I am proud to be a man. I love women, am married to a great wife, have wonderful daughters, still admire, miss and love my mum who died over 10 years ago. Partly thanks to her I’m on the centre right politically and regard Margaret Thatcher as the greatest politician of my lifetime. In her 11 years in power partly through female attributes she totally transformed Britain.
Despite all this, I am proud to be a man and am in awe at all my gender’s achievements throughout history, what we’ve built, won, created, cured and invented. And yet much of what I see and read focuses just on the bad.
Currently the trial of Harvey Weinstein has put the #metoo campaign back to the fore. This and the other uncritical reporting of the views of radical feminists dominates much of the debate around men and their behaviour on social media.
There is also the casual anti-male slant on TV, the recently finished series of The Apprentice, featuring that outspoken critic of workplace sexism Baroness Brady, had some fine examples.
There are alternative views on issues such as the gender pay gap as famously argued by clinical psychologist and best-selling non-fiction author Jordan Peterson in his interview with Channel Four’s Cathy Newman which has now clocked up over 18 million views.
There needs to be some balance, some celebration of the good that men do and some support of young males carving out a path in life. Tragically suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the United Kingdom and this depiction in the traditional and social media bears some responsibility I believe. In 2017 there were approximately 5,821 registered deaths by suicide equating to an average of 16 suicides per day.
Jordan Peterson’s rules for life
As a result of writing this blog, I’ve just reacquainted myself with the already mentioned Jordan Peterson’s ’12 Rules for Life, An antidote to chaos’.
Here are the first 10:
- Stand up straight with your shoulders back
- Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping
- Make friends with people who want the best for you
- Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today
- Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
- Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world
- Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
- Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie
- Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t
- Be precise in your speech
A fine set of commandments, I would say, rules that could be applied not just to life – male or female – but to discourse around important issues such as sexism and how to behave on social media.
I also see Jordan Peterson, now 58, as a role model for those like me approaching their sixties. He’s had the guts to say what he believes, whatever the consequences, something I aspire to in the years to come.