Thursday, 24 July 2008

I should have known better

I've had a couple of conversations with men recently that have been partly sparked by their finding out about this blog, and partly my none-so-subtle probes for material to add to said blog. What I've generally de-duced is that men in their twenties are ignorant of the relevance of most feminist issues and think feminists are in varying degrees: full of hot air, lesbians, killjoys. Men are lateral thinkers - we are told - and so is it very surprising that most of the ones I have consulted find it hard to grasp the links between various treatments of women in various arenas and subject areas? Perhaps not. Against my better judgement, I decided to send a quick interview round my office (6 women, 19 men - and I don't even work in banking) to see if I was selling them short. Hoping to be pleasantly surprised by some enlightened answers I asked three questions. 1) What do you think feminism is? 2) Who do you consider to be a prominent/good example of a feminst? 3) Do you identify with any feminist values (as you understand them)?
Maybe this was too much reality for a Wednesday afternoon marketing agency environment, or maybe I can't rely on my co-workers (who I sadly also consider friends) to give honest/serious answers. Despite this the responses I got were - aside from being rather creative and humourous - the best examples I could have asked for on males' perceptions of feminism and its champions. The transcripts below are the only two responses I received...perhaps their navigation away from the topic is proof of their ignorance of it? Or maybe they're just Neanderthals. Answers on a postcard.

Male Specimen 1

Q: What do you think feminism is?
A: Some sort of contraption, game or sex toy
Q: Who do you consider to be a prominent/good example of a feminst?
A: As in personality or someone I know? Beckham is one. Stringfellow another. Me!
Q: Do you identify with any feminist values (as you understand them)?
A: Some, yes. I have three sisters and a mother, and you so I don't have any other choice, do I?

Male Specimen 2

Q: What do you think feminism is?
A: Feminism is the belief that Cats are our all encompassing gods and they created man, then woman as an after thought! This was the belief system of the ancient Egyptians.
Q: Who do you consider to be a prominent/good example of a feminst?
A: I have 2 cats but I don’t think they’re to be worshipped. Saying that, if one of my cats comes into the lounge, I let them have it and go up to my room, so I guess they are above me in social standing.
Q: Do you identify with any feminist values (as you understand them)?
A: Like I said, I look up to cats, but that’s where I draw the line. The sphinx is amongst my favourite 5 ancient statues!

Words fail me.