What about the “menz?”

Or sometimes, “teh menz,” to fully devolve into that self-aware style of internet speak.


I’m hesitant to make this post as it’s impossible to say anything definitive (it’s very hard to track down the lineages of made up words) and I am personally torn on the subject. As such, I will be brief:

Using the term menz gives women, especially feminist women, a way to trivialize men. For many women, having access to such a tool is both a rhetorical necessity and a morale booster: it’s not really revenge of any sort, but a needed way to put men out of the limelight and women first. What about the menz, indeed.

However, the use of it isn’t restricted to women who oppose patriarchy. Increasingly, as the neologism is popularized in the “gender arena,” many are using menz to trivialize men at the exact moment when trivializing them trivializes the male power that they are using against women.

I find that problematic to say the least. It’s not my place to say whether or not anyone should use the word (and I certainly believe women deserve a short-hand way to accomplish what menz does), but I don’t believe that anyone has had a serious discussion about how the expression very often seems to backfire.

Furthermore, while it’s hard to say how the word entered the realm of the gender arena (there’s a men’s rights website in New Zealand that incorporates their initials at the end of “men”), there’s a popular usage of it that predates the current context: for some time it has been a riff on “ghey menz,” a deliberate lisp used by homophobes in more masculine forums.

It’s seemingly impossible to say whether the current feminist (or not) use of it was an imitation of the prior phenomenon or was derived on its own. It would be regrettable if a homophobic joke is now a feminist trope.

The trivialization that menz accomplishes is done through feminizing (to make feminine, not feminist, to be clear) them to an extent, making the word soft, somehow porous and therefore penetrable. And maybe that reversal is necessary to feminism in some amount—and is thus markedly different from homophobia in all shapes and forms.

As I said before, I don’t know anything about any of this: I’m only suggesting that there is something here worth discussing and thinking about critically.