Obsessed with women's rights?
‘Why are you so obsessed with women’s rights?’ my son George used to moan as I had another rant about rising rates of domestic violence or lack of equal pay. He paid me back as a teenager by putting a poster of naked women on his wall, knowing that it would provoke me. But his question masked a feeling that somehow I was not interested in stories of boys being treated badly, or men who were suffering, and he felt this keenly because he too was a boy.
Since then we have had many discussions and I think he understands much more why I feel women’s rights are so important. But he had a point. So recently I have been taking his advice and looking at this from a different perspective – a male one.
I have been talking to men from different countries about what it means to be a man and how this is changing. Men who want change, not only to ensure that we live in a more equal world, but because inequality damages both sexes. I also talked to women who were suspicious of the growing trend of ‘men for gender equality’. After all, they say, women are still abused, raped and discriminated against. Too right. Squaring this circle is never going to be easy. Which is why I wanted to explore the issue here.
There are other fascinating debates in this magazine, too – for example, the argument between Laurie Pycroft and Helen Marston about whether animal testing is needed to advance medical research. Danny Chivers writes about how big companies are moving in on biofuels, contributing to the global spike in food prices and depriving the Majority World of much-needed land. And Adam Beach, Canadian First Nations actor, talks about his new film Cowboys and Aliens.
Nikki van der Gaag for the New Internationalist co-operative.
As society becomes more tolerant of homosexuality, men find the freedom to be emotionally open and physically tactile with each other, explain Mark McCormack and Eric Anderson.
Krystian Legierski believes the tide is turning in Poland. He speaks to James Gray about his struggles against a notoriously homophobic and xenophobic administration.