Today I will answer another interesting question from dear Margaret. Margaret describes the following situation: she has a male friend who believes all women are only after exploiting and taking advantage of men, and doesn't hesitate to say it out loud, together with expressing a disrespectful attitude towards women in general.
"For some time now, I have been reflecting on whether or not to bring the friendship to a close. Sometimes I feel that that would be too harsh an action to take, but on other occasions, I realise that he could be a bad influence, because he is always talking about how women are all liars, are all manipulative etc. My question is this: should I bring the friendship to a close, or keep it going, and practise ways of keeping the conversation away from these unpleasant subjects?"
First, allow me to say I definitely share your concern. The situation you describe is disturbing, and I believe one question should be asked here in the first place: how wise is it really for a young lady to have a male friend? Please know I don't presume to say this is a black-and-white issue, or that I know the one and only definite answer. I'm just questioning something our culture marked as unquestionably obvious.
Neither am I saying that a young lady should never be friendly with a young man. When I see a male co-worker, I'll definitely stop by for a friendly conversation. But my own experience made me very cautious about being bosom friends with a young man. I know many would disagree with me, but I believe many such friendships are based on concealed attraction from at least one side, which can lead to an unhealthy situation.
What you describe sounds disturbing for another reason: it certainly seems as though this young man has a very unhealthy, disrespectful attitude towards women. Now this is something we might ask ourselves as well: why is it that an entire generation of young men are women-haters? I believe this is another devastating effect of our culture. It was drilled into men's heads that women don't need them, that women can get along just fine without men, and that it's better if no man stands in a woman's way to progress (as in, for example, marrying her, providing for her, and giving her children...). Is it any wonder that the noble, protective side of men's nature remains undeveloped?
I'm not saying that's an excuse to behave like this young man does. It really isn't enough to justify what he says about women. But I do believe it's interesting to take the time to think where such attitude is coming from.
The bottom line is: only you will decide, of course, whether to stay in touch with this young man or not. Nevertheless, I believe that the very fact you asked yourself (and me), means you find his attitude uncomfortable and disturbing (and rightly so!). It is, of course, possible to reason with him and most importantly, give a real life example of what a good woman should really be like. But first, I believe you should make it very clear that you will not tolerate this kind of behavior ("I will not hear comments that are disrespectful and derogatory towards women"). I think I would also suspend all contact until your friend learns to be respectful towards women.