Purely a figment of your imagination

What amuses, annoys, concerns or otherwise interests me – Noodlemaz

Confessions Of A Former Misogynist


NB/ there’re descriptions of violence in this, obviously – don’t read on if that’s not something you want to deal with today.

Another guest post for you, readers. This time, my friend Ben recounts his transition from misogynist to feminist. Yes I am happy to call him a feminist; I don’t think one needs to experience a form oppression to disagree with and stand against it. Men can be feminists; many are and they’re valuable allies.

I think this is an important post because it’s from a man who confesses his attitude was wrong, who noticed that, and then changed it over time. That doesn’t seem to happen too often and hopefully it might inspire some people, or at least help us to make sense of why people can harbour these common, irrational feelings of hatred.

NB/ text by Ben; I have added in headings, images and links.

What about the men?

“If I can’t have you, no one can!”

Yelled the estranged boyfriend to his ex girlfriend, while she was trapped in a blazing house fire he’d started. As a teenager watching this reported on the regional news, I felt a rush of the expected emotions – anger, sorrow and empathy, but not in the places you might expect. My first emotion wasn’t empathy for the girl who’d burned to death in the fire, but anger at what she must have done to deserve it.

Of course, women are just as capable of unhealthy jealous emotions as men, but what’s important is the thought process that got me to this conclusion. By this time I’d painted a picture in my head of a vast conspiracy of powerful, hysterical feminists, who were trying to silence and control men to suit their agenda.

I had a list of examples of how feminism had gone too far. I wasn’t allowed to have long hair at school, while girls were allowed to have long or short hair. Women were allowed to mock men for being bad in bed, but men weren’t allowed to say the same back. I said that women often lied about rape to get men locked up, and pointed to fathers’ rights and the fact that, historically, it was always men who were conscripted into the army.

The real issues

If I’m honest, I only really trotted out the examples above to justify my position; some of them even have some substance, but they didn’t make me angry. What did was, firstly, feminists challenging my point of view and, secondly, the fact that I found it really hard to get a girlfriend and, when I did, it usually ended abruptly with drama.

Getting and keeping a girlfriend was my ultimate goal, not because I genuinely loved any of the girls in question, but because I saw having a girlfriend as a status symbol. I could tell my friends that I had a girlfriend, was getting sex and that I wasn’t a failure as a man. I now realise that most of my friends wouldn’t care about my man status anyway, despite the lad banter, but this was what was going on in my head at the time. The feelings of the girls in question were irrelevant; to me girls were property that I had to cling on to and control. And if they dumped me, they deserved to be shamed in every way possible.

I would use emotional blackmail and intense pressure to get what I wanted in these relationships, and make them last as long as possible. I went out with a girl who smoked pot occasionally, and I basically told her that I would commit suicide if she kept doing it. This happened repeatedly, because she (rightly) refused to give in to me. I even hospitalised myself once – the pressure on her must have been immense.

The thought process here is difficult to explain, but I’ll give it a go. If a girl I was going out with did something I didn’t like, I’d get a big shot of adrenaline and hit a wall of irrational anger, especially if they knew I didn’t like what they were doing – I then saw her behaviour as selfishness. Once my anger button had been pressed, I lost all my powers of self-reflection and rational thinking. At that point, I’d come up with all sorts of warped explanations for my behaviour to create even more pressure and exert more control.images

I should also point out that I did (and still do) genuinely suffer from clinical depression. The difference now is that I’m self-aware enough to know how my actions affect other people, and I’ve developed ways of coping with it. Back then, however, I knew it was something I could abuse as leverage to get what I wanted. If my girlfriend talked to another man, and I got jealous, I’d sit in the corner with my head in my hands saying I was depressed. I’d say that I felt like killing myself because of the way she made me feel.


When I inevitably got dumped, I’d tell my friends horror stories about how she’d said my depression was just a form of emotional blackmail, and make up lies to try to turn her friends against her. Being dumped, especially if we hadn’t had sex, was the worst thing that could happen. I wanted sex, and only women had the power to give or take it away, and in my mind this made them more powerful than anything else. Being dumped would push the anger button, because I ultimately couldn’t face the truth of looking at who I was and what I was doing.

At this time, I was also dabbling in music recording and fancied myself as the new Roger Waters. When I was dumped by my then-girlfriend, I wrote a whole concept album about the break-up. Embarrassingly, it got a distribution deal and was produced on a decent-sized CD run, so there’s a permanent record of it that still comes back to haunt me.

The lyrics are fascinating to me now. They basically talked about my ex girlfriend as if she’d joined a cult; a cult where nobody listens to men any more, and everyone’s obsessed with “so-called rights”. In short, it says: this slut obviously couldn’t think for herself, so she got sucked into the feminazi agenda and dumped a lovely boyfriend, just because he suffered from depression. This was easier for me to handle than the truth, which was that I’d been dumped because I was an angry, obsessive, control-freak who emotionally abused his girlfriends.

Loud and proud

I remember when I first heard the word misogynist. I was talking to a friend about a girl who’d dumped me, and my feelings about feminists creating a society where nice men couldn’t get girlfriends, and he described me as “quite a misogynist”. I asked him what he meant, and he said “it’s simply hatred of women.” I instantly loved the term. I didn’t consider myself a sexist – I thought of Benny Hill as sexist – sexism was just silly but this was serious.

I very seriously thought women were irrational, mad, over-emotional and pseudo-intellectual creatures who would do anything, via new feminism, to crush weak men who suffered from depression, and I hated them. These days, I see a lot of people saying “I’m not a misogynist, but…”, because they don’t want to be called a misogynist, but not me. It was the term I’d been looking for, and I was proud to call myself a misogynist.

This was before the age of social media, but I know what I’d be doing if it was available at the time. I’d be following feminists and strong women on Twitter, combing their tweets for any kind of slip-up that I could use to ‘expose’ them. If I saw a blog or comment by a feminist that challenged my world view, my anger button would be pressed and, rather than responding rationally, I’d lash out with gendered insults, all while completely failing to empathise with them.

I’d be angrily commenting on blogs and YouTube videos about feminism, sticking up for the men who just want to get girlfriends and sex, but can’t because of this repellent radical feminism. And I would probably never change, because the large scale of social media has effectively provided a veritable support group of people who feel the same way, with the same irrational anger that prevents them from assessing their views.

Turning point

So what changed? I was in my 20s, and I’d had unprotected sex with a girl – this is another issue, actually – my need to have sex, and thus prove myself as a man, was always greater than the potential consequences – I had a complete inability to view sex and relationships from a rational and sensible perspective.

I told her that, if she got pregnant, she couldn’t have the baby, because it would put too much pressure on me to support it. When she told me that it was her choice what she did with her body, it pushed my anger button. How could she even consider doing that to me? I was irrationally angry, and my empathy was entirely skewed towards me, without ever considering how she might feel.

I told her I wanted nothing more to do with her, and she said to me:

“I’d like you to learn from this, but you won’t. You’ll just chalk me up as another “mad girl” and carry on repeating the same stupid mistakes.”

Again, that hit my anger button, and I was fuming about it for days. But a few months later, I thought about it more, and decided to start analysing why I was so angry.

The latter was key here. I’d never tried to rationalise my anger before; I’d just followed where it led. Of course, the problem with irrational anger is that you can’t analyse it while you’re irrationally angry. You need to give it a few days to cool off and then look at it.



What I found began to horrify me. I’d write down why I thought I was angry a few days ago – lists of statements such as ‘she overreacted,’ ‘she’s being arrogant, selfish and hypocritical.’ Then I looked at each one individually and asked myself what had actually happened. What was the truth? Without the shield of irrational anger, I began to realise that half of what was on the list wasn’t even true, and the stuff that was true couldn’t in anyway justify that level of anger and hatred.

Why was I so angry and hateful? Even now, I find this difficult to explain. It was probably a combination of an inability to accept criticism, insecurity and hormones, but I began to see that it was very seriously clouding my judgment. I continued to talk to people about my difficulty attracting women, sustaining relationships and my feelings about feminism, but when I got challenged, I decided to genuinely reflect on it rather than just getting angry and staying with the same views.

It didn’t work exactly like that, of course. Feminism still pushed my anger buttons, and I still argued a lot about it. But if something made me angry, I’d go home angry about it, silently rage about it while trying to sleep and then a few days later try to rationally analyse what had made me angry.

In turn, this led to a larger sense of self awareness. I knew about self awareness before, but I mainly just saw it as being self-deprecating in order to get compliments. Actually being aware of what you think, how you appear to other people, and why, made a massive difference, not only in terms of self-reflection, but also in terms of empathy.

I soon realised that my empathy had been severely skewed for years, but I’ve found that this can be unlearned once you’re self-aware enough. I’d only ever considered myself as the subject of empathy, or other men who were in my position, I’d never considered the emotions and feelings of the women I’d been emotionally abusing.

When I realised how my behaviour must have made my girlfriends feel, I felt sick. There wasn’t a feminist conspiracy to deprive nice men from getting sex and girlfriends. The girls I’d been out with hadn’t dumped me because I was ‘too nice’ or because I was depressed, but because I was an emotionally abusive arsehole. That’s not an easy thing to admit, but it’s a lot easier to fix once you’ve done it.

What followed over the next few years was an epiphany as I started to consider sexism and misogyny in the wider world. I spent several years married to a feminist (we’ve since separated, but I still thank her for patiently opening my eyes to so much of this), who would point out areas of sexist culture to me when it arose. At this time, despite no longer being an all-out misogynist, I still subscribed to the idea that sexism was largely a problem of the past, but I now see that it isn’t.

Everyday Sexism

There are obvious examples, such as the discrepancy in salaries between men and women in the same roles and the number of women in parliament, but it’s actually all over the place. I’m reminded of the episode of Life on Mars with the black policeman in a 1970s police station, saying that you can’t just get rid of racism because it’s everywhere; it’s embedded in the culture. Once you recognise sexism you see the same pattern emerge. It’s not just stuff like men pinching women’s bottoms in the office lift; sexism is still a part of our culture in so many places.

Just off the top of my head, I regularly hear jokes about women drivers among my friends. If I go to a stand-up comedy gig, the line-up is invariably all men, and there’s nearly always a rape joke and a joke about how slapping some women in some circumstances is okay. Disturbingly, this is usually greeted with a big cheer from the stag parties in attendance, as if this is something to be celebrated.

When I read books or watch TV or films now, I’m constantly aware of how many female characters are only shoehorned into the plot to provide a love interest for a male character, or to act as eye candy. I watched District 9, thinking it was an awesome film (which it is), but it was then pointed out to me that there are no female characters in it, apart from a bit-part from a wife. That’s just one example – there are loads of others. This sort of stuff isn’t intentionally misogynist; it’s a product of a culture where we think men do the important stuff, and women are there for love interests and to have babies.

I work in technology and games journalism which, despite the hugely increasing numbers of girl gamers, still panders to lazy stereotypes. Tech and game trade shows are almost solely aimed at heterosexual men, to the point where the companies employ “booth babes” in minimal clothing to make their products look sexy to heterosexual men, and hold product launches at strip clubs. It all sends out a big message that technology and games are only for heterosexual men, and you can’t join our club.


The world looks very different when you take away irrational anger and conspiracy theories and add empathy to the equation. I’m not going to get into the issues of privilege, patriarchy and nice guys, as there’s plenty about that on the Internet already, but there are so many areas where sexism is pervasive in our culture.

You see it in the parades at Formula 1 events, the portrayal of women in computer games and the Internet comment sections full of violent threats (I don’t care if they’re sincere or not – they still contribute to a culture that makes rape seem acceptable to some people). Again, I’ve only listed a very small set of examples – there are thousands of others. Once you recognise sexism, you spot it all over the place [this is the perfect illustration – M].

It’s not always hugely problematic stuff, course. It’s easy to say: “oh, boo hoo, you got inappropriate sexual attention, get a grip – in some countries they stone women to death for adultery!” In fact, for the most part, I know a lot of women just block it out and get on with their lives, and many are preoccupied enough to not even care about most of it, and “good” for them. But it’s there, and when it’s all added up you get a culture where sexism is still very much alive, and in some industries extremely problematic. We might not be forcing women to wear burkas, but we demonstrably still have plenty of sexism in our culture.


Whenever this is brought up, the reaction from many quarters is the same kind of irrational anger and skewed empathy that made me into a monster. I’m not for a minute saying that everyone who ever disagrees with a feminist has the same mindset that I used to have, or that you can’t challenge anything a feminist ever says, but I definitely recognise a lot of the same behaviour.

I see intelligent people getting irrationally angry, painting feminists as hysterical, arrogant control-freaks, but not sitting back and asking why they’re angry, rationalising it and asking if they’re wrong. I often also see just a cursory disclaimer on forum posts, saying “I deplore sexism and misogyny, obviously, but…” and then launching into a diatribe about out-of-control, humourless feminazis and how men are the real victims.

Of course, feminists sometimes say stupid things too – they’re human beings, and we all do it. But when this happens, ask yourself what’s really made you angry – the stupid thing they said, or a conspiracy theory that you can’t debunk because it’s hidden behind a wall of irrational anger.

I haven’t written this to show off about how enlightened I am, to “save women” or to seek atonement for my former emotionally-abusive self, but to explain how my misogynist mindset worked and how I woke up to the real world. If you recognise any of the same behaviour in yourself, know that it’s possible to change, and that you’ll be a much better person for it. If you feel your irrational anger button being pushed, sit back a few days later and ask yourself why, and ask where your empathy lies. Write it down, think about it and be truthful.

You may not come to the same conclusions as me, and that’s fine – I always like to think that life is a learning experience, and I still get a lot wrong. But once you remove irrational anger from the equation and develop a sense of self-awareness and empathy, you can then start to really challenge yourself and open your eyes.

This process took decades with me, though. Debunking a feminist conspiracy in your head is a little bit like deprogramming yourself from a religion. It takes years of self-reflection and asking some really uncomfortable questions about yourself, but you do come out of it a better person.

Ben has also toured with his Skeptics in the Pub talk, Sharks don’t get cancer (The Myth) – so catch it if you can!

Links [Edit: please let us know of similar stories in the comments]

Edit 2014: Some people take hatred, resentment and entitlement to its ultimate fatal conclusion, rather than realising it’s them in the wrong. Thoughts with families.


Author: noodlemaz

I prefer to think of myself as a realist rather than a pessimist, but perhaps that's just optimistic. Honest, atheist, scientist, feminist.

103 thoughts on “Confessions Of A Former Misogynist

  1. Having recently extricated myself from a relationship with someone who sounds very much like the you of yesteryear (although older and, I am sad to say, unlikely to change) a lot of what you said hit very close to the bone. This was not only a refreshing, but a brave piece, and I am pleased that there are people like you to restore the faith and hope of people like me…

  2. Thanks for the column, Ben. It’s a good one, but it leaves one thing unexplained. You do an excellent job of explaining a belief system that you held and which you changed, but you don’t tell us *why* you made that change aside from these few words: “But a few months later, I thought about it more, and decided to start analysing why I was so angry.”

    I ask because hatred of women is so common, and viewing women as “others” seems to be at the root of it. If that is to change, we need to know more about the *agents* of change. Would you be interested in elaborating on what caused your epiphany?


    P.S. Thanks also for the hotlinks. Some of them – like the article on burka-clad 11 year olds – were very enlightening.

    • I added the links in :) I shall alert Ben to your questions!

    • Hi Robert, and thanks for your comment. I saw your question yesterday, and I’ve been trying to think of the actual agent of change in this example, but in all honesty it was around ten years ago now, and it’s hard for me to remember. What I do remember, though, is that it was around the same time that I’d started asking a lot of questions about myself in other areas, particularly about my religion – around the same time that I realised I wasn’t at the centre of the universe, I wasn’t actually a misunderstood genius who was better than everyone else and that I had an unhealthy habit of making every conversation about me.

      This wasn’t something I realised on my own, though – it’s something I was told repeatedly by friends and, again, and it took me years before I realised they were right. I think a lot of people sort out this sort of stuff in their teens – for me it was later. So, in answer to your question, I suspect asking myself about my attitude to women came as part of a lot of questions I was asking myself as I became more self aware.

      I’m pretty sure a lot of this sort of behaviour could be averted if we gave people a greater focus on critical thinking, self awareness and honest reflection when they’re growing up, but kids are also famously egotistical – I’m not sure how you’d do it.

      • One of the best courses I took in college (eons ago) was a Psychology class about Intelligence. The professor posited a hierarchy of thinking and placed Reflective Thought at the top of the stack. What he meant was more than the normal definition of Reflective Thought – “problem solving and thoughtful decision making using critical thinking”. He was referring to using the tool to analyze oneself – a startlingly difficult thing to do. Congratulations to you for having done it, and thank you for your reply.

        BTW, the Wiki has an interesting article on Critical Thinking which may be found here …
        >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking

  3. I’m glad you wrote this post. It’s often really difficult to figure out what goes on in misogynists’ heads because there’s rarely much in the way of logic to it, so these sorts of posts from former misogynists who’ve since become self-aware are always helpful.

  4. The fact you managed to get that far in life before you realised (and that some people never do) is a pretty strong demonstration of how pervasive the sexism and misogyny is in our culture.

  5. Thank you for sharing this. It is incredibly illuminating, and a bit scary, to peer into the mind of the person you describe in the beginning of the article.

    Discovering horrible things about yourself is one of the hardest things we ever have to do. Getting through it intact and using it to grow is pretty amazing.

  6. I think this is absolutely brilliant, and I am incredibly impressed not only with the fact that you wrote this, but HOW you wrote it. This should be required reading for anyone with both a penis and a modem.

    • Thank you for your kind comments, and for the post I’ve just seen on your blog :)

    • Not everybody with a penis is a man! And not all men have a penis. :-)

      • or a modem – but then most do have a hard drive. Is there male chauvenism in geek talk ? RAM, hard drive, floppy …?

      • True that not all penis-bearers are men, and not all men have a penis (my best friend belonging in the second category), but misogyny is sort of uterus-connected. Men who are born without a penis still grow up hearing the girl stereotypes they are supposed to fit into unless they are lucky enough to have parents who allow them to express masculine/male as children and be raised in that “space”, and women born with a penis are often shocked at how they are treated as they start to transition and “pass” better.

        Sorry for the late response.

  7. Thanks for writing this. I was a Nice Guy myself, and have been toying with the possibility of posting my own story (it’s already written up), but, as usual, there are others with infinitely better writing talents than me, and you’re one of them (plus mine involves some extremely personal confessions).

    I think I might just reblog this, instead… with permission, of course.

  8. What I’d like to know is how your empathy didn’t extend to women in the first place. Did you feel such irrational anger towards your female relatives too? In what way were you taught to think of “girls as property”*? [I was just about to ask whether or not you ever felt empathy for female characters in literature or tv/movies when you were growing up but it occurred to me that there still aren’t many women characters to empathise with…]

    *Of course, I realise that message is everywhere, but it’s not overt. The “official line” is that women and men are (already) equal.

    • I, too, have been fascinated/confused/worried for a long time by how men can have such a disconnect between the love they have for their mothers/sisters/aunts/daughters and how they treat ALL OTHER WOMEN.

      Please no evopsych bullshitters chipping in here!

      It is quite amazing, that a man can push his son out of the house with a “give ‘er one from me, son!” while simultaneously scrutinising his daughter’s boyfriend while hiding a metaphorical axe behind his back – because he ‘knows what boys are like’. How do people go on with this and not get it? How do men shout at women from their vans on their way home to their wives and children? It’s so unbelievably brainless, and I find it hard to accept that so many men go along with it, yet it seems they do (if @everydaysexism and the stories of my peers is anything to go by).

      But it is heartening to see that some can and do change, and I’m proud of all the people I know who are similarly sensible.

      • While I’ve just seen this tweet:
        “‘she could be yr wife or daughter’ argument sees women’s value only in relation to men. We have intrinsic value of our own. Pack it in”

        and I agree to an extent, I think it’s more of a general empathy point. If you only see certain members of your family as people, and based on genitalia etc, see others as less… that’s not just about their value to you (though it’s a big part of it, I agree), it’s also something else.
        Though if you see all women *except* your family, whom you deem attractive, as obliged to satisfy you sexually, then I guess it is all a mess of value judgments.

        Maybe she’s got a point there after all.

      • I find this comment interesting. As a misogynist (hoping to find a way to reform) I hate my mother and sisters as much as any other women. My mother abuses my father daily, and my sisters and mother have always been quite actively suppressing the male members of my family (a vague and subjective statement, I know).

        I have been slandered, harassed, assaulted by women in public and at work, and even lost my job because of the lies. I’m generally a quiet and shy person, and my experience makes it very hard not to fall into an ‘us and them’ mentality.

      • Hi Simon,

        That’s interesting, if worrying.
        Perhaps this article can shed more light on the she’s-someone-not-just-a-man-prop kind of idea.

        I’m really sorry to hear about your life experience, abuse is so incredibly difficult to live with -and we have to live with it forever.
        However, I think the majority of victims can find a place where they don’t hate an entire class of people for what individuals have done. I know people believe this of feminism, that’s it’s about man-hating because of what a minority do, but it’s not that. It’s about the systems that cause that behaviour (so frequently in men) and how we can educate people to prevent that pain from being caused.

        Shyness is another big hurdle. Have you tried some professional help? I know it’s a cliché but it can be useful in some cases. Best of luck.

    • That’s a really interesting question, and it’s one I don’t have an easy answer to at the moment. I wasn’t specifically taught that women were property, for some reason I think it was assumed. This could possibly be because I grew up in the house where it was just assumed that my Mum would do all the cooking and housework, while the men retreated to the lounge. I definitely thought it, though – I once said to a friend, who was consoling me about a girlfriend who had gone off with another man, that that man had no right to take my property. My friend quite rightly told me something like: ‘Ben, I want to console you, but women aren’t property – where the fuck did you learn that?’ I’m actually not sure where – I suspect it’s a product of the culture in which I grew up, as opposed to anything I was specifically taught.

      Why didn’t my empathy extend to women in the first place? Again, that’s a really interesting question (getting a lot of these), and again I’m not entirely sure. Noodlemaz makes a good point though – I think there was a disconnect with my female relatives and women outside the circle. Thinking about it, I never thought of my mother as one of the evil women; only the women in the outside world. I’d love to know why, but sadly I’m not a psychologist!

      • It’s funny you sould say that! My dad is incredibly misogynist, and he grew up in a household where his mum would do all the cooking and cleaning without any help and apparently had no interest in looking after her childrens’ emotional needs (I’ve been told this by my own mother, who is a bit dodgy in the psychological health stakes herself), and a dad who did a day’s work, went for a few pints, and then came home and sat in his armchair and expected dinner.

        I didn’t see that arm of my family very often and I only remember seeing my dad’s dad twice. Once I came in from the garden, as a little girl, with a small bunch of daisies for him, and he replied that I should go and pick the rest ‘because they’re pests’. And the other when he’d been sitting in that armchair for hours watching the Formula 1 but when asked, said he hadn’t the vaguest idea who was winning. He seemed either jocular or proud of his ignorance. And that’s what my dad grew up with.

        So, yeah… to summarize, his mum wasn’t evil, she was just ignorant of his psychological needs and unquiestioningly accepted her place as cook/cleaner.

      • Dag nabbit good stuff you whpieprsnappers!

    • I saw this image and felt it appropriate to this thread:

  9. a teenager on trial right now for murdering his girlfriend in Massachusetts…theyd dated since jr high but she broke it off after graduation….defense is saying he stabbed her because the breakup left him “humiliated” like that was some kind of excuse for killing people….his mother was trying to get her to get back together with him beforehand….whole culture of enablers!!

    • Here in New Zealand, the Clayton Weatherspoon case – his defense was mounted on the obscene use of ‘provocation’ by the actions of his estranged girl friend as the causal mitigation to the thirty-something knife wounds he inflicted. His mental state seemed clear as day to most observers of his trial, but lawyers being what they are, he was assessed under the ‘Provocation’ defense and then found to be fully guilty of simple murder. His response to the refusal of his ex-girlfriend to put up wth his controlling and obsessive behaviour resulted in her death. All women would be advised to school in the early siigns of a controlling personality before committing to a relationship. In my experience, all controlling personalities flag their intent, well and truly, early on in their courtship. Run, don’t walk.

      • Yup, although there is a real challenge here to not turn this into victim blaming “you should have seen the signs” to anyone who ends up in an abusive relationship.

  10. Wow. Thank you for sharing your transformation. It is appreciated.

  11. Wow. Well written up.
    My own perception (based on my own struggles, past and present) ist that this attitude is entirely subtextual/contextual. A good example might be the tweet Noodlemaz recounts earlier (‘it could be your wife or daughter’), which – I assume – is fully intended to be on the side of the woman in question, but nevertheless ascribes value to her as a function of her relation to a man. That’s a form of ‘soft sexism’, or maybe ‘soft misogyny’, which appears beneficial but is actually damaging in that it reinforces what is fundamentally at the root of the problem.
    No one needs to tell you that women have fewer/other aspirations in life/value than men if the explicit messages you get are predicated on that assumption. The jokes people tell (which women often feel compelled to laugh about so as not to be the Bitch in the room), the portrayal of women in advertisement (re Feminist Frequency, Killing us Softly, Miss Representation) – that message is loud and clear all around us, even if only the openly misogynist fringe of bile-spewers in social media broadcasts it explicitly.
    It is much harder to detect, analyse and refute the argument that isn’t expressly made.

    • Thanks André, some time later, I completely agree with you. It’s just as important to challenge (softly!) these “soft” instances, as well as the obvious stuff. It can be met with even more resistance because (as I proved myself) it comes from our own mouths, when we think we know better, often until it’s spelled out for us.

  12. Pingback: Confessions Of A Former Misogynist (re-blogged) « atheist, polyamorous, skeptics

  13. Reblogged this on HaifischGeweint and commented:
    This guy’s self-reflection sounds like every failed relationship I’ve ever had, in a nutshell.

  14. Thanks for writing this. However, I think I’m more optimistic about the future than you are. I’m not sure if the ability for misogynists to find one another on the internet is necessarily helping them remain misogynists as much as it might appear. When they follow feminists or outspoken women for the purpose of disagreeing with them, they’re also exposed to contradictory ideas far more often then they were when I was young.

    A sign that I see that is hopeful is the significant number of men who readily identify themselves as feminists. I’m in my late forties. Thirty years ago I went to a small, liberal arts college where the student body was almost universally towards the left politically, many quite far to the left. Yet to hear a man call himself a feminist back then, or even to give very vocal support to some feminist positions, was extremely rare. Not as rare as meeting someone who wasn’t homophobic, because that was entirely acceptable in leftist circles in those days, but still it was very rare. Nowadays, it’s not at all odd for men of a variety of political stripes to voice support for feminist goals, and much of that support happens on the internet.

    Sometimes I think the anti-feminists can be so rabid in part because they’re becoming marginalized and having their ideas challenged.

    • was this a complete waste of my time the other day? I’m hoping not. Perhaps these two guys, after some years, will have heard more of the same, and will come around.

      Interestingly, after I stopped screencapping, the conversation moved onto the latter guy being pissed off about “sex-negative feminism”. So after the first guy reveals it’s women being mean to him that he doesn’t like, the other one reveals it’s women who openly don’t want to have sex with men (and therefore him) that annoy him. Very immature views all ’round.

  15. So, am I allowed to chip in and say that I don’t think the issue here is necessarily mysoginy in the context that I don’t think the answer to it is feminism? I know, I know, I’m about to get jumped on.

    Let me state, for the record, that I am a feminist in that I believe we still have a long way to go for equality for women. I do all that I can to ensure that feminism stays on political agendas and is put on agendas when it’s not there. I use my vote, my vocals and my voice as a journalist and writer to plug the idea that we were all created equal.

    But what I am, more than a feminist, is a humanist. And what I see in Ben’s issue is a HUMAN issue. I’ve seen women treat men the way that Ben describes. My sister, for example, uses men, discards them and if confronted, manipulates and twists them around her finger or shouts at them and makes them feel bad about themselves for doubting her.

    I’ve been treated this way myself by a man who identified as a feminist and had exceptionally left-leaning views. He’d be the first to tell a female friend to respect herself and to demand equal rights. Yet, for various reasons I won’t go into, he humiliated and demeaned me in order to keep me A) under his thumb and B) with him. He has since apologised, undergone some intense counselling and changed quite a bit. He has, like Ben, realised the error of his ways. But I wouldn’t say his problem was a problem of mysoginy or of viewing women as property. There were deeper, other things at play.

    So the issue Ben was facing was actually one of selfishness, middle class proprietary thinking “I have a RIGHT to be happy and have what I want, all the time”. This comes from advertising, from too much wealth, from not enough of a community and from an exceptionally and increasingly insular society.

    Both men and women can exhibit these character traits – it is simplistic to simply label this a problem of chauvinism or mysoginy – these traits exist in myriad people, for myriad reasons.

    • Of course, you’re more than welcome to chip in and disagree – discussion is always good! In answer to your point, I think my issue was actually one of bring both a human and a misogynist. Absolutely, women can be just as capable of men of controlling an manipulative behaviour, as well as lacking empathy and self-awareness, in much the same way as me. I tried to make this point early on in the piece (‘Of course, women are just as capable of unhealthy jealous emotions as men, but what’s important is the thought process that got me to this conclusion’), but didn’t want to spend too much time on that area – it’s a long blog, and I didn’t want to detract from the core points of my story.

      However, in my case (not in every case, obviously), I almost certainly exhibited misogyny too – I genuinely (and proudly) hated women, and had built up an idea in my head of a feminist conspiracy, which I blamed for a lot of cultural ills. I think this is a large part of what enabled me to carry on with my abusive behaviour well into my 20s. Yes, this sort of behaviour isn’t in any way exclusive to men, but in my case I think the two were certainly linked. Does that make sense?

    • Hello,

      To follow on from Ben’s points, I actually think it’s perhaps naive and probably unhelpful to try to erase misogyny as a cause (not THE cause, but Ben is openly admitting to it as others have, too, so why try to tell them otherwise?) of these kinds of behaviours.

      A problem is that, while in our ideologies obviously we ARE all equal regardless of our sex-bits, the fact is in the culture context, we are not. There are a great many imbalances that still exist, where women start off in life at an unfair disadvantage, and these situations crop up repeatedly throughout life. That fact is both a result and *cause* of men having negative attitudes towards women, and indeed women having negative attitudes about themselves.

      How many women who adopt the cold, hard exterior do so because that’s their natural state, and how many because they’ve found it’s the best way they can get by and overcome those endemic biases against them? We can’t really know, there’s no control, but you also cannot delete the widely-acknowledged fact that men still have power over women as crude groups in our society and in others; just because some women, individually, behave negatively towards individual men, that does not have a knock-on effect on “men” as a group. Women do not have, and have never had, the power for that to be the case.

      That is why ‘misandry’ is not a thing, it is why the Men’s Rights Activists constantly talk rubbish, and it is why I will separately identify both as a humanist (a paid-up member of the BHA, indeed) and a feminist, because while we are indeed all human beings and most human beings can make mistakes and be nice or nasty, there are some things that disproportionately affect certain groups.

      It’s why I’ll go on a march for LGBT+ equality, or pro-choice causes, yes they’re all humanist issues in a broad sense, but marching for ‘humanism’ isn’t going to do anything to highlight particular causes, unite people under a banner, or make changes. To address problems, you have to identify them, and I don’t think it’s sensible to try to deny misogyny when it is demonstrable, or indeed when people who have been influenced by it openly admit that and make efforts to change and raise awareness.

      I hope you don’t feel ‘jumped on’ by that, I think it’s a fair point to make and another good discussion to be had!

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  17. A few points:

    1) In Ben’s case, his treatment of women was because of mysoginy – but it’s VERY important to note that this is not the case in all men, nor even necessarily the majority of men. Some men treat EVERYONE badly. So did many women. Ben’s is an isolated case, but we should be really cognisant of the fact that anecdotal evidence doesn’t equal an epidemic – let’s be scientific, not emotive, in our analysis.

    2) I’m VERY worried about the idea that women who treat others badly do so because they’ve been “picked on” or because they’re trying to be like men (“How many women who adopt the cold, hard exterior do so because that’s their natural state, and how many because they’ve found it’s the best way they can get by and overcome those endemic biases against them?”) – this is a mysoginistic attitude in itself (e.g., women shouldn’t fight in wars because we are naturally peaceable, unlike aggressive men). People are people and if we start excusing poor behaviour in women because of patriarchy, we’ll be doing exactly what Ben used to THINK we were doing. And, it’s important to add, some people do do that – some people use feminism to excuse shitty behaviour. I’d like to think feminism has evovled from A) “those POOR women, having to act horribly because of nasty, naughty men!” and B) “if it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander”.

    3) Humanism is exactly why feminism is important. As Dorothy Sayers says in her ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC (caps necessary) essay, “Are Women Human?” – feminism isn’t important to raise women ABOVE men – it’s simply important because human beings who happen to be female are just as important as human beings who happen to be male.

    4) Marching under a banner raises awareness, and that’s great. I’ve marched, or petioned or written letters and used, as I said, my voice, my writing and my vote, to influence legislation and popular attitudes. However, let’s not march when we don’t need to. And let’s not make sexism an issue when it isn’t. In Ben’s case it was sexism – but it’s really important that we don’t go round assuming that all men who treat people badly are mysoginists – it’s too easy and frankly, it’s lazy and unhelpful. People treating each other badly is bad – there are myriad reasons for it. Men and women aren’t going to get along better in relationships by labelling each other mysoginists. In Ben’s case, that only fueled his fury at the world in general and at women in particular. Men and women are going to get along better by humanising each other and understanding each other. And that’s not done through political legislation, nor carrying a banner. It’s done, like Martin Luther King, Jr. did it, through reasoned argument and understanding one another – through humanism. Though, let me add, I’m very grateful for legislation that lets me have more freedoms than not only any other people group in history – freedoms which are protected under law.

    I brought up humanism because I think the person who puts it best is Dorothy Sayers. She was a feminist who pushed a humanist agenda – and was listened to, and not labeled, because of that:

    “A man once asked me … how I managed in my books to write such natural conversation between men when they were by themselves. Was I, by any chance, a member of a large, mixed family with a lot of male friends? I replied that, on the contrary, I was an only child and had practically never seen or spoken to any men of my own age till I was about twenty-five. “Well,” said the man, “I shouldn’t have expected a woman (meaning me) to have been able to make it so convincing.” I replied that I had coped with this difficult problem by making my men talk, as far as possible, like ordinary human beings. This aspect of the matter seemed to surprise the other speaker; he said no more, but took it away to chew it over. One of these days it may quite likely occur to him that women, as well as men, when left to themselves, talk very much like human beings also.”
    ― Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women Human?

    “In reaction against the age-old slogan, “woman is the weaker vessel,” or the still more offensive, “woman is a divine creature,” we have, I think, allowed ourselves to drift into asserting that “a woman is as good as a man,” without always pausing to think what exactly we mean by that. What, I feel, we ought to mean is something so obvious that it is apt to escape attention altogether, viz: (…) that a woman is just as much an ordinary human being as a man, with the same individual preferences, and with just as much right to the tastes and preferences of an individual. What is repugnant to every human being is to be reckoned always as a member of a class and not as an individual person.”

    “It is extraordinarily entertaining to watch the historians of the past … entangling themselves in what they were pleased to call the “problem” of Queen Elizabeth. They invented the most complicated and astonishing reasons both for her success as a sovereign and for her tortuous matrimonial policy. She was the tool of Burleigh, she was the tool of Leicester, she was the fool of Essex; she was diseased, she was deformed, she was a man in disguise. She was a mystery, and must have some extraordinary solution. Only recently has it occrurred to a few enlightened people that the solution might be quite simple after all. She might be one of the rare people were born into the right job and put that job first. In fact, there is perhaps only one human being in a thousand who is passionately interested in his job for the job’s sake. The difference is that if that one person in a thousand is a man, we say, simply, that he is passionately keen on his job; if she is a woman, we say she is a freak.”

    • My problem here (not really a problem!) is that I agree with what you’re saying.

      The thing is, you seem to be making a number of assumptions about what Ben and I are claiming, when we haven’t actually put those things across; I feel you’re putting words in our mouths.

      I realise some commenters have made big generalisations, but I think that can be forgiven in writing a quick thumbs-up type thing, or put down to a simple spoke-to-soon.

      For example, nowhere are we saying, as you seem to suggest in your first paragraph, that horrible behaviour in EVERY PERSON is down to misogyny. Nowhere.

      I didn’t say every woman who behaves badly towards others does so to imitate men. I asked how many do, and said we can’t know how many – but I’d be surprised if the answer was “none”.

      I just said I’m a humanist as well, and pretty much everywhere I try to explain to someone what feminism is, it includes a bit about EQUALITY being the goal, not female superiority (which, again, is what the MRAs get their pants in a twist about).

      I’ve just posted a story from Ben. His discussion of how he recognised and started to overcome his misogyny. Why are you repeatedly bringing up how that’s not the case for everyone? No one, anywhere, has said that it is. I’m quite confused by this. In this case, it is, and he is certainly not the only one. But no one is claiming this is everyone’s reason for being a dick to others.

      So yes, in another context I’m sure I’d be loving your posts, but I feel like you’re being unnecessarily contrarian and dissenting, and I’m not sure why.

    • I didn’t mean my comment as a ‘shut up now’ kind of thing, I was just exasperated and genuinely perplexed by your statements.

      Perhaps this other post of mine would help clear things up a bit? I don’t know. Thanks for your discussion anyway, it’s all appreciated!


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  21. I’m curious about your stance on “booth babes”.

    It’s undeniable that it’s targeting (young) men to get them to purchase games. The marketing teams obviously understand that men are their primary, albeit not their only, audience.

    Does that really make it misogynistic? To market towards their largest consumer base? Or are you viewing from the standpoint that it may be off-putting to the female consumers? I feel (as I have no real evidence) that the majority of companies that would support this are a part of the “dudebro” male power fantasy franchises like Gears of War that inherently target that consumer base already. I wonder how alienated this makes women who are interested in this alpha-male fantasy game feel, despite knowing they are already not a part of the game’s target audience? That’s of course, assuming that the creator of the game is actually targeting any audience rather than just projecting a fantasy of theirs.

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  23. Oh gosh. I stumbled on this looking for something else. I’m awfully sorry, but I didn’t get past the first quote. I just got out of a relationship where I was threatened with death on several occasions, with those exact words: “If we ever split up, I *will* find you and I *will* kill you.. If *I* can’t have you, *nobody* can.” I’m starting to deal with it through therapy, but that quote took me right back, like a smack in the face.

    I understood the theoretical (but not the practical) value of a “trigger warning” before now, but yeah.. yeah.. now I get it.

    I did try to skim the rest of the article; sounds like a mea culpa that possibly people could learn from (if only, succinctly: “think about how people people feel when you interact with them”). But yeah.. now.. now I just have to leave this page immediately I’m done typing here. Got the shakes a bit and my heart is racing.

    I’m a guy, by the way; my abuser was female.

  24. Glad you’ve had your “A-ha!” moment, that you’re more self-aware and so on, but it doesn’t make you a feminist. Sorry chap! ✌

    • I am curious about your comment, MRradclyffe. Are you an authority on the definition of feminism? If so, what are your criteria and exclusionary standards? Do you meet them yourself? And who are you directing your comment to? The author? Some other commenter? Whoever it is, how deeply do you know her or him?

      From my standpoint of being active in the struggle for women’s rights since the mid-60s (yes, almost 50 years), I am satisfied with the author’s sincerity. And I have met feminists in all shapes and philosophies and political persuasions. Haven’t you? I prefer to think of it as an open tent where good people are welcome. Do you prefer to think of feminism as an exclusionary club? If so, then I think you betray the cause.

      Yes, I am a man, and a feminist for longer than you have been alive, and I am pleased to say so.

      • I didn’t claim to be, whereas the author of the piece seems to want everyone to believe he is. I’ve read pieces like this before, talked to men who claim the same, and IMHO – begging your pardon Sir, curtesy – it just isn’t true. It doesn’t take an expert to smell bullshit.

    • Hi there – I’m the author of the piece (though I’m not on Twitter any more). Just saw your comment and thought I’d point out that there’s no point in this piece where I call myself a feminist – I very deliberately didn’t. The only reference to me being a feminist is in Marianne’s introduction, which she wrote. This is just my personal story – nothing more. I think you nay be trying to read something between the lines that isn’t really there.

    • It’s my view that if someone considers themselves a feminist and backs that up with a sincere belief that people should not be discriminated against based on gender, and follows up with any number of analyses of gender-based inequality, then it’s not for someone else to tell them they can’t use that label.

      We can disagree with methods, we can question motives, analyse behaviours, point out mistakes – we can say “that’s not how my feminism works”. But “you’re no feminist”? That’s levelled at a lot of women who make, perhaps, questionable decisions. I’m not sure it’s useful to anyone, except in exercising the naysayer’s self-satisfaction.

      I don’t know what your actual criticism was. Is it because he’s male? I know plenty of sincere, effective, *human* feminists who are guys. They have different experiences, of course, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be allies, and it doesn’t mean they can’t use the label for themselves if they want to.

      Yes, some people use it for nefarious means (like the guy who masterminded Femen…) but that doesn’t mean everyone is.

  25. it would be so nice if the guy who wrote this caught AIDS and died.

    • Justin, I will not tolerate that kind of vitriol in my comment threads; unless you were trying (and failing) to make a joke, please refrain from such points and keep it to contributions to the discussion.

      You can’t ‘catch AIDS’ – AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is what people live with when they have contracted HIV and their immune systems are severely weakened. I would be very careful about wishing it, or any other chronic debilitating disease, on other people. Reap what you sow.

    • Did’ja ever go to someones house (in your case probably as a 3am intruder) and look in the fridge ? Look in the underwear drawer ? Look at the books on the shelf ? The CD’s in the rack ? That would give you some basic kind of overview of their lifestyle / inclinations / intellect and so on. Well, in this case, Mr ‘Catch AIDS and die’ , all that I neded to do was look at your FB page. ‘Nuff said.

  26. So you decided to start furthering male oppression to improve your social status, eh, Ben? Or are you just the kind of madman to jump between delusional religions? A sad sight indeed.

  27. Pingback: How A Misogynist Changed His Mind | My Sex Professor

  28. Good article. I know why he felt so angry. He felt trapped. Trapped by society’s expectations of him, and by society’s liberation of women . This is why I think we need a men’s movement of some kind. We need parades that really obviously tell men that they don’t have to be boxed by manliness anymore and really… I don’t know what else it should say…but I think ben here might have some better ideas.

    And yes, I am aware that most men involved in these movements right now are incredibly angry and defensive.

  29. So why don’t women have the power of sex in relationships? What’s untrue about all the things that used to concern you about feminism having gone too far? You say that certain pieces of logic are wrong but you don’t have the explanation as to why.

    It’s hard to give up a viewpoint when
    1) All your best logic points to it and
    2) Nobody (including women) tells you what they’re thinking.

    It’s entirely plausible that many feminists are women who aren’t quite happy with their lives and adopt an outdated movement to support their trivial problems. It’s entirely plausible that in 2013, men have just as many unique gender based issues facing them, particularly in the areas of dating and relationships.

    Notice how all those women got to dump you without telling you what you were doing wrong, which led to you continuing to make the same mistakes? It seems that understanding women is not something that even a well intentioned man can simply learn; by forcing men to learn from their mistakes, women reserve the right to judge and marginalise men arbitrarily.

    I am happy that you have had the sufficient number of relationships for you to realise what you were doing wrong, but as long as we don’t offer logical explanations and take an empathetic view to sexism, every man’s journey to being more understanding of gender is going to involve hurting a lot of women along the way.

    Since it’s up to women to have this empathy, it’s up to them to end misogyny, instead of continuing to hate and wait.

    And for that, I don’t respect women, and neither should you

    • This is me, still not telling you what you are doing wrong. Mostly because it seems so glaringly obvious as to not need mentioning. I’m sad for you, sir.

      • Amazing how you think you have a shred of human decency because you’re “sad”. You have the power to fix this problem and you’re choosing not to exercise it.

        This is our society. People see problems that they can fix but since they can tick the compassion box in their social circles just by crying about it, that’s all they’re going to do.

      • Annnnnnd, you completely missed the point.

        I have no compassion for your views, but see them as a symptom of something I cannot directly influence with comments on a blog. I’m not just saying this as a condescension-period, but you need help that neither I, nor anyone else perusing this post, can give you: a reality check and a lesson in comprehension. Contrary to your statement, I canNOT fix you or your views. Only you can do that.

        I’ll continue to solve problems my way: through activism, writing, and charitable endeavors; whilst you are certainly free to trumpet on incoherently about disrespecting women and other people not fixing problems you think they should. Just don’t expect any of the rest of us to take your bait and be drawn into an even more absurd exchange with some guy typing from his mother’s basement when you haven’t taken the time to articulate anything even remotely provocatively productive.

      • @Seven

        You’re guaranteed to fail if you can’t even help the people you directly interact with.

        Also many thanks for the insults and assumptions about my lifestyle – telling people that they’re stupid losers is a surefire way to get them to like you and respect you. You should take to the streets with a megaphone saying that for all of your causes.

    • One cannot grow as a person if they continue to expect others to fix them by doing him/her the favor of pointing out his/her flaws. If someone treated you badly, would you stick around and do them the favor of pointing out their flaws in order to provide a “learning opportunity” (and possibly risk a physical confrontation in the process of doing so?). If someone treats you badly, don’t you typically just want to move along?

      • Do you believe in education? How do you know whether what you do is worthwhile or not? Somebody has to tell you. Do you think the best musicians and athletes learned their craft by being savagely whipped every time their performance wasn’t good enough? No, they had coaching, and people observing them to tell them what they were doing wrong. While you wait for people to land on the correct iteration through trial and (damaging) error, a lot of harm is being done and a lot of resentment is being built up, and the victims of this are going to be women in society.

      • I actually have attempted that. I probably won’t know if it ever did any good, but I suppose it’s my own base optimism that (like Ben’s shown) people can change. I like to think that’s possible. So even people who’ve treated me like crap and never deserved another word from me, I’ve tried. That might just be selfishness in the end, a need to protect myself – and hoping they’ll not go and do the same to someone else. That someone could be just like me. Maybe I saved them (some god complex there). Maybe it was a waste of time.

        I respect people who can just drop things and move on, too. That’s self-preservation and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Except in doing so, more hurt can be caused. It’s tough to know how your actions can affect others, but simply taking time to stop and think is a good start, and one that a lot of people sadly bypass.

    • Okay, I’ll bite. I’ll tell you what you’re doing wrong. I will be surprised and impressed if you openly listen.

      “So why don’t women have the power of sex in relationships?”

      I’m guessing you’re thinking that women have power over you because you want to have sex with them. This is the lack of empathy the OP was talking about, You are so far from thinking a woman is a human being that you forgot that women want sex from men as much as men want sex from women. If you have strawberries and a woman has cream, and you both love strawberries and cream, then you have no business claiming that she has power while you don’t.

      Why don’t women have sexual power? Because women are generally terrified of:
      * Being raped (including forced to perform a sex act they don’t want, while they are doing a sex act they do want)
      * Being labeled a slut/whore for daring to have a sex drive
      * Being considered fat/ugly (appearance pressures on women are far worse than they are on men)
      * Getting pregnant, and/or getting left to raise the baby on their own, and/or being demonized for getting pregnant outside of marriage

      These four fears are what keep the world from being a constant sexy orgy. You think it’s bad that you can’t have sex with everyone you want to? Imagine you have the exact same horniness, but you are plagued with those fears which keep you from indulging your horniness. If you can imagine that, you have a good idea of what it’s like to be a typical woman.

      Now imagine that you keep hearing that you are the one who has all the power because you haven’t just risked all those threats you are terrified of so that someone else can satisfy their horniness. Do you think maybe that would make you angry?

      • Junebug, I don’t think I have ever seen the situation expressed so clearly. Yours was a brilliant answer to “a mysogynist” and greatly appreciated.

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  32. Thank you for sharing this. I honor your courage in doing so. I commend you for taking the time to analyze yourself; we can all benefit from self analysis, especially with regards to issues that cause a strong emotional response. If the majority of people had the strength to do the same, we’d be able to heal as a society so much more rapidly.

  33. Sorry if this has been asked, but I’m very interested to know the roots of what led the author to believe his initial views were acceptable/correct. What sort of societal input during upbringing caused the beliefs he held? Seeing parents or friends of parents interact with each other, the segregation of school children (uniforms and sports particularly), the attitudes of teachers both male and female, TV and film… was it a combination of these things? Where was this behaviour learned? If we’re going to teach our children that gender is irrelevant and humans deserve to be treated like humans, we need to find out how to teach them the lessons it took the author a long, hard journey of self discovery to learn, and how to avoid reinforcing or enabling misogynistic behaviour, or any kind of similar, society-damaging behaviour, really.

    Again- sorry if it’s been asked. I’ve seen people asking what flipped the switch, but not what set the switch in the first place, and that’s what’s really interesting to me.

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  35. Women; objectified for their appearances and, in your case, as a status symbol

    Men; objectified for income, class, access to wealth, workability, longevity, health, strength, intelligence, courage, power, durability, disposability, education, as a status symbol and, of course, for their appearance.

    There are two sides to this coin, dude.

    To be honest, men are not better than women. Women are not better than women. There is a lot of screaming on the internet about who is oppressing who, Patriarchy this, Rape culture that, men generalizing feminists, women generalizing men who generalize feminists, so on and so forth.

    But, face it, we’re all just trying to get along. The majority of people look at misogynists with disgust and loathing, not just women. Many people look at feminism as a bunch of screaming lunatics who glorifying being victimized, (because that is how they’ve painted themselves in the media). People look at rapists as the worst and most vehemently despised creatures, even in prison. People see you hitting your spouse, or your child, or your friend, they will INTERVENE. Because, contrary to what some of the comments imply, no one remains a neutral bystander. We take sides. We have preferences (which is not a bad thing). We try to right wrongs and render assistance.

    But overall, gender is irrelevant when it comes down to it. Both genders seem to despise the other, is what the internet wants us to believe. But really? We all just want to live our lives, have some fun, and not get yelled at. The ones who discriminate? Who hate? Rape? Hit? Murder? They are the minority.

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  37. Pingback: What Now? « FundraiserBeth

  38. This is really just an excellent post and I’m so glad I stumbled across it. (I came to this blog to read about MMS and other health quackery.) I don’t have anything else remotely interesting to say, so thank you to Ben for writing it and to noodlemaz for posting.

  39. Thanks for your insight. Just realised I’m in a new 3 month relationship with what turns out to be misogynist. I don’t know if he realises this himself. I know he’s really struggling to live with incidents from childhood. I am however feeling strong feelings towards him. Now I have figured and realise where he’s coming from I need to also look at why that appeals to me. I have been in relationships where I was treated beautifully but ultimately found boring ie no challenge. Upon reflection they have boosted my self esteem incredibly. Only now starting to feel that waning in accepting poor treatment from this new guy putting it down to him being troubled and me therefore needing to offer him security as he has trust issues etc. After him opening up to me which I really appreciate about his treatment of women on dating sites building them up and dissapearing on them, using call girls abusively and being highly suspicious of women cheating on him. Also hating his mother for not stepping in to protect him as a child and still his mother’s denial of wrongdoing I figured where it’s all coming from. I know it should perhaps have been obvious before now but we have had incredible great fun times so a complete mix of behaviour. Your article’s really helpful on that you found a way forward by analysing your own thoughts and behaviours, I now am absolutely clear what I’m looking at and will immediately put myself in a better place by setting firm boundaries on what behaviour is acceptable and detatch my emotions somewhat ie if I dont accept crap I won’t be questioningy self worth and remain in confident control of myself ..till he has himself more figured out. I can see this will take time. I do love him but haven’t verbalised that except to say I have strong feelings. He knows and ultimately the success or otherwise will be down tohim changing which I know he’s desperate to do but don’t know if he actually realises he’s misogynistic. Not sure if I say anything or just lead by changing my behavior? Any advice please?

  40. You can’t change his behavior. And if you succeed, I think he’ll resent that too.

    It sounds like he’s very possessive and needs to feel like he’s in charge of choosing and rejecting women. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with society and possibly his mother. On the one hand he’s lost and feels worthless without female approval, but he makes up for it by seeking out situations where he’s the one who approves or disapproves of women. But he needs to talk to someone and it’s not up to you to be his shrink.

    Do you have male friends who don’t have his issues? Maybe they can talk to him. He needs to understand himself before he can understand his behavior towards you.

  41. Julie, also be aware that he may (even if he realises it or not) be setting you up for a “I’m going to treat you badly, but here’s my excuses for doing so in advance, just so you can’t say I didn’t warn you”.
    Seems like a lot of hassle to me and not worth the novelty that he might be different to your usual type of boyfriends.
    Tread carefully, but be ready to get out if he turns abusive (unless he disappears before then of course).

  42. Honestly i’m just curious about some things and i have a few comments to add. I completely understand some things need to change, but i don’t understand how alot of the things that have changed have left alot of men on their asses, and women with no accountability. ie, abuse of restraining orders, the abuse of “mother states” for custody cases, the lack of a reasonable burden of proof, phoney domestic abuse cases and the lack of a males rights in these situations. I not only have been a target of these situations, but disloyalty, physical abuse, and emotional abuse. Since high school i always thought it important to raise a family, marry a great woman, and live within a white picket fence.Anymore that sounds less than pleasant. To me it seems that many people’s hearts are crooked,malicious and hateful. So many times i hear, dont make generalizations, how am i not to generalize when generalizations are a valid part of the scientific process, there are recent polls and studies showing that disloyalty is on the rise, abuse of restraining orders is becoming a major way to “get back” at your lover, domestic abuse is rising, but i see mainly beaten women pictured. Does domestic abuse not work both ways? Women push for equality, “we are already equal”, but legally we aren’t, there has to be some way to intertwine ideas on both sides here. Men do a lot of shitty things to women, Women do a lot of shitty things to men. I cannot understand how two sides screaming opinions at each other saying i want this, well i want this, could get anything done. i have never understood that. Compromise for god sakes!. i see that women have many advantages in society as well as men do, currently we all are equal because we both have similar limitations due to gender. What bothers me the most though is that there are so many ways both sides of this very shitty situation, can fuck up each others lives legally. Is there some way we can find middle ground with this, or are we doomed to a lack of integrity, morals, respect and accountability trickery and ill will towards one another? The last question i pose is that of simple nature, why must misogyny be poked fun at, create such isloation, and be widely demonized, if women were the start of this “disease” which starts with the mothers lack of care and concern, how does more of the same thing any help? i’m not saying that misogyny should be a quality admired, pitied, or put under a microscope. Simply a hate or fear of women due to trauma, or abuse, or lack of attention, cannot be solved with lack of respect, vitrol, or apathy for the person in sufferage. Why can we simply not nip this in the bud by changing, both Misandry and Misogyny, can be stopped with an adjustment of peoples actions, instead of pointing the finger at “him” “him” “him” or “her” “her” “her”, simply just CARE about people. The way you act is the root of it all.

    • I agree with the theme of your post. There can be just as much sexism against men as there can be against women. I have also come to see this conclusion myself and you make some very valid points.

    • I was referring to Benny’s paragraph above Nov 20 2014 ^ not the article itself….sorry for the confusion.

      • Oh I see, well, insisting that “men have it just as bad as women” is a simple falsehood. That doesn’t mean men don’t suffer in life; many people do, for various reasons. But if the men’s rights ‘movement’ would address these: racial discrimination, prison abuse, male health, mental illness and suicide, instead of perpetuating violently abusive misogyny, maybe we could take it seriously and we’d all get somewhere.

        Men do not suffer ‘the same’ as women. The existence of male victims of domestic abuse etc. does not make it ‘equal’ at all. To say so is to ignore statistics, detail and reality itself. It doesn’t mean we can’t care about men, but it means that feminism and its focus on the disproportionate suffering of women is necessary.

        There is no systematic anti-man sentiment that has throughout history subjugated, abused and unjustly suppressed men. That is exactly what exists for women. That’s why I didn’t bother addressing the comment – when one lives so far outside of reality, it’s hard to know where to start.

        Thank you for clearing that up though, and apologies for the misunderstanding.

      • >Hi Noodlemaz :)
        To clear up a point, I never said men have it just as bad as women nor was that meant to have been implied. I simply said that there “can be” just as much sexism against men. I agree with you that there has been disproportionate discrimination and oppression of women. I also agree with your statement that “There is no systematic anti-man sentiment that has throughout history subjugated, abused and unjustly suppressed men.” The one thing I would like to add to that statement is that we are not living in the past but rather in the present. (Not dismissing the fact that there are many women around the world who live in deplorable cultural systems and that the U.S. cultural system is based upon male hierarchy).
        As a woman who has worked in male-dominated fields my whole life, I have faced sexism and bias from men – some who were not shy about their dislike of the XX chromosome possessing humans. At the same time, though, I will not allow the prejudice that I have faced to make me jaded or see the world through biased eyes. Let’s be honest discriminating against someone’s gender is as shallow and stupid as discriminating against someone’s skin color.
        I also feel though that as we slowly move closer to a more gender equal society that we must be careful that we do not become the other way around and become discriminate against men which is just as evil and prejudice. You could call it reverse-sexism.
        I will list some small cultural examples to explain my point:
        It is culturally acceptable for women to wear both pants and skirts, not for men
        It is culturally acceptable for a women to work or stay at home, not for men
        It is culturally acceptable for a female child to be a ‘tom-boy’, it is not for a male child to be ‘feminine’ (whatever you definition might be).
        It is culturally acceptable for girls to play with both dolls and trucks, not for boys.
        In many private schools they allow the girls to have long or short hair but the boys can only have short hair.
        There are also many groups to help promote more women working in male-dominated fields such as IT or engineering. I do not see any groups to help promote men working in female-dominated fields such as teaching or nursing.

        These are just some small examples…….although there are of course many against women…..it was just to prove a point that there can be discrimination against men even though we live in a primarily male-dominated world. It was not to undermine the plight of women around the world but rather to bring up an issue that is becoming more apparent as we move closer to equality. In my eyes gender equality applies to both men & women in every area.

      • Thanks for adding to that.

        I would in turn say that history is not irrelevant; history is what shapes the present, especially when it comes to prejudice and discrimination. History is what makes racism; people choose to discriminate now, but that’s informed by culture, which is built upon historical actions. Slavery is not irrelevant to modern racism. The global historical subjugation of women is not irrelevant to the residual sexism we face today.

        “Reverse [discrimination]” is generally not a thing. It can be on an individual basis, but not an institutional one. Please see the links below for more on that.

        As for your list: what you’re summarising is not sexism against men; it’s still misogyny. It’s ok for women to be more like men because masculine == good, but not for boys to be feminine because feminine is bad! That’s hatred for women, not for men – it restricts men, sure. It has negative impacts. But it does not come from a place of putting men down, but women and girls.

        Again, the tiny fraction of professions that are “female-dominated” are based in misogynistic ideas of women as the childcarers and bearers. That men who want to be in those fields might face some challenges is true, but requires breakdown of gender roles and misogyny. There are support groups, and again the research would suggest that it’s an anti-female cultural stigma stopping men from being involved, rather than hostile work environments for men who are involved. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/746218.stm

        I never said “there is never discrimination against men” – it’s that “misandry” isn’t a thing, people are failing to look at the deeper issues when they cling to that idea. We have a long, long way to go before equality – and helping those who are disadvantaged up instead of those who don’t need the help (think prescribing medicine to the sick, not just everyone regardless of whether they are ill or well or anything. That doesn’t make sense, does it) is not “reverse discrimination”, it’s how you fix society’s problems.


      • You make some excellent points. Excellent post. What you are saying is correct and historically accurate.
        Concerning your statement “As for your list: what you’re summarising is not sexism against men; it’s still misogyny. It’s ok for women to be more like men because masculine == good, but not for boys to be feminine because feminine is bad! That’s hatred for women, not for men” I would say that if we address these issues concerning men & boys that I listed that it would erase the idea that the things culturally associated with women are “bad”. By having equality (my definition being that both male & female can do the same things without judgement & referring to the things that I listed) we are breaking down the cultural stigmas that make “femininity” (which is something that was defined by men in the first place) a negative thing because it becomes something that no longer pertains to gender. It becomes genderless.
        Likewise, with the statement “the tiny fraction of professions that are “female-dominated” are based in misogynistic ideas of women as the childcarers and bearers.” I would say that saturating the job market with men in these female dominated fields (as well as saturating male-dominated fields with women) is what will help to break down these female-negative constructs because the bias applied to the history of the job role loses its meaning. Culturally we would lose the masculinity versus femininity issue and just be able to be people without the labels.

      • I think we are in general agreement here!

        I’m just reiterating that a lot of what you’ve proposed is rooted in misogyny and discrimination against women – that then can also impact men. I would never dispute this. That’s why I said “it restricts men” and a major aspect of feminism is breaking down restrictive gender roles – telling boys, girls, men, women and everyone in between that their chromosomes, hormones and bodies dictate what they should do, look like, and how they should act in life.

        These boxes are damaging to everyone, and why I like organisations like Let Toys Be Toys (see also books, clothes etc.). It’s not about saying every person is the same, but that what people choose or how they are needn’t be defined and restricted by ideas about gender – like what you said about people being able to do the same things without judgement.

        And that’s the thing – these things are currently not genderless. Because nursing, teaching etc. are ‘traditionally female’ and societies are biased against femininity, all I’ve seen points to that men do not choose to do these jobs due to stigma. Not that they do them and (like women in male-dominated fields) face discrimination and push-back and large pay discrepancy (though there is some). So ‘saturating the field’ isn’t the issue; it’s tackling negative feminine stereotypes that’s the most important thing. That helps everyone.

        “Toxic masculinity” is under a lot of discussion in feminism and that’s important. It links not only to boys’ play, school and jobs but to domestic violence, to harassment in the workplace, on social media, in the street – it feeds into everything, these lessons we teach children, that adults reinforce. Challenging is the best thing! Thanks again for stopping by :)

  43. Thank you

  44. Your article is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing.

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