Mocking masculinity isn’t mean, it’s purposeful (and fun!)

Image/Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train.
Image/Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train.

Cathy Young, darling of men’s rights activists and libertarian basement-dwellers across America, has boldly stood up, yet again, for the ever-pilloried male. “Feminism,” she claims, as though she knows or cares to know, “is about fighting for equality.” And how can we achieve equality while being so mean to men, Young wants to know?

She describes herself as an “individualist” and most of her Twitter fans appear to be angry gamers who remain obsessed with Anita Sarkeesian, so the fact that Young is unwilling to differentiate between what she calls personal attacks and criticism of socialized behaviour is unsurprising. Of course, the result of this is that her attempts to claim that feminists are cruelly picking on individual men based on “the way they talk, the way they approach relationships, even the way they sit on public transit” miss the whole point.

Feminist arguments, with regard to “the way men talk,” are about the way in which men dominate conversations, interrupt, and explain things to women that women already know because men are the experts on absolutely everything (also known as “mansplaining”). This is a socialized behaviour rooted in entitlement and male supremacy. Men are used to being listened to and taken seriously, and have not, like women, been socialized to take up as little space as possible or been sent the message, throughout their lives, that women and girls should be “seen but not heard.”

Not dissimilar, but even more serious, are feminist critiques of “the way [men] approach relationships.” I am doubtful Young will ever truly understand this, because she doesn’t actually believe that rape culture exists, despite the fact that women and girls are raped every single day and live in almost constant fear of sexual assault, but to pretend as though male socialization doesn’t have an all-encompassing impact on men’s relationships with women is nothing more than willful ignorance. I mean, one only has to look at something as basic as dating rituals and our society’s understanding of “romance” to see the way in which men are expected to and often voluntarily take on the dominant role in heterosexual relationships. Men are the ones who do the chasing, women are the chased. Bros try to “get some,” while women are expected to take on full responsibility for preventing themselves from being raped or otherwise coerced into sex. If they fail at this, they are “sluts” or they are actually (OOPS) sexually assaulted, but not believed because they didn’t fight back hard enough, were too flirtatious, sent mixed signals, wore too-tight leggings, danced with their future rapist, etc.

Beyond that, “the way [men] approach relationships” includes domestic violence, something that is undeniably a gendered phenomenon. There are scores of other examples we can look towards, including a persisting uneven split in terms of who does domestic chores in relationships, who is expected to provide sexual pleasure to whom, and who births and raises children, but I’d say looking at who is raping and abusing whom, in heterosexual relationships, is a good place to start.

“Men who gripe about their ex-girlfriends and advise other men to avoid relationships with women are generally relegated to the seedy underbelly of the Internet” because if you’ve ever been an abusive relationship, you know all too well the garbage these men spew about their ex-partners after they to manage to escape. Somehow, mysteriously, all women become “crazy,” “needy,” “jealous,” and, in fact, abusive themselves, after they leave abusive men. If this were mere coincidence, it wouldn’t happen every goddamned time. I dare you to go talk to a man who abused his female partner — listen to how he describes her. The way men speak about their ex-wives and ex-girlfriends is a red flag… Unless Young truly believes that all victims of abuse are psychotic women, which I actually wouldn’t put past her.

Finally, Young laments the cruel treatment men are subjected to due to “the way they sit on public transit.” Now, I can’t be certain Young has ever been on public transit before — I can’t even be certain she leaves the house — but I have been taking the bus almost daily for the vast majority of my life. “The way [men] sit on public transit” is representative of the way they move about in the rest of the world: they take up space. They spread out, unapologetically, because, 1) as I mentioned earlier, they have not been socialized to believe it is polite to take up as little space as they possibly can; 2) they aren’t worried about offending those around them with all the extra space they are taking up because, hey, they deserve that space; and 3) they all have enormous penises and need everyone around them to be aware of the fact that their penises are so incredibly large that they need two seats in order for their gigantic penises (And balls! Lest we forget…) to feel comfortable on public transit.

While, for all of these examples, there are surely exceptions, it would be irrational to pretend as though gendered socialization doesn’t teach men a sense of entitlement to the world around them — to space and to women. The entire basis for masculinity is dominance, whereas the basis for femininity is passivity.

What Young’s claim that this “gender antagonism does nothing to advance the unfinished business of equality” tells us is only that our MRA shero does not actually believe socialization is a thing. What she calls “male-bashing” is, in fact, “feminist analysis rooted in an honest understanding of how societies, systems of power, and gender actually work, under patriarchy.” If she doesn’t believe patriarchy or socialization actually exists, she should just say so rather than pretending she cares about the feminist project. I mean, the fact that she believes feminists care what MRAs think about our movement is laughable in and of itself, but what’s even more amusing is that she pretends that she understands, but is simply critical, of our movement.

“To some extent,” Young writes, “the challenge to men and male power has always been inherent in feminism.” Lol. Lol forever. To some extent, Cath, feminism has always and only been a challenge to male power, in all its forms. You may see this as a “troubling” reality, but that doesn’t mean your attempt at a re-write is going to fly with anyone beyond your dreaming-of-a-neckbeard fanboys.

Yes, the personal is political, but the ongoing criticisms of male behaviour do not equate to personalized “misandry” any more than criticisms of corporate power equate to an irrational hatred of white men who just happen to be very, very rich at the expense of pretty much everyone else.

Beyond that, mocking men and men’s socialized behaviour is something that actually makes having to live with the everyday violence and supremacy of men tolerable. We joke so that we don’t lose our shit every time we have to balance half a butt cheek on a seat because otherwise we’ll be sitting in some dude’s lap on the bus.

It seems Young’s greatest fear is not, in fact, that “equality” won’t be achieved because women are just so mean to the group of people who have subjected them to violence and oppression for centuries now, but that, in fact, the righteousness of manhood might dissolve. Trying to pressure feminists into softening their response to masculinity will always prove to be fruitless because, as feminists, we have nothing to prove to men — this movement is not for them.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Karla Gjini

    can’t believe how mean we are really

  • Sally Hansen

    I thought men were just so brave and so strong and so assertive and so courageous and so much more rational than us that they would be able to take simple criticism, even if in the form of light jabs, but hey, apparently not. #masculinitysofragile lol

    • Gyaleth

      It’s really ironic, considering how men are usually the ones who go on and on about feminists and social justice advocates being too “oversensitive” these days; yet they cry incessantly at the slightest sign of muh-san-dree.

      They just can’t stand it when they get a taste of their own medicine.

  • Morag999

    ‘”To some extent,” Young writes, “the challenge to men and male power has always been inherent in feminism.” Lol. Lol forever.’

    … and ever and ever …

    Doesn’t Cathy have an editor, a fact-checker, someone who could explain (mansplain?) to her the main objectives of the movement she’d like to help destroy? I mean, I’m fine with her writing foolish stuff like this, but I wonder at it.

    This is akin to saying: “To some extent, the challenge to capitalists and capitalist power has always been inherent in communism.” Karl Marx would LOL forever, too.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I honestly don’t understand how she keeps getting published in legit publications… I mean, this stuff is very clearly MRA tripe and even male MRAs don’t seem able to get the very same thing published anywhere legitimate. She obviously has some MRA-sympathizers who are editors at various places?

      (Also, lol at your communism comparison. Exactly.)

      • Morag999

        ” … and even male MRAs don’t seem able to get the very same thing published anywhere legitimate. She obviously has some MRA-sympathizers who are editors at various places?”

        This is an interesting observation. I don’t closely follow the MRA “movement” (LOL forever) or its “legitimate” “literature” (LOL forever). But I’m under the vague impression that many of these men have a preference for female MRA speakers and writers. A preference for female leadership — at least on the surface — which seems ironic, but only for a split second.

        Because, perhaps, misogynist women probably make slightly better, more palatable, potentially legitimate-sounding representatives for anti-feminist propaganda than openly misogynist, uncharismatic men.


        • Meghan Murphy

          I certainly think they do… I mean, as far as out MRA leaders go, they are mostly mocked, it seems… Yet they have women like Cathy Young and the rest of the crew at Reason, as well as Christina Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia, who they love because they can pretend as though their MRA garbage is actually ‘feminism’ or somehow about equality, instead of just about whiny, angry, entitled, dudes. Of course no feminist takes these women seriously, as feminists, but the MRAs use these women in their efforts to fake legitimacy… I have no idea if anyone buys it, beyond the MRAs themselves and, like, evo psych douchebros.

        • The Neoliberal feminist movement IS men’s rights activism. That’s why the online rags publish their excrement.

          • Morag999

            Yes. Often, I find blunt, naked anti-feminism less psychologically and intellectually painful than the fakers who speak in gaslighting gobbledegook and call it “feminism.”

          • Cassandra

            The Washington Post is extremely conservative. I’m of the opinion, however, that MRAs are pretty representative of most men. I know that’s a depressing conclusion, but they’re just spouting the same old same old. They’re literally like textbook patriarchy, like you couldn’t capsulize it any better. Their entire schtick is positioning women getting one iota out from under men as hatred of men.


            And blah blah blah.

          • Morag999

            “I’m of the opinion, however, that MRAs are pretty representative of most men.”

            Me, too. In fact, I was thinking about writing a comment to that effect — that most men, even if they don’t identify with “men’s rights” are quite a lot like MRAs. And MRAs — who I KNOW I’ve met, because there are some “tells” — are quite like ordinary men: polite, mild even, in everyday situations and non-political chit-chat. The trick, for me anyway, is to keep a good distance, and to never, if possible, get to know them personally.

            And your all-caps paragraph is spot-on. Heh! Not being the boss hurts so bad, owie, it must be oppression! RED PILLLLLL!

          • Rocky Rocky

            The tragic truth is that if men genuinely wanted to end their privilege – they could do so tomorrow as they collectively own his world. All this talk about slow changes in dismantling the patriarchy are just excuses for men to keep doing the shit they’ve always been doing.

          • Lavender

            Yup. I think most men do agree with much of what MRAs say but they dare not verbalize it, except for the least socially evolved. If that isn’t depressing enough, all men regardless of their views benefit from the terrorism of patriarchy, which makes women legitimately fearful and more willing to excuse and accommodate than they would otherwise be. There’s a wide swath of men who actually think they’re standup guys because they don’t rape or abuse women (which means they’re just more subtle about it).

  • Cassandra

    ‘”To some extent,” Young writes, “the challenge to men and male power has always been inherent in feminism.”

    I cannot get over the dumbfounding dumbness of this dumb statement.

  • Zuzanna Smith

    Fantastic article as usual Meghan!

    This is a comment another woman made, I’m not sure where I read it.

    “Misandry doesn’t exist, women don’t have the power to hate men”.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks! I don’t actually believe misandry is a real thing, either… Hating women isn’t about disliking individual women, it’s a cultural phenomenon that is fueled by patriarchy.

      • Zuzanna Smith

        Exactly, women can hate all the men in the world but that won’t make men lose social status or be seen as inferior by society, it doesn’t work that way.

      • Misandry is like a unicorn: NOT REAL.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Indeed. Which is to say, it’s a rational hatred, rather than an irrational one.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I have not, to date, no.. But yes, it would be interesting to see if they’d be open to a feminist response.

    • Tinfoil the Hat

      PLEASE, see if they will, I hate the Post because in 2016, they still only have a smattering of women op-ed writers. They NEED to be schooled!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Right. Attempts to upend systems of power and the status quo will always piss people off.

  • Leo

    “the fact that Young is unwilling to differentiate between what she calls
    personal attacks and criticism of socialized behaviour is unsurprising”

    This is why mocking masculinity, without clearly establishing where I’m coming from first and what it means, isn’t actually my preferred strategy, at least depending on the audience and the specific topic. It often doesn’t work, not just because people are unwilling to differentiate, but because, amazing as it might seem to us, they *can’t*. They don’t have the framework necessary to do that, they think masculinity is something innate. I’ve had a lot more success explaining first, as frustrating as it is to have to state the obvious over and over. Sometimes you can feel when they don’t understand and are likely incapable of doing so even when you explain it, it’s a problem I find when talking to those in the US specifically, the idea is so outside of anything they’ve heard it seems they can’t begin to make sense of it (and they tend to be the type who reject new ideas). We have a huge problem I think just getting the basic message out.

    Part of the problem with MRAs an their female allies, and I’ve talked to a lot of them and occasionally got through (the women are harder work, unsurprisingly), isn’t just that they’re misogynistic jerks, though they very much are, it’s that they’re incredibly badly educated and have a very insular perspective.

    Urgh, I know what you mean about men who’ve abused women and the way they talk about them being a flag, well put.

  • Lucia Lola

    Damn right.

  • I cannot go a day without mocking male behaviour/ aka gendered socialization just like I can’t go a day without worrying a male will attack me or rape me. If Young had more than two brain cells to rub together she’d figure out which side of the gendered coin has the hardest existence in this patriarchal world. Let’s see, getting lolled at for being stupidly masculine or being beaten and raped. My moral compass knows which of those two scenarios is worse. Young’s moral compass has been lost up her arse.

    • Sally Hansen

      unfortunately, try telling them this and they will simply deny rape culture exists, essentially gaslighting you for having very real and very valid fears. every woman has experienced some kind of harassment/assault/rape on some level, and yet all men have to do is paint us as overly emotional and our analysis is completely invalidated in their view. people who have a vested interest in maintaining the current system (and furthering it) don’t have any kind of interest in seeing our point of view. why would they want to destroy something they benefit from?

    • calabasa

      She’s either blind to it or extremely lucky (I am guessing the first; denial can be a powerful tool of self-deception; admitting painful truths is painful). I remember the guy who most recently abused me, after I made the mistake of opening up to him, although at the time he was very supportive (“I can’t believe all the things you’ve gone and done in your life with everything you’ve been through”–yeah, we just kind of have to be strong, as women; can’t curl up and die every time a man does an awful thing to you), later, post-abuse, calling me a “privileged white woman who makes up stories about rape to seem interesting” (this is even more rich because he sexually abused me, but whatever). Let me add that he is a white man, which makes it all the more hilarious. (And a disgusting notion as well, that rape makes a person “interesting;” in that case please, let me be the most uninteresting person alive but take back every instance of sexual assault or abuse I’ve ever experienced. Please). But there does seem to be some idea that “white women” from middle to upper class backgrounds somehow escape abuse, escape sexism, escape the everyday reality of the patriarchy; but really they only do if they accept patriarchy’s terms (of settling down with a protector and playing the proper female role). And, of course, they still have to worry about rape, sexual harassment at work, discrimination because of gender, etc. I get the feeling a whole lot of men really don’t believe this is real (or secretly, deep down, believe women *are* lesser and don’t see the extent to which their tastes and beliefs are shaped by society). Basically, it’s a complete lack of empathy which often goes along with being at the top coupled with a total lack of critical thinking ability. And women who don’t believe in this stuff are simply, in denial. But yeah…the more I talk to my female friends about this stuff, the more I find out that my experiences are not all that uncommon, which is terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. And no one does jack shit about it. At least not at any sort of structural level that would actually make real change. It’s so frustrating. (Wasn’t it Margaret Atwood who said “A man’s greatest fear is that a woman will laugh at him, a woman’s greatest fear is that a man will kill her”?). Having heterosexual relationships–that is, not only having to interact with men in public spaces and have our lives controlled and decided largely by men at a structural, systematic level, but also having to mate with the enemy, if we want a mate (for heterosexual women) makes love extremely dangerous and difficult for women (and I feel so sorry for men with MRA mentality, who think relationships are a game of one-upmanship; why should anyone be the boss? Isn’t a partnership about being a team, supporting each other? It’s ridiculous). Finding men who have done deep questioning of their programming and have resolved to raise their personal moral standards is difficult. (Recently I remember a man I respected–a really smart guy, a fellow writer, who I am taking a screenplay course from–high-fiving in a bro-y way with a male student in the class over how “good” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” was, and I immediately lost a great deal of respect for him). Sometimes it just seems a lost cause. And in the meantime we can stick to our guns and make fun. Having a sense of humor about the ridiculousness that is masculinity is sometimes the only thing that keeps us sane.

      TL;DR: As long as men still kill us, we will continue to laugh at them. Ruefully.

  • Read my comment. I was thinking the exact same thing.

  • Alienigena

    “…Men who gripe about their ex-girlfriends and advise other men to avoid relationships with women …”

    What about the women who defend their current husbands and act as if their husbands ex-wives are universally out to get the husbands on issues of child custody. I had a friend who I thought was a feminist take the side of her husband in a custody issue. What happens to women when they get married … do their brains take a vacation? Do they suspend their critical faculties? Is their brain matter liquified and replaced by an ant colony as in the recent series Brain Dead? ‘Cause I never hear women like this being judicious (thinking ‘maybe his ex-wife has a point of view that is valid’) … they automatically jump to their husband’s defense.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Ugh. Yeah that too. Drives me nuts when wives play into the “crazy ex” thing…

      • Tinfoil the Hat

        My friend IS the “crazy ex” – she is owed $10k in child support right now, and her ex-husband’s wife refuses to let one of my friend’s kids stay with them. She’s a brilliant 15-y.o. who calls her father on his crap – he then abuses her emotionally – so on visitation weekends, the dad takes them to his mother’s hoarder-house instead of to his house. It’s AWFUL, and my friend is barely getting by.

        Meanwhile, the 15 y.o. got a scholarship to music camp, so the ex-wife lets the younger girl come to their house (where she mostly gets to baby-sit her toddler siblings). Just ugh, ugh, UGH all the way around! Thanks for letting me kvetch.

        • Meghan Murphy


    • TrannysaurusLEX

      Alienigena, I wonder this same thing. I watch abuse play out in my parents relationship and wonder “How can this strong woman who instilled me with feminist values at a young age, wants to stay with my emotionally abusive father”. as a child he treated me as a threat, something to be jealous of. and I endured the same degrading remarks and veiled insults that he still uses. he always plays devils advocate, in a way that makes you doubt your sanity, or intelligence. Its more important for him to be right than to be emotionally supportive. its no wonder she is and gets suicidal. and it horrifies me. what makes it worse is he can turn on “salesman charm” so everyone who meets him says “he’s attractive and so nice, I don’t see why you hate him” it makes me feel like Im wrong or should just shut up and let it happen…

      I am lucky I have the ability to shut him out of my life, yet she has to wake up with that thing in her bed 🙁

      Thank you Meghan again for a great read.

      • Alienigena

        My sister’s husband had this kind of charm for her, at least. I found him to be a bit toxic, personally. He just struck me as one of these ‘speak through gritted teeth’ men with a nasty streak (he didn’t use his charm on me, not worth his while I guess). He also got angry at my mother at one point for calling him on his other BS and abusiveness (when drunk), which I didn’t know about. He called one of my sister’s teenage daughters a slut because of her attire. But because he also helped her fix her car (and taught her about car repair) somehow he was a good guy. In the end he emptied out his and my sister’s joint bank account (they were separated at that point) to buy (or make payments) on a boat and trafficked humans in the Latin America. Prior to that he had a legitimate business (I don’t know if it was successful) in Canada. He is now in jail in Latin America … for human trafficking. As an added (sick) joke my father suggested that his son-in-law was just trying to help the people he was transporting. Yeah, by overloading the boat and endangering their lives. When I recounted my father’s comment to my sister (a Daddy’s girl), she got mad at me, as if I was suggesting her husband was a good guy (not my father), when her husband was in fact someone I never liked (which should have been obvious from fact that I visited them infrequently and never asked to speak to her former husband when I called, also infrequently).

      • Lavender

        It’s easy for people to project an image to the world and to be a completely different person in private. My dad comes off as a very affable person in public and with extended family. They would never imagine that he’s capable of doing and saying the things he’s said and done. I think as people we have a hard time remembering that human beings are fractured personalities. We can be so many different things depending on the environment and the circumstances. Men also get the benefit of the doubt and when they’re seasoned manipulators they know they can turn the words of their victim to dust.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thank you, sister x

  • Meghan Murphy

    Mine too! Only later you realize that he’s the psycho one. It’s a means for men to isolate women from one another and destroy solidarity among us. We become dependent on them, convinced other women are our enemies. Society at large does this to women, systemically, of course, but individual abusers do as well, on top of that.

    • fragglerock

      Yes! Ugh. There’s nothing like a relationship with a sociopath to open your eyes. I tell ya, it was a rude awakening for me but I’m glad to be on the other side and will never go back. I agree that society does this systemically as well. I also happen to believe we live in a society that glorifies sociopathic qualities like lack of empathy, gaslighting and reckless disregard for others.

    • mauims


  • Speaking of manspreading, do you ever notice guys on buses placing their arms over the adjacent seats, or is it just me?

    • Meghan Murphy


    • Alienigena

      Yes, just today. I generally imagine some bloody outcome, involving the surgical removal of the arm(s). Ah, the imagination.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You can disagree with me!!

    I guess, from my perspective, I don’t see either hatred of white people, as a group, or hatred of men, as a group, to be an enormous threat… I understand why women may hate men, and think it’s kind of reasonable, tbh. I think framing it as ‘misandry’, though, puts it on par with misogyny, and it’s not at all the same thing… Misogyny is a social phenomenon rooted in the system of patriarchy, like racism. Misandry is a reaction to a history of abuse and oppression, and probably a legitimate fear of men. I mean, after being abused by men, all your life, wouldn’t it kind of be reasonable to ‘hate’ men? Is that ‘misandry’?

    • Just Me

      (I just didn’t want you to think I didn’t respect what you do here or that I don’t think you’re pretty awesome an obviously intelligent. I just don’t agree with you on this. )

      Well, traditionally it hasn’t been. But I spoke below to Wren about the incident in Dallas that just happened. Hate only begets more hate of each other. Someone needs to be willing to go a different direction. And sometimes, we do need to be the ‘bigger’ person to accomplish that. And even if someone’s hate is not an enormous threat, I don’t think we should be minimizing the influence hate has on the individual even if it doesn’t always manifest itself in the collective of society.

      I think it’s dangerous to tell ourselves that since white people and white men specifically have held the most power in society and that they have marginalized both women and other ethnicities in order to retain power, that it’s okay now for us to hate them and that it’s not going to impact our future or relationships with each other in other ways. It will. We see what hate is doing everyday. We see it in the school shootings, through ISIS and through this lastest event in Dallas. I think we are towing a dangerous line justifying certain people’s hate while condemning other’s. Hate is hate and it’s not okay.

      Misandry exists and it has the potential to be just as harmful if we let hate in. Just because it hasn’t yet, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the ability to grow.

      I do agree that misogyny is way more of an important social threat, and has way more of an impact on our collective existence along with racism against minorities. I just don’t think it’s fair to say that misandry doesn’t exist or that it has no power.

      Yes, if I was abused by men my entire life (and I have had an incident of that in my life), I would understand why a person would be angry, hurt, in pain and distrustful toward the group of people that hurt them. Emotionally I understand this. But is it completely reasonable to hate all men because of a history of abuse with other men? I don’t think it is. I understand why a person would hate them. But I would also hope that person would realize that this hate was not servicing them a purpose for their *own* health and well being. I have been abused. I know what it’s like. I also know that I had a choice to continue the cycle of hate, which ultimately made me miserable and angry and made me feel powerless, or I could choose to work on the issues that stemmed from this abuse and find a better way to be. And to discover that not all people are the same just because they share gender, race or even religious beliefs.

      It’s not even that I completely disagree with you. I get where you are coming from. I totally agree that misogyny has had a greater influence in the world then misandry. But women are coming up in power in the world and we shouldn’t choose the same cycle of hate just because we experienced it. Our hate has the potential to be no less dangerous then anyone else’s.

      • will

        You’re saying it’s “dangerous” to have an appropriate response to abuse. This is patronizing and not constructive in any way.

        Look, I get working through one’s responses to abuse to find the wisdom on the other side; think of Phan Thị Kim Phúc or Rubin Carter. Their message is a powerful one. But your project of coming here to lecture people with simplistic platitudes in a space where we share our stories of abuse and process raw feelings attached to real world experience is not appropriate. It comes of as sheltered, insensitive and heavy-handed. Maybe you have lived through some horrific pain visited upon you by someone above you in the social hierarchy and have been unable to glean any justice for that because of said hierarchy. But it seems to me if that’s the case, you’d share the experience and your journey through it to a state of forgiveness.

        So far you seem like a relatively young person who has just read their first Eckhart Tolle book about how we can individually think our way to a world without pain.

        • Cassandra

          Ugh. Eckart Tolle. A guy I dated for a while gave me an Eckhart Tolle book. He was one of those guys who would say things like, “Nobody can hurt your feelings without your consent.” He was: Tall. White. Good-looking. Intelligent. Male. Swimming in privilege. Completely blind. He really thought he was going to fix me with an Eckart Tolle book and by me tripping with him on mushrooms. The memory makes me shudder.

          • will

            Please pardon me if this is an inappropriate response, but (speaking of mocking) that story is a comedy waiting to be written. “Nobody can hurt your feelings without your consent” is a hilarious line.

            Reminds me too of a tall handsome white guy I dated in my teens who was “deeply” into Kerouac and gave me some books by him. Even at 16 I found Kerouac repugnant, but it took me several years to also see how utterly ridiculous were the “sensitivities” of my former boyfriend.

            Most men I have met who have achieved some level of self-perceived enlightenment have actually achieved a higher level of smugness.

          • Wren

            I hate Kerouac.

          • Cassandra

            Kerouac *is* repugnant.

            Meh. Liberal dudes.

        • Wren

          Couldn’t have said it better.

      • Cassandra

        Women do not have the power to hurt men on a systemic level. We can hate them all we want and it doesn’t make a damned bit of difference to their daily lives, their opportunities, their privileges, their paychecks, their safety, their bodily autonomy or their humanity.

  • Wren

    Yup. Playing nice is what we are programmed to do, and it hasn’t gotten us anywhere. Besides, I have known many decent, good men and they don’t get defensive when you tell them what’s real.

  • marv

    Neither masculinity nor femininity is anything other than a patriarchal composition. The same holds true for race and capitalism.

    Patting men on the head is fine though as long as one uses a baton – knocking sense to replace the nonsense. 🙂

    • Just Me

      Sorry Marv but I don’t think it’s funny to joke about striking a man with a baton. If a man made that joke about a woman, it would be a terrible thing to say. And it’s not any better to say about men in my opinion. We need to give the respect to others that we want them to give us.

      I also don’t agree with your concept of what masculinity and femininity is. While society has certainly attached negative labels to gender identity or put us in one or the other box, if we were meant to be androgenous beings with no gender identity, we would have been created to have changable sex organs like certain amphibians can do. The penis and vagina are not mistakes of nature. Disease even affects the genders differently. Heart disease does not show up the same way in women as it does in men. My little nephew was not 5 months old when someone gave him a doll to play with an he tossed it aside for his truck. No one yet has stuck him with gender labels, He just really loves trucks. His dad doesn’t even drive a truck so it’s not like he relates it to his dad. He just gets super excited about trucks, not dolls. No one forced that on him.

      I think masculinity and femininity are awesome. I’m attracted to men because they are very different from myself. I like the chinese wisdom of ying and yang. I personally view masculinity and femininity to be on a long gray scale just like sexuality. Just like some people are completely straight, completely homosexual or fall somewhere down the line in the middle, I personally believe that some people are very masculine, others are very feminine and yet others usually have a mixture of both masculine and feminine selves. Where society went wrong is believing that to be masculine, you only had to be a male or to be feminine was be a female. Men and women both have masculine and feminine sides and we have them in all different combinations. Meaning that some women are more masculine and some men are more feminine, or some women are more feminine and some men are more masculine, and some people fall somewhere in the middle.

      • Lavender

        If masculinity and femininity – a binary representing two opposites – existed on a long gray scale and that scale involves characteristics of males and females which overlap, then masculinity and femininity are meaningless categories. Consider: if males behave in ways that females behave and females behave in ways that males behave, and this is often the case as you admit, then none of the characteristics or behaviour in question can be accurately described as either masculine or feminine. If masculinity and femininity can describe the same characteristics, then what distinguishes them? What do they represent?

        The answer is: stereotypes of how males and females respectively are supposed to think and feel. You’re confusing sex and gender. There was a time when masculinity and femininity, like sex, referred purely to physical characteristics, e.g. almost all men can be easily identified as males because they have a masculine appearance i.e. a characteristically male – masculine – bone structure, muscle mass, etc. When you say that you think masculinity is awesome because you’re sexually attracted to men, you’re misunderstanding what feminists mean when we talk about masculinity in the context of feminism. Masculinity is sometimes discussed in terms of male physicality, but most often, and particularly here, we’re talking about sex-based stereotypes.

        When you say, “if we were meant to be androgenous beings with no gender identity, we would have been created to have changable sex organs” (sic), you’re saying that people with penises have the same mentality and people with vaginas have the same mentality. Which we don’t. You said so yourself. And if we don’t, then the whole idea of gender identity and gender itself are completely baseless.

        Clearly, you have no idea what you’re talking about. I recommend Rebecca Reilly-Cooper’s analysis here of the logic behind binaries and spectrums: Please avail yourself before vomiting more nonsense into the world.

        • marv

          Lovely explanation Lavender. It is no wonder that people accept gender as a vital essence because we are culturally bombarded by it every day. The same kind of naturalization through socialization is evident with beliefs in almighty god, marriage and economic inequality. No doubt there are other illusory convictions too.

          I have noticed however that the followers of gender are often defenders of marriage and faith in god. Plus they are against socialism but not capitalism. There are varying degrees of intensity of course but I sense there could be more than a correlation here. Maybe these identities intersect and are mutually reinforcing in a way that one couldn’t exist without the others. There are contradictions though because many married people are secularists. Just speculating on general trends despite exceptions.

      • Mar Iguana

        “I think masculinity and femininity are awesome.”

        Learn what the difference is between the words “male/female” and “masculinity/femininity”. Then grasp that the word “gender” is not synonymous with the word “sex.” Do you understand what the phrase “sex roles” means? Good grief.

  • fragglerock

    I wouldn’t be surprised either. I was hospitalized twice during my relationship. The truly skilled ones don’t need to lay a finger on you, they simply wait for you to do it yourself. Ugh. Here’s hoping these human wastelands are struck dead by lightning.

    • Spark658

      I was hospitalized for being suicidal during said relationship too. He would just sit there and mock and insult me while I cried and had severe panic attacks. I never thought I’d be happy to hear someone killed himself until I heard about him (although I was sad to hear about his wife.)

  • fragglerock

    It’s all part of the “grooming” process. Just like you said, they’re predators who lure their victims with “bait.”

  • Meghan Murphy

    That’s a good point. I suppose it’s a rather Westerncentric way of looking at racism. That said, I don’t believe, at all, that only white people can be racist. I’ve encountered plenty of non-white people who are racist. My point is that, as a culture, I don’t think that people of colour feeling extreme anger and/or fear of white people amounts to racism.

  • Alienigena

    I don’t spend my day mocking men … but I am a bit peeved that all heterosexual women seem to talk about is men (their relationship talk, etc.). I prefer to spend a good proportion of my day not thinking about men at all. The patriarchy … I know. But if you are not hetero (and actually not lesbian or pan or bi) at some point you just become fed up with all the talk about men. All the popular media about women in relationship to men (tv series, movies, women’s magazines, talk shows, social media, etc.). Whether it is to laud or complain about men, you’re still talking about them. So many things seem to tell women to be ashamed of just being alive … I don’t really care if men feel bad or if there are women out there making them feel bad. Not a fan of anything about masculinity (e.g. contact and really any team sports, use of intimidation (just entering a doorway one can encounter a cluster of them) in every aspect life, constant competition (e.g. to the extreme of competitive cooking shows or some other dumb televised competition), llibertarianism (seems very male), so-called progressive social movements (home to toxic masculinity too), and so on). Not much of a fan of femininity either. I don’t see how you can live with men unless you have a healthy streak of narcissism of your own to combat their innate narcissism. There seem to be a lot of men out there who have no problem pretending women don’t exist (particularly in public sphere), what’s the problem with pretending (for a portion of a day) that they don’t exist.

  • mauims

    “Male culture needs to change first”? Good luck with that! 100% untrue, BTW.

  • Alienigena

    Shouldn’t men be mocked for not acknowledging women’s many scientific accomplishments. For example, the discovery of the X/Y chromosomes?

  • Just Me

    Ben, I couldn’t agree with you more. But sometimes it’s a fine balance is it not between cutting through the crap and saying ‘enough is enough’ and not alienating people from the core message.

  • Zuzanna Smith

    Misogyny is a social institution, porn, prostitution, male violence against women BECAUSE they are women, putting the victim on trial when a male is accused of rape, asking a woman what she wore when she is raped, etc, do men have anything like these things facing them? Men are not hated for simply existing in a male body like women are. What rights are males lacking, what rights are at constant threat of being taken away from males? A woman hating a male is not misandry! It’s just life experience, you can bet she hates males because she’s been hurt by male oppression not because she’s been rejected for a date, for fuck’s sake. Men yell misandry when they are faced with the reality that their sex does some horrible things to females, and men hate being criticized or held to account, it hurts their feelings.

    • Just Me

      So when a woman hates a man, it’s always because she has a good reason for it? We all must blindly agree with other women because she will always have a good reason to do the things she’s one? I guess no one here has ever had a challenging relationship with another woman.

      Nothing I said suggested that misogyny was not a social institution. I agree that it is. I also don’t think all men hate women despite the fact that misogyny is infact institutionalized.

      Believing someone is justified in hating a group of people does not magically negate the idea that it’s still ‘hate’. Believing women are justified in hating men for any host of reasons doesn’t cease it from being misandry, from being ‘hate’. It also doesn’t cease it from being harmless. I don’t even understand why anyone would want to support the hate of one person for any group of people. That is the roots of racism and pretty much all social injustice.

      There are millions of women that also have wonderful experiences with men. And they would infact view the hate of all men based on one woman’s experiences with one, a few or many men, to be misandry. So are we suggesting that the only women who get to define misandry are the ones that have been abused by men and there for can claim that misandry doesn’t exist because their hate of men is justified?

      I do not for a second believe that the only abuse or oppression men face is from a woman rejecting him for a date. Although yes, I know the men you speak of that ‘yell’ misandry when it doesn’t apply. That also doesn’t mean that misandry doesn’t actually exist.

      I’m sorry but in our quest to fight for equality, we should not defend our hate for men when we would don’t want them to hate us. Good reasons or not. You can not fight for equality while you hate others based on gender, social class, race or religion.

  • Lavender

    What’s lacking there is a recognition of class-based inequality. As a class, white people have power over black people – not the other way around. When people talk about black on black crime, the truth is that people who are dispossessed have no one but each other to express their rage and desperation to because no one else will listen to them or give them back what is rightfully theirs. This is why in every society, it’s women and children who are most vulnerable. People punch down because they can; they don’t punch up because they can’t. The oppression of members of the African diaspora as well as other groups such as indigenous peoples forms the basis of many civilizations. Capitalists were only able to amass their wealth by stealing labour and land, and committing genocide. The hatred that white people have toward black people isn’t simply an emotion; it’s an institution. It’s expressed structurally. Oppression is always about exploitation, and in order to justify that exploitation, a narrative of superiority and inferiority is created and sustained in order to maintain power. White supremacy has political, economic, and social power behind it. The emotions and behaviour of black people have none of this.

    Those who hold the power must surrender it if they have any desire to live ethical, virtuous, and peaceful lives. It’s not up to the oppressed to change things because they aren’t in a position to do so. You can’t negotiate your rights with people who see you as inferior and expect you to prove that you’re an exception to some imagined stereotype just to have the right to breathe. The class of white people will either have to wake up on their own or they will be forced to do so. The choice for change is entirely in their hands. They and they alone have the responsibility to fix this mess. But who fixes a mess from which one benefits? There’s the rub.

    What is true for white supremacy is true for patriarchy, and the two go hand in hand.

  • Wren

    You seem to confuse yourself frequently. No one said that hate didn’t
    exist, and I did not give anyone permission to hate, but was merely trying to explain to you what everyone else was trying to explain and what you seemed incapable of grasping: the feeling of hatred does not necessarily change the power structure. We said MISANDRY doesn’t exist because it implies that women have an upper hand over men in the social and political structure:

    “Accusations of male bashing and man hating work to discredit feminism
    because people often confuse men as individuals with men as a dominant
    and privileged category of people”
    -Allen Johnson

    You can NOT hate anyone you want. I don’t give a shit. I made a very polite statement in response to your post to try and clarify everyone’s point that seems to be beyond your cognitive grasp, and you saw that as permission to lecture me from your self-perceived moral high-ground (you seem to do this often to many who post here) and to exploit this week’s tragedies to make your logically flawed, patronizing and childish point. I no longer have any interested in what you have to say.

  • Mar Iguana

    “And you won’t get any argument from me that men largely hold the cards too.”

    Largely?! What cards do women hold?”

    • Just Me

      So women hold no cards in society Mar Iguana? None at all? Women have not gained any equality or social clout since women’s lib began revealing itself those many moons ago?

      • calabasa

        Equality is not holding cards.

        In any case, the short answer is no. Poverty still affects women, disproportionately, and men control the majority of the world’s money, and men shape cultural narratives and make political decisions. And the countries where some strides toward equality (that still fall far short of the mark) have been made are few in comparison the majority of the world which in which violent patriarchy is still the rule of law.

        • Just Me

          Oh believe me, I am well aware of how women are still disproportionately in a less powerful position in the world. Infact, I’ve made those exact same arguments in other conversations. Where we disagree is believing that having gained equality means that women have not gained more social power, even if they don’t have the most social power, and that women don’t infact have some of their own cards in their hands. I actually think suggesting that women don’t have any cards undermines the very women that worked so hard for us to be in the position we are in today. It undermines all the hard work women have done to get where they are even though obviously we still have further to go. Women certainly don’t hold ‘most’ of the cards, but they hold some and we play them to progress toward a better future.

    • calabasa

      Ha ha ha, I was going to say the same thing.

  • Morag999

    That “super wide V” is impressive, but I want to be more impressed. I want manspreaders to really push their own limits while riding public transport. They should try to get each leg on a separate seat, and hold a strong and graceful pose, as demonstrated in this picture:

    • calabasa

      This made me laugh. Thanks.

  • Wren

    Oh now it all makes sense. You’re a Christian Scientist. Shouldn’t you at least spell your founder’s name correctly????

    • Just Me

      Are you serious with this nonsense? Seriously. Why are you labeling me? Did I label you? I have no idea how you concluded to yourself that I am a “christian scientist” or why you are trying so hard to label me based on your self-created assumptions.

      It’s totally okay for people to not see eye to eye with each other and disagree with each other. We should be able to disagree with each other without resorting to personal insults and becoming angry and defensive just because we don’t see a topic the same way.

      You don’t agree with what I said? That is totally fine. Then disagree with it. Talk about the topic. But don’t put me down, make me the topic of the discussion by resorting to cheap personal shots and suggest you are entitled to give me labels just because you don’t like that I don’t see this issue the same way as you. We can be respectful to each other and disagree at the same time. I have no clue why you’re so angry and defensive just because I didn’t agree with your comments. I never labeled you, put you down or said you were a terrible person. I simply disagreed with your ideas about women and hate.

      • Wren

        You quoted Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science. Nobody quotes that woman except other Christian Scientists. I sang as a professional soloist for many years at a Christian Science church and you sound just like one of them. Their sanctimonious drivel makes no fucking sense.

        When you say “the hate women have for men is not anymore just than the hate men have for women,” I have to wonder if you should be writing here at all. It is incredibly insulting to all of us. It’s an MRA comment. Clearly, you don’t care about what other writers are telling you, writers that are light-years more intelligent than you are. Maybe you should just stick to writing about TV shows like the Bachelor.

  • Wren

    So you’re saying that we women should never hate men, and we should sit down with our rapists and abusers and have a discussion about feelings? Or we should forgive them and ask God to change their hearts?

    I threw up a little just typing that.

    • Just Me

      Should a woman hate all men because one or even a few men abused her? That’s an interesting question onto itself. Women can be abusive too. So should a man hate all women because one or even a few women abused him? Hate is pretty powerful.

      Anyway, I didn’t say anything about what an individual woman should feel or do. I never said you should sit down with your rapists and abusers. These are massive projections you’re assuming about me for no reason at all. I never made one comment about what an individual woman should do. These are extremely personal choices for people with complexities that you can not wrap up in such a tidy package or a simple discussion on the internet where one option or choice is going to fit all. I can only for myself that I forgave my abuser. It took me years but I forgave my abuser for *me*. I was angry toward this person for years and I worked it out for myself where I’m finally in a place where I don’t feel that anger anymore. Hate did not serve me well and I don’t believe that hate is the answer for anyone. It takes a lot to forgive someone who did you wrong. Like that woman I spoke of that forgave the man who killed her own son. But it’s possible to do and when it’s done, it’s rather an inspiring thing. By the way, forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with this person and go out for brunch. I just don’t believe that ‘hate’ is the answer.

      But we were not talking about individual experiences. We were talking about the collective ideas of hate one group has for the other and the power it yields. I simply said that as a collective group, the hate women have for men is not anymore just than the hate men have for women. We have to work together because we all exist on the same planet. Yes, there are men who have done crappy stuff. That doesn’t mean we continue the cycle of disrespect and hate by keeping them alive in ourselves.

      I don’t believe ‘hate’ is the answer to the kind of world we all want to live in. You can’t exact change with hate. Because hate begets more hate. That is the cycle of hate. Like we saw in Dallas. Reject hatred without hating. I very well can’t reject hatred for one group of people and hope that hatred dies while keeping it alive in myself. That is what I believe in.

      The choice is now in your hands Wren. Are you going to attack me because you don’t like my beliefs? Or are you going to actually engage with me in a mutual conversation even if you may disagree with my thoughts? I will leave that up to you.

    • calabasa

      I tried that, and utterly failed. I was abused again. I think as an admission of guilt and a very clear message that he did, in fact, know what he did, and that it was unforgivable and I had no business trying to forgive or understand him. But he could not just outright say any of this as it was all subconscious. He could not consciously ever own up to any of it, I think; it would destroy him.

      Trying to get through to the conscious mind of an abuser is very difficult, as they have compartmentalized their lives (many abusers and rapists are very successful and seemingly polite in other arenas, etc.–even serial killers) and as they have buried the ugly self deep down and live in a state of near-constant denial, punctuated by moments of tortured guilt (for some of them) that are quickly buried again, usually under a mountain of justifications for and rationalizations of their behavior.

      I have realized this. I do not envy the task of the men and women who work with violent offenders and sex offenders and domestic abusers and try to help them, especially if it’s court-ordered. Talk about an uphill task.

      I do still feel deeply sorry for men. But I’ve realized that the things that have happened to me in my past do not need to define me, going forward; that men targeting me as a vulnerable person and committing violence against me is about them, not me; that I can feel sympathy for them but I absolutely should not be around them. You can feel sympathy for an abusive person but choose not to have that element in your life. And it is a mistake to think you will “get through to them.” You won’t.

      One of the salient features of an abuser-in-denial is blaming everyone and everything but themselves, and it’s them who has to do the hard work of owning up to their horrible behavior toward others and atone for it in some fashion, going on in their lives.

      Similarly, cops who kill black men and women will find some way to justify it, as will the white people who leap to their defense. Martin Luther King tried to “get through” to violent, hateful white people, and it got him killed.

  • Morag999

    Right! How could I forget that? Feminism is all about women doing things which are always feminist things because women are doing the things. Unless those things upset men, in which case feminism becomes exactly like Hitler.

  • Just Me

    If you’ve read anything I’ve said than you’ve seen me often comment about the power hierarchy. To suggest that women have absolutely no power in society today is to suggest that women have not moved forward at all in society. Obviously, we have. I can only assume that you don’t like my use of ‘largely’ because you believe women have absolutely no power at all in society and when I attributed that most power belongs to men (largely), but not, you disagreed. We have more social power than we use to have and it’s climbing. So yes, while I believe that men still retain most of the power in society, (as shown by my use of ‘largely’), I am not going to pretend that women have absolutely no power whatsoever. So yes, men largely have the most power but they don’t have *all* the power. As women have gained more equality, we’ve gained more social power. We are responsible for our own choices and for our own choice to hate others.

    I am never going to justify the collective hate of one group for the other. Yes, hate is hate is hate and hate begets more hate. I’m not really sure how to say it in a new way. As we’ve seen in Dallas, the hate of the minority for the majority in power does not render them completely powerless. It is the result of what happens when either group hates another. White people hating blacks results in violence and black people hating whites is also resulting in violence. And neither side is justified in perpetuating these incidents, right? Or do you believe that the black men that killed the white police officers did the right thing?

    I think the thing that should be mocked is privilege, not masculinity or femininity. It is the privilege we don’t like. It’s the privilege that gives one group power over the other. It is not people who identify as masculine or feminine.

    • will

      “I am never going to justify the collective hate of one group for the other.”

      You are very lucky to make that choice. If you have never had to process the emotions that come when you have been attacked injured, traumatized, belittled or terrorized and then the emotions that are attached to the fact that your culture and its legal system apologize for, enable and excuse and enact the injuries done to you, I can see how the slogan “hate begets hate” would seem useful. It also allows one to avoid the cold hard fact of being in a state of conflict, if one is privileged enough to do so. Insisting that a group of people not hate their abusers can translate to a condemnation of the requirements of revolutionary struggle, which is often retaliation in kind. Do you condemn Palestinians for throwing rocks?Would “no hating” be your lead message in dealing with a rape victim?

      Do you recognize that the supposed “higher calling” of pacifism is the exact instruction that is issued to women by patriarchal apologists? Women are supposed to be loving in the face of appalling abuse and following those orders has done us no good at all. Turning the other cheek did not win us the vote, nor did it end slavery. Have you seen the image on the “Racism in America and Police Brutality” post on this blog? The women are holding a placard that says “If you are neutral you’ve taken the side of the oppressors”.

      Pacifism can work in some circumstances, say in India where a thousand non-violent protestors were murdered by colonial forces in a single afternoon. In that case the sheer brutality of the act ultimately worked against the oppressors, but it kind of sucked for the people who were killed and maimed. In that case, the sheer numbers of oppressed citizens made the performance – most passive resistance is a performance and requires witnesses and resulting outrage – possible. Without witnesses, pacifism just makes violent oppression consequence-free.

      “[T]he thing that should be mocked is privilege, not masculinity”. Here’s the thing: masculinity IS privilege. If you are OK with mocking privilege, why are you so insistent that feminists play nice with oppressive men?

      • Wren

        This is brilliantly stated as usual. I envy your eloquence and intellect.

        Unfortunately, I doubt Just Me understands a word of it, or even cares. She has an agenda: to prove her moral superiority at any cost. She is intellectually challenged and has the emotional intelligence of a flea. Therefore, she JUST HAS TO BE RIGHT! And if she can’t be right, she will play the petulant, suffering victim.

        Anyway, hopefully she will take her infantile sophistry elsewhere.

  • Cassandra

    I get a little carried away sometimes in regard to MRAs. 🙂

    • will

      Not at all! It’s brilliant.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I don’t believe that a black man killing a white man equates to racism, due to the way that systems of power work. That is not to say I condone the killing of white men (or anyone) — I certainly don’t. But racism is about oppression — specifically a privileged group holding power over a marginalized group. Black people, as a group, do not hold systemic power over white people, as a group.

  • will

    “minorities are fighting back in the wrong ways”

    So what exactly should minorities DO to fight back? When law enforcement and a white majority are armed and can kill you in public spaces – those areas that all citizens supposedly have a right to – with no provocation and next to no consequences, what exactly should people do? Do you realized that institutionalized and socially sanctioned violence in the U.S. has hit such an extreme that some countries are issuing travel advisories to their citizens?

    You seem to have a particular concern with retaliatory violence but you have little to say about state sanctioned and socially sanctioned violence that forces the hand of the victimized group. Are you writing to American Police departments, courts, law schools, police training institutions as well as TV and film producers (including porn producers) and advertisers, and telling them to “stop hating”? If I had stabbed my rapist in the eyes and rendered him blind (an opportunity I wish I had had and one I’d take in heartbeat), would that be “hating”? Where do you draw the line Just Me?

    You have stated several times that you want “respectful” exchange when people have been blunt with you. I respectfully tell you that I find your posts high-handed, repetitive and bordering on insulting and I recognize that my irritation is apparent. (I’ve actually worked quite hard to shed the feminine grooming I’ve received that has patterned me to conceal any feelings other than cheerful acquiescence and nurturing concern for the other. Do you realize that your “no-hating” mantra brought to this forum reiterates that grooming?) However, my responses to you are honest and I respect you in my assumption that you will actually answer my questions and that you will consider my and others’ counter-arguments and respond appropriately.

    I respectfully suggest you read Arundhati Roy’s Walking With the Comrades, excerpted here. She presents an excellent journalistic account of real-world conditions in post-Gandhi India.

    Finally, do you really think that telling women to play nice is progressive? That swallowing the shit rained down upon us from above with a loving smile on our faces is going to change anything?

    Women, more than any other pressed group have tried that option and it does not work.

    • Just Me

      Throwing the word ‘respectful’ into your comments doesn’t mean you are actually being respectful. It infact becomes a contradiction when you throw out attacks that our purposely meant to belittle me for no reason at all around how I’m ‘high-handed’ (naturally you aren’t high-handed at all though right Will?), ‘repetitive’ (again naturally, you’re such a superior person you would never say something more than once), or that I’m ‘bordering on insulting’ (because as you’ve shown us here, you’re certainly not insulting), because I don’t view these issues through the same lens as you. Naturally, I know *you* think you got it all right but then again, that’s the nature of opinion is it not. We always think ours is the right one. The difference though between you and I is not that I take personal offense to your stance or attached labels to you because of it, the difference between you and I is that I didn’t need to tear you down just because I didn’t agree your view. I stuck to the actual topic until I was forced into a position to defend myself. A position you felt was okay to put me into instead of strictly speaking about the issues themselves because you believe my view on these things is cause to belittle me. But when you start personally attacking me, I’m going to call that out.

      I’ll just say that it was never my goal to be ‘high-handed’. I simply expressed my view point and never attacked anyone personally for their own beliefs. If you see me as high-handed, that’s not because that’s was the goal I was going for. And if you think that you can’t be viewed as high-handed for your response here, if you think I can’t perceive you to be that way yourself, you’re wrong. But I know that perception is not reality. Especially online. And I know that you aren’t trying to be high-handed. How about giving me the same respect? In an actual sincere way? Not in a way that only provides lip-service to the word respect?

      “So what exactly should minorities DO to fight back?”

      They should do the things they’ve been doing to raise continued support, awareness and progress toward these massive social issues. But they shouldn’t single out white police officers and shoot them and kill them in the name of fighting back. What do you believe really gets solved that way? Not even other black people agreed with that course of action. You fight back with strength but not with violence. That’s how you fight back. I’m seriously baffled by your attempt to paint me in any which way you’ve perceived me that isn’t actually based on anything I actually said.

      I also can’t get on board with ignoring the racism that happened when black shooters specifically target white police to kill which isn’t any different then when white police officers target black people to kill. There is nothing of racism that says that it only exists for the group in power. And I believe it’s dangerous for the health of our country to tell ourselves that our individual hate has no power and therefore is more okay to engage in then the majority’s hate. The Dallas incident remains as a reminder of how hate begets hate and how violence begets violence and that the hate of the minority for the majority certainly has the potential to be a powerful force.

      “You seem to have a particular concern with retaliatory violence but you have little to say about state sanctioned and socially sanctioned violence that forces the hand of the victimized group.”

      Since the issue I was interested in addressing was the concept that the hate of the minority for the majority can’t exist or is less powerful or okay because they are the minority, I was specific in pointing out that the hate of the minority is not a powerless thing as we’ve seen in Dallas. So yes, in this conversation, I certainly was interested in figuring out how it can be claimed that racism doesn’t exist when black shooters specifically targeted white police officers. But drawing assumptions, because that’s all they are on your end, about my other beliefs about socially sanctioned violence because I was interested in addressing this concern in this conversation and suggesting that it means I’m not concerned about the plight of what we’ve been seeing happening to black people or that I don’t advocate against is really just a means for you to once again, attempt to paint or smear me in a way that you believe suits your own personal agenda against me. You keep putting me in a position to personally defend myself which is utterly ridiculous and full of nonsense. Talk to me on the merits of the things I actually said. Don’t create drama around things you’ve hypothesized about me simply because you don’t like me.

      “(I’ve actually worked quite hard to shed the feminine grooming I’ve received that has patterned me to conceal any feelings other than cheerful acquiescence and nurturing concern for the other. Do you realize that your “no-hating” mantra brought to this forum reiterates that grooming?”

      Again, you couldn’t be more wrong about me. I just once again also question why you’re working so hard to paint me in a narrow box of your own making instead of just being honest and sincere with me in a discussion about the actual issues?

      Do you seriously think that you’re the only person here that’s had to work hard to ‘shed’ the grooming that comes from society? In my entire life though, I have never been accused of not having my own mind and your accusation here that I don’t have my own mind is deeply offensive. It’s pretty much the most offensive thing you’ve thrown at me to date. How in the world would you feel had I told you that I believe your idealogy reflects the exact grooming you proudly said you shed? Yet you believe that you’re justified in telling me that my thoughts are only my thoughts because I’m basically brainwashed by society? And you don’t think that’s high-handed or condescending? That your thoughts are your thoughts because you are your own person but my thoughts are simply a reflection of my brain washing? I’m my own person. I’m intelligent, thoughtful, capable and I form my thoughts based not on what is popular at any given place but on my own personal code of ethics and morals.

      “However, my responses to you are honest and I respect you in my assumption that you will actually answer my questions and that you will consider my and others’ counter-arguments and respond appropriately.”

      That’s the thing Will, you want your questions answered but you don’t want to answer mine. You want respect but you don’t actually respect me because you have given me the exact opposite of respect. Had I told you that your thoughts where because of social grooming, I believe you would have been mad beyond belief. But you felt justified in writing off my thoughts as just that. You attempted to put me in a narrow box defined of your own making and then you threw the word ‘respect’ around thinking that would cover the kind of things you were truly saying.

      Respect is about answering each other’s questions, it isn’t just about you getting your questions answered. Respect is about not blowing off someone’s thoughts as a product of the grooming you proudly state you don’t hate while trying to tell yourself that they are not owners of their own thoughts. respect is not just having your arguments considered by having the ability to consider the counter-arguments you are faced with. That’s the thing, it’s not a one way street.

      “Finally, do you really think that telling women to play nice is progressive? That swallowing the shit rained down upon us from above with a loving smile on our faces is going to change anything?”

      Where in the world did I ever say to blindly and happily accept the ‘shit rained down upon us’???? Again, this is a assumption of your own making. What I did say is that women’s hate for men is not going to accomplish anything more then men’s hate for women accomplished. What I did say is that women’s hate for men is not a powerless thing that doesn’t exist. What I did say is that to get respect, you need to give respect. That doesn’t mean you got eat shit. That means you remain true to who you are, that you are strong, sincere, and fight for what’s right but it does not mean that you justify or excuse your hate while fighting against hate at the same time. *THATs* what I said. Not the nonsense you attempted to push on me.

      I’m going to read the link you attached but I have to run out at the moment so I hope to get to it later this afternoon.

      Women, more than any other pressed group have tried that option and it does not work.

    • Cassandra

      She is so invested in denying structural/social/institutional hierarchies and power differences.

      I have an idea; let’s go back in a time machine and tell those folks who made the French Revolution happen that they should stop hating and be nicer. Same with the Bolsheviks. It doesn’t matter that people were starving. NO HATE!!

      • will

        “let’s go back in a time machine and tell those folks who made the French Revolution happen that they should stop hating and be nicer. Same with the Bolsheviks. It doesn’t matter that people were starving. NO HATE!!”


  • calabasa

    Justme, I don’t think anyone is supporting hating men or saying hate is good or hate for a whole group is justified. I haven’t seen anyone say anything like that in response to you. I think people just feel that hate is *understandable.* Certainly, it would hurt my feelings if someone hated me because I am white, but I would completely understand it. I still have a mostly theoretical concept of what life is like as a person of color (and I understand that it’s different for different individuals); but I got a taste of it from the passenger’s seat, so to speak, when I dated a Hispanic guy when I was younger (he was constantly tailed by police even when he was not doing anything wrong; they were clearly running his plates, looking for warrants or any reason to pull him over). This was worse if we had a black friend of ours in the car as well, particularly as we lived in a white suburb. He was pulled over several times (sometimes he would be doing a couple of miles over the speed limit) and cops would talk to him in a racist way, even if jokingly (“Can I pop the trunk? Don’t have any illegals in there, do you? Just kidding, ha ha ha”) and I was once asked if I was okay (like they thought he was kidnapping me). I also got to experience racism in Japan (as a foreigner)–both some directed toward me but mostly directed toward Chinese/Vietnamese/Korean people, by the Japanese. I experienced racism in Mexico, both in how the “mixed” (mestizo) and indigenous peoples reacted to me based on my race and how the white people acted toward me based on my race; I was often considered a tourist, sometimes fetishized by men (as men in all countries fetishize foreign women/women of other races), and sometimes treated with resentment for seemingly no reason, which stung, but then, I was a symbol, for some, of the oppressor class, and they were naturally suspicious of me (“What is she doing here?”) and angry at the idea of my financial and racial privilege, which is totally understandable. (That said, most of the people in both Japan and Mexico were absolutely great, and I am sure that, on the other side of it, I was treated with some deference at times because of my status as white). White people in Mexico would kind of talk to me in a “wink wink nudge nudge” kind of way, like “we” knew we were better, more cultured, than everyone else. This was more subtle–more class-based, more San Francisco-snooty than outright racist–than the poor white people I sometimes encountered while living in the south (in Virginia) who would assume that, as a fellow white person, I agreed with them on the subject of race and openly talk about their hatred of “n-word” people around me. Still, my experience of what it must be like to be a person of color–from any background–is only as an observer; nevertheless, if it is anything like what I have experienced under patriarchy as a thinking woman (and what with the violence and racial profiling and casual racism and unconscious bias that goes on all the time I think it probably is) I completely and absolutely understand why someone might automatically feel hatred and suspicion of me because I am white . That is not the same thing as saying I think it’s a good thing, or justified, at all; and I agree with you that hatred tears up the hater most of all, and that being able to understand how your oppressor arrived at this place of oppressing others and feel empathy for their lack of control over their own socialization as children is important. But if someone hasn’t arrived at that place of forgiveness or understanding, their nonviolent hatred is not going to affect me, in the long term; even if they are in some position above me, it’s one I can leave and be assured that there are plenty more places I can go where I will have white teachers and white supervisors who will not hate me for being white. Their hatred does not have the power to affect me the way that white hatred of POC–which is called “systemic racism”–has the power to affect them.

  • Cassandra

    There is no such thing as misandry.

    Take it easy.

  • Cassandra

    I meant “take it easy” like “take care,” or like “peace.” I was trying to close the conversation because it was going nowhere. I know you think you’re trying to be civil, but people often couch really harmful ideas in the cloak of logic, civility, niceness, etc. Religion is a great example. And tone policing people is not civil. It’s a classic oppressive tactic.

    That you believe there is such a thing as as misandry is harmful. It is offensive. It perpetuates the completely inaccurate idea that there is some kind of systemic oppression of men. MISOGYNY exists because we live in a male supremacy, aka, patriarchy. “Misogyny” and “racism” exist because of power imbalances. Misandry is not a thing because men, as a class, hold the power.

    • Wren
      • Cassandra

        “Tone policing” is an easy term to mis-use, but sometimes the shoe really fits.

    • marv

      Your mindful comments stirred my thoughts of how Jesus and the gospels have had a hugely detrimental impact on women’s status over the centuries. The command to “love your enemies” for example and “turn the other cheek when struck” have heavily influenced women’s responses in the face of male violence. Gender roles are also prevalent in his teachings and actions. Even in secularized cultures these values linger on in women’s lives, clearly much less so in men’s.

      I have a lot of contempt for men and had quite a bit for myself as one. It really helped me change my life for the better and become more socially active against male power. Enmity can be a positive thing. 🙂

  • Wren

    Many of us have pointed out to you how you have been disrespectful to other writers (see Will’s comments in particular), but you refuse to hear it. It’s infuriating and that’s why people get mad at you. I have less patience than others, so I’m more blunt.

  • Wren

    I’m bored.

  • Cassandra

    There’s no such thing as misandry. Your ideas are naive and harmful to female people.

    I’m done. Take care.

  • Jason J. Desrosiers

    We recognize the masculine traits in most other mammals and neuter them to stop their overly aggressive sexual behavior and violence. Yet with humans we refuse to see it and treat testicles as sacrosanct. We need to start neutering men who can’t control themselves and hurt society, removing those who’s testosterone is out of control from the gene pool and leaving the more well adjusted men to be the fathers of the next generation.

    • Wren


    • will

      I grew up on a farm and this thought has crossed my mind too.

  • Cassandra

    There’s no such thing as misandry.

  • Cassandra

    No, there isn’t, but you can have the last word, because I bet you a million dollars you’ll write back to have it. Enjoy!!

  • Morag999

    Cassandra’s ideas are neither naïve nor harmful, but firmly rooted in material reality — the way things actually are.

    If you’re really, sincerely concerned about men being or becoming victims of hatred, please take it up with the people who beat, torture and behead men, who molest, rape and murder men, and who starve, poison and drop bombs on children, women and MEN. You know who I’m talking about, right? Yes: other men.

    This is the big picture. When men hate — or even when they just don’t care — they are extremely dangerous creatures, and they seem quite driven to hurt and kill one another in addition to the harm they do to women and children.

    So, it’d be really nice if you stopped pretending that women are a real threat to men just because we sometimes laugh at them, criticize them, and express our contempt and hatred for men as individuals and/or as a class. Or even because, once in a blue moon, a woman has lost her mind and picked up a kitchen knife or gun to get back at the bastard.

    Or, go ahead and keep arguing that “misandry” is a real and serious force in the world that must be kept in check and stopped. If it makes you feel good. Just don’t expect feminists to take you seriously.

  • Morag999

    Yeah, I’ve heard you say “misandry exists” dozens of times. What I’m saying is that you don’t get it, that there is no equal situation to sexism and misogyny, or a parallel to misogyny that’s just on a smaller scale against men.

    There’s been no “projection” from me; I am saying that you’re wrong.

    • Just Me

      Actually, there is projection from you because I never once said that I believed misogyny was equal to misandry. I never made that statement ever. So telling me I don’t get something that I have made clear statements to the contrary on is a projection. Look, I get you don’t like me. I won’t change my values just so you do. And I would never expect you to either. We need to respect each other as the individuals we are. Especially because I suspect that we are more on the same side then not. I simply don’t agree with this one ideology. And it doesn’t make me ‘wrong’ and you ‘right’. On the flip side of that, it doesn’t make me ‘right’ and you ‘wrong’. People are different and often seen life differently.

      I’ll just say that you’ve heard me say ‘misandry exists” a dozen times yet you didn’t year the dozen of times I said that misogyny was a bigger social issue, institutionalized and clearly the bigger problem? It seems like your picking and choosing what you want to hear to attack and misrepresent my comments.

      I hope this makes it exceedingly clear for you:

      1. I am in full agreement that misogyny is socially institutionalized on a world-wide scale to a disgustingly disproportionate level over misandry.

      2. I in no way, shape or form believe that misandry is anywhere equal in terms of being socially institutionalized through the degradation of an entire group of people.

      3. That however doesn’t mean that misandry doesn’t magically exist or that it can’t be dangerous in it’s own right or that someone’s misandry is more justified. Supporting actual hate for one group of people while trying to fight against it when the hate is directed toward us is never how this massive issue will be resolved.

      4. Being honest about the fact that misandry exists does not threaten the realities of misogyny or the massive problem that it is.

      We want fair, equal, better treatment. We need to be willing to give fair, equal better treatment and stand by what we represent.

  • MJ

    Yep, we are vilified for not kowtowing to men, especially in relationships. Right on, Lavendar.

  • MJ

    This isn’t about hating men. It is about calling them out on their entitlement and privilege. We all have men we love. That has been the point of feminism. We don’t want a world where our men are treated as beings who can’t help their actions due to misogyny or their sexism. We want our men to have accountability for dismissing, subjugating and being aggressive towards women and treating them as objects even as they sometimes don’t realize they are doing it,due to internalized sexism.

  • Boi10123

    this is extremely late but just curious: were you in the middle seat?

  • marv

    “There already exists a number of males that, for varying reasons, were not socialized to dominate but are themselves on the passive and submissive side.

    Not only do they have a harder time surviving the competative world of males, they also do not get treated any better by feminists at all, arguably even worse.”

    Individual non-dominant men are still benefactors of men’s social structures. Your mother was unpaid for her reproductive work to you. She was assigned her subservient gender role at birth by patriarchy because of her sex. You weren’t.

    Pornography, sexual harassment, prostitution, battering, rape, marriage, the state and capitalism are all male founded institutions that keep women as a class underneath men, allowing even meek men to gain at the expense of women in ways men refuse to perceive. You can’t escape your upper sex class status just because you imagine you did.

    Expecting feminists to treat you kindly is just more arrogant taking of women’s free emotional labor and time. And to claim you as a man have it harder than women in a man’s world is an abomination. Your current method of attribution “is not making the world any better.” To point and blame feminists fortifies male supremacy. It’s an UpSideDown strategy.