< SWITCH ME >

It has been nearly a century since the pinnacle achievements of male suffrage. Brave pioneers have chained themselves to railings, starved themselves or burned their jockstraps in order that men may enjoy equality before the law and in wider society. However, many say that the work of masculinists is far from over; statistically, men are likely to receive far less paid leave than women; men are still around 83% less well-dressed than women and millions of men struggle in abusive, domineering relationships. One man still sees the horrors to come and has made it his mission to bring the fight right into the media spotlight...

As he enters the room, I am struck by the sheer presence of this short, rotund academic. Can this really be the awe-inspiring voice of the new era of 21st century masculine activism? At 35 years old, Dr Clint Inapropos was last year appointed honorary lecturer in Gender Studies at Bristol University. Born in 1978 to parents in Worsbrough's mining community in the UK, Clint gained early experience of what he describes as the growing threat of female chauvinism:

Arrest_photo
Photo: flickr (CC-SA)
Police lead away a male activist during demonstrations in St Quentin, France.

'I was born into a rural mining village', he explains, ' and my father's mine was one of the first to close during the tyrannical reign of Britain's Thatcherite Government. At the time I don't think I really understood the issues at the heart of the problem, I was too young. Now with ever expanding front lines and a female Chancellor in Germany I can see more of the same happening throughout Europe, and indeed the whole of the West. It's essential we take action now to prevent a moral decline.'

How did you first become involved in masculinism?

'Well I harboured the ideology since I can remember thinking! However, it was really the old school gurus who inspired me and helped to flesh out those fuzzy ideas into tangible arguments. Jeremy Greer, for instance, in his book The Male Concubine, really articulated for me just how much Misandry there is among women in the West. Women really despise men and we're completely oblivious to it for the most part. What's worse, society teaches men to hate themselves, to hate their bodies.'

What evidence can you give to support that claim?

'Well where to begin!?', an exasperated tone creeps in, 'Just look at how society reinforces the message of "you're ugly and must change your body to fit in". Take the sixties for example, time was you couldn't walk down a side street without seeing a cavalcade of men sporting excesses of facial hair. Try that now, all you'll see is bald, child-like faces trudging past you. Men are taught that facial hair is ugly, perverse or unhygienic and therefore should be removed. Most men would be horrified at the thought of removing their scarf on a date to reveal a cluster of untamed chin follicles! We're expected to be completely clean-shaven, just like a young boy, and it's quite frankly obscene.'

Isn't that simply a personal, aesthetic choice? A product of living in a free, capitalist society?

'How can you call it a choice when we're bombarded with subliminal messages from when we can first walk and talk?' he squeals. 'It's a product of industries within our culture, namely pornography! Just look at how it's changed over the last 25 years, there's a great deal more of it. It doesn't stop there I might add, it controls the predominant female attitude towards men in society. Many women come into contact with pornography as young as 12 years old, it's a vicarious sexual experience and it shapes the way they view men for their entire lives. You've only got to walk through a busy main street to feel their eyes mentally undressing you. I have an electrician friend, he went out on a house call and while he was wiring behind the skirting board the attractive housewife stood right above him in a short skirt and thong, started rubbing her breasts and making orgasm noises. Needless to say he found the incident terribly distressing and has since filed charges. But why blame this woman when she's obviously seen it in some internet sex-vid and thinks that's how real people get on? To return to my earlier point the male actors are all clean shaven, it's created a culture where men are expected to be fresh-faced, young, muscular and with large often surgically-enhanced genitalia!'

Isn't that perhaps an objectively more attractive way to look?

'Certainly not! That's simply what society and the pornography industry have programmed you and many others to believe through years of brainwashing! There is simply no aesthetically objective difference between a herculean, youthful stud, like Channing Tatum say, and a more vascular, corpulent blowhard, like myself. Anyone who disagrees is at best wrong and at worst a bigot!'

So it's not just the pornography industry?

'Oh my, no! It's certainly a huge factor but our meddling wouldn't stop there, as I say it's deeply embedded in popular culture: the Twilight films, Tom Hardy, that Bieber sad case who everyone hates. What happened to equally attractive figures like Bruno Ganz or Anthony Hopkins? You don't see them playing bare-chested vampires necking Kristen Stewart in the woods, that would be far too much to ask!'

So how do you propose dealing with the problems? Restrict the internet? Limit what people can watch or read?

'Well I wouldn't say that', he winks while miming an elongating nose, 'but as we're very fond of saying here in Europe let's "open up a dialogue", you know, get some real good talking going on. I will say this, what do you want out of a free and equal society? Is it freedom of speech, making choices with your own body and having the ideas you agree with? I say it's the freedom to think the way people like me believe you should think, if we all just had my ideas about how people should view each other then we'd see the perfect Utopia. So what if we have to catalyse it with some harsh legal reforms? Look at the North Koreans, don't they seem happy enough? People forget that making your own mind up is a lot of hard work, why not let someone else do it for you?'

Don't you think there would be significant opposition to that?

'In Europe? Goodness no, why Norway made it illegal to criticise religion in 2006, the same year here in Britain we had a 14 year old girl arrested and imprisoned after saying she couldn't understand her Asian classmates. Our governments can't wait to bend over backwards for groups of offended people, it's one hell of a time to be moaning about stuff.'

Arn't there much more important issues related to gender? Say with legal status in Iran or with forced circumcision in Africa?

'Well there's two types of gender activists you see, there's the kind who risk their lives and dedicate years to campaigning for equal treatment in countries where serious violations of human rights go on. Places where people are subjugated, imprisoned, murdered and denied the vote on the basis of their sex with no legal protection. I take my hat off to them. However, I'm a completely different but equally important, courageous gender activist. We basically sit around in countries where those rights are guaranteed already and form theories about aspects of everyday life that piss us off. We then come up with draconian solutions to these and foist them on the general public, labelling any dissenters as intolerant.'

NEXT ISSUE
IN -824 DAYS