The dangerous pleasure of hating men

Story here. Excerpt:

'Can you for a nanosecond imagine anyone today making a miniseries about the iniquities of women, starring a blameless man? Go on, try. We’ll call it Barista and here’s the elevator pitch: an attractive young man with a drunk, coercive girlfriend runs away from her one night with his baby boy. His mother won’t help him because she’s a drunk too. He survives by working in coffee shops but loses custody because the man-hating female judge is set against him. All the women he dates are manipulative and avaricious, but in the end he finds fulfilment in an all-male self-help group for the victims of female psychos. What do you think? Will it sell?

Oddly, most people I’ve spoken to needed no persuading that men were being given short shrift on screen but the consensus was that this wasn’t unfair, it was simply payback. For at least a century, women have been misrepresented on screen, they said. Male directors have made films by male writers presenting women as men want to see them. It’s time to redress the balance. What a strange way to think. Should we burn men because men once burnt witches? Take their votes away, and perhaps their children? And what about our teens, quietly absorbing this skewed reality and taking it for fact?

In the 1980s, the American cartoonist Alison Bechdel proposed a test for measuring the representation of women in fiction. A book or film would only pass, she said, if it featured at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. Bechdel was joking at the time, but this became known as ‘the Bechdel test’ and is now widely used.

I think, come 2022, we’re going to need another version of the Bechdel test, but this time in defence of men. If any film or series contains not one single male character who isn’t either useless or evil, it fails. For want of a better idea we could call it the Maid test.'

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