Posted in Gender

The Refugee Crisis and Male Disposability

The last twelve months have brought out the best and the worst of us in Europe. The Refugee Crisis has divided all of us – between those who welcome people fleeing oppression and tyranny and those who feel that inviting these people over is an invitation to terrorism.

I am in the first camp. I think my country (Britain) should do more to help these people fleeing war, terror, tyranny and instability. Nobody should have to go through that – at all. I hope that we can come to a satisfactory resolution against ISIS and the whole fucking mess that is Syria is sorted out in my lifetime. Yet there is one issue that the media is feeding into, it’s probably something you’ve heard yourself and something you haven’t considered.

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“Men of Fighting Age”

Many sources for a variety of reasons have pointed to that the majority are young men. Figures range around the 3/4 mark. This is not true. Actual figures are around 55-60%. A majority, but only a slender one. The figure is not what I am objecting to though. Nor am I objecting to the fear-mongering that “these are terrorists, not refugees”. What I am objecting to is how the debate is framed when pointing to the young male majority. As the sub-heading suggests, it is the implication that these are “young men of fighting age”. Accompanying is often the insistence that these “young men of fighting age” should stay in their countries and fight back against the ISIS insurgents.

The belief is that these men are supposed to fight to protect women and children. Their personal feelings don’t matter because these are “young men of fighting age” and should be doing what men should be doing – flexing their masculinity. We have seen it on Sky News.What is most crass is that women are saying it as often as men. In fact, most cases I have seen, it has been women – often self-professed feminists like Michelle Dewberry (of The Apprentice) referring to “strapping young men of fighting age”.

If you don’t see this insistence as men of fighter and protector willing to lay down his life for anyone and everyone as sexist or objectifying, then I ask you to consider this paragraph I just made up:

“Why are they coming over here? These women and children should stay behind. These are young women of breeding age. They should stay behind and breed out the terrorists and provide the next generation of fighters to take back their country.”

It’s Sexism

It is sexist, isn’t it, to expect women to do something that women do because they are women – to put their own personal feelings on the back burner. Not all men are natural fighters, not all men want to fight. Conscientious Objectors during two world wars were shot for “failing to do his man’s duty”. Today, that attitude hasn’t changed. Where feminism has given women the right to do things that men do, they have not even attempted to liberate men from doing a man’s duty.

Men have as much right to life as anybody else; male refugees have as much right to attempt to enter Europe as women and children. Having a penis does not mean you have less right to live in freedom. Having a penis should not put you under obligation to fight, especially when you will – in the next breath – turn around and condemn violence in the next breath as “toxic masculinity”.

You cannot have it both ways. Either we are equal or we are not. Let’s not devalue male lives by applying only a utilitarian value to male lives during this horrendous Refugee Crisis.

 

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Author:

I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

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