Review: I Hate Men by Pauline Harmange
Ah. This little book. First, it was banned in France and then it was released in the UK where I was lucky enough to be sent a copy.
This book caused me a lot of drama and issues – I can safely say it was welcomed. I thoroughly enjoyed the controversy that went alongside me sharing my experiences of reading I Hate Men.
Step one: I receive a fabulous package from 4th Estate books with this book inside, along with a pin badge, t-shirt and flag. I posted a photo of me with all of my misandrous memorabilia and it was removed for hate speech. I posted it again, and it received a very mixed reaction: fellow feminist friends rallied to support the book. Some even buying it as a sign of support towards the bloggers getting their content removed, as well as the author who had received an onslaught of hate comments after releasing this essay. I also had a small wave of abusive messages telling me how ugly and unattractive I was (from both men and women) all because I posted a photo of this controversial book. But we're not here to talk about the controversy or the genius of the marketing. What about the contents? I Hate Men is a book about embracing misandry (dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men). Harmange argued that in her lifetime she has been encouraged to think highly of men who are in their nature and actions, mediocre. She often tells herself in situations where she doesn't know what to do, "what would a mediocre white male do?" and copy that. She talks about male and female expectation when it comes to heterosexual relationships and counted the occasions that she has read books on how to improve her relationship with her husband, or even made commentary are about masculinity. She points out that these are all things that he could have done himself, but didn't. Harmange celebrates her female friendships and sisterhood in a truly heartfelt and compelling way. She doesn't force her reader to hate men, she is just telling you that misandry shouldn't be shunned as an option to those who like her, don't see anything exceptional that is worth celebrating when she is surrounded by so many fantastic women. I don't know that this book is groundbreaking in it's messages. Feminist essays are often littered with information about male/female inequality, biased expectations in heterosexual relationships or in the workplace. Many essays also discuss topics such as sisterhood and women looking out for one another. Don't get me wrong, I will jump at any opportunity to read books that contain all of these things. However, Harmange clearly had a new approach when bringing the word misandry forth in her writing. Do I hate men? No. It can be dangerous to generalise, and seeing as there is both bad and good within every gender, race and sexual identity, poor experiences with one individual shouldn't necessarily lead to a contempt of a subset of the population. But a clear point is being made and of course it made me think: if I am being oppressed, why can't I hate my oppressor?
Initial Prediction: 4 stars
Final Rating: 4.5 stars
Publication Date: 19 August 2020
Publisher: 4th Estate
Genres: Non-Fiction, Essay
# of Pages: 80