than others.
Answered ‘yes’ without hesitation and stated that masculinity is in crisis. Look to prisons and how matching up to masculinity leads to addiction. Masculinity causes rape and the murder of two women a week [patently false]. To abolish masculinity, all men must refuse it. Just like the campaign against nuclear arms, everyone must do it at once.
Masculinity is violent. Masculinity has brought the planet to a crisis.
We must remove gender conditioning and gender constraints.
Unsure. Masculinity puts a lot of pressure on men, see their higher suicide rates. Toxic masculinity is the problem, not masculinity. Told the room how she was sexually assaulted by a male and took him to court. She knew sex and race would play a part but couldn’t believe how it influenced the case. The jury accepted he did it but, because he did not know it was wrong, he was found not guilty [this sounds eerily similar to what James Comey said about Hillary Clinton]. White boys will be white boys because they get to get away with these excuses and, as a brown woman, she should expect pain and violence.
She remarked how the media said the Vegas shooter was a lone-wolf; lonely is sad but to be a wolf, a wolf is honourable thus, the shooter is honourable [she doesn’t understand that wolves hunt in packs and a wolf is only alone if outcast]. Language was created by white men to express emotion.
Doesn’t like the question because it’s a bit “white feminism”. Whiteness is equally a threat as is masculinity. But, masculinity isn’t a threat as she sees herself as slightly masculine.
In a workshop whilst doing wordplay games, the people associated ‘masculinity’ with ‘rational’. This can be linked to colonialism. Rational was always used when referring to whites and non-whites were referred to as savages. Colonialism is a bourgeois project. What we know about gender and race comes from colonialism. Why do people defend an ideology that commits suicide, murders and commits domestic violence? [Allegedly, these are only male actions.]
Does masculinity belong to men? James Bond had to construct his masculinity through gadgets, cars and women. He is masculinity in drag. M, however, is real masculinity. Do trans-women have to explain their femininity? There are huge mental health problems in trans-men of colour. It leads me, regrettably, to say I don’t know what we’re abolishing.
Dr Andrew Blades:
The name ‘Andrew’ means ‘manly’ or ‘masculine’. Parents probably didn’t mean it when they named him.
Went to OED for definitions of masculinity. Decided to give odd-quotes from over the past 250 years as if they were genuine definitions of masculinity.
Women are sissified, referred back to Freud and the castration complex.
Discussed masculine and feminine rhymes and said they are micro-aggressions.
Masculinity is always perceived to be in crisis.
Can’t divorce versions of masculinity from imperialism hierarchies and capitalism. All of which sustain patriarchy.
In favour of some form of abolition, not sure how to go about it but, start with language.
After about half an hour, once the panelists had given their spiel, the discussion was opened to the floor. Perhaps now, a defence of masculinity would be made?
Before I answer that, I would like to tell an anecdote. Many times when I or one of my fellow men find ourselves discussing an issue close to the hearts of women -let’s take abortion as an example-, we are often required to be quiet so that female voices may be heard. After all, these are women’s issues, so it is only right they are to speak first. It is an issue that affects them and not us, so we must remain silent.
This tactic is particularly loathsome and is regularly deployed by people on the Left who love to play identity politics. However, the chair of the event appeared to have forgotten this rule of “find whomever the thing affects so they may speak first on said thing” because of the approximately 15+ people who were invited to ask questions, only two were men. They were asked fairly near the end of the event and both were (how does one put this delicately) somewhat effeminate. They looked to be sympathisers, let’s say. This was proven by their questions which, funnily enough, ended up being comments rather than questions. Oh well, let’s get on with it.
“There was no reference to biology”
Finn McKay: You’re talking about maleness and sex. Outside of our bodies, there are socially constructed elements of biology. Lived experiences come from outside the body.
Sian: There are subtle differences, I’ve been on hormones. I disagree with the concept of male/female brains.
“Is the choice of the title a good choice of words or would it be better to say ‘destroy femininity aside it’ or assess masculinity itself?”
[I was surprised as well.]
Amit Singh: The question is not that deep. People look too far into things. Defended the professor who tweeted “all I want for Christmas is white genocide” saying he was obviously joking. [Click on that hyperlink, this professor has a history of ‘joking’]
Sian: It’s about inditing masculinity [people need to learn the difference between indict and indite].
Finn McKay: There’s a lot of defensiveness around it by those who hope to defend and retain masculinity. Who decided gender roles such as honour, courage, and strength when women do the bulk of food provisioning, childcare and reproduction?
“I used to live in Japan and noticed that men speak in a really deep voice and the women speak in a really high voice.”
Dr Andrew Blades: It’s a matter of self-identification.
Finn McKay: Judith Butler, drawing upon Freud, said there is no doer behind the deed.
“How can we get rid of toxic elements of masculinity without falling into cissexism and classism whilst engaging with male violence?”
Sian: There is a shared experience of being victims of misogynistic violence so we can start there. It’s about looking at victims of misogyny. I started off as supporting ‘kill all men’ because of second-wave feminism. Andrea Dworkin said she’s a feminist not because she wants to kill all men but because she believes in men’s humanity. [This is the same Andrea Dworkin who said she would like to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with an apple in his mouth like that of a pig.]
It was at this point dear reader when I simply gave up. I could no longer afford the energy to continue with my note-taking. The puerile insanity was too much for me. I did, however, note two things that irked me during the remainder of the Q&A. First thing was when Andrew Blades said “feeling is a form of reason” when they were discussing rational thought and colonialism. “Feeling is a form of reason”, what utter tripe.
During one of Finn McKay’s many rants/tirades, she kept referring to inherent male violence, just like she did in her opening speech. She focussed heavily on violence against women and girls, stating that girls are violated, that is their life. They have no bodily integrity. Teenage girls are raped, this is normalised for them. This was given as more evidence to support abolition. However, no awareness was spared to the thought that perhaps, maybe, somehow, in one way or another, men might suffer these things too?
But that would be asking for too much.