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October 24, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Mandy on man bashing

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On a recent post a woman called me a ‘man basher’. I was a little taken aback. I have been bashed by men, quite a few in fact, but I have never ever bashed a man. I have never bashed a woman. I was intrigued that my writing about the appalling behaviour of men in parliament, of calling for our prime minister to sack ministers or staffers who have been accused of illegal behaviour, of asking for a system change that stopped women being abused, raped, and killed, was ‘man bashing’.

Bashing is a violent word. It’s not just a hit. To be bashed is to be left broken and bleeding on the floor. It is what happens to women in domestic violence. Women get bashed – by men far more regularly than the reverse. It’s why one woman dies every week in her home. So to be called a ‘man basher’ is a bit of a trigger for me. Especially by a woman. It makes me sad that a woman feels she has to defend all men. That she betrays the gravity of the conversation at hand, to be on side with the regime. 

Calling a woman a man basher makes the man the victim. It makes men the victims of critique. It makes men the victims of being called to account. It diminishes the experience of women and elevates the experience of men. It says that we cannot call out the behaviour of ‘bad’ men because it harms our ‘good’ men. It makes me a perpetrator because I want to dismantle patriarchy, a system that not only protects the worst behaviour of men, but endorses and rewards the subjugation, oppression, and harm of women. It says that I am hurting men. I am ‘bashing’ good men by calling for change. The good men I know are man bashers too. 

This is the language that has shamed and silenced us. It is the language that has made us feel wrong. When we speak out we are told that it is in fact we who are wrong. We who malign all men with our calls for toxic male culture to be held to account. When we ask that men who rape and bash and kill be charged and sentenced – that they experience the full consequences of their crime. How dare we.

To call me a ‘man basher’ implies that men are disempowered. That they are ‘otherised’ as a part of the community who are marginalised and subject to bigotry and attack. In my opinion, when the world is run by men – when our bodies and our minds have been colonised, co-erced, and co-opted by patriarchy, men are not disempowered. What they feel now is their power fading. The old ways have stopped working and they can’t fucking believe it. It’s not going anywhere. We are angry and we are getting angrier. Get ready for female rage.

Hear the rumblings of our decolonisation. Of women taking back the country of their bodies, their minds, and their agency. That probably feels like man bashing,  because we’re not being silent any more. We’re not shutting up to keep the peace. We’re not saving the family name. We’re done with wearing the shame that doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to them – the men who raped, abused, and killed us. 

There is no insult woman basher even though so many men are precisely that.

But as feminists we are gaslit and called man bashers? Implying there is violence and harm in our truth? 

We are not man bashers. We are freedom fighters. We are truth tellers. We are change makers. The Patriarchy Is Over. 

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  1. It’s a weird one isn’t it. An Adelaide radio opinionista (a man) who is one of those who rants their puerile opinions on the radio and those “opinions” either become, or reinforce other people’s “facts”, criticised Brittany Higgins for being rat-arsed when she was allegedly assaulted. He was, deservedly, sacked, but that he made those comments shows up a twisted cultural milieu. For many, it is like driving a car and having an accident. For your insurer, just being on the road means you are apportioned some liability. But the reality is, many tend to think that Brittany’s drunken state lessened the guilt of the alleged male perpetrator when what should should be thinking is that yes, maybe Brittany should not have been drunk, but her state IN NO WAY diminishes the evil and the culpability of the accused. This seems to stem from a core position that men are saps who are manipulated by women, and occasionally it all gets out of hand, but the woman is still responsible. For way too many men, women who are beaten somehow deserve it. For police who deal with domestic violence, I suspect they regularly see the victim in a state of distress, if not hysteria, so they see a “calm” husband or partner and conclude the victim is just another mad bitch that drove him to lash out. Hanson maintains women regularly invent abuse claims to get a better outcome in the Family Court, so she neurotically pushes, successfully, for the closure of the Family Court – think about that – if Hanson were right (the evidence shows she isn’t), what difference will that make apart from perhaps that more family law case might be presided over by a conservative male judge – but it highlights Hanson’s limited intellect and her twisted world view, which is overtly anti-women. For every time a woman gets bashed and doesn’t speak out against the perpetrator, all women will feel just a little bit more afraid. What you describe highlights how far we are as a society from a more respectful and less misogynistic view of women and that some women, perhaps many women help maintain the status quo – after all, latest polls show that roughly 50% of women polled still see Bargearse Morrison as the preferred PM. This is a PM who gets men bonding at the footy or over a few beers, but doesn’t get the systemic violence wrought on many women, including by drunken men who go home from the footy pissed and angry because their team lost and take it out on their wives.

  2. You tell them Mandy!….. many privileged white people, our Head of State Morrison included, have no clue or idea. He is incredibly naïve yet it seems he may be trying to learn, we’ll see. Anyway, how anyone, let alone a woman, could attack you on this is unconscionable. Sadly this is nothing new, ignorance is still rife. A ‘privileged’ white female only a few years ago was adamant the our nations beautiful Indigenous Australians tore apart their homes and burned them! No idea, no clue no empathy. It’s madness. Sadly we still have a long way to go. We surly hope you get into office Mandy because our country sorely needs more amazing women like yourself .

  3. Another intelligent heart felt strong column from you mandy. Thank you for your courage, passion and hopefully heading to parliament to shatter the status quo. Women rising up…so heartening to witness it.

  4. Mandy is needed ‘in office’. Real men will vote for her guts & knowledge just as
    I will. All the so-called ‘Ifs & buts’ are gone.

  5. Deconstruction of Patriarchal ideology in the male psyche is very threatening to some Australian men. The fear of emasculation so close in the process. Yet the majority of males in Australia never express outrage that a every nine days a woman in murdered by a partner or ex-partner. This acceptance of facts is unacceptable and very dangerous. Stay strong Mandy we support you. Liberation for all.

  6. Hey Jo ,
    Do you know ? Or are you aware of Australia’s ranking on the world stage regarding the treatment of Women?
    also our ranking as a safe nation
    Regarding women ..
    If not i suggest you familiarize
    Yourself with other countries that dont
    Even allow freedom of speech for women
    Ruled by a iron fist .. not here Jo thank God .
    Love my Mum , wife , Daughter , all women
    In my life with the respect they deserve..
    Also maybe you too as well as mandy
    May need to be educated regarding the appalling abuse of young CHILDREN
    Yes females as you as 12 given away as child
    Brides in this country Jo .. any views on this Jo ? Mandy ? May grow old for a response
    The double standards is overwhelming…

  7. One question after looking at the ‘dodgem-cars’ replies. If all is so wonderful in our daily
    lives in the land of OZ then why are men of all ages murdering their women? Me Tarzan!
    You Jane! It’s an epidemic & very un-manly & non-human.

  8. Hello Mandy. I often read your articles – I usually find them interesting. Though I do not always agree with everything you say at no time have I viewed your articles as man bashing. In wanting people (who happen to be men) to be held accountable for bad behaviour is not man bashing. This is a very good article with important points.


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