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CATCALL: Sexual Politics & Gender Equality

Feminism is about equality, NOT getting one over on men. CALM Ambassador, Claire Meadows, explains… 

I had the pleasure of being asked last week to guest on the feminist podcast ‘Catcall’.

Catcall is a new venture, established this year by Mickey Carroll, Lucy Kook and Andy Gorman. Andy used to write for me at After Nyne, but we had never talked sexual politics, and I had no idea what to expect.

Andy had contacted me in my role as a speaker on equal rights and an Ambassador for CALM. As far as I’m concerned, I cannot be given enough platforms to talk about this very necessary charity.

And I needn’t have worried about my reception on the show. For the past five years I’ve been involved in speaking about what I see as true injustice in sexual politics. And for the past five years I’ve encountered extremes at both ends of what I called on the show ‘the sexual politics spectrum’.

I was once subjected to an afternoon-long tirade by radical feminist activist who accused me of being a ‘rape endorser’ for supporting parity for men as well as women. Just as I was told by a radical men’s rights activist that, as a woman, I had ‘no place’ in the men’s rights movement.

But the Catcall approach was mature, considered and conciliatory. Andy knew from sharing social networks with me that I had taken particular objection to the approach of ‘feminist’ Labour MP Jess Phillips, whose guffawing at the misfortunes of men actually turns my stomach.

I tweeted Phillips the link to the Catcall interview, actually, to make her aware that her inflammatory anti-male rhetoric has a human consequence. She didn’t respond. If she thinks I’m obsessed with her – far from it darling. I’m just horrified that you’re given a platform and choose to use it in this fashion.

Andy from Catcall also knew about my outrage at the promotion of Anatomicals ‘Peachy Head’ shampoo. Speaking on this product, I said:

‘It’s for suicidal hair apparently. For a start what the hell is ‘suicidal hair’? And secondly by being complicit in the existence of this product we are sending the message that suicide is something that’s to be laughed at. It’s a punchline. Well…tell that to men who are contemplating suicide, and the families of suicides.’

My blood was up from the moment I heard about this product. From being close to CALM, I know the horrifying truth behind suicide – male suicide to be exact.

We’re dealing with a situation where men account for 76% of suicides in the United Kingdom. Men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women.

4623 men committed suicide in 2014 – an average of 12 a day. The reasons are diverse…from financial worries to a societal expectation to cope with whatever life throws at them.

And Anatomicals think their Peachy Head shampoo is a funny pun?

My experience with this particular feminist podcast was an enlightening and pleasurable one. I assured the team and their listeners that, ‘it doesn’t make you any less of a feminist to care about the welfare of the male’.

We finished the interview with a significant platform for CALM, for which I was thankful.

CALM receives no government funding. The CALM helpline is able to function 365 due to the generosity of public donations. There are plans afoot to extend the opening hours from 5pm – midnight to 5pm – 3am…effectively doubling the call capacity. But without donations this is not possible.

So please, read about CALM’s current campaigns, the work in this field by patron Professor Green and give as generously as you can.

Listen to the full Catcall interview here – I come in at the 31.44 mark: “”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

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