Suzanna Walters Doubles Down on Hating All Men

man-haterThere have been many articles and videos commenting on Suzanna Walters sexist article advocating hating men. I’m going to comment on her follow up interview, A Scholar Asked, ‘Why Can’t We Hate Men?’ Now She Responds to the Deluge of Criticism. As a professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, I’d hardly call Walters a Scholar.

This month in The Washington Post, Suzanna Danuta Walters published an op-ed called “Why Can’t We Hate Men?” Walters is a professor of sociology and director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Northeastern University, and also editor of the gender-studies journal Signs. Her op-ed has generated thousands of comments; drawn dismay, outrage, or ridicule in other publications and blogs; and spurred homophobic death and rape threats.

Is it surprising that her blatant misandry drew such reactions?

In her op-ed, Walters writes that even before Schneiderman, Trump, Weinstein, mansplaining, INCELs, “red pill” men’s groups, live-streamed sex assaults, and wartime rape camps, she’d been pushed “over the edge.” She understands and sympathizes with the idea that critiques should focus on male power in patriarchal structures, “not narrowly personal or individual or biologically based in male bodies.” But she also insists on remembering “some universal facts” about sexual violence, inequality, access to education, property ownership, and so on.

Does she also comment on the current inequality in access to post secondary education, where women are now the majority?

“So men,” she writes, “if you really are #WithUs and would like us to not hate you for all the millennia of woe you have produced and benefited from, start with this: Lean out so we can actually just stand up without being beaten down. Pledge to vote for feminist women only. Don’t run for office. Don’t be in charge of anything. Step away from the power. We got this. And please know that your crocodile tears won’t be wiped away by us anymore. We have every right to hate you.”

I am not with you (you being feminists), I don’t care if you hate me, I have not produced millennia of woe, and you have benefited from western civilization as much as I have. I hope the you get a rousing round of “go fuck yourself” from men whose jobs you’re trying to take without earning them. I will never vote for a sexist feminist woman, and I encourage all men who want to to run for office and defend freedom against authoritarian Marxists like Walters. I wouldn’t want anyone this evil anywhere near me, far less close enough to wipe a tear.

Aside from the web reaction, you’ve had death threats and rape threats. How are you holding up?

This kind of vitriol, really ugly misogyny and homophobia, has been so legitimized during these Trump times. For better or worse, I think we’re all becoming a little inured. And it’s very familiar to women writers who are in the public sphere.

If you go on a misandrist attack against all men, you should expect a backlash.

To ask the obvious question that you’ve probably heard a thousand times this week, I’m a man — do you hate me?

No, my dear. I certainly do not hate you. But it’s so funny that that’s the question.

Do I hate men? Of course I don’t hate men in some generic way. My point here was to say it makes obvious sense for women to have rage, legitimate rage, against a group of people that has systematically abused them. In the same way as if someone wrote a piece that said, Why can’t we hate white people? I would say right on. You’re absolutely right. #BecauseSlavery, #BecauseInstitutionalRacism, and the same thing here — the hashtag, as I said, #BecausePatriarchy.

I don’t believe you. If you wrote an article saying “Why can’t we hate white people?” that would make you a racist, and since you say “right on” to that, clearly you are a racist too.

Do you hate your male colleagues and your male students?

No I do not. If they are sexist schmucks, I do not like them. If they are supportive feminist folks who lean out a little bit, as I argue they should do, and have knowledge of and take responsibility for their male privilege, that’s what I’m talking about.

To men who are not just taking responsibility but actively working to undermine and challenge toxic masculinity, go for it. I love ya. To men who are part and parcel of the problem, I am not your fan.

So you hate all men who are not feminists. What about women who aren’t feminists?

Yet you have tweeted #YesAllMen.

That was in context of the whole #NotAllMen movement.

Bullshit. Don’t say you hate all men, then deny it. If any of my readers are feminist men, I hope this opens your eyes.

Right, but that’s what I’m asking you. Are there exceptions? And you’re saying to me, Yes, there are.

Of course there are exceptions, but again, it’s interesting to me, even with you, Alex, that that’s where we’re going here. If there were so many exceptions, wouldn’t the world look different? If the majority of men were exceptions to this rule, wouldn’t we have gender equality?

Feminists don’t want equality of opportunity. They aren’t even satisfied with equity of outcome. One need only look at the fact that there are more women than men enrolled in university, but feminists aren’t arguing that special programs for women can be rolled back to see that feminists do not care about equality.

Would my daughter — I don’t know if you have a daughter —— would we fear for their vulnerability all the time? If the majority of men were exceptions to this rule, would we have live-streaming of sexual assaults? Would we have men in fraternities getting women drunk so that they could rape inanimate women as objects? Of course there are exceptions, but it is interesting to me that we’re clinging to that, “Oh, there have got to be good men out there.”

So again, you believe that there are no good men out there.

So, I’m going to flip that question on you. Why aren’t more men stepping in and stepping up and stepping away from power and beginning to actually address this? Why do we have this “Oh no. Men? We’re not all bad.” That’s not the point.

Because your suggestion is unfair. If women want equality of outcome, they have to earn it. We don’t believe in your patriarchy conspiracy theories. We see how badly you treat men who cooperate with you.

The Chronicle covers hate speech on a weekly if not a daily basis, and your op-ed’s main argument is, Hey, we have a right to hate you. You’ve just explained the context, but might someone still argue that your op-ed is itself, by definition, hate speech?

I’m making an argument with material and data. It is not hate speech. I am not calling, obviously, for people to be hurt, to be demeaned, to be killed. Women, in general, do not do that. As you know, almost all acts of gun violence against children in our schools are done by young white men. That, to me, is weaponized hate speech. So to talk about a feminist author who writes an op-ed with data that is indisputable and says, We have a right to anger — to say that that is hate speech is absolutely ludicrous.

If calling for women to hate all men isn’t hate speech, its hard to see what is. That said, hate speech should be covered by our right to free speech, and the more you spout your misandrist hatred of men, the more eyes will be opened to the true nature of intersectional feminism.

Why can’t we allow those who have been historically and continuously victimized and marginalized and abused to actually name that and own their righteous and legitimate anger? Without saying, “Oh, poor me, it’s so divisive and mean.” What’s divisive and mean, actually, is men with guns shooting up kids, rape camps, INCELs, wage inequality, women’s underrepresentation in government. Me writing this is not divisive and mean. Let’s have some perspective here.

It is divisive, clearly. Incels are victims, wage inequality is largely due to the different choices men and women make, and since more that half of voters are women, if 50% of the time, a women was the best candidate, I expect you’d have 50% representation.

Do I think that these kinds of arguments about feminist anger, about men really recognizing male prerogative, and leaning out, are important parts of feminist scholarship? I absolutely do. It is increasingly important in a world in which so much of the rise of the global right wing has been about male power. It’s anti-abortion, it’s anti-woman, and we’ve seen it in this administration. We have a groper in chief as a president. In this world, it is ever more important for feminists, and for all people of progressive good will, to not mince words. To be able to express deep critiques of structures and parameters of domination. And that’s precisely what I was trying to do here.

Yet in doing so, you drive moderates to the right wing.

I’m guessing that you disliked Trump’s generalization about Mexico sending “their rapists.” Yet aren’t you generalizing about all men? Is it wrong to criticize Mexican men but OK to criticize all men?

I have to say, I don’t think that’s a fair comparison. In fact, Trump was completely wrong — I mean, just empirically inaccurate. That’s not who’s coming over the border. There’s no overrepresentation among Mexican-Americans in rape statistics. What I am saying about male violence and male prerogative is empirically accurate. When you’re generalizing with accuracy, that’s what we call sociology. So I have to say that is a completely false comparison.

Saying that all men are evil is empirically accurate? Bullshit. At least Trump’s misinformation was based on the fact that 80% of women who enter the US illegally are raped along the way. But you continue to spout disproved nonsense about a patriarchal conspiracy being the sole cause of the difference in average pay between the genders.

Do you believe it’s possible to be sexist against men?

No, I really don’t. Sexism is about the institutionalized and interpersonal treatment of women and people perceived to be women. Again, look at the world. Where is discrimination? Where are men being excluded? Where are men being abused? Oh, come on.

Bullshit. You are a sexist. Treating an individual based on the collective they belong to is the definition of prejudice. Doing so to a man is sexism. Men are being excluded from colleges. Men are being abused by the family courts, having their children taken from them, being jailed for inability to pay child support.

Do you think some men who are near the center of the political spectrum might see op-eds like yours and move further to the right as a result? It does seem like, in your ideal world, the left might not be a place for men. Whether that’s an understanding or a misunderstanding, do you worry at all about that reaction?

It’s an interesting question. If that happens, I wonder what kind of leftists they are. If you’re a progressive man and you can’t take some hard truths about the history and persistence of male dominance and violence, if you can’t hear that, then you’ve got some learning to do. If you are a progressive white person and you can’t take on some hard truths about the persistent history of white supremacy, you’ve got some work to do.

Or you could see the so called progressive movement for what it is: illiberal, authoritarian, racist, sexist, and anti individual.

Is gender, to your mind, a completely social construct?

In a word, yes. Look, I wouldn’t be worth my salt as a gender-studies professor if I didn’t say that, and I believe it. It’s actually interesting that you ask that, because some of that nasty stuff I’ve been getting has been biologically determinist things: You stupid bitch, don’t you know that men and women are just different? If we rape you, we just can’t help ourselves, because we’re just hard-wired that way.

Men and women are just different. I don’t believe any man told you we just can’t help ourselves.

I am a social constructionist through and through, I believe gender is a social construction, but it is a social construction in which one group is benefiting and another group, not so much. I think the world would be a better place for men and for women if we did away with gender altogether — gender norms, gender binaries, and so on. And God knows men would be happier and better people if we did away with that. But they clearly also benefit from it. If you get more money in the world simply by virtue of having a penis rather than a vagina, you’re benefiting.

The ignorance of behavioral psychology that this shows is astonishing.

Do you think it’s a good idea to vote on the basis of gender?

That’s a great question. I think it’s a good idea to vote on the basis of feminism. Which is why I say very clearly, vote for feminist women. Look, we don’t need any more Maggie Thatchers or, you know, Trumpettes. I do believe we need more women in government — that just seems a no-brainer to me, just like we need more people of color in government. We need more people who have been excluded to be included. But we need to fight for Team Feminism.

You should vote for whoever best represents you. I’d rather have Maggie Thatcher and Trump than feminists. We need the best candidates in government, regardless of the gender or skin color. If you want my vote, show me you’re worthy of inclusion.

I’m a feminist through and through, and I believe a feminist perspective and a feminist critique is precisely what can heal this world. I think an intersectional, anti-racist, and feminist analysis is exactly what is needed. It is telling to me that the most massive resistance to Trumpism has come from this multicultural coalition of women who ran the women’s march. To me, that speaks volumes.

Intersectional feminism is a neo-Marxist ideology. See my post How #MeToo Revealed the Marxist Roots of Feminism. Neo-Marxism is exactly what we don’t need.

What about progressive feminist men? Bernie Sanders would be an obvious example. You probably support a lot of things he supports, but he is a man. So what do you do? Do you try to find and fund a woman who thinks the same way?

I think it would be better if we could. I believe in 90 percent of what Bernie says. But do I think we need another old white man in office? I do not. I think we need more women, more people of color, and, speaking as a middle-aged woman, we need some younger people. If Bernie runs against Kamala Harris, she’s what we need. It is not about animus toward him. It is just about, step back. When we talk about creating a different world, power is not just something that you grab for, it’s also something that you step away from.

Kamala Harris is not progressive. Better yet, fragmenting the left because Bernie is a man is exactly what gave you Trump. Identity politics don’t work.

If we divide everyone by gender, class, religion, race, sexuality, etc., when do we stop? After all, isn’t the individual the ultimate minority?

It’s not me doing the dividing. Look, as a feminist activist and scholar, to the extent that we can break apart these binary oppositions — of gender, of race — obviously it’s all to the good. We need more fluidity. But as long as that is operative, you can’t pretend it doesn’t have effects. Right? You obviously can have a vision of a world in which gender is not even a meaningful category. Listen, I would love to live in that world. I spend 90 percent of my time as a feminist professor trying to imagine that world. But at the same time that you imagine that, you also have to live with the reality of how gender demeans, constructs, produces power, constrains. You can’t pretend it doesn’t.

Bullshit. You are doing the dividing by calling for hatred toward men. You can’t ‘break’ the binary of biological sex, and you can change its impact on male and female psychology. You can’t have a vision of a world in which gender is not a meaningful without having a view of the world that does not match reality.

Rush Limbaugh is among rightists who find your column laughable and proof of the insanity of academe, and that’s pretty predictable. But in The Atlantic, too,Conor Friedersdorf called you a “wrongheaded eccentric.” The economist Mark J. Perry at AEI nominated your column as “the most hateful, venomous, vitriolic, and reprehensible op-ed in history of WaPo. ” Do you worry that Americans on the center or the right take hatred of an entire gender as typical of an academic argument and vote for populist candidates and against higher-ed funding as a result? Might they say, Hey, I don’t want my tax dollars going to a lady who hates all men.

She should. That is exactly what centrists like Jordan Peterson and Carl Benjamin are advocating. The left have called them right wing extremists. All this does is push them, and others like them who were once considered centrists, into the arms of the right. Case in point, Benjamin recently joined UKIP because it is the only party in the UK that stands for free speech.

Well, Alex, if they do, I repeat what I said before, it really shows that they’re not progressives to begin with. I’m sorry. The piece in The Atlantic is such a perfect example. Some guy at The Atlantic is going to mansplain me the principles of feminism? A feminist professor of 30-plus years, who has written four books? I mean, seriously? It’s the ultimate in hubris. I read that and I cracked up. It is Exhibit A of mansplaining drivel.

Keep ignoring what moderates on the left are saying, and you will continue to fracture the left. If those who are moderate can’t vote for centrist Democrats (or Liberals, in Canada), they will vote for Republicans (or Conservatives).

If men take this as an opportunity to legitimate their dismissal of feminism, they’re looking for those opportunities. They are not allies. They are not people who can be trusted and counted on. So I think we have to be honest about that. If there’s an op-ed that they might have some disagreements with, that they can’t really look at carefully and read carefully and see the data in it, if that sends them over the edge, then they are vacuous snowflakes that are no friends to progressive social movements.

I hope you continue to drive away your allies.

You suggest that if men “lean out,” cede positions of power to women, all will be well — or if not well, at least better. Yet there are cases of women in academe and corporate power harassing workplace subordinates. The recently ousted female CEO of Theranos, a biotech entrepreneur, is accused of committing fraud. And the female leader of Myanmar seems to turn a blind eye toward ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. What persuades you that women have a tendency toward, if not a monopoly on, good behavior?

I do not believe that women have a monopoly on good behavior by any stretch of the imagination. I do believe, though, that the point of saying lean out is to reckon with your power. It’s not just sharing it, it’s stepping back.

Any man who steps back to allow a feminist to take his earned position does a disservice to the enterprise he’s involved in.

Are there examples all over of terrible, anti-feminist women in office, in business, or in academia? Of course there are. Believe me, I know a lot of them. But God knows that when we look at cases of sexual harassment, for example, the vast majority are men doing that to women. Samantha Bee had a great riff. She said, women really do generally know that when we come to the office we shouldn’t show our coworkers our genitals. I gotta tell you, I don’t know a single woman who would think that’s OK.

So anti-feminist women are terrible? Women are more likely than men to look for romance at work. With attitudes like yours, they are going to have a harder time finding it, as men ‘lean out’ of relationships due to your toxic feminism.

There are always exceptions. It’s not about women being inherently good. I don’t believe anyone is inherently anything. I’m a social constructionist. It is to say that if you want to talk about really changing power, men have to think about their own investment in maintaining the structures as they are.

We don’t have to do any such thing. Most men are done listening to you. As long as you maintain your hold on power in academia and government, they will passively resist you. This means you can expect many more Donald Trumps in your future, as people say ‘fuck you’ to the establishment and identity politics.

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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