This is our truth, tell us yours
In one of our conversations today Jem mentioned that she really enjoys my occasional forays into exploring the topics of men, food and obesity.
If there were a movement I could found, it would be a movement of accountable men. Not men talking about being men, because there’s plenty of that going on. Not men talking about not being men, because there’s a fair bit of that going on as well.
Men not just talking about being accountable, but being accountable, that’s different, to me.
There is a link to food and drink. I’m accountable for what I drink and eat, and what it does to me. I’m a product of my childhood, and my experiences, and they’ve all led me to have, at various times, an unhealthy relationship with food and drink. The childhood experiences and drives that have seen me polish off a bottle of vodka or two family bags of wine gums in one sitting were not my responsibility, but how I feel about them now is my responsibility, and mine alone.
Now, as a reader of this blog, you might (I hope) be wondering how that anecdotal ramble connects to the blog title. It’s this. Accountability is more than just a manager’s buzzword. It’s the basis of decency, that you don’t just talk about being a decent human being, but you prepare yourself to explain why you think you’ve been decent.
If you found a movement, you have to be prepared to be challenged, and to be questioned. We’ve defended Abby Tomlinson, allegedly the founder of milifandom here, but she needs, too, to be accountable with the celebrity that has been thrust upon her. You see, it isn’t just men who want to talk about being men who need to put accountability at the heart of what they do.
If you become a minor, invited to talk about the news on Sky celebrity as a result of your intervention in politics, you have to be accountable for your choices and decisions. Abby Tomlinson has chosen to become a supporter of Andy Burnham. She ought to be accountable for that.
Accountability is one of the things BDSM taught me to think about deeply. In case you’ve forgotten, in all the talk of Labour politics, this is a blog that is rooted in a BDSM relationship between a clever, beautiful sex worker and a man who is trying to be the best he can be. That we persist is, in part, about accountability, about being willing to explain the smallest decision, as well as the largest, within our structures.
One of the reasons why I don’t speak more about being a man, about obesity, food, class and sexuality,topics that I think are interwoven around working class sexuality, is because I don’t want to be held to account for my interventions. One of the lesson that I take from feminism is what I think of as Greer’s law; Germaine may have arisen to fame as a great feminist thinker, but she’s hugely anachronistic on almost every modern day political topic. Some women, like Lena Dunham seem to have moved from would be feminist thinker to celebrity without passing through intelligent thought. I’d hate to be that man who wrote a couple of good articles about food and men who then got every other issue wrong but enjoyed being invited to comment on the papers on the BBCNews channel when only my dog and insomniacs are watching.
That’s about my motives. I’d rather change the world than change my media profile. If I can’t change the world I’ll change my parish.If I can’t change all men, I’ll help the men I work with change themselves. A key issue in accountability is being honest about what you can be accountable for.
Whether I’m choosing what I eat, or what I say, I’m accountable. My motivation is nothing more than being honest about that, and being able to say that I did my best.