April 25, 2012

Men Do Hate Women, Dear Dima!

In the newest edition of "Foreign Policy" the columnist Mona El-Tahawy wrote an article with the title "Why do you hate us?" describing the problems women face at the hands of oppressing men in the Arab world. In the last 24 hours the article has ignited a firestorm on social media with people heatedly debating the issue and many lashing out at the author for the things she wrote. Many blogposts were written attacking her for supposedly being anti-Islam, depicting men in a bad light, shaming the Arab region in front of the western world and much more. Most blogposts transport the old thinking that the truth should not be told openly - most often considered a taboo - and that men aren't the way Mona describes them. The journalist Dima Khatib now too replied to Mona's article in a blogpost named "Love, Not Hatred, Dear Mona" - it is the first blogpost I find respectable, although I do not share her views. But I encourage you to read her post - and here is my reply to her.


Dear Dima Khatib,

though I do not agree wholly with your euphemistic view of the situation of Arab women it can be said that this is undoubtedly the most sincere and constructive post dealing critically with the article of Mona.

Unfortunately Dima, I - as a man - have to tell you that the 'hate' you all get so heated up about and don't want to believe exists is very much inherent in many men around the globe. While you all naturally would love to see us men in a good light so as not to rob you of hope it has to be noted that very many men in the world - not only in MENA - are not only afraid of women but truly hate them. Why?

Because you make our blood boil, you make us lose our head, you incite us to do things we normally wouldn't do, you make us skip our friends over you and fall out on their friendship, you get us to show emotions (we hate that the most), you tick off a process in us that we cannot control, a sex urge that leads us to a point of no return - which we hate, because we men always want to be in control. And then we awake from the orgasm - which in men other than in women can be like cooling down high temperature in seconds - and suddenly we are back to our normal self. And then many men say: What was this? Why did I do this? Why did I react this way? Why did I lose my head, my control, my composure? I, a man who is always in control? What did this evil woman do to me?

Bewitched me, tempted me (shame on her), transformed me into a person without own will (hate you for that).

If it hadn't been for Eve then Adam would never have stumbled, would never have been expelled from paradise. It is women who cause all the trouble, because they lure us into sexuality where we do not know anymore what we are doing.

Grossly exaggerated? You wish. - I am not saying that every man reacts this way. Many in fact have learned to control themselves or to let themselves go in relationships, to even show emotions without dying from it - yes, to even learn to enjoy enjoying sex and not just working off an urge that needs to be removed from the system.

The sad fact - and I know more intimate details of men's thinking on this then any woman will ever want to learn - is that many men who do react uncontrollably fear you women like the devil - worse indeed hate you for producing such reactions within us.

And it is at this point that the whole critique at the word 'hate' Mona used is running empty. The salafis show in every inch of their behaviour that they do indeed hate women and for that reason suppress them. And if you want to know why - see above. Because they have a huge issue with sexuality that they do not enjoy but see as something devilish that drives them into an uncontrollable state. They don't want to ever lose control of themselves - you come and make it happen. They don't want to show emotions - you come and demand just that. They hate to not know what they are doing - you are the reason they get into such a miserable state.

I've been following up on the discussion about this article now for 24 hours and all I can say - it is a bitter truth, but swallow it. Many men - and many men in the Arab world (that is what Mona talked about) - do hate women and show it in all their contempt - starting from condoning female genital mutilation (if she does not feel something, he can finish quicker and won't lose control), encouraging teenage marriages (treat the young already as possession then they won't get ideas), denying fundamental rights so all will be in control. In the male control. Stuff the women who only cause trouble.

Then there are those you talk about - nice men, respectful, perhaps even worshipping women. But those are not the issue - neither in the article nor in the real life oppressing women. Mona talked about those men that DO oppress you. And she said bluntly and truthfully what is behind that oppression.

If you don't believe men can hate women, just go to Iran and see what happens there in forcing 9 year old girls into marriage, watch women get lashed 90 times in Saudi - for having been raped -, check teenage girls getting forced to marry rapists in Morocco, or acknowledge young women getting honour killed for having been abused by soldiers in Libya. You call all this love, and love will solve all problems?

What unfortunately you and all other women will have to accept is that it is hatred that is behind that and that men who torture, rape, beat, oppress and even kill women do this out of hate, not out of love. Obvious one should think, but apparently so hard to bear for women who would love to see the world be so much better.

Sorry for the truth, but it does not help oppressed women if we deny what cannot be denied. I am grateful to Mona she had the guts to say how it is. And I wish more women would have the courage to face the truth - and start thinking about ways to change from there. It would help you all a lot more than remaining in a state of wishful thinking - quoting you: "If only we could learn how to love again, so that men learn to love women without controlling them, and women learn to love men instead of loving to please men. How about we start from love, Mona, instead of hatred?" - and idealizing those men that lash, beat, force, deny and do even a lot worse to you wonderful women.

They don't talk love, they talk hate, Dima. That is a fact that must be faced. It's not easy and it needs courage, I know. But in overcoming oppression facing facts is a must.


  1. I strongly disagree with you illustrating your point with biblical evidence. This story has absolutely nothing to do with why the Salafis hate women- in the Islamic version, Adam and Eve sinned together- one did not cause the other. This was a lazy argument that only disproves your point- your point is that men (not all men, but nonetheless universally consistently) think like this, yet it is based off assumptions that do not apply universally.

  2. You are so right!
    What you say is true. What men hate & fear the most is what they see in us: their own femininity, their own weakness, their own vulnerability, their own tender feelings.
    From an old white woman in the USA

  3. Much of what you said is true however, has Mona ever mentioned the monumental numbers of rapes and crimes against women committed by American and European troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan? Why do these men who are their to free us rape, pillage and plunder? hmmm.

    Mona's msg is not meant to be objective, it is not, its an orientalist view meant to singularly condemn Arab men and portray them as inhuman.

    This I say as an Arab woman, we are not her audience!

    These articles are vastly loved by some in the West who many times read them as proof of their idea of cultural superiority. I'm not saying all Westerners are like that of course.

  4. As I loved your comment to Tom Dales response to Monas article I was kind of thrown off by this attempt to respond to Dimas response. You seemed to have a more nuanced perspective on things but when it comes to hatred it all boiles down to . . sexuality? You don't see a connection between power and patriarchy. Women gaining more and more power thus narrowing the power of men ? I would like to have a comment from you on that.

    1. I'm not quite sure what you are actually asking. The connection between men not feeling at ease with women awakening their sexual desires I think is pointed out above quite clearly. And not few men do actually hate women for getting them into this fix. What nuance did you miss? The truth in this is unfortunately simple. As are the reactions of the men in question. - I don't think patriarchy can be seen apart from the men that invented it. So the power coming from it is evident. But I don't think - if this is what you ask - that men hate women because they take away their power. In MENA at least men are to infatuated to even believe women could go that far. The hate factor I fear is still on a much lower level. Fear of losing power to women might come later and might even result in hate. But I don't think the Arab world is at that point already.

    2. I was asking if you honestly think that sexuality is what the hate/control of women is all about, and obviously you do. What type of academic background do you have?

    3. I doubt that my academic background that is solid, spans decades and includes amongst others a specialization in the field of medicine will help you accept what you obviously find hard to bear. May I ask what gender you have? May I guess? Male?

      What you miss is that women have been oppressed and degraded by men in the earliest centuries already when there was definitely no power in their hands and no danger they could be "gaining more and more power thus narrowing the power of men". Trying to limit it to that is not going to work. Or do you really think, cutting of women's clitoris has something to do with such fears? It has something to do with sexual control and hate. Male phenomena you are obviously uncomfortable with but are sadly behind the sexual degradation women have to face in this world.

    4. This comment by Tammi (http://www.blogger.com/profile/04820497520868665432) was mistakenly erased. I repost it here:

      Reducing this to sexual desire is, I'm afraid, an inherently male lens. The right to vote, to seek an education, to find and secure employment, etc. these cannot be simplified under "you make us lose control over our sexual selves." One can see this readily by comparing the very same methods of control as they have been applied throughout history by oppressive parties worldwide. (Pick the violent upheaval of your choice and note that freedom of movement, freedom of speech, freedom of association, etc. are all restricted to oppressed groups by their oppressors.)

      That sex plays a part in the way that male power is wielded over women goes without question. To reduce it to that -- thereby overlooking the greater arc of policies, procedures, norms, etc. that any dominant group wields over another and the relationship of this oppressor/oppressed group's struggle to all others -- is, in my not so humble opinion, absurd.

    5. If anything men's ways to wield power and subject women to being just possessions is absurd. But what I indeed told here was the male view - that you might not be able to follow as a woman, but that wouldn't surprise me. We are not talking general power yearning or socialistic system ideologies to fight oppression. The topic of this response to Dima, who wanted love to be around, was pointing out how sexual hang-ups of men cause them to transform their uneasiness into hate and then subject women to degradation accordingly. You might find that hard to believe, but you will have to accept that a male has more insight on this than a woman. Again - as I said in the piece - I could tell you more about men's thinking on this than you as a woman would ever want to know or can imagine. What I am telling is absurd indeed, but not with regard to the messenger but sadly with regard to men who think this way and - at least amongst men, which you as a woman will never get to hear - have no problems in voicing loud. You clearly underestimate the testosterone factor in the oppression of women by men. It is there. Much more than anyone sensible is able to believe.

  5. i think Mona's article unleashed such a firestorm because we in the ME like to be nice, polite, proud, to show our best face to the world...and many feel this article "aired our dirty laundry" in public. they forget that the way to get clothes clean is to wash them, not simply pretend they aren't dirty.

    i think the phrasing of the article is clever, since the many ME me who love and admire women often thoughtlessly agree with the clever rhetoric or misguided qoranic interpretation of those hate us. those men believe that having their daughters mutilated is an act of love for them, or that shouting "ya ishta" at a stranger in the street is a likeable display of admiration. it's very uncomfortable to face the truth; that's not how these actions are received.

    those women who can see through the miseducation teaching us that being abused is ok, need to get angry about what's being done to us. men need to see that oppression is not protective love, and both genders need to unite for changes which will benefit both.

  6. I think you have come to the root of the problem and I thank you for it. The only reason women in the West are better off is because our mothers and grandmothers have struggled and fought and protested for rights entrenched in laws. However, the hatred is still there, under the surface. It's there, although contained by the judicial system and social mores stemming from these laws.