When Women Man-Hate, Feminism Doesn’t Win
It was International Women’s Day last Thursday and, broadly speaking, it was a really beautiful, life-affirming day where women celebrated the progress we’ve made and acknowledged the obstacles and challenges we still face. And we did this with a certain level of optimism that eventually we’d win the fight.
But there was another theme that kept resurfacing throughout the day that was obvious to me, mainly on social media, and that was women who were using feminism as a vehicle to vilify and drag men.
It isn’t lost on me why women collectively want to be man-haters. We only have to use the last 12 months as a reference sheet. Trust me, I get it. But when we lump all men together with the Harvey Weinsteins and Donald Trumps of the world, when we shun all men, we miss out on attracting new allies from the opposite sex to join our quest for equality.
It’s also a wildly uneducated opinion to think that man-hating is pro-feminism. Or that feminism in itself means being anti-men. Feminism is really just humanism. It means 50/50. That’s what we want. We want equal pay for equal work. We want autonomy over our bodies and the way we use them. And we’re not going to get those things any quicker by excluding men from the conversation.
I was raised by a father (Mum was there too, hi Mum!) who was a feminist without even realising it. Dad simply believed that his three daughters should be afforded the same opportunities in life as their male-counterparts. In fact the only quality he expressed to my sisters and I as being a road block to success was work ethic. Even today he often says to us, “You can have any job in the entire world, as long as you’re willing to work your ass off.” There was never a discussion of gender-bias in my household. Not because it didn’t exist but because it wasn’t relevant. The things that were relevant were being kind, having perfect manners, finishing what you’ve started and staying committed to the hustle.
So to exclude someone like my Dad, or your brother, boyfriend or grandfather from the conversation just because they’re the same gender as Bill Cosby doesn’t aid our cause. You can still hate a guy who pinches your ass without your permission, but to drag an entire gender in the name of feminism is stupid, misinformed and serves no one.
When we channel all of our energy into something as superfluous as man-hating then it distracts us from what we should be fighting: the patriarchy. Those institutions and normalized behaviours that systemically oppress women.
If we want to tear the patriarchy down then we’re going to need some guys at the party. And man-hating only sends a message that they’re not invited.