When I was a little girl, I was told stories of atrocities against women to protect me from the ‘ravenous beasts’ called men.
These stories were narrated in the hope that my prospects of falling into their traps would decrease tremendously. At least until the right time. When’s the right time, you ask?
Obviously, when I get my life together! That would mean achieving spiritual maturity (I’m Christian), emotional intelligence, mental stability, a bustling career, and financial independence, amongst others. By then, I would be fully equipped to battle against men and protect myself if the situation demanded.
It was their way of preserving my sweet naive self from meeting ‘the cruelty incarnate that is the male species’. And protecting me from reliving the bad experiences that they (my caretakers and guardians) had with men. You could say that their opinions largely influenced my early perceptions of men. I was still impressionable, after all.
One’s perceptions of men will be contingent on their experiences with them. These kinds of experiences in question will shape the ideologies of such a person. Consequently, the same may think of every man to be alike and seek reasons to back up that claim.
I wilfully adopted misandry. I chose to hate men. It was like a cause to me, and I was passionate about it.
Years passed, and I became more self-conscious and aware. I realised that the hatred was not just because of my perceptions of men but also because I feared them.
I saw them as predators, seeking to devour every female human.
(And you know what you do to predators: you either run away from them or you launch preemptive or post-emptive attacks against them for the sake of preservation.)
While I thought that every vile thing men do against women is a reflection of their true motives, I also assumed that every act of kindness they did was the forerunner of an ulterior motive. And, therefore, their actions were always meant to be viewed with malicious suspicion.
Classic generalizing tendencies.
I’m laughing as I write this article. I had such elaborate ideas of who they were and how to relate to them. I had such pernicious beliefs and might have still held them if I didn’t know any better.
At the time I started developing these ideas, the immediate men in my environment only reinforced them. They treated women as toys and clothes, to be played with or changed at will, ergo my thinking that ‘all men in the world are scum’ (by the way, I think now that everyone has the potential to be scum). And I took it upon myself to defend women against every man. All of the grudge I held against a specific few got directed at almost every man I met (especially strangers).
I wanted revenge.
I had heard stories about the subjugation of women and the demeaning and degrading acts perpetrated against them (rape, molestation, domestic violence, and so on). Being an empath, I sought retribution, and this manifested as unbridled hatred for almost every man. As a man, to earn my favour, you would have to defend yourself in my court before a prejudiced jury and a hypercritical, carping judge (yours truly, of course).
The drive for revenge is a desperate need to counter evil with evil. It might not be a direct result of one’s own experiences but the feelings of hurt from sympathizing with those who have had such experiences. I don’t think I have a terrible history with men, however, I felt the responsibility to hate men for all the hurt they’ve caused in the lives of billions of women over the centuries. And I diligently carried that responsibility. I thought it was admirable, to have such intense aversion against men. “Hey, I hate men. Hope this proves to you that I love women.”
Thank goodness I have rid myself of such embarrassing and unprogressive views.
I know now that nothing will be achieved from hating men. It is a stupid, fruitless endeavour. Instead, I should advocate equal opportunities, and not equal outcomes, for all the genders without harbouring hatred against any of them. Simple.
This is not to invalidate anyone’s experiences with men but to recognise that such generic ideologies are retrogressive and even detrimental. My goal is to advocate forward-thinking ideas that aren’t bound within a specific gender perception.
It is said that for there to be equality amongst all sexes, it has to be by a concerted effort, not one gender shouldering all the weight, but each making conscious efforts to ensure equality.
This piece was a reflection of how my upbringing and few experiences shaped my opinions. The sense of fear stemmed from retrogressive ideas fed to me since I was little. Many of them have been a culmination of the sour experiences I witnessed myself. Feminism is not about hating one gender to lift another; it’s about appropriating female struggles and giving them enough space to thrive.
I have learnt to not punish an entire gender for the sins committed by some.
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