The Men Who Hate Clementine Ford

1 May 2018

Everyone knows one of them, the men who are #notallmen –
They are the ones who have no opinion
just facts and considered views, which they cling to
like a real estate agent to a slice of ocean
who fantasize about swooping down on a vortex
of social media feminism, and dispelling its force
with a single tone-deaf injection of reason, like:
‘are you aware that men are statistically more likely
to be assaulted’ or ‘funny that no-one wants to discuss
male suicide rates’, lamenting Clementine’s swear words
and pitting rational debate against hysteria
as if explaining the mechanics of a carburetor

They are the ones who take it personally
like a kid who thinks his sister got a bigger
serve of ice-cream. Who won’t recognize
the behaviour Clementine condemns
because it doesn’t come from them
because they love women, their boss is a woman
and they always leave the toilet seat down.
Who squall about equality as they brandish their
hashtag syllogisms, as if feminism were a
false premise because it does not attend
to the rights of men, and how dare she

post a man’s private message for all to see
the man who writes: ‘You should be raped
you fucking man-hating feminazi’, before
pointing out that she is too ugly to be raped
as if to be raped could also be a compliment
reserved for an attractive Tinder date
the man who utters pig, dog, slut, cunt with red-eyed relish
as if each noun possessed a natural equivalence
whose private words sit nestled to the right
of his profile picture, where he smiles
with cheeks pressed to his two daughters

And when I stare at these men and their belligerent eyes
set in a frozen Facebook smirk, I wonder
how deeply their male gaze penetrates
what they see when they look into the eyes
of their wives while they thrust inside them.
What do they think when those daughters
grow into their limbs? Would they rather protect
their girls from women like Clem or men like them?

They are the men who think women can’t be funny
who assess a woman’s body as if it were a work in progress
an architectural draft of their dream holiday home
who are incensed by Clementine’s red lipstick
because her smile is not theirs to own
because they hate the idea of her, the idea of a woman
who renders them irrelevant by giving zero fucks
who speaks their unspoken assumptions, inviting them
to prove her right with every toxic rebuttal

They are the man in the bar who plants
his fat keys on the table and stands
with a thumb hooked over his belt
drinking his beer in slow, measured draughts
who wants the women chatting near him
to feel the weight and heat of his presence
who thinks it an affront if his boozy desire
is not acknowledged, yet takes offence if it is
because he was just trying to be friendly
who thinks his reflex quotidian leer is a compliment

because his desire needs to be legitimised
and could be, with a simple titter
or a smooth palm on his forearm
so just fucking lighten up, why don’t you?

They are the man walking towards me
on the footpath, on a clear blue day
who will size me up and then bunch
his doughy shoulders, and keep going
gun-barrel straight, eyes aimed at the edge
of my temple, like a misfired gaze
inviting the collision, daring me
to be the sort of man
who hates Clementine Ford.

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