Our conversation about men who are freaked out by Big Bad Feminism reminded me of how rampant this male anger against women-who-might-be-judging-them was in the 90s, as if that’s what feminism was all about: making men feel bad.
It couldn’t be that things were weird and bad for women (and for men!) in certain ways that women wanted to change. It had to be that we wanted to eradicate Maleness and lump all men into a Bad Man category.
I just stumbled upon this 1994 Time magazine gem entitled “Men: Are They Really That Bad?” I love that lots of 90s magazine archives are now online because they provide proof that we didn’t make this shit up. Anyway, be sure to read the whole thing here, but I’ll quote a few little things below.
THIS IS REALLY PART OF THE FIRST PAGE OF THE ARTICLE:
(Gavel bangs.) Gentlemen: We meet at a moment when the prestige of maleness is in decline.
Outbreak of mock sobbing, men sawing at imaginary violins.
In a sidelong and subliminal way, men have become the Evil Empire, or, anyway, the ancien regime. We are “They,” “Them,” “the Enemy.” The “manly” virtues (bravery, strength, discipline and, egad, machismo itself) remain admirable only by being quietly reassigned to women — to Janet Reno and Hillary Clinton, say.
Other manly traits, of the noxious-slob variety (emotional inaccessibility, sexual aggression, a lack of fastidiousness about lifting the seat) are ascribed to fraternity boys, the Senate Judiciary Committee and (guilt by association) males in general. People come in two models: Women (good, nice) and Men (the heavier, hairier life form).
Also, super loving this part:
Women elaborately manipulate and exploit men’s natural sexual attraction to the female body, and then deny the manipulation and prosecute men for the attraction — if the attraction draws in the wrong man. Women cannot for long combine fiery indignation and continuing passivity (attempting to have the best of both those worlds).
I was going to say is it any wonder that’s when thrash metal girl rock hit, but um, three of the top ten songs in 1994 were by Ace of Base.
But for real, I’ve always thought feminism was about equality (and yes, smug Time writer, I think women should also be subject to the draft) and basically about people not being assholes: guys not being assholes to girls, girls not being assholes to guys, girls not being assholes to other girls, etc.
I thought it was about recognizing bad patterns of the way women and men think about gender and also about trying to undo out-in-the-world unfairness, like the fact that women make only 75% of what men make for the same work or whatever that number is now, the fact that if you’re poor and have a baby but want to keep your job you are pretty much screwed, the fact that there are SO MANY laws about what women can and can’t do with their bodies… And, you know, domestic violence, sex trafficking, Super Bowl ads about how a guy will turn you over to killers rather than give up his awesome tires…
Okay, God, you told me to go back to talking about glitter gel and here I am quoting from snarky 1994 Time articles. I guess it just makes me mad that this kind of “feminists hate men” crap is still all around and that people buy it. But whatevs, glitter!!!!!!!!!