Philip Davies has been elected to Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee. Many people have expressed outrage that someone who complained that ‘feminist zealots’ are trying to stir up trouble, or who suggested that more women should be sent to prison, has been elected to a committee that looks to highlight issues that women and minorities have.
However, I believe that these worries are misplaced. He is, in fact, a true believer in meritocracy, who believes that gender must be made ‘irrelevant’. He wants to bring some sense to the Committee, and that can only be a good thing. He just believes that men’s issues are just as important as women’s. Which is fine, if you forget the historical oppression of women, believe that women equally oppress men, and decide that both sexes are equal now.
For instance, if you ignored that – of the top of my head: that 29% of MPs are women; the gender pay gap means that women have been essentially working for free since 10 November; that 4% of CEOS of Fortune 500 companies are women; that almost 1 in 5 women report being the victim of sexual abuse from the age of 16; that 45% of women have experienced some form of domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking; and that in the media, women are primarily represented as sex objects, as wives and mothers, and as passive. Their weight and appearance are judged, or they are simply invisible. In 2012, 84% of people mentioned in front page articles were men, and that men had written three quarters of those articles.
I am sure that he will soon be unable to ignore this, and other, evidence in front of him objectively, and see the disparity between men and women in society, and remember that women represent 50.7% of the UK population. Maybe then he will stop seeing feminism as an enemy, but as an ally in his crusade to make gender irrelevant, in his crusade to ensure that a demographic of 50.7% of the population are represented equally. Unless he thinks that this disparity is due to women being worse and more stupid than men. But I’m sure he doesn’t think this.
Maybe after reviewing all these issues, Philip will understand that being a feminist doesn’t mean assuming an identity that wants to destroy men, rip off their testicles and eat them in a nice buerre blanc. Maybe he will see that when someone says they are a feminist, they believe in justice, that people should be treated equally, no matter what gender they are. That they believe their life chances are determined by what they do, rather than who they are. That they believe that gender should be irrelevant.
Then he will see that being a feminist doesn’t mean that you cannot also think that more men should be midwives. He may also see that this is a ridiculous comparison because men have not been historically kept down and have not historically battled to be midwives. No man has thrown himself under a horse to deliver a baby. However, being a feminist would mean that if a man wished to be a midwife, this wish should be supported, and I am sure that Philip will see this soon.
Those who rail against feminism live in a world in which there are no disparities between male and female, because everything has already been sorted out. I mean, they already have the vote, what more could they want, huh? To subjugate men and farm them for sperm, obviously. To move beyond the ‘male and female’ dichotomy and towards something that doesn’t look at gender first requires that no prejudices exist between the genders, that one gender is not in a position of greater power than the other. This is why feminism exists, why it is needed, and why it will continue to be needed until there is true equality between men and women. Until gender is irrelevant.
That is why I welcome Philip being elected to the committee. As a man who believes sternly in meritocracy, he will not be able to view the evidence and not start fighting vociferously for women’s equality, together with feminists, rather than against them, despite apparently wanting the same thing.