Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Can you Hate Men and Still be a Feminist?

Is misandry (hatred of men) at all related to modern feminism? Can a "feminist" also be a misandrist? Well, there certainly are self-identified "feminists" who do hate men, and who believe that it is a part of feminism. However, there are also self-identified feminists who don't hate men and who don't view those misandric feminists as "true feminists". They argue that feminism has no ties to misandry, and they dismiss the misandric "feminists" by saying:

"The problem isn't that many feminists are misandrists. The problem is how many misandrists think that they're feminists."

My question for these non-misandric feminists who make this argument is: how do you know that those misandrists aren't also feminists? How can you categorically exclude misandrists from feminism?

As feminists of all stripes constantly remind us, "feminism", by definition, is “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes", nothing more. However, this definition does not categorically separate feminism from misandry: it is entirely possible to believe that hating men is a step toward equality. After all, if women are being oppressed by men (via the Patriarchy), and because it's perfectly reasonable to hate your oppressors, then it is entirely possible (and I think true) that misandric feminists are rallying around their perceived common enemy (men) in order to fix the system those men support by simply being male. I think these misandrists think that they can achieve gender equality by this method, which, as we recall, would make them feminists by the given definition thereof.

Now, I am being hypothetical in my language because I can't see into the minds of these misandrists, so I can't be sure of their motives. However, I have encountered misandric, self-proclaimed feminists who do appear to desire equality by rallying around a hatred of men.

The problem for non-misandric feminists is that the dictionary definition of "feminism" which they so strongly insist upon only defines feminism by its goal (gender equality), not by the methods used to achieve that goal, which means that it is entirely possible for misandrists to be feminists by definition. In a sense, they've shot themselves in the foot by insisting on such a broad definition because it allows people they dislike to claim the title of "feminist", although some feminists freely admit that it is possible to hate men and still be a feminist ("to each her own").

There is one additional proof that misandrists can be feminists: multiple historical feminists, some of whom created modern feminist theories about patriarchy and rape culture, did indeed hate men, and yet, their feminism is hardly ever questioned.

“To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine, a walking dildo.” – Valerie Solanas

“Rape is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear” – Susan Brownmiller

“I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honourable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.” – Robin Morgan, Ms. Magazine Editor

It's one thing to have jerks (misandrists) in your community and to dislike their presence, but it's quite another thing for those jerks' opinions to be compatible with (if not directly supported by) your underlying ideology and its founders. Maybe these misandrists are just paying closer attention?

And yes, I am aware that this post is very similar to my previous post. This is because these posts start with the same basic idea (the fact that some feminists DO hate men), but they apply this idea to different topics, which is why I've made two separate, though similar, posts.

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