By Ngwentah Berlyne Ngwalem
Many Cameroonian men are not familiar with the term misandry, but they will refer to women’s rights activists who hold strong opinions about women’s and men’s equal places in society as man haters.
Why talk about misandry?
Misandry is a tactic used by men to silence women’s sufferings, similar to diverting attention away from oppressive acts by saying, “She is angry because women always have hormonal and emotional constraint problems.”
Misandry is increasingly being used as a means of derailing attention from men’s crimes by blaming women. The claim is that outspoken women have practically chosen not to see anything good in men because they hate men.
Distinctions between misandry and feminism
Hating men’s actions is not the same as hating men as beings. If a particular group of people will not stop making women’s lives miserable, cat-calling them on the streets, sexually attacking them in offices, sexually harassing them in schools, using their advantages of wealth and power to beat them down psycho-physically into submission, thereby forcing women to accept rules not because they want but because they have no choice, then there is no reason why those men should be praised and not condemned for their acts.
If you are among the group of men who respect women, I’m sure you will never be hated by any woman. Women might hate certain men for certain reasons.
If you have heard women saying generally that they hate men, it means the majority of the men these women comes across or have heard about in highly patriarchal countries have done nothing but oppress women and cause them pain.
Injustice, frustration and anger
It is normal not to love someone who causes you pain, and it is OK to get angry about this. It is normal and OK not to praise rude men for their bad behavior. When the numbers of men who make women insecure and rob them of their freedom reach 80%, it is men who need to check themselves, not feminists.
Frustration comes from trying over and over to stop men from invading women’s spaces while they never try to listen to their struggles or make any effort to help them. Frustration leads to stress and anger.
Anger is a normal, natural human phenomenon. As explained by the American Psychological Association, ‘Anger is an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong.’ This means that anger does not arise without cause or reason.
Speaking out against societal norms
The insinuation that “I hate men” when I speak out against the disrespect men have for women or question norms that always place men at the top for no justified reason is too common.
We, as strongly opinionated and thinking women, only profess our hatred for men when we stand out against norms that do not benefit everyone, such as:
- We don’t accept the general rule that a man is the head of the family just for being a man. This is where the whole notion of ‘women cannot lead’ begins. How does upholding this opinion show that we hate men? Each time you disagree when men, you hate them.
- We hate the fact that polygamy is legalized and that child marriages, early marriages, and forced marriages are still issues. When you question the idea that men are naturally born polygamists while women are naturally born monogamists, you hate men because you are preventing them from getting all the ‘goodies’ when women get nothing. You hate men when you use your strong, opinionated activist power to stop them from marrying children.
- It is better to use sex toys than get intimate with a man who puts only his sexual satisfaction first. Women too have a body full of nerve endings, with about 8000 in the clitoris alone. Sex is a one-way pleasure for many men. When you are open about women’s sexuality and teach women to explore this beautiful side of being a woman, you are a lesbian who hates men.
- It is better to live in a world where you see only women because each time you come across men, you get touched on your breast or slapped on your buttocks. If you don’t like it, you are called immature or a prostitute. Because you speak out against this, you hate men.
- You are a happy woman who makes a lot of money from intellectual work. As soon as you get married, you are forced by patriarchy to focus less on intellectual work and happiness and direct your attention to making your man happy and relaxed. You work the same hours or even more, come back at the same time or later. While the man is resting, the woman is cooking for him to eat, babysitting him. When because of stress and tiredness the woman ages rapidly, the man because of greed seeks another woman. You are told by society, ‘It is your fault your man cheated. You know men are naturally born visual. You should have taken care of yourself more and looked more attractive for him.’ When a woman is critical about this issue, she is labeled a man hater.
- You are a student. The boy gives you no money, as patriarchy says, but both of you are students. It is a relaxing day. While the girl is ‘relaxing’ by cleaning the house, cooking, and washing clothes, the boy is relaxing by taking a nap or playing video games. When you say men should do housework, they will say you hate them.
- When you profess your frustration about the disrespectful and self-centered actions men commit towards women by saying ‘men make me sick,’ it is a go-ahead for men to conclude that you hate every man on the planet. Firm women’s rights activists are all labeled man haters. Misandry isn’t man hating. It is good enough proof that women are right when they say many men are cowards who never take responsibility for their actions and blame women for every wrong act men commit.
Call for awareness of gender inequality
This is what should be done. Men should stop focusing on women’s hatred and start focusing on the acts that cause women pain and suffering. If men do not let us have peace, feminists will not let them have peace by constantly being outspoken and demanding for their rights to be respected. Men should start focusing on themselves to make sure women are treated with respect.