Finally, let us consider one last harmful stereotype that Venker is propagating through her words, one regarding male sexuality. It is a quick blow that Venker delivers, with words said in passing: “Feminism serves men very well, they can have sex at hello…”

We can stop right there. This supposed “benefit” of feminism plays into a common idea about men: that men just want to have sex. All the time. Sex consumes their thoughts. And, as Venker emphasizes, this stereotypical man often has few qualms about whom it is with; Venker’s hypothetical men were willing to jump a person who merely says “Hello!” According to the logic of the stereotype, men have such low standards because sex is a need. It is a necessity. It is a thing that utterly dominates them. They cannot control themselves. Just a bit of cleavage, a patch of leg, a touch too much ankle—and it might be too much.

It is a line of thinking sadly quite prevalent in Christian culture. “A woman must be clothed in modesty,” the often-repeated Christian phrase states. It is an adaptation of 1 Timothy 2:9 and is not an altogether bad sentiment; for example, wearing low-rise pants that expose one’s bum in the workplace is certainly not suggested attire. The issue comes when it is used as an excuse for male sexual impropriety towards women with little to no blame placed on the male offender himself. Instead, if a woman looks in any way attractive, she is seemingly entirely at fault for encouraging men’s lustful desires. In fact, the Bible is full of stories popularly seen as men succumbing to feminine wiles: Delilah seduced Samson into cutting his hair and thus losing God’s favor, Lot’s daughters got him drunk and slept with him so they could get pregnant, and even the Fall of Man itself was brought about by a woman, Eve. It is no surprise, then, when these stories are paired with 1 Timothy and other Biblical injunctions to women to behave chastely, that they are twisted into a false ideology that focuses on man’s natural sexual desires and vilifies women for arousing these desires. Women should take care to be chaste, but boys will be boys (with little attention given to 1 Timothy 5:2’s call for men to act purely).

How, though, is this harmful for men? People often focus on how this attitude is harmful for women. It is used to excuse sexual assault and rape, to sexually control women, and places unfair burden and guilt on women for sexual moderation, among other things. All of these things are true and important. But think about what this image says about men! It essentially makes men no more than animals who must respond to bestial instincts with little ability to use human reason to stop themselves. It makes men mere creatures possessed by sexual urges. How awfully demeaning!

Moreover, it is a stereotype that deeply hurts men in the eyes of their female peers. In “The war on men,” Venker says, “[Women have] been raised to think of men as the enemy.” And she is entirely right. Women have been taught to fear men and their sexuality. If you are told long enough that all men are but animals with only sex on their mind, you begin to believe it. A male stranger’s innocent smile of greeting becomes a sexual leer. Friendship with men becomes suspect. And if we do love a man who loves us in return, we are taught to always ask the quiet question in the back of our minds, “Does he love me for me? Or just to get sex?”

Of course, it is not an assumption that is entirely without basis. Nearly everyone has at least one story of sexual abuse at the hand of a man, either personal or that of a friend or family member. However this does not mean every man should be branded a sexual predator. Because this world is filled with awesome, genuinely friendly guys who don’t just see sex when they see a woman. Shockingly, men CAN control themselves and often do. Men should be treated as respectable human beings, not sex-crazed dogs. A man should be able to give a friendly hello to a woman without worrying that he is being threatening. If a man a woman loves has earned her trust, that trust should be given. But the double standard is a double-edged sword that often cuts men out of women’s circles of trust.

So, Ms. Venker, if you want to help men, stop spreading these destructive stereotypes of them! To stop the war, we must first stop the words. We must not only think about our sexist attitudes towards women, but also our sexist attitudes toward men and how these lines of thought affect them.

Nicole Fegeas graduated from Princeton University in 2010, majoring in Classics with certificates in Women and Gender Studies and Creative Writing. She was the Editor-in-Chief of the campus Christian magazine, Revisions, and is currently an Assistant Editor at Beliefnet.