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The ABC's of Man Hating

I was originally intending to write an informative but witty blog post deconstructing the popular open distaste towards men, remaining as unbiased as possible: a real journalist. I rummaged my brain for aspects that are truly important to highlight. However, as I fully immersed myself into the ways in which I, as a woman, am treated, I was forced out of my cocoon of ignorant bliss.

Suddenly, I no longer felt the need to simply be funny and educational but to get personal, maybe even a bit mad. It is an incredibly frustrating realization that when speaking about these things it’s usually into an echo chamber. No one from the outside cares to listen, it’s just a circle of individuals nodding along and offering condolences for the experiences we’ve all known about and have encountered. However, for spice, every once in a while there's a new form of misogyny that shocks everyone to the core and all you can think is what.. the … fuck.

Sometimes I think these things are in my head, that maybe this echo chamber is just a little too tight, and this is not what the real world is like. I am just as quick to remind myself that I do in fact live in the real world, and I literally have no way to escape it. I joke with my friends about how I have the perfect vision for a woman because I can't see the lingering faces of passersby when I’m not wearing my glasses. It’s terrifying that my friends have to continue living in this full awareness and, just because I cannot see them, doesn’t mean they’re not looking.

I’ve been looked at since I was about 13 years old. Whistles, car honks, shouts, random men deciding to walk alongside me to attempt to talk to me, unsolicited DM’s and dick pics, and the list keeps going. These behaviors have come from men my age to men that are old enough to be my grandfathers. Encounters ranging from nuisances to wondering if this is finally what my mother warned me about.

I hope future generations of young women have a stronger support system. This attention came at a turbulent time in my life, and it felt like something to want, an achievement of some sort. It feels like the older generations of women have been broken down into exhaustion. My mother guided me by wanting to steer clear of certain outfits or places. The reasons as to why were never explicitly said. My grandmother was more generous with the details, telling me that wearing red lipstick at 15 made me a prostitute.

Now to address directly those of you that occupy the space of man:

We as female-presenting individuals are constantly being taught how to avoid the advances of men and to keep ourselves safe. But are men being taught how to not endanger us? Is your dad sitting you down to tell you that you’re a piece of shit for groping a girl at the club?

It feels like a strange game of manipulation where I know exactly what you’re doing because your buddies have done it before, but, if I call you out on it, suddenly I’m reading too much into it.

It has never been an equal playing field, if I sleep with you somehow I have questionable judgment, and you’re just having a good time. Sure, everyone kisses and tells but the conversation with women has an extra layer of: was he pushy? boundary-breaking? Was there questionable behavior in terms of consent? Though this addition is not always present, some things are too bad to say out loud and would definitely result in us never seeing the perpetrator again. This would be for the best, but we don’t risk perishing from the withdrawal of male validation.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a purely sexual and objectifying form of power. Oh no, if you haven’t sent an explicit DM, you are not off the hook. This takes place in the classroom and workplace just as much. You’re our professors and peers who wish we didn’t have to make things so serious and political. You think that women are equal to men and can speak up whenever we want, without holding the space for women to do so. You think it’s an option for us not to think about these things and see the world this way because you have that option. Countless interactions of clearly not listening, mansplaining, casual belittling- it makes me wonder if you even see us as people.

I can confidently say that I’ve had less than a handful of cishet men lead with genuine curiosity and intent to understand when it comes to my experience as a woman. Far too often, they assume exactly who I am, what I stand for, and what I mean by hating men. They treat it as if I’m the 773rd woman they’ve heard say this, and I couldn’t possibly have anything new to say. But did you try to listen to the first, second, maybe even third woman about why they think the same way as I do? Or did you just treat it as some sort of debate? Judging the validity of my points and waiting for your turn to rebut.

I’ll leave you with a brief explanation, edited to make it palatable for your comfort as per usual. No, we don’t actually hate men because we have fathers, brothers, boyfriends, and friends who we choose to have in our lives. These men can also be in our lives and require tons of improvement. I’ll leave intersectionality out for another time when the topic can be done justice. Holding this anger and frustration is quite frankly exhausting at times, especially when you consider it juxtaposing society's prescribed notion that women are supposed to be gentle and kind. However as is pointed out in I Hate Men by Pauline Harmange, men no longer merit our praise and affection for the simple fact of existing.

No, hating men is not the same as men saying they hate women because the dynamic between the oppressor hating the oppressed, and the oppressed hating the oppressor are very different. I’d call that a power imbalance. The statement “I hate men” is not as simple as it may appear. It is relief, a way to let out frustration, but it is also a statement meant to shock. To stir up discomfort and reflection within the perpetrators. It is not intended to be brushed off as a simple generalization. If we said “I hate most men '' or “ I hate some men '', this leaves too much room for men to assume they automatically fall into the exception. Our angry expression does not negate the need for you to pay attention.

Absolutely we want you to be feminists, to understand your place in the system and the power your privilege holds. What that does not mean is to center yourself in the conversation once more, police our expression, or fake feminism to get laid but to use your awareness to hold your male friends accountable. It is not “gay” to take feelings into consideration. So, next time someone has the energy and the space to educate you on their experiences, please pay attention.


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