On calling someone an “enemy”

A response I made to someone who had declared that a writer was an “enemy” of the Men’s Human Rights Movement.

I don’t see the value of calling anyone an “enemy”

Enemy, noun
1. a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.

Antagonist, noun
1. a person that actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary.

I believe the term we might prefer is

Opponent, noun
1.a person who is on an opposing side in a game, contest, controversy, or the like; adversary.

Not only, generally, will it be a more factual description, it also lessens the needless vilifying of our interlocutor.

If what we want to achieve is a genuine equality based on good-will, then it stands to reason that a more dispassionate, accurate and respectful term be used.

Our quest, is, among other things, to create and live in a world where people treat each other well, regardless of sex. My opinion is that it is easier to gain someone’s listening, understanding and empathy, hopefully leading to agreement toward the mutual goal of basic human decency in the world of law, media and politics if we avoid the unnecessary assumption that we are “the good guys” and that they are “the bad guys”.

Each, I believe, should be treated on a case-per-case basis, allowing them the space to declare themselves friend or foe. Since we cannot speak for another’s intention, merely their behaviour, it’s best to refer to the latter, rather than the former.


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