Emile Yusupoff is a 24-year-old unregistered barrister in the process of applying for pupillage. Emile’s undergraduate degree from the University of Edinburgh was in Philosophy and Politics, and he maintains involvement with these fields through writing from a classically liberal perspective for publications including Conatus News. Here is part 2. Part 1 here.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: And with the desire for a space to choose, what do you consider the main barriers to provide that space for that freedom and choice?
Emile Yusupoff: I don’t know if I can use the term patriarchy because that has a bunch of connotations, but I do think a lot of what feminists complain about in terms of the way that physical gender roles are structured to have a similar impact on men in terms of saying “these are the roles and behaviors men should have.” I think the most difficult thing about being a man in Britain in the 21st century is that we are given signals to behave in the traditional male roles. For example, in dating, we’re told we must be confident, we must be forward, it’s our role to ask the girl out. But, at times, we’re told that we can’t be forceful or aggressive and that there’s something of a rape culture around that. The difficulty is navigating through that.
Jacobsen: In terms of navigating it, how do men do it now?
Yusupoff: I think most of them are very successful. I think part of the explosion of lad culture is indeed a response to that and that it’s a result of people thinking they can’t express their masculinity so they go overboard. Similarly, I think you can see the old alt-Right like that as well, with the hyper-awful version of that.
Yusupoff: And I guess I’ve noticed men disengaging. It hasn’t happened here as much as it has in somewhere like Japan. But statistically, I think we have less sex than our parent’s generation and that’s part of that disengagement. And I think generally in this country, men are not marrying or are less willing to marry. So that’s one of the ways people try to deal with it… by withdrawing and not bothering. I think that’s unfortunate, although, it’s probably not as bad as the hyper-compensating route.
Jacobsen: And to clarify on two points, you mentioned lad culture. For those not from the UK, what does lad culture ensure?
Yusupoff: I suppose it’s men acting like boys in the sense that it’s very much group-focused, it’s about male bonding. It’s about reveling in traditionally male pursuits such as drinking, sports, girls. In practice, it arguably translates to idiocy in the streets, aggression in the sheets. I have a hard time properly pinning it down but I guess it’s similar to fraternity culture in the US, in terms of attitude and reason behind its existence.
Jacobsen: You also mentioned Japan. The Hikikomori- the shut-ins or hermit men who are an extreme result of that opting out. In America, they have the opposite of that with the Guido culture or pick-up culture. And that would probably bring that range of reactions to extremes. So not at the individual level but at the cultural level in the UK as a whole, how can you navigate so that we don’t produce the extremes?
Yusupoff: I suppose it might be partially about a different approach to feminism. So, a more individualized feminism which is less combative and recognizes more that men should be pitched to as potential allies and should be included as much as possible. And we shouldn’t be afraid of saying that men can benefit from feminism and it’s okay to follow it not because of some detached or disengaged reason, but because it’s better for you to do it. It’s not a rejection of you being masculine in the sense of perhaps being outdoorsy and bloody and having male mates and going out drinking and stuff, that’s all fine, as long as you’re not imposing on women or anyone else while doing it. So it does come down in part to how we promote feminism and having male role models that are specifically meant for boys to look up to who are not cartoonishly good or pure or selfless but instead are people who are desirable to be and are better models than that hyper-masculinized figures.
Jacobsen: Do you think— and I mean this semi-facetiously and semi-seriously —that there are two sides of a coin here? On one hand you have those people who are from the “political left” that would be “allies” for the purpose of hooking up or getting a date, and on the other hand, you have people from the “political right” who are bashing those on the left in their own form of virtue signaling and trying to get a date or get laid.
Yusupoff: Yes, I think that’s part of the wider trend of virtue signaling, which is really as old as time. A lot of the way our moral understanding works is in the eye of the beholder and those who seem to be virtuous and have a character that warrants positive responses from others. I think it’s no wonder that people do that and it has always been, I guess, the two sides of physical calling. It’s like what we see with socialism where someone will signal that they’re a socialist and then someone else will ridicule them for it, and for each of their own audiences that are more desirable. Similarly, you’ll see a heated debate on TV and each side supports what their supporters were as if the aim is to perform for an audience.
Jacobsen: Thank you for your time.
Yusupoff: Thank you very much.