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December 15, 2014

I was in a newsagent’s yesterday, and a woman was telling the newsagent that her husband had been suffering from ‘man-flu’, with a distinct air of mockery – this despite the fact that the husband was actually standing beside her. I have to say that I really don’t like this term. The joke, supposedly, is that men make a disproportionate fuss when they’re ill, unlike stoical women. It seems odd that men get criticised for this while simultaneously being criticised for ignoring illness and refusing to go to the doctor. Anyway I’m not at all convinced that men make more fuss about their ailments than women do. If anything I think it might be the other way round. But either way it’s a crass generalisation. I don’t think we should minimise other people’s ailments, because we do not know what it is like to have them. (By the way, I don’t have an axe to grind about this; I never get flu and in fact am lucky enough to hardly ever have an illness of any kind.)

My other objection to this phrase is that even if it once was a little bit funny, it really isn’t any more. Any little squizzlet of humour it may once have had has long since dried up. It’s about as funny as jokes about women drivers.

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One Comment
  1. Cliff Diamond permalink

    Man flu definitely exists. My wife got it from me and moaned about it for weeks! Merry Xmas Brandon.

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