I've changed sites. Click here to read this post at elodieonlove.com.
A woman is treated poorly by a man, or her relationship with a man doesn't work out the way she wants, or she learns about a man or men doing something horrific, usually to women or children. There are a few different ways women commonly go with this. One is to say that men are awful, violent, disrespectful, terrible, unpleasant, selfish beings who by the way smell bad too.
I was a feminist even in high school. A girl once asked me, "why do you hate men?" A listening friend started laughing hysterically, knowing that I'd just tongue-danced with a guy for hours that weekend. I responded, "I don't hate men, I hate chauvinism." At the time, I didn't know that the word "chauvinism" meant something broader than sexism against women. My favorite dictionary.com definition of chauvinism is: Prejudiced belief in the superiority of one's own gender, group, or kind.
When a woman insults all men, I think of my male relatives. I think of my male friends. I think of the lovers I've had, all of whom have been men. I think of my boyfriend. And I think, if those men had been brought up thinking men just plain weren't capable of loving and respecting women fully, how would they have turned out? If they had been raised in the patriarchal "boys will be boys" mindset, which infantalizes men and endangers women, how much less rich would the world have been?
I love men. I think loving men is an integral part of my feminism. Yes, men have hurt me in the past, sometimes in ways that were sexist at the core. Other times they've hurt me because they were human, I was human, and humans hurt each other. My XX chromosomal structure and feminine gender identity don't make me an angel either.