Why Is Hating Men Okay?
We love to hate hate, but misandry still sells. (Updated as it’s an evergreen topic.)
Sadly this is an evergreen topic. Earlier this week, Gillette went a long way to destroying its brand (which everyone has probably heard about so that link is to an uplifting response). Now PETA has an ad gilletteing vegetables. The following was from last summer, and as you will see, it isn’t new.
A university professor penned an op-ed, which the Washington Post ran, asking why can’t women hate men? I am not inclined to link to it but you can find it easily enough. “Why Can’t We Hate Men?” is the title.
Since hate speech is a cardinal sin in media and higher education, she — and hopefully the Washington Post — drew many complaints. So Alexander C. Kafka of the Chroicle of Higher Education interviewed her for a response. It is paywalled so two highlights below with my comments:
The Chronicle covers hate speech on a weekly if not a daily basis, and your op-ed’s main argument is, Hey, we have a right to hate you. You’ve just explained the context, but might someone still argue that your op-ed is itself, by definition, hate speech?
I’m making an argument with material and data. It is not hate speech. I am not calling, obviously, for people to be hurt, to be demeaned, to be killed. Women, in general, do not do that.
So if you include data, it can’t be hate speech? And if there is no call to action, then it isn’t hate speech? Good to know. Also, someone should tell her that she’s wrong about women not calling for hurting, demeaning, or killing, they just pretend it is funny and that “most” men (that is, the author’s male followers on Twitter) really like it. See, for an iconic example, the banner shot from the Blues Brothers scene in which a jilted ex-girlfriend, played by Carrie Fisher, tries to shoot up Jake and his brother — after blowing up a mid-rise in the city, wild use of a flame thrower, and a few other funny mishaps failed. The KnowYourMeme archive has many links. Or watch this shoe commercial from 2015, which I pulled from Bianco Footwear’s YouTube account as they never pulled it, and in fact made a follow up ad the next year possibly to catch all the Bianco and hate Google searches:
The WaPo oped’s writer’s real argument is here:
Do you believe it’s possible to be sexist against men?
No, I really don’t. Sexism is about the institutionalized and interpersonal treatment of women and people perceived to be women. Again, look at the world. Where is discrimination? Where are men being excluded? Where are men being abused? Oh, come on.
She simply defines away the possiblity of her oped being sexist. In addition to defining “sexism” for her own persuasive purposes, she adds some willful blindness. Where are men being excluded? Well, take for example the exceptions to Title IX carved out for the Seven Sisters, the all-women colleges of the East Coast. They are allowed to discriminate based on sex in admissions. The men they admit are the ones who identify as women, although things have gotten muddy as they differ on admitting women who identify as men, which calls into question their special exempt status and potentially ends women’s only higher education.
Where are men being abused? Clearly she knows little of abuse stats for domestic violence against men or perceptions (see videos below). Men are abused often, sometimes by women, and sometimes they get the blame for domestic violence initiated by women. For instance, the woman comes after the man with a knife or a baseball bat, he defends himself and in the process, she gets injured. When the police show up, whose story are they more likely to believe?
She didn’t even claim what I figured was the case, that editors put a provocative title on the piece for click-bait that overstated her argument. She defended her position straight up. If your ultimate point is “it makes obvious sense for women to have rage, legitimate rage, against a group of people that has systematically abused them,” then title the piece accordingly. Perhaps, “Why Women’s Rage Makes Sense”. I know many, myself included, who would have still disagreed with her argument, but I also admit it wouldn’t have made quite the rounds. Hence the Hate. Hate sells.
Update: Here is Kafka’s non-paywalled link to the followup interview.