Maybe you’ve seen the pamphlet, or maybe you visited their content-rich website. Maybe you’ve seen the shirts. Maybe you’ve just heard the word around the high school: Manhater.
The Manhater Gazette is a student-run online and print publication that features articles about feminism. Through a collection of personal stories, experiences and ideas, students express their opinions regarding the effects of sexism and related issues.
The staff consists of mostly SWS students, though the blog is open to any person at the high school. In order to produce quality work, the staff keeps to a formal organizational system with deadlines every two weeks.
Junior Xueyan Mu came up with the idea in their SWS Feminism and Literature class last year. After consulting with senior A B, she came up with the name Manhater Gazette.
“‘Manhater’ is supposed to signify a common misconception about feminism, which is that all feminists hate men,” B said. “So, we satirically called it ‘Manhater’ as a joking reference to this, as it also attracts attention. People are going to read it because it’s controversial.”
Senior Rachel Eber acknowledges that Manhater Gazette has already successfully stirred up conversation regarding its name. She said that the periodical highlights the concept of fighting the problematic norms at the high school.
“I think it makes some people mad, and I’m glad that it does that; the more people that are talking about it, the more people are learning things about feminism,” Eber said.
According to the writers, there have been mixed reactions from various people.
“My guidance counselor has talked to me about what they and the deans thought, which is that there are some ideas which you can’t just have straight up in papers and have them passed around to other people,” Mu said. “Definitely things like sexual assaults and rape, they can really traumatize other people.”
Senior Ian Roberson said that it’s important to provide feedback to any opinions.
“There was a super long comment that said, ‘I totally disagree with this.’ That’s awesome, but why do you disagree with this? And the person totally explained why they disagreed with it,” Roberson said.
The writers said that their overall goal is to promote awareness of sexism at the high school.
“I just want to get the idea of feminism out there. I guess in the end, I don’t really care how people receive it,” Mu said. “I just want them to acknowledge it, at least; have that first step in actually realizing the topic.”
According to Roberson, creating a reaction that will stir up conversation and questions about feminism is a positive.
“I think the point of Manhater is to push us more to the conversation of ‘Why are you upset when you see the word Manhater? Why does that anger you versus why doesn’t sexism and rape and sexual assault at the school bother you more?’ I think it serves to push a conversation less than it serves to mediate a conversation,” Roberson said.
Manhater is a public forum, but is not school-affiliated. According to Roberson, staff writers appreciate this classification, as it allows their individual voices to be heard.
“On a realistic level, that’s trying to get us from being brought to judiciary or being censored,” Roberson said. “But I think on a more theoretical level, that’s about everyone being able to put in their own ideas.”
According to junior Talia Lanckton, staff writers are currently concerned that their blog consists mostly of white feminism. With only one male and two people of color, there is a lack of diversity on the staff.
“We do have a pretty limited range of economic statuses and racial and ethnic backgrounds in our writers, which we’re trying to change,” Lanckton said.
Roberson hopes to get a more expansive set of perspectives on the subject of feminism.
“I wish more men would write for Manhater, especially I want the men who say they don’t like the name Manhater to write and tell us why,” Roberson said. “This is for everyone’s thoughts.”