The Sexual Stereotyping of the Heterosexual Male Part II

Malachi O'Doherty gives his views ahead of the Belfast Festival debate.

One of the things that feminism taught us about well was stereotyping. Women in revolt had nailed the flawed appraisal of the male eye. Women had been seen as passive, sexually inert, intellectually limited and domestically gifted. F**k that, said women. And they were right.

They provided a critique that said that male and female were socially conditioned roles rather than biological criteria - which was a bit of a stretch - but they put up a barrage of arguments grounded on that perspective that were liberating and exhilarating.

On sexuality, for instance, they asserted the woman's right to pleasure, contested the idea that the vagina was a mere receptacle for the only real sex organ that knew how to enjoy itself. They said that men could mind the kids and do the dishes, while they went out and bought vibrators.

What they did not properly guard against was the creation of new stereotypes that would demean men.

The heterosexual man is the patsy of the sexual revolution.

There may be a glass ceiling that prevents women rising to top positions in industry and government but there is another one that stops the heterosexual male being accepted as mature, creative and wise or even half civilised.

The gay man is absolved much of this. He indulges his plumage and swanks and is marvelled at as a free sexual spirit, riding, effectively, on the back of the feminist breakthrough. But the heterosexual male? Well, he has a lot to put up with.

On one hand feminism defines him as the agent of a global patriarchy, attributing to him both sinister intent and manipulative genius. On the other hand he is the hapless, sexually dull and intrinsically selfish slouch, who couldn't boil and egg let alone conspire in the subjugation of the female.

He has moved from being Rhett Butler to Homer Simpson, though both were self centred and animalistic.

Germaine Greer says that the problem of relationships is that men don't like women, but women do like men. She speculates that all men are homosexual because they would rather hang out together and go to football matches than be with women.

Well, men are in a bit of a mess. They are not just the patsy of the sex war; they are the fodder of all wars. They fill the prisons and their suicide rates are higher. And what is it about football? But surely it is time for them also to start screaming about how they have been victimised and abused?

Carlo Gebler, Malachi O'Doherty and BBC Radio Ulster presenter, Gerry Anderson will debate the stereotyping of the heterosexual male at a panel discussion in the Elmwood Hall on October 17 as part of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's. Book tickets here.