What’s In It For Us? Arousing Men’s Interest in Gender Equality

White middle class men are better equipped than most to help women achieve equality, now we just have to convince the Boris’ and Trumps' of the world there’s something in it for them. 

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I have a penis. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m quite a fan of having one. While I, like so many men feel it is the answer to everything - from mending broken relationships to securing my masculinity. Its delusions of power and grandeur can be more addictive than cocaine, and more harmful than Trump. Yes, there’s a Trump in every man’s pants, leading him to chase his own interests at any cost, often the worst. But maybe, it could be the answer to something greater than basic male fulfilment for once, like empowering all the brilliant women in our lives. Just imagine if gender equality got men as aroused as Pornhub? And the tantalising top viewed video of all time was ‘Girl on Girl, Power’.

As white middle class men, we are better equipped than any to make way for the women of today. We can knock down our ivory towers, abdicate the throne, and leave the boardroom vacant. Just look how quickly David Cameron made way for Theresa May when he saw the Brexit vote bringing Britain to the brink of the unknown. When it suits us, we Default Men as Grayson Perry so aptly refers to us - in his seminal monograph, Descent of Man - stand in the way of not just women, but men of diversity from taking prominent roles in society they have equal claim to. It’s rare for men to stand aside, unless there is some Machiavellian motive, like in the case of cheeky man-child Boris using May as a shield from the Brexit abyss, from which he can safely beat her in the national press for her weakness in handling the very crisis he coward from.

May has inherited a Kingdom in ruin, like Cersei Lanaster in Game of Thrones, or Mrs Underwood in House of Cards, they are the last resort, or the only solution when men don’t have the stomach (or backbone) for something. Begging the question, what could women achieve if they got the same go at it white men do? A seat at the table in times of prosperity and profit. I’m not arguing men retire completely to the golf course, city clubs, as these would only become even greater centres of male influence. But as the members of society with the most, we have the most to give away. Which makes achieving gender equality a conscious decision and responsibility all individuals, including men, need to make; to choose a woman for a post, or as a successor or casting a woman your vote, of confidence, support, and respect like you would any Dick, Charles or Harold. Rather than excusing gender imbalance as something society or a few strong women will fix. When default men quite visibly design and control systems of male dominance – how many phallic towers of power filled with white men bruise your city skyline – with their own legacy in mind. And don’t expect them dying to sort it out either, as they always have a younger version of them waiting in succession.

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Don’t we want to see our wives, girlfriends, sisters, and daughters, succeed instead of our Saville Row tailored clone? It’s in our own interest surely, because the modern household is a partnership. My dream is for my powerhouse girlfriend to one day become the breadwinner, so I can stay at home and write more self-hating female empowering lit. Yes, she may want to be a mother, but that won’t stop her. She wants and can have it all, with my support at home. That’s where it becomes a battle not just to be won in the boardroom; as women still do more domestic work than male counterparts. We can’t expect the women in our lives to outperform men at work, when they do 10 hours more chores than we do. That’s double homework. We have to share the load, before the successes.

Hillary Clinton’s enduring partnership with Bill shows just how intrinsically linked a woman’s performance can be to her husband. Funny isn’t it how an often-cited reason why she lost, were the sins of her husband near on twenty years ago. Standing beside a man she loved, did nothing for her own career. While the epitome of Default Man, who spouts ‘Grab em’ by the pussy’ became the better option for many Americans. The Democratic Party for the first time in history made way for a woman, but sadly the USA couldn’t follow. With her intellectual might, background and tenacity, could she have won if Bill had made better choices in both their interest? There’s plenty of women in political partnerships with as much, or more potential than their partners, but not the opportunity. Take Cherie Blair who graduated with a First-Class Honours in law, while Tony got a Second-Class. But instead she became an object of fashion choices and bad hair-dos, like Sam Cam. Nobody is asking about Phillip May’s loafers, although he does put the bins out.    

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Then there’s the fact no matter how senior, she is still getting paid less than you, not as much less as she used to thanks to Pay Gap campaigning, but it’s still not equal. But the real disparity and where men are failing our women most, is in the bedroom. The very place we define our manhood is a hot bed of fake news, where 66% of Orgasms are fake, and women report to have only 1 for every 3 their men do. Sex is taught to be about male pleasure, getting us off, but putting her first tonight, putting your mouth where your dick normally is, could mean millions in the boardroom.  As sexual fulfilment is linked to productivity, as well as confidence in pursuing your own desires. One senior city figure lamented to me the problem with the pay gap was women won’t storm into the boss’s office and demand for a pay rise like men will. What’s stopping her? Maybe it’s that any demanding powerful woman is called a monster, Anna Wintour wears Prada but is she the devil. All that can be avoided by valuing the women in our places of work in the first place.

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Unfortunately, there’s no button women can press for ‘equality now’, and there never will be, so we can’t sit around on our privileged white male backsides, expecting the world order, which we entirely dominate, to work it all out. Or we can use our positions of power within that order to promote women above men, select them as our successors, pay them more, and share the load at home, and in the bedroom. We might not take the initiative just because it is the right thing to do, but we will help women to succeed, when we see it’s will only ever be in our interest, at home and in broader society, to have women on top. Emma Watson quite simply put it when she launched #HeForShe at the UN, that it;s your (men's) issue too. Ultimately these women are our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, colleagues, and soon to be bosses, as they make us the men we are, we can make them the women we look up to.