If anything makes women hate men, it’s not feminism: it’s patriarchy

I’m dumbfounded every time I see someone blame feminism for making women into “man-haters”. Not just because it’s untrue – personally, I’ve never met a feminist who hated men – but because the only women I’ve known who hate men are women who buy into patriarchal beliefs.

It’s misogynistic men and women who claim:

  • Men can’t be faithful. Just not in their nature.
  • Men are violent. That just is in their nature.
  • If sufficiently teased, well of course a man’s going to rape a woman. But that’s her fault.

And the more subtle variations:

  • Men are simple-minded compared to women (though this is really often a backhanded way of saying women are sneaky and manipulative).
  • Men just don’t have the patience that all women (of course!) have for dealing with kids.
  • Men don’t have parenting instincts, which is why they shouldn’t be expected to parent much.

All of these claims are intended as excuses for bad male behavior (which is not excused in females). But growing up with no good male role models and only one good female one, I came to the conclusion that most men were big, stupid sociopaths, and most women were asshats for putting up with them.

It was through feminism that I began to recognize how much social programming goes into making men and women behave stupidly. Just as women are conditioned to accept men who commit adultery, light their farts on fire and lose their own kids when they get distracted by a dog with a fluffy tail, men are conditioned to expect less of themselves every time they get a free pass for doing something wrong or stupid. Feminism is not a replacement mindset for patriarchy, which tells you what to think via media mouthpieces and politicians: feminism involves thinking critically, which is why there are such a variety of contradictory opinions among feminists.

Patriarchy is monolithic. No free thinking allowed. You must accept the precept that men are this and women are that. If you don’t like what men “are”, then you don’t like men and – ironically – you get banished to the imaginary feminist camp that exists only in the minds of patriarchal thinkers. Those are the “feminists” they have in mind when they talk about feminists hating on men: women who’ve bought into the patriarchal assertions about men, but not absorbed the lesson that they’re somehow supposed to respect men while simultaneously holding low standards for them. Those are the women who are in danger of concluding men really are just lesser beings.

Feminism, based on critical thinking, does allow you to question patriarchal assertions about men – both the ones I listed in bullet point and the ones that say they’re superior to women all the same. It almost renders impossible the ability to believe in any sweeping generalizations about gender, because most of them don’t stand up to even the most cursory bit of analysis.

Comments

  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    I’ll put it on Digg, and then you can vote for it (just need to set up an email login – free). If it takes off in their system, that’s like distributing it on digital street corners. :D

  2. asdfasdf says

    I consider feminism to be action where a woman goes up against the stereotypes in business or personal and achieves her goal anyways. For example in medical, there used to be very few women doctors. Now there are many more than there were 50 years ago. That is feminism at work. In engineering sector, where women are said to “not have the brains for logic or math”, women will go ahead and learn what they want and become engineers, mathematicians, and techs. It’s not about becoming a “man” either, its about succeeding at our passions.
    300 years ago women couldn’t vote, yet they wanted to so they went ahead and fought for the right, that is feminism. Feminism is about creating equality, having rights and freedom, whether or not we are supposed to. It has nothing to do with man hating, though often there is opposition from the status quo of patriarchy when women try to achieve goals such as voting. Getting the right to vote was no walk in the park, nor are many things women do for equality.

  3. OjnoTheRed says

    Great piece – a very subtle and nuanced reading of the situation. If I could just add one more: it’s the “Mere Male” column (or similar titles) published in so-called “women’s magazines”.

    A typical example of a short story in this kind of column is a story about men being unable to cook (e.g. burn the toast, wreck the kettle, whatever) or parent (kids run amuck / come into danger).

    “A typical example of man-hating feminism,” the sexists cry, “look – women discriminate against men. That’s anti-man sexism!” (some of the more intelligent will coin non-terms like “reverse” sexism).

    Yet what do we really have here in the Mere Male column? The underlying message is actually that the man looks stupid doing the parenting / cooking / housework … because that’s naturally the domain of the woman! So, in fact, what’s going on is the reinforcement of the oppression of women.

    Once you open your eyes to the mass media, this kind of thing is EVERYWHERE. And it’s soooo ingrained that you get trollers like the ones previous to me who simply don’t get that all they’re doing is confirming every last word of your article.

    [Admin note: I removed the troll comments OjnoTheRed refers to. They don’t conform to our new comment policy.)

  4. Dwayne says

    I’m afraid to read the other comments lest I lose all faith in humanity, so I’ll make a quick contribution and get out: I’m so glad you wrote this post! It’s a great summation of what I’ve desperately tried to explain to people over and over again.

    I will send this out to as many people as I can!

  5. says

    Dwayne, I’ve actually just sanitized the thread so it’s safe to read. :D We used to be more liberal with comment moderation (this is a 2 year old article) so we did have some comments that wouldn’t be allowed under our current moderating rules. But now they’re toast.

  6. Nige says

    I agree that the application of critical thinking should be applied to all of humanities ideas and experiences (not just feminism and patriarchy which this article so excellently presents) lest these thoughts and experiences become become blind dogma and unjustly colour our thoughts and further experiences later down the trail of our lives.

    Excellent thought provoking stuff, many thanks to the author!

  7. Cara says

    Yes, ironically, the patriarchy is consistenly implying male inferiority. Men don’t have the ability to remain faithful, suggesting lower spirituality than women. Men can’t help but rape, implying men are somehow barbaric. Many of the things we see in society that are degrading to women, also imply not-so-wonderfult things about men. Strip clubs are based on principles of degradation of women as sex objects, but also degrade men by suggesting some men are so weak and undesirable that they actually have to purchase sex, etc. Patriarchy has lowered the standards for manhood. Men are so much better than patriarchy.

  8. Andy says

    While I agree with almost all of you’re article, I have to take issue with the part about lighting farts on fire. It really is funny, and I promise you won’t be disappointing if you give it a try.

  9. says

    I agree whole-heartedly. I have a t-shirt that says: Radical Feminist and someone once asked me if I was indeed a radical feminist.
    I replied: I think that anyone who believes that women deserve as much as men in terms of respect, say, and privilege in our society is a radical feminist.
    And I ALWAYS complain about my husband getting all these accolades for being a “good dad” because he spends time with his kids. He’s just a dad doing his dad-job. It shouldn’t be radical. It should just BE.

    • Keith says

      As a single father with full custody of my son, this has long been a huge pet peeve of mine. People would always tell me how wonderful it was that I “stepped up” and parented my son when his mother left. What, it would have been okay to let him starve to death? Meanwhile, my mother raised *six* kids by herself without a single pat on the back. Ugh.

      My other pet peeve along these lines: the vast number of people who told me that women would be falling all over themselves to date me when they found out I had custody. I think the reasoning was that women are looking for someone to put babies in ‘em or some such.

      • says

        What, it would have been okay to let him starve to death?

        No, but people would have approved if you’d foisted him off on a female relative while you split your time between your job and dating. I mean, how else are you going to find the kid a replacement mom, right? ;)

        I think the reasoning was that women are looking for someone to put babies in ‘em or some such.

        Sadly, the mere fact that you care about your child AND take responsibility for him probably does make you attractive to women who are sick of dealing with men who have no sense of personal responsibility and think their fun comes ahead of every other human’s well-being.

        Then again, it could be off-putting to women who believe strongly in traditional gender roles – they might think you’re sweet, but a little weird.

        • says

          I remember reading an article in my high school newspaper listing all the advantages of dating a guy who has a child – he’s caring, nurturing, responsible, committed, and you get a preview of what he’ll be like with your own kids. Then, this being high school, she pointed out that a guy with a puppy has all of the advantages and none of the disadvantages like babysitters, no free money and baby mama drama. But it stuck with me.

          I hear you on the praise single dads get as opposed to single moms. My uncle was a single dad and my grandparents were constantly giving him more support than their other children. Not just things like babysitting but paying for daycare and cooking them dinner. It drove my mom crazy, she had more children and less help. People offered to do things for him and asked my mom to do them favors – since, as a SAHM, she “wasn’t working”.

          The only disadvantage I ever noticed was that my uncle wouldn’t let my cousin have friends over for sleepovers. He was paranoid about being accused of something inappropriate if he was left alone with a strange little girl. But even then he just asked my mom to host the sleepover – because she can totally handle two extra kids in her household at last minute notice, right?

        • Keith says

          “…the mere fact that you care about your child AND take responsibility for him probably does make you attractive to women…”
          My experience was the exact opposite. Women were less likely to be interested in dating me when they found out I’m a custodial single parent for pretty much the same reasons that men give when they talk about why they don’t want to date a woman with kids. It’s a logistical nightmare, the kid takes attention they want for themselves, it’s daunting to realize that committing to me also involves committing to someone else’s child.

            • Keith says

              It’s hard to say, because too many other factors have changed over the last 13 years. My income has tripled, which has made it a lot easier to socialize in general. I started wearing Utilikilts, which appears to have made me an object of interest. Women also seem to have become more comfortable expressing romantic interest during that time. That might be the kilt, but I think it’s more a generational thing, as the women doing the expressing have consistently been 10-15 years younger than I am (which is how I discovered that I’m lousy at guessing women’s ages, and that I need to card the women who hit on me. Awkward!). So, maybe?

            • Keith says

              Forgot to mention another thing that I think has changed: society seems much more accepting and supportive of single parents than it was 14 years ago.

              • Maria says

                I think that depends on your class background and race — I see more vitriol aimed at single black mothers now (like the Kanye West tweet from a while ago, where he claimed black women tried to get pregnant to trap good men) than before

                • says

                  Jesus, I was looking at a billboard for the latest “Black Dude Actor Dresses Up as Stereotypical Black Mama To Terrorize Her Movie Family” the other day, and remembering my father sperm donor blithering endlessly about how “these black welfare mothers” were the cause of all economic woes, and thought maybe we should write a whole article about just how many ways black mothers in general get the scorn heaped on them no matter what they do. I just don’t get it.

          • says

            Ah. Well, it’s definitely too bad that’s reducing your opportunities to date.

            But I’m actually glad to hear confirmation that not desiring to take on “someone else’s kids” is not a Great Evolutionary Trait For Males Hairless Apes With Their Paternity Worries And Stuff, but rather a simple case of human beings developing certain expectations and not wanting to abandon them. I’d like to see human beings and society evolve to the point where kids are less defined as someone’s property than as part of a future adult generation we’re all going to have to live with in a few years (and therefore we should all be happy to put in at least a little work with each generation’s development), but that’s a whole other issue.

            • Keith says

              Thanks, but as I said above, other factors expanded my opportunities to date, and I’m happily engaged now, so it’s all good.
              And yeah, I never thought any of the women who didn’t want to date me were horrible people for doing so. It just wasn’t what they were looking for is all.

              • says

                Ah, good! I didn’t mean to sound like I was judging anybody for not wanting to take on a child. It IS a daunting thing (but partly because society makes it that way by treating kids like property).

              • Maria says

                I think part of whats distinct about single dads is the idea that single moms are trying to TRAP some man into being a dad.

  10. loretta says

    So refreshing to read this.

    This is what I have come to realise 100% and it makes me glad others out there can see it too.

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