How do you self-define?
In terms of sexuality and gender, I define as a straight male.
What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism means equal rights for all genders, regardless of racial or class background.
What do the words ‘woman’ and ‘man’ mean to you?
I think the idea of being a man or a woman is something that everybody can define in their own individual way. There isn’t a set definition for these terms. I suppose stereotypically the words ‘man’ and ‘woman’ are at two different ends of the gender spectrum though.
When did you become aware of your gender?
I can’t recall becoming aware of my own gender, but I can certainly remember becoming aware that gender was not quite as simple as society often plays it out to be. I think it was 2012 when punk rock musician Laura Jane Grace from the band Against Me! came out as transgender, and it was through their music and in particular their album Transgender Dysphoria Blues that I became a lot more aware of gender issues.
Do you ever feel unsafe due to your gender?
I’m not sure if this is the right word to describe how I feel, but as a man, I sometimes feel unsafe because I don’t adhere to the aggressive masculine stereotype. With regards to mental health, I feel unsafe because of the pressure on men to be strong and pretend as if we don’t have any feelings or emotions. I think the amount of men aged twenty and over who are committing suicide recently is particularly haunting, and is linked to the fact unrealistic societal expectations that shame men for their feminine traits.
Do you feel treated differently by men and women?
I think, generally, the way people treat you depends on how you treat them, if that makes sense. What I mean is I don’t feel any different around my best friends who are male and female. We treat each other as people and gender doesn’t come into it, but there are guys I’ve been around who are hyper-masculine, so in situations like that I tend to get on better with women.
What do you think are the positive ways the world views women?
Women are often viewed as being caring, compassionate and more in tune with their own emotions. I think they are all good traits and I don’t think men should be looked down upon for having them too.
Did you encounter any obstacles on your path to manhood?
I think there was a big pressure growing up to being a certain type of man rather than just being the person that I am. There was a pressure to be defined by the stereotypes usually associated with your gender, when in reality I have no interest in defining myself by those stereotypes.
What do you think about casual sex?
I see no issue with casual sex as long as both parties are consenting and are under no false illusions.
Are you pro-life or pro-choice, and why?
100% pro-choice. Women should always have the freedom to decide what they do with their own bodies. Having a child or going through with an abortion is such a personal decision and there’s no right solution. It should always be figured out on a case by case basis.
What are you feelings on contraception?
Contraception is great and tends to be free and widely available in the UK if you know where to find it, but there isn’t enough education about all the different uses and kinds of contraception, or contraception for different sexualities.
What are your thoughts on marriage and monogamy?
I think marriage is becoming slowly outdated in modern society. I don’t see the need to have to tie your relationship down to a contract for it to grow to the next level. Marriage isn’t something that I totally understand but it’s also not something I am entirely against. The idea of loving someone and committing to someone for the rest of your life is an appealing idea, but I don’t think a marriage is really necessary to achieve those things.
What are your thoughts on fatherhood?
I think creating, raising and educating new life is something that must be very rewarding, and a way of leaving something greater than yourself behind when you die.
Do you think your sexual education was sufficient?
My sex education growing up was incredibly poor which is mainly because I attended Catholic schools. I just really don’t think that religion should have any place in dictating sexual education, because the religious stand point tends to view sex as a taboo subject, rather than educating us about having safe consensual sex.
Do you feel comfortable communicating your sexual needs to a partner?
Yes, but it depends on the person. I wouldn’t want to have sex with someone if I couldn’t communicate my needs comfortably.
Has your sexuality ever been used against you?
People have commented that they thought I was gay before, which seems to be their way of telling me I’m not masculine enough to be heterosexual. Gender expression and sexuality don’t necessarily correlate so if someone says that to me now I just laugh.
Is there anyone you would undermine your principles for?
I don’t think so. I do pick my battles but I think that’s just good sense, to be fair.
In which situations do you feel safe to speak your mind or stand up for yourself?
My friends are very accepting and supportive so I can always speak my mind around them.
Do you feel satisfied with how women and men are depicted in film, TV and advertising?
Absolutely not, no. Too often women and men are depicted with bodies that aren’t realistic representations, or with stereotypical gendered personalities that are damaging to young people. The media makes you feel like you are not enough from an early age. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements and images that encourage us to look, act and think more in tune with standards of how a woman or a man should be. Gender and sexuality is much more complex than a series of basic stereotypes. I feel like nearly every facet of society comes down to stereotyping men and women though, it’s not just advertising.
How do you feel about products marketed to women?
Similar to my previous response, women are often sold images of unrealistic body and personality expectations and then sold products in order to achieve unhealthy impossible goals.
What are your biggest fears?
Clowns, bar none. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be answered relating to gender or sexuality, but I just can’t think of anything else that scares me more.
What are your greatest accomplishments?
Graduating university with a 2:1 degree and making so many amazing friends.
What image do you think you project on a day-to-day basis?
I think I might be seen as quite optimistic, cautious and fun.
What image would you like to be project in an ideal world, absolving social expectations?
I’d like to be optimistic, without being naïve, and someone who is fun to be around.
What are your most positive relationships?
What do you deeply love about yourself?
My creativity, restlessness and sense of humour.
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