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mis·an·dry /mi'sandre/. noun: misandry. dislike
of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men
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6 In literature 6.1 Ancient Greek literature
6.3 Charles Dickens
7 See also
Misandry, a word which appeared in the nineteenth century, is parallel in form to 'misogyny'. The form "misandrist" was first used in The Spectator magazine in April 1871. It appeared in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) in 1952. Translation of the French "Misandrie" to the German "Männerhaß" (Hatred of Men) is recorded in 1803. Misandry is formed from the Greek misos (µ?s??, "hatred") and aner, andros (????, gen. ??d???; "man").
Activist Warren Farrell has written of his views on how men are uniquely marginalized in what he calls their "disposability", the manner in which the most dangerous occupations, notably soldiering and mining, were historically performed exclusively by men and remain so today. In his book, The Myth of Male Power, Farrell argues that patriarchal societies do not make rules to benefit men at the expense of women. Farrell contends that nothing is more telling about who has benefited from "men's rules" than life expectancy, which is lower in males, and suicide rates, which are higher in males.
Religious Studies professors Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young made similar comparisons in their 2001 three-book series Beyond the Fall of Man, which refers to misandry as a "form of prejudice and discrimination that has become institutionalized in North American society", saying "The same problem that long prevented mutual respect between Jews and Christians, the teaching of contempt, now prevents mutual respect between men and women."
Academic Alice Echols, in her 1989 book Daring To Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 19671975, argued that radical feminist Valerie Solanas, best known for her attempted murder of Andy Warhol in 1968, displayed an extreme level of misandry compared to other radical feminists of the time in her tract, The SCUM Manifesto. Echols stated,
Solanas's unabashed misandryespecially her belief in men's biological inferiorityher endorsement of relationships between 'independent women,' and her dismissal of sex as 'the refuge of the mindless' contravened the sort of radical feminism which prevailed in most women's groups across the country.?
The writer bell hooks has discussed the issue of "man hating" during the early period of women's liberation as a reaction to patriarchal oppression and women who have had bad experiences with men in non-feminist social movements. She has also criticized separatist strands of feminism as "reactionary" for promoting the notion that men are inherently immoral, inferior and unable to help end sexist oppression or benefit from feminism. In Feminism is For Everybody, hooks laments the fact that feminists who critiqued anti-male bias in the early women's movement never gained mainstream media attention and that "our theoretical work critiquing the demonization of men as the enemy did not change the perspective of women who were anti-male." hooks has theorized previously that this demonization led to an unnecessary rift between the men's movement and the women's movement.
Though bell hooks doesn't name individual separatist theorists, Mary Daly's utopian vision of a world in which men and heterosexual women have been eliminated is an extreme example of this tendency. Daly argued that sexual equality between men and women was not possible and that women, due to their superior capacities, should rule men. Yet later, in an interview, Daly argued "If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males."
Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young argued that "ideological feminism" as opposed to "egalitarian feminism" has imposed misandry on culture. Their 2001 book, Spreading Misandry, analyzed "pop cultural artifacts and productions from the 1990s" from movies to greeting cards for what they considered to be pervasive messages of hatred toward men. Legalizing Misandry (2005), the second in the series, gave similar attention to laws in North America.
Wendy McElroy, an individualist feminist, wrote in 2001 that some feminists "have redefined the view of the movement of the opposite sex" as "a hot anger toward men [that] seems to have turned into a cold hatred." She argued it was a misandrist position to consider men, as a class, to be irreformable or rapists.
Barbara Kay, a Canadian journalist, has been critical of feminist Mary Koss's discussion of rape culture, describing the notion that "rape represents an extreme behavior but one that is on a continuum with normal male behavior within the culture" as "remarkably misandric".
In a study of 488 college students regarding ambivalent sexism towards men, researchers found that women who did not identify as feminists were more likely to be hostile towards men than self-identified feminists, but also more likely to hold benevolent views towards men.
In a study of 503 self-identified heterosexual females, social psychologists found an association between insecure attachment styles and women's hostile sexism towards men.
In his 1997 book The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy, sociologist Allan G. Johnson stated that accusations of man-hating have been used to put down feminists and shift attention onto men in a way that reinforces male-centered culture. Johnson said that comparisons between misogyny and misandry are misguided because mainstream culture offers no comparable anti-male ideology. He says in his book that accusations of misandry work to discredit feminism because "people often confuse men as individuals with men as a dominant and privileged category of people." He wrote that given the "reality of women's oppression, male privilege, and men's enforcement of both, it's hardly surprising that every woman should have moments where she resents or even hates 'men'."
In the 2007 book International Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities, Marc A. Ouellette contrasted misandry with misogyny, arguing that "misandry lacks the systemic, transhistoric, institutionalized, and legislated antipathy of misogyny" though acknowledging the possibility of specific "racialized" misandries and the existence of a "misandric impulse" in popular culture and literature. Anthropologist David D. Gilmore argues that while misogyny is a "near-universal phenomenon" there is no male equivalent to misogyny. Gilmore also states that misandry refers "not to the hatred of men as men, but to the hatred of men's traditional male role" and a "culture of machismo". Therefore, he argues, misandry is "different from the intensely ad feminam aspect of misogyny that targets women no matter what they believe or do".
Classics professor Froma Zeitlin of Princeton University discussed misandry in her article titled "Patterns of Gender in Aeschylean Drama: Seven against Thebes and the Danaid Trilogy". She writes:
The most significant point of contact, however, between Eteocles and the suppliant Danaids is, in fact, their extreme positions with regard to the opposite sex: the misogyny of Eteocles' outburst against all women of whatever variety (Se. 181-202) has its counterpart in the seeming misandry of the Danaids, who although opposed to their Egyptian cousins in particular (marriage with them is incestuous, they are violent men) often extend their objections to include the race of males as a whole and view their cause as a passionate contest between the sexes (cf. Su. 29, 393, 487, 818, 951).?
Literary critic Harold Bloom argued that even though the word misandry is relatively unheard of in literature it is not hard to find implicit, even explicit, misandry. In reference to the works of Shakespeare Bloom argued "I cannot think of one instance of misogyny whereas I would argue that misandry is a strong element. Shakespeare makes perfectly clear that women in general have to marry down and that men are narcissistic and not to be trusted and so forth. On the whole, he gives us a darker vision of human males than human females."
In Dickens' Great Expectations, the character Miss Havisham is a caricature of a misandrist. Miss Havisham was jilted on her wedding day, and is consumed with rage about this event, and unable to move on in life. She plots and successfully executes what she thinks of as a "revenge" against the male gender, in the person of the protagonist, Pip. However, she then realises that she has only caused Pip, who is blameless, to suffer in turn what she suffered a broken heart and repents and begs Pip's forgiveness.
Critic of mainstream feminism Christina Hoff Sommers has described Eve Ensler's play The Vagina Monologues as misandric in that "there are no admirable males ... the play presents a rogues gallery of male brutes, sadists, child-molesters, genital mutilators, gang rapists and hateful little boys" which she finds out of step with the reality that "most men are not brutes. They are not oppressors".
Julie M. Thompson, a feminist author, connects misandry with envy of men, in particular "penis envy", a term coined by Sigmund Freud in 1908, in his theory of female sexual development. Nancy Kang has discussed "the misandric impulse" in relation to the works of Toni Morrison.
In his book, Gender and Judaism: The Transformation of Tradition, Harry Brod, a Professor of Philosophy and Humanities in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Northern Iowa, writes:
In the introduction to The Great Comic Book Heroes, Jules
Feiffer writes that this is Superman's joke on the rest of
us. Clark is Superman's vision of what other men are really
like. We are scared, incompetent, and powerless,
particularly around women. Though Feiffer took the joke
good-naturedly, a more cynical response would see here the
Kryptonian's misanthropy, his misandry embodied in Clark and
his misogyny in his wish that Lois be enamored of Clark
(much like Oberon takes out hostility toward Titania by
having her fall in love with an ass in Shakespeare's
The humor is lost on most people, and it's terrible PR for feminism
If youve stumbled into certain feminist corners of the Internet lately, you may have noticed the word misandry cropping up. No, not by mens rights activists whining that feminists hate men (or at least, not just by them). By feminists. Who think its funny to use it ironically.
But lets back up a little. What exactly IS misandry, you ask? It is literally the hatred of men (in ancient Greek, mis means hatred, and andro means male or masculine). It is the inverse of misogyny.
When feminists joke that they are misandrists, they are riffing off the misguided popular notion that they are man-haters. They mean to satirize the women who say they are not feminists because they love men. Its an inside, inside joke.
Granted, there is something amusing about a girlish decorative sampler with misandry embroidered in purple thread, in the way that gross contrast is often amusing. And theres something droll about a quiz that measures your level of misandry by asking if youve cut a mans hair off while hes sleeping thus destroying his power, or a list of reimagined misandrist lullabies like, Hush little baby, dont say a word / Ever; your sister is talking.
And the urge to fight these misconceptions about feminists with humor is understandable. Obviously, very few feminists actually hate men as a whole, and none actually want to kill all men or drink male tears as some of these so-called ironists like to joke.
But the irony is all too often lost, despite recent arguments that the right kind of guys are in on the joke and love it. But the anecdotal evidence of that is not convincing, and those friends of women who like to use the word misandry might are likely to be a self-selecting group. Last year, a 2013 HuffPost/YouGov poll found that only 23 percent of women and 16 percent of men consider themselves to be feminists. Of that 16 percent, surely even fewer would find jokes about misandry funny.
Parodying the tropes of feminisms enemies is not, in itself, unfunny or unhelpful. Consider Leandra Medines engaging site Man Repeller, which riffs off of and rejects the notion that womens fashion is all about attracting men. And its empowering to reappropriate labels like witch and bra-burner that have been flung as criticism at women who dare to question the oppressive status quo. A new Twitter account, @WomanAgainstFeminism, takes on the popular hashtag used by women who disavow the movement with satirical rationales that humorously point out all the ways that women do need feminism.
But inherent in this word misandry is hatred. And inherent in phrases like ban men and male tears are cruelty and violence. If a man wore a tee shirt that said misogynist, even if he were a dyed-in-the-wool feminist, wearing it tongue-in-cheek, it would not be funny. It would be misguided.
What feminists really hate is the patriarchythe web
of institutions that systemically oppress women. And to tear
it down, we need as many allies as we can get. Telling half
the population that we hate them, even in jest, is not the
way to do that. Feminism is still very much engaged in the
battle for hearts and minds; appealing to the sense of humor
of a very small minority of the population can be a good way
to alienate the rest. Thats not to say that feminists
should water down their true demands and complaints to
appeal to broader swaths of the population. Nevertheless, to
get folks on your side, you need an an appealing message.
Humor can help. But ironic misandry is just bad PR.
Earlier this December, the Huffington Post put out a wildly popular video in which women young and old repeated the sexist phrases they hear during a lifetime.
With phrases ranging from "you're so pretty" to "what were you wearing that night," the two-minute video captured what it's like to live in a culture that unfairly defines your worth based on the fact that you happen to be a woman.
Now it's the men's turn to explain the things they hear in a lifetime.
In "48 Things Men Hear in a Lifetime (That Are Bad for Everyone)," another video from the Huffington Post, men repeat the phrases that often shape how they treat women and each other. Although we don't discuss it much, men also feel that they're often viewed through a narrow lens.
Surprisingly, a lot of the comments in this video deal with stereotypes that are similar to what women face, too, just with a masculine spin.
1. Men are also judged on their looks.
To illustrate how much women are judged by their looks, the "48 Things Women Hear" video begins and ends with comments reflecting this: "You're so pretty" and "You must have been beautiful when you were younger."
While men might not hear this as incessantly as women, they're also judged on physical characteristics that they have no control over, and are often told they need to fit a stereotypical masculine ideal. This means they're judged on things like being tall, being able to grow facial hair ("You can't even grow a beard!"), and "being buff."
Scientific studies point out that women are judged more strongly by their physical attractiveness than their male counterparts, but as this video shows, men experience this too sometimes to the point of excluding their personality and capabilities.
2. Men are told that they shouldn't do girly things.
We hammer this notion into boys' heads from a young age: what toys they should play with and what emotions they should or should not express.
Anything perceived as "girly" is off-limits. In this way, boys are discouraged from freely exploring what they might truly like.
And this doesn't change as they grow up, either. For example, while women are questioned for drinking "manly" drinks like whiskey, men are ridiculed for picking a poison that's not stereotypically masculine.
3. Men are also taught not to have feelings.
Most men don't dare get emotional, lest someone ask, "Are you on your period?" (See also "Don't be such a pussy" and "You're so sensitive for a guy.") or make insinuations about sexual orientation. Apparently, the same insults that are lobbed at women can be thrown at men for daring to show emotion at all.
Perhaps The Cure's "Boys Don't Cry" says it best:
"I try to laugh about it
Real talk, though: Expressing emotion should not equal emasculation. Both men and women would do well to remember that.
4. Women are shamed for their sexuality. Men are encouraged to do the shaming.
"Don't be a slut."
Those were two comments featured in the "48 Things Women Hear" video that capture the sexual double standard women face. But in their video, men are encouraged to play into this double standard, too.
Men didn't make these contradictory rules up themselves. Other men and perhaps even other women have passed down such notions for generations. Plus, this video reminds us that men are even judged by similar standards to women in this regard, with people commonly asking a man, "You're still a virgin?"
Then there's the notion that men should feel entitled to whatever they want sexually, perhaps to mitigate the perception that they're virginal and therefore weak:
And the fact that most bad behavior is then excused with this cliche:
Not all men are perpetrators of rape culture, and not all women are victims of it. But both are at a disadvantage when certain notions are pushed on any gender.
"48 Things Men Hear in a Lifetime" shows more than just how sexism affects society's more favored gender. It also shows how men are taught to subscribe to sexist notions in order to come off as more masculine, as a "real man."
And sometimes those notions don't come from men themselves, but from all of us.
We can't solve sexism without men taking stock of their own beliefs and without reflecting on how women play into those beliefs as well.
Let's think twice before we say certain things about how men and women "should" act according to gender.
Watch the entire video below:
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