A study conducted by Stanford University found that man flu may be a genuine thing. It relates to hormones produced by the different genders and, as such, men experience flu more sharply than women. I have explained this scientific finding to a number of my female friends. Without fail, they all dismiss it, saying it is nonsense. They deride the findings because "men did the study" or some other reason that lacks any rationale. Basically, they don't buy it and they think that men are being weak. Because it is okay for women to think less of men like that.
Then I see the following photos casually posted on Facebook:
These are considered as a bit of banter. Just fun things to post. You may have liked such photos on Facebook. Let's see what they actually say. The first suggests that men are idiots and women are uncontrollable balls of anger. The second one suggests that men never grow up and need a woman to help them through life. The third teaches the message that the man is downtrodden and subservient in marriage. The fourth suggests that men are all stupid.
Now, flip the jokes around, so that women are the subject. How would women take it if they were presented with a flowchart as to when they could speak? Or that they entered marriage to be cared for because they are otherwise incapable? How about that marriage is about being her husband's slave or that women are just stupid? Feminists would be rightly enraged.
Yvette Cooper rightly highlighted that women receive abuse and derision, based on their gender, that is simply unacceptable. However, men are enduring such abuse all the time. They are increasingly being belittled and the irony is that it is promoting chauvinism, as some men seek to redress the balance. Menists have sprouted up, finding ways to belittle women, because if it's good enough for them, everyone should fill their boots. Sure, feminism is now poorly namely because it should be about equality, not female supremacy, but I'd like to think we're educated enough to get past an inadequacy in language. Yet, I don't see feminists popping up to voice their disapproval to these posts. Indifference feeds intolerance.
That is because sexism has long been thought of as a one way street. That isn't the truth. It has always been a two way street, it's just the traffic has been on one side for a long time. That does mean the quest should be to have an equal stream of disrespect on both sides. We should be working to close that road down. We should be accepting, embracing and revering our differences, not using them to get one over each other.
Abuse on the internet is an inevitability and I am certainly not one who advocates broad censorship. I think such a thing is fraught with far more danger. My problem is that if someone posted something racist or homophobic, we would all jump on it and rightly chastise the person who put it up. Someone posts something sexist and we are slow to disapprove. We even support it. Well, if we really want sexism to stop, we need to recognise that it happens in both directions and it needs to stop, in both ways.