by Cecilia Winterfox
Q: "Are you a Man Hater?"
A: "You tell me what a Man Hater is, and I'll tell you whether or not I am one."
Feminists are repeatedly asked whether or not we hate men. I say: who cares? Never mind that the first question about a movement for the liberation of women immediately attempts to focus the attention back on men, if people expect us to address this ridiculous question they should be prepared to think about what it is they're actually asking. What is man hating? What does it actually mean, and how does it hurt men in any way?
The word "misandry" has a ring of seriousness to it. It sounds sciencey! But other than an epithet hurled at feminists who dare to challenge the status quo, it lacks gravitas because it seeks to describe, indeed to create, a false inversion of misogyny.
Not unlike "reverse racism" - misandry just doesn't exist. Men do not suffer widespread or systematic discrimination for being men. The status quo is a sweet deal for dudes, that's why it's called Patriarchy.
What then, is "man hating"?
Are there individual “man-haters"? Look, many women have suffered terribly at the hands of men. We've been beaten, raped, passed over for jobs, paid at lower rates for the same work, relentlessly heckled for our appearance, defined and (de)valued by our sexual utility to men or lack thereof - and we see other women suffering these same things around us and in the news each and every day.
So what if an individual woman "hates" men? Let's consider how that that "hatred" might manifest. Perhaps the individual man hater is (heaven forfend) angry. Perhaps she says things like “all men are jerks!”. The individual “man hater”, if she indeed exists, probably goes about her life avoiding men, maybe flipping the bird to the male gaze by ignoring patriarchal beauty standards, probably feeling angry, certainly wishing the world were different, fairer - all of which she is entirely entitled to do. But none of these things mean she wields power or causes harm, and her worst crime is what - not having sex with men?
What does an individual woman-hater do? We can recall countless examples of how misogyny is acted out on women’s bodies and dignity each and every day.
Collectively “man-hating” could be defined as… what? Women objecting to their oppression, perhaps? Collective consciousness and righteous anger? Women have every right to be angry, but this so called “hatred” - what does it do? How has it translated into any actual or proposed harm to men as a class, or even as individuals?
I recently read a comment by a man saying he couldn’t get on board with feminism if it meant that women would be superior and men would be kept in stud pens. What a luxury to express theoretical fear at this imagined dystopian future which no feminist has suggested ever when the reality is that women ARE actually kept in rape-camps and forced childbirth is used as a tool of ethnic cleansing.
Every day women are raped, murdered and discarded like garbage. Women are simultaneously blamed for causing our own lot and, inexplicably, for "reversing" the conditions of oppression simply by objecting to them. Women have been oppressed socially, politically, economically and physically for time immemorial the world over. Feminism is the political fight to liberate women from this oppression. It cannot be rationally construed as “hatred” of men in any defensible way, so I propose that exactly zero resources are devoted to exploring this myth any further.
The opposite of misogyny is not "misandry". The opposite of woman-hating is woman loving. The opposite of oppression is liberation. And that is what feminism is fighting for.
Listen to Cecilia Winterfox speaking with Clementine Ford, Ada Conroy and Yassmin Abdel-Magied on The Misandry Hour