With the multiplication of third wave feminist movements in the last few years, the concept of women hating men is being brought up more and more often. In fact, it is often used as an argument against feminism, since according to anti-feminists wanting women and men to be equal equates to hating men. In the same vein, these same women are often called “feminazis,” as in the extreme misandrist version of feminists. Despite it being untrue that all feminists hate men, it is worth asking ourselves if there would be any validity to it if it were true.
To understand whether or not the feelings of misandrists are justified, we first have to look at where this hate is rooted. Misandry is reality-based since it is a reaction to the rampant misogyny of our modern societies. As Andrea Dworkin put it,
“Feminism is hated because women are hated. Anti-Feminism is a direct expression of misogyny; it is the political defense of women hating.”
Almost every single woman will acknowledge having experienced some kind of misogyny in her lifetime. For instance, 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her life. 90% of American rape victims are female. Approximately 70% of rape or sexual assault victims experience moderate to severe distress, a larger percentage than for any other violent crime. Extremism is born out of extreme situations. Thus, fear could be considered as a contributing factor to women hating men. Moreover, the way that misogyny is woven into the fabric of our societies means that it does not always raise a violent response. We can look at videos like “10 hours of walking in NYC as a Woman”, that show just how mundane objectifying behavior has become, with the woman in the video getting catcalled numerous times in the space of ten hours. This means that frustration towards their situation can lead women to hate men. Some turn that frustration into peaceful activism like the liberal feminists of second-wave feminism with the likes of Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan who advocated for federal legislation to be passed that would promote and enhance the professional lives of women. Others take a more extreme route like the radical feminists who opposed the liberal feminists in the 70s, who sought to abolish patriarchy by challenging existing social norms and institutions, rather than through a purely political process.
However, despite their sentiment being completely understandable, it does not quite mean it is fully justified. Especially in the case of it being born from personal experience, it is a shame for the actions of a few to completely reshape how one sees half of the population for the worse. Nevertheless, there are some men that are completely despicable, like the males who were convicted of the vast majority of homicides in the United States, representing 90.5% of the total number of offenders in 2014, but there are also many great men, in the same way, that there are loathsome as well as remarkable women. For instance, Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, is a notable, powerful, feminist figure. At a United Nations conference, Trudeau said, “I’m going to keep saying loud and clear that I am a feminist. Until it is met with a shrug.” He also established the first gender-balanced cabinet in Canada. In fact, there are lots of men who believe in the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. This casts a shadow on the belief that separatist feminists hold that men cannot be feminists, because, as Simone de Beauvoir put it in The Second Sex, there are intrinsic differences between the sexes. Perhaps, since there are in any case two sexes, it would be more efficient to work together to fight gender inequality.
So, we can say that in today’s society, it is to a certain extent reasonable to hate men, as there are cultural and societal reasons behind it. Nevertheless, it is a shame because it is closing your mind off to other interesting perspectives on gender. We can only hope that men give women fewer reasons to hate them in the future.