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Irish Times
15 October 2000

Real men stand up for what they know is right
By David Quinn

Pay close attention, particularly if you are a man, because what you are about to read could change the way you view your personal habits. Did you know that standing while urinating is a political act? No, in fact, it's worse than that. It is a patriarchal act, a symbol of male arrogance and dominance over women.

I kid you not. Truly enlightened men - Swedish men to be precise - are beginning to cotton on to this. An article in The Spectator a few months ago informed the world that among the Swedish chattering classes, men, in solidarity with their women, now sit down while they urinate. Only barbarians stand.

It can only be a matter of time before it begins to dawn on Irish men, or at least those most sensitive to the needs of women, that to stand while urinating is indeed a terrible thing.

Informed sources tell me that even now The Irish Times is beginning to debate the matter. In order to encourage things along Fintan O'Toole has let it be known that he sits. Those in The Irish Times who take their lead from him, and they are many, are beginning to follow his example.

Kevin Myers, on the other hand, has said he will resign before he sits. Another well-known journalist thought about it for a while and then, in rebellion at the very suggestion that he should sit, decided instead to pee all over the floor.

I understand that RTE is considering ripping out urinals from men's toilets and installing closed-circuit television cameras in the cubicles to ensure that the men sit. Standing, being a sign of a deep- rooted contempt towards women, will become a sackable offence.

This new, enlightened attitude towards urinating also is beginning to win converts in our schools. For example, I am told that my old school has already removed urinals. This is due in no small part to the wonderful effects of the new Exploring Masculinities programme that has taught the boys of St Paul's College, Raheny, all about the wickedness of masculinity.

Gentle reader, of course all of the above is a send-up. The Irish Times and RTE are not considering the matter. My old school has not ripped out the urinals. In America, however, it is genuinely the case that in some schools boys are encouraged to sit rather than stand while doing their business. Some Swedish men agonise about how they should urinate, and my old school really is teaching boys about the evils of masculinity.

This last fact I learned from an article in this newspaper three weeks ago. Stung into action, I obtained for myself a copy of the programme.

Its 418 pages teach boys about men in the workplace; men and power; men and sex and health and relationships; men and violence; and men and sport. At first glance it all looks benign enough but in reality this programme is the educational equivalent of Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

It comes at its victims with a smile, it tells them it has their best interests at heart but really it wants to perform a frontal lobotomy on them. It wants to cut out of boys their wicked male hearts because in its touchy-feely, smiley-sneaky kind of way, what it tells boys is that in all walks of life men are a problem and maleness a pathology.

Naturally its proponents will vehemently deny this. They will tell you that what they are objecting to is not men as such but the way society has taught them to be men. That's why the programme is called Exploring Masculinities, because there are all kinds of ways to be masculine. Society has taught boys to be male in one way, the programme will teach them to be male in another.

What is going on here is that Exploring Masculinities has decided the old nature versus nurture argument ends in favour of nurture. Men have no given nature - they are as they are because of society. To put it mildly, this is a controversial position which has a growing weight of evidence against it, evidence that says that some of the differences between men and women are innate. It's closer to the mark to say that we are part-nature, part-nurture.

The Exploring Masculinities programme is quite explicit in its rejection of this view. In its executive summary it says flatly: "It is a fundamental premise of the Exploring Masculinities initiative that masculinity is a social construct."

It is equally explicit about where this idea comes from: "Recognition of masculinity as a social construct derives from the insights and increased levels of awareness developed by the feminist movement which was the precursor for Men's Studies."

In other words, Exploring Masculinities is feminist propaganda that the Department of Education has fallen for hook, line and sinker. Its aim is to feminise boys, maybe your sons, by turning them into Sensitive New Age Guys. Nature always gets nasty when you try to suppress it, so expect a lot of boys to rebel against this piece of social engineering by exhibiting exactly the kind of behaviour the feminists rightly deplore.

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