Friday, June 3, 2011

Gender 101: Truth Is Uglier Than Fiction

By Connie Chastain*

Masculist Man's response to my last essay, with a link to feminist quotes on the Men's Rights Blog ( has come to mind several times this week and put to rest something that has been mildly troubling for me, as a writer.

Some visitors to FRS may already know that I write pro-male, anti-feminist novels. Archivist has graciously allowed me to refer to my novels before, and if I may ask for his indulgence again, I want to do so now. My reason -- to show that truth is not only stranger than fiction, but can be much uglier.

When I was writing Southern Man, the false-accusation-themed novel depicted in the sidebar of this blog, I was concerned that an anti-man monologue by the antagonist, a radical feminist named Grant, would be so over-the-top as to be unrealistic.

The character is the director of a feminist organization, largely financed by a government grant and operating at a mid-sized state university. That's realistic enough. College campuses in the USA are hotbeds of feminist indoctrination. And if anybody knows how to get their sticky fingers on taxpayer money to promote their cause, it's feminist organizations.

In the scene in question, Grant is meeting with the accuser to offer assistance with the complaint process outlined in her company's personnel policies. Also realistic. Anybody employed in the United States, and probably anywhere in the Anglosphere, is likely to work for a firm with at least some sort of sexual harassment policy in place.

At one point in the meeting, Grant tells the accuser, "Now, are you sure you want to do this? I need you to answer verbally. But before you do, understand something. You can’t get scared and quit in the middle of it. Once I get involved, there’s, no turning back. When this is over, he’ll be a ruined man. I will destroy him. Now, do you want to go through with the complaint and investigation or not?"

This is where it got iffy for me. I could never think with such a mentality myself, I have no such hated of men--so could I pull it of in a fictional story? I forged ahead the best I could.

Upon the accuser's answer in the affirmative, Grant continues, "Good. Because I really want to see that bastard brought down. Shut out. Unable to get a job at any decent firm in the Southeast. I want to see him in a job that gets him dirty, that puts black under his fingernails. I want to see degradation and humiliation that takes he heart out of him, so he can’t work at all..."

Over the top? Too much hatred? Not after reading Masculist Man's quotes from feminists. I think the major difference is that in the quotes, hatred is directed toward nameless males in general -- really, toward maleness itself. The forms that the hatred takes are also mostly nonspecific -- reduction of the population of males (method to be used isn't identified), justifying hatred of men, dehumanizing men (calling them animals, machines).

By contrast, in my story, the object of the hatred is specified -- the protagonist -- and hatred of him takes the form ruining his standing in his community and destroying his ability to work and provide for his family. At least, that is what the antagonists attempt to do.

In my story, (spoiler alert) they are not successful. But I fear if he lived in the increasingly ugly reality we live in, where women actually say such things, my protagonist might not be so fortunate. Thanks, Masculist Man, for clearing that up for me.

*Connie is an FRS contributor. Her personal blog is