When the Queen is Dead, Long Live the Patriarchy?

David Cameron will puff out his red cheeks for a royal baby-1512782Congratulations to the Royal Family on the birth of a future King of England — after 61 years of being ruled by a Queen, we now have the prospect of three Kings in a row to look forward to—which barring a republican revolution, could mean jobs for the Windsor boys way into the 22nd Century. All of which is surely great news for people who care passionately about sex equality in the monarch and means we’ll have plenty of time to get used to singing “God Save The King”!

It’s an often overlooked fact that we have been ruled by Queens for 125 of the last 175 years—so it’s time we gave the Kings a chance to show that real men can rule too. Despite the sexist laws of primogeniture that have given male heirs precedence over female heirs for centuries, you have to go back to 1901 to find an example of the discrimination in practice.

When Queen Victoria died her eldest surviving child was Princess Victoria who, had she come to the throne, would have reigned for just 7 months as she sadly died the same year as her mum. This would have meant that the throne would have passed to Princess Victoria’s son —the infamous Kaiser Bill who led Germany, Europe and countries around the globe into the First World War—how different history might have looked if that  hadn’t  happened!

The other quirky fact of sexism at Buck House is that we’ve had no end of Queens in recent centuries as the King’s wife generally gets an automatic promotion to the top job whereas the Queen’s husband generally has to make do with being a Prince—no sex equality for regal spouses there!

Of course, being a thoroughly modern monarchy we have now fast tracked the “Succession to the Crown Bill”  through parliament so that men will no longer be automatically the first in line to the throne.

Meanwhile, the House of Lords shows no signs of ending rules which deny most hereditary peerages to women. Currently, 92 seats in the House of Lords are reserved to holders of hereditary aristocratic titles and only 2 of these seats are currently occupied by women—though as many commentators point out, the best hereditary peerages “equal” is to scrap them all together and get more commoners in politics.

And one thing all women (common or not) have politically is their very own Women’s Minister but there’s still no sign of a Men’s Minister being appointed by any of the major political parties.

We debated the topic of a Minster for Men at the First National Conference for Men and Boys in 2011. We don’t expect we’ll be discussing royal babies at this year’s conference but the delegates set the agenda so who knows if this will still be a hot topic come September.

Fatherhood commentator Jack Sullivan has already written an interesting article speculating what kind of father Prince William could and should be.

Meanwhile our friends at NORM UK have been fielding media calls asking whether they think Wills and Kate will circumcise their son—of course, if they had a daughter, no-one would be asking this question.

It has been royal tradition in recent decades to circumcise royal boys though campaigners against medically unnecessary male circumcision are hoping this tradition will come to an end.

David Smith of NORM UK, who attended last year’s conference, says:” ‘as a 21st century parents we trust that William and Kate, like the rest of modern British parents, would not even contemplate it.’

If you want to make sure you don’t miss out on this year’s conference then buy your tickets online today here now.

Help change the way we think about male circumcision in the UK

imagesCould you help change the way that people think about medically unnecessary male circumcision in the UK?

While the ritual of female circumcision (or female genital mutilation) is illegal in the UK, it is still legal for people to painfully cut off a boy’s foreskin without anaesthetic in a non medical setting. As a result baby boys can be damaged and injured and in some cases bleed to death. Campaigners also claim that too many “therapeutic” circumcisions are performed on boys where alternative, non-surgical remedies could be used.

The National Conference for Men and Boys has helped raise awareness of this issue with the support of organizations like Norm UK, Genital Autonomy and Men Do Complain who have attended previous events.

To be part of discussions and debates on a broad range of important men and boys, issues click on this link to BUY YOUR 2013 CONFERENCE TICKET TODAY.

One of the men working hard to change our thinking on male circumcision needs a little support to take his work to the next stage.

Brian Earp is a researcher, writer and speaker who has been awarded a partial scholarship to complete a  Master’s program at the University of Cambridge where he will undertake new research on the history, philosophy and ethics of circumcision.

Brian has been helping to forward the international debate on male circumcision for a decade and now hopes to find “a new angle to tackle that hasn’t been written about to date, discovering a way to make a historically and medically informed ethical argument that really changes how people think about circumcision”.

To help him do this Brian needs to raise a further $10,000 and has launched a crowd-funding campaign which you can contribute by visiting his online fundraising page here.

To find out more about the debate around unnecessary male circumcision in the UK see:

To join us for the Third National Conference for Men and Boys in September 2013 BUY YOUR TICKET ONLINE TODAY.