F*ck (For) The Patriarchy: The Lowdown On The Lockdown That Ensures Men Get Laid Down

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The Victorian Government’s backflip on preventing partners who live at separate addresses from visiting each other during the COVID19 lockdown was not done to benefit men and women. Well, at least not women. Kristen Zornada, an Australian-born human rights lawyer who is now in her fourth week in lockdown in Italy, busts the myth.

A lot of people are confused at the backflip by the Victorian Government on whether or not you can visit your partner who doesn’t live with you during lockdown.

Apparently you now can.

People have wondered why there has been a backflip when it was initially not permitted. I regret to inform you that the reason for the exception is patriarchy.

The exception has been made because men are paranoid they aren’t going to be able to get laid for several weeks/months.

There is literally no justification for it otherwise.

“No it’s not, women have needs too!”.

Yes they do. I didn’t say women won’t also benefit from it, but it is not FOR women nor driven by concern for women. When women have needs more than men (tax-free tampons, freedom from domestic violence, access to safe abortions), you don’t see such ready exceptions to society-wide policies.

This is also why the needs of single women have been completely obfuscated in the lockdown discussion.

“But it is a mental health issue!”.

Yes, social contact is important to mental health. EVERYONE’S mental health. The mental health of all will suffer during lockdown given we can’t touch people or see them in real life. Why should those in relationships be able to see their partners if others cannot see friends?

“Because it’s different!”.

From the perspective of mental health, no it isn’t. If being in a relationship had a significantly different effect on mental health compared with seeing family and friends, people in relationships would be significantly more happy than the rest of us. But that is simply not true.

Well, it is true for one segment of the population, and that’s men. Men report better mental health outcomes when they are partnered. Women die sooner.

Make of that what you will. If your partner is very important to you, you can quarantine with them.

“But I should be able to visit my partner if they live alone and are healthy”.

How would you know they’re healthy? Testing data from South Korea, where testing has occurred widely, reflects that many people who tested positive for Covid-19 were asymptomatic.

Plus, visiting a partner who lives outside the house increases the risk of you getting into an accident and putting further strain on the health system.

These are reasons why you cannot visit other family members or friends. So why are partners the exception?

Also, now it’s not even visiting partners anymore, it’s healthy partners who live alone.

So we are either privileging the “mental health” of a select subgroup of the partnered, or we are admitting it’s not about partners.

It doesn’t make sense. A whole mess putting lives at risk.

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Kristen Zornada

Kristen Zornada is an Australian lawyer with a masters in international human rights law and humanitarian law from Harvard.

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