Having recently watched Don’t F**k with Cats on Netflix, I wasn’t sure whether I should write this post at all. Giving the time of day to people who act in this way is giving them the attention they clearly crave. Hopefully though, whilst this may be pouring fuel on the fire of the infamy these men have gained, this may be a cathartic experience for the both of us because quite honestly, sometimes it’s fun to point out that misogynistic people are senseless.
Take, for example, Laurence Fox’s golden rule of not dating “women under 35”. If he really doesn’t like young people that much, why does he act so much like a child? Except rather than, say, refusing to eat something because it’s different and weird, he chooses not to associate with people with contrasting views to his own because he sees different as not only weird, but unpalatable.
On one hand, I completely understand that on many an occasion opposites don’t attract. Not many people would like to date someone that they disagree with. I’m not saying that Laurence was, therefore, incorrect to end things with the woman that inspired his “women under 35” rule. On the other hand, saying that said woman would have made his life “miserable” because of her feminist views indicates that he would be unwilling to even make friends with someone who thinks that the Gillette advert’s message about toxic masculinity was a positive one. Ironically, it’s the toxic masculinity the advert is fighting against that would be more likely to make Fox’s life “miserable”.
For some context, if you’re lucky enough not to have heard of Laurence Fox, he’s the guy who rose to notoriety when he made some inflammatory comments on BBC’s Question Time, then proceeded to act the victim when a race and ethnicity researcher pointed out the fact that his privilege meant he had little understanding of racism in the modern world. To that, he said;
“To call me a white privileged male is to be racist”
Yep – in response to an accusation of a lack of awareness of racism (from someone who spends their life educating themselves on the subject), he really went and pulled the (mythical) ‘reverse racism’ card. Not only that, but he played the victim whilst doing it – ironic, since he actually thinks it’s women who are “primed” to “believe they are victims”.
On that matter – how about we start criticising the system which makes women feel unsafe, rather than the women themselves, eh Laurence? When I read that quote, I couldn’t help but think of this video, led by the creator of Netflix’s Sex Education, which features anecdotal evidence as to why women feel “primed” to feel this way. I get the feeling that Laurence has never been exposed (or at least hasn’t paid attention) to anecdotes of this kind.
Another privileged person for whom equality feels like oppression is ex Monty Python member Terry Gillam. He thinks that white men are being ‘attacked’ too much in the #MeToo movement, calling it “mob mentality”. Rather than accept it as a feminist movement that needed to happen, and acknowledging that it’s #NotAllMen, he’d rather interpret it as a “witch hunt”.
For whatever reason, men like Laurence Fox and Terry Gillam seem to get their kicks out of attacking others. Maybe it’s because the increasing power of women has yet again resulted in male discomfort. Maybe it’s because they’re scared of being equal to rather than more privileged than others.
Whatever their reasoning, wherever there’s good in the world, there’s always going to be people like Laurence and Terry. Hopefully, though, in the same way that names like these are dying out, the fury and pain people feel as a result of a slow decline in their privileged status will die out too.