Peter Lloyd walks into the newsroom at the Daily Mail and sees Liz Jones (I Stole My Husband’s Sperm And Tried to Trick Him Into Pregnancy), Shona Sibary (I Would Rather Mop Than Have Sex With My Husband), Samantha Brick (Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful) and Esther Walker (I Wish My Baby Wasn’t A Beastly Boy) and remarkably, does not run screaming in the other direction. Instead, Lloyd complains to an editor that one of his female colleagues (he doesn’t say whom) is just a tad sexist against men in her writing.
And thus his first column on men’s issues was born.
Lloyd’s book Stand By Your Manhood takes the same fearless, uncompromising stance against sexism as his regular pieces in the Daily Mail and does so in a way that is both empowering and humorous. Lloyd openly and enthusiastically declares his admiration for men and masculinity, writing “men are bloody brilliant.” The book never descends into self-pitying or shaming tactics as he takes on key issues facing men and manhood. All too often, men’s issues are framed in the mainstream media as something men have done to themselves, or something they could address if they would just “man up,” if they are addressed at all. Lloyd refuses to cast men as pathetic wimps, and his entire book is a call to arms for men to celebrate, acknowledge, and take pride in themselves as men.
A master of the neologism, Lloyd coins some hilarious terms including Gal-qaeda and She-hadists to describe radical feminists. There are several others that left me giggling even as the topics at hand were dead serious. Lloyd backs up his explorations of issues such as pornography and sexuality, parenthood and marriage, body image and double standards with readily understandable data, sources, and interviews with practitioners in the field, many of whom will be known to regular readers of AVfM. I was taken aback by some of his findings, which increased my own knowledge of just how much sexism and control men are subject to. Before reading this book, I was not aware that men need their wives’s written permission to have a vasectomy! “His body, my choice?” Double standards indeed.
When it comes to male sexuality, Lloyd insists that “women do not own sex” and points to the infantilizing assumptions behind things like “ban the lad mags” campaigns. Male sexuality is a force that belongs to men, and men “do not need permission to consume something legal [explicit photos of women in magazines].” Women readers may squirm a bit as Lloyd interviews some of the women who both produced and posed for explicit photographs, as both groups of women identify other women as the main source of sexism and bigotry.
Bitches be jealous, not to put too fine a point on it.
No doubt, Lloyd will be accused of misogyny for writing about women in a less that one hundred percent flattering light. Lloyd is ruthlessly logical when it comes to women’s hypocrisy on certain issues, and pointing out that women have a few flaws is not misogyny. It is very clear that Lloyd is not under any influence and does not seek to appease or appeal to women, but rather demands they act like equals, respected because they have shown themselves worthy of respect. There is an eye-opening exploration of gay men’s sexuality and how it is subject to fewer constraints and rules precisely because it does not seek to appeal to women. Lloyd balances the need to for men to be free of women’s toxic influence, which aligns with Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) quite nicely, but rather than eschew women altogether, he suggests that men embrace themselves as fully human and let women learn to cope with that. Or not.
For me, the most interesting part of Lloyd’s book is his section on marriage, which he calls the Fraud of the Rings. Lloyd details all the ways in which current laws permit the exploitation of men through the marriage contract. Once again, my own knowledge was expanded as I learned that men can be held financially responsible for women through the simple act of becoming engaged to one. The contract need not even be signed to be enforced. The topic of marriage leads naturally into the twin subjects of parenthood and divorce, and Lloyd explores how sexist assumptions about men have led to skewed laws that favor women to a ridiculous degree. He points out that children who grow up without a father figure, both boys and girls, adopt toxic versions of masculinity and femininity in response to the “hole in their soul.” The chapter is a sobering read and should be required for any man even considering marriage. Lloyd also offers some solid precautions for men who choose to go the marriage way.
In a section appropriately called Bullshit, Lloyd takes on “The Patriarchy,” “independent women,” video games, war, the wage gap, and the concept of being a “real man.” With razor sharp wit, biting sarcasm, and solid evidence, he addresses each topic, encouraging men to take pride in themselves and refuse the demand that they must change to accommodate a “new world order.” He advocates for “conscious masculinity” that interrogates, investigates and ultimately celebrates men and masculinity, in all of its many manifestations. There are indeed many ways to be a man, and the real takeaway from this book is that “fucking up is a human trait, not a male defect.”
Ultimately Lloyd has written a book that celebrates men as human beings, capable of the full range of human emotion and behaviors, both the good and the bad. Being human takes nothing away from being men, and Lloyd’s call to men is to take both comfort and pride in being men. “Men are brilliant,” and it’s time to applaud that openly and energetically.
Stand By Your Manhood is a standing ovation for men.
Please join me on the Suck It Up Buttercup Hangout this Saturday, where I will be interviewing Peter Lloyd, discussing the book and his ideas in more detail.