Thursday, August 18, 2005

Men As Unemployable Sperm Donors

A former BBC newsreader, one Michael Buerk, thinks that the balance of power between the genders has veered too far towards women and that this has left men with very little. All men are good for now is sperm production. At least in Britain. This is what Mr. Buerk said:

Buerk cited women in the top jobs in BBC broadcasting as an example, saying "these are the people who decide what we see and hear", and said society needs to admit there is a problem.

"Life is now being lived according to women's rules", he told the Radio Times. "The traits that have traditionally been associated with men - reticence, stoicism, single-mindedness - have been marginalised.

"The result is that men are becoming more like women. Look at the men who are being held up as sporting icons - David Beckham and, God forbid, Tim Henman."

The former Nine O'Clock News presenter said some changes have been for the good, but asked: "What are the men left with?"

"Men gauge themselves in terms of their career, but many of those have disappeared. All they are is sperm donors, and most women aren't going to want an unemployable sperm donor loafing around and making the house look untidy. They are choosing not to have a male in the household."

Funny guy, this Mr. Buerk. An even funnier (and in a different sense of "funny") gal is Ros Taylor who answered Mr. Buerk very well:

Not to bring up a sensitive subject, Michael, but that's bollocks. A European Commission for Equal Opportunities survey in 2002 put the proportion of women in middle management at 30%, and that included females working in "administrative positions". The controller of BBC1 is now Peter Fincham. True, a number of women hold senior jobs in TV. Two of them even edit national dailies. But anyone who imagines that Rebekah Wade has feminised the Sun needs to take a look at Page Three, and a glance at the BBC Four schedule suggests that controller Janice Hadlow is hardly indulging the foibles of female viewers.

How about men's "reticence, stoicism and single-mindedness"? Curiously, the Adam Smith Institute recently suggested that it was just these qualities in women that made them less likely to obtain firsts at Oxford and Cambridge. "The boy sees the big picture, takes risks, and often misses important material," one (male) don explained. "The girl is systematic, does the detailed work, and sometimes misses the central thesis."

Mr Buerk is also worried about falling sperm counts. Let me explain the logic, Michael. Women take the Pill in order to oestrogenise the water supply and ensure we get promoted over testosterone-deficient men at work. That way, we can get pregnant and … oh well, never mind. Put it this way: if this is life under the stiletto, then for God's sake kick us back into the kitchen. We're doing a poor job of running the world for our own benefit.

Instead of trying to exceed the funniness quotient of these quotes I want to look at the seedy underside of Mr. Buerk's thinking. For example, he thinks that a world which is still quite strongly weighted towards favoring his sex is a world that isn't adequately unbalanced in his favor. He also generalizes from a few female bosses whom he seems to have disliked to the whole gender. Or perhaps the direction of his thinking went in the opposite direction: he dislikes women so female bosses must be bad? I don't know, but that's the impression I get.

But it's even more striking how little Mr. Buerk thinks of men. Surprising, really, considering that he is a man himself. He can't see any reason for a woman to have a man around unless he's paying her in some way. In Mr. Buerk's world men indeed would become unemployable sperm donors, because that is how he appears to view them: as either buying the sex or just giving it away for nothing. What a meager and nasty world this is.

It's a relief that my world isn't like that. Men are very fascinating just as they are, and there are many reasons for having one or two in the house, completely independently of their sperm or income levels.

Still, I feel sorry for Mr. Buerk, for the fear he feels and for the way he sees his whole world collapsing. It must be very painful, even though none of it is real. All the same, he should have limited his ideas to the ears of his therapist. That's what I do with all the really funny stuff.
Props to Siobhan41 and Hybrid0