A Lyrical Analysis of “Pork Soda”

Well, look at the time! Looks it’s time for another lyrical analysis.

Yep, I did this once before, and it ended up being a really fun little stretch of my analytical muscles. It was really only a matter of time before I came back with yet another song to meticulously dissect because what’s more fun than that? Nothing, obviously.

Like last time, I come to you with a song that has really struck me for its incredibly deep and clever writing. However, this time the lyrics are a little bit more ambiguous. As with all analytical readings, this is simply my own opinion of what the lyrics mean. Your interpretation or the actual interpretation could be wildly different! And that’s okay.

Glass Animals’ “How to Be a Human Being” is an album already filled with, er, unusually-written songs. They certainly like to stick to an off-kilter style, but it’s also a goldmine for interesting lyrical readings. “Pork Soda” is my personal favorite of the bunch, both musically and lyrically. Despite its bouncy, goofy sound and lyrics, it’s a surprisingly sad song about loss and confusion. Sounds like a good time! Let’s get to it!

(Also, just to let you know, I will be addressing the… unique title. Don’t worry. We’ll get there.)

“Somewhere in South End when you were fun
You took my hand and you made me run”
We begin the song with a flashback, tipped off to the listener via the past-tense language and also the light vagueness of it all. We’re not exactly where this scene takes place, just “somewhere.”
So, yeah, it’s vague, but what information can we glean from this line? A lot of information, actually. First of all, we know something has happened to the relationship between the speaker and the person they’re speaking of. After all, they’re speaking of this person being fun… in the past tense. Clearly something has gone down.
In addition, we can perhaps assume a few things about the relationship based on how the speaker points out the subject of the song being the one to take their hand and make them run. It suggests a sort of childlike innocence, yes, just two children running and holding hands, but also that the speaker was not the one driving the relationship.
“Up past the prison to the seafront
You climbed the cliff edge and took the plunge”

It’s no accident where the speaker is taken to by the subject of the song. Past the prison suggests freedom, bypassing a common symbol of restraint, opting to run instead to the seafront to dive off a cliff. It’s a wild disregard for safety, plunging forward with the backdrop of the crashing sea.

It suggests a lack of care, a enthusiastic yet ultimately doomed plunge.

If you’re wondering, yes, this is very meaningful for the rest of the song.

“Why can’t we laugh now like we did then?
How come I see you and ache instead?”

One of the biggest motifs of this song is the constant questions the speaker asks. However, for all the questions, there is a distinct lack of answers.

I think, beyond that, these lines more or less speak for themselves. The innocent, excitable relationship that once existed between the speaker and the subject of the song is gone now. They don’t laugh like they used to, and now all the speaker feels is a hollow ache.

“How come you only look pleased in bed?
Let’s climb the cliff edge and jump again”

The first line here is the only line thus far that has suggested anything other than a platonic relationship between the speaker and subject. I think this is important. It suggests that the relationship between the speaker and the subject was once very rooted in friendship, a friendship built, judging by the first lines, on a childlike sense of adventure. Now, however, the only time the speaker sees the same happiness in their partner is when they’re having sex. It’s a wild change from what once was, also connecting perhaps to an overall loss of innocence.

The speaker wishes to go back to the simple times, however even their wish seems ultimately futile, since it only suggests they plunge off the cliff face again. The speaker seems to acknowledge that even if they were to recapture the reckless joy their relationship once had, it would still end up failing, falling.

“Pineapples are in my head
(Pineapples are in my head)
Got nobody ‘cos I’m brain dead
(Got nobody ‘cos I’m brain dead)”

These are the lines that sparked my interest in looking into this song’s meaning and lyrics as a whole. What do they mean?

Well, nothing. They mean nothing at all. And that’s what’s important. This once close relationship is drifting apart, and the speaker can’t figure out why. Nothing seems to make sense. These nonsense lines portray the confusion and lack of distinct reason behind the end of this relationship.

I also think the last line “Got nobody cos’ I’m brain dead” expresses a lot of personal frustration the speaker has with themselves. It’s been suggested that it was the subject of the song that tended to lead in their relationship, but now that they’re no longer invested, the speaker is left feeling dumb. They feel they can’t take charge now and express their sadness over the end of the relationship, perhaps because they never had power in the first place.

“Somebody said that I’m a fuckin’ slum
Don’t know that I belong”

These next few lines start to spiral into each other, and I think they perhaps mirror the thought process of the speaker, slowly spiraling into despair over their lack of power to fix this relationship that’s so important to them.

These two lines further the idea from the lines before, that the speaker feels powerless and lonely. They feel they don’t belong anymore, and can’t do anything about it. I think it’s interesting, though, that this information is attributed to an unnamed “somebody.” I wonder if perhaps that “somebody” represents the paranoia of the speaker, thinking everyone around them can see how pathetic they look. This may suggest self-confidence issues in the speaker in the wake of this failed relationship.

“Maybe you’re fucking dumb
Maybe I’m just a bum”

Here the speaker considers blaming the end of the relationship on the subject of the song, but instead returns back to those same self-conscious thoughts from before. I think this even further proves that these lines represent a thought spiral, chaotically contradicting each other and changing on the drop of a dime.

“Maybe you’re fucking scum
Don’t you go psycho chum”

Now we return to hatred of the subject of the song. You’ll see once again, though, that the tone of the speaker’s thoughts changes in the next lines.

I want to take special note of the second line though, calling the subject “chum.” I think this once again connects to how heavily based in friendship it seems this relationship used to be. Now, though, the person is so unrecognizable from the friend and lover they once had, the speaker calls them “psycho.”

“I want you for the world
I want you all the time
(Stop!)”

And yet, it’s clear the speaker still really loves the subject of the song. These two lines are the first to really agree with each other, but it’s here that the speaker cuts off their own thoughts with a “stop!” It’s clear that these two thoughts are the most painful for the speaker to consider. The fact that they still love the person they’ve drifted apart from is something they cannot even allow themselves to think. So, the “spiral” stops abruptly, and the song fades into instrumentals for a bit, as if resetting, before getting back to the chorus.

“Pineapples are in my head
(when you were fun)
Got nobody ‘cos I’m brain dead
(you made me run)
Pineapples are in my head
(to the seafront)
Got nobody ‘cos I’m brain dead
(she took the plunge)”

Once more we return to the confusing and meaningless end of a relationship, but now we have a repetition of some earlier lines. There is one difference now, though, and that’s that the speaker refers to the subject for the first time in third person. It very clearly signifies a disconnect between the speaker and the subject. They’ve removed themselves from the scene of the subject plunging off the cliff, passively describing it as their confusing, muddled thoughts repeat.

So, how is our speaker coping with the loss? By removing themselves fully from any past connection. And how well does that go? Well…

“5000 footsteps in your wet dress
Back to the house with your arms around my neck”

…Not very well, it seems. The lyrics lurch unceremoniously into another flashback. It’s pretty vague. Why is her dress wet? Where did they come from? It’s left up to the audience to interpret. However, the lack of information suggests that, to the speaker, this scene needs no set-up. It’s ingrained in their mind. They don’t need to remember the exact details, just the feelings of the subject’s arms around their neck and her damp clothing.

“We drank pork soda with tangled legs
I won’t forget how you looked at me then”

And hey, I said I’d explain the title! Here it is. “Pork Soda” seems to be a reference to these happy memories the speaker shares with the subject. It’s a weird detail, for sure, but unforgettable. It suggests that this relationship, for the speaker, is too strange and also simultaneously comforting to forget. Even through their confusion and their sadness and their attempts to demonize or remove themselves from their past lover, this memory remains.

It’s no coincidence that this memory is the first lyric that has suggested any returning affection from the subject to the speaker, either. This memory is a memory of love, what once was.

(Also, as a side note, according to Dave Bayley of Glass Animals, the title came from a woman he met with a tattoo that said “Pork Soda.” It was apparently a reference to a pork dish made with coke. I can attest that pork cooked with a can of coke in a crock pot is DELICIOUS, and I assume that is the dish the tattoo referred to.)

“I know I’m no sweet prince of love
Those times when we got drunk”

And this happy memory triggers yet another spiral of thoughts, but this one actually goes somewhere. We start with the speaker justifying their own flaws in the relationship, calling out how they weren’t exactly the most romantic person. In addition, it seems that getting drunk was something they did a lot, which harkens back to all that earlier recklessness in the relationship we discussed.

“Maybe Jamaica rum
Maybe some Jonnie Dub
Maybe you still think of us
Phone buzz, and still I jump”

Our speaker gets sidetracked a bit with the memories of those drunken times, but eventually jolts back into the present. They suggest that there’s still a part of them that hopes the subject will change their mind, which leads every phone buzz to make them jump, hoping it’ll be the subject calling to reignite the relationship.

“Why don’t I say it then?
I want you all the time”

And we return to the motif of questions, but now the question is to the speaker themselves. They wonder why they can’t just tell the subject how they still love her and want to be with her.

“Why can’t we laugh now like we did then?
How come I see you and ache instead?
How come you only look pleased in bed?
Let’s climb the cliff edge and jump again”

And thus, we return to these questions. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, there are no answers. Our speaker is left to continuously fight these repeating thoughts with no end in sight.

“Pineapples are in my head
(Pineapples are in my head)
Got nobody ‘cos I’m brain dead
(Got nobody ‘cos I’m brain dead)
Pineapples are in my head
(Pineapples are in my head)
Got nobody ‘cos I’m brain dead
(Got nobody ‘cos I’m brain dead)”

And we are left with that lingering sense of confusion and lack of meaning.

This is a really tragic song about a special, loving relationship ending for no real reason. But the way it communicates that confusion – through nonsensical lyrics as well as the off-kilter instrumentation – is really fascinating to me. I hope you enjoyed this analysis as much as I enjoyed writing it.

And hey, maybe next time I’ll do a happier song!

(But probably not.)

 

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Day One

The following is kind of an experimental type of blog post. I’m not sure how often I’ll do this sort of thing – but this particular topic felt like it needed to be written in a more narrative style than I would normally use on this blog. It just all sort of came together this way. I hope you all enjoy something a little different.


 

My alarm clock is set for 6:30, but when I wake up and check the clock, it’s 5:00.

Somewhere in my sleep-addled brain, I mix up the numerals for six and five, and I’m saddened that I only have a half hour of sleep left.

When I wake up for the second time at 6:00, I’m confused how a half hour could feel so long. It usually works quite the opposite. I wonder if, perhaps, I forgot to set my alarm.

When I wake up for the third time, it’s to the sound of the alarm I did indeed set. I blearily shove myself out of bed to the sound of my sister Maddy shouting for our dog Sam downstairs. He’s under my bed – I know because when I fell asleep he was on top of it, and while he sometimes tolerates sleeping the whole night in my room, he never tolerates sleeping the whole night on my bed.

I open the door to let him downstairs – appeasing both him and my sister – and I get dressed. I look at the one open box on my floor, the one open duffel bag, and the various other scattered items I left for myself the night before.

I am aware, slightly, on the edge of my consciousness, that today is the day I’ve been thinking about for months now. Years. A lifetime, even. It is a fact known to me in the same way I know there is a chocolate-frosted donut waiting for me downstairs in the kitchen. The same way I know I’ll have to go downstairs and pose for first-day-of-school photos looking like I just rolled out of bed, which I did.

Just simple facts of the day. Step one, wake up. Step two, get dressed. Step three, get packed. Step four, leave for college.

When Maddy’s bus comes, I stand in the driveway with my parents, holding Sam. He dislikes being held, and would much prefer to board the bus with Maddy, or sniff the lamp post, or do literally anything other than sit still in my arms.

I wave goodbye, and it is all very normal. Save for the fact that I am not boarding my own bus, it is normal. We all go back inside, I eat my donut, and the normal begins to fall by the wayside. We finish packing, we get in the car, we drive away, two and a half hours.

We drive past familiar sights and unfamiliar ones. At one point, we pass a high school with students pouring out of every door – a fire drill. I feel strange that I’ll never take part in a high school fire drill again. I see a girl wearing a giant gray shawl, and I think about how she picked out that shawl for school that day, or the day before, and how she’ll be going back into the school in a few minutes to a math class or a history class. It’s all too much all at once, the knowledge that I’ll never experience that again. And then the school is gone.

We arrive in Bloomington, and it is as I always remember it. It is beautiful, and imposing. Welcoming and frightening at the same time. I’ve seen a lot of it many times, but it’s streets and buildings are still more or less a mystery to me.

We drive down the temporarily one-way street to Teter, my new home. It is also as I remember it, the most familiar part of campus. My dad and I walk to the front desk while my mom starts to unload the car onto the sidewalk.

I realize too late in line that I need my student ID card out, and awkwardly struggle to wiggle it out of my wallet to present it to the girl behind the desk. She asks if I know my student ID number by heart, and when I tell her I do not, she tells me that I should learn it, but assures me not to worry, since she has it in front of her. The fluster that begins with the ID card continues through my embarrassment to the point where she presents my key to me with the caveat that if I lose it, it will cost $200 to replace it, my roommate’s key, and the lock itself, since the misplaced key could otherwise become a dangerous tool for would-be thieves. $200 is just settling on my ears when she reminds me that I get only two free lock-outs before I am charged $15 for every time I need someone to get me into my room or my building.

I take my key, numbly, and walk out. Dad takes the car and parks it, and Mom advises I go find my room. I try my darndest to, but every door I try to get into the dorm is locked, and my key won’t work. I see a keycard to my right, and I wonder if I’m supposed to use my ID card. But by then I’m too flustered, too convinced someone must be watching me with a mixture of pity and amusement (“Can’t even figure out a simple lock, what a freshman.”), and I walk back to my Mom. She reminds me that, indeed, the ID card is probably what I need to use, and I try again.

And, go figure, it works. And I find my room.

Boisen Room 219. My name is plastered on the door in the shape of Mr. Potato Head, next to my roommate’s, shaped like the piggy bank from Toy Story. I turn my key in the lock and it opens, blessedly, and I peek into my room for the first time.

At this point, I’ve seen quite a few rooms at Teter. I’ve toured the hall twice and seen countless pictures. But, even undecorated and untouched, my dorm is the prettiest of all of them. It’s cold – the air conditioner has its work cut out for it – but it’s mine.

My parents and I get to work moving my boxes and bags into my room. It doesn’t take that long, and thankfully we don’t have to take the stairs. Then comes the long process of decorating. Mom is adamant about moving our lofted beds out of the center of the wall to the corner of the room. I’m at first wary of the idea – first off, I’m not sure it’ll work the way she says it will, and second off, I’m not sure we’ll be able to move the beds. Dad proposes a simpler solution, but Mom has herself convinced, and soon we follow.

Mom is right, the beds moved into the corner give us far more space in the front of the room. The only problem is the way my bed – the top one – juts into the space where one of the two desks lie. It’s not as cramped for that desk area as I thought, but I take that desk anyway. My roommate isn’t here yet, but I don’t want to make her use this tiny space.

We debate where furniture will go with spirit for the rest of the morning, and we’re nearly done by the time my boyfriend Kirby texts me to inform me that he’s on a break from class and can have lunch with my family.

We meet him at the Indiana Memorial Union. It’s the first time I’ve seen him in two weeks – he came to live on campus early. We walk to Nick’s, and I notice for one, Kirby is pretty comfortable with campus, and for two, the two week absence has not at all affected our ability to talk about anything and everything. My parents hang back as he more or less leads the way to Nick’s, both of us just chatting.

It’s in that moment that I think that perhaps I was overreacting that morning about the stress this campus will cause me. It really is beautiful, and I have one of my best friends in the whole world right here, and all the restaurants on Kirkwood are delicious. Sure, I still have no idea where in the hell we’re going most of the time, but hey, Kirby figured it out in two weeks and so could I, presumably.

We eat Nick’s, and it’s good. It’s always good. We follow Kirby around to his dorm, Collins, and to the Wells Library as he fulfills tasks for class. And then we part ways, him back to class and my parents and I to Target.

We need light bulbs, wall hangers, and pushpins, but as we go on the list gets bigger. A whiteboard for the front of the door. Air-pop popcorn for the popcorn machine I received as a graduation gift. A bowl for said popcorn. Granola bars, a request from Kirby for his dorm.

Then, when we pass the shoe aisle, Mom is struck by a pair of simple black flats, and the buy one get one 50% deal prompts her also to buy me a pair of floral rainboots. As I try them on, Dad jokes that if I want anything in the world, today is the day for me to ask for it.

We head back to the dorm, and put finishing touches on the decoration. Dad strings twinkle lights over my bed. I decide where my posters should go.

By then, I’m sweaty and disgusting. The weather outside is sticky and hot and by the time we’re done, I want nothing more in the world than to try out the showers on my floor. Still, I pose for a few pictures, and suddenly, without much fanfare, my parents have left.

The room is so very quiet without them there. I gather my stuff together for the shower, and, unnerved by the silence, put on my record player while I work. All at once, my RA is at the door. My RA is a friendly, bubbly girl named Cat, and she strikes up a conversation with me about my “Hamilton” poster. We swap stories about how we both saw it in Chicago.

As we talk, more people arrive. There’s Brynn, across the hallway from me, who used to be in Marching Band and bemoaned how my former marching band beat hers pretty soundly last season. There’s Sarah, several doors down, who complains about how her top bunk is inconvenient to get up and down from. There’s even more whose names I’ve forgotten, because I’m not good with names. Cat lets me get to my “shower party” eventually, but not before inviting me and the rest of the group to dinner at Forest with her.

Eventually, I manage to get all my shower stuff together. As I’m grabbing my towel, though, a slip of paper falls to the floor. Surprised, I stoop to pick it up. It’s a photo of me and my family from my NHS induction ceremony two years ago. We’re all wearing blue and black, and Maddy is a little blurry, but it’s a good picture. Thinking it just somehow fell in with my towels, I pin it to my mostly bare bulletin board anyway.

I take my shower. It feels far better than any dorm shower should, although that’s probably because I feel like a ball of grease. I change clothes. I put on makeup. I feel a little less transitional, a little more normal. I return to my dorm to relax for a bit before I head to dinner with Cat and several other people from my floor.

Dinner is wonderful. It becomes clearer and clearer that the beauty of meeting new people in college is that more or less everyone is on the same page – a little out of their comfort zone in a new place and hoping to spend time with some friendly faces. Over my delicious Forest Dining Hall cuban sandwich, I get to know several people from my dorm, and laugh… a lot.

Throughout the meal, I continuously have moments of clarity, looking around myself thinking, “Wow, I’m here. I’m here, with people I’ve met today, laughing like we’re all old friends. I’m here.”

When I return to my dorm, it’s with an odd feeling of peace with my new surroundings. It’s almost like nothing is real. I drift aimlessly around my dorm a bit – getting through the entirety of Walk the Moon’s “Talking is Hard” and Bastille’s “Wild World” on my record player, finishing up the book I had been reading, and chatting with the people who walked by my open door every so often. A little after 7, Kirby texts me and we agree to meet in front of Wells Library.

I sit at one of the tables outside for a few minutes. I’m proud of myself – I didn’t have to use Google Maps to find the library this time. It’s a small victory, since the library is literally a straight shot down a sidewalk from my dorm, but I’m holding onto what I have. Kirby arrives, and we walk back to my dorm. I show him my room, and then we walk to Collins and he shows me his. Sitting in Kirby’s dorm room, I feel incredibly blessed for the icy air conditioning in Teter, compared to the sauna-like humidity at Collins.

Regardless, though, I hang out at Collins for a while. With the fan blowing on us full blast, Kirby and I talk a little. I realize that I’m exhausted and so we spend a lot of time just sitting, in a sort of quiet silence. We browse some of the Welcome Week events going on that evening, but at that moment the prospect of getting up and going somewhere seems impossible.

Kirby walks me back to my dorm at around 10:30. And it’s in that muggy, muggy night air that it hits me for the first time that I won’t be going back home anytime soon after this. It hits me like a falling piano – cartoon style – and the full weight is crushing. It’s all I can do to keep walking straight down the sidewalk.

We say goodnight. I walk back into my room, my throat and arms and chest all feeling heavy. I try and settle down, sitting on my bed with my laptop, playing games and listening to music idly, but I keep having to get down from my bed for things I forget – my earbuds, my medicine, a charger… finally, around midnight, I retire to sleep.

But the bed – it’s really comfortable. And even though I have to turn them off before I sleep, the twinkle lights on my ceiling emit a soft, warm glow in the hours I’m awake. And tomorrow, I’ll finally get to meet my roommate, and maybe I won’t be too tired to do any of the Welcome Week activities. And despite everything, despite how much I miss home, I figure it’s only temporary.

At some point, I’ll forget the tiredness and the muggy air and the two outfits I’ve already sweated through and will have to wash. Instead I’ll remember the people I’ve already met, and the people I will meet, and the energy in the air, tangible and unmistakable. And I’ll be able to focus on that one, most important fact.

I’m here.

 

 

“Are you excited?”

I’m pretty sure there was no way I could have made this week’s post without any mention of my finally moving into my dorm in Bloomington on Tuesday. I think it’s because so many adults view college as one of the best parts of their lives that so many also constantly want to know how excited I am for it…

And, I am excited, I think. I think. But beyond that excitement, and that also deep, gnawing fear, I haven’t really been totally sure of what to think about it all.

See, this summer has been a lot different than any other summer I’ve ever lived through. I’ve felt more independent, more on my own than I ever have before. In the sudden lack of structure left by the end of marching band, I filled it myself with my own structure. I’ve never had to do that before.

I’m glad for that, because I feel like it’s prepared me for college in a way nothing else really could. It’s a strange feeling though, since I don’t even know what it’s preparing me for exactly.

What I mean is: I’ve never been so uncertain of what the next year of my life would look like. I love preparation. I love control. I love knowing exactly what things will be like. But I’ve been to the orientations, I’ve done the paperwork, I’ve made the schedule, I’ve toured the campus. I know where I’ll be living and who I’ll be living with, and where I’ll be eating and where I’ll be going to class. I know all these facts but I don’t know anything else.

I don’t know how it will feel. I don’t know if I’m going to love it immediately, or if I’ll have to adapt. I don’t know what my meals will taste like or what the dorms will sound like at night when I’m trying to sleep. I don’t know who I’ll make friends with and what they’ll be like.

And I know so many people in the same position as me who are excited for college despite all that not knowing. I really have to commend them for that, because for me it’s terrifying. It’s cancelling out any kind of excitement I might feel for this upcoming year.

I just can’t honestly say I’m wholly excited for something that I know so little about. I know it’ll probably be fine. I know I’ll adapt, and I’ll grow to love the independence and the fun and the new things. But right now it feels like a lie to say that I’m excited. It’s an oversimplification.

I keep coming back to the first time I was a freshman – going into high school- and how painful that transition was for me. It’s fresh in my mind – feeling lonely all the time, feeling scared when everyone else was excited, feeling like I was progressing slower than anyone else – it doesn’t feel that long ago. And yes, I know I’ve changed since then. I’m very much not the same person I was. I’ve overcome a lot since then… including those first feelings.

But hey, maybe I’m overthinking it. Because, truly, I am excited. I’m excited to try new things and meet new people, and truly find out what sort of a person I am on my own for the first time. I’m excited to learn more about the world, to get opportunities… to have fun, honestly. And it’s not like I’ll be doing it alone. I’m not going so far away from home, and I’m blessed to be living in an era of instant communication.

So, I suppose the answer to the question of whether or not I’m excited is a yes. It’s a quiet and unsure yes at this point, sure. But I know there will be a day, when I’m older, when I see someone in the same position as me now and I’ll ask them if they’re excited, because all the fear I’m feeling right now will be a thing of the distant past.

Or, at least, I hope.

How Men Teach Women to Hate Men

A few years ago, my mother sat on my bed and told me that I shouldn’t hate men.

“Some men are bad, honey,” she said, “But there are also great men out there. You shouldn’t hate them all.”

At the time, I was frustrated. I had just got done telling her about Anita Sarkeesian’s “Women in Gaming” series, which I had binged that day, and it had awoken my mind to a big, giant, societal problem that I had never been able to bring into context the way she could. Suddenly, for the first time, someone else understood what it was like to be a girl wanting to see herself reflected in the culture she consumed. A girl who wasn’t a damsel, or a hardened (but still sexy) badass, or a flimsy love interest. Just. A hero. A main character. With agency and flaws and a story everyone could relate to.

But still I understand her point. Yes, okay, not all men are terrible. I know from experience that this is true. And to believe that all men are terrible doesn’t really help anything, it just makes my own existence harder since no matter how much I might “hate” them, I’ll still have to interact with them.

But also, I don’t hate men.

I don’t! I don’t hate them. I’ve met too many good men to hate them all. My dad, my friends, and many public figures I look up to – there are so many examples of good men.

But here’s the problem: I have to explain that to people.

That has to be the caveat. “I think women are systematically oppressed by a masculine-focused society BUT I don’t hate men.” That “but” has to be there. I can’t focus on women’s struggles without also bringing into account how men feel about those struggles, or else I get labelled as a crazy man-hater.

I don’t hate men! But you know who constantly pushes my capacity not to hate men? Men.

No wait, not men in general. No, a very specific kind of men.

You see, nine times out of ten, the people who encourage women to hate men are not women. Perhaps this is different in other people’s experience, but every time I’ve struggled with my “I don’t hate men” stance, it’s not been because of a woman’s view on how men are, but rather a man’s view of how men are.

Take for example a recent term I discovered. The “nu-male.”

Nu-males, according to Urban Dictionary, are “men (with “men” being used as loosely as possible) lacking self-respect who are completely devoid of any masculinity and will jump at any moment to defend women online for feminist brownie points while falsely believing that in return, they’ll receive sexual favors.”

I discovered this term in the comments section in a video of one of my favorite Youtubers, Folding Ideas, and it, at the time, terrified me. I’ve always liked Folding Ideas not only for his interesting and in-depth analysis of media, but also for his respect not only for women but for all quote-unquote “minorities,” often criticizing media for disrespecting them. That being said, his entire channel does not focus on feminist and socially conscious readings of media – that’s just an occasional topic.

Still, from the look of the comments section, you would think he talks constantly about feminism, and for only one purpose: to gain sexual favor from women.

Perhaps, for men, this idea is not terrifying. In fact, definitely for men it’s not terrifying. “Nu-male” is just a joke, a “witty” and cynical observation or a way to put down other men they disagree with.

However, for me, it just creates this world where every man wants nothing more than to have sex with every other woman. It creates a world where no man truly wants to treat women with respect, they just want to get into their pants through any means necessary.

I know that isn’t true. I don’t believe all men are like that. But so many men seem to believe it.

I mean, look at the idea of the “friend zone.” That popular notion that anytime a man is friends with a woman, he’s losing out on something. He’s missing his chance. “Poor guy, friend-zoned like that.”

Or, related, the “nice guy,” only being kind to women to pursue a romantic or sexual relationship with her.

Or, when I was young, my father telling me that all boys are terrible and that I should never trust them.

“But, dad, you’re a boy!” I would say.

“Doesn’t matter,” he would say.

And so with all these terms, it’s obvious to me that the negative stereotypes about how men treat women come just as often, if not more often from men themselves. And yes, it’s more often than not in a joking manner, but its still indicative of a culture where men accept these stereotypes as unchangeable fact. And yet they are confused why women react negatively to the idea that no man will ever respect her as a human being.

Feminism, as a movement, doesn’t hate men. In fact, many feminism ideals benefit men as well, freeing them from their own gender roles and expecting decency and human empathy from them.

But those women who do hate men aren’t taught to do so by other women. No, there’s a litany of men out there who do the job for them.