Women’s Studies and the Spread of Man-Hatred

Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender.” His book "The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind" is just out from Broadside / Harper Collins.


Women’s Studies is not just the Big Mama of the “identity studies” rackets at North American institutions of higher education – it’s also arguably the most influential, its foundational tenets having become, on virtually every college campus, a rigid institutional orthodoxy that the individual student challenges at his or her peril. At the heart of that orthodoxy, of course, is the idea that we live in a “patriarchy,” in which male power and oppression are ubiquitous. One corollary of this view is that rape is not a crime committed by one twisted individual against a helpless victim but is, rather, a product of those universal male attributes, aggression and misogyny. As innumerable young men are informed at freshman orientation, they, and all other males, are potential rapists, every last one of them. Indeed, as one course after another, in a range of disciplines, strives to underscore nowadays, pretty much every negative phenomenon in human society can be traced to the poisonous needs and uncontrollable impulses of males, without whom there would, for example, be no war, no cutthroat competition, no violence of any kind.

For a long time, there was no organized opposition to this vile anti-male claptrap in North American universities and colleges. Feminists maintained briskly that there was no need for any such opposition: the very study of Western civilization, they insisted, was, with very few exceptions, one long celebration of men’s accomplishments, beginning with Homer, Aristotle, Aeschylus, and other males whose domination of the canon and curriculum could only be explained by the gender oppression that had silenced women’s voices from time immemorial. Besides, feminists claimed, there was no other reasonable way of looking at things: the patriarchy exists, it is, and that’s that. Any man who sought to argue that gender identity and the relations between men and women are rather more complicated and nuanced than the word “patriarchy” suggests merely proved thereby his own failure to evolve into an enlightened member of his sex.

For there is, in the feminist academy, an acknowledgment that men can rise above their primitive patriarchal urges. Indeed, there is a whole discipline devoted to this notion. It is called Men’s Studies, and it can be found in the course catalogues of a hundred or so colleges and universities in North America. As the Rutgers anthropologist Lionel Tiger (who invented the term “male bonding”) pithily puts it, Men’s Studies is “a wholly owned branch of women’s studies,” viewing maleness from a thorougly feminist perspective and accepting without hesitation the premise of patriarchy. Essentially, as I note in my book The Victims’ Revolution, Men’s Studies exists to answer the question: “Why are men so awful?” Its founder was an Australian sociologist, Robert W. Connell, who, in an act that certainly seemed to speak volumes about his feelings about male identity (but whose larger significance has been strictly off-limits as a topic of discussion in the discipline he founded), underwent an operation in 2008 that turned him into a her.

In recent years, to be sure, another kind of men’s studies has managed to take tenuous root on a few campuses. As one of its leading practitioners, Miles Groth of Wagner College on Staten Island, puts it, it’s not about activism but about real academic inquiry, bringing together literature, film, and anthropological, sociological, and psychological studies in an effort to understand “the experience of being male (not male behavior)” and to enlighten “college-age males who are now so bewildered by the fallout from ideological feminism that they are in a precarious situation.” What, people like Groth want to know, has “driven guys away from college”? Why have “suicide rates among boys…increased in the last 15 years at an alarming rate”?

Part of the answer can surely be glimpsed in a stunning You Tube video of a protest that took place at the University of Toronto on November 16. The occasion was a lecture by Warren Farrell, who in the 1970s was a prominent feminist – and even a leader of the National Organization for Women – but who, when the women’s movement, in his view, turned overtly anti-male, left it to write books with titles like The Myth of Male Power.  In Women’s Studies he’s viewed as an enemy, his words twisted to make him sound, among other things, like an apologist for rape (thus the sign, held by one of the Toronto protesters, reading “Date rape is not ‘exciting’”). I haven’t followed Farrell’s work closely, but I know enough about Women’s Studies to understand what I’m looking at when I view this You Tube video: a group of students who have been transformed by their teachers, as effectively and chillingly as any product of Mao’s Cultural Revolution or any member of the Khmer Rouge, into mindless mouthpieces for a party line and, in at least a couple of cases, into terrifying fountains of sanctimonious rage.

One of a handful of young men who are there in solidarity with their feminist sisters explains why they’ve gathered there outside the lecture hall where Farrell is scheduled to speak: “We’re here to shut down an event that is promoting the patriarchy!” And when police officers, behaving in the most restrained and respectful Canadian manner, try to keep them from accomplishing that end, the protesters shout furiously at the fuzz: “This is what men’s rights look like!” Note the restraint on the part of a cop as a couple of co-eds get right in his face, hurling at him the worst of verbal slurs. Look at the sardonic Nazi salute offered by one of the protesters, as if these policemen were comparable to the Gestapo. Check out the potty-mouthed gal berating a guy who’s committed the capital crime of wanting to attend a lecture: “You should be fucking ashamed of yourself. You’re fucking scum! You’re fucking scum!…You’re woman-hating, fucking scum!” And then, the same girl, to a cop: “You should be fucking proud of yourself!” As if he were a member of the Taliban. (But of course she would never be so rude to a member of the Taliban.)

Pause the video and look into the eyes of the young men who want to attend the lecture. Then pause it and look into the eyes of the two or three particularly rabid young women who, if they weren’t half these guys’ size, would doubtless have been ready and willing to do them physical harm. Who are the bullies here? On which which of the two sides of this dustup do the people seem to be meek and mild, and on which side does one observe what appears to be a frenzied, fanatical contempt for the opposite sex?  As Groth put it in an e-mail to me:

Here is misandry, deeply irrational, generalized to boys (the theme of the presentation) and to law enforcement officers whose job is to preserve civic order (here identified with men, even given the presence of women officers). The setting of the ugly events outside of the venue (a major university) is significant as the site of where misandric ideology is by now deeply embedded and insulated from discussion by intimidated administrators. Comparable behavior in anticipation of a profeminist presentation is by now unthinkable and would have produced an immediate expression of outrage on campus and in the media. Hateful, violent behavior in the name of non-violent behavior against women – this paradox needs explaining. Non-violent protest against government policies in the 60′s was a coherent response. This meanness ostensibly in response to an issue of social injustice is neither a response nor coherent.

Well, you can certainly say that again. Alas, this is the true face of Women’s Studies – a “discipline” that, at its core, has nothing whatsoever to do with education in any objective sense and everything to do with the inculcation of an unreasoning enmity for an entire sex (and that includes inculcating self-hatred in young men). These pointlessly angry young women have been taught by their feminist professors that they’re victims of the patriarchy, and they’ve bought the whole thing hook, line, and sinker; but they’ve also been taught – by, perversely, the very same professors – to think and act like authoritarian thugs, gangsters in the service of what is, when you come right down to it, and whether or not they realize it, nothing less than an ideology of hate.

Plainly, Groth and his colleagues have their work cut out for them.

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  • UCSPanther

    This needs to get out so people can see these insane man-haters for who they truly are. These screaming mimis are trying to save their dying movement, one that can only flourish in the sterile environment of University campuses where they can safely ignore reality. Unfortunately for them, reality does not like to be ignored.

    The victimhood movement in general is facing a comuppance where people are starting to say "no more" to paying reparations.

    • Mary Sue

      It's worse than that! The Womens' and Ethnics' studies crowd has so bastardized the language in order to wrest control of the debate, that it's gotten to the point where they deny that "misandry" is even a thing. Misandry does not exist, they say, because Men are in power, and since in their twisted perverse lexicon discrimination only counts if it's by someone In Power™, someone crying Misandry is wallowing in their own Male Privilege.

      The strange part is they become enraged at the Mens' Rights Movement and claim they're trying to cast men as Victims (because, you see, only The Oppressed™ can be victims or victimized!), while hogging Victimhood only for themselves.

      Say no to the singlehanded manipulation of words by one side of the debate (the Womens' Studies side)!

      • Chezwick

        Mary Sue, This is identical to the insistence of many on the left that black racism doesn't exist (and cannot) because racism is based upon power-structure and since blacks are devoid of power (tell that to Obama, Holder, etc), they cannot be racist. Sexism, like racism, is a frame-of-mind, a point-of-view. It can manifest itself in a myriad of ways, from institutionalized discrimination to personal insult. NO ONE, regardless of race or gender, is immune.

        I'm reminded of an article I read almost a decade ago, where an impressionable, young college student was taught that conjugal sex between husband and wife was a form of rape. When she married a few years after graduating, her relationship was dysfunctional from the start….and she needed therapy to de-program what she had inculcated in school.

        Women's students, like ethnic studies, is a destructive phenomenon designed to erect walls between people and alienate them from one another….an absolutely malevolent enterprise.

        • Mary Sue

          That's because it comes from much of the same people. The black/minority (ie latino) studies people and the womens' studies people are allies and have been since the 1960s and have colluded to wrest control of the language in the same way. In their twisted world, it's NOT OK to be afraid of a black man because he's black, but it IS ok to be afraid of a black man because he's a MAN.

          the woman in the article you read probably got brainwashed with the works of Catherine MacKinnon and her ilk, the radfems. The Radfems take the feminism of Women's Studies and crank it up to 11. Oddly, they reject the notion of Trans (male to female and vice versa) and if you heard one talk about male to female Trans, you'd think you were listening to the Moral Majority. Ironically these radfems believe lesbianism is a choice, and one a true feminist MUST make in order to divest power from the Patriarchy and avoid the harm that "P i V" sex causes (said harm including amongst other things, pregnancy!) They claim women are discriminated against BECAUSE they can reproduce! And with advocating Lesbianism among women that aren't even lesbians, they essentially tear down the entire "we were born that way, we would never CHOOSE this" argument of the Gay Rights Movement.

          So not only is it destructive, it is counterproductive to other Leftist Socially Liberal causes!

          It's a twisted twisted mindset indeed that formulates that the reason blacks are "kept down" in poverty is because some white kid called them n____.

          • Chezwick

            Radfems….very bizarre.

    • Murial

      What men can do: http://youtu.be/dM7L6I5gyHs

  • kentatwater

    Feminism is just another example of how a toxic ideology, conceived by hate-filled people, ultimately becomes dogma; and when it becomes dogma, those who question it become heretics (or "kafir," if you like). You don't debate heretics. You stifle them. You burn them in effigy. You burn them…for real.

    I recommend viewing some commentary by individuals on YouTube, who go by the names "GirlWritesWhat" and "JohnTheOther." They are erudite men's rights advocates who have gone toe to toe with these hate-filled people. I may not agree with some of their politics, but then, I'm not the dogmatic sort.

  • Adam Riverton

    If only they would focus all that energy on the Islamist patriarchal societies that are oppressing women. It's not as if the whole world has arrived at gender equality. There are so many real issues such as genital mutilation, honor killing, child brides, acid throwing for not wearing hijab, not to mention no education, freedom or rights.

    • southwood

      Exactly. Why don't these creatures get their priorities right ? Feminism, like gay rights, is aggressive because society has appeased it. Feminism is truly a curse on society. Its day will pass.

    • anon

      Have you lived in an Islamic society? I have, though I am not a Muslim. Muslim men, like men of all religions and cultures, love and respect their mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives. They don't oppress women. You've bought into the antisemitism so widespread and common in America (Muslims are also Semites, in case you didn't know). Please don't spread such hateful anti male memes as that "Islamist patriarchal societies" oppress women – you are smearing almost a billion males. Women in Muslim cultures are no more oppressed than the men. That is not to say they are not oppressed, just that their oppression is no worse than what the men in those cultures face. Spend some time living in some of those cultures and ask yourself if, as a man, you would like to live the life of those men.

  • Scurvyd

    I always found it interesting that the December 6 anti-male hate-fest that just passed commemorates a mass killing committed by a guy with an Algerian Muslim father who beat his wife and generally hated women. This is never mentioned, nor is the fact that the local men in the classroom – neutered as they were by decades of PC indoctrination – quietly left when ordered to by the gunman rather than protect the women. Essentially, this whole thing is annually blown out of proportion to attack the many Canadian and other Western men who have been effectively neutered, while ignoring the real basis of the attack – and much of the problem – today. I call the whole sham Feminist Christmas, the twisted interpretation that just keeps paying dividends for them years later. It's no wonder that sperm counts are dropping in the West…

    • Mary Sue

      It's Montreal, males in University there have been Pussified since there were Universities in Canada.

  • sz252878

    The protest in Toronto called backlash. I am a feminist (not as vicious as some described in the article) and I am not shamed of it. I truly believe that women are at real threat, not particularly from men in the western world but generally, the abuse and mistreatment of women throughout the world thanks to ignorance, religious fanatics and to their followers are rising fast in a shocking rate. Since the 1960-70es where feminism was at its peak, feminism has been declining steadily. The popping up of Women Studies courses at universities in the last decade or so should be an alarming sign and we shouldn’t be ignoring it or play it down.

    • Crossbow87

      I know…Muslims forcibly slicing clitorises and executing alleged female adulterers and honor killings of teenaged girls who want to have boyfriends, those are the things feminists should be fighting against. Right?

    • Mo_

      So you're protesting Islam, right?

    • Mary Sue

      Nobody was being denied any rights, women or otherwise, by Warren Farrell speaking. The protesters however, were denying people their rights, immediately.

      So you've noticed that Islamism is the real problem?

    • Mark Neil

      This is a standard diversionary tactic used by feminists these days. Attempting to use third world women's problems to justify Western specific action. Not a single thing you've said here justifies the actions of these protesters and those like them in their hatred of men. You claim women are at real threat, and use 3rd world women's issues to justify that claim, but in what way are western women threatened? And do men not also endure such (or similar) threats? You wouldn't know, because feminism doesn't examine men's issues, except in how men are dangerous, aggressive, violent and domineering, and how they're the cause of women's problems.

    • jijk

      You worry about women's rights in the third world, yet protest here? You might want to travel to a Taliban controlled area of Afghanistan and protest there. The day you scream in the face of the Taliban you have my respect and support. Screaming in the faces of nice police officers because they have a p3nis is nothing more than gender racism.

  • Lan Astaslem

    when these fembags muster up the courage to take a stand on the atrocities the muslims afflict on women, then they'll be taken seriously – until then STFU!

  • Alex Kovnat

    If you could create a bizzare world peopled only by women (where new babies would I suppose, be created by cloning or some other artifice), what would it be like? A noted woman novelist, in a magazine interview, put it this way: "The most aggressive, pushy women would rise to the top of the governmental hierarchy and then they would become the new men."

  • Scurvyd

    I say put a group of the most rabid feminists on a deserted island and see how long it takes to turn into Lord of the Flies.

    • Mary Sue

      I'd give it an hour before it descended into hair-pulling.

    • White Devil

      I don't really think they wait until they made landfall. Most of these women would crawl over broken glass to start fights. You could ship them in individual capsules and they'd climb out spitting at each other.

  • Mo_

    Send all these irrational, man-hating, foul-mouthed "feminists" to Islamic countries. Let them screech about 'THE PATRIARCHY!' there.

    Problem solved.

  • Mo_

    What I don't understand is why these same "feminists" love Bill Clinton.

    Even worse, they are SILENT when it comes to Islam! If anyone has insight on this, I'd love to hear it. I'm at a loss on this.

    • Mary Sue

      They'll willingly vote for an accused rapist if said rapist lets them abort all the babies they want.

    • Zionista

      they love him like they loved teddy kennedy – Mary Jo, Juanita Brodderick, not so much

  • Drakken

    I usually don't talk to folks with womans or ethnic studies degrees, but when I do, I usually ask for large fries with that.
    I find it rather amusing that these feminazis only protest white men, and not islam or muslims. The result would be reality on steroids.

    • Ozwald

      Because that would take real courage. Not the courage that most western college students need, where they live in a babysitting nation.

  • PAthena

    "Women's Studies" is no such thing. There are two sexes among human beings, as in other sexually-reproducing animals, one male and one female. You cannot study women without studying men. You cannot study cows without studying bulls, mares without studying stallions, even queen bees and workers without studying drones. The so-called feminists are Marxists who have substituted men and women for "oppressor" and "oppressed."

    • Mary Sue

      well at its core, yes, Womens' studies (and ethnic studies for that matter) is a direct outgrowth of Marxist theory.

    • R.C.

      Very true!

  • Ghostwriter

    While not all feminists hate men,there are enough of them who do,and that sort of thing taints the movement. There are feminists who don't hate men. And they don't like this sort of thing either.

    • Oscar

      But funnily enough these women who don't hate men remain silent when the man hating is going on. I'll believe your claptrap the first time I hear a women in conversation with other women complain about snide. or worse, put downs of men etc.

      In my view all women hate men, to a degree, except for a few men at the top of the sexual hierarchy.

  • Pau GC

    Having grown up in the late '60s & early '70s, when the feminist-movement was first gaining ground, and having been exposed during my formative years to this exact same kind of anti-male venom from that sector of humanity, is a large part of the reason why I personally remain a contented bachelor as I now approach my half-century mark…

  • R.C.

    So called but not feminism–is cultural Marxism–its goals among others are to weaken and destroy society, the military and political structures!

  • BLJ

    A man is a pig in a woman's eye…….till payday.

  • R.C.

    Women's studies, gender studies, black studies, etc–are all studies in cultural Marxism to the detriment of the American nation!

  • jennifer

    ust before I saw the check which was of $9297, I didn't believe that my father in law woz like they say realie making money in their spare time on-line.. there mums best friend has been doing this for only 1 year and a short time ago cleard the morgage on their apartment and bourt a brand new Smart ForTwo. this is where I went, ………. Bit40.ℂOℳ

  • Walter Fox

    You have to feel bad for today's young feminists. As they grew up feminism was a dominant orthodoxy and presented an easy road to fame and fortune.
    But in the last few years anti feminist heads are rising above the parapets and determined critiques both popular and academic are being dropped on feminists.
    So todays young feminists are surprised ,confused a d finally outraged by "criticism"such that they now have to defend ,explain, and rationalize what they always took for granted and never really examined.

  • pyeatte

    (But of course she would never be so rude to a member of the Taliban.) Well, only once.

  • jemaasjr

    The whole nuevo-culture thing has degenerated into such rubbish that I can not take any of it seriously any more. Who cares what particular load of BS they currently buy into?

  • Mark Neil

    " for some reason her acquisition of power does not bother them."

    Because that power is used for their benefit. Other women who attain power, but are unwilling to use it for feminist causes, are demonized. Look at Pallin, Bauchmann (sp?) or Thatcher.

  • ana

    feminism is a diverse movement, with dozens of various branches. lumping them all into one group and declaring that "ALL FEMINISTS ARE EVIL" isn't really fair. isn't that exactly what some radical feminists say to men? i'm a feminist, and i certainly don't hate men, nor do i condone actions like these. i took gender study courses in my university and wasn't taught to hate men there either,
    also, for those commenting and saying that why don't feminists improve the lives of women in oppressive regimes like Afghanistan and Pakistan, that's because in those countries, if you say anything that doesn't fit within the religious majority's views (and by that i also mean women's rights), you can get charged with blasphemy if you're not careful (which can, in the worst case scenario, lead to your death).

  • Fred

    "feminism is a diverse movement, with dozens of various branches. lumping them all into one group and declaring that "ALL FEMINISTS ARE EVIL" isn't really fair."

    Of course it's fair. Unless, of course, you can point out to us the branches of feminism which stand-up to the misandry of the more radical ones…. (you won't…because they're ALL EVIL)

  • KellyJessop

    There has been a real attempt to smear the Men's Rights groups in the media. Here is an article covering the event in the youtube video this piece linked to. It's full of lies:
    http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/michael-laxer/201

  • pbw1

    Let's hope in 2013, there will be some real progress in the men's movement. Especially at Universities.

  • horatio

    The author of this well written article is a gay man living in Norway. I find it ironic that initally it was the gay movement especially in the 1970s that was in the for front for opposing hetro men – to achieve gay rights. I always beleived that feminism at its core was primarily a lesbian movement strongly supported by gays. With its leadership hetro women became feminists on a large scale — primarily bc there was economic incentive. Four decades later to the present we have quite a few gay men now supporting hetro male issues and opposing radical feminists and lesbians. How times have changed Gay men seem to be identifying themselves closer to hetro men.

  • ray

    the skreeching haters at Univ. or Toronto are a bit more vocal than others, but the ideo-politics they espouse took over the western nations decades ago — governments, courts, schools, families, workplaces . . . everywhere

    these are NOT some dismissible fringe radicals — they are acting from the CENTER of the actual, current power of america, canada, and most of the western nations — ruled collectively by women, with a small pandering "elite" of male frontmen at the top of corporations, government, etc

    if feminism were only a matter of ideological fringe-groups on north american campuses, then yes, you'd have a fighting chance to oust these monsters, and restore sanity, justice, and economic health to your cultures

    but your nations are already far, far gone to feminism, and have functioned as matriarchies for 25 years

    the pathological faces screaming hatred and evil at UT ARE representative of your nations, and of their attitudes towards fatherhood, sonship, and masculinity in general

  • horatio

    That was well put. Those vocal haters were just a tip of the ice berg. Men Rights groups have some serious work ahead. Interesting how this feminist monster grew unnoticed.

  • Brian

    I hate women.They think that they have beauty as well as brains while men are lacking both.They act so self righteous and are very judgmental ragrds to men.

  • whiskas

    This article is spot-on and well-written. We need more people like you speaking out about this.