Piers Morgan’s constant reinforcement of toxic masculinity and ignorance and why he needs to stop
Why do we keep giving him airtime?
Last week journalist and TV personality Piers Morgan tweeted an image of Daniel Craig, calling him “emasculated” for wearing his child in a baby carrier. Yes, Daniel Craig, known for playing James Bond; the pinnacle of traditional masculinity and a supposed role model for every man. At least, according to Piers.
Morgan’s unwarranted opinion attracted much criticism about its absurdity online from fathers, mothers and non-parents alike; with dads posting defiant pictures caring for their children, reclaiming their masculinity.
As much as it is gratifying to see people come together to defend the manhood of Craig and every father who dares to build physically nurturing relationships with their children; Morgan’s comment is not actually out of place.
Attacking the masculinity of a father for simply carrying out basic duties of parenthood, and denying men the full experience of being a human with a loving, caring side; is indicative of a dominant, toxic view of masculinity. This is prevalent even in self-proclaimed progressive societies like Britain’s, even amongst "educated" people like himself.
It's not first time Morgan has promoted incredibly archaic views of masculinity and femininity either. He's also displayed his embarrassing ignorance concerning feminism.
Morgan's debate with Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain from December last year is difficult to get through both literally and figuratively because the man just does not shut up.
He consistently questions and ridicules Reid's and Emily Ratajkowski's arguments that every woman is free to express herself in whatever way she wishes, whether she actively subverts or works around the system of patriarchy. He repeatedly speaks over Reid, Ratajkowski and other women; claiming to support "real feminism". Piers's catastrophically large ego blinds him to the fact that he is not the authority on what "real feminism" is.
This is toxic masculinity; when a man, who has done zero research and has no life experience of being a woman; has the audacity to assume his opinion on feminism matters more than women – the very people who experience the issues of misogyny, sexism and patriarchy. Morgan is implying that men just always know better, possibly because men are traditionally seen as "logical" while women are seen as "emotional".
He is also perpetuating sexist respectability politics. This means he will only entertain the views of women whom he deems "respectable", aka women who are sexually conservative and who embody the traditional quiet, modest, passive femininity.
Morgan also publicly revealed his sheer and wilful lack of knowledge of women's issues and struggles when he spoke out against the Women's March in Washington, D.C. early last year.
Claiming to be "all in favour of equality", he contradicted himself by reducing the marchers and their purpose to "rabid men-hating feminists". Once again, he centred men and his "emasculated" feelings rather than the deep-rooted, ongoing oppression these women have to face.
The "rabid feminists" were, after all, standing up for their rights after the election of an accused sexual assaulter and proud misogynist. The fact that Morgan is friends with Donald Trump not only explains a lot, but is the icing on the cake.
Another very bad take courtesy of Morgan was when he asserted that James Bond, a fictional character, could never be gay or female because his male identity and heterosexuality was "essential" to his character (what is it with this man and his Bond obsession?)
While this may seem harmless and even reasonable, the fact that Piers likened a gay man or a woman playing Bond to "Black Beauty coming back as a white miniature pony" or "Jaws re-emerging from the ocean as an angry dolphin" shows how he is characterising heterosexual males as inherently possessing the qualities of confidence, ruggedness and toughness the character exudes; while implying everyone else is too weak and soft for the job.
Time and time again, Piers Morgan has proven his inability to move beyond age-old, toxic conceptions of masculinity and, in extension, femininity and feminism. If society is to progress, we must stop giving him as big of a platform as he currently has and leave him behind in the 50’s where he belongs.