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 set of ‘traditional’ social norms that serve to enhance the power of men and reduce the power of women in society at both the macro and micro level. It is not something that is imposed solely by men but is supported and strengthened by a proportion of women. It is something that is steadily fading but is still strongly present. Support for it may be explicit, unconscious or opportunist (ie when it provide personal advantage). It exists across the gender divide, for example an otherwise strong and empowered women may use the ‘weak or vulnerable woman’ ploy to gain assistance.
How has patriarchy hurt you?
A ‘loaded question’ and therefore not a good one for a survey. Through social expectations and conventions regarding my behaviour – principally those relating to the ‘dating game’, possibly the area in which social conventions regarding sexual roles is most deeply embedded. However this is much less true today that it was when I was in my teens, the 1970s. For example many women, even those who profess themselves to be feminists, look down on a man who does not pursue ‘manly’ activities and interests or is not good at sport etc. There is also the ‘expectation issue’ – where non-patriarchal actions are interpreted as patriarchal and cause offence, for instance it is not that long since I received a very angry action from a colleague to opening a door for her when who was carrying a load and I had my hands free. This may have been partly due to my age – men in their 50s are more likely to be assumed to be patriarchal than younger men.
How have you hurt people in a way influenced by patriachy?
This assumes that I have hurt people. It is a ‘Have you stopped beating you wife’ question and is very poor survey design. I am not aware of any circumstances but they have probably occurred.
How would you define masculinity?
A set of norms about male behaviour and physical capabilities that fits the ‘traditional’ role of men in society, particularly the role of men working at physical tasks. Physical strength, dominance and the avoidance of ‘non masculine’ attributes, activities and interests are emphasised. The concept emphasises those attributes previously, and in some cases still, required to get and maintain a sufficiently strong place in traditional Working Class society to acquire a partner and raise a family. At its most basic it prizes those attributes required by a Hunt Leader in pre-agrarian society.
Does misandry exist?
Having seen clear misandrist statements from various sources I am absolutely clear it exists. Its actual prevalence is difficult to gauge however. There is also less explicit misandry in that men in general, and myself directly, frequently have the bad behaviours of all men, wherever they are located and whenever they lived, laid at our door. ‘You’ (meaning ‘men in general, including me personally) did/do this is not unusual, as in ‘you’ fought against Votes for Women – something that happened years before I was born. Neither is assigning ‘typical male’ behaviour or beliefs to me without consideration of whether they actually apply or on the flimsiest of evidence. For example I don’t cook for myself, not because I ‘expect women to do it’ but because I have no need or desire to cook or to be cooked for.
Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?
If I have suffered negative effects I am unaware of it. The major impact on me is in dealing with negative prejudice applied to women or their own prejudice regarding their lack of ability. On top of taking time and effort this has involved me in conflicts I would otherwise not have encountered
What best describes you?
None of the above
I am very cautious with applying labels to myself that might imply I might hold views or exhibit behaviours that I don’t or support people whose views and actions I have no influence over.