Before anyone accuses me of being a bra-burning, male-hating feminist, please let me assure you this is certainly not the case. For anyone who knows me, knows that I’ve always accepted my role as a woman graciously. Too proud to let a man pay for me on a date? Never. Strong enough to carry my own luggage when travelling? Not if I can help it! Which is precisely why I am going to say what I’m about to say.
News this week has been rife with male-related health incidents, starting with that good old gem, ‘Man flu’. “Man flu evidence mounts”, the Daily Telegraph tells us, although already by the stand first you can tell that the journalist (male himself, by the way), is unconvinced. “Researchers have found new evidence that ‘man flu’ does exist-in their heads at least”, he tells us, referring to a study carried out on South Korean men. They found that men “overrate” the symptoms of a common cold while women do not, and claimed this is because they get more stressed at work than their female counterparts. It concluded, quite rightly, therefore, that women are more “stoical” in the face of a cold.
Blah-dy blah-dy blah. Tell us something we don’t already know.
And then, as if by magic-“they did concede that Korean men might get more colds than women because they tended to be the main bread winners, and hence ‘may experience higher levels of work-related strerrors’”, the article continues. Uh, yeah. Maybe in the 1950’s. Official statistics for
Which is ironic, really, because another surprising piece of news to grace us with this week also seems to be stuck in the past. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) data, smoking is the main reason why, on average, men die earlier than women across
But according to Cancer Research (which you may concede is a rather reliable source), although the disparity between male and female smokers used to be significant (82%:41%, to be precise), the latest figures from 2008 show only a 1% difference between the sexes. Certainly not enough to account for the 60% gap!
So come on, own up, what is it? Are you boys really less hardy than us? Are we really able to withstand the fatal effects of tobacco better than you? Do you really feel the need to dramatise what we would call a common cold into a near-enough disease? What happened to the stereotype of the strong man who protects his swooning lover? Where have you gone?
It’s nice to see that at least some men are taking their roles seriously this week. A certain master detective, Sherlock Holmes, is to follow in the footsteps of James Bond, after gaining a new lease of life in the hands of high-profile modern novelist Anthony Horowitz. And whilst Horowitz will retain Conan-Doyle’s Victorian setting, he has made it clear that he is aiming to produce a “first rate mystery for a modern audience while remaining absolutely true to the spirit of the original.” Boys, why can’t you do the same? Heaven knows you have, and always will be a “first rate mystery”, but surely you can continue evolving in the modern world “while remaining absolutely true to the spirit of the original”? (which, by the way, would mean retaining some amount of the macho which we women so desperately require from you.) Are real men really now only a thing of fiction?
So for the last time, let us be the weaker sex, please! And for God’s sake, just be a man.