There is often little consideration to whether the label reflects the attitudes of the woman labeled as a man-hater or whether it reflects the behavior and attitudes of those applying this label to others.
Because of nothing more than the focus of this blog I've had this label man-hater slapped on me and those who have labeled me a man-hater don't realize that doing so undermines their credibility in 2 ways. 1) I know I don't hate men. 2) Conflating hating violence committed primarily by boys and men against girls and women with hating boys and men implies that all boys and men are violent toward some girls and women.
Under this anti-feminist worldview eradicating this violence by any means other than changing or controlling the behavior of potential victims would require eradicating men. This is a far darker view of boys and men than is included in the primary prevention strategies being advocated by feminists and those who are respected by many feminist activists. The alleged man-hating is to teach children, boys and girls, to understand and respect others, themselves and each individual's boundaries and rights.
That second item is one of the reasons many feminists have long talked about how anti-feminists have a much lower opinion of men than feminists do. "Men are animals," is something I hear most often from anti-feminists and this claim is often accompanied by a description of an animal which attacks and kills people.
Those who conflate male violence toward girls and women with the essence of what it means to be a male are expressing a much darker opinion of men as a whole than anything I have ever thought about men as a group.
When men use the comment feature of my blog to slander most or all girls and women who disclose having been raped, they aren't going to get a warm, friendly response from me. Challenging their bigotry or refusing to approve their comments is followed frequently by angry comments which include the claim that I am a man-hater. This is illogical and conflates my attitude toward their words and behavior with attitudes about all men.
The popular premise that feminists have more negative opinions about men has finally been tested in research.
The study ARE FEMINISTS MAN HATERS? FEMINISTS' AND NONFEMINISTS' ATTITUDES TOWARD MEN was directed by Kristin Anderson and Melinda Kanner, Department of Social Sciences, University of Houston, Downtown; Nisreen Elsayegh, Department of Psychology, University of Houston, Clear Lake.
Here's the abstract:
Despite the popular belief that feminists dislike men, few studies have actually examined the empirical accuracy of this stereotype. The present study examined self-identified feminists' and nonfeminists' attitudes toward men. An ethnically diverse sample (N = 488) of college students responded to statements from the Ambivalence toward Men Inventory (AMI; Glick & Fiske, 1999). Contrary to popular beliefs, feminists reported lower levels of hostility toward men than did nonfeminists. The persistence of the myth of the man-hating feminist is explored.
Unfortunately it isn't just anti-feminists who accuse feminists of being man haters. This is far too common in the feminist/womanist blogosphere.
I'd give examples or provide links but that often leads to a reduction of dialogue and an escalation of demeaning rhetoric. Many times these women will say something like, "you're one of those radical man-hating feminists."
Having a strong focus on gendered violence or being opposed to the sex industry because of the harm done to girls and women inside that industry is enough proof for some that a particular feminist is one of those man-haters who give feminist a bad reputation. Tossing out this label is a fast easy way for a feminist/womanist blogger to lose me as a reader even if I'm not the feminist being labeled as a man hater. If the woman slapping this label on other women has valid disagreements with the person being labeled this bigotry often causes those points to be lost.
This general view, through the dismissal of non-stranger rape as bad sex, was key to Katie Roiphe's early popularity. Her feminism was cannibalistic as it depended on consuming an important area of feminism simply because that area acknowledged that women can be victims of men and that this victimization is far too common. The declaration that women stop being victims was and is as nonsensical as telling men to stop being murdered and responding to reports of men's murders by declaring that non-stranger murders are just bad endings to relationships.
This seemingly victimless feminism is often presented as empowering women, but denying date rape is denying felonies and that empowers those who commit these crimes.