Why did you make the men suffer so much?
Do you just hate men? Is that it? This is the sort of half-joking question I get from men I meet after they ask me what my book is about. Occasionally I get asked – what does your husband think of your book?
I do not hate most men. Nor do I want most men going around feeling constantly bad about themselves due to the fact that they are part of the patriarchy and not at that very moment checking their biases. The fact is, I’m married to a man – a really nice guy. Likewise, my two sons, my stepson, brother-in-law, nephews – all phenomenal people.
I’m a feminist, yes – but then so are many men. I want to reply that feminism is about bringing about equality – its ambition is not to torture men.
My focus on feminism, and in particular how it intersects with class, began when I attended university to study literature and philosophy. I was thirty-four and from a working-class background where claiming to be a feminist would be met with, at best, confusion or ridicule, at worst, hostility, so the course was an eye-opener. Later I became a lecturer for seven years at a further education college (community college in the US). I taught, among other things, feminism in literature. Much of the course looked to redress the bias towards white, rich, male authors which populates many undergraduate English syllabi. Instead, we read Alice Walker, Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison…
Read on at Source: The Big Idea: Jane Hennigan