Not All Men explained

If you’re like me, you have sufficiently hip social media contacts that you see the new memes fairly early on, but are not yourself sufficiently hip to always know right away how to parse those memes. Indeed, if you’re like me, you’ll need to see a couple of tokens of a new meme-type before you even realize that it is a meme-type.

Such it was for me when I first saw an instance of the “Not All Men” meme on a friend’s Facebook wall. It might have looked something like this:

The Kool-Aid man bursts through a wall. In a speech balloon, he says, "Not all men!"

I didn’t get it. Then I saw another instance:

A scene from the movie Jaws. A giant shark rest on the back of a small boat, half in and half out of the water. In a speech balloon, he says "Not all men!"

Ah, a meme. I dutifully Googled the phrase. Here for my fellow non-cognoscenti is the useful explanation of the meme by Kelsey McKinney I found over at Vox.

In brief, the “Not All Men” meme is internet feminism’s response to that inevitable, boring moment in a conversation about gender inequities in which some man objects, “But I’m a man and I don’t do that.” McKinney helpfully details the history of the meme, explains the phenomenon the meme is skewering, and diagnoses exactly what’s wrong with the “I don’t do that” response. According to McKinney, it’s a variety of interrupting — perhaps a subspecies of so-called mansplaining — that derails the conversation.

To the reader who asks “So, what can I do?” McKinney advises:

You can not interrupt, because interrupting is rude, and use that time instead to think about whether or not injecting “not all men” is going to derail a productive conversation.

There. Now we’re all hip and in-the-know (until the next meme comes along).

What happens at border crossings if your children don’t share your name.

The Guardian’s The Women’s Blog reports that over the last five years, an estimated 600 000 women have been stopped at border control because they were travelling under a different name from their children. This could be because they had divorced the children’s fathers, and had to revert to their previous surname, or because they had never changed their name in the first place but the children had taken their father’s name.

One of the women mentioned in the article, Helen Perry, who was stopped at the UK border in 2010 while travelling with her children, has launched the Parental Passport Campaign, asking for the optional addition of parents’ or guardians’ names on a child’s passport.

The article doesn’t mention fathers, but one can only assume that a man travelling alone with a child who does not share his name might also attract a certain amount of suspicion!

Until this is resolved I am keeping copies of their birth certificates in my children’s passports!