My right shoulder is injured. All day I’ve been walking on the far right of footpaths so that if Mark or Peter walk towards me I could ‘inadvertently’ run into them without hurting myself. Not to cause any pain either, just a nice friendly push of disagreement.
Yes, I am going out with Ellie Kuper Thomas, one of the current Women’s Officers.
And no, I don’t think she needs my help, she’s doing a great job herself (and so is the rest of WomCom). If you think this is what caused me to write this, then you are wrong. I don’t have those kinds of beliefs because I’m going out with her; I’m going out with her because we share those (and many other) beliefs. Not that anyone cares – but I’m sure it will come up in comments.
I think Mark and Peter could have done a good job. They could have made it entertaining and made some interesting points and maybe open a debate. Instead, their jokes were just miserable, their point got lost and even their own group of friends barely laughed as their performance went from bad to worse.
No, I didn’t have a particular problem with it being offensive, I don’t think that’s what matters and offensive humour often is the best kind anyway. I didn’t shout abuse because it was offensive, but because it was stupid and a waste of time. They weren’t unanimously boo-ed off because the audience disagreed, because we were all “ultra left-wing” or felt offended, but rather because they had nothing of value to offer…
Regardless, YUSU had to choose one of two paths. Either they dismiss their claim of transsexuality upfront and take them off the ballot – but telling people how they have to self-define is treading in dangerous waters.
Or, they take them seriously throughout and so don’t pick and choose which lines count as ‘humour’ and which don’t. This is the path they chose: “All men are rapists”, “death to men”, “banning fat women” etc; all this has to be taken seriously now. Maybe it even qualifies as hate-speech and should be reported. I don’t think I really agree with hate-speech laws, but then again I disagree with the smoking ban and still enjoy smoke-free pubs.
I do believe in some healthy revenge though and hope yesterday’s performance will haunt them back when they start looking for jobs.
I think Women’s Committee is important. Yes, men and women are almost always equal under the law, but they are still often judged very differently. Of course you can’t force people not to do that, but this isn’t what WomCom is trying to do anyway.
What you can do though is open up the debate, demystify opinions and try to reason with people, which is exactly what events like Tell., the Living Library, Mind the Gap etc. are doing. I did help with some of the geeky aspects of those events and yes, that was partly to help Ellie, but also because I enjoy it and think that it’s worthwhile.
But I also think a men’s committee is a good idea. Sadly, this hasn’t been set up, but I’m not sure you can really blame YUSU for that.
Charlotte and Janey seem very open to male participation, and most WomCom campaigns are directed at all genders. Maybe once there is sufficient male participation, they will realise that there are some male specific issues too and a new committee will branch off. Or maybe it will just start independently.
But either way, I don’t think it’ll face too much opposition and would just become a part of YUSU Welfare. Look at Manchester’s MENS, they work on issues “from testicular cancer to the high rates of male depression and suicide” and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in that. Just like LGBT and Women’s currently work together for liberation campaigns, a Men’s Committee could join in on gender equality and many other campaigns.
All the sub-groups of YUSU Welfare have very similar aims even if sometimes directed at different parts of the student population. A Men’s committee would just improve this.
In the end, I really think Mark and Peter actually did a favour to Women’s Committee. It not only raised their profile, but also showed them how much support they actually have. Yesterday was a good day for Women’s Committe and a bad day for humour (discounting the amazing performance of Dave Hansen, of course).