This post was written by @ANewMother and originally appeared in her blog Motherhood and Other Misnomers.
I’m not talking about a woman letting off steam about the man in her life who lets her down in numerous, heartbreaking ways, and who is possibly the latest in a long line of men who have treated her badly. In my opinion, this is not the same thing. (In some cases, no doubt it leads to hating men. But that’s not what I’m interested in).
There seems to be a trend in advertising and the media to portray men in a less than favourable light. From a recent campaign by Boots in which two women are discussing their numerous tasks for the weekend, all to be completed whilst bravely soldiering on with the flu (whilst their partners are in bed with a cold), to this article in the Telegraph here, in which the paper conducts a straw poll, the message is simple: men are a little bit useless.
Why is this acceptable?
The implication of the question, “If you are a woman, would you trust a man to take the male contraceptive pill?” is that men are inherently more unreliable than women. Where is the evidence for this? Do we ask men if they trust their girlfriends/partners/wives to take the pill?
I’ve been so busy thinking about the example I set for my son that somehow I hadn’t really noticed this stereotype, persistent and reinforced at every turn. I can see that it’s not enough to watch my colour choices, or encourage him to play with both cars and dolls, or to try to model equality. I will have to be alert to these kinds of negative messages which tell him that because he’s male, he’s not expected to be reliable, or capable, or any any other positive character attribute the media deems unnecessary based on his gender.
I was sort of prepared for the nappies. (Ok, that’s a lie.) I wasn’t really prepared for this. Nonetheless, as my title suggests, this mean war.