[Sasha here. One of the main points of More Than Men is to get regular guys talking about why diversity matters to them. Here’s our first guest post making that happen.]
In the recent past our society has been making incremental steps towards the universal acceptance of diversity and the equality of all flavours of humanity, whether it be gender, race, sexuality, blood type or the amount of hair on your knees.
However, it would seem that for some people we have now reached an impasse, a point where we have moved on enough. Intertwined perhaps with a fear that further acceptance of diversity will cause some sort of societal degradation, a fear that has no basis in fact or logic, and one that when applied can have dangerous consequences. When in our most comfortable of habitats it’s easy to forget that there are still bigots of all colours, shapes and sizes out there, and that the problems of discrimination some would like us to believe have completely disappeared are still around today, and are still a problem.
In my native country we redcoats have recently had to deal with a resurgence of the far right with nationalist groups such as the BNP and the EDL emerging from various corners of our country with the false message that white people are being oppressed and that Islam is encroaching on our culture and values. A counter-effort, largely fronted by the brilliant ‘Hope Not Hate’ helped to rally together those who saw sense and with such actions and petitions, signed by concerned folks such as myself, those of us who recognised the importance of a diverse Britain helped to minimize the impact of these frankly fascist organisations on our politics and the public perception of the diversity that helps to make Britain great. Discrimination however, does not simply exist in the forms of individuals and rogue pseudo-political organisations, there are corporations too, corporations that promote a stereotype of the world and oppress those who do not fit the cookie cutter with semantics and marketing.
Take for example, any magazine rack; whether it be in a supermarket, newsagent or wherever you happen to come upon such works of bound paper. Inevitably within a section called ‘women’s interests’ you will find such abhorrent pieces of literature as ‘Spirit & Destiny' where you’re instructed on how unicorns and the angel Gabriel can help find you the perfect man, that and you are hard pushed to find a publication that doesn’t, somewhere inside, contain a horoscope. Whereas the magazines talking about science, those without horoscopes and those that disagree entirely with the false premises of ‘Spirit & Destiny’, are snuggled in the men’s interests section, just between the motoring magazines and the ones where women are photographed when they’ve conveniently forgotten their clothes. On the subject of the stereotypical portrayal of women in culture, last year’s adverts from a particular coffee company (I believe it was Nescafé but cannot verify it as of now) ran a particularly stiff wrench down the throats of women who aren’t straight out of a 1950s romantic movie by having the watcher’s ‘dream man’ offer her a cup of coffee alongside flights to Paris/moving out of her room so there’s space for her enormous pile of shoes.
Frankly, I don’t know how this stuff is allowed to make it to publication without someone raising a skeptical eyebrow, and in place of its absence we need people to inform and critique places where this lack of thought is let to slide or God forbid, encouraged, because I don’t want to live in a world that discriminates against other people for being different, for society to work we need more than white men.
- Edward Strickson
Eddy is an amateur writer living in Nottingham, England, probably not the home of Robin Hood, but definitely the home of Lord Byron, who’s arguably more interesting. He writes a somewhat skeptical daily blog at jengajam.wordpress.com to exercise his writing muscles and get impending thoughts out of his head without disturbing his friends and family, he also writes album reviews for www.alterthepress.com and as of yet unseen novels spreading messages of equality meshed into stories that are interesting enough to warrant writing 300 pages of. He is currently studying Biological Sciences at Nottingham Trent University where there is a happy diversity of all races and genders and one creationist.