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!
The Misandrists is the title of a 2017 film by the gay male filmmaker Bruce LaBruce about a girls’ school that is in fact the front for a lesbian separatist terrorist faction, called the Female Liberation Army, who are plotting to Smash the Patriarchy by creating lesbian pornography so potently irresistible that men will be too busy jerking off to perform the basic duties of patriarchal upkeep; disabled in post-ejaculation coma, the men will be helpless to defend themselves against the women’s uprising. Women will then take over the world. In LaBruce’s film, the feminist freedom fighters wear short pleated cranberry-plaid skirts and knee socks; they romp giddily through pillow fights shot in soft-focus slow-motion, delighting in the slumber party antics of male fantasy for the sake of women’s liberation. They carry guns sometimes and act dominatrix-tough, too, but mostly they make out, cuddling in front of a mural of the feminist anarchist Emma Goldman’s mugshot. Charlie Fox, a man writing for Artforum, calls the film “a total hoot” – how hysterical, the women’s liberation movement – and asserts that “Anybody could shake their rump to The Misandrists’s sassy disavowal of the ‘normal.’” 1
I am struggling right now to imagine what could be more Normal than for a man to mock feminism by downgrading women to schoolgirls, reducing structural analysis of patriarchy to aberrant abusive anti-male rage (“misandry”), and representing sisterhood in terms of girl-on-girl porn, as if women do not exist outside of standard(ized) male sexual fantasy and there is nothing for us, after all, but to shake our rumps, sassily.
Anything a woman does can become pornography, because to live as a female body in male-dominated society is to exist as sex’s symbol, and sex has been fully subsumed by and is only understood now in terms of pornography. I leave my house to walk outside in any city and I live as pornography, simply walking around, or standing waiting to cross the street. Cars pass, I am pornography. My living body full of blood and guts and my own thoughts vibrating through space means SEX in pink neon and nothing else about this organism I am matters much to anyone but me. The homogenizing hollowing-out of living woman into symbolic sexual object is the quintessential maneuver of male supremacist ideology, which, institutionalized, acted upon, cements women’s material oppression. Fed this ideology on his silver spoon of privileged subjectivity the male cannot conceive of the female outside of the context of his sexuality; she and sex are inextricably linked, so everything she does is sexual, read today as pornographic. There is no way I can move no word I can say no action I can take that he cannot rework to fit some porn scenario. Even when I stand up against him demanding he treat me as other than the object, he translates my revolt into pornography.
I am a woman; he turns me into a girl. I say it is sad and painful to be warped as he warps me, I declare I will fight for my freedom and the freedom of my sisters; he laughs and he casts me aggressively making out with the other “girls,” while he watches from the shadows.
The idea of women desiring freedom becomes lighthearted sexual farce.
Bruce LaBruce’s The Misandrists reminds me my place is dolled-up like a perma-teen writhing in the blue light of some man’s clichéd wet dreams.
Did I happen to mention that there is a beautiful love story within The Misandrists? One of the schoolgirl lesbian terrorists falls for a wounded young male anti-capitalist guerrilla and hides him away in the attic of the Female Liberation Army schoolhouse to nurse him back to fighting condition, hazarding her position in the sisterhood, for if the more militantly misandrist members were to discover she’d let a man trespass upon their testosterone-free sanctuary, they would spurn her as a defector. But her love is true and pure and she would risk everything for it, for her man. She is a woman; she cannot help herself: a girl has gotta have the D. Radical politics be damned! Love (for a man) is closer to Truth. Lest you think this bizarrely heteronormative for a self-consciously queer storyline, there’s a twist: the woman-in-love has a penis; she is revealed to be a trans-woman, thus her self-sacrificing unshakeable adoration for a male is still gay enough for LaBruce.
Gay as it may be, the anti-feminist gist of this narrative is unaltered: women’s empty-headed posturing at agitating for release from oppression or even the attainment of basic human dignity will fall away like so much frivolity when they learn what love is by sucking cock. A man says to me, “What you need is a good fuck to straighten you out, little girl.”
I am going to describe a movie that no one has made. What you should know first is that the filmmaker is white but generally accepted as a person with a progressive vision. The white filmmaker’s movie is about a Black-Panthers-esque Black nationalist group whose stated mission is to bring down the white supremacist state. They all wear their hair big and ‘70s natural, they light candles before giant murals of Malcolm X and James Baldwin; to keep their organizing clandestine, they have disguised their base of operations as a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen franchise. Their revolutionary strategy? Blaxploitation pornography. 75% of the film is sex scenes, the Black rebels’ porno coupling choreographed to voiceover readings from The Souls of Black Folk and Angela Davis’s prison interviews. A romantic subplot involves a Black man falling in love with a white woman, their forbidden tryst catalyzing his realization that politics are meaningless next to the desires of his colorblind heart. Then the movie culminates in an orgy, black melting with white and coalescing wet oozing polymorphous until race ceases to have any significance. The rebels had mistaken their yearning for carnal pleasure for a yen to end racial oppression but now they understand what truly fulfills them, and they have found it. Roll the credits.
The movie, by the way, is called The Black Racists.
It is a movie that will never be made (and definitely, absolutely should not be). If it were, Artforum would not approve of it.
But The Misandrists was made and it was endorsed by Artforum; the male critic raved about the male filmmaker’s porno parody of feminist organizing as “a brainy subversion” and “a rude delight.”
Go on, ask me. I will not tell you I do not hate men.
- Fox, Charlie. “Who Runs the World?” ArtForum.com, 22 May 2017. https://www.artforum.com/film/id=68521. ↵