Saturday, December 4, 2010

'Man Flu': Men are Not Allowed to be Sick

Writing for the Telegraph, James May criticises the kneejerk reaction of certain women to a man who has caught a cold:

Should I drive if I've got a bit of a cold?

The really good news, though, is that I don't have Man Flu. Mind you, that's probably because Man Flu doesn't exist.

It's been made up by bored social commentators in order to deny normal chaps the God-given privilege of having a normal cold.

In fact, no man I know has ever claimed to have Man Flu. We are told we have it. It's happened to me today. I blew my nose - reasonably enough, because it was that or drown - and someone said, "Oh dear, the Man Flu is it?"

No, it's a cold. I'm allowed to have one. I believe animals can have colds, and they're not given a hard time for it. I'm not making a fuss about it. I haven't even mentioned it until now.

It's just that everyone assumes that the instant a bloke has slightly piggy eyes or can't pronounce Bs properly, he's being some sort of feckless hypochondriac.

I've just got a bit of a cold. My neighbour has one, too, and he's up a ladder doing something useful.

I bet if I go and ask him how he is, he'll say, phlegmatically, that he's fine. He won't say he has Man Flu, because no man ever has as far as I can make out. We're simply accused of it.

If you are a man and you've ever used the expression "Man Flu" in relation to yourself, then you are a traitor to your sex.

Indeed. During my last bout of illness, all it took was a single sneeze for the closest woman to remark, "man flu, is it?"

The effect of which is a lot like the phrase "man up" - it is to deny the sufferer recognition that he is ill, and it is to imply that he is a whiner for even complaining about it (because women presumably have it so much harder).

Except, I didn't complain about it - not once.

Simply sneezing is apparently enough for a man to be considered a whiner.

Apparently, Real Men simply do not get ill.

And feminists say that patriarchy forces unreasonable gender roles upon us?

I think a lot of women, and particularly feminists, need to take a long, hard look at themselves, and their own sexism. Much as it might hurt them to do so.

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