Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂
Piers Morgan, Baby Wearing and Toxic Masculinity
So, on Good Morning Britain this week, the nation’s darling, Piers Morgan branded men who use baby carriers as ’embarrassing’. Yes, that man so beloved to us for his cheeky antics hacking the phone of a dead teenager and all the valiant toadying he’s done as a TV host in the US is embarrassed for men who carry their kids in a baby carrier. Credibility of the source aside, I think there’s a larger issue at play here. It’s evident to anyone who has encountered him that Piers Morgan is a first class imbecile who trades off this to make his fortune, but what does it matter, even if baby wearing is ’embarrassing’?
Sadly, it seems that masculinity in the world today is a fragile thing. Nowadays it seems we need Jordan Peterson to tell us to do our chores and iron our shirts. Joe Rogan to explain complex concepts to us and, most of all, that we’re being oppressed on every side by ‘minorities’.
Suddenly, it seems, the traditional rights of men, to have the world as we like it, to be a bit sexist or a bit racist when it suits us and generally to do what we want, are being taken away, and with it (somehow, I’m not sure on the logic here) our right to free speech is being eroded. In the blink of an eye it’s like we have to treat people like they’re people, even if they’re a different gender, different shade and regardless of who they sleep with.
My question is, when did this become a threat to being a man? I like to think of myself as a reasonably typical guy. I get obsessed with technology, obscure music and motorbikes. I have an easy life. It’s just like the world has been made for me to live in. Jobs are easy, no-one ever asks about my plans in regard to family in interviews. If I do well at work I progress in terms of position and salary unimpeded. Life is, frankly, great. So, why would it bother me at all if women, for example, wish to have the same things in their life? The brilliant thing about equality is that it never runs out. The world is not a zero sum game and we can all have the opportunities, the fun and all that.
And yet, all I see and hear now is from a new generation of men who are scared. Scared of women, scared of people from other countries, other religions, who like to sleep with other people or believe other things. The media seems dominated by these Piers Morgan types who tell us that we have to lose for other people to become equal. Who tell us that ‘free speech’ equates to the opportunity to belittle people in a consequence free environment.
This is not the masculinity I know from my father, my uncle, my grandfathers and mentors. The people who taught me to ‘be a man’ (and I’m lucky to have had many men do this) showed me about fairness and courage. I feel sorry that this is not something that seems to resonate with all men. The masculinity they seem so keen to regain seems to be a very frangible thing if it can be upset because dudes are carrying babies in baby carriers.
The fact is that real men don’t mind if women want us to change a nappy or carry the baby, we never did, it’s never been the case that masculinity is a fragile concept and, if you’re worried about it breaking, it’s because you were never a man in the first place.
Furthermore, it’s this sort of toxic masculinity that teaches men to bottle up their feelings, that men must behave in a certain way and why still, devastatingly, suicide is still the main killer of men under 40. So, Piers Morgan I’ll carry on baby wearing thanks very much and you can stick your views on masculinity in a place you should keep most of your views that I’d get edited for if I said it explicitly.