“Feminists hate men.” It’s what the instant perception is, almost all of the time. Except they don’t. Not really. The feminists who are working for equality and not superiority, no — they do not hate men.
Neither do I.
Still, the second I say the word “feminist,” this is what most men and many women assume: that automatically I think I’m better than men, don’t have any use for them, and that they need to give in to me — over what? I don’t know. Or they might think I’ll throw the words “abuse,” “sexist,” or “lawsuit” at them — in short, that all feminists hate men.
The fact is that not only do I not feel this way, but feminism — true feminism, not the small group of women who do despise the opposite sex as a whole — is not male-exclusive.
But all feminists hate men
There seems to be a huge misconception over feminism as even many women have joined against the movement, holding signs saying why they “don’t need” feminism. They use reasons such as owning their own shit, liking to do things for their husband, and that they don’t feel demoralized, used, or unappreciated.
Awesome sauce, ladies.
But just because you don’t, none of the rest of us do? Has it occurred to any of these women that without feminism, they wouldn’t likely feel appreciated, have their own jobs, or even be able to speak publicly? Because, after all, before the women’s movement they were considered property: first the property of their fathers, then their husbands. But hey, let’s forget all that, shall we?
And I — as do many other feminists I know — love many men and doing things for them and with them, just as these men in our lives do things for us. It’s called being human, not being a woman, or feminist, or non-feminist. It’s considered love and respect — an ideal concept.
The myth of feminists hating men
My life is full of men. Just last year, I worked in an office as the only woman. On my side, there were 11 people: me and 10 men. Trust me when I say there was never bowing, no capitulating because I am female, no hesitance to tell me when I’m doing something wrong. I didn’t tear through the building, demeaning them because they are the opposite sex as a feminist who sees it as her duty. Rather, it was a mutual “I’m gonna give you crap” situation because of the mutual respect. The same thing goes for the school I’m working in now. There are both men and women, even in administration, and I have never felt anything but valued because of my commitment to work with everyone to make our school the best it can be.
This is not to say that I’ve never experienced sexual harassment and being looked down on merely because of my sex. However, I recognize that even though this happens everywhere, all the time, and even though the perpetrators of the violence in my life have all been by men, I do not hate someone because they are male.
I will, however, hate them if they are an ass.
Some of my very best professors in college were men and showed me nothing but respect and genuine appreciation for my efforts and successes. My husband is, of course, a man, one who I hold in the highest regard, and guess what? I love doing things for him. Being a feminist does not make me immune to standards of common marital decency, and I can assure anyone that it doesn’t make him see me as any less of a woman that he can love and care for.
Believe me, there are men that I hate — not because I am a feminist, but because they abused their power as men in my life and because they used their strength to violate and shame me. It is their actions that deserve hatred, not the sex they were born into. Not because “feminists hate men.”
Why must feminism be viewed as superiority and not equality?
The flip side of all of this is that while there are many women who don’t hate men (feminist or not), it has still become socially acceptable to demean them. It’s true that men do not think the same way that women do, usually, and that they are sometimes dependent on our helping them to remember things or find themselves asking for our help in ways that we (as women) often do without thinking.
Well, so what? Why does any of that make it okay to say, “He’s useless without me,” or “I have an extra child.” Your husband is not your child. If he’s acting like one, I’d dare say it’s time to reevaluate the roles you both have in the marriage.
I say this because I fell into the same trap in my previous marriage, and I hate it. With my current husband, I refuse to put him down as useless, stupid, or someone to be pitied just because he doesn’t think or act like me. Quite frankly, being in my head is no easy thing. Why would I wish that on him or anyone else?
In all seriousness, how can I, as a feminist, claim to promote equality if I act as though men are beneath me, as if feminists hate men? They’re human, aren’t they? Well, so am I. Gloriously, frighteningly human. Yes, there are men I don’t like. There are women I don’t like. Sometimes, I don’t like myself — that’s where that whole “being human” comes in. As Dan Pearce of “Single Dad Laughing” has written, “Humaning is hard.”
So guys, no — all feminists don’t hate you merely because we want equality and equity. And girls, let’s remember the men in our life are just as valuable as we are and don’t deserve the put-down that society perpetuates through the “smart wife, dumb husband” culture that flows through television, commercials, and social media. We are all better than this. And if we’re not, it’s about damn time we change that too.