On Tuesday we exclusively revealed that the London Science Museum had withdrawn its “all men are paedophiles” policy for sleepover events at the institution. The illegal and discriminatory policy clearly stipulated that men were only allowed to accompany male children at such events, whereas women could accompany both boys and girls.
In the article we highlighted the fact that London Zoo had also adopted this misandrist policy for its “bedbugs” events, even using some of the exact same text as the Science Museum. Its website read as follows:
“All participants will sleep in BUGS, but boys and girls have separate sleeping areas. For this reason, please ensure the following is adhered to:
1. For an all-girl group, you will need 1 female adult for every 5-6 children
2. For an all-boy group you will 1 female or male adult for every 5-6 children
3. For a mixed sex group you will need 2 female adults or 1 female and 1 male adult for every 5-9 children
4. Female adults may sleep on either side of the gallery however male adults may only sleep in the male area of BUGS.”
If the above were not clear enough, it was repeated twice more on the London Zoo website, such as in its terms and conditions, thus making it almost unmissable.
We contacted the Zoo about their illegal sex discrimination against men, asking readers to do likewise, and we’re extremely grateful to all those who took the time to do so. We’re delighted to have received a positive response from the London Zoo press office about the controversy which reads as follows:
“ZSL London Zoo’s BedBUGS sleepover events were launched in 2010 and the guidelines put in place at the time were in line with similar policies at other large organisations.
We have reviewed the relevant wording on our website and in consultation with our safeguarding officer, we have removed the restrictions and updated our website accordingly.”
This prompt u-turn by the organisation is most welcome and London Zoo should be commended on finally doing the right thing and making their events just as open to fathers and male teachers as anyone else. Men should never have been demonised as potential threats to girls, nor should there be the implication that women are incapable of crimes against children when reality clearly shows otherwise.
As an aside, we were rather amused by the superfluous text now in place on the website as a result of the hasty deletion of the sexist content:
For an all-girl group we recommend 1 adult for every 5-6 children.
For an all-boy group we recommend 1 for every 5–6 children.
Having examined the issue more widely, we also found evidence of an “all men are paedophiles” policy previously in place at the Natural History Museum for “Dino Snores” events. Thankfully, our research indicates this was abandoned in late 2014.
No other UK museums or similar venues appear to maintain this type of policy today, and therefore London’s Zoo’s change of heart appears to mark the absolute end of the road for such misandry. We’ve therefore not only seen a success in changing long-standing sexist practices at the Science Museum and London Zoo, the progress achieved is such that these hateful and anti-male practices have now been completely eliminated for such events.
A quick glance at other counties indicate a non-sexist approach there too, with he likes of the American Museum of Natural History clearly rejecting sexism. Should our international readers run into the same issues at museums where they live we’d be interested to hear about such issues and happy to lend support in tackling the issue. Our successful campaign now clearly sets a precedent that these extreme ideas about men are not acceptable, and perhaps just a link to the information on these cases might force bodies to reconsider what they’re doing.
On a more sobering note, it’s still worth bearing in mind that numerous airlines still insist on having “all men are paedophiles” policies on their flights, so there’s still a very long way to go. It was in fact those very airline policies that prompted us to uncover this same issue for sleepover events in the first place.
Once again, many thanks for all those who helped achieve this success and a very happy International Men’s Day to everyone on Saturday. As always, there will be more campaigns (and successes) to follow.