Man Hater

Monday, September 08, 2014

man hater

I am a feminist. I believe that though women have made huge progress in being equal to men in certain areas, there are some that we still need to catch up on. I've written about it here on my blog. In daily life though, the subject doesn't come up that often. The people I hang out with are either feminist themselves or at the very least not complete assholes who oppose the idea. I mean, why would I want to surround myself with people who think my opinion is less than theirs?

So, I've never had an encounter where I found myself verbally defending women's equality or lack thereof.

Until a few weeks ago.

John and I were at a party with other people who were drinking, laughing, talking. I was talking to a friend of ours when a man in his 40s or 50s comes up to us and joins in on the conversation. I don't quite remember what the conversation was about initially but before long we were talking about dancing. And he believed that a woman could not lead.

"But," we asked, "what if the guy can't dance? Why would we want to follow a bad dancer, instead of showing them how to do it?" 

"The man always leads," the guy said.

And this was just the beginning of the night. Looking back, I think he might be one of those people who end up arguing and belligerent when they drink just for the hell of it, because it seemed as if he kept trying to instigate an argument.

Though we were on opposing sides of the discussion, things were getting expressed in a fairly calm manner.

Until more drinks were had.

Towards the end of the night, he apparently knew enough about me to come to the conclusion that I was a man-hater.

Yup. Me. This girl.

I was completely taken aback by it. I mean, I would never have thought someone would call me that in my entire life. Bitch? Yes. Rude? Totally. But a man-hater? This was new.

What made me most upset was the fact that he kept saying things in reference to my childhood, as if knowing me for a whole two hours was long enough for him to psychoanalyze my life.

Offhanded comments like "you must have had a really bad childhood to be so angry," only helps to support the claim that my opinion isn't as valued. My thoughts and opinions aren't, no, can't be correct because, obviously, I still resent the fact that my dad was an absentee father.

Newsflash old man. My dad is amazing. Not only was he there for me as a child, he's there for me now. But perhaps you're projecting your own mommy/daddy issues onto me. 

See, even writing this posts is hard because I so want to take those low punches that I know I shouldn't take.

But it got me thinking about the fact that culture, can come from a sense of duty and pride and can eventually become something more sinister.  The man was an older, Latino guy - it makes sense that he was taught (along with many other boys) that men have to be providers, have to be strong, have to protect their women.

The idea of providing for family; of strength in faith, body, mind; and a sense of protectiveness in loved ones are great traits to possess.

But they should not be men-only virtues. Nor should they be the only redeeming ones.

This idea that there are men-only traits and women-only traits are part of the problem everyone faces today.

The idea that feminism is an ideology based on hating and putting down men is not only wrong, it's causing more trouble.

I don't hate men. But as a woman I'm not sure I've paid enough attention to their issues. So I think it's time to have a look at the other side. I want to see what issues men are faced with and what steps people around the world are taking to help ensure that both genders are treated.

Which is why in the next few entries I'll be talking about how men play a role in feminism and how men have their own sets of gender roles that we need to be aware of.

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