Shrill, Bitter, Humourless, Prudish Man-Hater
Not super-original, but I’m in a foul mood, and I feel like lightening things up a little. And nothing lightens the mood more than taking a look at the ‘insults’ that men hurl at women.
When a woman, especially, a feminist is called any of the following – shrill, bitter, humourless, prudish, or a man-hater – I really have to laugh. I don’t consider these insults, perhaps because I have a lot of interest in what words mean. Other than the last one – man-hater – all of the terms have broad application. They weren’t designed to hurt women, specifically. The insults that really bother me are those with very specific, woman-harm in mind. I’m talking b****, c***, s***, w****, etc. Those terms, which are becoming much more common, normalized, and publicly used in entertainment accessible to impressionable children, hurt women. They hurt women in the same way that the n-word hurts blacks. But racism is taken seriously these days – you won’t hear the n-word used as a slur in the past few decades of television or film unless you’re looking at a character who is specifically a race-supremacist or within an historical context. Woman-hate or misogyny, on the other hand, is becoming mainstream and embraced. Misogyny has always existed, but it is no longer buried under innuendo in the public arena, and this is reflected in the language. Slurs against women are hurled at females (or as a grave insult to men) in entertainment as comedy and or as hate by male and female characters alike, by all racial groups, and by characters of all ages. I was watching an American show the other day where an older black man forced his way into a white, teen-aged girl’s house, called her a ‘bitch’ with hate behind the word, and when she tried to stop him, he yelled out to the street, “Racism!!! This white girl is oppressing a old, black man!!!” Yeah. That’s where our world is going. Slurs against women are fine and dandy, and men of colour are often leading the pack as some of the most protected perpetrators. ‘Art’ reflects life which, in turn, is informed by ‘art’.
Now here’s the problem. The slurs that are really bothering women, especially feminists, these days, are not the ones I just talked about. Hell, call a lib-fem a ‘slut’, and she’ll take her top off and shake those titties at you with pouty lips and a defiant “yeah, I’m a slut, so what?’ look. No, what really gets women a-scampering these days is being called a prude or a man-hater. And even radical feminists will bend over backwards to demonstrate exactly how they couldn’t possibly hate men or want to stop men from putting their dicks into people.
Let’s break these suckers down, why don’t we?
Shrill refers to a sound that is high-pitched or piercing. It is used by men to refer to their dislike of women’s speech. They even use the term to refer to women’s writing, so we know it may only partially refer to the actual sound. The content plays a major role, too. You see, strangely, the voices are more piercing or ‘shrill’ when women are trying to fight for their basic human rights. Personally, I’ve encountered very few women’s voices that you could categorize as ‘shrill’. Occasionally, I’ll run into one that is hard to listen to because it is high-pitched. But on the whole, for me, voices that are annoying or difficult to pay attention to are that way for more complicated reasons. No two are exactly alike. It can include geographically-based accent, pitch, timbre, loudness, and/or whether someone whines or slurs. And a bad laugh can make things worse. I find men’s voices equally or even harder to endure than women’s mostly, but not only, because they are so loud and the content is so boring. I remember years ago, participating in a weekly trivia group thing in grad school, and there was always this one dude sitting across the room who would drive my ears fucking crazy – like poison-ivy-itching crazy – with his freakish, weird, loud voice and laugh. If I’d had a steak knife with me… Anyhow, shrill is more about men not liking to hear about human rights for women than any objective qualities of women’s voices.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever met a bitter feminist. I’ve met a lot of bitter men, that’s for sure. And I’ve also met a few women who are IN relationships with men and who defend the penis who are actually bitter. What does bitter actually mean? It refers to someone who is “angry, hurt, or resentful because of one’s bad experiences or a sense of unjust treatment”. The bold is mine because it is the important part of this definition. Having a sense of being treated unfairly doesn’t necessarily mean you are actually being treated unfairly, and this is why ‘bitter’ doesn’t apply to feminists. Women ARE treated unfairly. Regularly. All over the world. For thousands of years. Women SHOULD be angry and hurt and resentful. Men, who often have hurt feelings and anger because they may not get what they feel they are entitled to (i.e., free access to as many women’s bodies and free labour and attention as possible), are bitter. They think life is unfair for them. But it is decidedly not. Bitter. Bitter men.
Of course men are funny. To call women humourless is the funniest thing EVER. But seriously, men’s humour, which mostly relies upon slamming the oppressed (women) through rape jokes, cheap ho jokes, female biology jokes, or through boring, repetitive jokes about farts, poop, masturbating, etc., is not funny. Men are humourless. Women are funny. They really are. Now, we’d have a better sense of this if men didn’t control the entertainment industry. As it is, to become a female comedian, you have to be fuckably hawt first. Being hawt is unrelated to comedic talent, so we miss out on probably 98-99% of the funny women out there. Funny women who are not hawt are barred from speaking, performing, acting. I have my personal (growing) list of female comedians whom I like to watch and laugh with, two of my faves being Tig Notaro and Janeane Garofolo. But there are many. Many. Google. Watch. Laugh. They are women and they are funny. And somehow, they don’t need rape, whores, shit, farts, or penises in the mix to do it.
Oh, this one makes me tired. Countless rad-fems have spent time doing justice to the ‘we’re not prudes, we just think PIV (penis-in-vagina; aka ‘dude-sex’) is harmful’ argument. So I’m not going to go through the whole thing here. Femonade is a great resource for this, and FCM does it better than I ever could. There is a massive difference between hammering home (yes, I know the imagery I’ve created) the point that penises are the source of most, if not all, of women’s problems, and doing the religious, woman-hating, anti-sex, guilt-hate-shame parade. Feminists aren’t anti-sexuality. They wish for women to be free from men’s sexuality so that they can finally figure out what theirs is about. As it is, men define all sexuality, and it is all about serving men and harming women. Period. There is nothing prudish about wanting women to be free to be or not to be sexual beings on their own terms.
Perhaps my favourite insult? Maybe. I also like the word misandrist, but most men can’t pronounce it and so don’t use it. Plus ‘man-hater’ is catchy – like a venereal disease! All I know is when men call women ‘man-haters’, it makes me laugh and laugh. Men are so fucking insecure. It is an unassailable truth that men hate women. We’ve got that down, right? And since they can only envision hate, it is impossible for women to exist in a state where they don’t hate men. Or perhaps it is this. Men know that if women treated them the way that men have always treated women, hate would be the inevitable and rational effect. Simply put: “We men treat you women like you are maggots on shit. How can you not hate us?” And craftily, men will use this assumed hate to justify more shitty treatment, anger, ranting, violence, etc. And really, whether we hate them or not is actually irrelevant. All men need is the belief.
But so what if a woman or group of women or all women do hate men? It is justified, reactive, defensive hate. And when we hate, we don’t follow it up with violence. In fact, most women will feel the hate burn, and then find excuses for men, allowing them to continue trying to destroy us. Men, on the other hand, have aggressive, unjustified hate for women that is the fuel for all the violence they do to us. We have done nothing wrong – except exist – they hate us and try to destroy us. And then they blame us if we speak up to defend ourselves.
So ‘man-hater’? Give me a break. Take a look in the mirror, assholes. Read the papers. Take a look at the women around you in a human, non-pervy way. You are more likely to see fear in women’s eyes than hate.
To women and feminists, especially, stop defending yourselves against male accusations in the form of ‘slurs’. It is a waste of gynergy. If you really must fight something, then fight the real slurs – the b- c- w- and s-words. The slurs that actually hurt us and are designed to do so.
Posted on February 12, 2016, in Feminism, Hate Speech, Human Rights, Language, Male Privilege and tagged comedy, hate speech, humor, man-hater, misogyny, patriarchy, radical feminism, slurs. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Shrill, Bitter, Humourless, Prudish Man-Hater.