Twenty-six-year-old French activist, Pauline Harmange, has just released a book about relations between women and men with the title “Moi les hommes, je les deteste” (“I Hate Men”). The book, which questions whether women have enough reasons to hate men and whether anger towards men could be an emancipatory way of life for women, has aroused controversy.
Ralph Zurmely, a special adviser to France’s Ministry of Gender Equality found the book “dangerous” and called it an “ode to misandry”. Zurmely asked the publisher of the book, Monstrograph, to pull the book from publication.
“Incitement to hatred on the grounds of gender is a criminal offence”, said Zurmély. He added that “if the publisher continues to sell the book, it will be complicit in the offence”.
Although the Ministry of Gender Equality announced that the threat of prosecution from Zurmely is “a personal initiative and completely independent of the ministry”, Zurmely did not stop his threats. He said: “I will be obliged to send it to the prosecution for legal proceedings if the publisher does not stop selling the book”.
The publisher, Monstrograph, called the book “feminist and iconoclastic” and added it “defends misandry as a way of making room for sisterhood”. The editor of the book noted that “the title might be provocative but the purpose is measured. It is an invitation not to force oneself to associate with men or to deal with them. At no time does the author incite violence”.
Harmange describes her book as “an invitation to women to imagine a new way of being, to take less account of the often unsupported opinions of men, to consider the adage: ‘it is better to be alone than in bad company’ seriously, and to rediscover the strength of female relationships full of reciprocity, gentleness and strength”. She was critical of Zurmely’s threats.
“A state official who has a ‘power crisis’ over an 80-page book with just an initial 400 print-run, I find that very problematic. As a gigantic snub to this man who wanted to ban my words, this book, which might have been reprinted to a level of 500 to 700 copies maximum, has now been ordered more than 2,000 times”. A larger publisher, who is yet to be named, will also begin publishing her book.