Why Do Men Think Feminists Hate Them?

We need to talk about the bad press feminism gets and what gets lost in translation.

Feminist protest, includes men Teraphim, Sergey Novikov, Remains | Canva

Editor's Note: This is a part of YourTango's Opinion section where individual authors can provide varying perspectives for wide-ranging political, social, and personal commentary on issues

I was shocked to find out that my friend, Trey*, was stunned to find out that I’m a feminist. So, we ended up talking about it and he was confused.

"Wait, you want to work?" he asked.

"Yes," I said. 


"I want to work so that my husband can have a good life. We like having two incomes and the freedom it gives us," I explained. 


The ensuing conversation was one that was eye-opening for both me and him. When I told him that I wanted equal reproductive rights, equal pay, and equal custody for parents, he brought up several points that kind of backfired on him.

While he definitely has his own idea of having large families (versus my antinatalist views), the thing that really stood out was how often he felt like feminists were just against men.


Along with a lot of very transparent hurt over his custody battle, he brought up a litany of feminist causes. The truth is that Trey has a mostly feminist view on things, though there are a couple of points of contention between the two of us. It was then that I noticed a pattern with Trey that I’ve seen with many men online.

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I don’t think he understands what feminism is. Or rather, I think that he hasn’t actually read feminist works.

He never realized that the following things are very much a feminist cause:

  • Men being sexually harassed and no one believing or caring about it
  • Men being victims of parental alienation
  • Financial abuse from women that goes unchecked
  • Sexism in domestic violence issues
  • Men's inability to get a paternity test from a woman claiming to be pregnant with his kid and suffering from paternity fraud
  • Dividing assets in an equal way and enforcing prenups
  • Men not having access to domestic violence shelters of their own
  • Sexism when it comes to single men adopting, teaching, or caring for kids

It was then I realized that feminism has a really, really bad image overall.


If you hear many men out there, you’d think that a feminist is a blue-haired, man-eating monster who has the sociopathy of the Joker blended with the fury of a harpy in heat. Some even liken feminists to an H.P. Lovecraft horror.

And the truth is, a lot of it deals with the Red Pill drifting market that happens with men. There is a strong, concentrated effort to radicalize men against the left. It’s no secret that people like Andrew Tate have capitalized on feeding male rage against the movement.

Many men are wrongfully told that feminism is a movement that is meant to victimize men or that feminists think it’s "girl power" to use men for their money. That’s not true. They are also wrongfully told that feminists don’t care about men. That’s also not true.

The biggest issue I keep hearing is that feminism somehow means that women have stopped taking accountability for their actions. And this made me wonder what was going on, on a deeper level.


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Part of it is that men are stuck in a very confusing place in society.

Men keep being told that the "future is female," and that’s not a good sign for them. While there are often tons of programs for women alone, you won’t see scholarships devoted to young boys alone — at least, in most cases.

Women have been getting a growing amount of the spotlight, including in mainstream media and the workplace. At times, major superheroes or classic cartoons have become genderswapped or focused on a girl more than their typical guys.

Think about it. Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law was canceled. Later on, Birdgirl was a hit on Adult Swim. The hip feminist series Tuca and Bertie became a major cult favorite. Oh, and then there was the hyper-woke Velma which was bad in a sort of good way.


When the news hits, men see more and more news stories of women tearfully recalling being sexually harassed. They see more women eschewing relationships altogether. Platforms like OnlyFans have also made sex work seem easy to profit off.

While girls are told they can be anything they want, boys are starting to be told that they may not have a wife, a job, or even a given role like the ones their dad has. To make matters worse, many men feel like they don’t know how to "man right," leaving a hole in the male identity.

When men ask why feminism does not pay attention to male-centric issues, they are often derided or ignored. The truth is that women’s issues tend to involve life-or-death situations, so most women are more concerned with fixing the issues that affect them first.

However, that doesn’t really help men feel heard, does it? While they can always work on their own causes as feminists, the truth is that it’s not the same as feeling seen by female allies. That matters. I can’t blame them for feeling like they are pushed out of the conversation.


However, there is another reason why men can be leery of the feminist label.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news and I hate to sound like I’m not a feminist, but this is just the plain truth: some women actively victimize men and call it "feminism" or "girl power."

There are women out there who actively date men and totally use them for money. It’s a form of predatory dating that results in the financial abuse of men. And you know what? I’ve seen it three times in my life.

In the most extreme case I saw, the woman, Janice*, stole all her ex’s stuff and took custody of his kid — who was not even hers. It took the guy, Al*, three months to get his son back and he never got back the over $100,000 in stuff he lost.


What’s really messed up about this is that Janice enlisted the help of another girl, Taylor*, to help fictionalize everything to the police. Al was smart and whipped out his phone when he came out to get his stuff. Otherwise, we don’t know what would have happened.

Both Janice and Taylor came to me and were trying to push this as some kind of "girl power" move. It’s not. They then told me that he hit her and gave a specific date and time. Al had done everything possible to provide for this woman and be a good spouse. I know for a fact that he never hit her when she said he did because he was out with my husband, setting up equipment for work.

Janice and Taylor straight-up claim they are feminists. It’s all girl power with them — or so they say. When you have women like this representing what feminism is, is it really shocking that men who might be burned by them would see feminism as a four-letter word?

Feminism should go both ways, but the truth is a lot of women still have biases about the male role too. That’s something that they may need to unpack. Or, as my guy friend, Aiden* said, "All women are feminists until they are asked to buy a guy a drink or pay alimony."


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The bigger issue with feminism as a whole is that it has a tendency to have mixed messages.

True feminism, in my opinion, means equal rights for all parties involved. This includes the right to marry whoever you want to consensually, the right to have parental leave, the right to choose your career, the right to birth control, and the right to get help if you are a victim of abuse.

Feminism should mean that you are pro-LGBTQIA+, pro-sex-work, pro-sex, that you’re willing to unpack your own biases against other genders, and that you can accept other peoples’ decisions on what to do with their own bodies. Feminism also should be against parental alienation, pro-split custody, pro-paternity test, and pro-choice. To a point, it’s also about questioning your unique role in society rather than assuming the role that is given to you based on gender.


But, there are other "flavors" of feminism like TERFS (trans-exclusive radical feminists), "pro-life feminists," and SWERFS (sex worker excluding radical feminists), as well as a weird group of women who just hate men.

Because feminism’s message can get so convoluted, it’s easy to see where confusion might arise.

It’s easy to blame men for hating feminism on misogyny alone, but the truth is that it’s far more nuanced.


There are so many good men out there who are feeling the backlash of a society that is in the middle of a major, uneven transition. While we are encouraging women and LGBTQIA+ people to buck the status quo, and telling them the future is theirs, men are getting mixed messages all over the place.

A lot of the backlash that feminism has involved smear campaigns by grifters, bad actors, and well-meaning but mismatched messaging. I’m not excusing misogyny when I say this. I’m saying that a lot of men don’t realize the issues in their lives are actually feminist issues.

With my friend Trey, a lot of our talks felt like a lightbulb went off in his head. He started to realize that feminism wasn’t the issue. The issue is that sexism has made it hard for well-meaning people to enjoy their lives while also making it easier for abusers on both sides to get away with it.

That is not a gender thing. That is a thing that happens when a society is too rigid to remain sustainable and accommodate the majority of the people who work in it. That’s sexism.


Unpacking the expectations foisted on us by a society that tries to break everyone by forcing them into a box is hard — and it’s what we all have to do.

That’s what feminism should mean to everyone, don’t you think?

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others.