British Author Burned on Twitter Over Book on 'Masculinity'
NEW DELHI: Matt Haig, British writer famous for his book on depression, "Reason To Stay Alive", among others, found himself in the eye of a Twitter storm when he suggested on the portal that his forthcoming book will be about men's notions of 'masculinity'.
“Maybe I am missing something. There may be too many books about and by men, but not many looking at the perils of masculinity. Am I wrong?”He wrote on June 13. “Unless you want to DO AWAY WITH MEN, then we need to look at what masculinity is and why its current interpretation causes problems.”
Haig's explanation for such a move, as he elaborated is that a man's view of his masculinity is something that can be made to conform with the feminist ideas, and that they would overall be better off with feminism's success. “men benefit more than women from sexism, but both would be better off with feminism”, he said, articulating his egalitarian outlook about the issue, as reported in Guardian.
But no sooner had he unraveled his grand plan to align men's goodwill with those of women's, he was bombarded with a barrage of radical views from women such as "stop talking about feminism now”, “feminism doesn’t exist to help males. Period.”And, accused him that he “has been mansplaining feminism”.
In his defense Haig wrote, "People (rightly) say men need to be feminist, yet when a man wants to write re gender and pitfalls of masculinity, they’re met with sneers. The sad thing about the Twitter age is that people can be crucified for a rushed thought. … Seems there is a certain kind of hardcore feminist (the kind who’d be Clarkson if they’d been born male) who think men CAN’T be feminist.”
Haig cleared his view further by saying,“it is NOT sexist to say that a tightly defined construct of masculinity harms men' and he was, "suspicious of all those silencing [phrases] like man flu and man up and mansplaining, because men need to talk more about feelings not less”.
Seemingly frustrated by the continued pillorying Haig wrote “I have never felt oppressed by women, or that feminism is a problem. I do think boys find it hard to like things seen as feminine. I want my son not to feel self-conscious he likes ballet and my daughter to carry on playing Han Solo, that’s all,” and “How clear can I put this? I am not denying female oppression, I am trying to stop it by calling for a more fluid masculinity.”
“I’ve always thought feminism had a lot to say about both genders, as it is hard to talk about one without the other. I think men and women alike would benefit from men having a more fluid idea of what being a man is.” Haig said.
His comments came in what seems like a season of Twitter "witch hunt", as Nobel laureate Physician Tim Hunt was made to resign from his position as Fellow of Royal Society and University College London in the wake of his comments about women's inability to maintain professionalism in labs and they cry when they are criticised.