It’s about time we end the Women’s Day Off
if we want men to stay alive
A few weeks ago feminists came up with what they seem to think is a novel idea: that women should take a day off from their duties in order to show the world what an important role women fulfill in society. The idea has been widely criticized as its motives and aims seem as obscure as those of the attendees of recently held women’s marches in the US and Europe. It is unclear to anyone about what these women are protesting and what they are aiming to achieve.
Apparently this campaign is modelled after the action women in Iceland took in 1975 to achieve wage parity at work. I can only suppose that women were paid less than men and their work was less valued in the small country and that this action worked to right that balance.
However, not in a single western country do we currently have a situation where women are paid less for the same work as men. Hence, why no woman ever sues for such and why feminist campaigns for equal pay are never backed up by any evidence of such an injustice. Rather, it has been shown that when breaking down the different occupations and work patterns, women as a group earn less than men as a group because women value a better work-life balance more than higher pay. High salaries are unsurprisingly paid in professions that are either unpleasant or leave workers with little or no personal life. People who perform these jobs are also paid comparatively well because these jobs are vital in keeping society running, and they are overwhelmingly carried out by men. Janet Bloomfield observed a while ago that if men collectively walked out of their jobs for three days we would need three years to clean up the mess. Martin Daubney echoed this sentiment in an article for Heat Street in which he compared the effectiveness of a women’s day off to that of a men’s day off. (https://heatst.com/culture-wars/feminists-are-planning-a-one-day-womens-strike-i-say-bring-it-on/, 14 Feb 2017)
“In short, we’d be up to our neck in doo-doo. Our cities would look like scenes out of the Walking Dead.
The Women’s Day Off would seem like a picnic in comparison. So maybe we should embrace it?“
He ended his article on the joyful note that “all the UK’s shoutiest people will be in places we can avoid”. With this he alludes to feminist women that we would all like to avoid but usually cannot, as they shout at us 24/7 from TV screens and preach from online newspaper columns. In a similar vein then, Women against Feminism have come up with the project #ADayWithoutAFeminist and #ADayWithoutFeminism.
I can certainly go a day and many more without her.
There is no question about what feminist women are contributing to society and about our ‘need’ for their contribution. We can certainly go a day, and even many more, without people who constantly carry on about their imagined victimhood with the aim to create divisiveness in society. But if we stop doing what feminists usually do, that is conflating women with feminists, and accept that women as a group barely work in vital industries that keep our society from collapsing, we have to stop and ask ourselves what it is that women contribute to society and whether we can live without that – for a day or for many days on end.
When I did so after reading Martin Daubney’s article it dawned on me that we have been living without just that for many decades now – ever since the start of feminism. And by that I do not mean women’s traditional role in child-raising and bringing the husband the slippers when he comes home from work, which is not really traditional at all but a reality for a small number of women following the division of home and labour after the industrial revolution. When people hear the term ‘anti-feminist’ they often think we want to go back to an idealized past that never actually was. That very suggestion indicates to me that it is feminists who hold the rather simplified view of the relations between men and women in the past.
Conservative writers have correctly pointed out that it is women who motivate men to pull up their sleeves and create things. Christina Hoff-Sommers and Kathy Gyngell have used the unfortunate phrase “women civilize men” to describe the way that male energy is channeled into useful pursuits, instead of ending in a ‘Lord of the Flies’ scenario, by men’s desire to make the environment ever more comfortable for women. While the choice of words may be inappropriate, particularly at a time when men have been presented as brutes whose ‘toxic masculinity’ needs to be driven out of them, the inherent premise of the statement is factual. By nature, women reproduce and men produce. But men were never meant to produce like workhorses.
As an antidote to the power to motivate men to create, women were by nature also given the power to persuade men to look after their own health. I do not think the high rates of suicide and depression in men can solely be attributed to unjust laws that put men into situations where they see no reason to go on living, or the general misandry spread in the media. These are but the tangible results of modern women’s callous attitudes towards men. In 1968 the women of the British port city of Hull protested for better working conditions for fishermen after three trawlers had sunk in the wintry waters of the Atlantic; these days most women shrug their shoulders when you tell them that men make up around 95% of workplace fatalities. Within a few days these women’s efforts achieved what the Trade Unions had failed to in years and were heard by the Prime Minister who promptly met their demands. One could argue that it is unfair that men’s situation will only improve when women demand it; I would argue that it is a biological fact that men will live when women want them to live. Rather than creating ever more ‘awareness’ programs, what would diminish the mental health crisis among men in an instant is if women started caring about men again.
When my Russian housemate, with whom I had become good friends during the time that I was writing my dissertation, one day confessed to me that he was gay and been fighting against his inclinations all his life. I told him that this was no problem and that he needed to accept himself as he was. But he was adamant to go on living a lie so as to not disappoint and further burden his parents who had enough to worry about with his sister who was suffering from depression. He was very driven in his studies but neglectful to the same degree when it came to his own well-being, which pained me. So I told him straight out that if that was the path he was going to take we could no longer be friends because I am not usually friends with losers. A bit harsh maybe, and more commonly characteristic of women who want men to make sacrifices for them. I wanted to make it clear to him that I was willing to sacrifice the happiness I got from our friendship for his well-being. When he told me a few weeks later that I had changed his life, I felt that my being a woman played some part in the impact my words had on his motivation to accept himself, despite his family’s expectations.
From what women have taken a day off since the advent of feminism is caring about men, yet that care is vital for the survival of any human society. By saying that, I do not mean that we need more nagging wives making doctor’s appointments for their husbands. What we need is for women to show appreciation of men’s daily contribution to the smooth running of society and display some actual empathy, i.e. simply even ‘seeing’ the challenges that men face. Just last week I spoke to a man in the US who had started to suffer from depression in his 20s but found it difficult to accept that he had a problem. It wasn’t male stoicism or ‘toxic masculinity’ that was holding him back from seeking help, but ‘male privilege theory’ that he had internalized: how could he as a white male – among the most privileged beings on the planet – have any problems worth working on?. In fact, he thought something must be wrong with him as a person since he could apparently not appreciate how easy he had it in life. What helped him heal eventually was realizing that men do face challenges in life and thereafter becoming part of a community of men and women that appreciate men’s achievements and acknowledge their struggles. That is what all men need right now from women. That is women’s crucial function in society.
It is my hope that Women against Feminism will remind all the women out there of their vital role in appreciating their men’s achievements and acknowledging their struggles, be they engineers or hairdressers, gay or straight.
This was written by Karen Mac Fly