By Alice Aylett Roberts
Yesterday I wrote an article on how the Guardian’s Generation Y project, which is being run by nine women and one man, seems to be comfortable reinforcing the under-representation of young men in both English at A Level and Journalism at university.
The whole thing made me a little angry. So, like many people in my generation in times of anger/hunger/happiness/boredom (delete as appropriate), I turned to Twitter.
Everything about The Guardian’s #G2GenY takeover makes me angry.
— Alice Aylett Roberts (@aliceroberts)
March 18, 2014
Within minutes of sending the first tweet I received replies from three of the Guardian’s new trainees asking for an explanation. I obliged, outlining my concerns about the gender disparity, but it appeared that they didn’t share my point of view.
@aliceroberts @fred_dash yes i see what you mean. perhaps it might start to balance out thousands of years of underrepresented women?
— Emma Howard (@EmmaEHoward)
March 18, 2014
I’m guessing society could do with several centuries of male tokenism before it become a problem rather than a solution. #G2GenY
— Fred McConnell (@fred_dash)
March 18, 2014
These replies left me a little stunned. Were Emma and Fred suggesting that it’s okay to marginalise the views of young men today as retribution for injustices of the past? Is this what Generation Y is thinking?
Male tokenism will never be a solution and what Fred may not realise, is that it is already a problem. Young men are underrepresented in all sorts of ways and they are losing out to young women all the time.
Girls are still outperforming boys at nearly every level of education, receiving the greater percentage of the top grades in Key Stage Sats, GCSEs and A Levels, and nobody really knows why. But, perhaps the most worrying statistic of all is the rate of suicide for young men.
The latest ONS figures show that men are now three times more likely to commit suicide than women. Whereas in the last 30 years the suicide rate for women has decreased, the rate for men has risen and is still rising. Suicide is the biggest killer of young men in England and Wales and more needs to be done to tackle this problem.
I have always identified as a feminist. I was the sort of awkward child who insisted on joining the school rugby and cricket teams, despite having no particular aptitude or enthusiasm for the sports, but because I thought it wasn’t fair that no girls were on the team. I proudly call myself a feminist because I believe in equality, and I thought that’s what feminism was about. It’s the same reason I read the Guardian, because I thought the paper shared the values I hold dear.
We can’t turn our backs on a generation of young men who are struggling in education, at work and even in their daily lives. It’s wholly wrong to punish the men of our generation for thousands of years of female subjugation, which is not their fault. If this is Generation Y feminism then I want no part in it.
What do you think? Leave a comment or send a tweet to let us know.
Alice is a social media expert and trainee journalist. You can follow her on Twitter @aliceroberts