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Vicky Mochama: The voice of Metro News.

Men are rebranding their activities — and women are helping

Because it’s 2017 (a.k.a. the future) and I am a feminist, I can get anything a man can get, including the 'manflu'.

Manflu: when a man has a cold, and they have a lot of feelings about it.

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Manflu: when a man has a cold, and they have a lot of feelings about it.

In the fight for equality, we haven’t yet levelled the playing field when it comes to being sick. Until now.

When my body started heating up with a fever, I didn’t realize I was making a feminist breakthrough. (I mostly realized I didn’t have any medicine in the house.)

I don’t just have any regular flu. I have manflu.

Manflu is when men have colds and have a lot of feelings about it, she says derisively. Actually, it’s a pejorative used to describe how men behave when facing a mild illness like the common cold. There’s an Internet meme that shows a woman in the middle of giving birth juxtaposed next to a man in bed with a thermometer in his mouth. The caption reads, “During labour, the pain is so great that a woman can almost imagine what a man feels like when he has a fever.”

I know I’m afflicted with manflu because I have sent several all-caps texts to friends and family. At 1 a.m. in our family group chat, I may have sent a message about feeling like there are a thousand knives in my throat. I have claimed such despondency that my mother delivered a week’s worth of food to my house. I lost my voice for two days and wrote, “I feel so powerless” on my bedroom mirror. No one of any gender has ever had a case of the flu this bad.

Because it’s 2017 (a.k.a. the future) and I am a feminist, I can get anything a man can get. Including the flu virus and the attendant dramatics about it.

Feminism — if you squint hard at the fine print — says women can now do things that men have been doing for ages. For example: wearing pants. We do that now. We also still wear skirts but that is because modern skirts have pockets — another feminist breakthrough.

But just as we’re scaling the heights of gendered oppression, men are rebranding their special activities. You’ve seen it all over the place. Take a regular bar of soap and put it in a black box. Now it’s ‘guy soap.’ That delicious light-with-hints-of-pear blush wine? Stick a motorcycle on the label, dudes: we’re drinking brosé.

Being the wonderful creatures we are, women are helping with this branding effort. When a man explains a woman’s expertise back to her, we don’t call it patronizing, condescending and wholly unnecessary. We call it mansplaining. There are more variations: manterrupting (when men interrupt), manspreading (when men spread their legs), manboxing (OK, I made this one up but it means when a man is a box). Naturally, the next step in the fight for equality will be when women take over being systematically rude.

I’ve done my part by contracting manflu. I did it for the cause.

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