Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Wrongfully Accusation Of Man Hating

In various places around the Internet since I started blogging over 3 years ago I've seen repeated references to feminists or certain groups of feminists as "those nasty man haters." Most of the time there is disdain directed at one or more women without the person being disdainful giving a second thought about the complexities of those being labeled or the role of their own observer bias.

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.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:40 AM   3 comments links to this post

3 Comments:

At August 05, 2009 3:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

[SunlessNick]

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.
...
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.


Most of the "rape-prevention advice" you see out there is written as if rape is an all-but-autonomic response men have to seeing a vulnerable woman. Feminists on the other hand, concentrate on the need for men to control our behaviour and exercise our consciences - which depends on us having self-control and conscience. Which is why I say that feminism places far more faith in men than the patriarchy does, despite so many feminists having such very good reason not to.

 
At August 05, 2009 12:14 PM, Blogger JENNIFER DREW said...

The myth feminists are all 'man-haters' has a very long history and its central aim is to silence any woman or women who dare to challenge the patriarchal system which gives men the right of unlimited sexual access to any woman or girl if they so desire.

Feminists do not 'hate all men' rather they seek to hold men accountable for their actions and behaviour. Women have never been afforded the luxury of having their actions/behaviour excused/minimalised or justified.

Unlike patriarchal beliefs, feminists do not believe all men are incapable of taking responsibility for their actions, neither do we believe men are incapable of change.

Patriarchy however, promotes the myth men are supposedly 'victims' of their sexuality and hence must not be held responsible for their actions, unless their crimes are viewed as excessive by patriarchal definitions.

Claiming feminists are 'man-haters' is all about attempts at silencing women's rights to be treated and accorded their full human rights, rather than rendered as adjuncts to men as a group.

 
At August 08, 2009 11:34 AM, Blogger LLH said...

Its just a form of backlash. When someone says that to me, I just say "I don't hate men. I just hate you."

 

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