Recently I read yet another article published by a very well known Feminist group about how and why feminists don't hate men. Articles and blog posts are frequently published by feminist writers explaining how feminism isn't man hating and how it also applies to men, but this particular article had a different vibe about it which I feel is reflective of what is being seen a lot in supposedly feminist spaces lately.
I didn't much like the article, as it seemed to be overly pandering to the male ego, but it was the comment section that really got me angry. (Yes I know, never read the comments!! I am not going to link to the article or face book thread as I believe firstly, it's a common enough theme among comment threads around the inter-webs so that it will be familiar to most, and also to protect the women who were commenting there.) It wasn't really the comments from men that got me angry, (although the waa, waa, waa, feminists are so mean element was definitely there.) Instead there was one woman who was investing a lot of time commenting all through thread, insisting with great conviction that feminism, does indeed, have a man hating problem. She was speaking over other women, disregarding their lived experiences, advocating tone policing women who were justifiably angry, siding with the men in the thread, and posted this blog post by a Scott Alexander. to back up her claims. Alexander quotes self professed male nerd Scot Aaronson,
" Alas, as much as I try to understand other people’s perspectives, the first reference to my “male privilege”—my privilege!—is approximately where I get off the train, because it’s so alien to my actual lived experience."
When a white cis man who claims to be trying to understand feminism does not understand male privilege to the extent that they reference someone who puts the term in scare quotes like it is an imaginary concept, I find it hard to give anything that comes after much serious thought myself.
Feminism does have problems, no doubt. It has a problem with some white cis women practising White feminism which often ignores and erases the issues of WOC. It has a problem with TERF's (Trans-exclusionary radical feminism), a subgroup of radical feminism characterised by their transphobia, transmisogony, and hostility towards third wave feminism. But the small group of women who are pissed off, angry, and sometimes mean to men who do not understand or accept the privileges they have in comparison to those who they insist on raising their voices over, are not something we should be focusing on. I'm sick of feminist discourse always being fucking sidetracked with first having to make sure it's OK with these men before we even open our mouths.
It's a given that not all men hate women. We all know and accept that but heaven forbid we don't put a disclaimer up every single time we write or talk about sexism, misogyny, rape culture, and VAW. But with or without that disclaimer, there will still be those that will shoot up their hand at the mention of misogyny and wildly wave it around while screaming as loud as they can #NOTALLMEN!!! You can absolutely count on it.
But to many, feminists who continuously question and challenge the privileges of men under the patriarchy, who go out of their way to counteract those privileges in the spaces they create by elevating the voices of women and other marginalised groups over those of white cis men, are deemed man-eating misandrists. (Funny though, when a man does the same thing, he is usually applauded with loud accolades.) The majority of women have grown up with our voices being silenced using this tactic and so once again, but this time more insidiously from within the movement itself, it's being put on us to be nice and sweet, and sugar coat every word we say. I'm over it.
So I googled 'Feminists don't hate men' and got this.
As you can see, there is a list that just goes on and on with articles about how feminists don't hate men. Precious time that feminists have taken out of their lives, time out from their activism and discussions of issues that affect women, to reassure men that we are not out for their blood. (But I guess in asking them to acknowledge their privilege and suggesting that they need to perhaps relinquish them somewhat, we may as well be baring our feminist, man hating teeth and sucking the life blood out of them.) We are constantly soothing the ego's of men with non-offending tones and gentle words, over, and over, and over again and it is never enough to satiate that great pit of entitlement.
And then I googled Meninists , then 'MRA's don't hate women', and even male feminist allies on why men don't hate women,
There is not one article that I can find from male allies on how men don't hate women. Simply because, as true allies, they know that it would be complete bullshit. And yes we are aware that #notallmen hate women, but all men do benefit under patriarchy which without doubt does marginalise and oppress women, fosters rape culture and misogyny and is dangerous and even life threatening to women. Not surprisingly there is not one single article from 'Meninists' or 'MRA's' who claim that they don't hate women. They openly state they hate feminists (a group that consist largely of women) and pretty much only tolerate those women who have internalised misogyny to the extent that they subscribe to the same hateful beliefs. But largely the result under the search for men's assurance of not hating women were simply more articles on how feminists don't hate men, or articles that confirm with no apologies that men in fact, do hate women.
So despite all of this, the real problem to many it would seem, is still that a small percentage of feminists are often times mean to men. That some even claim outright that they have an incalculable disdain for them, and dare I say it, at times even hate them. However, in almost every single instance that this happens, it is not actual, individual men that are hated. It is those who perpetuate the systems of a society that fosters and encourages a culture of hyper-masculinity. A society that ridicules and labels femininity as weak and inferior, and defend it with threats of violence and social recriminations toward those who stand up to it that is really the true object of their ire. Even the most ardent feminist has men in their lives that they love. Men who are also products of this society and who are problematic and imperfect.
I have sons. Three of them. I am determined to bring them up to be aware of their privilege and the plight of those who are not so lucky. It is understandably hard, because I have the world to compete with and sometimes I feel like I am never going to win. But I keep going, because I love them. And although I desperately want them to have full and happy lives, I want them to be able to obtain that without it being at the expense of someone else having the same. And I do not want them to ever feel like they have to buy into the toxic culture of hyper-masculinity that our society seems determined to thrust upon them. I've seen the damage that has done to so many men, and it is horrible. If that makes me a man-hater, then so be it. I do hate that version of masculinity. A lot.
Although there are some feminists who despise or even hate men (or rather the systems that uphold their privileged stance in society) the real problem as I see it, is that if we continue to place our focus on this to the point where some women who identify as feminists are actually calling other women 'misandrists' for their refusal to pander to the male ego, then the problem with feminism won't be simply the small element that are deemed man-haters but that it will become just another space that is more concerned with the feelings and voices of privileged men over that of the women whose issues of oppression and marginalisation the movement is supposed to espouse.