The XX Factor

A Fond Salute to “Honey Badgers,” the Ladies’ Auxiliary of Online Anti-Feminism



Jen Ortiz, a senior editor at Marie Claire, pulled on her wellies and rubber gloves and proceeded to write a feature piece on one of the stranger subcultures of the Internet, the ladies’ auxiliary of the “men’s rights” movement. They don’t call themselves the ladies’ auxiliary, to be fair. In a rather unwholesome display of subterranean feminist feeling, they call themselves the “Honey Badgers.” Like their male counterparts, they claim to be champions of that beaten-down underclass known as men, whom they champion mostly by screaming vitriol at feminists. 

“A difficult relationship with her mother showed her that women are human,” Ortiz writes of Janet Bloomfield, a prominent Honey Badger. “In other words, a woman has the capability to be just as terrible (or presumably, as not-terrible) as a man.”

It’s true! Women can indeed be hateful and cruel and toxic, just like men can be. The Honey Badgers themselves provide all the proof you need. Ortiz shares some tasty examples, such as a Honey Badger blog post titled, “Going Mental: She Might Be a Crazy Bitch If … Red Flags!”” or a post that read, “Ladies, there is a difference between flirting and cockteasing. One makes you fun and sassy, the other makes you a cunt, so stop doing it!”

There simply isn’t enough space in any magazine to demonstrate just how much misogynist venom pours out of the ladies who hate ladies. Take, for instance, ringleader Karen Straughan, who runs a YouTube channel under the name GirlWritesWhat where she posts videos explaining that men are oppressed by women. She recently did an Ask Me Anything at Redditwhere she dropped bon mots such as “A woman has to be more emotionally stable than 85% of women to be as emotionally stable as the average man” and “A rapist is a very damaged man (usually damaged by women) or a man who really really really wants sex but can’t convince a woman to willingly lie down with him.” Those poor rapists! 

Domestic violence is also a woman’s fault, according to Straughan, because victims need it for sexual arousal:

I used to live under a young couple with a baby. I’d listen as she followed him from room to room upstairs, stomping, slamming things, throwing things, screaming. After about an hour, he’d eventually hit her, and everything would go quiet. An hour after that, they’d be out with the baby in the stroller, looking perfectly content with each other.

A man I know who has experience with men in abusive relationships would get his clients to answer a questionare. Things like, “after the violence, did you have sex?” “If so, how would you rate the sex?” 100% of men in reciprocally abusive relationships said “yes” to the first, and “scorching” to the second.

He also posited that the much-quoted cycle of violence–the build-up, the explosion, the honeymoon period–correlates with foreplay, orgasm and post-coital bliss.

Mrow. Surely we’re all getting turned on just thinking about men beating women. 

Ortiz also interviews Janet Bloomfield, who goes under the name JudgyBitch, author of the “cockteasing” post. Bloomfield wrote a post in 2013 in which she defended Jimmy Savile, the British entertainer who has been accused of sexually assaulting 500 minors and even dead bodies. “So basically, the girls were groupies,” Bloomfield wrote of the teenage victims. “They wanted all the benefits of hanging out with a big star and they understood it came with a price and they paid it, perhaps reluctantly, but with full knowledge that the trips to London… weren’t free.

“And now they are claiming the MEN abused THEM? Looks to me like it was the other way around,” she added. It is worth noting that Saville also abused boys, which is an issue “men’s rights activists” claim they want to raise more attention and concern about. 

Bloomfield has lots of colorful opinions about how women should be imprisoned if they have a child without the father’s explicit consent and that “Black women resent and hate their sons.” She also enjoys taking her anti-feminism to a personal level, by harassing people online. (“Wah. You weren’t raped. You’re a whore,” reads one charming tweet she sent someone.) She also has a special love for harassing the feminist writer Jessica Valenti by making up fake quotes, mostly man-hating stuff (e.g., “Let’s destroy men’s happiness.”), and attributing them to Valenti. 

There’s so much morebut I’ve also run out of space

“Intriguingly, and confusingly for us feminists, once you get past the trolling, there are actual not-crazy changes men’s rights activists (MRAs) want to see: prohibiting circumcision of baby boys, domestic abuse aid for male victims, refining paternity rights,” Ortiz writes. This is the only misfire in an excellent piece. There is no core of good intentions underneath the trolling. They’re not fighting for men’s well-being. That’s just the cover story for the real agenda, which is fighting women’s equality and making it impossible to speak out for women without having to withstand a torrent of abuse. The women’s role is to spew the most vile misogyny, because they can hide behind their gender to deny what’s really going on.