Feminism is not man-hating!
Abby OReilly // 14 January 2008
Feminism gets a bad press. As I, and most feminists I have met, understand it’s an ideology that promotes the achievement of gender equality. It is not about ‘man-hating,’ nor is is about elevating women as the superior sex. However, it continues to be misrepresented and misunderstoon, as this article on The Guardian website today demonstrates.
Sarfraz Manzoor has written an article, which not only grossly misrepresents what I wrote in a piece published last Friday, but also implies that feminism is essentially damaging and victimises men! He doesn’t appear to understand what is meant by ‘radical feminism,’ an in essence I think his views demonstrate exactly why a woman who is pursuing equal rights is considered sexist. Aside from making some sweeping generalisations about feminism and pornography, he remarks:
Trying to satisfy the often-conflicting demands of what women want from men is the almost impossible challenge facing men today. If you are too diffident and polite you are dismissed as wet and insipid or, worse, have to settle for friendship. If you are too direct and straightforward it may be interpreted as unwelcome attention and prompt an article on Cif. And yet despite these difficulties all the men I know are in relationships, whereas I know countless women in their 30s who are unhappily single. This only goes to demonstrate the truth of the observation that the woman who thinks no man is good enough for her may well be right, but she may also be left. Nor is it the case, in my experience, that men prefer stupidity over intelligence in a potential partner. It’s not because they are trying to be admirable, but simply because thick people are boring. I do not believe that I am a rarity in preferring a confident and intelligent woman over a simpering blank-eyed nonentity who thinks that Bhutto was Popeye’s nemesis. There is nothing sexier than dating a woman who you consider to be your equal – someone whom you not only find attractive but also respect and admire.
He also says:
The truth is that men do not have the monopoly on questionable behaviour: it is easy to despair at the men who buy magazines such as Nuts and Zoo, but what about the thousands of young women who send topless photographs to those very publications, in the hope of being discovered? Or the women who happily attend dubious parties, hoping to become a wag? “The past is a foreign country”, observed LP Hartley, “they do things differently there.” If the past is a foreign country one can only conclude that anyone who believes that women are always the victims and men are inevitably the callous culprits is living on another planet entirely.
What he failed to realise was that no-one was saying that women are victims, and that all men are guilty of behaving inappropriately.I didn’t say that. Not only did he over-dramatise the situation (something which feminists are apparently guily of doing all the time), but he has failed to generate anything closely resembling a discussion. Why is it that feminism it continually seen as synonymous with man-hating? And why is it that so many men are reluctant to accept that some members of their sex do indulge in behaviour that intimidates women? Not all men do, but some definetely. If you have an opportunity, have a look at the main article. Not only did I think it was offensive, but it seemed to devalue the problem of street harassment.