While I was in college, I garnered several off-color nicknames, including Feminazi, Man-Hater, and Maneater (that last one makes me sound much cooler than I actually was). But the most inexplicable–and funniest–moniker I received was The Emasculator.
A little background on me: I may be foul-mouthed and pugnacious in my writing, but in person, I am much more mild-mannered and subdued. And as a nervous college freshman, I was even quieter than I am now, my manner often described by others as “sweet,” “innocent,” and “fresh-faced.” If anything, I was conforming to sexist stereotypes of femininity, not particularly subverting them.
But still–I was called an “Emasculator.” Why? According to one of my hallmates, because I “just treat everyone exactly the same, whether they’re a man or a woman.” In other words, I didn’t “treat men like they were men.”
But what the hell does that mean, exactly? How am I supposed to treat a “man”? With deference? With an endless string of compliments flattering his strength and virility? Am I supposed to adopt a flirtatious demeanor by default, laugh at his jokes even if they aren’t funny, avoid subjects like menstruation and birth control, wear flat shoes if he’s less than two inches taller than me?
Well, pardon my French, but fuck that noise. If being an “emasculator” means neglecting to cater to the insecurities of privileged men, then let’s all be emasculators. Join me as I skewer all of the worst examples of toxic masculinity: the “Nice Guys,” the purity fetishists, the mansplainers/manterruptors, the Brogressives, the “free speech absolutists,” the manbabies, the Bernie Bros, the Gamergaters. Because let’s be real, every asshole needs a good nutcracking every once in a while.
Image Credit: Jennifer Rubell