I have seen a worrying attitude among a certain small section of men in regards to Repeal The 8th. For those of you living under a rock or not from Ireland, this is an upcoming referendum on the 8th Amendment of the Irish constitution, which if passed, would allow for Government legislation on legalising abortion in Ireland. It was first brought to my attention by a Jade Hayden written article on Her.ie. Since then, through the good aul Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon I have seen this attitude pop up a few times. So what is this attitude I’m against? It’s the idea that men shouldn’t vote in the Repeal The 8th referendum because it’s a female issue and we shouldn’t have governance.
Normally I wouldn’t concern myself with what a small minority of people, especially online, think. But this referendum will be a close one and it needs every pro choice vote it can get. It needs to have the same massive turnout of young people that the Marriage Equality referendum got if it is to pass. There is no place for taking an obscure stance to make some point that will only serve to have a negative effect. It baffles me as to the level of ignorance required to do so.
Where does this attitude come from?
This is the question I found myself asking. One could claim that it comes from a deep understanding of the issue. But I think the logic in that is too flawed. I think it comes from a level of extreme liberalism that negates the point being made in exchange for power over peoples actions. I know ironic right? These people actually use the liberal movement as a weapon to control people much like the alt-right use the conservative movement to do the same. Another recent example of this is claiming that Jesy from Little Mix was culturally appropriating with her new hairstyle. Ridiculous.
I am going to be very blunt here because I think this is such an important issue. To claim that you are in support of women having the fundamental right of control over their body, then to use any excuse to avoid voting for it, is downright cowardly. To also claim that men have no place in this issue is a great display of fallacy. For a start this is a referendum, meaning every citizen with the power to vote has the right to do so. Also, men are to a certain extent involved in abortion decisions. The ultimate decision is rightly down to the woman. But your partner, friend, or family member may seek your opinion before making a decision and hiding behind your gender is a poor cop out.
What else can men do?
Encourage those around you to vote. While the women in your life are probably well aware of what’s going on, this may not resonate as much with the men. The first thing I did when I saw that a date for the referendum had been given was to send a link to download registration forms to my best friend, who at 25 inexplicably wasn’t registered yet. I later had a chat with my younger brother who is studying abroad to help organise his registration over the Easter holidays. These little acts will do far more than arguing with right wing extremists online, you will never change their mind, but you could get one more vote on your side by encouraging those in your life to take action. It’s important as citizens in a Republic to exercise our right to vote and shape the future of the country for the better. It’s even more important for the quality of life of Irish women to vote to Repeal The 8th.