misandry doesn't exist

(470 Posts)
MitchierInge Fri 06-Jan-12 10:14:58

not in a sort of homologous (if that's the word?) way to misogyny anyway - society just isn't that evolved yet

OTheHugeManatee Fri 06-Jan-12 16:01:57

Without wanting to get dragged into the whole stupid tit-for-tat 'war of the sexes' thing, there is a school of thought in clinical psychology that argues that normative masculinity - while it does bring considerable advantages in terms of power and opportunities in some areas - does have a considerable attendant cost.

Men are between 4 and 10 times more likely to commit suicide than women, a statistic which is weirdly at odds with the fact that women are diagnosed with depression twice as often as men. Men also die younger (often from heart disease, which is associated with stress) and have higher incidence of substance abuse (something like 39% of American men will have a substance dependency problem at some point in their life).

This isn't to say 'oh the poor menz, let's let them all off the hook' but has provided a way into discussions within psychology about the ways in which normative masculinity, as well as often having a negative impact on women, can also be a significant cause of distress for men.

What I'm talking about here is quite different to misandry, and does not prove in any way that misandry exists. In the sense in which women experience misogyny, I don't think it does - or if it does, its impact on men is not proportionate to the impact on women of misogyny. But to conclude from that that there are no gender role based stresses on men would I think be mistaken.

CaterinaSforza Fri 06-Jan-12 16:33:41

Men are more likely to complete suicide because they are more violent, they kill others very much more often and when they kill themselves they choose the more violent methods.

You don't have to be depressed to commit suicide but women attempt it very much more often.

MillyR Fri 06-Jan-12 16:46:06

I don't think you are being 'what about the menz' at all Manatee; it is a really good post.

Trills Fri 06-Jan-12 16:49:21

Whether misandry does or does not exist (and however we choose to define it) I hope we can all agree that the current situation is not ideal for women or for men. It needs changing and we should (if we are reasonably intelligent and aware of the world around us) want it changed.

OrmIrian Fri 06-Jan-12 16:51:08

Quite trills.

As the mother of boys and a girls I am concerned that none of their lives are circumscribed.

KRITIQ Fri 06-Jan-12 17:26:58

Yes, if we put the semantics and term "misandry" aside, what we've got is a system that is prescriptive about acceptable attitudes, roles, appearance, behaviours, etc. for both men and women which constrains the opportunities and aspirations of all but the most privileged.

However, it's important not to lose site that those who are most privileged are men (and white, and straight, and socio-economically advantaged, and non-disabled, etc.) and that all men do benefit from privileges that come from being male within a sexist society.

In brief, it's the most privileged men that set the rules that screw things up for both men and women, but more acutely for women. It's not women who set the rules that screw up things for men (or women for that matter.) So it's most definitely not even close to "even steven."

In my book, that means there is a specific responsibility there for all men to one, acknowledge that they are privileged because they are men (albeit to differing degrees because of factors like ethnicity, faith, class, sexuality, etc.) and two, be aware of how male privilege is played out all around them and never collude with the the "that's just how things are" explanation for injustice (which effectively sustains their own male privilege and that of other men,) and three, actively challenge examples of gender oppression wherever they encounter it. Staying silent just ain't enough.

samstown Fri 06-Jan-12 17:38:40

Why do certain posters constantly seek to redefine words just to serve their own agenda? The term 'misandry' means hatred of men, therefore if you have someone out there who hates men, then it exists. Yes I would agree that misogyny is much more common and ingrained in society, but you cannot claim that something does not exist just by changing its definition!

Also agree with what Trills said - you cannot claim someone is 'a misogynist' and apply that to an individual if you are not going to allow it to work the other way around.

sams - what you have described is the etymology, which is not exactly the same, IMO, as the definition. I think it was thunder who explained where the term misandry comes from and how it has been privileged by the people who used it. Given that, no, I don't think misandry exists. I don't think I'm redefining a word according to my own agenda at all.

KRITIQ Fri 06-Jan-12 19:08:58

Yes, that's it LRD. There's no question that the word exists. You can find it in dictionaries and on line. But, the concept it represents as perpetuated by those who coined and promote it, well no, that doesn't actually exist.

thunderboltsandlightning Fri 06-Jan-12 19:14:47

If people are interested in feminism they should be interested in the anti-femininst misogynistic roots of the popularisation of the term "misandry".

It was a political move by MRAs to give this word respectability and thus their claims that men are hated for being men (they aren't). What's sad is that so many people who perhaps might know better have seized on it. I think it makes a lot of people uncomfortable the amount of woman-hatred/misogyny that exists in the world, so for them it's a relief when they can find a reason to claim that "women do it too".

sunshineandbooks Fri 06-Jan-12 19:36:28

Late to this but agree with LRD and thunderbolts.

Women who hate men have no power or cultural endorsement to inflict their hate on anyone other than the odd individual. Such women tend to stand out in society and suffer consequences for their views/behaviour.

Men who hate women have the whole structure and culture of society excusing, and sometimes actively reinforcing, their actions.

MitchierInge Fri 06-Jan-12 19:42:37

maybe homologous was the right word then

messyisthenewtidy Fri 06-Jan-12 21:33:56

Just watching re-runs of Friends and musing over the ludricous portrayal of men (especially Joey) as sex starved simpletons. Is this misandry?

It's certainly derogatory towards men, but I would say its origin was a patriarchal interpretation of the battle of the sexes which pretends to mock men but really seeks to excuse behaviour such as doing no housework, objectifying women and being emotionally illiterate. It presents men as cheeky charming and simple, who can't help themselves, thus letting them off the hook entirely, whilst women must be the uber competent, emotionally mature and effortlessly beautiful creatures that make the rest of us feel like failures in comparison.

This kind of misandry ultimately harms women because it's no more than a variation of the Angel in the House which placed much higher expectations on women's moral behaviour and thus imprisoned them.

That's my gin filled take on it anyway. grin

thunderboltsandlightning Fri 06-Jan-12 21:39:53

But it's not man-hatred to portray pornhounds or chauvinists as lovable fools. It's helping sexist men by setting the bar even lower for them aka boys will be boys.

onelittlefish Fri 06-Jan-12 21:58:27

I think there is a bit of misandry going on at the moment. The fact that in most non-serious TV programmes, including children's TV, men are generally perceived as bumbling idiots (I use Peppa pig as a perfect example) demonstrates a general feeling that men are hopeless creatures who can't do anything.

I would describe this as misandry. Of course it is not on the same scale child marriages and prostitution etc, however, if we are looking for complete equality, if a woman was perceived as not being serious in the same way (being into fluffy bunnies and all) it would almost certainly be perceived as sexist / misogynistic.

sunshineandbooks Fri 06-Jan-12 22:09:21

You have to consider context and scale though.

For every programme portraying men a bungling idiots and women as strong and capable, there are 100 others that reinforce the old sexist stereotypes.

One white person calling a black person a n****r in 20th-Century Alabama would have had no effect if there was no cultural norm of legally endorsed racism. The same is true of sexism.

People don't react with cries of sexism at programmes like Peppa Pig because the threat to male status as a result is virtually non-existent, and indeed can actually be considered to be reinforced as a result of this affectionate sexist portrayal (see post by messyisthenewtidy at 21.33).

Whereas there is a well-established link between the negative portrayal of women in media and negative effects on women in society, such as sexism, objectification and violence.

MoreBeta Fri 06-Jan-12 22:15:55

While it is true that low level misandry exists in the way men are portrayed and discussed in the media (and especially adveriIsing) as others have said.

It doesn't come close to the level of misogyny and discrimination women face in every other area of life though.

messyisthenewtidy Fri 06-Jan-12 22:40:22

The problem is that these "bumbling idiot" stereotypes are seen as evidence of a feminist agenda in action which is the opposite of the truth because feminists are the least likely to go with gender stereotypes.

Who writes the scripts of these dumb sitcoms anyway? I doubt very much its a group of malicious feminists out for revenge but rather a group of writers who are trying to second guess what the public wants to see, which they think is a battle of the sexes a la Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. If the media were that concerned about offending feminist sensibilities they wouldn't perpetuate the objectification of women to the extent that they do.

They're just a bunch of chancers who try to get away with what they can and direct sexism against women is a no no, but taking the mickey out of men is perceived as harmless. And whilst it may be harmless to grown men who weren't brought up with these annoying stereotypes it may well be harmful to our DSs who aren't yet assured of their own abilities.

thunderboltsandlightning Fri 06-Jan-12 22:47:06

How many men are portrayed as bumbling fools, compared to the number portayed as confident, heroic, admirable, sexy, manly, intelligent, assertive etc.

If I can be bothered I'm going to check out the TV listings and see whether this myth actually lives up to any kind of reality (probably not).

What is true is that overwhelmingly men are given space in the media, to the detriment of women's voices or experiences and to the detriment of women's careers and incomes.

Do sitcoms even exist anymore, apart from My Family?

thunderboltsandlightning Fri 06-Jan-12 22:48:39

It's also pathetic to be complaining about being portrayed badly in sitcoms, when the context of hatred agaisnt women is genocide against us in some parts of the world.

It's like Germans complaining that Charlie Chaplin was rude about Hitler.

messyisthenewtidy Fri 06-Jan-12 23:31:52

Thunder I do agree with you because obviously the ostensibly negative portrayal of men in the media masks what happens in reality. For example the supposedly comic portrayal of violence against men in the media masks the fact that in reality it goes the other way. It gives an unrealistic portrayal of the actual power balance.

But what I'm saying is that our DSs don't know that and when my DS asks me why men are made to look stupid on tv I can't exactly quote gendercide statistics to him. But I agree with you on the over representation of men in the media. It's as if it's so woven into the fabric of our society that no one notices it and it appears to be normal.

thunderboltsandlightning Fri 06-Jan-12 23:33:10

I'm sorry what negative portrayals of men in the media, messy?

What was the most recent one you've seen?

KRITIQ Fri 06-Jan-12 23:39:24

Thumbs up to the recent posts pointing out what's behind the portrayals of men as bumbling, silly or incompetent in comedies or adverts. It doesn't stem from hatred of men. Face it, most of the script writers and advert copy writers are men themselves. In my view, such portrayals are generally used as a comic device - by either inverting gender stereotypes or overplaying them (e.g. man who can't clean or look after a baby) for comic effect.

This is reminding me of the folks who cited programmes like The Real McCoy and Goodness Gracious Me as evidence of "reverse racism," because they sometimes also inverted racial stereotypes or overplayed them for comic effect. Yeah, in the context of gazillions of other messages in popular culture and society in general perpetuating demeaning stereotypes, beliefs and actions toward people of colour.

thunderboltsandlightning Fri 06-Jan-12 23:40:57

Most popular on i-Player for example are:

Eastenders
Tracy Beaker returns
Little Britain
Eastenders
Never mind the buzzcocks
Earthflight
Sherlock
Public Enemies
Wonderland
Natures Weirdest Events
Top Gear
Ratatouille
Public enemies
The Grammar School: A secret history
Under the Tuscan Sun

I'm not really seeing this anti-manism on TV from that.

KRITIQ Sat 07-Jan-12 00:03:01

Not meaning to answer for Messy, but I understand what she means - (06-Jan-12 22:40:22 post), "The problem is that these "bumbling idiot" stereotypes are seen as evidence of a feminist agenda in action which is the opposite of the truth because feminists are the least likely to go with gender stereotypes."

I haven't had a TV for about 4 or 5 years, so to be fair, I can't really comment on tv programmes or even commercials that are out now. But back in the mid 1990's, I ended involved in a live radio programme with an MRA type guy (don't ask!) who rambled off a list of adverts and sit come sketches that he said depicted violence and abuse against men, "things they'd never show if it was against a woman," he claimed. And this, he insisted, was evidence that "our feminist society tolerates, even encourages women's abuse of men."

I remember one of the examples was a car advert at the time where I think a woman throws a man's things out of a window and handcuffs him to stair railings before driving off (something along those lines,) and another was a sketch with Les Dawson (I think) dressed as a woman talking about hitting her husband with a frying pan.

He was talking shite, but since MRAs, racists and others seeking to "prove" reverse discrimination are constantly scanning the horizons for the tiniest shred of evidence to justify their hatred, they'll pick up on almost anything and dress it up as "proof."

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