Artillery Row

Feminist fallacies: Women shouldn’t hate men

Women would be fools not to hate those who abuse us

Women shouldn’t hate men is the fourth article in Julie Bindel’s new online column for The Critic, “Feminist fallacies”, which explores modern-day myths about the women’s liberation movement. The third article, “Equality benefits everyone”, can be read here.

Regular readers of this column may be expecting me to neatly dispel the myth about man-hating feminists and to give examples to the contrary. Well, I have news for you: sometimes we really do hate men and, oh boy, it is justified! 

The real issue here is that so many men hate women. After all, if they didn’t, why would so many commit acts of sexual and physical assault against us?

There is nothing less attractive to sexist dinosaurs than women who hold them to account

Women are expected to suck it up when men demonstrate with violence, abuse and humiliation how much they despise us. Yet when women dare voice their anger about their treatment under patriarchy — you know, forced into marriage, beaten within it, raped and then blamed for being raped — the backlash beggars belief. The slur of “man-hater” is an attempt to silence our rage and keep us in our place, which is why so many women adopt a feminism that appeals to, rather than challenges, men.

Fun feminists spend endless time and energy reassuring men that we blame them for absolutely nothing. When it comes to heterosexual women that are keen to date men, they are well aware that there is nothing less attractive to sexist dinosaurs than women who hold them to account.

In order to appease their oppressors, fun feminists must lie about the pain and trauma for which men are responsible, and bend over backwards to convince men that we are not pointing the finger at them individually. By largely escaping women’s universal dislike, men get off very lightly.

Man-hating exists only as a response to misogyny. Stop doing hateful things to us and we might like you a whole lot more. For example, pornography is based on nothing but an absolute hatred of women, and research shows that the majority of porn is consumed by adult men, many of whom watch it regularly.

Feminism is the most optimistic political movement on the planet

I have been labelled a man-hater more times than I can recall — and not just by men. The journalist Carol Sarler once used the slur against me in her Daily Express column because I had criticised the sort of men who consider a bit of rape at the end of an evening as merely part of the fun. Sarler’s column was headlined: “Women’s issues can’t be resolved by man-haters” and was about whether men convicted of “date rape” should be given prison sentences. Why did she describe me — a campaigner against rape — as hateful and not reserve her disdain for rapists?

Hating men is absolutely the right of women; in fact, it is our prerogative. We would be fools not to hate the people who rape, murder, assault, humiliate, abuse and bully us. Men abuse women in their droves, and the bystanders are just as guilty as the perpetrators — those that allow men’s abuse to happen while doing nothing to intervene.

Women need to claw back our dignity and self-respect. Dismissing the vile behaviour of a sizeable minority of men is the action of someone who feels completely worthless in the first place. 

No feminist ever got anywhere by being nice — but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t treat people with respect and courtesy. Feminism is not rooted in anti-male prejudice. Rather, feminism is the most optimistic political movement on the planet. We refuse to believe that boys are born to be violent or abusive towards women, and we know that many boys grow up to be men who are horrified about rape and domestic violence. A small number of men even actively campaign to end violence against women.

Feminists are optimistic because we believe men can still change even if they have committed the worst acts of violation. If men recognise that there might be consequences for their behaviour — and if their peers encourage them to be better humans and feminist allies — then there is hope.

Those of us who deservedly hate the actions of violent men tend not to seek revenge. It is rare to hear of feminist vigilante gangs take out their anger on some poor bloke just to send out a message. Instead, we fight for a better world; one in which there is no such thing as domestic abuse, trafficking into prostitution, or sexual assault.

If women say that we hate men for the things they do to us, we are accused of espousing hate speech. But when men demonstrate hatred for women with their actions, it is often accepted as part of our “culture” and barely anyone challenges them on it. Except feminists. 

I look forward to the day when men begin to prove to women, with their actions as well as their words, that they don’t hate us. It is perfectly reasonable for the oppressed to stand up against their oppressors; however, we call it feminism, not “man-hating”.

Julie Bindel’s latest book, Feminism for Women: The Real Route to Liberation (Constable, Robinson), is out 2 September 2021.

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