Is Being A Man Hater Really The Way Forward?

Feminists have long been assumed to be men-hating, bra-burning vigilantes and have sought to distance themselves from that image for an equally long time. Pauline Harmange, however, thinks that not only is it acceptable to hate men, but it is also a “legitimate defense mechanism against widespread misogyny.” But really, must we be man haters?

Does Hating Men Make It Easier To Love Ourselves?

In her controversial book, I Hate Men, Harmange writes, “Hating men and all they represent is absolutely our right.” She advocates misandry as a way to liberate ourselves, saying that “hating men open the doors to the love of women (and of ourselves), in all the forms that might take.”

When put like that, it’s easier to see where Harmange is coming from. The hatred of men has, for a long time, been an accusation leveled against feminists and used “a mechanism for silencing women.”

Whatever her intent, Harmange’s musings have caused widespread controversy following Ralph Zurmély’s damning rebuke. An advisor to the French government on gender equality, Zurmély described Harmange’s book as a “sex-based incitement to hatred” and called for the publishers, Monstrograph, to withdraw the publication.

Is Misandry a Useful Response To Sexism?

Certainly, Harmange has managed to bring attention to “misandry, the dislike or mistrust of men, as a social phenomenon,” and now the cat is out of the bag; it shows little sign of going back in.

There are some flaws in Harmange’s argument. For one, her confused narrative accuses men of being “violent, selfish, lazy and cowardly” but then proceeds to encourage us to behave more like them. Ask yourself, “what would the mediocre white dude do?” she urges her readers.

On the other hand, Harmange highlights some awkward truths, pointing out that while “not all men are rapists… almost all rapists are men – and almost all women have or will suffer some violence at the hands of men”. That, she says, is “the root of our loathing and distrust.”

So, is Harmange spearheading a new yet “useful response to sexism?” or is her “solipsistic cri de coeur” causing feminism more harm than good?

Can Rage Put Us On The Path to Joy?

Although the publication of I Hate Men proves that “freedom of speech does still exist” in some parts of the world, it fails to give us a clear dialogue on how to utilize that to express our anger and stand up against our oppressors. It doesn’t express true feminism.

Does misandry offer us “a way out of oppression, a means of resistance?” Can it provide us with “a path to joy, solidarity, and sisterhood?” I doubt it. Being a man hater doesn’t really solve anything.

I’ve been angry a lot in my life, and it’s never produced positive results. While I agree that women are entitled to rage: “legitimate rage, against a group of people that has systematically abused them,” I also believe that “true justice does not favor a gender, but a mutual respect and regard for a fellow human.”

We don’t have to be a man hater to love ourselves and each other better. We are not born hating others because of their gender – we must “learn to hate” and, as Nelson Mandela once said, if people “can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”