Sexism against men is as evil as that suffered by women

I am often taken aback by how the gender discourse has become shorthand for women's issues. I suspect that there is someone out there who thinks "gender" is simply a more sophisticated name for what unlearned people refer to as "women".

I am often taken aback by how the gender discourse has become shorthand for women's issues. I suspect that there is someone out there who thinks "gender" is simply a more sophisticated name for what unlearned people refer to as "women".

That, perhaps, is why the so-called gender activists, who in reality are women's rights activists, have chosen to ignore the other slur from the idiotic Floyd Shivambu and his older alter ego, the secretary of the Umkhonto weSizwe veterans' association Ramatuku Maphutha.

It seems nobody made a big deal about the sexism against the men Helen Zille appointed to her Western Cape cabinet. I don't know whether those men are good at what they do, but to suggest that they got their positions in return for sexual favours is sexist in the extreme.

The youth league and their adult (for want of a better word) version are saying that a group of people who will be politically responsible for the fortunes of the nearly five million citizens of Western Cape have slept their way to the top, and the Gender Commission does not think that this needs its attention.

For the women's commission - to give it a name it should rather use - the dignity of those men in that cabinet do not matter. They are the "wrong gender" and therefore out of their loop.

Somebody needs to send a message that as much as it is demeaning to women to suggest that they got their jobs because of their gender, or because they were willing to prostitute themselves, it is similarly not acceptable to suggest that of men.

Had anybody said that President Jacob Zuma appointed the four women premiers in exchange for sexual favours it would have been an outrage, and rightly so.

All right, thinking people, including male feminists, would have called for the sanctioning of those making such remarks. Unfortunately in South Africa we don't have - or I am not aware of - a movement to protect the rights of men.

This has a lot to do with the gender discourse that tends to overstate male power, thus enabling any fool to make derogatory comments about men without anybody telling them off.

That is why we have seen so many television ads about wimpish men who cannot keep time, change a diaper or remember important days in the lives of their loved ones. And as men, we allow such caricatures of us to go on in the naïve belief that objecting might put us in the feminist movement's bad books.

I am in no way downgrading the reality and savagery of the sexism expressed against Zille, nor the pain that women all over the world are subjected to by a system that treats them as inferior simply because they were born with different body parts to those of men.

Just like Zille, these men have partners and families. The slur must have hurt them as much as it did their new boss. It is delusional and sexist to think that it would not have hurt them as much as it would women.

To accept that anti-male sexism is a less evil is similar to saying that black racism is justifiable. For, just as women have suffered hundreds of years of prejudice at the hands of men, so have black people at the hands of whites.

That is why we waged the struggle for a nonracial and nonsexist society.

X