A contribution to Women’s History Month…
Okay, let’s get this off the table. Let’s get past and over HATE.
Let’s get clear. It is absolutely true that some feminists hate men, but there’s way more to know about feminist history or non-feminist women’s history than that. There’s over reactions from various angles.
There is probably no one that hasn’t gotten the message that feminists hate men.
And it is a tradition to be accused of being something – a feminist, a lesbian or a man hater – if you think about women too much, openly love them or say anything negative about men – in particular ways.
If you just talk favorably, think, care, or give information about women, someone will be suspicious of whether you hate men. Particularly if men feel uncomfortable. Accusations are frequent. I expect they exist everywhere. People on the sidelines back away from being accused and avoid associations. Men and women avoid the term feminist. But why so many complications with the word? History can explain. The word itself has been used as an attempt to control women’s behavior but it’s also been used as a term for the goals of women and identification.
This common attitude about the label developed decades ago, that’s why it’s common. But is that history now, or amplified and compounded… or has it changed completely and how?
Have you changed and how?
It was a message that went viral before there was internet.
If you want to know about women’s history, you are betraying Men. If you
want to listen to women’s history, are you supporting a feminist? Don’t normal women JUST care for men, children and babies, support a family, let men tell their histories and that’s it. They don’t need any support than what they got. They don’t need to know about their history. It’s unimportant. That’s the old message.
But now there’s new messages built on top of that one, so it’s more complicated.
How’s women knowing about women and supporting women as a group helpful to men, children and babies? What really happens in society if women have the same social apparatus in how history functions for children and women as history has functioned for men over centuries? That is, when their stories become as important!?
Many feminists say that supporting themselves and each other, and providing our stories to each other benefits all of society. It’s not just about women. Helping a woman means you are helping the children and man that woman helps. Gerda Lerner even states that our views are distorted by counting the ½ of the population as the whole.
In the history of the use of the word, feminist – in the media, the message that feminists hate men went into mass production and spread like wildfire as attitude through society in a time when small own, small groups of real people identified as feminists had little voice or resources to do the same about their own message, provide informative knowledge or defend themselves against false accusations. The word feminism is just a tad over 100 years old. The actual conflicts and issues predate the word. Since the word is used, the opponent’s message spread their bias for generations of children to inherit.
But here’s something that is seldom recognized.
Ironically, the real work of historical feminism was, embraced, by society altogether regardless. It was separated out, as women’s work usually is, from the label and embraced as a positive social change that society wanted and adapted to all the while real people identified as feminists were often shunned socially in many communities and not given credit for the work.
If you are living today, you are living the beliefs of someone at one point that was a radical feminist. If a woman votes, attends school or college, works for pay, writes, keeps their own paycheck, owns property, or speaks when she wants to then you are following what once was the agenda of a radical feminist.
Women’s work is often not awarded, unpaid or low paid or credited to men. If you imagine bad mouthing a group that has no social power, then actually exploiting their good work and taking advantage of them, it’s less difficult to understand.
But, Yes, complicated.
What’s most important to recognize is that the word feminist is often (certainly not in some groups ) used like the word witch, bitch, slut or lesbian. It is used more than just a descriptive word. It is used to for other purposes, to discredit, degrade, devalue or control. It also might be compared, in some usage, to words like nigger was to blacks, pig to jew, towelheads to Arabs, gooks to vietnamese. It’s usage is not designed to honor or flatter. This should help us recognize one of the ways women are treated as a group. Disrespectfully. This unconscious treatment helps to facilitate myths about women.
Today, society’s uneven and very mixed, educationally in these issues. Often misinformed or half informed. Messages are more diverse and very mixed, so it is wise to take heed and let go of stereotypes, especially old ones. I found the best approach is to always be open to learn.
Let’s get clear. It is absolutely true that some feminists hate men.
But so do some women that do not identify themselves as feminists.
Some men hate men. And some men hate women. Some women hate women.
There’s people. There’s public messages. And there’s emotions and complicated lived experiences and lives. All this can be all mixed in public messages through media and institutions as well as boils down to your own version and to everyone’s individual experiences.
We have to deal with this at every level. Doing it consciously should help end conflicts and bring a more harmonious world. At least, that’s the goal I have in mind.
Most people do not knowingly and, at least, outwardly hate people.
The accusation of hate is also another old usage of the word bordering stereotypes too, when spoken about groups, that must be worked through. Hate has a public meaning tied to groups, versus individual’s emotions. But our judgments about the history and behaviors make conflicts a real mess to even describe accurately.
Some people hold in hate and anger. Some people express it.
There’s a difference between anger and hate. They are not the same things. But behaviors can
look the same.
In my own personal experience, there were MORE underlying, passive-aggressive, bad attitudes about men in women that weren’t self identified feminists. And there was mythical beliefs as well as ignorance about the opposite sex. Many women were angry at men, feminist or not.
Men have their own slew of emotions about gender, too. I’ll leave it up to them to describe themselves.
But facing some of our inheritances on these issues can make anyone angry.
We are all humans caught up in social messages in relationships that were not working or not optimally functioning for the benefit of all or for the things we wanted in our lives. But what can’t be denied is that people were trying to work it all out. No matter what stance, many people were attempting to achieve some goal. What brings clarity is to understand the intended goals. To be continued.