Helpful Advice For Talking To Men Who Think Misandry Is A Thing

duhAutostraddle Editors’ Note: There aren’t a lot of men here in our ladyspace, because we’re radical leftist tree-hugging hemp-eating man-hating lesbians, OBVIOUSLY. But as you’ve possibly noticed, half — 50 entire percent! — of the world is men. Yup. All men. Just a bunch of men. All ye bisexual and otherwise-not-entirely-gay-or-straight readers out there may even have a man in your kitchen, bedroom, front porch, back porch, heartspace or tree fort. Any one of you could be living with, working with or working for a man at any given moment. You may be sitting next to a man right now! What we’re saying is — men are everywhere! All over the place! In fact, white men are actually pretty much running things, too, so even if you’re not sharing a frozen hot chocolate with a perfectly nice man right now, there’s probably a white man making money off that frozen hot chocolate you’re eating by yourself like a boss. And sometimes it can be really frustrating to have a conversation with a man about things like “feminism” and “sexism” and “misogyny” and “inequality.” 

For these reasons, this piece from Jezebel (below) really struck a chord with us, and not just because we have a BIG GIANT LESBIAN CRUSH ON LINDY WEST. We found ourselves emailing it to each other with glee and self-assuredness, feeling it articulated a lot of things we’ve wanted to articulate during our daily Yelling At Men Sessions but couldn’t quite get there. Perhaps you’ll feel the same way. 

So even though it’s written by a straight girl and addressed to men, you get the picture.

If I Admit That ‘Hating Men’ Is a Thing, Will You Stop Turning It Into a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy? 

by Lindy West

Okay, so maybe you are a man. Maybe you haven’t had the easiest ride in life—maybe you grew up in poverty; you’ve experienced death, neglect, and despair; you hate your job, your car, your body. Maybe somebody (or multiple somebodies) pulverized your heart, or maybe you’ve never even been loved enough to know what a broken heart feels like. Maybe shit started out unfair and became irreparable and you never deserved any of this. Maybe everything looks fine on paper, but you’re just unhappy and you don’t know why. These are human problems and other human beings feel for you very deeply. It is hard to be a human. I am so sorry.


Though it is a seductive scapegoat (I understand why it attracts you), none of these terrible, painful problems in your life were caused by the spectre of “misandry.” You can rest easy about that, I promise! In fact, the most powerful proponent of misandry in modern internet discourse is you — specifically, your dogged insistence that misandry is a genuine, systemic, oppressive force on par with misogyny. This is specious, it hurts women, and it is hurting you. Most feminists don’t hate men, as a group (we hate the system that disproportionately favors men at the expense of women), but — congratulations! — we are starting to hate you. You, the person. Your obsession with misandry has turned misandry into a self-fulfilling prophecy. (I mean, sort of. Hating individual men is not the same as hating all men. But more on that in a minute.) Are you happy now? Is this what you wanted? Feminism is, in essence, a social justice movement—it wants to take the side of the alienated and the marginalized, and that includes alienated and marginalized men. Please stop turning us against you.

It is nearly impossible to address problems facing women—especially problems in which men are even tangentially culpable—without comments sections devolving into cries of “misandry!” from men and replies of “misandry isn’t real” from women. Feminists are tired of this endless, fruitless turd-pong: hollow “conversation” built on willful miscommunication, bouncing back and forth, back and forth, until both sides throw up their hands and bolt. Maybe you are tired of this too. We seem to be having some very deep misunderstandings on this point, so let’s unpack it. I promise not to yell.

Part One: Why Feminism Has “Fem” in the Name, or, Why Can’t We All Just Be Humanists?

I wish, more than anything, that I could just be a “humanist.” Oh, man, that would be amazing! Because that would mean that we lived in a magical world where all humans were born on equal footing, and maybe I could live in a house shaped like a big mushroom and birds would help me get dressed or something. Humanism is a gorgeous dream, and something to strive for. In fact, it is the exact thing that feminism is striving for right now (and has been working on for decades)! Yay, feminism!

Unfortunately, the reason that “fem” is a part of the word “feminism” is that the world is not, currently, an equal, safe, and just place for women (and other groups as well—in its idealized form, intersectional feminism seeks to correct all those imbalances). To remove the gendered implications of the term is to deny that those imbalances exist, and you can’t make problems disappear just by changing “feminism” to “humanism” and declaring the world healed. That won’t work.

Think of it like this. Imagine you’re reading a Dr. Seuss book about a bunch of beasts living on an island. There are two kinds of beasts: Fleetches and Flootches. (Stick with me here! I love you!) Though the two are functionally identical in terms of intellect and general competence, Fleetches are in charge of pretty much everything. They hold the majority of political positions, they make the most money (beast-bucks!), they dominate the beast media, they enact all kinds of laws infringing on the bodily autonomy of Flootches. Individually, most of them are perfectly nice beasts, but collectively they benefit comfortably from inequalities that are historically entrenched in the power structure of Beast Island. So, from birth, even the most unfortunate Fleetches encounter fewer institutional roadblocks and greater opportunity than almost all Flootches, regardless of individual merit. One day, a group of Flootches (the ones who have not internalized their inferiority) get together and decide to agitate to change that system. They call their movement “Flootchism,” because it is specifically intended to address problems that disproportionately disadvantage Flootches while benefiting Fleetches. That makes sense, right?

Now imagine that, in response, a bunch of Fleetches begin complaining that Flootchism doesn’t address their needs, and they have problems too, and therefore the movement should really be renamed Beastism. To be fair. The problem with that name change is that it that undermines the basic mission of the movement, because it obscures (deliberately, I’d warrant) that beast society is inherently weighted against Flootches. It implies that all problems are just beast problems, and that all beasts suffer comparably, which cripples the very necessary effort to prioritize and repair problems that are Flootch-specific. Those problems are a priority because they harm all Flootches, systematically, whereas Fleetch problems merely harm individual Fleetches. To argue that all problems are just “beast problems” is to discredit the idea of inequality altogether. It is, in fact, insulting.

Or, if you didn’t like that one, here’s another ridiculous metaphor: When women say things like “misandry isn’t real,” we mean it the same way you might say, “Freddy Krueger isn’t real.” Theidea of Freddy Krueger is real, Freddy Krueger absolutely has the power to scare you, and if you suspend your disbelief it’s almost plausible to blame all of the unsolved knife-crime in the world on Freddy Krueger. Additionally, it is totally possible for some rando to dress up like Freddy Krueger and start murdering teens all over the place. But that doesn’t meant that Freddy-Krueger-the-dude is literally real. He is never going to creep into your dreams at night and murder you. He has the power to frighten, there are isolated forces in the world that resemble him, but he is ultimately a manufactured menace.

Part Two: Why Claiming that Sexism Isn’t Real Is a Sexist Thing to Say

We live in a world of measurable, glaring inequalities. Look at politicians, CEOs, film directors, law enforcement officers, comedians, tech professionals, executive chefs, mathematicians, and on and on and on—these fields are dominated by men. (And, in many cases, white men.) To claim that there is no systemic inequality keeping women and minorities out of those jobs is to claim that men (people like you) are just naturally better. If there is no social structure favoring men, then it stands to reason that men simply work harder and/or are more skilled in nearly every high-level specialized field.

It’s fine (though discouraging) if you legitimately believe that, but you need to own up to the fact that that is a self-serving and bigoted point of view. If you do not consider yourself a bigot, then kindly get on board with those of us who are trying to proactively correct inequalities. It is not enough to be neutral and tacitly benefit from inequality while others are left behind through no fault of their own. Anti-sexism, anti-racism, anti-homophobia, anti-transphobia—that’s where we’re at now. Catch up or own your prejudice.

Part Three: Why People Being Shitty to You Is Not the Same as You Being Systematically Disenfranchised

There might be a lot of women in your life who are mean to you, but that’s just women not likingyou personally. Women are allowed to not like you personally, just like you are allowed to not like us personally. It’s not misandry, it’s mis-Kevin-dry. Or, you know, whoever you are. It is not built into our culture or codified into law, and you can rest assured that most women you encounter are not harboring secret, latent, gendered prejudices against Kevins that could cost you a job or an apartment or your physical sanctity. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t isolated incidents wherein mean women hurt men on purpose. But it is not a systemic problem that results in the mass disenfranchisement of men.

There are some really shitty things about being a man. You are 100% right on that. You are held up to unreasonable expectations about your body and your career and your ability/desire to conform to traditional modes of masculinity (just like women are with traditional femininity), and that is absolutely oppressive. There are radical feminists and deeply wounded women and women who just don’t have the patience for diplomacy anymore who absolutely hate you because of your gender. (However, for whatever it’s worth, I do not personally know a single woman like that.) That is an unpleasant situation to be in—especially when you also feel like you’re being blamed for the seemingly distant problems of people you’ve never met and towards whom you feel no particular animus.

The difference is, though, that the radfem community on Tumblr does not currently hold the reins of power in every country on earth (even in nations with female heads of state, the political and economic power structures are still dominated by men). You do, abstractly. No, you don’t have the ability or the responsibility to fix those imbalances single-handedly, but refusing to acknowledge that power structure is a slap in the face to people actively disadvantaged by it every day of their lives. You might not benefit from patriarchy in any measurable way—on an individual level your life might actually be much, much worse than mine—but the fact is that certain disadvantages are absent from your experience (and, likely, invisible to you) because of your gender.

Maybe you’re saying, “Hey, but my life wasn’t fair either. I’ve had to struggle.” I know it wasn’t. I know you have. But that’s not how fairness works. If you present fairness as the goal—that some day everything will be “fair” for everyone—you’re slipping into an unrealistic fantasy land. Life already isn’t fair, because of coincidence and circumstance and the DNA you were born with, and we all have to accept the hands we’re dealt and live within that reality. But life doesn’t have to be additionally unfair because of imposed systems of disenfranchisement that only affect certain groups. We can fight against that.

Feminism isn’t about striving for individual fairness, on a life-by-life basis—it’s about fighting against a systematic removal of opportunity that infringes on women’s basic freedoms. If a woman and a man have equal potential in a field, they should have an equal opportunity to achieve success in that field. It’s not that we want the least qualified women to be handed everything just because they’re women. It’s that we want all women to have the same opportunities as all men to fulfill (or fail to fulfill, on their own inherent merits) their potential. If a particular woman is underqualified for a particular job, fine. That isn’t sexism. But she shouldn’t have to be systematically set up, from birth, to be underqualified for all jobs (except for jobs that reinforce traditional femininity, obv).

Part Four: A List of “Men’s Rights” Issues That Feminism Is Already Working On

Feminists do not want you to lose custody of your children. The assumption that women are naturally better caregivers is part of patriarchy.

Feminists do not like commercials in which bumbling dads mess up the laundry and competent wives have to bustle in and fix it. The assumption that women are naturally better housekeepers is part of patriarchy.

Feminists do not want you to have to make alimony payments. Alimony is set up to combat the fact that women have been historically expected to prioritize domestic duties over professional goals, thus minimizing their earning potential if their “traditional” marriages end. The assumption that wives should make babies instead of money is part of patriarchy.

Feminists do not want anyone to get raped in prison. Permissiveness and jokes about prison rape are part of rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.

Feminists do not want anyone to be falsely accused of rape. False rape accusations discredit rape victims, which reinforces rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.

Feminists do not want you to be lonely and we do not hate “nice guys.” The idea that certain people are inherently more valuable than other people because of superficial physical attributes is part of patriarchy.

Feminists do not want you to have to pay for dinner. We want the opportunity to achieve financial success on par with men in any field we choose (and are qualified for), and the fact that we currently don’t is part of patriarchy. The idea that men should coddle and provide for women, and/or purchase their affections in romantic contexts, is condescending and damaging and part of patriarchy.

Feminists do not want you to be maimed or killed in industrial accidents, or toil in coal mines while we do cushy secretarial work and various yarn-themed activities. The fact that women have long been shut out of dangerous industrial jobs (by men, by the way) is part of patriarchy.

Feminists do not want you to commit suicide. Any pressures and expectations that lower the quality of life of either gender are part of patriarchy. The fact that depression is characterized as an effeminate weakness, making men less likely to seek treatment, is part of patriarchy.

Feminists do not want you to be viewed with suspicion when you take your child to the park (men frequently insist that this is a serious issue, so I will take them at their word). The assumption that men are insatiable sexual animals, combined with the idea that it’s unnatural for men to care for children, is part of patriarchy.

Feminists do not want you to be drafted and then die in a war while we stay home and iron stuff. The idea that women are too weak to fight or too delicate to function in a military setting is part of patriarchy.

Feminists do not want women to escape prosecution on legitimate domestic violence charges, nor do we want men to be ridiculed for being raped or abused. The idea that women are naturally gentle and compliant and that victimhood is inherently feminine is part of patriarchy.

Feminists hate patriarchy. We do not hate you.

If you really care about those issues as passionately as you say you do, you should be thanking feminists, because feminism is a social movement actively dedicated to dismantling every single one of them. The fact that you blame feminists—your allies—for problems against which they have been struggling for decades suggests that supporting men isn’t nearly as important to you as resenting women. We care about your problems a lot. Could you try caring about ours?

Part Five: I’m Sorry That You Are in Pain, But Please Stop Taking It Out on Women

It’s not easy to swallow your own privilege—to admit that you’re a Fleetch—but once you do, it’s addictive. It feels good to open up to perspectives that are foreign to you, accept your complicity in this shitty system, and work on making the world better for everyone instead of just defending your territory. It’s something I had to do as a privileged white woman, and something I still have to work on every day, because it’s right. That doesn’t make me (or you) a bad person—it makes me an extremely lucky person who was born into a white body in a great family in a vibrant, liberal city in a powerful, wealthy country that implicitly values white bodies over all other bodies. The least I can do is acknowledge the arbitrariness of that luck, and work to tear down the obstacles facing those who are disenfranchised by the insidious fetishization of whiteness. Blanket defensiveness isn’t going to get any of us anywhere.

To all the men who have had shitty lives and mistake that pain for “misandry”: I totally get it. Humans are not such complicated creatures. All we want is to feel like we’re valued, like we deserve to exist. And I’m sorry if you haven’t found that so far in your life. But it’s not women’s fault, it’s not my fault, and it’s certainly not feminism’s fault. The thing is, you’re not really that different from the women you rail against so passionately in these comment threads—the women who are trying to carve out some space and assert their value in a world of powerful men. Plenty of women know exactly what it feels like to be pushed to the fringe of society, to be rejected so many times that you eventually reject yourself. That alienation is a big part of what feminism is fighting against. A lot of those women would be on your side, if you would just let them instead of insisting that they’re the villains. It’s better over here, and we have room for you. So stop trying to convince us that we hate you and I promise we’ll start liking you a whole lot more.

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Jezebel has written 38 articles for us.


  1. I saw this article yesterday and had to smile, since in the past several weeks I’ve had this come up several times… including one with a now ex-friend who told me I’m becoming a “man-hating dyke” – my response was, “well, if you guys keep it up like this, I probably will”. (Needless to say, I finished that conversation by telling him that I don’t need to know him anymore…)

    Anyways I’ll definitely be passing people links to this if/when it comes up again, because I thought it was great, and it’s pretty aggravating trying to deal with all those “but but”s.

    • Blllaarrrrgggghhhh. Why did he think that calling you a Dyke was in the interest of effective debate/proving his point.

      I also feel like the gay-lady thing is used as PROOF that a woman hates men. Yep, because everyone is obligated to want to have sex with you, and if they don’t it’s because of MISANDRY.

      • Yeah, I don’t know. Best I can gather is that when he couldn’t think of a valid counter-argument, he figured an ad hominem

        I’ve been finding that people (okay, guys) I’ve known for years and who’ve been suppor

      • Okay I don’t know what happened there…

        Yeah, I don’t know. Best I can gather is that when he couldn’t think of a valid counter-argument, he figured an ad hominem attack is a good way to derail, because how do you respond to that?

        I’ve been finding that people (okay, guys) I’ve known for years and who’ve been supportive of my transition are turning out to look like they’re supportive so long as I learn to not voice opinions that differ from theirs anymore… I’ve been learning as much about other people as I have been learning about myself.

    • Yuck, the two things I absolutely dread hearing in feminist-y discussions are a) men telling me not to be ‘such a man-hating dyke’ and b) straight women complaining about how they can’t identify as feminists because they don’t want people to confuse them for ‘hairy / ugly man-hating lesbians’.

      • Yeah, that point B is one I’ve heard of a lot in Hungary/amongst Hungarian women, usually in the form of “well I’m not a feminist, but…” and then proceeding to say something that’s like a foundational point of feminism.

  2. Very well written piece. But, i will admit that as male who is leaning trans the radical feminist irk me a bit with some of notions that trans males are another way for men to marginalize women. I’ve never heard of a trans saying they became female for that reason, but I could very much be wrong.

    • Yeah, that frustrates me as well. Please know that those people don’t speak for feminism as a whole! They are what I like to call “jerks”.

    • Hi Al. Your comment struck a chord. I’ve identified as a feminist for a long time, but in a frankly lazy way. I’ve only started reading much about feminism/feminist history in the past year, and only recently heard about the pocket of feminists you describe, who are anti-trans because they believe transwomen are men infiltrating womens’ spaces with ulterior motives. (I can’t imagine anyone transitioning for that reason, for the record.) Anyway, I’ve never met a woman who holds those beliefs, but I’m sure they are out there. As she said, “there are radical feminists and deeply wounded women and women who just don’t have the patience for diplomacy anymore who absolutely hate you because of your gender.”

      It’s a painful truth that discussions about feminism are almost always complicated by the stereotype of man-hating feminists. More complicated still because there truly are man-hating feminists (sometimes trans-hating feminists as a result) out there. Many of these women have been through awful experiences that led them to those beliefs, however unfortunate, misguided, or even bigoted their conclusions end up. But those women don’t speak for all women and all feminists. If your are considering transitioning, you’re going to encounter more of those arguments than cis girls like me, and that sucks. Just remember that there are plenty of other feminists out there who are on the side of “anti-sexism, anti-racism, anti-homophobia, anti-transphobia,” who are happy to have you in our ranks if you want to join.

      It’s incredibly frustrating to see women’s concerns dismissed over and over by people who equate all feminism with its smallest, most radical pockets. Part of our job is to be the kind of feminists we want to be hearing about/from, and keep changing that story.

      • I do know that it is small pockets, and from what I read getting even smaller. I have also read many of these feminists call themselves Womyn and hold festivals and events that their male children or trans people aren’t allowed to attend. Thought I am not sure what the stance of radical feminists are on FTM trans.

        Yeah I really can’t fathom someone would want to get a sex change operation just to infiltrate took take their space. The thought alone is absurd, as being trans has it’s own social issues and stigmas.

        I had found this on the internet about that small pocket and it’s worth a read I think.

        • Oh, the radfem lesbians don’t like FTMs either. FTMs are apparently the inner workings of the patriarchy. The product of women hating themselves and the deconstruction of lesbians (because second-wave rad fems didn’t do lesbians enough disservice with the political lesbianism)/sarcasm. So yes, many radfems do like to attack FTMs but they seem them more as ‘look at you poisoning yourself with synthetic drugs’ (buzzword: ‘synthetic’ and ‘drugs’)’ just accept you’re a lesbian woman and you’ve been made to feel hate for your body’. So it would appear they want to infantilise women make them out to be victims as opposed to transmen which is degrading and patronising on so many levels.

      • ‘Many of these women have been through awful experiences that led them to those beliefs, however unfortunate, misguided, or even bigoted their conclusions end up.’

        Ugh, ‘obviously, your rape fucked you up so badly, you’re now hysterically afraid / hateful of men’ is the worst thing to say to somebody. It doesn’t matter what political views that person holds, you encourage people to dismiss other survivors’ experiences / concerns by suggesting that survivors have inherently ‘misguided’ opinions about men and all survivors of sexual violence deserve to have their experiences respected not used to publicly humiliate them anyway.

        • Hi Andreea. Thanks for pointing that out. It’s absolutely not what I meant to say. Bigotry is never justified, and everyone reacts to situations differently. By “awful events” I didn’t only mean rape, specifically. It’s a factor, but so is upbringing, what kind of male friends and role-models, if any, a person has had through their lives, verbal harassments, etc. What I meant to say was, that with any person who holds an extreme view, you never know what their story is before they say those awful things. Sometimes they’re just an asshole. Sometimes it’s more complicated. You shouldn’t agree with them, probably should avoid them, but hold off on judgement/revilement until you know their story. I feel the same way about religious extremists, for example.

          I’ve known several survivors, and I wouldn’t call any of them fucked up. If you go by statistics, anyone here with more than 5 female friends probably counts survivors among them. But the “obviously, your rape fucked you up so badly, you’re now hysterically afraid / hateful of men” thing is a really common, really harmful stereotype, so I can see how I sounded like I just repeated that. Didn’t mean to, I swear.

    • Lol, I think Dina just said what I was trying to better than I managed to, and in a single sentence. :) Jerks is right.

    • I just want to comment as yet another person who thinks these anti-trans, radical feminists are crazy and not representative of “feminists” as a whole.

      “I’m gonna devote my life, my *body* to marginalizing women, by becoming one.” Yeah, sure, I believe that.

      How narcissistic a thing to insist.

  3. I read this one earlier and loved it, specially as when I was younger I struggled with defining myself as feminist or humanitarian, I think Lindy makes a wonderful clear argument about that definition.

  4. this is a brilliant and well-written article that hits all the nails on the head. i recently had a conversation with a friend who claims that women are no longer oppressed, and who is a ‘men’s rights activist’. my counter-arguments were all in my head, but i was having trouble verbalising them accurately, and now, having read this article, in a way i’m realising all the things i wanted to say. thank you very very much for this excellent piece of work.

    • What in the world is a male rights activist? I’m male(leaning trans) and this doesn’t make sense to me, what would they be looking to get out of this? The old way, which is oppressive and wrong?

  5. What do you think of the work of popular internet feminist Anita Sarkeesian? I know she the target of a lot threats and hate, which is wrong, but there is also a lot of feminists who don’t like her cause she not sex positive, and doesn’t listen or mention both sides of a story.

    • Idk who you meant by the “you” in your question, but I’m going to answer because I have a lot of Feminist Feelings.

      I think that there are some valid criticisms of her work, but I still think she does offer a valuable voice to the discussion. I don’t think she closes off the possibility of a response or claims that her perspective is holistic, or the only valid one.

      I think that her work deserves a nuanced, critical, and well thought out response, and most of the time she just gets unintellectual personal attacks and rape threats. Especially with her tropes in video games series that is just coming out, that backlash would have been the same regardless of what she said in her video. She basically says “Hey here is this trope that is common in media and here is how I think it is harmful to women” and the backlash is mostly either A) misogynistic trolling or B) strawman-ing her arguments and offering irrelevant criticism.

      So yeah, I don’t agree with everything she says, but she makes some good points. There is no feminist hive mind, and no ones arguments should be approached without critical thought, IMO.

  6. I’m curious, how do you feel about members of the feminist movement pushing the concepts that All men are potential rapists. I don’t hear men vilifying or demonizing male sexuality, so I’m not sure that’s entirely part of patriarchy. What about the percentage of women teachers vs. male? This too is patriarchy? Egalitarianism is important, and I’m not sure everything you say is because of patriarchy. I’ve heard feminists slander my moms choices because she chose to be a stay at home mom… literally telling me she’s wasted her life, and been a slave to men. I personally find that very hurtful to hear. She made the choice, consciously, because my dad had a single income that could support the family. She could have worked if she had chosen. Yet feminists belittle her choice. Are those particular feminists serving the patriarchy.

    • I think it is relevant to the article, as the article is talking about feminism, and so is the question. Anyway…

      I am a feminist and I hate when some self identified feminists say things like “all men are potential rapists.”. All people are technically, potential rapists, regardless of gender. I was raped by a woman. It is not, in my view, productive to single out certain people as potential rapists because that tends to add to the erasure of the experiences of people raped by women, and because it puts potential allies on the defensive. As for the stay at home mom thing, I see feminism as enabling all people, men and women, and others, to make choices around what they want to do in their lives without saying that one must work, or must not work, just because of gender.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “I don’t hear men vilifying or demonizing male sexuality, so I’m not sure that’s entirely part of patriarchy.” Can you elaborate?

      In every group, no matter what it is, you get people who aren’t that great/helpful/productive/nice/whatever. Some feminists want to police gender, just in ways that they find acceptable. I don’t agree with them, and I know many many other feminists feel the same way. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with negative people though.

      The teachers thing is definitely part of patriarchy. It fits in with the points in section 4 about how women being assumed to be the natural, safe caregivers of children is totally part of the patriarchy.

    • A lot of people don’t like the phrase “potential rapists” and that’s fine. But, for those who do use the phrase, it *doesn’t* mean “all men will rape if given the chance.” Instead it means, “It is impossible to tell by looking at a man whether he is a rapist or not.”

      The sad truth is that we live in a culture that’s really fucked up when it comes to rape. In this fucked up culture, the majority of rapists are men who rape women. These men aren’t strangers hiding in the bushes, or whatever trope the average person thinks of when they think of rape. They are often friends/family/lovers of their victims, and upstanding members of their communities. You really truly can’t tell just by looking at them that they have raped or will rape.

      Given all that, I don’t think the “potential rapist” phrasing is worth getting upset over.

      • Yeah I know that the phrase ‘all men are potential rapists’ doesn’t mean that all men would rape given the chance. I completely agree with/get that most rapists are known to their victims and that you can’t tell by looking who has raped/will rape. My ex girlfriend raped me, while she was still my girlfriend.

        “The sad truth is that we live in a culture that’s really fucked up when it comes to rape. In this fucked up culture, the majority of rapists are men who rape women.”

        The truth is that sometimes women rape too. And just like with men, you can’t tell by looking at a woman if she’s going to rape, or has raped. And just like with male rapists, most female rapists are known to their victims, not strangers hiding in bushes.

        If one justifies saying “all *men* are potential rapists.” and not “all *people* are potential rapists.” by saying that the majority of rapists are men, then you’re saying that the number of women who are rapists is so small that it doesn’t even count and therefore women shouldn’t be thought of as potential rapists, so it follows that the experiences of those of us who have been raped by women are disregarded.

        I can tell you right now that a lot of people, even medical professionals, deny and disregard women as rapists. It sucks. I can’t even begin to articulate how hard it is to repeatedly get up the courage to talk about/relive something that was so horrible, only to be told that you’re lying/making a big deal out of nothing because women can’t rape.

        • But I think a large part of the refusal to acknowledge women as rapists is patriarchy? I think it’s all wrapped up in the insistence that women are passive/non-violent and the belief that the only way something can be “real sex” is if a penis goes in something, so women can’t commit “real” rape. Obviously none of those things are true, but it’s another case where an argument for misandry (“women can be rapists too”) comes done to sexism again.

          • @Solomon – no one here is saying that “women can be rapists too” is sexist. M was simply noting that feminists acknowledge that women can rape. By saying it “comes down to sexism again,” she meant that the belief that women cannot rape is patriarchal: it is based in the idea that women are all passive, weak, etc.

            Feminism does not argue that women are better than men, or that women’s experiences matter more than those of others.* Women can do terrible things, men can to great things – the point is that we do these things not because of our gender, but because of who we are as people.

            I fight FOR women’s rights, not AGAINST men. I also fight against racism and homophobia – that obviously doesn’t make me anti-white or anti-straight. The march towards equality makes the world better for everyone – it isn’t a zero sum game.

            *I do not consider so-called “radfems” to be feminists, as they are not only anti-male, but also anti trans* women and straight/bi women. I’m sorry, but there is nothing genuinely radical about outdated gender stereotypes and biological essentialism. This small group is not representative of the feminist community as a whole.

          • “Obviously none of those things are true, but it’s another case where an argument for misandry (“women can be rapists too”) comes done to sexism again.”

            Wait what? I’m a woman and I was definitely NOT arguing that women rape men all the time therefore misandry is a thing.

            I was responding to the commenter who asked about the phrase “all men are potential rapists” and to Sasha. That phrase, and assuming that men are the only rapists, is definitely a problem, definitely part of patriarchy, and is a bad thing, but is not misandry.

          • and I guess I also want to say, and this isn’t directed at anybody here, that it is also really really frustrating in general to not be able to talk about being a rape survivor without people automatically thinking I’m an MRA. I’m not. I know rape culture is a thing. Obviously. I just also want to exist/have my experiences acknowledged, because I don’t think we’re really going to be able to take down rape culture without acknowledging that rapists don’t have to be men and rape survivors don’t have to be women.

  7. This. Is. Amazing.
    If I didn’t care about the environment, I’d be off to Kinko’s to make approx 892014376 copies of this to distribute to peeps on the daily. But I think sending a link will suffice.

  8. Lovely article.

    Though less important than the points made here, I’d also like to add to the list of ‘reasons why we can’t just all say humanist’ the fact that THIS IS ALREADY A WORD THAT MEANS SOMETHING. Humanists fight for secularism (among other things). Feminists fight the patriarchy.

    No matter how much I might like to be able to succinctly express my enduring love of medieval monsters, I can’t call it ‘beastiality’ because that word is taken and people would get mightily confused.

    • That actually isn’t quite true. “Humanism” does not have a single definition. You are thinking specifically of “secular humanism,” but there are self-identified humanists who are religious as well, and the world means different things to different people.

      I think the way a lot of these men use the word “humanist” (meaning, I assume, a philosophy that affirms the worth of all human beings) is a legitimate use of the term. Using that definition, I see feminism as simply one branch of humanism (along with anti-racism, anti-homophobia, anti-transphobia, anti-xenophobia, etc.). They are all elements of single philosophical/ethical perspective.

      Because of intersectionality, I think that every true feminist is a humanist (in that sense of the word). There are, after all, women who are black, Latino, Asian, straight, lesbian, bi, queer, trans*, Muslim, Christian, undocumented, poor, disabled, etc. I also don’t think you can be truly pro-woman and anti-man. As the article noted, the idea that men and women universally possess certain inalienable characteristics (e.g. women are better at child-rearing, men are better at engineering, etc.) hurt all of us, whether we are male, female, or off the binary altogether.

      In the end, I feel that humanism itself is merely one element in an even more inclusive moral philosophy that affirms the value of all sentient beings. Every individual social justice movement is very important, but I think it is also valuable to see them as part of a larger whole.

    • Agreed, Dialethia.

      @Eifa: Fighting the patriarchy is a very pigeon-holed definition, IMO. I don’t support the patriarchy, OR matriarchy because it is still an archy. It still puts one type of people above another based on gender. I fight for the rights of humans which include all human-identifying beings, gender be damned. It’s not enough to push the pendulum from one side, e.g., fight the patriarchy. To be balanced the pendulum must rest in the middle; work (and healing) must be done on both sides.

      • @Sydney: I just want to clarify that I absolutely am a feminist, and that I don’t see fighting the patriarchy as “pushing the pendulum from one side,” but rather striving for equality. Feminists are not trying to establish a matriarchy, we are fighting for a world where people are not judged on the basis of gender.

        What I meant is that while feminism is very important, by itself it is incomplete. At the same time, humanism, without its component parts, is empty and ineffectual. We need to focus on the individual groups of people who are suffering, not simply on abstract ideas. I think it is possible to focus on fighting specific forms of oppression with out losing site of the broader picture. Both are equally important.

      • I agree that ‘fighting the patriarchy’ is a rather narrow definition of feminism; I was, I hope it is clear, attempting to be pithy, rather than seeking to define an entire philosophy in a single word.

        I’m curious about your resistance to the idea that feminists fight the patriarchy, however. Saying that feminists battle against a societal system which gives one arbitrary group incredible power over and above all others does not in any way suggest that they are or should be attempting to replace that arbitrary group with one they find more appealing. My attempts to persuade my mother not to add 15 red onions to every dish she cooks does not mean I am fighting for her to replace them with bananas; all I’m after is a little moderation. Similarly, opposing the patriarchy doesn’t mean I want to set up a matriarchy. We want to bring down the company, not just install a new CEO. To take up your pendulum metaphor, the point is that our current society is already stuck at +999999 man points, so fighting the system which leads to that imbalance is the very thing that will bring us back to zero. Not to mention, the idea that opposing the patriarchy and trying to dismantle a system which has for centuries given (cis, mainly white) men unfair advantage over women is synonymous with the attempt to give women undue power over men is, of course, a cornerstone of anti-feminist rhetoric.

        Also, as the original article points out, it’s vexing to be told that we all need to be equalists or some other supposedly gender neutral word when a) women face real tangible inequalities which deserve recognition and eliminating these are vital to creating an equal society and b) we are perfectly happy to use all sorts of words with man/men in them to represent ‘universal’ concepts but as soon as there’s a lady word involved everyone gets stressed about INCLUSIVITY. This is because our society conceives of men as ‘neutral’ and women as a minor special interest group. After all, once could even argue that ‘humanist’ is not a gender neutral term.

        Apologies for the tangle; it is late, and there are rabbits to catch.

  9. This article is perfect and I’m bookmarking for that time when/if i randomly encounter someone from PUA/MRA. They will probably need to read it.

  10. While this is a great and very needed article, I take a lot of issue with “either gender.” Especially as a genderqueer person.

    • Agreed. To her credit, when someone pointed that out over on Jezebel, the author went back and fixed it. They must have been working with an older version when they reprinted it over here.

  11. Men’s Rights activists? Like men fighting for rights of what? Are these men (usually) white and USian because I’m trying to think of issues that effect men disproportionally under the axis of their male-ness but I fail to find anything that makes sense.

    I mean, whaaaat?

    Men’s rights….

    • MRAs are the group of lovely individuals who start trends like #ineedmasculismbecause on twitter in an unironic way. As in “I shouldn’t have to pay for dinner because of my gender! harrumph”.

      MAJOR side-eye indeed

    • Well, they’re the ones who, yes, are heterosexual white men, I assume this applies to the US though I know for a fact it’s a thing here in Canada… the ex-friend I mentioned before, earlier in that conversation, to illustrate his point of how white men are disadvantaged nowadays, used the example of going down to the unemployment office and seeing that there are special help programs for women, for First Nations people, for other visible minorities, for this and that and the other thing, but if you’re a white man there’s nothing for you, and he (and others) claim that this is proof that there is no such thing as ‘white male privilege’. Naturally, if you point out that these programs have to exist in order to counter said privilege, you get the “yeah but no because” followed by some more nonsense of how women (etc.) are far more privileged than those poor white men…

      • Don’t think it only applies to white males; I’m Asian, and have had an ex classmate on Facebook constantly rage about men’s rights, how they are disadvantaged and how women’s rights where I’m from are too much etc.

        The weirdest thing is that there are females who respond to his posts agreeing with him and dismissing. *sigh*

        • Another Asian (American) here. Male privilege/the patriarchy/beauty culture don’t just exist, they’re worshipped among a lot of my Asian friends. Sometimes I can’t even bring myself to go out with my Korean friends because of their strict adherence to beauty culture. I found a little relief after I came out because they stopped hassling me as much about my hair/nails/makeup/clothes, but I found they just started expecting me to be the perfect Korean man instead -_-

    • “issues that effect men disproportionally under the axis of their male-ness ” = equality

      • I don’t know about that.

        I was racking my brain how to express this but I think I made sense of it (in my head) that as long as we fight to be seen as “heterosexual cis white men” (relative to the fact that they are seen as the default ‘human’ in our Western society) we will always be lacking..severely! And by fighting, I mean the issues that effect that group is seen as “equality.” I think it is wrong, they *still* have these issues by going out of their way to oppress everyone that does not fit that mold in varying ways and axises.

        I remember you saying that you are a socialist and all that (correct me if I am wrong), could you imagine how the world would look like given the same structure but under “socialist” economic system? Or better yet, how would our US American system would look like if the powers that be made truly about “merit” not defaulting on being a cis white heterosexual male?

        Even in our LGBT(BBQISEXYSAUCE) community that hierarchy always reflects itself because in our Western society (on this side of US) we are ingrained in that. Let’s be honest: Gay cis white men are on top…and everything falls as they may. No matter what, masculinity and whiteness reigns supreme ;( I loved the trans*scribed series but I did not see a perspective on a brown/dark-skinned trans*women. Did you even receive proposals on their experience to publish? It’s not a issue of AS only but you see where I am getting at. Resources…intersectionality y’all!!!!!

        My most basic point, when we make life better and more functional for those who are on the “bottom”, TRUST, TRUUUUUST ME everyone else will be happier, you know?

        ****I been feeling and thinking things and drinking whiskey so there’s that…*** Leg hugs to everyone who I +1 because I liked your opinions.

        • Echoing the second to last paragraph :). I think that focusing our efforts on those parts of our community who are at the intersections of the most axes of oppression is the best use of our resources as feminists and as people interested in human beings. That doesn’t mean we should stop doing what we can for other folks in the mean time while we wait for equality to kick in for disabled trans* women of color who are in poverty, but certainly that the latter group’s issues should get the center stage at least once in a while if possible.

    • As a white heterosexual male (not that it matters, really) I have to point out that, in certain countries, men do have at least one problem when it comes to their rights: the right to refuse military service. In Finland where I’m from men still get put to jail (albeit not the worst jails, but still) if they refuse either civil service or military service. It was only a few years ago that they gave men who chose civil service over military service the right to do so during times of war. I think it was until 2007 or so that if a man chose civil service during peaceful times, he still would’ve had to go to war, had one broken out. No matter how anti-war he was or whatever ethical reasons he had for refusing to serve. Had he refused he would’ve gone to jail.

      Also, there is the problem of child custody in court. Courts tend to favor the mothers in most cases, at least here in Finland.

      I just find it a bit ignorant to think men do not have ANY problems when it comes to their rights. I don’t care if they are because of patriarchy, they still are human right problems.

      Ps. the funniest argument I’ve heard from a “feminist” (if you can call her that) about the inequality in military service (men have to do it, women don’t) was that women HAVE to be pregnant at some point of their lives, so it makes perfect sense to make the men commit to something for about the same amount of time.
      To me, it’s like saying mens’ wages HAVE to be higher than womens’ because women tend to live longer and thus have more working years available.

    • I suggest you watch
      Cassie Jaye’s documentary,
      “The Red Pill”, which concludes
      with her statement,
      “I no longer call
      myself a feminist.”
      Watch the documentary
      & find out what
      moved her to this decision.

  12. I wish I had read this article before trying to articulate this very thing at supper with family and neighbours tonight. Instead of opening eyes and bringing everyone together I fell out with my dad who apparently is not so fine with the fact that I now have a girlfriend as he had appeared. Rule number one: always consult Autostraddle before engaging in important debates. Rule number two: always consult Autostraddle when shit hits the fan and your family hasn’t got your back anymore. Rule number three: always consult Autostraddle. That’s it.

  13. Sexism is a real thing, but misandry isn’t. Why don’t you just change the word “sexism” to “misogyny”. I am profoundly frustrated and discouraged that the more I try to alien myself with wider political spectrums that I hit some murky swamp of newspeak. In every last “is patriarchy” statement, I cannot and do not see what it is that makes the men in charge’s behavior is best understood not as the behavior of corrupt leaders in a corrupt system but as men in a man system. Yes, like attracts like and people sure up favourable positions by surrounding themselves with people like themselves. I’m certain that, on a fundamental level, the psychological dynamics of wall street bankers is very similar to a coolest/meanest girl clique at a junior high.

    Also? Every “is patriarchy” sentence answered these MAD CLAIMS of men concerned with the rampant misandry that’s boringly rippling through the cloistered, toothless realms of pseudo-intellectual bohemian bourgeois womyn’s circle… by revealing that all these claims can be easily disputed by seeing that they HARM WOMEN TOO. Not that human suffering is abhorent, regardless of gender. Isn’t this playing into male disposability? The notion that the emotional and physical suffering of men is inherently of less important than that of women? Naturally, men are conditioned with such suicidal notions from birth, not to build armies to enforce the will and desire of the powerful, BUT TO OPPRESS WOMEN! Sorry, but not calling manipulative bullshit when I see it is patriarchy.

    • sexism and misogyny have different meanings! Sexism is about discrimination + power and misogyny is about the hatred of women. they often go hand in hand but it would be silly to confer them.

      1. if it were just about the corrupt few at the top of the ladder and not about gender – then those corrupt few would just as likely be women/men/queer/whathaveyou, would they not?
      2. example of high school girls and wall st bankers – hmm, wonder which ones have more power?
      3. the article wasn’t saying ‘menz pain isn’t as important as wiminz paiiin’, it was saying that the feminists are on your side dude, they care about your pain and they are trying to fix the world for you too.
      4. I don’t think ‘cloistered toothless realms’ is a thing. what happened to their teeth?

      • 1. My god you’re right! And they all wear shoes too! omg THEY WANT US ALL TO WEAR SHOES!! Correlation doesn’t equal cause, does it?
        2. Hmm, wonder if I was talking about who has more power or if the disruptive, exploitative, entirely human dynamics were readily observable in both genders by everyone?
        3. the article wasn’t saying ‘teh feministz are on your side dude’, it was mocking misandry. How many violent offenders in jail have fetal alcohol syndrome, gem? How many as a result of the drinking of their fathers?
        4. ‘cloistered toothless realms’ is a thing. It’s a metaphor for ‘powerless people who isolate themselves inside of ineffectual, archaic ideologies that certainly do not give them power, but allow a circle of people to pretend it does to each other’.

        “Must be overcompensating for something”

    • Sorry, but referring to the people at the top of the class system as the “patriarchy” just betrays that you haven’t bothered to research the concept. There’s more to your world than socioeconomic class. Maleness is a privileged characteristic at virtually every stratum of society from the “Wall Street bankers” down to fathers in the heteronormative family unit. Simplifying the problem to “those in charge” oversimplifies the issues by only considering formal institutions like the government and business sectors, while simply examining other social forces like racism should quickly dismiss any notion in your mind that “those in charge” have complete control over all such forces.

      The patriarchy, which underlies virtually every social system around the world at every level, hurts women by putting their concerns as always a second and separate issue from “human rights” concerns, where men’s issues are the default whether or not such issues affect women. It hurts men by punishing them for not properly expressing the characteristic of maleness (e.g. the overtly feminine man whose “male privilege” is very thin and whose existence easily and often attracts violence and derision) and by creating the “strong man, weak woman” dynamic from which “male disposability” derives. That’s what the article was saying. Fighting the patriarchy comprising these norms works to lift such burdens from the shoulders of men and women, so yeah: feminism is fighting for you. You’re just complaining that it’s not sufficiently privileging you like the rest of the world has been doing for you for your whole life.

  14. I loved this article when I saw it earlier this week, and sent it to a couple friends. I don’t, however, think it’s a good response to MRAs and other folks of that ilk. Like most groups that polarized, they live in a world of their own imagination that isn’t actually the one the rest of us live in. You won’t convince them of anything, ever.

    The people that it WOULD be more helpful to show this article to are the people who are a little on the fence- the ones who think feminism is a generally good idea, but have some problems here or there with some of the things mentioned in the article.

  15. I love, love this. Whenever I try to share with someone (usually someone who doesn’t like the term feminist, or who identifies as humanist, or is a white cismale who has never considered their own privilege) how harmful patriarchy is to all people, or the difference between being treated unfairly on a case by case basis and systemic, institutionalized discrimination, based on sex, gender, race, age, ability, sexuality, etc. I end up getting frustrated and totally mincing my words because I care so damn much and then I totally don’t get across the point I am trying to make. I want to refer all those people to this article, so that my ineloquence doesn’t prevent me from sharing with them how wonderful feminism is!

  16. This was not the article I was expecting to read, but I’m happy I did. It was very well thought out and I learned quite a few things. It’s honestly really nice to get a real view of feminism instead of super-radical BS that gets spread across the internet as an example of why “feminism is bad.”

    I think it’s all rather interesting. I’m a gay guy, so I get to see a lot of sexism play out, both ways. The main one is that so many people want to know who “the girl” is in a gay relationship. When I say “no one,” they’ll say something like “well who’s the dominant one” or something else which basically amounts to “which one of you is the one that gets taken care of?” Also, dating is interesting because a lot of times there’s the expectation of “the guy has to pay” and with two guys, it can get interesting.

    On the flip side, there are all of the heteronormative and gender-stereotyping expectations which are less than appreciated. Granted, this article did make me realize that a lot of them will go away with a complete breakdown of gender roles and stereotyping.

  17. Basically whenever you say “the patriarchy” you could also be saying “the patriarchy as well as the small group of women who lie and manipulate under the guise of feminism”. If you admit that such people exist then I agree with you fully. As with any movement for social change, there are hypocrites who try to ruin it for the real activists.

  18. I love this a lot. I love AS anyway but then a friend in my local feminist network posted a link to this on our FB group. This made me kind of proud :)

  19. Note: I’m sort of skimmed the article, so on the off-chance this was addressed, then I apologize. :>

    To be fair, there is rampant misandry in the realm of gender role policing, if you aren’t a gay man, that is (it seems much less to me in that case). Put a woman in a suit, and she’s modern and professional; put a man in a dress, and he’s a pedophile. What’s that? You’re a man who does ballet? You must be gay. You’re a woman who doesn’t? That’s cool. Stop that; men can’t play with Barbies. Oh, you’re a girl who plays Call of Duty? Cool. You can’t change a tire? Grow a pair. That spider scared you? Wuss. Is that man talking to my baby? He must be a pedophile. Men can’t get raped. {insert other sexual stereotypes about men here}
    Not to say that women aren’t gender role policed either, but feminism’s been quite successful at reducing it over the years. Men are still quite limited here.
    Thankfully, this seems to be decreasing with our generation (at least, if you’re out of secondary school). And although this misandry is lesser than the current misogyny, it’s still misandry.
    Meh. I’d like to see people of every gender free to just be.

    • Right, every time I see a boy in a dress (or Spongebob) my heart grows three inches. I went to Zara and a little girl LOVED an outfit for the “boys” and her father bought the pair of “boy” pants and at the same (day) time I saw a boy wear a dress at Union Sq, so my “OMG I CAN’T WAIT FOR MY SIBLINGS TO HAVE CHILDREN!!!” feelings were on overdrive that day in NYC.

      I was this close to buying a paper boy hat for whatever gender the child my sister and brother might have…

      *explodes into glitter*

    • Yup, you didn’t read the article. The “misandry” you’re talking about due to 100% patriarchy. If the patriarchal status quo wasn’t that women and femininity are inferior to men and masculinity, then gender role policing wouldn’t be like that. For example, saying “you can’t change a tire, grow a pair” assumes that it is shameful or inferior to not be able to do this “masculine task” and it is shameful not to have a “pair”. Essentially what is reinforced is that being feminine or a woman is shameful, bad etc. Policing of men’s gender roles isn’t just bad for men. I’d like to see everyone free to just be too.

    • But see, that’s not misandry, it’s STILL misogyny, and here’s why:
      Anything considered feminine by society is also considered weak, and lesser. Masculine is stronger, better. So when boys, or those assigned male at birth, dabble in anything considered feminine, they are ridiculed because WHY would they want to lower themselves to that level? Why would they want to trade their better for the worse, their greater for the lesser?
      It’s not a hatred of men, it’s a hatred of women. A disgust.
      And for the record, it REALLY depends on the situation as to whether or not a woman can get away with doing something “masculine” without being prevented, or mocked, etc. For example, I grew up in a very conservative Christian home, and wasn’t allowed to cut my hair short, my mother wasn’t allowed to play baseball growing up, the Duggar girls aren’t allowed to wear pants, etc etc etc.

      • It IS a hatred of women, but it’s also a hatred of men. It’s just not a hatred of men in a general sense. It’s a hatred of specific men who are perceived as having a defective sort of masculinity. Lots of men gets hated AS MEN: Black men, gay men, gender-non-conforming men, etc, etc. I don’t think you could say to one of these people, “oh, you’re just being hated because you’re gender-non-conforming. You’re just being hated because you’re Black. It has nothing to do with the fact you are a man.” Black men are far more likely to spend time in prison than black women are. That’s not to say that Black men are MORE oppressed than Black women, just that they are oppressed in a specific, gendered way that stereotypes them as violent, criminal brutes. No one gets oppressed for simply being a man, but being a man often intersects with other forms of oppression. Male privilege is often a factor that shields one from oppression, but it also can combine with other forms of oppression to give them their specific flavor for particular individuals.

  20. Guys we all have the internet, acknowledge your privilege.

    When I realise how adults look on gender I feel so sorry for my little brother.

    He doesn’t deserve this prejudice.

    • Dude, your defense of misandry is the same argument that people who are defending reverse racism use.

      • And the question is, are they incorrect? And if so why? I get the impression that you are suggesting that because the argument has been used (honestly I don’t know if it has but I will take your word on it and give you the benefit of the doubt, I don’t do a lot of reading on reverse racism) and because you disagree with the claims of people saying reverse racism is a thing then that invalidates the argument. It does not, just because you don’t like an argument or not like a position does not mean what they are talking about does not have any merit to it. I’m not a particular fan of feminism, but I still acknowledge that it does bring up valid points from time to time. Simply saying, “Dude, your defense of misandry is the same argument that people who are defending reverse racism use.” Does not make the argument invalid.

        The entire point of the article was to address the claim made by the author that misandry does not exist, it clearly does. It may not manifest itself in overt ways like racism or misogyny has in the past but it clearly does, even the author admitted this in her article and I pointed it out. If you think I am wrong feel free to break down my argument point by point. I encourage it, as someone who is seeking to be a scientist, best get used to it. But simple saying well this argument is used by these guys isn’t good enough in my book.

        • Except it totally does.
          For example, reverse racism is not a thing because while someone of color can hate white people all they want to, that hatred is not a result of an entire society believing white people to be lesser “based on science”, unequal, and it does not lead to systematic oppression.
          Going back to misandry, the same applies. You can hate men all you want to, but it’s not the same as hating women. Women will still make less, they will still be seen as nothing but food- and baby-making machines, things to be used, by quite a bit of societies around the world, they’ll still be raped in hugely larger numbers, experience more domestic violence, navigate rape culture every single fucking second, have their choices taken away from them in terms of birth control and abortion, be kept from an education, have their opinions invalidated again and again because “it must be that time of the month,” experience slut shaming, be a piece of property, have a much, much more difficult time breaking into senior positions and politics, etc etc etc etc etc. Hating men isn’t going to cause them to experience any of that as a system.
          Sure, you can go by the Merriam-Webster definition. But misogyny is WAY more than just a definition. It is something that has impacted women since the beginning of time. In fact, in the same that most POCs who hate white people are (probably unhealthily for them) doing so to push back against the system of oppression and out of a little bit of bitterness (I speak as a woman of color whose grandmother, born on the rez, has said that she hates white people), the majority of woman I’ve seen that hate men do so because they are retaliating against the oppression that they’ve experienced.

          • Sela’s right. Early societies were often matriarchal back at the “beginning of time”.

            Hey, do you have a word for the belief that men are intrinsically inferior to women on a moral level? I do. Misandry! And don’t say it doesn’t exist because it’s right there in your head. Thanks for letting us take a peek.

          • It depends on what society you’re talking about, and at the same time, matriarchies and patriarchies have entirely different effects.
            Again, read some history.
            I don’t believe men are intrinsically inferior to women on a moral level, just as I don’t believe white people are intrinsically inferior to people of color. I just don’t.

          • Your argument is not good. Hate is still hate and you are demonstrating why I do not support feminism, you seem think its more acceptable to hate men than it is women, this is a double standard and its wrong and its why I am not a feminist. I consider hatred of women to be equal to hating men in the fact that they are both detrimental and both contribute nothing to society. You bring up the wage gap which if you read what I wrote, I addressed this by linking a Department of Labor study on the matter. The evidence seems to point that the wage gap is caused by choices men and women make in regards to career and education as opposed to discrimination. If you read my article I made a case that no woman should be subject to rape, in fact I addressed this as one of my concerns in the very real patriarchies that exist in the Islamic World, and I certainly do not deny that victim blaming goes on in the states. The Steubenville trial is a prime example of victim blaming.

            But you are illustrating a point about feminism to which I think is detrimental to women. The author hinted at it in her article except in the terms of misandry when she said, “o all the men who have had shitty lives and mistake that pain for “misandry”: I totally get it. Humans are not such complicated creatures. All we want is to feel like we’re valued, like we deserve to exist.” The same thing is true for feminism, I think feminism, and your comment seems to provide evidence for this, instills a victim mentality in women and I am against this. For example, if you want more women to enter the field of theoretical physics, the best way to do that is not to sit around and tell them how hard it is and how shit of a deal it is to try to be a woman in the field of physics. This is not empowering women. The best way to do this, and I touched on this in my article, is to capture the imagination and creativity of young girls and instill in them a sense of wonder for the natural world. There are plenty of workshops about science geared towards little girls and I think they are great. I am a strong advocate for increasing scientific literacy among everyone, men and women, boys and girls, its what I want to do for a career.

            You said: “Women will still make less, they will still be seen as nothing but food- and baby-making machines, things to be used, by quite a bit of societies around the world, they’ll still be raped in hugely larger numbers, experience more domestic violence, navigate rape culture every single fucking second, have their choices taken away from them in terms of birth control and abortion, be kept from an education, have their opinions invalidated again and again because “it must be that time of the month,” experience slut shaming, be a piece of property, have a much, much more difficult time breaking into senior positions and politics, etc”

            You may be surprised but I actually agree with you on some of these points specifically on the issue of rape. Rape is a problem and no one deserves it, its not just a problem out there somewhere its a problem here too. I never argued that rape doesn’t happen in my article. About domestic violence, this was actually a topic that I touched upon in my response. Did you even read what I wrote? I gave resources suggesting that men are just as likely to be victims of domestic violence as women, but in the west if a man claims his wife is hurting him its not taken as seriously. I think all claims of domestic violence should be taken seriously whether they are a man or a woman.

            I don’t see where in the west women are viewed as food and baby making machines or denied and education. In the US it is mandatory that all children go to school male or female, if you don’t send your kids to school you are breaking the law and a study I cited said that girls actually outperform boys in school and graduate college at a higher rate than men. I don’t know where you are going with this. In Islamic countries this is certainly a problem. I made a case against this and said feminists should do a better job putting resources there because these things are issues there.

            I do agree with you on the bit about slut shaming however, that needs to stop; I believe women should be free to express themselves sexually in any manner they please. Certainly there are some men that see women as objects and I think that is wrong and disgusting. The reason these were not brought up in my article was because the article was about misandry to which this author claimed doesn’t exist but clearly it does and its wrong just like misogyny is wrong. I am a freethinker, I do not make opinions with double standards or contradictions. If something applies one place it must apply universally unless the evidence says otherwise. So if I say misogyny is bad and not good misandry is also bad and not good.

            (I speak as a woman of color whose grandmother, born on the rez, has said that she hates white people) Thats actually pretty cool I wanted to take this moment to strike a friendly tone, I too am native american, Puyallup to be specific, they are located in Tacoma. Anyways

            “the majority of woman I’ve seen that hate men do so because they are retaliating against the oppression that they’ve experienced.” Yes this may be true but it doesn’t make it right. There are some people that have been given shit deals in life, maybe they were born poor, maybe they experienced bigotry in their lives, you can make this exact same argument for men. Maybe he had an abusive mother so he retaliates against women, maybe he lived before the civil rights era and was black and suffered abuse at the hands of whites so he don’t like them. That still doesn’t make it right

            It appears you either have not read my response or have strawmanned it, because I address a lot of the things you are talking about and I provide research to back up my assertions, I’m not just throwing out what I think, I suggest you read the article again. I said before, that not liking someone’s position doesn’t mean they never bring up good points, I hope you have seen this. I do not like feminism, you are clearly a feminist, you still brought up valid points however, being able to acknowledge the valid points that come up is the mark of a critical thinker.

    • Hey Nate, I read your article. Pretty well thought out. But you’re missing a lot of things. First you bring up misandry in the media to make that misandry exists. Fair enough. The real question is are misandric attitudes are as widespread and ingrained in our culture as misogynistic attitudes? The answer is no. The other question is are the misandric attitudes that currently exist as damaging as the misogynistic attitudes? The answer is no. Why? Because they both develop from two different places. Can one type of hate be worse than another type of hate? See, I can I hit someone simply because I think i’m better than they are or I can hit someone because they hit me first…numerous times. Now, is hitting someone ever an ideal way of handling any situation? Nah. But is one a little more justified than the other? Essentially focusing on people’s hateful reactions to hate is counterproductive. We should just be focusing in on the origin of the hate.

      Now, the problem that both the original author of this article and you have is that you both seem to believe one would have to choose between being a humanist or being a feminist. You can be both. One doesn’t exclude the other. Being a humanist would not make being a feminist redundant. Feminism simply specializes in issues that affect women in a way that humanism hasn’t.

      Another important thing you have to do is read up on intersectionalism. A feminist/womynist concept. You used the example of a poor black male being raised by a single mom having less advantages than a wealthy white female being raised in an upper class neighborhood. This is where the fun world of intersectionalism comes in. You can be a female and have white and class privilege. You can be a poor black male and have male privilege. Overall, this female will have more doors open to her than you but not because she is a female, but because she is white and upper-class. And you will have less not because you are a male, but because you are poor and black. Ya dig?
      You point to the Atlantic’s “The End of Men” as evidence that feminism has already achieved what it has set out to do. The problem with this article is that it ignores feminist issues regarding workplace discrimination, sexism in the media, sexual assault, etc. It lists a few examples of where women are doing better than men and you are claiming that because there are some areas in the world where women are doing slightly better that means women have won and feminism is over? Feminism is about much more than women entering the workforce and having access to a good education. There are still many issues out there that have yet to be resolved. Perhaps you should read more about present Feminism to get a better idea?

      You then go on to argue that feminists should be focusing it’s attention on Muslim countries instead of what’s going on in our own backyards. You’ve already demonstrated a lack of understanding what exactly constitutes “feminist issues.” Rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexism in the media, workplace discrimination, etc. are all issues that exist in the West today and that effect women at a much higher rate than men. These are the issues Western feminists are fighting to change, and there’s still a lot of work to be done. Certainly that doesn’t mean that we should also be helping out women on the other side of the world. We should.

      You claim that real patriarchies would not hurt men. You claim that real patriarchies existed 100 years ago, and currently exist in Muslim countries. Guess what? The patriarchy did hurt men 100 years ago and does hurt men in Muslim countries. Who fights wars in Islamic countries and in the West 100 years ago? Men. The suffocating standards of what it means to be a man were heavily enforced. Essentially, any time you restrict people with strict gender roles both sides are going to be hurt to varying degrees.

      Anyway, you accept that the patriarchy existed in the West 100 years ago and then at some point magically disappeared. Is the patriarchy the same as it was 100 years ago? No, it being torn down. But it’s not completely torn down yet, that’s the point. Many of it’s ideas are still very much ingrained into out society. Just like with racism. It’s takes a lot more than some legislature to turn things around completely.

      As far as child custody thing goes, men were granted custody over women no the idea that they more financially capable than women were at providing a good home. They were also thought to be more sophisticated and would be a better example for their children to follow. There was a feminist who fought against this idea and won. However, it only allowed women custody of children under a certain age. Women didn’t start getting full custody of children until men had to start working away from home. Of course women were excluded from the workforce, so it was then when they became the main caretakers of their children. Not quite as cut and dry as you put it.
      Anyways, I think I covered almost everything.

  21. Thank you so much… as someone who frequents sites such as Reddit, I’m needing something new to link to.

  22. If the answer to talk of misandry is that feminism helps men too, it’d be really helpful if women like Lindy West could have a quiet word with the women who actively exclude men from feminism. I want to proudly declare myself a feminist and prod serious patriarchy buttock. Not just because I fervently believe in the mind-bogglingly simple notion that everyone should be equal, but also because I’ve come to realise how much of the shit that I’ve had to deal with in life can be traced back to not conforming to patriarchal ideas of masculinity. However, I still find the attitudes of many feminists to be downright hostile, simply because of my sex. “Tone argument” and “mansplaining” have jumped up there with “freedom of speech” and “literally” on my list of words and concepts that are massively misused on the internet.

    Obviously women have more problems because of the patriarchy than men do, but it’s both confusing and disheartening to be simultaneously told that feminism is for me, but that I can’t have a place in it.

    • THIS.

      Hell, if you need an example, surf the comments section in a dozen Autostraddle articles.

    • I apologize for the assholes, and some of them do frequent this website’s comment sections (although to be fair most of their assholery is aimed at trans* women, not at cis men, which I am assuming you are? Sorry if I’m wrong).

      It’s really great (no, but really) that you’re acknowledging the place of privilege you come from and I hope you keep on attempting to kick patriarchy’s ass. But I hope you also do take into account the place that women you are interacting with are coming from and see how your opinion can be taken when it’s coming from a man.

      …I hope that made sense? Anyway, I appreciate our feminist allies!

      • Funnily enough, the actual subject of my gender is something I’m trying to figure out for myself at the moment, but that’s a whole other topic of conversation. You are correct in surmising that I’m talking from the perspective of being, or at least perceived to be being, cis male.

        I’m a lot more aware when posting about anything feminist related, especially if it’s anywhere specifically flagged as a safe space. I tend to avoid posting anything that may seem controversial or over-opinionated and focus more on absorbing what I can and speaking out about feminist issues in non-feminist spaces.

        And yes, you made perfect sense and I appreciate your appreciation.

    • Cae, no matter how enlightened you think you are, you’re a member of the oppressor class. You still benefit from women’s oppression, even if that bothers you.

      Women are not obligated to include you. And you’re not a feminist. At best you’re a feminist ally, but a genuine feminist ally does not whine about how mean women are for not trusting his special snowflake self.

      Sounds to me like you’re out to score with feminist chicks, as long as they aren’t too hairy, assertive, radical, or, you know, feminist.

  23. I wish Jezebel would stop perpetuating feminist stereotypes while pretending to be so cute and clever about it, but since they’re a tool of the mass media whose job is not to inform us, but to snag our attention for the benefit of their oh so hip ‘n’ trendy advertisers, that wish is futile.

    Actual feminism doesn’t generate profit. That’s why you won’t find it anywhere in the mainstream media – only various watered-down, tarted-up, defanged versions that don’t really seek to change anything, just make relatively privileged women feel like they’re saving the world by buying hipster crap.

  24. This article is so immature and quite frankly somewhat funny, it basically states that if someone falls down the stairs and breaks his neck it’s the patriarchy’s fault.And just this article itself has so many double standards even as you complain about double standards.
    I don’t live in a western country and the society I live in can easily be described as patriarchal(no it’s not a Muslim country either) and we don’t have feminist programs/groups/organizations or the such here, but we actually have much less of the problems feminists blame a patriarchy for.Feminists tend to associate all the negative aspects of society to patriarchy but unfortunately that doesn’t help in anyway because the patriarchy isn’t the problem.Things like underage or premarital sex are discouraged(for both genders) and the man is always considered the head of the house, but from what I have seen these ideas work quite well for society(including women) not to mention we have very low divorce rates.
    Like you said men are not animals and men being in power doesn’t not equate to women being oppressed.
    And you guys have a rather warped view on stereotypes – social stereotypes aren’t fixed things they are ever evolving concepts, getting rid of one generation’s stereotypes is just creating new stereotypes for the next generation.

        • Not at all, but at least we have feminist groups/programs/organizations where we can challenge the social order instead of just agreeing that men being the heads of the household, premarital sex being discouraged, and low divorce rates “work quite well for society (including women).”

          I wonder if feminist groups actually exist in this guy’s country and he’s just completely insulated from them. But accepting everything he’s saying as true, it sounds like the US minus the dissent.

          • Liking or disliking it is your choice, personally I’m glad I was born here.
            And, no I’m not insulated, there are no such groups because we don’t need them, you only need solutions if there are problems – granted we have our share of social problems, comparatively they’re much lower than any western country.
            JMO, feminism is just another problem not a solution to anything.And it’s disturbingly similar to some religious extremists’ views I have previously seen.

  25. I’m a man and I think all people should be treated equally regardless of sex, gender, race, religion etc. I have never suffered injustice for being a man.I have however been treated as a misogynist by certain women because I don’t agree with their views about men. A female family member once got very angry at me because I didn’t agree with a scene in a TV show. In the scene a cop brutally beats a man who was acquitted of a rape charge. The man was admittedly creepy and pain of the victim was awful. However, attacking someone who his accused of a crime without proof is clearly wrong. I didn’t think it was wrong because I think rape is OK. Misogyny and inequality are a terrible problem in our society. This is caused by men. that isn’t a question. But not all men hate women or think they are inferior. Please don’t judge me for my sex or gender. I won’t judge you.

  26. This article is so full of strawmen it’s a fire hazard. Almost nothing in it reflects reality. I’m disgusted to my core reading it. This is self-righteous bigotry at its most deluded.

    If part of the definition of privilege is being blind to your own, this article could not be better proof of it.

    I don’t have time or energy to refute all the heartless, ignorant lies in this shitpile, but I don’t need to. All I need to do is make a link to this other article from Jezebel:

    The website that writes about how misandry doesn’t exist also writes lighthearted, humorous articles about committing domestic violence! It’s okay if most women physically abuse their male partners! Take special note of the line where they admit laughing at the idea of a man having breast cancer! Make sure you read all the comments too, but keep a barf bag nearby.

    Fuck hypocrites.

  27. I have to give partial credit to this article for my convincing of two young men in my gender studies class that they are in fact feminists. I just happened to read this article, and the next day we were in small groups discussing questions like “What is feminism?” and “Are you a feminist?”

  28. Actually, no. Current domestic violence policy in virtually every state in the nation is predicated on the ideological assumptions of Ellen Pence–the feminist social activist who developed the Duluth Model of batterer intervention. She posited that because men are the power holders in society and women are oppressed, only men perpetrate domestic violence. If in any instance a woman is violent in the context of an intimate partnership, it is in self defense. The Duluth Model’s solution to this is called a Coordinated Community Response; it comprises the courts, probation, police, and a batterer intervention program in which the batterers (i.e., men) are to be held accountable for their alleged violence and taught that their patriarchal assumptions regarding power and women are entirely wrong.

    What this means is, if a man in a heterosexual relationship calls the police to complain he is being abused, there is a strong likelihood that the police will do nothing. Part of this may be attributed to patriarchy (“You’re a man! Just take it!”), but part may also be attributed to over 30 years of criminal justice institutions absorbing Pence’s hypothesis as incontrovertible fact (“You’re a man! You can’t be a victim because patriarchy!”).

    I would know. I’ve had this experience.

    In any instance, the notion that victimhood is inherently feminine may be firmly rooted in patriarchy, but feminism picked it up and ran away with it. Let me repeat: according to Ellen Pence–the feminist responsible for the majority of domestic violence policy in this country–women, as oppressed persons, can only be victims. Victimhood as inherently feminine is a feminist idea that denies male victimhood and provides female abusers with a power legal tool to abuse male victims.

  29. I have something to say to any woman who thinks misandry is not a thing:

    Maybe shit started out unfair and became irreparable and you never deserved any of this. Maybe everything looks fine on paper, but you’re just unhappy and you don’t know why. These are human problems and other human beings feel for you very deeply. It is hard to be a human. I am so sorry.


    Though it is a seductive scapegoat (I understand why it attracts you), none of these terrible, painful problems in your life were caused by the spectre of “misogyny.”

    Thank you very much.

  30. I stopped listening after hearing your argument against us all becoming humanist. Being a humanist would not mean that women and men were on equal footing or the world was healed. We will not be healed until in fact we stop looking at gender and race of other people and start seeing each other as fellow “people”.

    Your argument that you have to be pro a certain groups rights implicitly to advocate their cause is patently untrue and I have a feeling your other arguments are equally groundless.

    Misandry may not be as common as misogyny but the idea that a male cannot be discriminated against simply because of their gender or race is absurd. That might make it less probable but not impossible.

    If I go into a classroom and get berated because I am male or if some girl takes advantage of me while I am drunk because I am a male and a rutting pig (in her mind), it’s still wrong and that is what Misandry means, hatred of men.

    whether or not you think they deserve it does not make it any less real. Discriminating against someone is possible no matter what their gender race or religion.

    Even the beginning of your article shows your bias, many men work for women, my wife and I both have female bosses. there are so many fallacies in your arguments going any farther in your article and I would have to write a whole different article just to point them all out. I feel like you are just trying to win the battle of the sexes rather than promoting healing or true equality. That can be done without belittling victims of discrimination, ever. It’s not a competition its about what is right.

  31. While I love this article there was one thing that I noticed may not be on par with the message- that white women are fetishized. While it is true that white women are held as the ‘standard of beauty’, they are not fetishized. Racial fetishism is much more insidious than that and all you need to do to prove this point is do a quick search on a porn site. White cis women held as the standard with no mention of race unless they are performing with someone of colour which is more proving my point. Attraction to whiteness is ‘standard,default, normal’ which is not the definition of fetish.

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