Gender norms are so fixed that we refuse to recognise male victims of sexual violence just as we refuse to identify female perpetrators. As a woman, I was taught from a very early age that men are always after sex, the same way I was taught that sex is not a primary drive for women. Ridiculous as both these statements sound, they're still inscribed on our social psyche.
Why can't excellent women progress in their careers in proportion to their talent? Every day, it seems, a new factor is blamed. We're too apologetic and indecisive. Or self-deprecating and cute. We lack confidence in the company of alpha males. We can't crack the 'boys club' mentality in the boardroom. Some of us over-compensate and play it super-tough or 'bossy'. What's best?
The problem with feminism isn't with the idea itself, but everything that surrounds it. From the misunderstanding of what the term actually means, to the idea that it is only for women. In fact, feminism is a threat to the way things have been for centuries, one which affects the demographic I belong to particularly: the white, straight, middle-class male.
The effect of living in a world where people of one sex are treated - in myriad tiny, indistinguishable, invisible ways - completely and utterly differently from people of another sex is enormous. You don't need to directly experience each individual component for this level of combined violence and oppression and prejudice to have a huge impact on you - on your life and your lifestyle, your ideas and ideals, and your fundamental perception of yourself and of the world around you. We think of men and women as living and working in the same world, and experiencing it similarly. But in many ways the manifestation of an identical event or activity by one might be entirely unrecognizable to the other.
Journalists tend to spend their days scrutinising other people's business. Science writers are no exception, asking questions like whether scientists are conducting themselves and their research ethically or wondering how science should adapt to an increasingly digital world. Tomorrow, we turn this spotlight on ourselves and our professional community.