Help me. I can't seem to determine if "Why can't we hate men?" (Washington Post) by Suzanna Danuta Walters, a sociology professor and director of Northeastern University's Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, is exceptionally poor thinking or really good parody. Out of graciousness I'm leaning toward the latter, but you can help me decide. Here are some choice segments:
It seems logical to hate men. I can’t lie, I’ve always had a soft spot for the radical feminist smackdown, for naming the problem in no uncertain terms. I’ve rankled at the "but we don’t hate men" protestations of generations of would-be feminists and found the "men are not the problem, this system is" obfuscation too precious by half….
In this moment, here in the land of legislatively legitimated toxic masculinity, is it really so illogical to hate men? For all the power of #MeToo and #TimesUp and the women’s marches, only a relatively few men have been called to task, and I’ve yet to see a mass wave of prosecutions or even serious recognition of wrongdoing. On the contrary, cries of “witch hunt” and the plotted resurrection of celebrity offenders came quick on the heels of the outcry over endemic sexual harassment and violence....
Men, 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. You have done us wrong. #BecausePatriarchy. It is long past time to play hard for Team Feminism. And win.
Ms. Walters, as a male I'm all for relinquishing power, and if I had any, I'd be the first to give it up. Bumbling men and halfwitted Trumps have been in charge for far too long. Women by nature are more cooperative and nurturing — both Walters and I are writing in generalizations, of course — and thus make much better legislators. But as a student of history I would warn Ms. Walters that women in history have been at least as bloodthirsty as men. Indeed from Queen Isabella, Queen Elizabeth I and Maria Theresa to Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi, women leaders throughout the ages have, proportionally, been more jingoistic than men. This is just to say we shouldn't expect a worldwide outbreak of peace, were women to rule.
Walters' piece strikes me as more parodic than pensive, however, because of its gargantuan sexism. One man is as good — or rather bad — as another; she lumps them together as a misogynist would all women. Misogyny is defined as a hatred or distrust of women, but Walters seems to hold both emotions for men. Could a professor of sociology really not notice this shallowest of intellectual sins? I find that hard to believe. What's more, Walters' claim that there's been no "serious recognition of wrongdoing" by men in the recent #MeToo explosions is nothing short of laughable. I can only assume she meant us to laugh.
Even the piece's title — "Why can't we hate men?" — is primed for ridicule. Of course you can hate men. Who cares? In fact, I don't much care for most of them myself — and I know them better than Ms. Walters does. Ann Coulter believes women should not have the vote because they vote Democratic; likewise I believe men should be disenfranchised because they voted for Trump. We could ship nine out of 10 beer-guzzling, wrestling-watching, Limbaugh-listening males to an Australian penal colony and America would be better for it.
Mostly I prefer to think of Walters' essay as a parody and not a think-piece because if "Why can't we hate men?" is a sample of serious thought at Northeastern's Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, while humanities programs are being slashed hither and yon, then God save the modern university. As parody I can be amused by Walters' piece; as pretend intellectuality it only depresses.