antifeminism men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny oppressed men white knights women's suffrage

The “White Knight” accusation against feminist men is as old as this anti-Suffrage postcard

What a white knight mangina cuck lol

By David Futrelle

Pretty much any time a dude says anything vaguely positive about feminism, or women, or a particular woman online, some idiot will pop up to accuse him of being a “white knight” who’s only pretending to be feminist in order to get laid.

And while, yes, there is a certain subset of skeezy dudes who do pull this crap (Lush’s Ladykillers video skewers them expertly) this accusation is mostly just a way for antifeminists to put feminist dudes on the defensive — and to keep from acknowledging that, yes, lots of people, including men, actually support feminism on its merits.

This early 20th century anti-Suffrage postcard reminds us again just how hackneyed the cries of “white knight” really are.

To put this postcard in a little context, here are some other anti-suffrage postcards from around the same time. You may notice that some of their “arguments” are similar to those of 21st century antifeminists as well.


88 replies on “The “White Knight” accusation against feminist men is as old as this anti-Suffrage postcard”

@ amy

I hope you don’t kill yourself. I’ve been there. To echo the slogan, “It gets better.” Please feel free to lean on the community here.

One more thing I want to add: if you’re anything like me, you’ll feel awkward/self-conscious about posting again after posting that. It’s okay. We won’t judge you. Don’t feel weird. <3

@amy it really wasn’t that long ago – the beginning part of 2017 – that I felt fairly similar , including unspecified suicidal ideation, but I got some help and I’m feeling a million times better. My life is changing. I found someone really cool who I really, really, really like and he makes me really happy*. I feel more on top of things and I’m enjoying life again and the things that make me happy – including rugby, friends, going out, art, etc. And I’m remaking my garden – which is the number 1 indicator of depression for me – happy mentally healthy me – beautiful garden, mentally unwell me, neglected garden.

The key for me was finding the right medication, which I’m not gonna lie, wasn’t easy and MAY also be linked to appropriate levels of thyroid medication, too (i.e. checking out and treating any underlying physical illness which can manifest mental illness – I’ve recently had the best levels of thyroid hormone since being diagnosed).

The way women are treated still makes me angry but it doesn’t make me despondent.

I know that what I’m describing probably feels 100% unobtainable for you right now with the way you’re feeling, but you CAN enjoy life again, I promise. I won’t promise you that it’s an easy ride to getting there.

* a romantic relationship is NOT the cure for depression, but I firmly believe that I could not have pursued this relationship if I’d been as depressed when I met him as I had been.


“only pretending to be feminist in order to get laid.” – how would that even work? Like, do they think a female feminist feels obligated to reward male feminists with casual sex? Or are they thinking of getting into a relationship with her where they perpetually pretend to be a feminist (and possibly to have other good qualities as well) so she’ll like them? That sounds pretty much impossible for a misogynist to pull off for years.

My not very expert interpretation:

Many toxic asshole type guys tend to think that any mainstream type decency towards women constitutes “white knight” or “mangina” behavior. (They might not call it feminism because stereotypically only women are feminists.) They think decency towards women isn’t naturally easy for men, therefore it must be strategic behavior.

As a man, being a feminist or just decent person will not get me laid – but it probably gives me better chances than being a toxic asshole would. Toxic assholes tend to deny this, thinking any decency is wasted on women.

They might think I’m being a sleazebag when I “strategically” treat women as people. However, this presumed sleaziness is not why they scorn “white knight” behavior. Rather, they think I’m a fool because I’m still not getting laid.

I posted that last night after midnight sometime so I’m sorry if I left anyone hanging. I’m in Canada.
This morning I woke up feeling a bit better, and you’re right, I may have posted about these feelings here before. It feels safe.
It wasn’t this article or the comments that made me feel bad. I came here specifically because it was the best place I could think of to come online to talk about it. You seem to know how to not take the abuse personally and I want to learn that skill.
I’ve been in a suicide dilemma that lasted about 5 months through the winter and has been surfacing every few weeks this summer. I’ve been hospitalized twice for it over the year and am currently receiving some treatment. Every few weeks I feel internal pressure to kill myself. Usually, these feelings occur after the hours the stores are closed and therefore I lack tools, although I have tried stuffing things into my tailpipe and turning on the engine with the fan on, which doesn’t work.
The feelings are usually about being inadequate for being female or insulted by the media and things online. It seems like there are so many people who want to hurt women and it makes me feel both scared and victimized. I also struggle with a lack of support in my life. My two best friends both suffer from mental illness and I’m seen as the strong one. It can be difficult to know who to reach out to because one of them is very used to relying on my emotional support and not vice versa, while the other sometimes may become offended by my perspective and my attempt to reach out can turn into an argument.

Sometimes when I go online it seems like an evil force has come into my room to taunt me and dare me to hurt myself. The evil force consists of all these men and (some) women who spend their energy denying inequality while simultaneously perpetuating it. Combined with that are news articles about missing women and sexual violence and murder. It feels so heavy. I am still grieving over losing a family member to violence. I am confused by the intention of some of the news articles that seem to glorify the violence with perverse enjoyment, including the news articles written about my lost family member and the way she was brought out of the world.
I’m okay right now. I don’t feel like killing myself this moment, but I expect I will again. Life is something I seem to have to survive these days and I didn’t expect life to be like this. It’s very disappointing for me.
Thank you for the support you have given. I don’t mean to worry anyone or to take up too much attention. I know if I call a help line they will send the police to my door. Last time I was locked in an empty room with a camera on me for three days and it’s very embarrassing. They took away my bed sheets and got mad at me for sleeping with a shirt over my face. (maybe they thought I was trying to suffocate myself?) I felt like I was a child to them and they seemed kind of aggressive.

@amy–echoing everyone else’s good wishes. Take good care, and call on this group for assistance–they are good folks.

The expression on the fifty-year-old suffragette with the hatchet makes me laugh and laugh. That’s how I often feel by the end of the day. Hatchet and all.


You seem to know how to not take the abuse personally and I want to learn that skill.

Ah, that is a difficult skill to learn. What helps me is to focus on breathing slowly (this helps keep the heart rate down, which helps you control some of the automatic panic response your body is getting into) and repeat to myself, “this isn’t about me.” Those MRAs aren’t angry at me, even when they come on here and target me specifically. They’re angry at society for the way it taught them to feel entitled to things they can’t have. They’re angry at themselves for not meeting their own expectations. They’re angry at their ex-partners for not being what they wanted them to be. They’re angry at any number of things. But they’re not angry at me.

It’s a little more difficult when they seem like they’re directly angry at me. Especially when it’s in person. But that’s not my problem. That’s their problem. And I just have to remind myself that it’s on them.

I’m sorry about your experience when calling a help line. I don’t know if that’s a typical experience and don’t feel comfortable giving any advice around that. I just want you to know that it sucks that you were treated that way.

And don’t worry about taking up too much attention or worrying us. I know with friends it’s hard because they start to get worn out if you lean on them too heavily. They even start to call you too dramatic if you lean on them too much, or assume you’re “just doing it for attention” (whatever the hell that means; of *course* you need attention if you’re hurting, and if they give a damn they’ll give it to you). The great thing about this community is that there are so many of us. If one of us gets fatigued there are three more to jump in and offer whatever support we’re able. Don’t feel guilty about taking advantage of that.

@amy – I’m so, so sorry about your lost family member. And I’m sorry that you’re hurting. The media does sensationalize these incidents, mainly for ratings, without thinking about the real human lives behind their headlines. Clickbait has turned journalism into a race to the bottom. I wish the MSM would take responsibility for connecting the dots on the stories they report, and place them in a larger societal context. We’ve had way too many “lone wolf” right-wing mass shooters in the last several years.

I’m sorry, too, that sometimes these guys get inside your head and assume the shape of your worst fears. They’re Boggarts. If you remember your Harry Potter, the most effective spell against them is “Riddikulus!” (aka “women are afraid men will kill them, men are afraid women will laugh at them”. At least our weapon doesn’t require a permit, and is only harmful to those who deserve it.) Behind every one of these sneering online bullies, I guarantee you, there’s an angry man who’s feeling insecure about his own attractiveness and sexual flaws. Like Harry Potter, you can take back power and reduce their scariness by picturing them any way you want to: eating Cheetos, wearing boxers covered with little hearts, being told to take out the trash by their mom. This is the internet, after all.

It’s hard not to get sucked in and feel overwhelmed sometimes. Despite the absurdity of the sad sacks who strut around flaunting it, misogyny is very real, and has the potential to be lethal. We do need to stay vigilant and not dismiss it as a joke.

I hope you can find the support you need. WHTM is a safe place, full of good, caring people. Sending you virtual warm fuzzies, and hugs if wanted.


I’m so glad your okay. You do have value and worth, and I hope you can remember that. I’ll just echo what everyone else has said though and Internet hugs if you want them.

amy, thank you so much for coming back again today! 🙂
I feel like kupo said about the sheer number of good people around here, sometimes it’s just good to drop by and read and enjoy the feeling of being in a place where people are decent (and funny and smart and all those other things too). for rl, I don’t know anything about how this works in Canada but maybe others here know more about how to find support that’s actually supportive and not just about calling the police :-((((( I’m sorry that was all they felt they could do/were legally obliged to do 🙁


So glad to hear back from you, and glad you’re feeling a bit better. We’re all on your side.

Like opposibletumbs I’m wondering if there are any Canadians here who know about numbers to call or other support services that won’t mean police coming to your door.

Glad you’re feeling better, Amy.

I can share my coping mechanism but I don’t know how useful it would be to anyone else.

I watch a lot of horror movies and read or watch other things with dark subject matter. It allows me let out my negative feelings in a controlled way where I keep some distance from it because it’s fiction. For whatever reason, it makes compartmentalizing a lot easier for me.

But I’m not sure if that’s a thing for other people. Maybe I’m just a weirdo.

@amy: Hi I’m also a depressed person who is slowly sliding into numb emotional nihilism right about now with the current world climate.

Now, I had to do a whole fucking life reset (the anniversary of which is coming up soon!) by moving across the continent, but before that, I would reach out to people, like you’re doing now, and ask them for help! You’re very brace for asking for help beating back the darkness, even if all one could provide is a metaphorical stick.

So, here’s a stick that might work for you: write down all the things you would miss if you died. I personally did this when I couldn’t get a hold of a friend.

It can be anything, “smallness” doesn’t matter. I wrote down things like “I would miss new Monster High dolls”, or “I wouldn’t get to see the Deadpool movie” or “I wouldn’t get to adopt a cat who needs a loving home”.

And the more I wrote, the better I felt. Because I then had things to look forward to.

And those little things, those little sticks, all bundle together into a great big bludgeon to beat back the dark with.

EDIT: Glad to hear you’re feeling better!

I sometimes use dark movies/TV shows to cope. Or super fantasy/sci-fi ones that let me escape into another world. One of my favorites for dealing with grief is Stay. It has Ewan McGregor, so that’s always a plus, the subject matter is dark, and it’s disjointed and has little details scattered throughout to the point where I pick up something new each time I watch it. I get really obsessive over it when I’m in a dark place.

That’s an excellent idea, I may try that next time it hits me.

@wwth: You are not alone. I watch horror films when I am miserable. last year when I was going through a prolonged bout of severe depression caused by circumstances beyond my control I watched every single Nightmare on elm Street, Halloween, Hellraiser and Texas Chainsaw movies. Old and reboots. It really helped me through that period. Also one particularly bad saturday I watched all seven Saw films in one long marathon.

@Amy and other fellow Canadians

Something that’s been very helpful that’s been coming out these past few years is the concept of the “Warm Line” – a pre-crisis line to talk to people when you’re pre-crisis (or even in crisis, they have training to help in both to my knowledge because often one may turn into the other), or just need someone to talk to. There are different lines depending on what part of Canada you live in. One even has a website with the ability to do online chatting instead of over the phone.

The Northern Ontario Warm Line run by NISA – 1-866-856-9276(WARM)
Toronto Mental Health Helpline/Warmline – 416-960-9276
Ontario Free Mental Health Services information line – 1-866-531-2600

And here’s a website with a comprehensive list of crisis lines for various countries, and it starts with Canadian ones by province –

On a personal note, my heart goes out to you Amy. Like others, I’ve been there. Sometimes it’s so hard to see past the pain, and when I was at my worst, seeing that far ahead just felt too overwhelming because EVERYTHING felt overwhelming and I couldn’t handle it. Sometimes, all you can do is take it baby steps. Make it through ten minutes. Then make it half an hour. Then an hour. Then half a day. Then a day. Add more time when you feel better about coping a short time. Something else I’ve had to do at times is unplug, at least from websites that I found triggering. Not permanently, just for a while until I had the spoons to come back. But that’s me, everyone has things that work for them and not for others.

Good luck *hugs*

I’d like to repeat my usual recommendation of “Staplerfahrer Klaus” as a wonderful safety video/horror movie hybrid. It’s originally in German, but I think there’s a few subtitled/redubbed versions.

Starts out with new forklift driver Klaus getting his approval license to drive a forklift. There’s a voice over giving safety tips to new drivers, complete with examples of what might happen if you forget to follow them.

By the end, well, I don’t want to give too many spoilers, but it’s extremely gory for a “safety video”. It might even help a forklift driver remember to follow the safety requirements.

drop a 56lbs weight on your foot

Funnily enough I do have a weight exactly like that (when I moved into my flat in 2000 there was weight to anchor the ladder that was in a cupboard up through which there was a way onto the roof), and I HAVE dropped it on my foot! Fortunately it wasn’t a direct hit,but it still left it very bruised and painful.

I was called a White Knight when I left a couple of unflattering comments on the Incel subreddit. They immediately blocked me too. My name on Reddit is Shelob which I thought was a clear indication that I am (likely to be) a woman I was surprised, can women be White Knights?

I AM a lesbian, so maybe I ‘defend’ other women so that I can have sex with them! Those random women that I will never meet and do not know the sexual orientations of!

I wasn’t even defending women – I just told them that they were absurdly self pitying and that I hoped that one day they would be thoroughly embarrassed.

Back on the original topic, I just noticed how the second-to-last one (with the woman reading the sports section of the newspaper and smoking a stogie while the man minds the baby and darns the stockings) is essentially illustrating that men were afraid that if women got the vote they would treat men the way that men treated women. Funny that.

That was probably a painful thing to see after the way you have been feeling. I know I can’t take it back but I wanted you to know that I’m trying to take a lesson from this and put a better apology on the screen after thinking about what happened. I am so sorry. If I can do something to help I will. But if not that’s the last I’ll say.

Speaking of phones, I did try the adblock browser again and it seems to have resolved most of my issues, so you may want to try it.

The funny thing about the next to last picture is that the husband looks to be old enough to be the wife’s father — if not grandfather.

One of the first arguments that was used against 1960s feminists was that they were lesbians who were bitter because they couldn’t get a man. (Because what woman would be a lesbian if she COULD get a man — or so the assumption went at that time.) One of the reasons that Gloria Steinem became a particularly important early “second wave” feminist leader (other than that she was intelligent and a good leader) was because she had gotten a job as a Playboy Club bunny in order to write her famous expose, and it was difficult to argue that a woman attractive enough to be that kind of male wet dream couldn’t get just about any man she wanted.

I find the accusation of being a White Knight so hurtful that it makes me want to cry. I don’t know if I could go on living if somebody called me a mangina.

MRAs, Incels and similar arseholes are all about projection.

The only reason they would show any kind of decency towards women, would be as a ploy to get laid. They assume all men act the same.

#notallmen…but not the way most MRAs use it. Feminists actually believe men can be decent, empathic human beings. Meninists don’t.


Very glad you responded. I have not been in the depths you have, but I could see them from where I was standing without a telescope. I agree with everybody else that depression lies. It’s your neurotransmitters playing a sadistic trick on you and your perceptions, and it took me many, many such cycles to realize what was wrong. It distorts to heighten the worst, wipe out all enjoyment and pleasure, and make living seem unbearable. By whatever means you can use, tell it to go fuck itself.

In other news I’m darkly amused by that third from last illustration on how the suffragette got uglier the older she became. As if demanding voting rights was like anti-Oil of Olay. It said a lot, and mostly about the artist.

Feminists actually believe men can be decent, empathic human beings. Meninists don’t.


One thing that sets my heart racing at a million miles an hour is the word “natural” when someone – always a man – uses it, usually in a Guardian comment about how awful women complain about sexual assault.

How can they be so dense as to not see what they’re saying? They’re openly saying that men are both vile and violent and that women should simply accept the fact and learn to live with it. And that women should restrict their lives in order to avoid them, rather than that men should be put under curfew or some similar sensible restriction that would protect others from this inevitable, unavoidable social blight.

Men are not like that unless there’s something wrong with their upbringing or their previous or current socialisation. And there are plenty of men who’ve grown up in a violent household-community-society and found ways to be decent people despite all that.

It’s women who say that being horrible, rude, nasty, abusive or violent is a _choice_ which men can make. Even if they’ve been like it before in some circumstance, they can still choose the “never again” option. We’re the ones who are optimistic about men’s potential for decency, friendliness, friendship and intimacy with women. It’s the male “supporters” who make men out to be irredeemably violent, sexually uncontrollable and all round unpleasant.

It’s not inevitable. It’s certainly not natural.

Ah, but if they accept that it’s a choice, then they’d have to accept responsibility. They could no longer rationalize what they want to do with “I can’t help myself; it’s my nature”. They would have to either accept a negative self-view … or (gasp) put in some kind of actual effort to not be that way.

@amy When I had my first episode of depression, I used to call the clinic from the pay phone at the mall. Payphones are a bit rarer now, but I suppose a burner phone is also an option, and they definitely aren’t going to send the cops to stake out the pay phone. Or there are online resources that provide counseling by chat. Nobody can promise an easy fix, but there are ways to get the help you need to get through it without getting unwanted “help” forced on you.

As for “not taking the abuse personally”, it’s all about understanding that some people don’t know shit. They conjecture, repeat whatever their echo chamber just said, and believe whatever confirms what they want to think, and even when it’s about you it’s not; you’re either a convenient target or just collateral of what they’re already thinking and doing. I guess I’m “lucky” in that I ran into schoolyard bullying long before any of my various issues came to the fore, so I have the handy-dandy reflex of slapping a mental “bully” label on certain kinds of people and downgrading their opinion’s worth. It sounds trite, but you don’t have to listen to assholes.

Hang in there, fellow Canadian.

And on a lighter note: I can’t be the only person who noticed the parallels between the common complaint of “incels” and that “Husbands for Old Maids” poster in the cartoon of the suffragette meeting. And the suffragette threatening a man who disagrees with her with violence sounds awfully like some Reddit MRAs. I suppose if we’re to follow through on the parallel, “white knights”–a person of the opposite gender feigning support in order to get approval and/or get laid–would then be the female anti-feminists the male anti-feminists love to quote.

Violet the Vile, Possessor of an Ideologically Weaponized Vagina
Don’t apologize for the length. I cheered when you said:

These people are full of shit. They have no evidence for their claims, no capacity for a reasoned debate, fucking hell they don’t even have a sensible argument haha! Why should we listen? Come back with some logic, dick heads, and then we’ll talk.It’s crap. ………All of that is crap. It’s unsubstantiated opinions dressed up in a veneer of pseudo-authority.

I am amazed how often absolute nonsense gets spewed out (often about women and other minorities) by otherwise intelligent people. The line between a rational argument and a rationalization is so thin that these jerks cross over it as though it doesn’t exist.
The first step is to stop buying their claims that they have the facts or science or logic on their side….because that claim usually falls apart under close examination.

@Mallir: Interesting! Shelved for my own later use as well!

@Amy: There’s a very good chance that the music track will have none of the deep significance to you that it did for me, but whenever I encounter these situations, Final Fantasy 9’s track “You Are Not Alone” plays in my head. Everyone else here already contributed much more to expressing that concept, but I wanted to add that little bit. I’ve listened to it while in a deep pit of depression at times and it’s helped me.

Fun fact about Ladykillers: the song was actually written in ‘honour’ of a specific person (after a cringeworthy encounter with him in a bar, apparently), that being none other than Anthony Keidis of overrated funk-rockers the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.


“I keep thinking about getting a hose and asphyxiating myself in my car”

Why this, specifically? It’s not painless, if that’s what you’re thinking. None of them are.

“I feel like all I am is a joke for the world”

Nah, you’re not a joke. You’re amy, kick-ass feminist who will die at 106 after giving sexists the finger for decades.

I’m glad you’re feeling better. I was hospitalized for suicide idealization last October, and that was one of the toughest weeks of my life, even though most of the staff and all of the patients were very nice and I got to watch all the horror movies I wanted. You might want to have a mental health counselor look over your meds and see if there’s anything that might be contributing to your depression and anxiety. Some meds don’t play well with others, and your doctor may need to switch out a few that hurting you more than they are healing you, particularly if you are on pain meds. Just my two cents.

As to the topic at hand; that girl was a little pet at 15?!!! WTF, kid? I’ve been a feminist since I was thirteen. (And fifteen is a little old to be playing with baby dolls. It’s obvious that the cartoonist knows as little about women and girls than he did about suffragists.)

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