Leeds columnist ponders feminism and male dominance

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I recently wrote an article on the problem of period poverty, writes guest columnist David Kelly.

I like to think I’m a relatively enlightened guy. I’ve even read some books. So it was a shock to me to hear I had upset some people, who are of the opinion these things are best left to females to write about and discuss. So my immediate response was, well why didn’t they then?

It’s tricky being a chap, born in the late ‘70s, coming to terms with new gender labels and the way some people self-identify. You’re talking about a guy here who thought gender fluid was an ointment!

Is feminism still relevant, and more to the point, how is a chap supposed to know the difference between old fashioned values/respect and condescending male dominance in the modern world? I`ve written some things on the glass ceiling effect. I’m pretty open minded in thinking, if someone is qualified and capable to do a job, then they are the right person for it, no questions asked. I get that the gender gap, although closing and getting smaller, is still a topic for current debate. Look at every panel on BBC Question Time! But I believe things will never be 100 per cent equal because we don’t live in an equal society.

Time must, and always do, change. There are far more liberal thinkers in today’s younger generation, with massive impetus on celebrating women in our culture, who have excelled in their chosen profession and achievement. Rightly so. I listen to arguments about sexism between my 12-year-old daughter and my 73-year-old dad and cringe about some of the points being raised, with a wry smile that my girl can verbalise in a reasoned thought-out way and gives as good as she gets. She understands who she is, has a place in the world and a voice. Her pappy ain’t raising no fool!

So as males, how do we get it right without losing our own identity? I’m talking about discussing things openly and honestly, without fear of upsetting people with a different viewpoint, but also those who relish in informing anyone within earshot: ‘I’m offended’ without the ability to reason why. This has been described in some circles as snowflake mentality - a relatively new concept to my ears.

I don’t share Bernard Manning views. Those a bit older may remember him closing Dame Esther Rantzen down on a Parkinson interview, which some have interpreted as bullying or passive aggressive male dominance. But would the same points be valid about Jo Brand destroying hecklers at her near-the-knuckle shows which a lot of males think quite offensive? Who knows?

Most people treat each other with fairness and respect, but we occasionally get thrown a curve ball. One such occasion being when I recently held a door open for a young lady ... to be greeted with a tut and look of contempt.

Despite your gender, you are not your accomplishments. You cannot base your idea of success on what you have done or what you have earned. True success comes from who you are, the way you love and what you give – male or female. The war of the sexes is a battle I feel that will have no winner. Hopefully there is room for strong personalities, likeable or not, on both sides of the gender wall.

After all, funny is funny, angry is angry and idiots will always be idiots. Period!