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To all the women I’ve ever loved (and hated)

  • Published at 12:01 am March 13th, 2019
Love is not all flowers and candy
Love is not all flowers and candy / BIGSTOCK

There is more to sexism than meets the eye

At some point or the other in my time here on Earth, I have experienced hatred for women (and in the future, too, I am sure, this hatred will return). 

The reasons behind this are easy to know, but perhaps not as easy to understand. It would be easy, for example, to blame ever-present patriarchy, to point one’s finger at the toxic masculinity which has been nurtured in my upbringing by family and society, to a culture of masculine entitlement.

It would be harder, on the other hand, to truly understand the sexual frustration young men feel which breeds resentment and hatred for young women. It would be equally hard to see heartbreak as a cause for widespread disavowal of women altogether, and see an entire generation of men choosing to “go their own way”, as some groups do. 

It would be much harder to not simply dismiss as being backward a father for being more protective of his daughter than of his son, because he supposedly understands how his own society and culture views women who dress a certain way, or lead a certain lifestyle. 

Yes, I have felt hatred for women, for all of the reasons mentioned above, and beyond. Is this a confession that comes easy? For some, maybe; for many, not.  

It is, to say the least, an unpopular opinion to have, and not an easy opinion to admit. But throughout my existence, I have seen this hatred in the explicit admissions of my friends and the subtle tonal ambiguities of my colleagues and acquaintances. 

This hatred, I believe, is universal, omnipresent (though I leave room for the fallibility of my own subjective experiences which may lead to some degree of projection on my fellow man). If this were to be true, what would be problematic, it seems, is the utter denial of such a sentiment, which constantly pushes a false narrative of groups of men who continue to peddle some eternally empowering love for women while, perhaps without being aware of it in full, of their own subtle implicit dismissal and denial of womankind through their words, actions, and thoughts. 

It would also be difficult to understand how such hatred could be nurtured through an excessive love for women, which constantly pushes them upwards and places them on pedestals they had never expected to rest on. Be it as mothers, sisters, or lovers, we project not only our own hatred against them, but our own expectations on them as servers of certain purposes, which complement some grand false narrative about all women being equally capable, strong, caring, independent. 

Yes, at various points in my life, I’ve loved women, too (and in the future, I’m sure, I will feel a similar sort of love). I have also seen that love metamorphosize into hatred, at its inability to be sufficient. After all, hadn’t all narratives taught us that love reigns supreme, and that if you love, you shall be rewarded?

That’s the same narrative that governments and institutions try to base their policies on, talking about women as part of the labour force, of women as having this great potential, of how gender equality takes the economy forward. 

Is it not problematic to think in such terms? In terms of inputs and outputs, efforts and rewards? Does not a problem exist in considering the economic benefits of treating a person with dignity and respect, be they man, woman, trans, child, minority? Is it not a tad sickening to consider the monetary implications of humanity?

But I suppose a capitalism we shall have, where we bow down at the altar of the truly ubiquitous Money God (did you not see how we set fires to the homes of the lowly so that we could churn-churn-churn out all this development?).

But maybe I’m falling into the same trap, and letting money distract me, take me away from my initial purpose: To highlight hatred for women as an inevitable part of a man’s existence. While it is true that I could’ve, if I wanted to, hidden my hatred (which society dictates I must) and love (which I dictated I must because of ego, confidence, self-esteem, amongst other things), I think people can handle it.

Yes, I and the rest of “man”kind have hated you, but we have loved you too (though I cannot help but admit that that love has manifested itself as nothing short of hatred most of the time) but, if we don’t recognize it, admit it, how would we then understand that we’re doing it in the first place? 

How would we otherwise understand that, even if we feel it, it is not necessarily what we should be paying attention to? How would we, as men (and perhaps many women), understand that, while our emotions dictate a generalized loathing for an entire sex, we should not pay attention to it, but, in fact, understand instead that it’s much more complicated than simple empowerment, or equal opportunity, or sexual oppression, or an NGO-sponsored campaign, or rape culture, or patriarchy, or hypocrisy, or any other singular thing people will ask you to blame? 

How else could we (men, women, and others) recognize you (men, women, and others) as the subtle and nuanced humans (men, women, and others) you really are? 

SN Rasul is Editorial Assistant at the Dhaka Tribune. Follow him everywhere @snrasul.