First you came for the sausage rolls. This was not unexpected, there was humour, a marketing opportunity. Then you came for our men.
I'm usually unaffected by your deliberately provocative statements. I understand how the tabloid media works, this is your brand, it's what you do. There are clicks to be had, money to be made.
My guess is, that over the years you have developed a fairly thick skin, a defence mechanism, protecting your ego and self-perception from feedback which may be a threat to your self-image. I guess that you are fairly resilient to feeling of shame.
I'm not sure if you know this, but in our society we have a shame epidemic that is killing men. Shame, is a pre-cursor to addiction, obesity, isolation, depression, anxiety and suicide.
You talked about strength. What I heard was not about strength, but about armour. The heavy armour men that feel they have to put on every single day so they be can be that strong fearless knight in shining armour that they believe they are expected to be. Do not show emotions, suck it up and keep on going, because anything else is weakness, and real men are not weak.
Vulnerability is the courage to show up when there are no guarantees. Vulnerability is real strength, vulnerability is owning and accepting your emotions not denying them, hiding them and putting a lid on them. This is a symptom of the toxicity of modern masculinity, this is a symptom of shame.
Dr. Brené Brown defines shame as the intensely painful, feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and unworthy of love and belonging. Shame is a thick, putrid suffocating fog that holds your emotions, thoughts and actions hostage. Shame feeds on isolation and secrecy. It makes you believe you are the only one who feels the way you do, it gags you to stop from you speaking out by telling you stories that the world will reject you when it sees your flaws.
Piers, regardless of what people think of you, as someone who is in the tabloid news, you do have influence. How many men were watching when you made those comments ? How many of those men were already feeling hopeless, perhaps today was the day they were going to leave the house, make that phone call, have that conversation. I wonder how many of those men will now not do that because your comments reinforced the crippling sense of scarcity and shame they already felt because they truly and deeply believe they are weak ?
Men are certainly not sausage rolls but there is a common theme here. What lies behind the Veganuary campaign is a serious conversation on climate change and the urgent need to get our act together to save the planet. We need to save our planet and we need to save our men.
We need to reclaim masculine identity and we need all the help we can get.