Heterosexual Pride Day: resentment at its most childish
Why do some people feel the need to celebrate being part of an overpowering majority?
Copycats: nobody asked for a Heterosexual Pride Day until Gay Pride took off. Photograph: Rob Stothard/Getty
Here is this column’s considered view of anybody who thinks that this week’s Heterosexual Pride Day was worth entertaining. You are a knuckle-dragging halfwit, a passive-aggressive bigot, or both (their being far from mutually exclusive).
There are, I suppose, considered people who feel the need to celebrate being part of an overpowering majority that has never needed to fight for rights or toleration. Such folk are so special that they need their own day. I use the word “special” in the sense in which it is used in “We love him all the more because he is special.”
Heterosexual Pride Day really did take place on Wednesday. And the main reason #HeterosexualPrideDay trended on Twitter was that thousands were complaining about #HeterosexualPrideDay trending on Twitter. Too few people have yet to grasp this great modern conundrum. “Why is #dumbhashtag trending,” they tweet. “Stop mentioning #dumbhashtag. I hate it that everyone’s mentioning #dumbhashtag.”
Nonetheless the day does exist. There aren’t many events to celebrate it. No jolly policemen are pictured dancing tolerantly beside men dressed in the sort of clothes that men usually wear. Flags featuring spectrums running from black to pale grey fail to fly from lamp posts. Few speeches were made about startling advances in accepting the already promiscuously accepted. Throughout the day, however, an ambient murmur of aggressive entitlement sounded throughout the digital ether. “Hey, if ‘they’ can have Gay Pride why can’t we have Heterosexual Pride?”
The great zero-sum theory of interpersonal relations rears it foul head yet again. You get a lot of this in Northern Ireland. If “they” can have their documents translated into Irish then we can have ours reconstituted in a made-up dialect that looks like an attempt to phonetically render Krankies sketches.
We get a lot more of this around International Women’s Day. It still happens that chaps ask in all mad sincerity, “When is International Men’s Day?” The response “every other day of the year” is rendered no less true by its being worn threadbare through repeated use. The reply “It’s November 19th, mate” has a better chance of triggering genuine surprise, but it risks lathering respectability on an event that deserves to be vigorously ignored.
Since its inception International Men’s Day has won a degree of tolerance for focusing on worthy subjects such as testicular cancer and the educational underperformance of boys.
But we know what it’s really about. It’s not fair that women get a day and we don’t! Why can’t we have a day? International Men’s Day could no more exist independently of International Women’s Day than Lego Batman could exist independently of proper Batman. (Yes, I know. Lego Batman is better than proper Batman, but you get the idea.) The event is a manifestation of petty resentment at its most childish. It’s like baking a second cake for the overindulged brat who resents that today is his sibling’s birthday.
If you can’t understand the distinction between setting aside time to celebrate an often-oppressed group and establishing a day to applaud the already entitled then you are even less deserving of your status as grand high fathead than seemed possible.
Nobody asked for a Heterosexual Pride Day until Gay Pride secured its happy visibility. The word “pride” was well chosen. In most of the world LGBT people are, if tolerated at all, still expected to be discreet about their sexuality. Don’t kiss in public. Don’t hold hands. Don’t “shove it in our faces”. In other words pretend to be ashamed of the person you are. “Pride” is an antonym for “shame” – and, as such, it is the right word to use for gay fiestas.
Feminism is, at root, a movement dedicated to furthering equality. The ludicrous Men’s Rights Movement, whose logo should be a middle-aged git in a nappy, is little more than a nasty multimedia trolling exercise on behalf of spoilt blokes.
The stuff about shouting nakedly in icy forests is harmless enough. The whingeing about emasculation at the hands of aggressive “women’s libbers” would be pathetic if it didn’t win over so many vulnerable idiots.
There are, of course, perfectly nice celebrations that acknowledge governing majorities. Such events have, however, become increasingly inclusive. St Patrick’s Day is now for everyone on the island, everyone who used to be on the island, everyone whose ancestors were once on the island and everyone who wishes their ancestors were once on the island.
They even let gay people march in the New York incarnation. Don’t tell the “heterosexual lobby”: they’ll be knocking up their own banners. What is wrong with some people?