About the show: Dave Pickering takes us on a personal journey through gender as he tries to explain masculinity both to you and to himself. Part true storytelling, part TED talk and part apology, the show looks at how the patriarchy hurts men too; how the patriarchy has hurt him, and how he has hurt people because of patriarchy. Drawing on an anonymous survey of 1000 men, feminist theory, internet memes and his life experience, Dave will explain the conclusions he Read More ...
Does patriarchy exist?
How would you define patriarchy?
A society organized to the advantage of a privileged few on the basis particularly of gender but also of race and sexuality.
How has patriarchy hurt you?
It probably hasn’t particularly, other than in a neurotic sense – ie, I know that as a man (and a straight, white man at that) the deck is stacked hugely in my favour. It makes any failure very depressing because the world is arranged to be advantageous to my kind, meaning that any failure in anything means that I am totally useless. Losing a card game when you know the deck is stacked in your favour can be depressing. (N.B. while this is a bit like whining about a minor cut when people around me are dying, I do think the mental health implications of what I have said are genuine and not trivial) I also think that as a younger man I will have been affected by trying to live up to a ridiculous ideal or role that my gender says I’m supposed to play. It takes a while to free oneself from those expectations, if one ever truly can.
How have you hurt people in a way influenced by patriachy?
I think I have probably not been sensitive enough to the ways in which is grinds other people down. Sometimes those of us privileged by it don’t necessarily see the rest. Maybe even by having a job or achieving anything I am only able to do that because I am privileged by my gender and race. By implication then any success always necessarily comes at the expense of someone else without those advantages. The system is such that my existence hurts people.
How would you define masculinity?
Aspects of ones character, attitude or emotional makeup pertaining to being male. It can therefore be anything. Any attempt to call a particular character trait, attitude or emotion as definitive of masculinity is in my view wrong (but is likely a symptom of patriarchy)
Does misandry exist?
To some degree it does, but essentially it’s just another side of misogyny and a symptom of patriarchy. If it does exist it’s really just misogyny. A hatred of men implies a hatred of, or at least a disrepect of women. The issue is much more complicated than simple misandry though. It only exists insofar as patriarchy breeds resentment, but caving to that resentment is essentially misogyny, because you can’t hate one gender without the implicit hatred of one’s own. I definitely haven’t expressed this properly.
Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?
Not that I know of at least. I do remember an English lesson in school where the teacher asked all the boys in the class to say the word ‘love’. The teacher said the experiment proved that boys can’t really say love and have trouble with concept. As an experiment, all I can say of it is that I don’t think it would pass peer review.
What best describes you?
Though I find all such labels and terms problematic in some ways. Whether I have a right to call myself a feminist isn’t my decision. I believe that all genders should have exactly the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities, and that this is currently not the case in our society. What term you want to apply to that does not really concern me. I think I’m a feminist but if anyone wants to tell me I’m not then that’s fine.