cover image I Hate Men

I Hate Men

Pauline Harmange, trans. from the French by Natasha Lehrer. Fourth Estate, $12.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-00-845758-7

French blogger and women’s rights activist Harmange debuts with a provocative yet unconvincing argument that misandry, or the hatred of all men, is healthy, liberating, and even joyful for women. Calling on women to stop being afraid of accusations of emotionality and to embrace their rage at misogyny, sexual violence, and the patriarchy, Harmange characterizes feminism as “the interface between private anger... and public anger.” She proclaims her lack of sympathy for men’s concerns and calls on women to stop praising men for their “pathetically trivial” attempts toward gender equality. Declaring that “female solidarity is never frivolous,” Harmange celebrates the power of women-only communities, and vows to make “sisterhood [her] compass.” Unfortunately, a rather bland feminist critique of her own mostly happy straight marriage steals the thunder of her argument, making the issue more about men’s socialization rather than their essential nature, and her suggestion to reject compulsory heterosexuality in favor of single childlessness feels rather narrow-minded and out of touch with the reality of women’s lives. Ultimately, Harmange’s take feels more like a bloodless thought exercise than an authentic worldview. This manifesto packs a weak punch. (Jan.)