Why: The Mistrust and Hatred of Men
February 20, 2019
Note: Due to the sensitivity of the topic, subjects are mentioned as Female/Male A, B, and C.
With the rise of the feminist movement, it appears that the narrative has switched from gender equality to misandry.
My friends frequently confess to me their fear of men, claiming that they feel as though they cannot trust them. Since this fear manifests in 50% of the population and affects both halves, this issue is of utmost pertinence. Because of this, I wonder: Have we, as females, grown to mistrust men and ultimately hate them?
In order to tackle the topic at hand, it is relevant to consider the social climate and the sensitivity within it. If society has become more sensitive, then the people are more likely to misconstrue actions, including those from males. In a general sense, Female A opines that “people are becoming aware of the implications of common phrases that we’ve said for decades” and have begun “[to notice] the underlying tones in certain [statements].” Female B succinctly puts, “I think that bigots are shocked that they can’t be bigots without repercussions.”
Among females, the dubbed “sensitivity” is actually them standing up for themselves. “Unification through societal involvement in general, and more specific events such as the #MeToo Movement, have brought the notion of safety in numbers, thus allowing women to feel safer in speaking out,” asserts Female C. From the other perspective, however, Male A “[feels] that society has absolutely become far more sensitive. Jokes suddenly haven’t become jokes, deeply dividing the worlds between comedy and reality. Now, that’s not to say that there shouldn’t be boundaries, because there should; however, I feel that people need to learn how to take a joke.”
It appears that there is confounding between sensitivity and awareness. The line has become a gray area, blurring the boundary for all parties. As a result, we have become increasingly volatile. Every action is greeted with overreaction, which, to a certain extent, I understand. Of course, years of suppression are bound to prompt years of aggression, but we cannot condone onslaught as means of fulfillment—that only leads us to a worse state of affairs met with even more aggression.
Perhaps women can be “too sensitive.” As can men! So, are women justified in feeling fear toward them? Male A affirms, “When you look at the #MeToo Movement, it becomes clear at just how disgusting men can be and justifies that women are allowed to be cautious around men.” The key word, however, is cautious. Petrified and cautious are not the same thing, and all-consuming fear is not the answer, for it damages the psyches of both men and women.
Female C believes that “anyone can justify their fear of anything if you give it some thought. Men are typically stronger than women, so having the fear of being overpowered by a man is completely justified.” Male B agrees: “I think women are partially justified because of the lesser physical stature,” as size may dictate feelings of inferiority. “It’s not that men are all to be feared, rather it is that both men and women are more likely to suffer physical abuse crimes by men than by women,” concludes Female C.
Unmistakably, there are reasons behind the fear, but are these reasons justified? Female A shares her story on why she feels unsafe with men:
I can’t walk around downtown by myself, I can’t go down a street by myself, and I can’t wear certain clothing in certain places because of the men who are there. When I was in middle school, one of my friends was walking to her mom’s car at the movie theatre and she was almost kidnapped. When I was 13, I walked down a busy street in Downtown Lake Worth and three cars with grown men driving them rolled down their windows saying provocative things to me. When I wear leggings or yoga pants, I get constant comments about how I need to be careful on how I carry myself because of the men who are in the room (Never have I heard someone say that the males need to stop looking at a 17 year old. I’ve only been told that I need to prevent a bad situation from happening.). I have a constant fear of being alone with grown men because you can never tell if they’re a good guy or not, and most men who pride themselves on being a good guy will immediately belittle you if you do not do what they want or feel what they want you to feel.
Several women share similar experiences that leave lasting effects on them. Female B expresses, “Since I don’t feel safe around most men, I usually stick to being around women’s spaces. That being said, I don’t want to judge someone because of who they are—I just keep a guard up for my own well being and safety.” For trusting men, whether romantically or platonically, it tends to be a case-by-case basis.
This is what each women has to say about the topic:
Female A: “My previous relationships, whether it be platonic or romantic, have shaped my uneasy feelings with men. Because of my past friendships with men, I rarely share personal stories or tragedies with my male friends, because they’ve used it against me or have shared it with people I didn’t intended to tell.”
Female B: “My relationships with men, both platonically and romantically, show me that while men are trash, the ones that aren’t know they aren’t and don’t get offended by that mantra, because they recognize that men are, in fact, trash.”
Female C: “There were a few specific incidents that affected my romantic relationship towards men. For lack of a better word, I felt vulnerable, and now I’m very cautious when treading those waters.”
Due to the past, each woman perceives males differently, but all share the common attribute of caution. Regardless of gender, we all ought to be cautious with whom we choose to surround ourselves. Is it solicited, however, for this caution to manifest into hatred? Male B holds that “women are unjustified in their hatred, because you shouldn’t just hate someone because of their gender.”
As for myself, my dear friend noted that I have a tendency to “violently hate [my] exes,” all of which are men. While I don’t categorize myself as the hateful type, I do find validity in her hypothesis: I am not friends with my exes, and I barely consider them acquaintances. I do see them as part of my past, so I don’t feel like they ought to manifest in my present. They were in an earlier chapter of my life and then left—which is okay. We spend our lives gathering experiences to a fold into our story, but some of these characters are not permanent. With this, I realized that this rancor isn’t because we broke up, but, rather, because of how it happened or how I feel about the individuals as people. I don’t harbor hostility toward all men, just as I don’t harbor hostility toward all women. There are certainly evil people in this world, but that does not encourage me to attribute humanity as evil.
Female A conveys, “I don’t think you should hate anyone, but you can definitely dislike someone. It takes a lot for me to begin to actually like a male or begin a friendship, because I have to ensure that they have good intentions and know how to respect women.” While one may feel abominations toward another, this cannot evolve into abominations toward an entire gender. Male B notes that “if it was the other way around, people would be outraged.” Truthfully, this is exactly what happened: Women were infuriated by how poorly certain men had been treating them, so they lashed out. And, to this day, we as women still lash out. Mistreatment of women occurs every day, but we must strive to educate men, not belittle them.
Male B states, “I think society has made it okay to hate men, and it’s unhealthy.” We cannot generalize an entire gender. Female C finds “no reason to hate men as a whole. It’s too broad. One can hate a man who is a rapist, or a man who is a murderer, just as one can hate a women who is a rapist or murderess.” If men were the sea, it would be negligent not to notice their bountiful ecosystem and solely focus on their saltwater’s sting. The male kind is as vast as the ocean itself, so we ought to keep an open mind and not dismiss half of our population due to their predetermined pairing of chromosomes.