Originally published on March 12, 2014
I spotted this story on the r/MensRights subreddit. The author recounts how his feminist mother taught him not be a rapist and the harm it did to him:
My mother was basically what you’d call a “radical” feminist. She thought everything was an indicator of child molestation by that person’s father, that any man is probably a child molester, any physical contact between a man and a child is sexual, etc.
She had coached me into thinking my father had molested me as well to try to get him arrested, but that is a separate issue that I’d love to share in another thread.
What really, really fucked with me deeply, was when she convinced me my father had molested me, that his father had molested him, and that if I didn’t tell people what my father had done, I would become a rapist.
That is not the first time I have heard a story like that. I experienced something similar with my aunt, and the impact it had on me and my younger brother has shaped how we interact with women. One of the foster kids who lived with my foster parents also experienced something similar. It took him years to unlearn all the things his mother, aunt, and grandmother taught him, things such as his morning erection being a sign that he wanted to rape women.
The feminist response to such stories is to write them off as outliers, claim that these women are not “real” feminists, or say “that’s not my feminism.” The problem with those arguments is that there is nothing these women taught that is anathema to feminist thinking. Most feminists would agree that boys should be taught not to rape. Most feminists would agree abused boys are at high risk of becoming abusers. Most feminists would agree that men should not be allowed around children because the men might abuse them.
The only thing feminists may disagree with is the manner in which these women chose to impart those messages, and even that is debatable. In my experience, feminists will refute those acts publicly, but they are less inclined to disagree with them in private. I see a more “I don’t agree with it but if it works” attitude when feminists think no one is looking.
The author went on to explain how the abusive teachings affected him:
I used to be a cuddly little kid, and physical contact with people was one of the ways that I bonded socially, it’s just how I was. I liked holding hands with people, I liked lying in the grass with my friends in a pile, I liked wrestling with my siblings.
After what my mom did to me, I developed a severe aversion to physical contact. She made it so that the main way that I bonded with people was tainted, I was not ok with touching other people or being touched. If anyone touched me I’d tense up and try not to cry. I became quiet and isolated, and I stopped making friends. I also became a bully, one of my deepest regrets.
Additionally, it made me feel as if ANY sexual contact was inherently victimizing. I was not ok hugging girls, because I thought that I might hurt them. I wasn’t even comfortable talking to them. In high school, I’d zone out when girls would obviously flirt with me, because it was so uncomfortable, didn’t these girls know that I might become a rapist any second? I didn’t form any sort of sexual relationships in high school, I just couldn’t. I had a girl who I was very attracted to kiss me, ON THE LIPS, and I just pulled away and got really quiet. Who knows how that affected her, but I doubt she felt good about it.
That has been the response I experienced and what I saw in others. I suspect that is the intention, i.e. to make boys so adverse to wanting to be around girls that they would not speak to them, let alone touch them.
Of course, many feminists would say that is not the intent. However, nothing in the feminist message contradicts my conclusion. It is also not just those directly fed these negative ideas who reach that conclusion. Average men and boys not raised by feminists but who simply hear the feminist message think the same thing: feminists want men and boys to walk on eggshells around women and girls.
It should be obvious how damaging these kind of messages can be. Think of the friends a boy misses out on because he was taught that he cannot be trusted around girls. Think of the relationships that will be ruined or never began. Think of how difficult it will be for those boys who become fathers of girls. Imagine what they will go through trying to simply change their daughter’s diapers.
Again, I cannot see this as anything other than intentional. I do not think a rational person could not see how harmful such thinking could be. Unfortunately, it appears people like the author who shared his story have to point it out.