(Just a quick note, if you haven’t noticed, the domain name for this blog is now disorderlypolitics.wordpress.com instead of the old one, which was a bit too close to my name. So save the new address.)
Now that that’s been cleared up–moving on to the topic for today:
Why do people think that feminists hate men? I’m an anti-feminist, and I think feminism as it is now in America is overtly harmful, but I feel like this topic gets wildly oversimplified by both sides.
Every time I hear someone say, “Feminists aren’t for equality, they’re for female supremacy,” I just want to smack them in the head and tell them they’re not helping. Every time I hear a feminist condescendingly address this point with a too-cool-for-school smile and a chuckle of derision, “Oh, we don’t hate men, silly!” I also want to smack them in the head and tell them they’re not disproving the point. I feel like anti-feminists often use this claim without explaining their reasoning behind it enough, which leads to feminists to strawman the issue and treat it like it’s nothing even though it would be good for a self-proclaimed feminist to really sit down and address this notion–not just write off the people who make it as “not understanding what feminism is” but actually addressing it and going over the points people make as to why they think that. The main issue here, then, is that I don’t think many anti-feminists every really say why they think that, at least not overtly. And you need to be as clear and explicit as possible when going over this type of thing.
I personally do not think that feminists hate men. I think feminism does, though. There is a difference here. For another religion-related example, I think the Bible (and the Judeo-Christian scripture in general, really) is one of the most genuinely misogynistic pieces of literature there is–women were made for men and the world was ruined because women are stupid and use trickery to deceive the otherwise saintly man; sex is bad, and purity is good, because when I pretty much sell you to another guy, you not being a virgin loses me fifty sheckles; also we will stone you to death for the slightest gender-role deviant transgression! Yeah, the Bible doesn’t make women look that great. But does that mean that I think Christians are misogynistic by default? No. Does that mean I think steadfastly and wholeheartedly following the tenants espoused by Christianity will inevitably, as the logical conclusion to taking the stories of the Bible to heart, lead to people having more misogynistic ideas? Yes. And many an overtly misogynistic society has taking a religion and what its book says to its logical conclusion to blame for why it’s that way.
The same goes for feminism. I don’t think being a feminist makes you a misandrist by default, but I do think that wholeheartedly devoting yourself to feminist theory and activism without questioning it all that much, because you’ve already established it in your mind as The Truth, can lead to some women (and men) becoming more misandrist in their thinking. That’s because, when you look at feminist theory and feminist activism as a conglomerate of ideas, the “men suck” notion is pretty inescapable.
So for all of you feminists who consistently say “Feminists don’t hate men,” fine. I agree with you. I’m sure Male Tears paraphernalia is ultimately just a joke that I don’t personally find funny the same way you don’t personally find rape jokes funny, but everyone’s allowed to have their own sense of humor. I’m sure most feminists like men perfectly fine. But feminism definitely does not like men. And when you devote yourself to a set of ideas, it only makes sense that those ideas would eventually sink in and start manifesting themselves in your behavior. You see it with traditional Christians who totally aren’t sexist, man, we just think that a woman having sex outside of wedlock is a dirty whore by default because she defiled herself. You see it with feminists who totally don’t hate men, we just take issue with almost everything they think and do because their maleness makes them inherently oppressive.
Academic feminist theory (the branch of feminism that’s pretty much overtaken the discussion and activism of the movement) is built upon the idea of a patriarchy, which essentially boils down to “men suck and societies run by men suck,” with many feminists (at least based off of my anecdotal experience at lectures and conferences for feminism) talking about the patriarchy with the weird underlying implication running through it that matriarchies would somehow be so much better. It’s hard to explain, but I personally pick up on lots of “if we were in charge, shit would be great” subtexts from this types of outings. It’s not just feminism, by the way, I pick up on the same weird subtext whenever social justice peeps talk about race–like, a Malaysian coming to America and being culturally assimilated is bad, but it wouldn’t be bad if an American went to Malaysia and was assimilated into that culture. And so on, and so forth. Someone is always the perpetual bad guy.
It always confuses me why this is a question people ask. Why do people think that feminism hates men? Grow a little self-awareness, guys! You’re like the social justice movement version of Meghan Trainor: “What, all I do is call them ‘skinny bitches,’ and have more than one song talking about how I’m better than them and anyone who likes them more than me is a judgmental idiot with no taste. But I don’t have anything against skinny girls!”
So what makes people think feminists don’t like men? Maybe it’s feminists constantly spouting the phrase “We should teach men not to rape” as if they don’t already know that rape is bad and every man is just has a budding rapist inside of him just waiting to break out. Maybe it’s feminists constantly portraying them as the bad guy even when it’s patently untrue (Like with women being afraid to walk at night, even though men are victimized in that situation more? Or like when the majority female–on both the publishing and writing side of things–book industry holds conferences talking about how we need to pay less attention to men.). Maybe it’s them constantly being told to shut up and that it’s okay if they’re made to feel bad for having an identity they have no control over because “Everywhere is a safe space for men, so now you know how it feels you privileged white boy.” ‘Cause that’s not petty or vindictive in the slightest.
Maybe it’s having their sexuality demonized into something inherently entitled and objectifying while women’s sexuality is championed. Maybe it’s feminists looking down their noses at people who bring up men’s rights issues by insisting that their movement is already doing something about it even when it clearly isn’t. Maybe it’s because feminist pop culture “critics” act like something simply having and trying to appeal mainly to a male target demographic is a horror beyond horrors. Maybe it’s because when a dumb teenaged boy makes a “What Boys Look for in Girlfriends” video he gets dragged across the coals for it for being shallow and disrespectful, but no one says anything about the myriad “What Girls Look for in Boyfriends” videos made by women or acknowledge the fact that that teenage boy has so many young girl followers because they themselves are shallow and only like him for how he looks, but for some reason it’s only a problem when the guy’s an idiot. Maybe it’s because feminism is taking a page from the 1980s and jumping on the “nerd guys, and nerd guys specifically, are the Devil” craze. Maybe it’s because whenever a feminist does something overtly sexist towards men, other feminists will rush to defend them no matter what instead of condemning the action.
Maybe it’s because their are academic papers and Buzzfeed articles about current matriarchal societies and how they’re so beautiful and deep as opposed to, you know, making negative comments about how matriarchies are bad. Maybe it’s because there’s a legitimate, serious news article that people took seriously might as well be entitled “I don’t care that you made scientific history and revolutionized astronomy and rocket science as we know it, your clothes are dumb and I don’t like you.” Maybe it’s because a KillAllMen hashtag can exist without fucking social uproar and people rioting in the streets like you know would happen if #KillAllWomen was a thing. Maybe it’s because as long as a man is in the same space as a woman, breathing the same air, his very existence can be construed as oppressing her somehow (man-spreading, anyone?).
So, yeah. Are you starting to see why people think that feminists hate men yet? And maybe you are a feminist who doesn’t hate men. And maybe every feminist you know doesn’t hate men. And maybe every feminist blog you follow doesn’t hate men. But your voice isn’t being heard over the louder ones, and I certainly don’t hear you outright condemning the negative things I listed above. Lots of feminists being rationale human beings who don’t hate an entire gender doesn’t make null and void the overall picture: It doesn’t eliminate the flawed foundation that the very movement and ideology is based on. Being a moderate feminist at this point is like being a moderate Mormon–you may not be insane, but the very core of your belief system is, at best, very flawed, and some people are following that belief system way more closely than you are. And everyone else is suffering for it.
Feminism, as a movement made from a conglomerate of parts, seems, at the very least, like it doesn’t care about men. (And, for the record, I’d be okay if feminism didn’t care about men. I really would. It’s feminists insisting that it does when it so clearly doesn’t that annoys me.) The sum of the collective feminist movement’s parts is something that points to that conclusion. It may not point to all-out misandry, but it sure as hell doesn’t point to equality and forgiveness and good feelings either. I feel like many moderate feminists just focus on their piece of the puzzle that they like and act like that’s all that feminism is. “Yeah, my piece of the puzzle has just a smidgen of male-sexuality-shaming from where it connects to another piece, but my piece isn’t about that, so it’s fine.” You forget that puzzle pieces come together to make a picture. And the whole picture, no matter how nice some of the pieces look on their own, isn’t that great as far as feminism is concerned.
And that’s why people think you hate men. Because, when all the rhetoric starts building up over the years and gets big enough to allow people to look at it as a movement in its entirety–as a sum of its growing and building parts– it doesn’t come out smelling like roses.