Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Discrimination against men

Catching up on the news since my return from London, I came across this letter in the local paper:

"______ (Letters, May 10) is right to complain about the ways that women and their organisations discriminate against men.
Well here's another one - packaging; whether food, household goods, sticking plasters, drink cartons, rolled up sticky tape that can only be opened by someone with fingernails.
However, the humiliation increases when confronted by a package so fiendishly impossible that the manufacturers are forced to print instructions on how to open the damn thing. In common with most men I usually disregard the instruction as unnecessary and probably unintelligible anyway (they are usually written in pidgin English). I then assault the thing with hands, teeth, feet, foul language etc until it ends up resembling the tin that once contained a nail bomb and is totally useless. My wife, however, would have simply read, understood and followed the instructions with a smug combination of speed and ease.
This is clearly discrimination - the whole thing is obviously designed by and for a woman, so as to make them seem more intelligent than us blokes.
Well they are not ........ are they? DW of Lynton"

Duck commented on my last post that colour recognition is a female attribute, I wonder if there are any more areas of discrimination that need to be addressed?


  1. You could write a book on this topic. Another form of discrimination is the assumption that men, like women, can recall a lengthy conversation verbatim. This is how my wife will apprise me of a conversation she had with someone else - not by summarizing the major points, but by recreating the entire conversation. When I've been asked by her to tell me what I talked about with someone else, she has always shown great disappointment in my reluctance to do likewise, suspecting that I've been keeping secrets from her, or don't care enough to share things with her. The fact is, I can't recall everything that was said, or even 10%. I can recall the major points, that's it.

  2. I've recently read two novels by women writers using male narrators as their main characters - 'I'll never be young again' by Daphne du Maurier and 'All he ever wanted' by Anita Shreve. There are lots of parallels between the books and they would make quite an interesting study, but I doubt the authenticity of the male voices; I think we may make valid observations of the opposite sex but I think real understanding is mutually exclusive.

  3. Oh, I'm all for rank discrimination in food-packaging. It buttresses my lectures on natural law when my wife wants me to do something around the kitchen. Ok, ok, but doesn't this guy understand why God made Swiss Army Knives? Anyway, I'd like to help him out, but I'm too busy helping the local feminists organize their protest march against oversized snow-shovels.

    As to literature, monix, I'm a great fan of murder mysteries, a genre where women authors have made a big presence in the last twenty years. I've learned to be very wary of books by men with female heros or by women with male heros. Too perfect by half doesn't begin to describe them. They are obviously describing their dreams about the one that got away when they were sixteen. Sometimes I don't know what is worse- misogynists/man-haters or those who insist they (and only they) understand completely the tragedy and nobility of the other sex.

  4. Du Maurier is one of the better ones at it. The House on the Strand has a male protagonist. He's a bit of a one-dimensional semi-autistic cipher, but then a lot of real men are.

  5. The great example in the States right now is that, in elementary schools (K-5), "normal" is girl-normal.

  6. One of the directives that drove me into retirement was that all my information leaflets, reports etc had to be reprinted to refer to all children as 'she/her'.

  7. Ditto Peter.

    Few authors or authoresses seem to get it right when his/her hero/heroine is of the opposite sex.

  8. Glad to see you again, erp.

    Since entering into this discussion about cross gender writing, I've been looking up other instances and am finding it fascinating. Perhaps I'll write something about it when I've finished my study.


I love to read your comments and promise that I will reply as soon as I can leave my garden, sewing room or kitchen!