Posted 05 October 2021
‘Men who hate women’ by Laura Bates: book review by SG
For those of you that are familiar with Laura’s Bates, you’ll know she was the founder of the ‘everyday sexism project’ where Bates encouraged women to tweet her their own experiences of sexual harassment and their experiences of…well every day sexism. The project became a hugely successful tool in showing women that their experiences were not anomalies and demonstrated how vast the issue of sexism still is. Additions to the everyday sexism project still pour in daily and set Bates off on a path to uncover, why, in the year 2021 although we appear to have made great strides in combating misogyny, women all over the world, every single day, still experience misogyny and sexual harassment.
I had read Laura Bates’ first book ‘Misogynation’ in just over a week, I had been unable to put it down and had subsequently bought copies for my sisters and friends. So, when I picked up Bates’ latest book ‘Men who hate Women’, I had assumed I’d be spending the next week or two walking around with my head buried between the pages. Reading Bate’s second book was a very different experience. I found it to be a very difficult read. Bates does exactly what she does best, she uncovers and illustrates how Misogyny alive and well and brings much needed attention to a new strain hiding and breeding in a place we never thought to look.
Bates masterfully uncovers and dissects one of the largest most nuanced issues facing women today, in the age of technology: the manosphere. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, the Manosphere is a collection of online forums, chat rooms, online articles, online communities, created by men, used by men for the purpose of discussing issues which relate to men, which unsurprisingly centers around perceived issues with women, where other men offer opinions in turn and what they deem to be ‘solutions’.
Bates has taken the time to collate her research herself, and admits to going undercover in Incel chatrooms and other manospheres: men only spaces to learn more about the conversations being had. She dedicates a chapter to the ‘Pick-up artist’ industry, a billion-dollar industry dedicated to ‘teaching’ men how to trick and manipulate women sleeping with them, discusses MRA’s (men’s rights activists), who contrary to their name seem to be more concerns with the right’s of women being limited, MIGTOW’s (men going their own way) which sounds like a lovely solution until you realize they also seem to focus their efforts and discussions on everything they perceive to be ‘wrong’ with women today, instead of just ‘going their own way’. Bates talks about Doxxing (where male hackers will leak women’s names, addresses and personal details to subject them to real life harassment), trolling and hounding women on social media and online spaces as a way for the manosphere collectively ensuring women stay in line.
The way Bates’ connects the dots and demonstrates how these small online communities spill out into the real world with real consequences to women is harrowing. The statistics she collates, showing the amount of men in the UK that consider themselves to be a part of these groups is stomach turning. I found myself having to put the book down every few pages and allow the gravity of what I was realizing to actually sink in. ‘Men who hate Women’ is an incredibly informative book, full of uncomfortable truths you’ll be forced to confront, if you’ve got what it takes to get through it, it is well worth the read.
SG is a member of our team at BSWA. You can follow Laura Bates on twitter @EverydaySexism and the website is https://everydaysexism.com/