Will Pickerin – “There needs to be a break down of binary marketing to men and women”

How do you self-define?

Male.

What does feminism mean to you?

Feminism means that women are equal to men in everything.

What does the words “woman” and “man” mean to you?

It’s interesting, because people usually associate that with sex, rather than gender which is different, because sex is biological. Whereas I would say that “man” and “woman” are more to do with gender, and how someone may identify, no matter their personal biology.

When did you become aware of your own gender?

What a question! I’ve never doubted my own gender to be honest. Because only sort of fairly recently, when studying the differences between gender and sex have I discovered that yeah, there is a difference, but I’ve never really thought about it before then. So, I’ve never had any reason to doubt whether I thought I was male, female or trans* or whatever.

Do you ever feel unsafe due to your gender?

No. Not that I can think of, no.

Do you feel treated differently by men and women?

I would say yeah. Among guys there’s generally more, well, banter. Like more humour. And women, how do I explain it? I really don’t know how to, to be honest. I’d say yes it’s different but i’m not sure how to explain it.

What do you think are positive ways that the world views women?

Well, if they are viewed as equal to men, which they are, because there’s no rational reason why they shouldn’t be, then that’s positive. General stereotypical characteristics of women – they’re more organised than men, more rational thinkers, I would say.

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Photo Credit: Aysha Panter

Did you encounter any obstacles on your path to manhood?

I never felt that I wasn’t a man really, so I guess not.

What do you think about casual sex?

Casual sex. I’ve never done it, but people can do what they want really. It’s completely personal – what sex means to them, and any feelings that surround it. I can’t really speak from experience, but I can’t see any problem with people doing it – as long as there’s consent obviously.

Are you pro-life or pro-choice, and why?

Pro-choice, yeah. Because I don’t hold the view that it’s killing a person, I don’t hold the view that it’s murder. I think there are instances that it might be appropriate to abort – for instance if the mother is raped and becomes pregnant, then yeah I think it’s reason enough to abort. There may be loads of other reasons, but yeah – choice. It’s up to them.

What are your feelings about contraception?

It’s a good thing. It is highly available, but I think it is still somewhat perceived as a bit of a taboo, people are still embarrassed to go to the shop and buy condoms or whatever. I don’t think it should be that way. Obviously it has had a massive impact on population control and STDs so it’s definitely a good thing.

What are your thoughts on marriage and monogamy?

Marriage – I’d like to get married some day. I think that’s the thing to cement the bond with you and a partner. Monogamy – in different cultures around the world it’s acceptable to have more than one partner at a time. The idea of marriage and having a single partner is completely socially constructed, so there’s no definite right or wrong for all of humanity.

 

What are your thoughts on parenthood?

I love my parents! Erm, parents are the people I can always rely upon and confide in with any aspect of life. Chances are that they’ve likely gone through anything that I want advice on or am going through. They know what it’s like, they have a lot of life experience. I’m extremely grateful for everything they’ve given up and sacrificed for me to be the best person I can be. I’d say I do want children of my own.

Were you always aware of what your body could do sexually and mechanically, and do you think your sex education was sufficient? 

Was I always aware – no, until I had my first ever puberty/sex education lesson at.. how old would I have been, ten? eleven? Yeah, you’re just not aware of that sort of stuff at that age. You don’t know if you’re normal , like biologically or physically, because you have nothing to compare yourself with. I didn’t know where babies came from until I was 10. Yeah, I’d say sex education was sufficient.

Do you feel comfortable communicating your sexual needs to a partner?

I’m fairly open with my partner. Yes I do feel comfortable, but not to the point where I’m gonna say “can we have sex now?” There’s a boundary.

Has your sexuality ever been used against you?

I can’t say it ever has been.

Is there anyone you would undermine your principles for? 

It depends whether it’s a complete lie about my beliefs, or whether it’s a white lie to make someone I care about feel better. Yeah there is, but there’s not many people I would do that for. People closest to me, like my girlfriend. Maybe I’d tell a white lie about my beliefs or whatever if it would benefit them greatly, but I’m not a person to completely sell out my beliefs.

In which situations do you feel safe to speak your mind or stand up for yourself?

I mean in most of life really, I try to be as honest with myself and other people as much as I can. Speaking your mind is not always the best thing to do in every situation, you know the old saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything”. So I’m gonna keep an opinion to myself if I have something nasty to say. But other than that, I do try to be true to myself and stand up for myself as much as I can, really.

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Photo Credit: Aysha Panter

Do you feel satisfied with how women are depicted in film, TV, advertising etc.?

Obviously there’s the massive idea that women are extremely and commonly portrayed as just sexual objects – which is obviously not okay, because they’re not. But I guess it is down to a woman’s own personal opinion as to how they are portrayed, so who am I to say “yeah that’s right” or “that’s wrong”, when at the end of the day it’s very little to do with me. I completely disagree with the completely sexist idea that men use sexual portrayals of women in the media as reason for sexual objectification and sexual opinions they have around that.

How do you feel about products marketed to women?

Obviously marketing of everything is massively geared to which gender it’s aimed at, and that’s basically cemented the gender binary within society, which I think is completely wrong. The marketing of those products has created massive exclusions of men who want to use products aimed at women and vice versa. There’s no reason for that. So yeah, it’s just become socially unacceptable for men to use products aimed at women. One thing I saw recently, which I thought was good, was a make up advert featuring a man using make up, which I thought is extremely positive. It’s a step forward, like yes, it’s okay for men to be able to use “women’s” products. And yeah I think there needs to be more of that.

How do you feel about feminine hygiene products portrayal in the media?

I know recently there’s been a lot of discussion about the tampon tax, which is totally ludicrous, because it’s a bodily function that can’t be changed or helped in any way – so I think that’s just completely ridiculous and needs to be gotten rid of. Yeah, it goes along with the gender specific marketing really. For instance certain women’s products might have particular smells, like associated with women, as opposed to men and stuff. It’s ridiculous saying that a woman can smell like this but shouldn’t like this. It’s ridiculous, there’s no reason for that. There needs to be a break down in binary marketing to men and  women.

What are your biggest fears?

Failure in general I would say. I don’t like failing. Um, probably just not, like in the future, not having a stable career and a stable family life. Yeah, i’d just say that to be honest.

What are your greatest accomplishments?

I’d say probably well, managing to get to university; that was a result of buckling down in my second year of A levels after completely messing up my AS levels. Yeah, had to resit like 4 exams from AS, so one of my proudest moments was A level results day. Also just being a respected person really. I’m proud of who I am .

What image do you think you project on a day to day basis?

I don’t know how to answer that myself. I think i’m a generally positive person. People have told me I’m the most sarcastic person they know. I try to see the funny side of everything, if I can. I don’t think i’m disliked by a lot of people, I don’t like to give people any reason to dislike me.

What image would you like to project in an ideal world, absolving social expectations?

In an ideal world… I’d be someone people strive to be, really. Just someone who’s got their life in order, someone who’s organised and happy and has a good social life. Yeah, someone who’s always a positive person, and a friendly person.

What are your most positive relationships? 

People closest to me, like my girlfriend, because she means a lot to me. My family – obviously they’ve always been there for me no matter what. My best friends who just make my life hilarious.

What do you deeply love about yourself? 

I don’t know! Probably that I am a generally positive person. Yeah, that’s it!

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Photo Credit: Aysha Panter

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