I’m going to reveal a fundamental truth. Evidently this will come as a shock to some.
Newsflash: straight white men are not an underclass. They have all the rights. Still do, always have. More rights than anyone else.
What we didn’t expect when we published it, was to unearth a new underclass of ‘oppressed’ people who objected to the idea of our PM (or anyone) singling out women for special mention. I’m paraphrasing:
‘What about men? We have issues too!’
‘How dare you mention women’s rights when men are suffering’.
‘We shouldn’t focus on women’s rights until we fix the problems men have’.
Ah, of course, it’s the loud and noisy Faux Oppressed. A minority of individuals in a social majority of straight white men who cling desperately to the notion that the rest of us have come to rob them of the immense privilege they have in this world. Priveleges they don’t even realise they have.
We must have completely missed the subtext of that article (apparently only obvious to a few white men) which was, more or less, a call for women to subjugate men everywhere.
Battle stations fair wenches, you have more testicles to crush. And what about gay people and their search for equality? That’s a right too far for some!
Let’s be perfectly clear: if you have all the rights, you are out in front. You’re winning. Somebody or some group gaining a few more rights so they begin to catch up isn’t going to alter the privilege you already have. Rights are not a finite commodity. Rights are not, for example, coal. You can’t run out of them. They’re as infinite as society wants to make them.
Equality isn’t a question of Robin Hood economics. We don’t have to take any rights to grant new ones. That’s the beauty of it.
Now, far be it for me to couch the debate over gender equality (or any other social issue) in terms of winners and losers. Truth be told there should be no winners. And no losers. It should be a tie. But currently, there are losers in these particular debates: women, gays and lesbians, transgender people, Indigenous people. Every time this subject comes up a chorus line of the Faux Oppressed emerges with arguments about how they’re really doing it tough. Tougher than the lot we’d originally gathered to discuss. When Julia Gillard says that women aren’t paid as much as men for doing the same job, that’s a fact, not an opinion.