When individual Tumblr feminists speak out and say that they don’t hate men, it rubs me the wrong way, simply because I think what they’re trying to say is vastly different from what men believe they’re saying. I imagine that to someone who is comfortable being a misogynist, “I’m a feminist and I don’t hate men” sounds like an apology. “I’m sorry the movement I claim to align myself with makes you feel bad when it calls you out on your bullshit. I’m sorry you’re made to feel unwelcome in a safe space that isn’t yours. I’m sorry for rightly claiming that you are part of a privileged group that oppresses us.” Because maybe what’s perceived as “hating men” is simply not letting men off the hook. Maybe “hating men” is criticizing all the institutions that cater to their desires.
And maybe when you say “I don’t hate men” the men around you hear the same thing they hear when you admit that not all men are sexist: they hear a statement that allows them not to examine their own actions because it sounds like you’re letting them off the hook.
Perhaps the real issue here is with the semantics. I myself could say right now that I don’t hate men, and that would be true, because I don’t automatically hate individual men I meet. However, I could also say that I hate men, and this would also be true, because I hate men as an institution. When you say that you don’t hate men, it’s easy for men, who are in the privileged position here, to assume that this means that you’re okay with the vile way in which women are treated in society. Hopefully, that’s not what you mean. But that’s what they hear. They hear, “I am not hated. I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m not the problem.”
Personally, I would much, much rather be labelled a man-hater. A cause doesn’t get anywhere by reassuring the oppressors and making them feel comfortable.