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  1. Politics
  2. Feminism
5 September 2016

Suzanne Moore: Why I was wrong about men

You can't hate them all, can you? Actually, I can.

By Suzanne Moore

Men. You can’t live with them. You can’t shoot them. Well, you can, but this is the New Statesman. And modern feminism spends most of its life not just bending over backwards, but in the doggy position, saying how much it likes men. “I’m a feminist but . . . I love men.” Obviously I’m being a bit binary here, and when I write “men”, I mean women, blokes, anyone fluid enough basically to be in charge.

I once adhered to this. I didn’t want to put anyone off. I used to call feminism “sexual politics”, because that sounded way more sexy. Hey, I’m no man-hater – on the contrary. Look at me. Men? Can’t get enough of them, the poor, damaged critters. It’s not their fault. They’re as screwed up by the patriarchy as ordinary women, probably even more so.

All the special boys. What about the ones who were abused at public school and now run everything but can’t express their emotions properly? All the man victims, trapped by masculinity. Who could hate them? Their oppression is structural. You can’t hate them individually, can you?

You know what? I can. Please don’t confuse that with bitterness. I am in touch with my emotions enough to know the difference between personal hurt and class hatred. As a class, I hate men. I’ve changed my mind. I am no longer reasonable.

I want to see this class broken. There can’t be even basic equality for women without taking away the power of men – and by that I don’t mean feeling sorry for them because they have no friends or suggesting that they have small genitals. I mean the removal of their power.

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When I used to give men the benefit of the doubt, that doubt was suffused with my desire for sex, babies, the whole shebang. It wasn’t difficult to get any of this, although the way in which women are encouraged to do so is stultifying.

Marriage, monogamy – a prison where you build your own walls. Familiarity breeds contempt, but this is the aftermath of romance. If you want to fetishise proximity, domesticity, and storage solutions from Ikea, why not go all the way and be a lesbian? If you want to service someone, have a baby. And if you want to rescue someone, get a dog.

Sure, there can be equitable relationships between men and women, in which one turns into the other’s carer. This is the ­optimal compromise, the prospectus that no one really gets until it’s too late.

Having tried to live with various mishaps, I realise that this is not for me and it never will be. But then, nor will the kind of reasonable feminism in which we make allowances for men. Because they are men. I have had it all my life: pro-choice marches in which men insist that they walk at the front. A left-wing party that cannot deal with a female leader. The continuing pushing back of women’s rights.

If you are interested in the liberation of women, you’ll find that the biggest barrier to this is men: men as a class. I used to think, “I don’t hate all men.” I had therapy and everything. Now, I think that any intelligent woman hates men. There are very few problems in the world that don’t have, at the root of them, male violence and woman-hating.

The more I hate men (#YesAllMen), the more I don’t mind individual ones, actually, as it is clear that some can be entertaining for a while. Before you even bother whingeing that my hatred of the taskmasters of patriarchy is somehow equivalent to systematic misogyny, to the ongoing killing, rape and torture and erasure of women, know this: I once made exceptions. I was wrong.

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