In 2004 I embarked, somewhat foolishly and naively, on a journey to write a trilogy of books about masculinity. In 2013 the third book was published, I sighed in relief, they had consumed nine years of my life. During the writing hiatuses I would tour a one-man show in which I experimented with concepts and ideas for the books. Those were tough times.
Animals of both sexes suffer under institutionalized exploitation. However, the female of the species often experiences more prolonged abuse, including an ongoing cycle of forceful artificial insemination (mechanical or manual rape), physical abuse of her mammary glands, and invariably being separated from her young; all of these are emotionally brutal experiences for the female members of any species.
British engineering is facing a serious skills shortage. Yesterday, the think tank IPPR published a report claiming that 'an additional 87,000 graduate level engineers will be needed in the UK each year between now and 2020' in order to meet growing demand, but that 'the higher education system is only producing 46,000 engineering graduates annually'. Well as a starter for ten, that maths doesn't look good.
Gender. You probably want gender equality, don't you? But gender is inequality. Gender is the convenient invention, the way we train women and men to be different, to be unequal. Gender equality is a smokescreen. Gender is a hierarchy. Feminine, masculine, they can never be equal, they are subordination and domination dressed up in frilly pink and crisp blue.
Women's lack of equality in so many crucial areas does eclipse many of the issues that men can feel unequal about. Yet, these opinions are often used in comments in feminism discussions/articles/blogs to belittle the progress and aim of feminism as a movement, but they need to be taken into context with the wider issues of gender equality.
The urgent physical urge to stop everything now is as primal as sex. At that point, ripping off the civilised veneer that the world sees and coming out, is as contrary an idea as putting a hand deeper into a fire. Bad enough you looking at you, which you can't bear to do. To have others see you as you are, right then, is unconscionable.
We're well into the 21st Century - monogamy should no longer be the unspoken rule. Isn't it time for everyone to openly admit that not just men have sexual desires? Women who begin Tinder exchanges are probably more common than you think (it's not just straight white boys). What's the point in being coy and not saying what we really want to say?
The removal of a truly dreadful secretary of state - who in the badger cull demonstrated his broader contempt or total failure to understand scientific evidence - is something to celebrate. The departure of education secretary Michael Gove is also cause for celebration. Again, his replacement is largely an unknown quality, her vote against gay marriage a cause for concern, but there's an opportunity here for the government to draw a line under a truly awful period for English schools.
Being collaborative is often cited as something that women are better at than men. Now before I elaborate on this point I would like to start with the caveat that there are more differences among men and among women than there are between the genders. I think it's important to make that case up front and to make sure that any discussion on gender differences does not resort to general stereotyping.
I get called a lot of things by taxidermy enthusiasts, animal-rights activists, and the media. I'm apparently an instructor, an expert, a hipster, an animal hater, a sicko, a stuffer...but one of the most puzzling things I have been called recently is a "woman taxidermist" and I get asked the same question time and time again "Why are so many women taking up taxidermy classes?".