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.