A number of media outlets have featured articles regarding our open letter in the last 24 hours.
As the open letter makes clear, we appreciate that structural and societal constructs are damaging, in certain ways, to men as well as they are to women, and would be “in support of a discussion concerning this, as well as increased attention to specific issues surrounding men’s health”. We feel that much of this media coverage, and indeed the University’s own statement of retraction, has misrepresented our position, and has characterised us as being opposed to this.
The media narrative that has been constructed around our statement has frequently been to position us as supporting (quoting the Telegraph) “the double bind that suicidal men and those who advocate their need for support are constantly placed in”, in which “we can’t talk about men’s issues because women’s issues are more important”. We do not deny, and in fact explicitly affirm in our original open letter, that there are also concerns which may pertain more specifically to men, and that it would be entirely legitimate for the University to address and promote awareness of issues such as these. We note and welcome YUSU’s statement of this afternoon (www.yusu.org/blog/entry/1508) echoing, in large part, our comments in this regard.
For us, key questions remain unanswered by the University. How was the decision to mark International Men’s Day reached by the committee? What research was undertaken into IMD and its ideas supporters prior to this decision being taken? Does the rationale for the celebration of IMD expressed by Drs. Lee and Duncan in the original press release reflect the wider opinion of the Equality and Diversity Committee, and the University’s stance on gender equality? If not, is this a consequence of flaws in the make-up or protocols of the committee? We continue to await a full response from the University to these concerns.