A recently published study has revealed that both feminists and non-feminists exhibit similar positive attitudes toward men, debunking a misconception that feminists are “man-haters.”
What researchers found: The researchers first conducted five different studies with a total of 9,799 participants from nine countries to explore feminists’ attitudes toward men and to investigate potential reasons behind such attitudes. They found that both feminists and non-feminists exhibit similar positive attitudes toward men, challenging the stereotype that feminists harbor negative feelings. Contrary to the misandry stereotype, feminists did not significantly differ from non-feminists in their attitudes toward men, although the former were found to be less benevolent toward men.
Additionally, the studies showed that feminist collective action — like involvement in the #MeToo movement — did not correlate with negative attitudes toward men. Instead, it was associated with collective anger about women’s experiences of sexual misconduct. Overall, they emphasized that feminism is linked to addressing the mistreatment of women, but not to holding negative evaluations of men, which challenges the dismissal of feminism based on the unfounded belief that it promotes hatred of men.
“Feminism is associated with anger about men’s mistreatment of women, but not with negative overall evaluations of men,” co-author Aífe Hopkins-Doyle, an assistant professor at the University of Surrey, told PsyPost.
Extending to Asia: The researchers extended their study to countries in Asia, including China, India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, to investigate how cultural contexts influence attitudes toward men and feminism. The results from this part of the study were consistent with previous findings, indicating that feminists in non-Western countries also exhibited positive attitudes toward men.
Other studies: In other studies, the researchers assessed participants’ implicit attitudes and associations, uncovered the underlying mechanisms shaping feminists’ attitudes toward men and extended their study in a nationally representative sample of U.K. adults before conducting meta-analyses to provide a comprehensive overview of all the findings.
“We were surprised by the size and consistency of the effects we found,” Hopkins-Doyle said. “Across many different samples, methods, and national contexts and using meta-analysis of all our data we found very little evidence that feminists hold negative attitudes toward men as the misandry stereotype suggests.”
“Misandry myth”: The researchers label the stereotype that suggests feminists harbor negative attitudes toward men as the “misandry myth.” They characterize it as a false yet widely held belief, noting that the study’s findings refute the notion that feminism should be dismissed based on the unfounded idea that it promotes hatred of men.