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Can Feminists Do Anything On Their Own?


Sometimes I wonder if modern feminists are really a bunch of fun-loving, hyper-aware pranksters, conspiring to hoist an elaborate hoax upon the world. “Oh, Amanda, be real,” someone might type in a secret feminist chat room, chortling over a Diet Coke. “Isn’t this piece calling babies ‘time-sucking monsters’ that should die so you can freely watch “True Detective” a little over the top?” Another chat participant, reviewing a call for legalized abortion until birth, would type swiftly and frantically: “Jessica, come on, seriously? Don’t publish this—they’ll finally figure out that it’s all a joke!”

Alas, I don’t think they’re messing with us—even when they claim they are. Each week, it seems, at least one fresh journalistic absurdity surfaces from our feminist friends, dutifully reminding everyone how unbearable it is to be a woman in the twenty-first century. This week’s entry comes from Medium’s Jess Zimmerman, who, according to her Twitter bio, loves to hate men…but in a fun way, of course. In her latest article, entitled “Men, Get On Board With Misandry,” Zimmerman argues that men really need to join her on the man-hating bandwagon, and STAT.

A self-described “cool and nice misandrist of note” who uses a coffee mug labeled “Male Tears”—as an aside, merchandise advertising that you bathe in or giddily drink male tears is super hot right now among the feminist set—Zimmerman is actually fine with all of you men out there. She’s fine with you, that is, as long as you can see through the fraud that is the “patriarchy matrix,” agree that women in America are horribly oppressed, want to “kill the concept of masculinity,” and don’t argue with her at any time. However, if you have been “poisoned” or trained to “be awful” by our misogynistic culture, or “just ignore the inequities around you because you can,” she wants to banish you, and, quite possibly, lap up your salty tears. And yes, I realize that last particular visual is kind of gross.

Zimmerman’s not alone: Last week, Slate published “The Rise of the Ironic Man-Hater,” profiling feminists who like to start “misandrist book clubs” and make really mean cross-stitch projects dedicated to the depravity of men. These angry-sounding ladies, we are assured, are not really mad, but are merely appropriating stereotypes to mock them. “Ironic misandry,” writes Slate’s Amanda Hess, “allows feminists to contest the idea that they are radical man-haters, while simultaneously owning the fact that full equality between men and women remains a radical notion.”

This is all tongue-in-cheek fun, of course, sort of—until you realize that if a bunch of men started, say, “The Misogynist Book Club,” the esteemed members of the “Misandrist Book Club” would fly through the roof, screeching like Grendel’s mother strapped to a jet pack fueled with cocaine. “Our misandry,” feminist Nicole Cliffe told Slate, “like the wings of the butterfly, is too beautiful to pull apart in order to see its workings.” Well, it’s something, certainly. The more I think about this rise in so-called feminist irony, in fact, I am beginning to realize that, as a nation, we should perhaps officially categorize two kinds of funny: Actual funny, and feminist funny.

With that in mind, and without further ado, let us proceed to what is, in my humble opinion, the funniest part of Zimmerman’s “Men Should Really Start Hating Men” tour de force:

Fear not, men: even if feminists genuinely, fiercely desired to permanently banish you all to Dude Island, we simply do not have the resources. Even supposing we had a line on an island that could fit half the human population (I guess Australia could handle it, at sufficient density) there’s no way we could afford it — especially not after all this time being underpaid, passed over, glass ceilinged, or sidelined onto the mommy track. Ironically, the very oppression that would make us want to banish you to the Island makes us incapable of purchasing one that can fit you jerks.

Ha ha! (I know, it’s actually not funny, at least not intentionally. I’m sorry.) But really, feminists: Can’t you do anything for yourselves? First you claim birth control will be banned because the government won’t force certain people to pay for certain kinds of birth control. Then you’re insisting that the government subsidize your abortions. This week, you’re even demanding that other people pay for your tampons. “We don’t want to kill or banish you, guys,” Zimmerman writes to the men in her audience. “After all, we need your help.” In other words, feminists—that fevered group that used to celebrate self-sufficiency and now seemingly hankers for some strange hybrid of a welfare and police state—can’t even manage to hate “masculinity” on their own.

For some people, oppression, imaginary or not, lurks everywhere they turn—and that’s the way they like it. Women are fed up, Zimmerman complains, because they’ve “been listening to rape jokes and wife-beating jokes, and smiling and gritting our teeth since forever.” With whom is this lady hanging out? If someone told me a rape or a wife-beating joke, I’d tell that person to knock it off. I’d probably stop hanging out with them. I certainly wouldn’t smile or grit my teeth, or expect someone else to solve such a minor problem.

But, then again, I’m not a modern feminist. We should all be stronger than that.

Follow Heather Wilhelm on Twitter.