Recently I attended a performance given by country music songwriters. One of the men performing made the critical error of announcing that there had been a lot of male bashing going on backstage. To say that the response from a table of women songwriters was immediate does not do justice to the swiftness or intensity of their replies. These women had stories to tell about their ex-husbands and boyfriends that had been turned into heart-felt songs. As a woman, I had to admit that I saw no signs of bashing from this group of ladies.
What’s interesting is that this incident represents the different definitions that men and women have for man-bashing. For women, men bashers are women who talk badly about all men or make constant snide remarks about men in general. If women are talking about the bad behavior of a specific man, they tend to view this as just being truthful. On the other hand, men seem to think it’s male bashing whenever a group of women speak badly about men, even if it’s a specific man who has treated one of them badly. From a man’s point of view, it’s not surprising that men think that women bash them every chance they get since by their definition, we often do.
I was accused of male bashing when I commented that there is a tremendous opportunity for someone to create a line of Geranimals for men. If you’re not familiar with Geranimals, they’re a children’s clothing line with tags that feature animals. Matching the animal tags ensures that your clothing is color coordinated. At the time, I was on a business trip watching the men look progressively mismatched the longer they were away from the women in their lives. As far as I was concerned, I was stating a fact and offering a solution. Isn’t it easier to match the giraffe with the giraffe rather than having to ask, “Honey, does this go together?” But despite my logic, these mismatched men viewed my statement as man-bashing.
Of course these days, no discussion about man-bashing would be complete without mentioning the popular website, Don’t Date Him Girl.com (DDHG). Men constantly accuse this site of hateful male bashing and worse. From the women’s point of view, they are venting their frustrations and warning other women not to date the men that have burned them. The stories on this site feature the worst of male behavior, often by repeat offenders who seem to go out of their way to hurt women. If you are unfamiliar with the extreme nature of the postings on this site, you’ll need to visit DDHG to fully understand why women feel that these men should come with a warning label.
In the end, the women who are truly men-bashers are very few. Women who don’t have a kind word to say about any man are about as rare as the men on DDHG who dump women after stealing their money and cheating on them with their best friend. Men need to understand that if they behave like that, then women will talk and their reputation for behaving badly will spread quickly. In fairness, women need to make sure that when we do vent our frustrations about men, we avoid male-bashing by not lumping the good men in with the bad ones.