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misandry doesn't exist

(518 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

thunderboltsandlightning Fri 06-Jan-12 12:16:11

Misandry was a word that mens' rights activists came up about the beginning of the 90s with to attack feminists for pointing out real woman-hatred, and to try and pretend that men were victimised in the same way women are victimised by men.

It's not a valid concept. There is no equivalent of misogyny in this world.

thunderboltsandlightning Fri 06-Jan-12 12:17:18

Twenty years ago almost no-one would have been aware of the word or know what it was suppoesed to mean.

It's just another way of calling women who object to male abuse, man-haters. It's offensive.

Trills Fri 06-Jan-12 12:18:29

We do divide people up into "boys and girls" far more often than necessary, don't we?

I read a post (or possibly a blog or article or something) a little while ago by someone who was a primary school teacher who had decided to stop saying "make two lines, boys and girls" and decided to ask them to make lines based on who liked green and who like blue, or who liked cats and who liked dogs.

OP - feel free to clarify and we'll stop going round in circles and try to discuss what it was that you actually wanted to discuss smile

OrmIrian Fri 06-Jan-12 12:23:18

I think any society that permits prejudice against either sex is a society in which misandry exists. A society that mistrusts men working with young children for example is a society where misandry exists. Because it is making an assumption that only paedophiles would have any interest in spending time with toddlers. The fact that that assumption comes off the back of the misogynistic one that looking after children is one of the few things that women are good at, is relevant but doesn't negate the misandry of the premise.

Sexism is sexism. It limits and damages everyone. The fact that to date women have suffered more from it in general doesn't alter that fact.

MitchierInge Fri 06-Jan-12 12:33:37

I wanted to discuss the idea that misogyny had a sort of inverse countertype running alongside it Trills. I am open to the idea that just because I can't see it at any level in society doesn't mean it's not in operation anywhere.

I did say comparable to misogyny, of which I think most examples of prejudice against men are a fairly natural reflection.

thunderboltsandlightning Fri 06-Jan-12 12:39:45

It's a logical fallacy to argue that because misogyny exists it must have a counterpart in this thing called "misandry".

Misogyny = the destruction of women

Misandry = ?

Trills Fri 06-Jan-12 12:40:59

I thought we should better stop arguing over definitions of words and just get on with it, that's all smile

I like Manatee's distinction. Men are punished more when they stray from cultural norms of manliness, but conforming to the norms is not as restricting/limiting for (most) men as it is for women.

If women want or do "manly" things then there is a combination of you can't do that, it's for men and well of course manly things are better so we can see why you would want to.

If a man wants or does "female" things then the question is (as Orm says) why would he want to do that, is there something wrong with him?

What do you call the male equivalent of a tomboy? A sissy? There's no non-pejorative word that I can think of.

Trills Fri 06-Jan-12 12:41:57

thunderbolts Oxford dictionary says

[mass noun]
the hatred of women by men:
she felt she was struggling against thinly disguised misogyny

thunderboltsandlightning Fri 06-Jan-12 12:42:31

Tell that to George Orwell, Trills.

Words have power, they shape people's thoughts and actions.

windyandrainy Fri 06-Jan-12 13:43:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 06-Jan-12 13:45:40

'Mis' as a prefix means 'hatred, distrust, dislike'. A misanthrope hates the human race, a misarchist can't stand authority, a miserotic dislikes sex, a misocynist hates dogs, a misogynist loathes women and a misandrist hates men. Misandrists and therefore misandry does exist.

If you're elevating misogyny to a political system in its own right, it's equivalent would be misandronism... a fanatical belief that all the world's problems are caused by men. And I'm pretty sure I've heard that view expressed even if it's not the prevalent view.

IslaDoit Fri 06-Jan-12 13:46:20

The term for all of it is bigotry.

IslaDoit Fri 06-Jan-12 13:47:08

Agree with Cogito. Good explanation.

PamBeesly Fri 06-Jan-12 13:51:43

I think it exists, albeit in a much more minuscule state which has far fewer conseqences because the world is so male dominated. There will always be hateful people, both men and women.

thunderboltsandlightning Fri 06-Jan-12 13:53:14

Just because you can create a word doens't mean that the reality it's claiming to represent exists.

Evidence for misogyny is domestic violence, rape, femicide (100 million missing women and girls in India and China), the global second class status of women, forced birth, forced abortion, forced sterilisation, child marriage of girls to older men, prostitution, pornography and so on.

What is the evidence that "misandry" exists apart from the cobbling together some greek words?

Men are not hated as a group, men are seen as superior because of their ownership of a penis and receive many economic and social rewards because of it.

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 06-Jan-12 13:55:31

I think definitions do matter - otherwise we all end up talking across purposes.

But proving the existence of the word does not prove the existence of what the word refers to. Saying that 'misandry' does exist because some people hate men only makes sense if you think 'misogyny' is just hatred of women, with no attached structural reinforcement in wider society.

There is nothing wrong with defining misogyny and misandry in that way (save that the word 'sexism' already exists and is perfectly good). But then we would, I think, need a word to describe the systematic oppression of women in society, to which there is not an equivalent or equivalently systematized oppression of men in society.

Trills Fri 06-Jan-12 13:56:23

Good explanation Cogito.

Hatred is something that happens in people's heads, therefore if it happens in one person's head then it exists.

TeamDamon Fri 06-Jan-12 13:57:29

I think it is possible for a woman to be a misandrist, just as it is possible for a man to be a misogynist.

I don't think that on a global scale the two can be considered comparable. That is not to say that misandry doesn't exist.

TeamDamon Fri 06-Jan-12 13:58:23

Yes, I think LRD put what I was thinking much much more articulately!

Trills Fri 06-Jan-12 13:59:27

I don't think I have posted even once on this thread without other people posting in the time between me reading and hitting "post"

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 06-Jan-12 14:05:34

Yes, it's a really interesting thread, thanks OP!

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 06-Jan-12 14:07:08

"What is the evidence that "misandry" exists apart from the cobbling together some greek words?"

I'll ignore the fact that you've cobbled together quite a few greek, latin and words of other origin to create that sentence. smile Men have not been subjected to violence and oppression by women. That's not the debate. The debate is does misandry exist. Looking at a phrase like 'all men are rapists' ... which was something of a rallying cry in feminist circles in the 1970s and I'd hope you agree that it's a misandronic statement. They absolutely hated men as a group.

KRITIQ Fri 06-Jan-12 14:09:11

Windyandrainy, Urban Dictionary isn't known for being sensitive or inclusive in its language! The content is user generated, so you'll also find plenty of sexist definitions there. However, the one Team Damon linked to kind of busts open what's behind the concept of "misandry."

Earlier today, I peeked into an old discussion forum I used to be fairly active in to find alot of white folks wailing about Dianne Abbot's recent Tweet taken out of context. as yet "further evidence" of reverse discrimination against white people. On another thread, some bemoaned the money spent pursuing and convicting two men for the murder of Stephen Lawrence with comments like, "they wouldn't have spent that money if he'd been white." Apart from completely missing the point about why it too nearly two decades for anyone to be brought to justice for his murder, these are examples of the "backlash" against perceived gains by people of colour in society.

Misandry - the idea that there is another side of the coin which is equal to misogyny is the product of a backlash against the perceived gains of women in society.

It comes from the idea that you can "neutralise" claims that some people are privileged while others suffer injustice and oppression by insisting that those seen as privileged are equally victims of some kind of injustice or oppression. If it's all "even steven," then nothing needs to be done about those original claims of oppression.

Cogito, I don't quite get your thinking on definitions in that last post. Okay, if misogyny is the hatred, distrust or dislike of women, then misandry would be the hatred, distrust or dislike of men. Yes, there are probably a few women who hate, distrust and dislike men. But, not only are there quite a few men who hate, distrust and dislike women, they are "supported" in that view by political, social and economic institutions that perpetuate hate, distrust, dislike, disadvantage, inferiority, abuse, etc. of women. Because of the vastly different "scales," the two concepts in now way could be considered to be counterparts.

MillyR Fri 06-Jan-12 14:09:45

The issue with racism and societies in which race wouldn't exist as a social construct, I would say in such a society that a person could be capable of disliking geographically linked human variation, which most certainly does exist. But then that person might dislike people like me for their lack of ability to have a functioning placenta in a high altitude part of South America, or my lower lung capacity than certain groups in East Africa. It wouldn't be based on lumping all 'black' people together as if they share a wide number of physical traits when they are in fact a hugely disparate group, because 'black' is a social construct.

In terms of our own society, I would say that sexism is equivalent to racism and misogyny is equivalent to white supremacy. A man could experience sexism in our society and I could experience racism. But it would be a bit far fetched to say that I, over the course of my lifetime, was in any meaningful way experiencing black supremacy or that a man was experiencing misandry, because there is no institutional black supremacy or misandry in the UK. I am sure there are individual black supremacists and misandrists but within the context of what is legal and what is acceptable in wider society, they are going to have to go to some pretty extreme lengths to have an impact on my life or the life of a man.

Having a son, I do find that a lot of the treatment of boys is damaging, but that is largely a consequence of boxing them in to narrow modes of behaviour to separate them out from the 'other' which is women and girls. It is very sad for everyone.

thunderboltsandlightning Fri 06-Jan-12 14:14:51

This is the article I always link to when the topic of misandry comes up:

Misandry: From the Dictionary of Fools

"While men have long enjoyed attacking ungrateful women as “man haters,” the epithet seems more than a little bit silly when transposed onto the printed page—something demanded by the burgeoning market for so-called Men’s Studies materials. It certainly lacks the gravitas required to reflect the widespread injury and social disadvantages that many white males believe they endure on a daily basis. Thus a more scientific-sounding term was needed for “the hatred of men” and antifeminists crafted one out of their own perverted imagination of antiquity: misandry.

Cobbled together from two generally recognizable Greek components, “misandry” has the appearance of consequence and refinement. Words with such roots are privileged in our society. They are used by doctors and lawyers, not out of necessity, but as a matter of status: they can view their own image in that mirror of history, standing tall with the great men of the ages. The capital letters we afford to Classical Civilization is an artifact of both racism and sexism. That very same authority, unearned as it is, was harnessed in order to fashion the word misandry. As it is an unfamiliar term to most who encounter it, many automatically assume that it has sound intellectual underpinnings given our society’s expectations for such words and the biases that surround them. This is no accident.

Furthermore, the archaic roots misrepresent misandry’s status as a new word, a neologism: antifeminists want nothing more than to mislead the public into thinking the word has always existed. With the seed of that deception planted, they can then blame its esoteric status on a feminist conspiracy that quietly removed misandry from our vernacular, just as reports of abusive women and battered men are allegedly censored by the agents of Political Correctness. This tactic has actually met with a good measure of success: many who encounter “misandry” for the first time are given cause to wonder why they have never before heard a word that is made to seem “obvious” in nature by its proponents. By adding a veneer of Pentelic marble to “man hater,” these men are able to act as if “misandry” were an unearthed treasure waiting to be found and not a newly minted piece of plastic.

The word and its variations (misandric, misandrist, et. al) were first used only by the most militant of antifeminists, where even the most published and professional remained outliers in male society. One early adopter of “misandry” was Warren Farrell, a man who once wrote on the benefits of incest for Penthouse magazine. Yet its constant repetition over the past decade has turned it from the battle-cry of the pathetic to a banal trivia question. It serves as the answer to “what is the opposite of misogyny,” a rhetorical question often posed to the editors of online-dictionaries by readers, all seemingly possessed of unlimited quantities of mock-innocence. Misandry’s less combustible presentation has allowed it to surge ahead of competing antifeminist devices (“androphobia”) that have since fallen by the wayside.

This transformation has framed the term in a “common sense” approach that many feminists, especially young ones, have difficulty discounting: if the word misogyny exists, logically and mathematically, there must be another side of that coin to restore balance. This tact has the advantage of highlighting “rationality” as a masculine attribute. Those who refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of misandry, both as a word and as a sociological fact, are portrayed as effeminate and thus bereft of logic, no matter how detailed and thought-out their arguments might be. Feminists who employ the so-called “soft sciences” of history and sociology in their rebuttals are easily disregarded by men who invoke “hard science” on their own behalf: the Coin Defense involves mathematics, of a perverse kind, and is thus deemed “objective” even though it is nothing of the sort."

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