It seems as if I am writing more and more of these responses than usual. Perhaps it is because there is a general increase of idiocy floating across my awareness than usual. Yay internet. Anyway, this most recent example is this oh-so-valiant article written by journalist David Hon, chronicling his reasons for not wanting to date a Feminist.
Mmkay. Let’s go with that.
Even though there is just so, so much to unpack with this one, I am going to address one element which seems to continue to raise its ugly head, the one continuing misunderstanding about Feminism, which is mentioned in the very first sentence of the article.
“If you look for a reason to hate men, chances are you’re going to find it.”
Let’s ignore for a moment the fact that one can literally replace the word ‘man’ in this sentence with any noun and it would still work. Go ahead. Try it.
“If you look for a reason to hate hats, children, television, squids, bananas, motorcycles, Facebook, religion, eggs, Ghostbusters, round earth theory….. chances are you’re going to find it.”
See? It works with anything. He did not stumble across some great secret tenant of feminism. Sorry.
But the truth is, and it is really, really sad that this even has to be explained, feminists don’t ‘hate men’. That is a diversionary tactic and quite an old one at that. There is so much information out there about what feminism stands for that not getting it reeks of ignorance.
In all actuality, we love men.
You know why? Because the men that we surround ourselves with are awesome! These are the men who get it, who hear what we have to say, who recognize the inequalities surrounding us (all of us) on a daily basis. These men will change a diaper with the same skill and mental prowess as they would use to change a tire. These men know that taking care of their own children is called ‘parenting’, not ‘babysitting for mom’.
These men will hold a door open, but not because of patriarchal expectations of chivarly, but because they happened to be in front. They will not only watch the movie, but maybe even shed a tear when the dog dies. They will read the thing and talk about it after. They will acknowledge the culture of objectification surrounding women and little girls, the patriarchal gender norms which damages all children, girls and boys. They notice how difficult it is to find a Black Widow action figure to go with their son’s collection of Avengers toys. They realize how difficult it is that their partner can’t walk to the library without getting harrassed.
It is because of the existence of these men that we know bad behavior is not somehow inherient to male-dom. It is because of these men, that we know it is possible to function in the complex state of existing-while-human, to encompase traits of empathy without compromising one’s masculinity. (or compromising it, if that’s your thing).
When we draw attention to the inequalities surrounding us, we are not saying ‘We hate men’. We are saying, do better, and we are holding you accountable because we know it can be done. We know you can do better, because we are surrounded by those who do. Not only is it possible, but it’s also not all that difficult. I mean, look around.
Daniel Radcliffe gets it.
John Legend gets it.
George R.R. Martin gets it.
Joss Whedon gets it.
Even Sir Patrick Stewart gets it.
And perhaps most importantly (to me anyway), this guy right here gets it.
In conclusion, it has been my experience that we as a culture are more prone to demonizing those who point out inequality, than we are to take a moment of self-reflection, examining in what ways we might be contributing to the problem. Furthermore, if you have a vocal outloud feminist in your life, congratulations. You made the cut. If not… well. I’m sure that’s purely by choice, right?