29 votes

„Hating Men is a freeing form of hostility”

When Pauline Harmange published her Essay “I hate men” (in French: “Moi, les hommes, je les déteste”) – the first edition with only 400 copies printed by a small French publisher – the 25 years old blogger and author expected, that only feminist activists would be interested in it.
But then Ralph Zurmély, an advisor of the French Ministry for Equality, read the text and publicly threatened Harmange with a lawsuit for “Inciting Hatred”. The ministry quickly distanced itself, but the public had already gotten wind of the manifest. For the author, this meant a flood of insults and threats over social networks, but also attention from international publishers. Her book is now being translated into ten languages; in German it is being published by Rowohlt. At this point, the 25 year old can laugh about Zurmélys threat, “because it proves my thesis beautifully”, she says on the telephone.

ZEIT Campus ONLINE: Feminists worldwide are justified in defending themselves against all forms of misogyny, the hatred of women. Now you are advocating for hating men. Fighting hate with hate, can that be a good idea?

Pauline Harmange: Now, hating men and hating women are not the same thing. Behind misogyny, the hatred of women, there is a system, which is extremely dangerous and violent in many ways. Misandry, hating men, is a way for women to protect and defend themselves from the violent behaviour of men. It is a counter-reaction. There would not be a need to dislike or hate men, if hating women would not systematically exist. Men are in many ways simply a danger to our life.

ZEIT Campus ONLINE: But does that justify a general hate against men, all men?

Harmange: For me and a lot of other feminists men form a social class. The phrase “I hate men” means that I hate the social group of men, because of all the privileges that they enjoy. I’d like to tell everyone that it is okay and important to be tired of this group. Misandry is a freeing form of hostility, and it covers a wide range of emotions and needs: It can mean, that we publicly fight against the violence of men against women. It can also mean personal consequences, like making the decision to not meet with men anymore and not trust them. All those things are okay and legitimate.

ZEIT Campus ONLINE: Is it not more important to differentiate, which men and which behaviours are problematic?

Harmange: When we take the time and effort, to exactly decide which men are good and bad, we lose a lot of our feminist energy, which we need in the fight against the patriarchy. The “Not all men” argument isn’t a strong enough answer for the systematic oppression which women experience through men. When we as feminists say, that we hate all men, that doesn’t mean that we don’t make any differences.

ZEIT Campus ONLINE: Which differences do you mean?

Harmange: Picture the system of misogyny like a pyramid. On top we have a few extremely violent men. Under that comes a large portion of men, which can be good, for example to the woman that they love. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t live in a misogynist system and support it in other ways. For example if they make sexist jokes or speak badly of women with their friends.

Zeit Campus ONLINE: You are married to a man and have male friends. How do you live with the contradiction, hating all men, but loving one and liking some?

Harmange: That is not a contradiction. I’m only married to a man, because we grew together as people. I live in a relationship which allows me to be the person I want to be. But yes, it was tiring to become a feminist and kind of take my husband with me during that process. I don’t know if I could do that again with a different man. My husband and my male friends know, what I mean when I say that I hate men or “men are trash”. They understand, that masculine ideals are not good for themselves or society. Only because one dislikes men as a social group, does not mean that one cannot have individual, very good relationships to men. The prerequisite for that however is, that you have men in front of you who are ready to listen and understand.

ZEIT Campus Online: You don’t seem to have a lot of faith in the introspection of men. In your text you write that behind every man that takes an interest in gender equality, “there are multiple women which have opened his eyes with hard work.”

Harmange: It is very frustrating for me and a lot of other feminists that men don’t use any of their time to learn anything about gender equality. A lot of women don’t get the choice but learn about the topic of sexual violence, for them it is only a choice of life or death. They have to learn to protect themselves. We get taught from small age to always learn and better ourselves to find a place in society. Men don’t feel that need. They grow up with the idea, that they are good the way they are. For them it is easier to say “I don’t hate women, I treat my girlfriend well, I’m one of the good ones.” That’s not enough, because it’s not just about the women they love. Men have to think about privileges and the system of oppression of women through men.

ZEIT Campus ONLINE: But if you advocate misandry, wouldn’t the opposite happen? Wouldn’t men feel appalled by feminist discourse and stop taking an interest in it?

Harmange: I find this idea horrible, that men have to feel liked by women to be interested in the feminist fight and gender equality. We don’t have the time or energy to convince men or give them a good feeling just to hope that they maybe do something for us. This inequality between the genders exists since hundreds of years, thousands of smart things have been said and written about it. Now it’s one the men to take an interest in it. By motivating themselves. It can’t be, that this interest is only done for their girlfriends.

ZEIT Campus ONLINE: What does that mean for you? Do you not talk to your male friends about gender equality?

Harmange: I’m ready to discuss with individuals I like and where I know that they want to learn and be better. But I won’t be a teacher for men in general. It is extremely tiring and gives me no benefit.

ZEIT Campus ONLINE: What about a man who takes interest in gender equality and wants to do something? What can he do?

Harmange: There’s a feminist influencer on Instagram which I really like, @irenevrose, and she wrote “When men ask me what they can do for the feminist fight, I always say: Watch the kids while your girlfriends go take part in demonstrations.” Even when the women in their surroundings aren’t activists, men should ask themselves: How can I support them and help? It’s important that men don’t push themselves into the foreground. It’s not their fight and not their stage.

ZEIT Campus ONLINE: But isn’t it important that men call themselves feminists in public and talk about gender equality, so the work doesn’t just stay with the women?

Harmange: Men who call themselves feminist in public often sadly want to be the star of the show. Many of them want to get compliments, without ever asking themselves: “When have I benefited from my male privilege? How did I treat the women in my life?” There was surely problematic behaviour at some point. If a man is serious about his fight against the patriarchy, he has to start with himself. And his friends. Men can talk with friends about how to treat women and can criticise it, when someone makes a sexist joke or comment. That’s much more important than any kind of interview or text, in which a man celebrates himself as an exemplary feminist.

ZEIT Campus ONLINE: Back to the hate on men: Which social vision is connected to this? If you think it through – do we really want to live in a society, where all women hate men?

Harmange: I think the chance, that we wake up tomorrow in a matriarchy, in which all women hate men is fairly small (laughs). But seriously: We women know how hard it is to be oppressed in a society and treated harshly. All women have lived through it at some point. We wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone. To think, that from critical feminist discourse a matriarchy would arise which oppresses men is a too simple view on the subject. I see this fear of men of man-hating, female wielders of power as admitting their own wrong behaviour.

ZEIT Campus ONLINE: How do you mean?
Harmange: Well, they seem to think that systematic oppression of women in the patriarchy for hundreds of years could evoke a strong counter reaction. The best thing would be to reflect on this fear and ask yourself: In which society do I want to live? A lot of men would conclude that the patriarchy hurts them too. Of course, in the first step they lose the as naturally viewed confirmation from women. But in the second step they gain a new equality between the genders. Men and women would learn to be more honest to each other, in their relationships as well.

ZEIT Campus ONLINE: What personal consequences have you drawn from hating men?
Harmange: I’ve realised that my well-being is not depended on the acknowledgement from men. I’ve shifted my focus radically on the women in my surroundings, whose support I need and whom I can offer help and support myself. I think that allowing yourself to hate men can help a lot of women in deepening the relationships to their female friends. Through this I have discovered a new quality of sisterhood.

ZEIT Campus ONLINE: What defines this sisterhood?

Harmange: One thing in which women are better than men are building up emotional relationships to other people. That can help us build deep connections. Moments, in which women are between each other, are important. We collect our energy, charge our batteries for the feminist fight. It doesn’t matter if we meet to knit, read, network or protest. I believe firmly that the private and intimate is political, so a round to knit can be political. Just sitting down with female friends and drinking tea helps the feminist fight, because we say things that we wouldn’t be saying if men were present. Because we talk about our experiences in a patriarchal society. And because we realize that it’s beautiful that men don’t play a role in every aspect of our lives.


This text is a translation of the German original. The translation is written by me. Not because I agree with the person, I think her views are abhorrent and self-absorbed, more because I think it's a good basis for discussion, and because I liked the exercise. Link to the (paywalled) original

57 comments

  1. [29]
    Grzmot
    Link
    I'm going to keep my comments brief because I just spent an hour translating this into English. When talking about emotions everyone will define them differently for themselves, but I think there...
    • Exemplary

    I'm going to keep my comments brief because I just spent an hour translating this into English.

    When talking about emotions everyone will define them differently for themselves, but I think there are a few core fundamental emotions that people have in common; And one of them is hate. Commonly defined as the opposite of love, I believe that hate needs a strong ground to fester. Emotional damage, baggage, drama trauma, etc. I also think that hate burns strongly, just like love. This is why bigotry has to focus on key negative aspects that a certain group then has to share, because it reduces diversity down, grinds away all the pointy edges that make a person unique till only a formless blob remains that is no different to anyone else.

    Harmange fails to describe her supposed hate as such. Even more, she says that she doesn't hate men, but "men", because she defines them a social construct. She's married to a man. It seems like incredible mental gymnastics to justify her being edgy by saying "I hate men" and "men are trash" and clarify it as a feminist fight but it's okay guys and gals, it's okay she doesn't mean everyone! Except yes, except a few select individuals, so... Not everyone?

    Even better, when the interviewer pushes her on this idea of women hating men being cool, she says that she doesn't want to live in a society where all women hate men. So, uh, does she accept herself as a bad person then? Ever heard of Kant? Ay, what the actual fuck?

    I need to stop writing, so have this picture which encompasses my reaction perfectly, because I can't be bothered to write another thousand words.

    27 votes
    1. [26]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      I think you are far too focused on your idea of what hate is, to see what actions she is taking and to absorb the nuances of what she means when she is adopting a worldview of misandry. In a way,...
      • Exemplary

      I think you are far too focused on your idea of what hate is, to see what actions she is taking and to absorb the nuances of what she means when she is adopting a worldview of misandry.

      In a way, this is the extreme version of the conversation around black lives matter - that particular statement does not even imply that other lives do not matter, but people take it to mean that it doesn't because often when someone makes a statement like that it comes in a context of comparison.

      In this case I believe she is describing her hatred as a criticism of the systems that exist and support men and the patriarchal society that we find ourselves in. I believe it is a similar stance to people who say they hate white people or racists - it's a rejection of the idea that they need to be civil to others by default because the default is not okay and the default has created a system which oppresses the minority. She has clearly shown that she is willing to interact with men who have started to actively reject the system and support the fight against the patriarchy because they have proven themselves aware of and an active supporter of the world view she wishes to see.

      15 votes
      1. [18]
        kfwyre
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I get where you're coming from, and I genuinely do understand the need for oppressed people to be able to air their frustrations about oppressive systems and cultures without being micromanaged...
        • Exemplary

        I get where you're coming from, and I genuinely do understand the need for oppressed people to be able to air their frustrations about oppressive systems and cultures without being micromanaged for their messaging, but I have a really hard time with rhetoric like this (hating men specifically, not Black Lives Matter -- I support that messaging enthusiastically) because it's wielded in a way that deliberately deals imprecise collateral damage while retreating to positions of precise interpretation as a way of maintaining moral authority. I see similar talk in queer spaces, where "cishets" are sometimes considered fair game to hate on, and it simply doesn't jive with my idea of justice to hate someone for their identity characteristics.

        In fact, I consider it a misdirection and somewhat antithetical to desired outcomes of social justice, because it makes someone's identity look like the issue rather than people's abuse of power and blindness to privilege afforded to them by that identity. I firmly believe that hating someone for their identity characteristics is prejudicial, and I believe that to be true even if that person is in a position of relative privilege. It means that the harm enacted by prejudice directed at them is lessened, sure, but I can't find it in my heart to look at that prejudice and celebrate it or give it my stamp of approval.

        Doing so feels wrong to me in particular because it seems deliberately designed to hurt people who are undeserving. If I were to rail indiscriminately against "cishets" for the oppressions that I faced as a gay man in a deeply homophobic culture, I would be hurting many of the people who were my social safety net after I came out and to whom I literally owe my life. I think of the "cishet" parents of a trans student I had a few years ago who were such powerful supporters for and allies of their child and other LGBT youth at our school that it makes me cry. Hating all people like that creates a harm for those particular individuals (and many more) that I consider unjust, and I don't believe that creating that sort of injustice helps heal other ones, even if those other ones are larger or more oppressive.

        My other problem with this type of rhetoric is that I believe it fits into a wider pattern of abusive discourse online. There's a sort of widely accepted "fair game" social compact online that values and supports self-defense -- a de facto digital "stand your ground" law. This gets treated as righteous, but I think it's all too easy for it to be contorted into something unjust. For example, let's say I want my abusive rhetoric to go unchecked: all I have to do is characterize my opponent in a way that makes them an attacker, aggressor, or abuser, and in doing so, I allow my actions to escape scrutiny because I'm simply "hitting back".

        Her rhetoric follows that pattern for me. She is attempting to class an entire gender as an abuser as a way of creating the moral authority to openly hate them. I don't disagree with the idea that systemic sexism is largely perpetuated by men at the expense of women, but I think it's disingenuous to put men specifically in the crosshairs of hate as a result and try to call it anything other than retribution.

        45 votes
        1. [5]
          OswaldTheCatfish
          Link Parent
          Talking about LGBT stuff from a different angle, I'm a closeted trans woman with only 2 people in my life that know (and the number will probably never get any bigger) and every time I hear this...

          Talking about LGBT stuff from a different angle, I'm a closeted trans woman with only 2 people in my life that know (and the number will probably never get any bigger) and every time I hear this from someone that I care about it still hurts. I know and recognize that I get and continue to get advantages from presenting as a man, but when someone says things like "men are trash", they are lumping me in with the nebulous entity of "manhood" and I will always remain an "other", never one of them. There is no way for me to ever grow past that with the life I have been given and I am always going to remain feeling isolated from the people I identify and relate to most simply because while "I hate men" may not actually mean men as individuals, the idea that I am lumped into by them is something they despise.

          I have no idea if any of that makes sense and I have never heard anyone else feel that way but I also don't talk about it much so I really have no idea if its common or not.

          18 votes
          1. Grzmot
            Link Parent
            Makes sense to me. You look like one group which you feel you don't belong to and wish to leave, but the author wants you to belong into that group. No wonder it makes you uncomfortable. Speaking...

            Makes sense to me. You look like one group which you feel you don't belong to and wish to leave, but the author wants you to belong into that group. No wonder it makes you uncomfortable.

            Speaking of which, I wonder what Harmange's opinion on trans people is. The interview sounds a little TERFy to me.

            11 votes
          2. Whom
            Link Parent
            I'm also a trans woman, long closeted until recently. I've felt the same before, where I feel frustrated by certain kinds of feminist rhetoric (even much less controversial stuff) because I feel...

            I'm also a trans woman, long closeted until recently. I've felt the same before, where I feel frustrated by certain kinds of feminist rhetoric (even much less controversial stuff) because I feel like I'm being lumped in with men despite also suffering under the patriarchy.

            I see this as a problem that lies with the pressures that keep us closeted, not a reason to back off on feminist talking points. That is, on a wider scale. I think @Gaywallet is completely correct in suggesting that in personal relationships, that's something to talk about. There's plenty of things I ask my friends not to get into when I'm around even if I think they're entirely righteous things to express. Of course, with such a limited circle of people you can trust, that may not be much of an option. It's hard and hurts like hell, but we have to be careful about where we lay the blame. Feminists who are angry at men are not the ones causing the core problem here. Transphobes and cisnormativity are.

            4 votes
          3. [2]
            Gaywallet
            Link Parent
            I'm sorry that anyone is making you feel unloved or unwanted in their lives with this kind of rhetoric. If they are friends of yours, I would implore you to have a deeper conversation with them...

            I'm sorry that anyone is making you feel unloved or unwanted in their lives with this kind of rhetoric. If they are friends of yours, I would implore you to have a deeper conversation with them when they say something like that and you are offended. I think often times problems like this are a problem of communication. I doubt they are directing such a comment at you, but moreso at the system. As you mentioned, in most cases I do not believe that it's directed at each individual man in the world - there are simply too many of them for it to apply. I also think you would be hard pressed to find many individuals who would say something like 'men are trash' and also direct this at trans women.

            Regardless, how certain words make you feel is something that you absolutely should bring up regularly to your friends, particularly if any words are upsetting to you. This always applies, whether the rhetoric is about a system of oppression or simply a word that you have a bad association with. It is not uncommon in queer circles for people to request for a specific word to not be used in their presence, because that word was used in conjunction with some sort of abuse they have suffered - these words and these requests are not universal (although there are some themes) and can apply to words which are not directed at one's queerness at all.

            3 votes
            1. Whom
              Link Parent
              tbf, I don't think you'd be that hard pressed. There's lots of cis women out there who have, by experience, learned to fear men, but who are not on board with trans inclusion. Plus there's TERFs,...

              I also think you would be hard pressed to find many individuals who would say something like 'men are trash' and also direct this at trans women.

              tbf, I don't think you'd be that hard pressed. There's lots of cis women out there who have, by experience, learned to fear men, but who are not on board with trans inclusion. Plus there's TERFs, but they're not a super huge group (thank god).

              8 votes
        2. [4]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          Can you help me to understand at what point she either directly states or even implies that her statement is one of moral grounds - let alone putting forth the idea that her morals have more...
          • Exemplary

          it's wielded in a way that deliberately deals imprecise collateral damage while retreating to positions of precise interpretation as a way of maintaining moral authority.

          Can you help me to understand at what point she either directly states or even implies that her statement is one of moral grounds - let alone putting forth the idea that her morals have more authority than others?

          The entire interview with her seems to focus solely on expanding upon what ideology she has - nothing about whether it is 'correct', but merely explaining why some people hold similar ideas to her and why she thinks its okay to fight against a system of oppression.

          it makes someone's identity look like the issue rather than people's abuse of power and blindness to privilege afforded to them by that identity

          I think this is precisely an issue of miscommunication. When people say they hate white people, they hate cishets, and they hate men, what they are really saying is that they hate the system that gives them power and the system which deprives them of it as well. Most of them will agree that there are people in their lives which are the 'exception to the rule', but I would say that is once again a failure of communication or perhaps a coherent way of organizing their abstract thought into concrete language. It's not an exception to the rule, it's that these individuals are not upholding the system itself and are therefore no longer the problem.

          There's a good quote I heard once about racism which fits into this general framework. The gist of it was that it is no longer okay to simply be 'not racist' but that one must be 'anti-racist' in order to be acceptable in today's age. One must actively fight against the system because the statement that one is not racist does nothing to solve the currently existing problems. One could easily argue, especially with modern ideas of secondary and tertiary racism, that basically no one of a privileged class except anti-racists are not racist, and I believe that is the premise behind what is being argued here. If you are not actively fighting the system in some way you are a part of the problem - you are the silent white majority that MLK so despised.

          Doing so feels wrong to me in particular because it seems deliberately designed to hurt people who are undeserving.

          If they are undeserving, then this writing does not apply to them. Rather than focus on chastising the author, perhaps we should focus on educating those who feel it applies to them when it does not?

          I hear a lot about messaging these days. ACAB is too inflammatory. BLM should be reworded. I think we need to spend less effort trying to stop people from spreading these messages as there will always be extremists so long as there are enough humans for the statistics to work out that way, but I also believe we should spend less effort on this messaging precisely because diversity of opinion is such an important concept. Malcolm X and the black panthers were a group who also espoused such similarly inflammatory and extreme rhetoric, and yet their message was perhaps necessary in order for people to listen to the moderate one. I think being exposed more directly to the experience of others and how it has radicalized some is an important step in understanding what it's like to live a day in their shoes. This kind of emotional intelligence and empathy seems to be sorely lacking in the united states, based on how much intolerance we currently see.

          There's a sort of widely accepted "fair game" social compact online that values and supports self-defense -- a de facto digital "stand your ground" law.

          This is particularly upsetting on this platform as the very foundational principles of this website are that we should not be tolerant of the intolerant. While you can make the argument that on face value the words she is using are intolerant (and many have in this thread), upon even a simple examination such as the one conducted by the interviewer in this article, it's clear that she is not preaching intolerance the way many have claimed. At the very least one has to note the inconsistencies between her stating that she hates men and the fact that there are important men in her life. I believe @Atvelonis has done a better job than I ever could explaining how the conflation of these two is a failure of communication (or perhaps more accurately a failure of the vernacular interpretations of these words). Instead, she is doing exactly the opposite - she is taking a defensive stance against the intolerance that has been shown to her... she is being intolerant of the intolerant.

          Self defense against a system that is systematically oppressing you is the very definition of being intolerant to the intolerant and it is not only something we should be promoting on this website, it is something we should be celebrating.

          7 votes
          1. [3]
            kfwyre
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Well said. I always appreciate your comments here, as you speak with a conviction that I wish I had. Your words often feel like a bright spotlight, illuminating a subject with definitive clarity,...
            • Exemplary

            Well said.

            I always appreciate your comments here, as you speak with a conviction that I wish I had. Your words often feel like a bright spotlight, illuminating a subject with definitive clarity, while I often feel like I'm stumbling around a topic in the dark, armed with a dim flashlight running low on batteries. I think part of this is a difference in temperament, but I also think part of this is a difference in communication styles for us. I want you to know that I'm always happy when your words paint a clearer picture for me, as they have here and many times before on Tildes. Thanks for taking the time to respond to me and share your conviction with me. You have an unwavering focus on justice, and I appreciate that you center so much of what you do within that.

            I'm going to try to do the same for you as you have done for me. I want to attempt to bring clarity and conviction to my frame of reference, as it's important to me that you're able to see where I'm coming from and why something like this would generate the kind of response I made in my first comment. I hope that my accumulated presence here on the site can affirm to you that I'm not acting in bad faith or malice, and I hope that it also affirms that I'm not approaching this as an argument to be won. I think this topic hits very close to both of our moral centers in very different ways, and I think it's important for us to explore that.

            You identify the main issue here as one of miscommunication, and I agree with that assessment, but ultimately I put more responsibility on Harmange as being a source of that than you do. I understand why this probably feels deeply unfair to you, and if I can shine my spotlight right, I'm hoping that I can help you see why that genuinely does feel fair to me.


            I want to start with the idea that my criticism of Harmange is actually a lateral one, not an oppositional one. I agree with much of the stated ideology she expresses in this interview; many of them are foundational tenets of feminism, and I'm in agreement with them and support them. I believe this is what you are able to see in her messaging and also what you find so frustrating when others can't or won't.

            But, my issue with Harmange is an accumulated one, much as I'm sure your issue with responses like mine is. She is not the first, tenth, or hundredth person I've heard use this sort of rhetoric, she is simply the one on which my pot boiled over. She probably feels the same way about men and has undoubtedly faced accumulated harms from similar numbers of them, which is part of the driving force behind her statement that she hates men.

            I get that, and I genuinely do not think it is wrong for Harmange to express that. We all need to express frustrations and aggravations, especially those on the receiving end of oppressions, and demanding that someone do so with acute precision, especially in moments of strongest emotion, is reductive and diminishing.

            To me, however, Harmange crosses over from expressions of hatred as releases of emotion into ideological hatred as foundational to her worldview. This is where "I hate men" to me becomes something I can't support, and I find it very different than something like "Black Lives Matter" because it is explicitly rooted in clear, definitive contempt.

            You asked where this enters moral grounds, and this is where it crosses that line for me. She makes her hatred of men foundational for her feminism. She describes hatred of men as a way for women to protect themselves. She identifies that it's important to be tired of men. She identifies this as a freeing form of hostility.

            I should be clear that I don't believe she's incorrect in these. Hating men can protect women, and it is no doubt freeing to feel that hostility. Instead, it's that this overt and foundational hatred does not fit with my ideal of social justice. For me, social justice is about increasing agency, autonomy, dignity, and inclusivity. It's about revamping structures and systems in the interest of maximizing opportunity for those key ideals while also minimizing harm. We act on these at systemic levels, but I believe they get evaluated at the individual level. We will know when we have achieved our ideals when any given individual is afforded the same agency, autonomy, and dignity in their lives as anyone else. I do not believe we can achieve those by accepting explicit, identity-based hatred because it fundamentally erodes the dignity of individuals, and I believe that becomes especially imperilled when hatred becomes the foundational underpinning for entire belief systems.

            As I said earlier, I agree with many of the points of her messaging. They are familiar to me, and things I firmly believe in according to my values regarding social justice. That is what makes it so frustrating to me, because she is taking recognizable ideals that I hold sacred and she is explicitly planting them in the soil of hatred. It is as if she is taking ideals I find beautiful and dragging them through the mud. I do not see hating men as social justice because I firmly and genuinely believe that hating women and hating men are both different kinds of wrong, and I believe that feeding one doesn't lessen the other.

            You asked me to help make this part clear to you, and I sincerely hope I did my beliefs justice. To me, rhetoric like hers touches on the morality of hatred itself, and I believe that hatred itself should not be foundational to the ideology of justice. This is an incredibly closely held belief for me -- something I consider nearly sacrosanct.

            If they are undeserving, then this writing does not apply to them. Rather than focus on chastising the author, perhaps we should focus on educating those who feel it applies to them when it does not?

            Here is where I would like to ask you some clarity, because I genuinely want to understand this. I have heard this type of defense time and again whenever instances of overt hatred come up, and I find it unsatisfying every single time.

            As an expression of simple aggravation, "I hate men" or "men are trash" is a voiced complaint of lived experiences. I get that, and I don't really have an issue with it. But when it then gets taken to become foundational to ideology, I believe it becomes something of a bright-line rule. Harmange is not simply expressing her aggravation in a limited context, she is expressly building upon it and publishing it to wide audiences. "I hate men" and "men are trash" become clear, unequivocal statements of definitive on-the-record hatred.

            To then say "this only applies to the men it's intended to apply to" feels to me to be a complete rhetorical cop-out, because the bright-line rule so clearly defines the target that there is no ambiguity. I also feel that it is trivial to change the messaging to be not only less inflammatory but also more precise. Patriarchy, toxic masculinity, misogynists -- there are any number of ways to more clearly and effectively delineate the intended target. I also don't believe hating those explicitly to be harmful in the same way as hating men because those specifically are the factors causing damage. Calling them out doesn't yield collateral damage to unintended targets.

            Furthermore, I believe this obligation to precision becomes greater the larger your audience, because as your audience grows, the imprecision of any chosen language has the risk of doing greater harms. This is the foundational idea of inclusive language, and it's something that I take very seriously. I go out of my way in my own life and as a teacher to make sure that I am using language that is inclusive of many different identities. Deliberate inclusivity is a way of ensuring everyone feels that there is room for and acknowledgement of them in society. Inclusivity yields seats at the table for all, and I think one of the most powerful ways we can do that is through our language.

            Harmange, on the other hand, leans into exclusionary and harmful aspects of language while simultaneously walking those back at every opportunity. Nearly every question in the interview is about the distance between her stated thesis and her expressed ideals. Not only do we see a dissonance between a clearly stated hatred of men and the many exceptions she permits to that rule, but she is also centering men in her discourse on feminism while simultaneously arguing that they should not be central to feminism. This is where I do attribute responsibility to her, as I said in the beginning, because it's clear that her deliberately chosen messaging is at odds with her own self-disclosure. This isn't an instance of a bad faith audience deliberately misinterpreting a stated message as we often see with, for example, "Black Lives Matter" -- this is Harmange having to load up her own bright-line rule with so many footnotes that the rule ceases to hold meaning under their contradictory weight. You note this yourself:

            While you can make the argument that on face value the words she is using are intolerant (and many have in this thread), upon even a simple examination such as the one conducted by the interviewer in this article, it's clear that she is not preaching intolerance the way many have claimed.

            I hold that she has some responsibility to resolve this dissonance simply because it's so overt. It's why I brought up the idea of bad faith "self-defense" at the end of my first comment, because I believe her rhetoric is an example of that. I'm sure all of us here have witnessed or been in bad faith arguments online where someone masks their actual position through a shell game of projected alternate opinions or points. Or, alternately, they deliberately misunderstand our points so that we have to spend time reasserting and clarifying our positions. These conversations are aggravating and fatiguing because the person never makes their genuine thesis available for scrutiny and instead wastes everyone's time and effort on distractors.

            I consider her rhetoric to be akin to this, only in reverse. She has an incredibly clear position that she spends much of her interview distancing herself from. I have a hard time seeing this as happening in good faith, and I believe it has the same effect as other bad faith arguments. Look at this very thread for the sheer amount of discourse that has been created, almost all of which is about the significant difference between what's in the can versus what's on the label.

            Furthermore, the reason I brought up the idea of "self-defense" masking abusive behavior at the end of my comment is because I believe that to be the moral justification that she uses to maintain a position of hatred. Systemic misogyny allows her to cast all men as abusers so that her hatred towards them can have moral authority.

            The problem I have with this is that abusers and bullies also utilize tactics which give them plausible deniability or the benefit of the doubt regarding their harm, and I believe that Harmange is aware of the harm her statement can cause but is unconcerned with addressing it, and she uses the language of justice as an intellectual shield for those harms. From her perspective, she feels that her harm is fair because it's only responsive.

            This would be a tenable position for me if her chosen statement were a focused one, rather than one that yields potential harm to unintended targets (all of the men she identifies as exceptions to her hatred, for example). I am not saying that this harm is hugely significant nor even the same as systemic misogyny or sexism, only that it is a potential harm in and of itself, and I believe that endorsing lesser harms is still endorsing harm.

            Furthermore, and this is far and away the most important point for me personally: I believe that normalizing principled harm enables abusers and bullies. Abuse is abuse regardless of its target -- that's what makes it abuse. By giving quarter to the idea that some abuse is okay if we can provide correct reasons to justify it, we enable some of the worst aspects of humanity to act with impunity or even encouragement from others. I do not believe Harmange to be a significant abuser, but I believe her rhetoric to be abusive because I believe overt statements of identity-based hatred to be abusive. When we validate abusive rhetoric, I believe we lay the ground work for actual abusive people to do much greater harms.

            Of all the concerns I've articulated here, this is the one I feel the strongest about. I believe that abusive discourse across the board is becoming increasingly normalized, and I believe that abusive behaviors follow from that. I also believe that when such behaviors feel justified or normalized, people will not see them for what they are.

            I believe we see an extreme version of this on the right at the moment, where people are being radicalized into overtly hostile positions of significant hatred because they exist in a self-reinforcing pipeline that increasingly normalizes and escalates abuse. Harmange doesn't even come close to that for me, but I see rhetoric like hers as the smallest, tiniest step towards something like that -- an opening of the door to the idea that our understanding of the world and one another should be rooted in disdain and contempt.

            Social justice for me is about keeping that door closed. It's about removing the things that blind us to one another's human value. For too long we have been taught to hate one another and been given myriad reasons to do so. I worry that this is accelerating. I see justice as affirming the opposite of that: of interrupting that hatred and affirming one another as we are. Harmange's rhetoric doesn't interrupt that hatred, it just continues it in a different form. This is why I can't find it in myself to support it.


            Now, I know that I have said a lot here, and I know how intimidating it can be when a comment like this shows up in your inbox. I don't want to leave intent up to subtext in a conversation like this that I consider vitally important, so I want to close with some affirmations of where I'm coming from:

            I hope that you see these words not as me trying to win an argument or drop a textbook on your head but as me trying to bring something to the table. I see myself as standing alongside you as we both look at pictures spread out all over the tabletop, but where I see apples, you see oranges. I want to help you see my apples, and I'm hoping you can help me see your oranges. Genuinely. Please. I want to understand.

            With speaking much, as I have, comes a commensurate responsibility to listen, and that's what I intend to do now: to you and to any others should anyone choose to respond. I don't want you to feel obligated to have to respond, but know that if you decide to I will meet your words with a genuinely open ear and mind. I want to understand this. I really do, because I have been frustrated by endorsement of what I consider to be hateful rhetoric by people I respect and whose ideals mirror my own for decades now, and it exists in the starkest contrast to what I consider my foundational beliefs. Likewise, I have no doubt that what I've written probably ignites a similar frustration in you and others. I promise I'm not trying to set that fire as a destructive act -- I want to speak truth to what I believe but also understand where that might benefit from different perspective.

            Basically, what I'm saying with all of this is: come, look at these pictures with me -- what do you see? Apples? Oranges? Something else entirely? Persimmons?

            Whatever it is that you see, I'm listening, and I genuinely want to hear you.

            16 votes
            1. [2]
              Gaywallet
              Link Parent
              First off I want to thank you for this detailed and lengthy reply. Frankly I am humbled by your accolades and praise, as I feel very similarly about you. I believe that is the wonderful diversity...
              • Exemplary

              First off I want to thank you for this detailed and lengthy reply. Frankly I am humbled by your accolades and praise, as I feel very similarly about you. I believe that is the wonderful diversity that this platform helps to breed and you are certainly among my favorite users here precisely because you take the time to think about discussions before entering them, pay attention to the environment in the thread before chiming in, do not shy from going into detail when necessary, and frankly speaking have a mastery of language and framing which help to drive your points home with both clarity and persusasion.

              To be clear, I absolutely hear and understand the point which you are bringing forward. I have done my best to entirely avoid speaking on this matter, because I do not want to take away from the point I am bringing forward - that we need to be listening to these individuals first and foremost, and not criticising what they are bringing forward.

              I'm going to stop here and provide a little bit of context, because to understand why I've chosen to make this decision requires it. Over the past several months I've become increasingly aware of something I feel is problematic growing on tildes - there is a tendency, particularly in threads such as this one, for people online to respond in a very specific and very human way. When two sides are so polarized on an issue, you will find people defending either side throughout the entirety of a post. That is to say while both sides may have had a chance to be heard in the main highly voted reply, you will find people repeating the same rhetoric found in this conversation way down at the bottom of the comments and even will continue to push the same rhetoric in opposition to any replies that happen as the thread continues. Because we are unfortunately not a super diverse platform, this means that the conversation ends up being dominated by the side more present.

              I want you to stop and consider for a second how this may appear to someone who is on the other side of the fence. If you were female, subject to oppression by the patriarchy and perhaps at times feeling upset or angry at your own oppression, how do you think it might feel to enter a thread where the majority are parroting the same opinion or point over and over again? How might it feel to see that the female voice is entirely quashed by strong negative opinions - discussions focused and centered around everything that is wrong about what is being said rather than spending some time having discussions about what is right and what should be done?

              I've been on the other side of the fence more than once on this website and I can tell you that I've found myself stuck in DMs with other individuals who I could tell were hurt and found myself retreating from the website to other social groups to vent or simply escape for a little while. I have noticed a large contingent of people, primarily those of a minority status fleeing this website. Anecdotally speaking, I believe this is due in large part to the atmosphere we are creating. I believe that being cognizant of the general atmosphere within a tildes thread is something that we all need to take into consideration to a greater extent as the current status quo is for the majority to drown out the minority voice with their opinion. I was hoping that the black lives matter movement, and a heavy focus on letting those who are privileged know that it is not their time to speak would help to combat this issue, and yet I find myself repeatedly in these threads doing my best to advocate on behalf of the voice of other minorities. I'm somewhat ashamed, if I am honest, about the fact that I am advocating on their behalf - their own words are so much more valuable than my opinion of their words, and it pains me that people are not listening to them and that I need to act as an intermediary. I do not want people listening to me on these issues! I am very often an outsider, and my voice pales in comparison to the experience and wisdom of someone who has suffered under this kind of oppression.

              In light of all this I am going to refrain from responding to the heart of your message, and I sincerely hope you can forgive me for not addressing your points with regards to potentially hostile wording, because I do not want to water down the message I have been pushing in this thread - for us to put on our listening caps and turn up the compassion nob to 11. While tildes is designed for deep thoughtful discussion, I believe all of us can learn a little bit more by actively choosing to not engage at times and instead learn from those who are different than us.

              6 votes
              1. kfwyre
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                Another bright spotlight post from you, Gaywallet! Clear, compelling, and amazingly well said. You capture one of the areas we really need to improve on here. I hadn't thought of a comment like...

                Another bright spotlight post from you, Gaywallet! Clear, compelling, and amazingly well said.

                You capture one of the areas we really need to improve on here. I hadn't thought of a comment like mine in this light -- as contributing to a sort of dismissal by avalanche, or a group-led slamming of the door. It's definitely going to make me think the next time I decide to enter the fray on subjects like this. If we had rich and robust discussions of and representations of feminist topics regularly on Tildes, then I think the harsh critique I brought to this topic wouldn't contribute to the wider door-slam that you identified.

                Unfortunately, because we have, well, pretty much this article only, I now realize that my critique, amidst many others, looks like a counter to feminism itself and thus, by proxy, a quashing of those who identify with and value its tenets (which includes me!). I didn't make space for them in my comment nor identify myself as one of them in kinship, and in doing so I contributed to an exclusionary social landscape that I wasn't intending to! I'm sitting here complaining about collateral damage, all while not realizing that I'm doing something similar.

                Thank you for this insight. I've got a lot to think about for how I approach stuff like this in the future. I also think there's something to be said for the idea that we need to start identifying content gaps that could benefit from greater presence here -- like articles on feminism that aren't as potentially divisive. As I said earlier, I greatly value inclusivity, and you're getting me thinking about the ways I can better effect that here.

                Thank you for your patience with me, and for your kind words as well. Much love. :)

                7 votes
        3. [7]
          TheRtRevKaiser
          Link Parent
          Her rhetoric sounds very similar to things I've heard racists here in the south say. They'll make some awful blanket statement, but when you press them on it or mention specific people they...

          Her rhetoric sounds very similar to things I've heard racists here in the south say. They'll make some awful blanket statement, but when you press them on it or mention specific people they retreat just like this. They'll say, "oh he's one of the good ones" or "I just don't like their culture" as if it makes it any better for them to have a few exceptions to their hate.

          17 votes
          1. [5]
            papasquat
            Link Parent
            There was an article posted, I think here, a little while ago about liberals doing something similar with the phrase "Defund the police". People that started the movement to "defund the police"...

            There was an article posted, I think here, a little while ago about liberals doing something similar with the phrase "Defund the police". People that started the movement to "defund the police" meant it literally, ie; remove all funding from police. Make police no longer exist.

            When most moderates and conservatives started to say "Well no actually we kind of need police", the liberal reaction was "Well no, actually we didn't mean literally defund ALL of the police, we actually just mean cut their budgets", which is not at all what the word "defund" means.

            Words have meanings. There is wiggle room and room for nuance, but at the end of the day, the things you say mean specific things, you can't just decide that they mean whatever you want. When someone says "I hate men" that means what it says. It doesn't mean "I hate most men except for my husband" or "I hate men who are bad to women" or "I hate the patriarchy". If that's what you actually meant, then that's what you should have said.

            You don't get to say the shocking, attention grabbing snappy line, then walk it back so that people don't think you're a bigot. That's just cowardice and dishonesty.

            8 votes
            1. [4]
              Gaywallet
              Link Parent
              https://www.dictionary.com/browse/defund Ignoring the fact that many dictionaries disagree, I'm so sick and tired of hearing shit like this - language is not concrete. Language is mutable. The...

              which is not at all what the word "defund" means.

              https://www.dictionary.com/browse/defund

              Ignoring the fact that many dictionaries disagree, I'm so sick and tired of hearing shit like this - language is not concrete. Language is mutable. The idea that a word means one thing and only one thing, and that we should ignore the context or any explanation of what is meant on the grounds that they used the wrong word is somehow 'bigoted' or 'cowardice' or 'dishonesty' is bad faith.

              5 votes
              1. [2]
                papasquat
                Link Parent
                The fact that language is mutable does not mean that words don't have common meanings. The word "defund" to basically everyone, means "to remove the funding of". This is coming from a descriptive...
                • Exemplary

                The fact that language is mutable does not mean that words don't have common meanings. The word "defund" to basically everyone, means "to remove the funding of". This is coming from a descriptive standpoint, not a prescriptive one.

                "Defund planned parenthood" was a move to remove government funding, and all government funding from planned parenthood.

                Same goes for defunding NPR, defunding welfare, or any other movement to pull government funding from a program. I've never heard anyone, in any other case argue that to defund something means to reduce funding to it.

                "I hate men" is a term that's even less ambiguous. If your position is that you hate the negative structural systems built around masculinity, maybe try saying "I hate the negative structural systems built around masculinity", or "I hate the patriarchy" for short.

                And yeah, intentionally choosing an inflammatory phrase that you know will upset people only to walk back what your actual intent with the phrase is so that it barley even resembles your initial statement is blatantly dishonest. I don't see how pointing that out is in bad faith.

                10 votes
                1. Gaywallet
                  Link Parent
                  There is a reply to my message proving this is not the case. Stop speaking on behalf of others because your experience is not always reflective of the experience of others. I hear people talk...

                  The fact that language is mutable does not mean that words don't have common meanings. The word "defund" to basically everyone, means "to remove the funding of". This is coming from a descriptive standpoint, not a prescriptive one.

                  There is a reply to my message proving this is not the case. Stop speaking on behalf of others because your experience is not always reflective of the experience of others. I hear people talk about this who have in the past talked about how education has been systematically 'defunded' over the years or how we have been 'defunding' research.

                  Just stop for a second and look at all the people who disagree with you. If this many people disagree with you about a definition, perhaps you should take that into consideration.

          2. Grzmot
            Link Parent
            yes but you see since men are a social construct, it's okay now! /s

            yes but you see since men are a social construct, it's okay now! /s

        4. Grzmot
          Link Parent
          Agreed. You don't get to exclude individuals in your bigoted rhetoric just because you say so. The recipient of your message gets to decide this.

          If I were to rail indiscriminately against "cishets" for the oppressions that I faced as a gay man in a deeply homophobic culture, I would be hurting many of the people who were my social safety net after I came out and to whom I literally owe my life. I think of the "cishet" parents of a trans student I had a few years ago who were such powerful supporters for and allies of their child and other LGBT youth at our school that it makes me cry.

          Agreed. You don't get to exclude individuals in your bigoted rhetoric just because you say so. The recipient of your message gets to decide this.

          12 votes
      2. [3]
        mrbig
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I believe the difference between those examples is much greater. “Black lives matter” can be interpreted in a exclusive way, but such interpretation requires a logical leap. The idea that hating...

        In a way, this is the extreme version of the conversation around black lives matter

        I believe the difference between those examples is much greater. “Black lives matter” can be interpreted in a exclusive way, but such interpretation requires a logical leap.

        The idea that hating men can be a good thing, on the other hand, is very clear in its meaning, and requires extensive intelectual operations to convey precisely what the author wants.

        Ultimately, the author defends the hate for men only to negate that statement later on. She does not actually recommend the hate for men, so why say that in the first place?

        12 votes
        1. [2]
          Whom
          Link Parent
          It has the additional goal of being an emotional release, not just to get at what she means as accurately as possible. I can't comment on the original untranslated text, but at least in English it...

          Ultimately, the author defends the hate for men only to negate that statement later on. She does not actually recommend the hate for men, so why say that in the first place?

          It has the additional goal of being an emotional release, not just to get at what she means as accurately as possible. I can't comment on the original untranslated text, but at least in English it seems to meet both of those goals, especially if you weigh the release for the oppressed more than just communication.

          4 votes
          1. mrbig
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I cannot think of a single answer on this interview that could not be easily reformulated around “hating men can be a good thing” while conveying the same meaning. Of course, emotional release has...

            I cannot think of a single answer on this interview that could not be easily reformulated around “hating men can be a good thing” while conveying the same meaning. Of course, emotional release has its place. But does the shock value outweighs potentially alienating half of your readers? Maybe it does. I really don’t know. It certainly made people discuss the subject—I doubt very much that this thread would attract so many passionate long form responses if the author hadn’t used a falsehood to state several necessary truths.

            6 votes
      3. NaraVara
        Link Parent
        The term for this is "patriarchy" rather than "men" though. So to pick the term "I hate men" rather than "I hate the patriarchy" seems like pointless edginess to me. I don't see this as analogous...

        In this case I believe she is describing her hatred as a criticism of the systems that exist and support men and the patriarchal society that we find ourselves in.

        The term for this is "patriarchy" rather than "men" though. So to pick the term "I hate men" rather than "I hate the patriarchy" seems like pointless edginess to me. I don't see this as analogous to Black Lives Matter because there is nothing implied as being against any other lives. Even a more confrontational phrase like "Black Power" is framed in terms of what they are for (Black liberation and empowerment) rather than what they are against (White power and Black oppression).

        A closer analogy, I think, would be to say "I hate Muslims." It ends up being a very different conversation from saying "I hate Islam" doesn't it? The Muslims are people, varied and individual with all the goods and bads that come with them. Islam is a religion with a codified dogma and set of beliefs withs one amount of structural and cultural forces holding it up. You can oppose the latter in a somewhat constructive way without hating the former, even if they're caught up and attached to the structure.

        12 votes
      4. [3]
        Whom
        Link Parent
        Yeah, I think this is an important point to make. I hate the category of "man" and I hate how masculinity functions in the world. Men are much more likely to be the ones to hurt and degrade me and...

        Yeah, I think this is an important point to make.

        I hate the category of "man" and I hate how masculinity functions in the world. Men are much more likely to be the ones to hurt and degrade me and to pretend otherwise would just be covering my eyes in order to appeal to some misguided conception of equality which completely leaves power out of the conversation. I can't imagine blaming a Black person for saying they hate white people when racist murder #4982374 happens. That's entirely fucking reasonable. In that case, the category of whiteness itself is fundamentally broken in ways that actively harm others, and I would say the same is true of masculinity and manhood.

        I've got no problem with throwing out a "men are trash" here and there. The fact is that when I start interacting with a man, there's extra work they have to put in to come off as unthreatening or friendly.

        I try to put love into the world. I don't think that hating harmful constructions contradicts that.

        7 votes
        1. [2]
          papasquat
          Link Parent
          That's a dangerous path honestly. Growing up, I was a white kid in a predominantly black area. I was also a very nerdy, small, and goofy white kid. If I'm being 100% honest with myself, the vast...

          That's a dangerous path honestly. Growing up, I was a white kid in a predominantly black area. I was also a very nerdy, small, and goofy white kid. If I'm being 100% honest with myself, the vast majority of the abuse I experienced growing up wasn't from other white people, it was from black people.

          I didn't grow up hating black people as a whole, because I realized that people are individuals. There's no such thing as a group of people who all act the same way. If I automatically assumed that every black person who came up to me was about to bully me, it wouldn't have been fair to those who were nice to me, and I would have missed out on a lot of very good friends. It also wouldn't have been fair to the majority of the black people who I never even met who are now being judged for the bad behavior of probably like 40ish people that they've never even heard of just because they happen to have the same skin color. I don't see how doing the same thing based on someone's chromosomes is any different.

          11 votes
          1. Whom
            Link Parent
            The relevant bit there in my comment is I wanted to write more anticipating a comment like yours, but I figured that wouldn't be necessary. Regardless, the reason these situations are different...

            The relevant bit there in my comment is

            in order to appeal to some misguided conception of equality which completely leaves power out of the conversation.

            I wanted to write more anticipating a comment like yours, but I figured that wouldn't be necessary. Regardless, the reason these situations are different and why I would not apply that same thinking to Black people in your situation growing up is all about power. I don't think I should need to explain a group with power either exerting that power or flailing around agrily when they feel it slipping is different from a group without it being beaten into a corner and lashing out as a result. It's not the same. Saying "what if you said this / thought this way about x" is almost never helpful because situations are just different. Who holds the power in society makes all the difference.


            Also, I'd like to point out that the extra caution about men part that you're responding to in your second paragraph and that others seem to be taking issue with is not a radical feminist position or something. Most women don't hate men, of course, but nearly every woman knows to be more cautious, to have their guard up, and to have escape strategies when approached by men. It transcends political leanings and all that because it is a practical response to the world around us. My conservative grandma who doesn't care for much feminism has had to offer in her lifetime understands this as well as my basic liberal mother who knows it as well as I do. None of us are so closed off to men that we can't make friends or anything like that, but we also all have well-earned instincts keeping us safe.

            2 votes
    2. [2]
      eban
      Link Parent
      In your reference to Kant I assume you're talking about his idea of the categorical imperative, i.e. that behavior is moral only if similar behavior by everyone would lead to a better world. In...

      In your reference to Kant I assume you're talking about his idea of the categorical imperative, i.e. that behavior is moral only if similar behavior by everyone would lead to a better world. In this case, I believe her views hold up under such scrutiny. If all women (and all men) shared her modern feminist views, the world would likely be a better place.

      However, when applied specifically to misandry, it gets a little murkier due to the fact that Harmange's proclaimed hatred for men is both an opinion and an action. As an opinion, if everyone held such an opinion, discrimination would probably end up reversed, and men oppressed. However as an action, the same isn't true. By publishing her essay, doing interviews for the news, etc. she is actively working to deconstruct male-dominant power structures. By taking the argument that men as a group propagate patriarchy to its logical conclusion that men are bad and deserving of hate, she calls attention to the muted form of that conclusion that does actually exist in society: that men, often unknowingly or unintentionally, benefit from a societal structure that disadvantages women. That discourse is a powerful force for positive change.

      3 votes
      1. Grzmot
        Link Parent
        I was referring to Kant's categorical imperative. But I don't think her arguments hold up under that particular angle because I don't think that disassociating yourself from an entire sex is a...

        I was referring to Kant's categorical imperative. But I don't think her arguments hold up under that particular angle because I don't think that disassociating yourself from an entire sex is a good idea for the rest of society.

  2. [5]
    jgb
    Link
    It must be exhausting to live your life with such a worldview. I can't imagine she is very happy. Genderswap this and it would fit in seamlessly on an MGTOW forum.

    It must be exhausting to live your life with such a worldview. I can't imagine she is very happy.

    I’ve realised that my well-being is not depended on the acknowledgement from men. I’ve shifted my focus radically on the women in my surroundings, whose support I need and whom I can offer help and support myself. I think that allowing yourself to hate men can help a lot of women in deepening the relationships to their female friends. Through this I have discovered a new quality of sisterhood.

    Genderswap this and it would fit in seamlessly on an MGTOW forum.

    32 votes
    1. [3]
      eve
      Link Parent
      It sucks because like, the first part of it is valid, talking about supporting women around oneself and forging a community. But the big sad is that it's all centered around hating men? Like what...

      It sucks because like, the first part of it is valid, talking about supporting women around oneself and forging a community. But the big sad is that it's all centered around hating men? Like what the hell, it's mind boggling the mental gymnastics that have to be present for those two things to somehow coexist. Like oh on the one hand I want to build a community by and for women and have deeper friendships and encourage support. But in the other hand I hate men and won't think about that any deeper than very surface level.

      And you're totally right, it stinks of MGTOW. It's people talking about how much they don't need the other but then having their identity be about talking about the other and hating on them.

      17 votes
      1. [2]
        RNG
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Let me start by saying I don't think saying that one "hates all men" is all that useful. I don't think we can really swap in MGTOW as an example here, primarily because MGTOW is a community of...

        And you're totally right, it stinks of MGTOW. It's people talking about how much they don't need the other but then having their identity be about talking about the other and hating on them.

        Let me start by saying I don't think saying that one "hates all men" is all that useful.

        I don't think we can really swap in MGTOW as an example here, primarily because MGTOW is a community of disaffected men who are having their privileged status threatened, whereas feminists are addressing inequality that stems from large, overarching social structures that systemically disadvantage them. I can't help but see a parallel to discourse regarding "reverse racism" where resentment of oppression is equivocated to being as bad as the oppression itself.

        I'm also reminded of the discourse surrounding ACAB. Perhaps not every law enforcement officer is morally bankrupt as an individual, but by being a "cop" they are participating in a manifestly oppressive system both racially and materially. The role of the "cop" is what is the "bastard." If one believes that what makes one a "man" is largely socially constructed, and that this identity entails participation in a system that systemically disadvantages women and gender minorities, then hatred of "men" isn't the condemnation of a group of individuals, rather the condemnation of a role, a role that necessarily entails oppression of the other.

        Again, probably not helpful, especially considering the individualist proclivities of the audience, but perhaps the audience was other feminists who could properly contextualize the statement.

        8 votes
        1. Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          Given that the initial run was 400 copies and the article said she was surprised that a man, let alone a prominent one read her article - well, I believe this is precisely the case.

          perhaps the audience was other feminists who could properly contextualize the statement.

          Given that the initial run was 400 copies and the article said she was surprised that a man, let alone a prominent one read her article - well, I believe this is precisely the case.

          9 votes
    2. ohyran
      Link Parent
      A friend of mine organized the Statement Festival here - basically it was a music festival but with the only differencing detail that no men where allowed. Which was equated with misogyny and a...

      A friend of mine organized the Statement Festival here - basically it was a music festival but with the only differencing detail that no men where allowed. Which was equated with misogyny and a similar "what if the genders where changed?" argument.

      A strategy used for one, doesn't work for the other.

      Tbh reading this article and it feels kind of straight forward? She mentions men as a group, masculinity as an ideal and not the men in her life... and well so do I, I suppose. "Hate men" in that regard. Although I see it more of a prison for both and wouldn't focus on maleness alone as an upholding factor of the patriarchy (mostly because I don't buy it as an argument) but a heavy contributing factor.

      Firebrand rhetoric seems not that problematic to me - but its often met with similar reactions. When someone propagates class war they aren't saying "starting it" but "taking part actively in it". Simply that one group is doing everything it can to win it, but pretending there isn't one. But it sounds really strange when someone talks about taking part in the class struggle.
      Lady says she hates dudeness, not dudes - at the end of the day.
      (She even reference the shorthand of the statement in the text)

      How happy she is I don't know - does it matter?
      I wonder if someone sauntered up to Malcolm X when he was alive and went "I can't imagine you're a very chipper kind of dude"?
      I don't think its very relevant. Or rather "obviously she's furious about the patriarchy - so not in regards to that".

      The only problem I have with these specific frustrations and angers and the way they are communicated - is that they are often accompanied with "Why are you not devoting all your energy to this one topic?" putting itself as more critical than any other or forcing a conversation in to that form of duality, which is a shame BUT she never says that either in the interview.

      The festival, The Statement Festival, was a massive hit, mostly with the cops, as they noted that unlike any other festival there was zero rapes and sexual assaults, or brawls and assaults. They had some people smoking pot and some too drunk - but that was it. Like the woman in the interview my friend was asked what men was supposed to do during the festival and she answered something similar that ended in "take care of the kids when their girlfriends or wives party".

      (Just read the English wiki page for it and its pretty filled with oddities and wrong information - but its pretty apt.)

      7 votes
  3. [6]
    Atvelonis
    (edited )
    Link
    Harmange is clearly working within critical theory here, as is anyone who uses such a phrase as "Moi, les hommes, je les déteste" in an academic context. I see no contradiction between such a...
    • Exemplary

    Harmange is clearly working within critical theory here, as is anyone who uses such a phrase as "Moi, les hommes, je les déteste" in an academic context. I see no contradiction between such a worldview and her positive interpersonal relationships with men. This is very simply a discussion of abstracted classes, not people. I truly "hate" the tendency toward linguistic pedantry in philosophical discourse; if her tagline were "Moi, le patriarcat, je le déteste," would that prompt such a negative reaction? Indeed, such a sentence has a technically different meaning. But her interview is clear that her ultimate argument is not a criticism of individual men—rather, her détestation is directed toward their implicit support of and benefit from the patriarchy (and their subsequent reluctance to separate themselves from it).

    I cannot help but observe the number of people in this thread and beyond whose opinions on such matters are formed, as well as I can see, almost entirely on the basis of feeling personally offended by la détestation applied to their class, or specifically the systems that it operates under. Maybe it is "bad form" to be inflammatory in such matters, but if you agree with the general message of the essay—that is, something to the effect of "the patriarchal system makes it very difficult for women to live a fully actualized life in the way that men can, especially in its persistent gaslighting of women when they protest their situation"—then critiquing the "respectability" or form of the argument is ultimately kind of irrelevant. There is a lot of suffering going on in the world—in this case, female suffering specifically and disproportionately perpetuated by men—and it takes a lot of privilege to turn up one's nose at such things because they aren't phrased just how one would like.

    I also see some remarks in this thread about how switching the gender roles here immediately and obviously makes the statement hateful, à la "Men Going Their Own Way." This is true. It is also a truism. Stripping any phrase of context to analyze it literally and prescriptively will, by design, allow you to exercise a purely liberal analysis and therefore return a conclusion of precise equivalence where one would otherwise find only equivocation. This is not a logically incorrect course of action, but the relative complexity of our lives compared to such a thought experiment makes it misleading. In a vacuum, an abstracted "I, a member of X, hate the systems perpetuated by Y" and "I, a member of Y, hate the systems perpetuated by X" are equally détestable statements. However, you would be hard-pressed to find any non-trivial binary system in the real world—that is, one which would genuinely prompt such a remark (no strawmen, please)—in which X and Y do not exist within some sort of social hierarchy or power structure. And it is pretty challenging to argue in good faith that one's placement within a social hierarchy has no effect whatsoever on the end-meaning of one's words or actions within that system. If that were true, social hierarchies would not exist in the first place; by definition, they derive strength from recognition by their constituent members as upholding some manner of inequality (justified or not, this inequality is inherent).

    The interviewer is clearly a bit more focused on la détestation than le patriarcat in this text, as are many of the comments on this thread. I suppose this is to be expected on a site so dominated by men (85%+, as I recall), even one as purportedly leftist as Tildes. I value the discussion here a lot, and I appreciate everyone sharing their perspectives, even if I feel that their varying levels of defensiveness are mostly unwarranted. I would suggest that everyone here take a step back and think about their own positionality beyond the surface level when attempting to engage critically with social discourse. That includes myself. I will be reflecting on this more over the next week.

    14 votes
    1. Cycloneblaze
      Link Parent
      Of course not, because then people (men) wouldn't take it personally. It doesn't matter that the underlying argument is not what it appears to be, the overt statement is a criticism of whatever...

      if her tagline were "Moi, le patriarcat, je le déteste," would that prompt such a negative reaction? Indeed, such a sentence has a technically different meaning. But her interview is clear that her ultimate argument is not a criticism of individual men

      Of course not, because then people (men) wouldn't take it personally. It doesn't matter that the underlying argument is not what it appears to be, the overt statement is a criticism of whatever man hears it. Most people are definitely going to hear it stripped of its context, or worse, they'll hear it accompanied by a "fucking feminazis" screed. The phrase matters on its own.

      I cannot help but observe the number of people in this thread and beyond whose opinions on such matters are formed, as well as I can see, almost entirely on the basis of feeling personally offended by la détestation applied to their class, or specifically the systems that it operates under.

      Yeah, because the statement is "I hate men". It purposely attacks them. It is offensive. The fact that it is an introduction to a more nuanced argument doesn't strip it of that power at all, and it's naive to think it would. Or disingenuous even. I very much doubt that Harmange didn't mean it to offend men, just as much as she meant it to introduce her criticism of men's power in society.

      10 votes
    2. Grzmot
      Link Parent
      I mean does this surprise you? It's almost using inflammatory rhetoric, you can't just expect the insulted side to take it calmly because you think they fucking deserve it. It describes to me a...

      The interviewer is clearly a bit more focused on la détestation than le patriarcat in this text, as are many of the comments on this thread. I suppose this is to be expected on a site so dominated by men (85%+, as I recall), even one as purportedly leftist as Tildes.

      I mean does this surprise you? It's almost using inflammatory rhetoric, you can't just expect the insulted side to take it calmly because you think they fucking deserve it. It describes to me a person that has spent her short life mostly in academia and surrounded by people from academia, which is kind of strange, because academia is a very limited part of society (as it should be) and it's not going to take her feminist fight very far.

      9 votes
    3. [3]
      nukeman
      Link Parent
      Unfortunately, these days perception drives reality. Long academic arguments don't reseonate with the majority of the population (I'd chalk it up to a combination of bad education systems and most...

      Unfortunately, these days perception drives reality. Long academic arguments don't reseonate with the majority of the population (I'd chalk it up to a combination of bad education systems and most people not having more than a bachelor's degree). That's not to dismiss that fact that people use respectability politics to hide their true beliefs, but a bad message has a huge impact on whether people take it up and accept it. When I read through the article and supportive comments, I understand what it means, but to someone reading just the headline, maybe a paragraph? Forget about it.

      To use an example from my field, I see nuclear engineers and operators all the time getting upset about renewables, promoting Michael Shellenberger, etc. What does that accomplish? Wind and solar are popular, and Shellenberger has flirted with climate change denial. Distance ourselves from Shellenberger and hype nuclear systems that pair well with variable renewables. Even if nuclear may be technically better, if most people don't support it, it won't get built.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        Atvelonis
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I intentionally avoided much reference to the "implementation details" of how this phrase would be taken by "the masses" because I was referring exclusively its reception by academics, who are...

        I intentionally avoided much reference to the "implementation details" of how this phrase would be taken by "the masses" because I was referring exclusively its reception by academics, who are aware of both its theoretical framework and underlying social context. My criticism was therefore aimed toward the "Neiman Marxist" academics who (rightly) recognize the absurd level of offense intended in such a phrase, but who are unable to extricate themselves from the power structures in which they are invested in their subsequent analysis of it.

        This is not a hill I care to die on, but I would question the efficacy of any centuries-in-the-making social movement that prompts only an exploratory reaction from those in power: "Gentlemen, the plebeians have suggested that we ought to think about changing the system. Shall we or shall we not?" The altruistic among the ruling class may, on a whim, grant the noble laborer a social program or two here and there, recalling how politely they had asked for them 150 years ago. This isn't necessarily an invalid way to advocate for social change, but it's so slow as to present an image of an activist party upholding such a process as completely and utterly ineffective. And if you are concerned with optics, as most in this thread are, I would make the suggestion that the image of "doing absolutely nothing tangible" is not a great political look. If the governing system cannot be taken to serve the interests of the oppressed, it will be ignored altogether.

        I'm reminded now of some of the revolutionary, perspectivist observations in Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth. In the context of an emerging and nominally post-colonial state, the inherent disconnect between the colonizer and colonized is not something that can be "talked out" while the pseudo-colonial hierarchy remains in place. A genuine reversal or redistribution of wealth and power can only be realized, Fanon posits, by the forceful destruction of the overarching system. Absenting a force to prompt genuine change, the ruling class will find a way to indirectly preserve its influence. In the United States, White people like to refer to the unifying rhetoric of Martin Luther King, Jr. as the embodiment of legitimate protest, but I would be inclined to offer substantially more credit to the "force" offered by Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam, et al. in propelling the civil rights movement of the 1960s forward. There was (is) a lot of détestation in Black Power ideals; such rhetoric was never supposed to align with the preferences of the White moderate because it rejected their authority altogether. Obviously this caused a mad scramble among the elite to accede to the more "acceptable" requests of King's peaceful protests, in order to facilitate some manner of the indirect preservation of their influence that I referred to above; there was no revolution—only the threat of one—but progress was effected all the same.

        I don't think it's at all disingenuous to compare Harmange to Malcolm X here, at least in intent of image. Inflammatory messaging of this nature has a very specific purpose, and that is to get people's attention. Being the preference of the ruling class, the "more reasonable" theory will always follow, whether in the form of academic essays or byte-sized Instagram posts. The history of misogyny has a long-standing tradition; indeed, our entire literary canon is rooted in it, and by extension, so is our culture. I'm not fond of the tendency of men to massively downplay the significance of gendered oppression in our society. I believe that this originates from an internalized preference among men to exemplify hyper-masculine ideals in order to maintain their dominant position within the social hierarchy (to the detriment of women), to varying degrees, whether they admit it to themselves or not. Most often they do not admit it to themselves because they do not realize it to begin with. This is the fault of being coddled by society; of being told that "we're all equal now" when, as experience and statistics show, that is clearly not the case. A phrase like, "Moi, les hommes, je les déteste" shatters that perception in a way that cannot be replicated through "respectable" discourse. It alerts men of their privilege and the injustice they perpetuate. More importantly, it conveys la détestation that their behavior has induced among women; a feeling that they would obviously like to avoid. And as established above, hardly can you find a more convincing impetus for real social change than an immediate and forceful demand for it: "or else!"

        7 votes
        1. [2]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. Atvelonis
            Link Parent
            Yes, the "force" I'm referring to is not specifically aligned with the "positive" side of the civil rights movement as we would normally conceptualize it but rather a fundamental threat to the...

            Yes, the "force" I'm referring to is not specifically aligned with the "positive" side of the civil rights movement as we would normally conceptualize it but rather a fundamental threat to the establishment. The Nation of Islam was a Black supremacist organization that advocated for racial separation and/or violence to achieve Black actualization. From The Black Muslims in America by C. Eric Lincoln:

            The Negro's plight was forced upon him by the white man, but it persists because the Negro has been willing to remain "in a land not his own." It can only be solved by separation. So long as Negroes live among whites, they will be subject to the white man's abuse of power—economic and political. Separation will provide the only realistic opportunity for mutual respect between the races.

            [...]

            Allah is not, however, a godhead complete in himself. All Black Men represent Allah, or at least participate in him, for all Black Men are divine. A strong Platonic idealism permeates the Black Muslim concept of Allah: Pure Black is equivalent to Absolute Perfection. Again and again the thesis is sounded that Black is the primogenitor of all that exists. All colors are but shades of black; white is but the absence of color; hence the white man is incomplete and imperfect. All things that are, are made by man; and only Black Man is truly wise and creative.

            [...]

            The Original Man is, by declaration of Allah himself, "none other than Black Man." Black Man is the first and last: creator of the universe and the primogenitor of all other races—including the white race, for which Black Man used "a special method of birth control." White man's history is only six thousand years long, but Black Man's is coextensive with the creation of the earth. Original Man includes all non-white people, and his primogeniture is undeniable: "everywhere the white race has gone on our planet they have found the Original Man or a sign that he has been there previously." The so-called Negro in America is a blood-descendant of the Original Man.

            I am not a proponent of this agenda; it is offensive (particularly in its attachment of race to the sexual, a hallmark of both racism and misogyny) and deeply unscientific. Like Fanon's analysis of violent revolution in The Wretched of the Earth, my comments here are broadly observational, not ideological. Regardless of my personal opinions, such dogma was still a massive departure from the world that the White elite had built up for themselves. It was this generalized sense of urgency motivated by fear (whether monetary or physical) that prompted any serious level of attention to the civil rights movement by the elite. I cannot emphasize enough how little the ruling class cares about peaceful protests not backed by something that actively threatens their dominant status. No one likes bad PR, but to induce change in the non-altruistic members of the ruling class, a protestor must induce in them a sense of panic, not just irritation. This could come in many forms: a widespread strike or truly massive product boycott could break the financial wheel, and therefore the identity of the elite. Looting, rioting, and/or violence also provides economic pressure, but more importantly threatens one's immediate physical security, which I would argue is the more alarming of the two effects by a significant margin.

            Malcolm X served an important role in the NOI for over a decade (1952–1964), where he actively advocated for Black supremacy, racial segregation, and violent protest. He was also at least circumstantially sympathetic to White supremacist antisemitism, if only as a means to an end for Black separatism. I am not familiar with all the details, but my impression is that his departure from the organization was mostly rooted in 1) his personal conflicts with Elijah Muhammad, including the latter's promiscuity and 2) his interest in converting to Sunni Islam, many practitioners of which had often criticized the NOI's Black separatist movement. From A Quiet Revolution by Leila Ahmed:

            The series The Hate Which Hate Produced presented a generally negative portrait of the Nation, an organization then headed by Elijah Muhammad, portraying it as anti-American and black-supremacist. This coverage drew criticism of the Nation from many, including Muslims in the United States. In fact the Nation had already drawn criticism from a broad variety of Sunni Muslims for its "black separatist version of Islam."

            [...]

            Malcolm X [...] would find himself besieged when he spoke on campuses by Muslim students who, considering themselves "the guardians of 'true' Islam," emphatically rejected the Nation and its teachings. These exchanges would have an impact on Malcolm X.

            I am not actually sure what "civil rights achievements" Malcolm X had under his belt that existed in any real manner of separation from the Nation of Islam. He was assassinated in 1965, only a year after leaving the group. Certainly in the interim he moderated some of his rhetoric, but the organizations he created during that time did not last beyond his death, and he is not particularly known for anything accomplished within this year of self-discovery. His and the Nation's legacies are heavily intertwined, and it is probably best to think of them as generally operating under similar principles of extremity.

            3 votes
  4. [9]
    eban
    Link
    I also think this post is an excellent basis for discussion. Thank you for posting it. As I'm writing this comment, both the post's author and the only other comment have taken a pretty negative...

    I also think this post is an excellent basis for discussion. Thank you for posting it. As I'm writing this comment, both the post's author and the only other comment have taken a pretty negative stance on Harmange and her views, so I would like to attempt to contextualize her viewpoint and interview. I have not read her essay, only this interview.

    It's easy to misunderstand the harsh rhetoric she uses, especially when taken out of its home context of critical feminist theory. She's taking a position that is informed by both a lifetime of experience as a woman and an awareness of modern conceptions of power. In particular, she's performing a hate for men much more analogous to the hate slaves have for their masters or Jews have for Nazis than to the hatred many democrats have for Donald Trump. In particular, the long history of mistreatment of women in society forms the basis for her view. Democrats are not continually abused by the ruling class, but Jews in Nazi Germany were. Understanding her representation of herself as a woman and a member of an oppressed group in society is key to understanding her stated hatred.

    Now it's easier to comprehend her dual claim that she hates men, but that she doesn't want to live in a matriarchy where all women hate men. It's totally reasonable that she would not want her own gender to impose on another the same thing they've experienced for decades. And it's also reasonable that she hates patriarchal power structures in society. However, patriarchal power structures are almost exclusively propagated by men, and consequently men deserve her hatred for being a driving force behind oppression.

    Her positions that good men should sit on the sideline and let women advocate for themselves is also reasonable in this context; imagine if white people were leaders of the civil rights movement in the US rather than MLK or Malcolm X. Instead, well meaning members of a privileged class should do their best to be receptive toward concerns raised by an underprivileged one.

    So then the question arises: when is it no longer okay for a woman to hate men? The answer is obvious based on the premise that women are currently being oppressed: it's no longer okay at the point where women are no longer oppressed by men.

    My positionality: I consider myself a man.

    I'll gladly keep discussing this topic if you want to disagree with me, and hopefully something positive will come of it.

    10 votes
    1. [8]
      jgb
      Link Parent
      I'm well aware of the context from which she writes. I think most Tildes readers have had a great deal of exposure to - if not total immersion in - critical theory. I don't think in a developed...

      I'm well aware of the context from which she writes. I think most Tildes readers have had a great deal of exposure to - if not total immersion in - critical theory.

      I don't think in a developed Western European nation like France - by any objective metric one of the most equal and tolerant nations on Earth - there is anywhere near enough oppression of women by men to justify blanket hatred of all men.

      I could see her point if she lived in Saudi Arabia. But she does not live in Saudi Arabia.

      14 votes
      1. [6]
        eban
        Link Parent
        France, like any nation is tolerant until it isn't. Only recently I remember reading that France was considering a ban on hair/face coverings with a very anti-Muslim undertone. Yes, women in...

        France, like any nation is tolerant until it isn't. Only recently I remember reading that France was considering a ban on hair/face coverings with a very anti-Muslim undertone. Yes, women in France or elsewhere in the developed world are, by most measures, less oppressed than women have been for centuries and less oppressed than women in other nations like Saudi Arabia. But that does not mitigate the fundamental truth that they are disadvantaged in a masculinity-favoring culture. I think it's a dangerous game for society to make decisions about what avenues for criticism and which outlets for frustration are justifiable. In the past such judgements have led to the fire hosing of civil rights activists and censorship of media. In this case, the perceived lesser gravity of female oppression reminds me of arguments over "smaller" civil rights issues like voter ID laws and school bussing in that reasonable arguments for or against the necessity of each can be made but, at the end of the day, one only one outcome increases equity in the world. There is an argument to be made that hating men is taking it too far, but that argument should be inspected with a healthy dose of suspicion to ensure it doesn't mask worse motives.

        6 votes
        1. [5]
          Adys
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I'm always wary of people talking about head covering bans when talking about France, because there's a lot of background and context that is not obvious or available to people who haven't...
          • Exemplary

          Only recently I remember reading that France was considering a ban on hair/face coverings with a very anti-Muslim undertone.

          I'm always wary of people talking about head covering bans when talking about France, because there's a lot of background and context that is not obvious or available to people who haven't actually lived there. Usually, people are referring to things happening in schools, and misunderstand it not only for what it is but also generally think it's a global ban.

          The context being that of laicity (laïcité). In short, it's a stronger version of secularism: the "separation of church and state", except that we French people take it very, very seriously. Saying "one nation under God" is not OK. A politician talking about their religion (in an official context) is not OK. Our money would never in a million years mention religion. Our current president, similar to many others, is an agnostic raised in a secular, non-religious family. And you will NOT find any member of the state wearing a visible fucking cross, let alone a hijab or anything like that.

          The principle of laicity extends to schools, as they are state establishments, and we believe in the right to choose your religion, rather than be forced into one. And what that means is that when you're entering a school, you leave your religion behind: No publicly visible religious attire, among other things.

          One example I just came across now (almost accidentally): The difference between a german court permitting prayer rooms in schools, and a french headscarf ban being upheld.

          Of course, this type of extreme secularism is very hard to reconciliate with Islam. Having talked to many muslims (and having been engaged to one for years), I'm well aware that asking a muslim to "leave their religion outside the school" is like asking me to "leave my name outside the school", asking a medical doctor to "leave the hippocratic oath outside the school", or asking an american to "leave their guns outside the school". It's not a reasonable ask.

          And thus… the impossibility of this conflict. But you also need to understand that this applies entirely to the public school's boundaries (as well as various other state locations and applies more generally to public servants performing function). We also don't have a problem with islamic schools, nor christian schools for that matter.

          Edit: I will add one thing: As a French person, and much like most other French citizens, I'm not "proud" of my country (patriotism disgusts most of us); in fact, I'm very critical of it. But this is one of the things it does right. I fully believe secularism is a critical path to tolerance. I have seen it work.

          France is a country which has always been better about tolerance. French people are more tolerant than most from other countries on many points. Of course, this doesn't apply to every one of my fellow citizens, and the internet has made this… quite a bit worse for everybody. But in general, we don't care where you're from, what you pray to, or who you kiss and/or fuck.

          22 votes
          1. [4]
            Whom
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Choosing your religion by...not expressing it in an institution most individuals will go through? By forcing women to expose themselves in a way that's deeply uncomfortable? In what way is a...

            we believe in the right to choose your religion, rather than be forced into one. And what that means is that when you're entering a school, you leave your religion behind

            Choosing your religion by...not expressing it in an institution most individuals will go through? By forcing women to expose themselves in a way that's deeply uncomfortable?

            In what way is a student wearing a marker of their religion forcing anyone into anything? I understand that you're trying to clarify how this comes from secularism as an ideal and not a specific hatred for Muslims, how this is applied equally across religions. Assuming you're correct, the effects are still deeply authoritarian and act as anti-Islamic rules regardless of the intent.


            Also just in case someone wants to go down this path, I want to say that feminism and dress within Islam is deeply complicated and bound to time and place, as well as individual. What's repressive to some is liberatory to others, and the other way around. There's a whole lot of history wrapped up in that and there's no way to make a blanket statement. My point is just that the state position should be that of bodily autonomy, something France denied these girls.

            6 votes
            1. [3]
              Grzmot
              Link Parent
              You're generalizing here. But the issue of banning religious symbols in public institutions is incredibly complicated, because I want to respect the people that exercise their religion for...

              By forcing women to expose themselves in a way that's deeply uncomfortable?

              You're generalizing here.

              But the issue of banning religious symbols in public institutions is incredibly complicated, because I want to respect the people that exercise their religion for themselves and don't hurt anyone else while at the same time breaking apart structures where women are forced into covering themselves through social pressure or outright threats. This is also a thing.

              I haven't made up my mind yet on if I support such a ban or not, because it feels very much to me like treating symptoms and not causes.

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                Whom
                Link Parent
                Ah, looks like my edits got in too late.

                Ah, looks like my edits got in too late.

                2 votes
                1. Grzmot
                  Link Parent
                  No worries, it happens.

                  No worries, it happens.

                  1 vote
      2. ohyran
        Link Parent
        Sure but thats true of a lot of things isn't it? France still has problems with Police brutality, just like most countries in the west. Not as bad as Saudi Arabia though. France like many other...

        I could see her point if she lived in Saudi Arabia. But she does not live in Saudi Arabia.

        Sure but thats true of a lot of things isn't it? France still has problems with Police brutality, just like most countries in the west. Not as bad as Saudi Arabia though. France like many other countries in the west have issues with racism. Saudi Arabia has modern slavery woven in to it. Class issues still persist buuuut Saudi Arabia is just covered in it. France have problems with misogyny like any other place in the west (duckduckgo/whatever you use the term "misogyny in France") but again it's not Saudi Arabia.

        Comparing one thing to the very worst thing isn't exactly making that one thing better. Demanding that anyone angry at problems shouldn't because it could be worse is ... well its a bit of a threat isn't it? :)
        What should she do? Not say "I hate men" as shorthand for hating the male upholding of the patriarchy? Should she say "I hate the patriarchy" instead? Its what she says she does, she only slapped a shocking short hand on top according to the interview.

        I think every government should have a fully functioning guillotine outside it with the text, "remember who serves who". Doesn't mean I have some lust for the act of decapitation although I suppose it could be construed as such.

        5 votes
  5. [3]
    ohyran
    Link
    I don't see much of a problem here except a bit of a firebrand rhetoric shorthand slapped on top in the form of a "I hate men". In the way she describes her hatred... I guess I too "hate men". The...

    I don't see much of a problem here except a bit of a firebrand rhetoric shorthand slapped on top in the form of a "I hate men". In the way she describes her hatred... I guess I too "hate men".

    The first read through was sort of odd - but assuming good intent and going in again it seemed she was very focused on the war on patriarchy with the downsides of anyone with that focus but very focused on the war on patriarchy with all the upsides of anyone with that focus. Remove the header part and you got, to my eyes, a fairly reasonable criticism of our world.
    (it sort of reminds me of a police officer here who wanted a law to stop all men from seeing other people and being outside after 22:00 since, very aptly, that officer noted that if you did that there wouldn't be almost any crime at all and no violent crime (or as close to zero as you could get). Obviously the plan was never to try to push for that - but it was pretty on the nose. Another thing is the song "Allt som är ditt" - which in a quick view seems like it proposes public lynching of men by women (which it isn't about obviously))

    Whether that would help her situation and if the rest of her theoretical groundwork is correct or her tactics are functioning, I have no idea. Seems to have gotten some exposure though.

    Perhaps its the late hour, but I don't see that much in the text to be angry about.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      elcuello
      Link Parent
      It's actually kind of sad that we have to find excuses not to be angry. It says a lot about how things are right now.

      Perhaps its the late hour, but I don't see that much in the text to be angry about.

      It's actually kind of sad that we have to find excuses not to be angry. It says a lot about how things are right now.

      1 vote
      1. ohyran
        Link Parent
        Its mostly a reply to the anger of OP and - tbh my parents met during the FNL demonstrations and 2nd of June support groups. My dad smuggled guns to be used when "The revolution come". My...

        Its mostly a reply to the anger of OP and - tbh my parents met during the FNL demonstrations and 2nd of June support groups. My dad smuggled guns to be used when "The revolution come".
        My grandfather shot a dude in the knee due to political reasons. His parents lived during the bread riots where people argued for "Little Murders".

        Times are times, but a constant focus on negative change makes the past more attractive and creates this fictitious rosy colored dream that some can use as propaganda to force us to swallow push back on improvements in our society. People have always been angry, sometimes its a little bit more in one area, sometimes its a little bit less, sometimes its justified, sometimes its not.

        4 votes
  6. Cycloneblaze
    Link
    This interview is a lot more nuanced than Harmange's opening statement, "I hate men", makes it out to be. I haven't read her manifesto, so I can't relate it to what she writes in this interview,...

    This interview is a lot more nuanced than Harmange's opening statement, "I hate men", makes it out to be. I haven't read her manifesto, so I can't relate it to what she writes in this interview, though I suppose it's probably a lot more aggressive. But I agree with a lot of what she writes here. In fact, I don't think a lot of it is very controversial.

    Perhaps by leading with "I hate men" she's just being intentionally inflammatory to gain publicity, and obtain a spotlight to express the nuance in her provocative opening words. It's worked for her already, clearly! More likely I think she doesn't really care to assuage people who are offended by those words, and just calls on them to figure it out for themselves. Of course, she shouldn't have to explain the nuance to men, who never have to explain themselves to women, as she points out above. But it's divisive rhetoric. She looks to be happy to leave behind the men (and women) who aren't willing to look past her insult, and just take as allies the women (and men) who know what she's talking about. I don't know, in this political climate, if that's such a good strategy. Maybe there's no strategy at all and she just wants to make a statement, but this interview gives me the impression that Harmange is more outward-looking that that.

    For what it's worth, I'm not offended by her words (as a man myself). I think women have more than earned the right to say things like this. It's clear that she has a lot of thought and some empathy behind her professed hatred as well, at least going off this interview.

    Thanks for taking the time to translate this, @Grzmot, it's interesting!

    5 votes
  7. post_below
    Link
    I see the "I hate men" concept here as part of a process. When a person or group has hurt you, hate is a powerful tool on the way to recovery. It gives you some power back. It's not a healthy way...

    I see the "I hate men" concept here as part of a process. When a person or group has hurt you, hate is a powerful tool on the way to recovery. It gives you some power back.

    It's not a healthy way to live long term, and I don't think it's ever going to be positive politically except in the most extreme circumstances. But as a step to reclaiming power under a system that's designed to minimize it, it has value.

    5 votes
  8. [2]
    nothis
    (edited )
    Link
    This fits beautifully with this recent post about the problems with the language of the left. I'm pretty sure I'm (politically, philosophically) on her side. It's essentially a slogan to bring...

    This fits beautifully with this recent post about the problems with the language of the left.

    I'm pretty sure I'm (politically, philosophically) on her side. It's essentially a slogan to bring awareness to gender inequalities. I interpret this as targeting women who feel guilty for hating aspects of masculine culture and – in as few words as possible – tell them that it's ok to be angry, to accept it as a reality that needs changing, without getting caught up in not trying to hurt (particular?) men's feelings. But it's also verbal ammunition for the right. Just like someone pointed out in the other thread, slogans like "Defund the Police", while succinct and conspicuous, are too easy to be abused by the other side by removing context.

    Now you could say, what does it matter if men get angry about this? It certainly doesn't change the underlying issues this is about and it only brings more awareness. But there do seem to be political consequences. I believe a lot of the reactionary political momentum, nowadays, comes from outrage over the left going "too far". I don't believe they're going anywhere particularly extreme but they still cling to the aggressive slogans from a time when they were in a powerless minority, which comes off problematic when spoken from a position of relative (or even just perceived) power. If you're a small college protestor, you're yelling the most extreme things you can from your megaphone, expecting none of it to realistically come true and gaining attention from potential new allies. It's a position of negotiation where you start with something outrageous, expecting to get something in the middle that's just barely enough and people mostly get that. But if you suddenly have the support of powerful parts of the media, local politics, a collage campus, a liberal urban environment, etc., such "outrageous" claims no longer have the benefit of the doubt of not being implemented in their literal meaning. And that changes the context for slogans like "I hate men". People actually vote right because they're afraid of slogans like this. It's actually happening. It's stupid and oversimplified. But what else is stupid and oversimplified? Facebook.

    (On more of a side note: I always feel like the French language feels different for statements like this, "outrage" can come off more nuanced, sarcasm can be hidden in subtle absurdities and repetition, things like that. I believe there could be quite a lot that's lost in translation.)

    5 votes
    1. Grzmot
      Link Parent
      I get where you're coming from and I agree, partially. Statements like Defund the police or Black lives matter however are ambivalent and open room for interpretation. Some people choose to...

      I get where you're coming from and I agree, partially. Statements like Defund the police or Black lives matter however are ambivalent and open room for interpretation. Some people choose to interpret either maliciously or out of a place of ignorance. There's little room for interpretation in the statement I hate men or Men are trash. Furthermore, she doesn't get to say things like that and then backtrack on basically everything including the hate because she was simply starting a conversation. I heavily dislike that justification, but it's rampant in liberal circles.

      I get where she's coming from too, but she doesn't get to dictate me being offended by the sentence, but I will, cause I'm a man.

      8 votes
  9. Good_Apollo
    Link
    She’s a zealot and zealots are always the biggest weakness in any cause. To wittingly undermine your own crusade, I don’t know of a greater folly.

    She’s a zealot and zealots are always the biggest weakness in any cause. To wittingly undermine your own crusade, I don’t know of a greater folly.

    4 votes