- "Men make me scared."
- "Men make me angry."
- "Men who treat the word ‘rape’ like slang or make rape jokes make me scared/angry."
- "Men have privilege that oppresses me."
- "Male privilege makes me angry."
- "When men catcall me, that makes me scared/upset/angry."
- "When men give my body attention that I don’t want, that makes me scared/upset/angry."
And please remember, someone saying “I hate men” usually means any or all of the above. If I say “I hate men” it does not actually mean that I hate my father, or my boss, or my friend Kyle, or my cousin Josh. It just means that men, as a generality, make my life as a woman very hard.
This principle can be applied to anything. When POC say “I hate white people,” it does not mean they hate individual white people. When queer people say, “I hate straight people,” it does not mean they hate individual straight people. When trans* people say “I hate cis people,” it does not mean they hate individual cis people. When differently-abled people say “I hate able-bodied people,” when aneurotypical people say “I hate neurotypical people,” when anything like this happens — it’s not about an individual. It’s about an oppressive system.
This is different from Rick Santorum saying “I hate gay people” because Rick Santorum is in a place of privilege. His male privilege, white privilege, cis privilege, and heterosexual privilege all mean that he is not oppressed by gay people. At all. Gay people repulse him, so his homophobia comes from a place of believing gay people are “less than” he is.
An individual can benefit from one kind of privilege and lack another, and these do not cancel one another out. A gay man saying “I hate women” is being misogynistic, because his male privilege means that he is part of an oppressive party against women. A straight white woman saying “I hate black people” is being racist, because her white privilege means she is part of an oppressive party against black people.
Now, I am wary of blanket statements of hatred for my own reasons, but I recognize and respect their value as a way of expressing feelings that oppressed people might otherwise have no ability to express. And I think that expression is incredibly important. There is a huge difference between productive expressions of anger and reductive expressions of bigotry. It’s important to recognize the difference.