Better education in schools about these online groups, more moderation by social media companies and more support from actively feminist men are all needed, says Bates, if we are to protect boys from being influenced by misogynistic extremists. This conclusion, like the rest of this excellent book, is impassioned yet clear. Men Who Hate Women has the power to spark social change. For, as Bates rightfully puts it: “We can’t tackle a problem if people don’t even know it exists.”
“Some of what follows in this book will be very hard to read” Bates warns at the outset of the book. She’s not wrong, but if you can stomach its darker moments the book is also compellingly argued and meticulously researched - anecdotal evidence backed up with interviews and statistics. Like the revolting Guinea worm, which embeds itself deep into the body, Bates says the cult of male supremacy will only be defeated if it is pulled up from the root. “We all have a responsibility to answer a simple question,” she writes, “what are we going to do about it?”
For this brilliantly fierce and eye-opening book, Bates has descended into the vast underworld sewage system of online misogyny, and brought back a persuasive and alarming thesis. But first she guides the reader through the various hellish circles of what she terms the “manosphere”... It is tempting to dismiss the sites of the manosphere as mere sad little cesspools, but what Bates’s patient, thorough approach reveals is much worse. They are a breeding ground for what she rightly calls the “radicalisation” of young men online. Many incels worship the mass murderer Elliot Rodger, whom they call “the perfect gentleman” for going on a woman-killing spree in revenge for sexual rejection in 2014. Memes such as “feminism is cancer” have become edgy currency among teenage boys Bates meets in UK schools.