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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Why I Hate Men

Hello hello!

Before I get down to brass tacks, two notes apply. First, I will be talking about harassment and violence in this post, as well as sexual assault. Second, when I talk about men, I am referring to cis and mostly heterosexual men. My experiences with trans men are more limited, and further, trans men do not have the systemic access to power that their cisgender counterparts do.

If you don't know what "cis" and "trans" mean, go here! Or even here. I will also be talking about patriarchy and male privilege, so before you tell me those things don't exist, please click on the links and do some research, so we can all save some time.

I hate men. 

First of all, #NotAllMen. For one thing, my romantic partner is a man, and some of my closest friends, the people I trust most in the world, are men. But still--in the space of a few years, I've gone from decrying criticisms of patriarchy and saying that patriarchy isn't a real thing, to actively participating in misandry and criticizing popular masculinity without remorse or apology--as much as possible, anyway.

How did that happen? How did a nice, egalitarian woman end up "hating men"? 

Well, feminism has definitely played a role in it, but there's more to it than that. It's given me a lens and a mirror, to reflect on and inspect my own feelings and thoughts. What I slowly discovered was that there were an endless number of habits I'd taken on that were solely for the sake of keeping men comfortable in conversations.

And more, I wasn't the only woman doing this--we were all doing it. From automatically defending men in conversations about rape and abuse, to citing "but I know so many decent guys", to folding into and agreeing with men's opinions whenever they piped up about a topic--even if those opinions disagreed with our own. If a man was upset, I, or someone else, would immediately try to comfort and console him. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but when you add all of that up, it results in a lot of emotional labour.

It goes deeper, too. Take those tendencies away from the allegedly banal setting of Facebook, and contextualize them within relationships. It's hard not to agree with one's father out of a sense of filial duty, even if one disagrees. Worrying about a partner's needs over one's own, even when they would willingly listen to your objections or requests.

As I started to notice those habits of my own, I noticed them in the women around me, too. People who don't fit in the rigid and limited gender binary, such as my trans friends and friends who don't like gender labels, STILL had many of the same habits of consoling men and being timid about expressing their own opinions.

This sounds like quibbling, says part of my brain. Isn't it making something out of nothing? But that part is still subject to all this socialization. How can we talk about any feminist issue when our complaints are downplayed? It's easier to say a woman is entitled and whiny than it is to admit that there are cultural links between, say, child marriage in the much-criticized Middle East and groupie sex culture from the 1970s.

It sounds minor, but these aren't the only habits I've developed. Every woman I know habitually treats walking alone as a small test of will. We carry our keys and memorize how to punch people and make sure we know where our Swiss Army knives are in our purses and pockets, "just in case". The chance of sexual assault is just treated as a fact of life, something to dread but accept as a risk. Women plan their routes around trying not to be alone, and go to bathrooms as a group, for just this reason. It becomes unconscious--until, at some point, one wonders why they always reach for a knife or a cell phone when walking alone, and considers that maybe, just maybe, that's messed up.

But what about men? 

Men themselves have reacted in a variety of ways to my changing perspective. A lot of my male friends have expressed discomfort or protested my opinions. More disconcertingly, the same friends will use pretty manipulative arguments to counter my own. Invoking the sacred bonds of friendship--all the more ironic when one has barely talked to a person in private, if ever--and using personal attacks were the most common "counter arguments" I saw. Fortunately, a surprising number have supported this misandry and verbal defiance of societal training, for which I am endlessly grateful. Every time a man does not attack me, verbally or physically, I am relieved.

When I was younger, women would bully me. I hated women, and trained myself to think that men were somehow better; more logical, more objective, and kinder. As I've grown up and started expressing uncomfortable opinions, I've found that male socialization is pretty much the same as female socialization, and that men gossip and express indirect aggression and use personal attacks, too. But where women eventually learn that these attacks do more harm than good, men don't--and I think a lot of women let men get away with them because we're trained to comfort them.

Now that I've actually been on the internet for a while, too, I've noticed that men or apparently male commentors tend to be more dogged and persistent in their attacks. After a while, I could tell the gender of "anonymous" commentors pretty easily just from the style of their comments.

But why kill all men? 

First of all, misandry is mostly a performative thing. At no point would I or any other feminist I know of pick up a gun and just start blasting men left and right, gunning them down. Nor would I suggest that feminists, including myself, go around dealing out rape to fix up gay men and make them like women. Nor would I say that women have the right to keep their male partners in line, as god intended, using force if necessary. Nor would I say that men are obligated to perform sexual services at our whim, and to keep the house clean. I wouldn't say that men need to look good at all times or they're slobs, and deserve harassment. I would not turn a blind eye to abuse of a man by his female partner because "that's just their relationship". I would not assume that his job is to be at home, raising the kids, or in the back of the church, remaining obedient and silent. I would not assume that a man is "asking for it" with the way he is dressed. I would not follow around and harass a man on the internet until he wrote many tearful blog posts about his harassment and stalking. I would not kill men because they had rejected me. I would not say men should not be believed when they say they have survived ugly incidents of sexual assault.  I would not say that men are complaining too much when they ask for more speaking parts in movies, or say that men's mere presence is ruining science fiction and video games. I would not support legislation against male reproductive rights, questioning whether men should be forced to care for accidentally sired children and deal with them from the first moment the cells start to divide--claiming, of course, that clusters of cells and children or babies are the same.

But apparently, men will do this to women, and when we complain about their treatment, continue to say that they're being unfairly maligned. And so that is why I "hate men": it is my way of whistling in the dark, of dealing with the statistical fact that about 1 in 4 North American women are sexual assault survivors--including too many of my friends to count. Being a woman means living under siege.

And you know what's worse? Change "men" to "white people" and "women" to "people of colour", or apply the pattern to disabled people, and the propositions still 'work'. Our world is messed up, and we need to change it.

And I do mean "we". For women, that means striking back against our training and tearing down our fears. For men, that means giving women room to speak, and a willingness to be uncomfortable, and even to give up some power. So, men: let women make jokes in which you are not shown in the best light. Strike back at your own sense of entitlement. Listen to black people, and First Nations people, and Asian people, and brown people (in no particular order) when they talk about their experiences. Listen to trans people and nonbinary people. Listen to disabled people.

Listen. Consider. Do not assume you are right.

Just listen.

\Thanks for returning to the nest. Leave a comment and say hi! I want to hear from you. Keep up with the new releases by getting on the mailing list. Buy my books on Amazon, and keep up with me on TwitterFacebook,Tumblr, and the original blog. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 


  1. This is an outstanding post. I hope people read, listen, stand up and pay attention. All people.

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