There’s more to Pauline Harmange, French author of I Hate Men, than met the eye of Ralph Zurmély, the gender equality ministry adviser who sought to prosecute her for incitement of gender-based violence. His ministry said “it appeared [he] had read only the title and the publishers’ description of I Hate Men, [and] had acted on his own initiative.
There’s at least one man whom the author counts as an “exception”: her husband Mathieu, 29.
In the thanks at the end of the book, she writes that he was “the first of us to believe in me”. She said: “He’s as astonished as I am about the reaction to the book, but he supports me and my writing. He just worries about me getting harassed online.”
I regret citing her as “Mlle” Harmange in my “Pen Pricks” post of 9-9-20. Where I live, people might think me a “sensitive” man, persnickety over a tick, and therefore nasty liberal. As a student and observer of writing style, however, I stick to my guns even in Texas.
A stark last name sounds brusque. To impress the francophile in me I titled Ms. Harmange “mademoiselle” without a thought. Was it complacent maleness assuming that a 25-year-old woman exploring the redemptive power of man-hating would not be married? Hard to be sure.
What is sure is that, like Ralph Zurmély, I haven’t read Pauline Harmange’s book — only two Guardian articles about it. But it seems that she expresses her emergent rationale for misandry with admirable sang-froid — I read that as composure and equanimity — as well as Gallic eloquence. Maybe a copy of “I Hate Men” can be spirited over my country’s man wall for me to read with a flashlight under the counterpane.
(Kim Willsher, ‘We should have the right not to like men’: the French writer at centre of literary storm,” 9-9-20)
(c) 2020 JMN