Mar 24

“Men Who Hate Women” by Laura Bates

“(T)he terrorist movement no one is talking about” (Publisher, Men Who Hate Women: From Incels to Pickup Artists: The Truth about Extreme Misogyny and How it Affects Us All by Laura Bates)

In her 2014 book Everyday Sexism: The Project that Inspired a Worldwide Movement British author Laura Bates (founder of the Everyday Sexism Project) noted that “Women are silenced by both the invisibility and the acceptability of the problem” (i.e., sexism).

Now, in Men Who Hate Women (2021) she goes deeper, having secretly infiltrated such active online groups as the incel movement, internet trolls, pickup artists, and Men’s Rights Activists—the whole of it otherwise known by Bates as the “manosphere.”

In a society in which misogyny and violence against women are so widespread and so normalized, it is difficult for us to consider these things ‘extreme’ or ‘radical,’ because they are simply not out of the ordinary. We do not leap to tackle a terrorist threat to women, because the reality of women being terrorized, violated, and murdered by men is already part of the wallpaper.

An excerpt of what Kirkus Reviews says about the origins of Men Who Hate Women: “For nearly a decade since founding the Everyday Sexism Project, an online platform where individuals can share their experiences with sexism and inequality, Bates has endured daily messages from men ‘outlining their hatred of me, fantasizing about my brutal rape and murder, detailing which weapons they would use to slice my body open and disembowel me, describing me as a dripping poison.'”

Further info, from Bates’s publisher: “Drawing parallels to other extremist movements around the world, including white nationalism, Bates shows what attracts men to the movement, how it grooms and radicalizes boys, how it operates, and what can be done to stop it. Most urgently of all, she follows the pathways this extreme ideology has taken from the darkest corners of the internet to emerge covertly in our mainstream media, our playgrounds, and our government.”

David Futrelle, NPR, summarizes the author’s findings:

…Bates is deft in sorting through the angry, hostile, and self-pitying rhetoric of the incels, who manage, as she notes, to be both victims of and purveyors of hate. But she’s also expert in taking apart the self-serving nonsense of the seemingly more respectable Men’s Rights movement, which not only does ‘vanishingly little to tackle the many very real issues affecting men today’ but actually makes them worse by reinforcing the most toxic and backwards elements of toxic masculinity — all the while promoting the nonsense notion that men, not women, are the truly oppressed gender in the world today.

One of the problems is the media’s portrayal of violent offenders, which includes disproportionately covering nonwhite people, for instance. Furthermore, white men are more often described as mentally ill or otherwise less responsible for their actions.

How common is the threat to women posed by men who hate them? “One expert Bates speaks to is convinced that roughly 70 percent of young men today have been exposed to manosphere ideologies in some form or another (NPR).

Bates, on the issue of men and boys being affected by this toxic culture: “We have to recognise that our current societal version of masculinity is failing them. It leaves them isolated, forced to adopt a swaggering bravado that prevents them from talking about how they feel or forming mutually supportive relationships’…”This could explain the high rates of male suicide that sincere men’s rights activists seek to tackle, in part by challenging rigid stereotypes.”