The Misandrists (2017)

The feminist radicals of ‘The Misandrists’ pose in the afterglow of a revolutionary pillow fight. They’ve done good work tonight. The patriarchy shall crumble. 

A misandrist is a person who hates men or a person perceived to hate men; usually it is a man doing the perceiving, and the perceived man-hater is a woman. She may or may not but probably does not hate men though she almost definitely hates having to tell people that she does not hate men; she may have ceased to argue when people accuse her of hating men, a refusal indicating to her accusers that she does, after all, hate men. She probably does not hate men but she does hate male power, or the machinations of male-dominated society, and also hates what men do to women within such a society, what male power is succored by men doing to women, like raping beating selling murdering enslaving them. The misandrist is open about hating patriarchy and its consequences for women, as she is open about her certainty that social transformation is the solution. She is a feminist. But because the mind stymied by masculinist dualistic thought is bound to binary oppositions and cannot wrench itself beyond reductive EITHER/OR, because the feminist recognizes and reviles the harm done to women by men in a man-made culture, because she would make a better situation for women, the feminist – the misandrist – must therefore desire a worse situation for men; women rise up, men sink down; she must dream of women dragging men around on leashes, women punishing men, a cadre of Amazons giggling while waves of sludge drive the mewling weeping bodies of men into Boschian Hell-mouths.

She is angry, so she is mad.

Surely something horrible happened in the madwoman’s life for her to hate men viciously enough that she would challenge the rightness of male supremacy and her own inferior status, her subordinated selfhood, the tightness of the cage built around her life and the constant threat that tonight, tomorrow, this morning, in an hour: she could be raped. Or her sister could call her, tell her she was raped. Or her friend.

Every woman I love: a man has harmed her. You want me to tell you I do not hate men?

( i do not hate men i hate most men i hate hatred more i do not hate i hate i will not let myself hate you )

But if I hate men because men have hurt me, then I am discredited by my hatred, an enmity even the men acknowledge to be rightful, since they expect it: that one of them hurt me, so now I hate.

The misandrist’s hatred is irrational; it is not the outcome of careful thinking, study, observation, analysis, but has its basis in the blind rage that floods her female brain by constitution, and by the messy influence of hormones, erratic. Unstable. Once she was fucked over and now she is fucked up forever, wrathful in her post-fucked fever of man-hating. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Something else about the misandrist is that she is a lesbian. Lesbianism is one more way that she is sick. She hates men because she has a deviant aversion to the penis as an organ.

In high school I refused to speak to a boy who followed me around while I was working asking me pointless questions I suppose he thought were flirtatious which I cannot remember and did not answer because they were below both memory and response. I would turn my face to the pavement, walk by in silence without looking at him when he would shout my name. Later one of his friends spat on me and called me a lesbian. “She doesn’t like boys,” the boy who followed me said to another boy when I was forced to stand within earshot of them because we worked in the same building, “she’d rather eat pussy.” Several middle-aged women who were notary clerks with spiked red arches penciled over their sockets affecting eyebrows turned to squint at me, the pussy-eater. I hated men.

Yes, I do love women.

My mother does not know the word “misandrist” but that has not stopped her from believing I am one. My mother told me she did not understand me. I asked her what there was to understand.

Mother: This thing, your obsession, how you hate men. Were you raped?

My mother was not spontaneously disclosing previously unspoken concern over whether or not a man raped me, I knew. I did not answer her. Begrudgingly I began a mumbled delivery of my prepared speech on the subject of How I Do Not Hate Men, I Hate Male Supremacy as the Organizing Principle of Human Society, I Hate the Injuries Men Inflict Upon Women, I Hate Men’s Acceptance and Revelry in the Power They Are Granted Over Women, I Hate Male Supremacy Because I Place It at the Root of All Oppressive Systems, And I Am Opposed to All Oppressive Systems, I Am Committed to Their Unmaking, but my mother interrupted me: “I like men,” smirking, self-satisfied, as if her intact affinity for males were a prize I should envy. I congratulated her. I will not spend a single minute more of my life trying to convince anyone I do not hate men. At least I will not reek of pandering.

The misandrist is the feminist, pathologized and trivialized. “Misandrist” is the label invoked to slander her, implying she is damaged, unreasonable. The bitch is broken. She cannot be taken seriously; she is not a sensible woman—she’s a violent freak! she doesn’t like men! Continue reading “The Misandrists (2017)”

Makeup Cannot Unmake the Man, or: Sorry, Yr Shallow Playtime Politics Don’t Stop Men from Raping Women

Ben Hopkins, accused rapist, dazzles in blue princess sleeves and matching eyeshadow. Shocker! Neither overrode his patriarchally conditioned tendency toward sexual violence.

“The PWR BTTM Debacle Demonstrates Why Queer Politics Don’t Protect Women.” 

A very silly notion, very popular at the moment, is that a man in a dress is a friend to women. For this helpful contribution to mass brain-death, we can thank the mainstreaming of queer politics, which have entered popular culture with predictable ease, since substanceless and entirely in sympathy with the masculinist-capitalist love affair with hyper-individualism. The queer theory posit is that gender has little to do with the male-dominant social hierarchy of patriarchy, or the colonization of each individual’s consciousness in service of that hierarchy’s maintenance; it’s all a matter of how you accessorize, so if you’re quite unique and against the grain you can costume your way out of oppression, whether you were originally in the role of the oppressor or the oppressed. You, personally, can do this. The overarching oppressive structure shaping the material reality that has been and is inescapably the context for your existence, in which you were raised and from which you inherited your understanding of the world, may remain intact, but you cannot possibly be expected to concern yourself with something so depressing as reality. It’s not fun, not sexy, and the associated shopping opportunities are minimal. Here’s the new mantra: Don’t try to change society, just change your outfit.

A man, in order to demonstrate he is not one of these masculine brutes we’ve heard about but instead someone sensitive to women, need only apply a coating of mascara and espouse an affection for sequins. He smears some lipstick on his mouth so we can be assured he has renounced the “toxic” content of his manhood, e.g., a sense of entitlement to women’s bodies, an infatuation with sexual force and a willful disregard for the feelings of others. He has embraced “the feminine”: he is on women’s side! The logic proceeds: he must be “an ally,” he has great taste in crop-tops, he would never hurt a woman, have you seen his collection of platform heels?

Although it conveniently relieves one of the burden of social responsibility to imagine we might all overcome or at least opt out of the dominant paradigm by means of personal ornamentation, gender is not primarily a matter of surface signifiers and individual performance – hence an arena for carnivalesque free play – but instead must be understood as an instrument of patriarchal subjugation, an ideology that encodes into human subjects varying behaviors and conventions of being//thinking according to their sex and the role their sex allots them within the social order, to ensure that each individual will be involved in the reproduction of the sex caste system, Men over Women.

PWR BTTM singer Ben Hopkins is a man whose queer image and all-important identity entails makeup and glitter stars and cute dresses, the superficial signs of “the feminine” (which is itself a patriarchal artifact having nothing to do with women as beings and everything to do with women as men’s inferiors within patriarchy). Ben Hopkins is also a man who insulted, sexually harassed, and raped women. The “feminine” glitter stars Hopkins wore did not preclude the male abusiveness Hopkins practiced, an apparent truth that queer politics cannot sufficiently address, in the same way that a superficial remedy cannot treat a deep wound. Paste the sparkliest  band-aid on my slashed wrist and I’m still hemorrhaging. A more radical solution is required: we actually have to think (unfun as it may be) – rigorously and without self-indulgence – about what gender is, how it works, rather than merely what gender looks like. As the author of the article linked above, Jen Izaakson, writes, “Because gender is what naturalizes…male dominance and entitlement, gender non-conformity actually means pushing back against gendered power relations in concrete ways.” It does not mean making a fashion statement. Put simply, a man in a dress is no friend of women until he proves he’s not the same asshole he was when he was wearing ripped jeans and buffalo check.