Sorry, Men, You’re STILL Not Oppressed: Reexamining the Fallacies of “Misandry”

Attention MRAs: This is a retooled, expanded, improved version of a post I did last year that has proven to be your absolute favorite. That post has already been thoroughly tainted with misogynistic comments, so head over there if you’re looking to add your voice to the fray. This entry–and all of my entries from here on–will be kept as a safe space for feminist discourse. No anti-feminist comments will be published on this entry. If you wish to comment on something here that is not in the earlier article, please, still take it to the comments over there. Commenting here with misogynistic, anti-feminist, and/or MRA rhetoric of any sort will get your words sent directly to my spam filter.

I previously started the discussion of “misandry” with examples of what bigoted men believed it to be. This time, I’ll pull everything back to square one, and hold a more in-depth discussion of misogyny, and examine how that structure makes existence of “misandry” impossible.

In tackling the magic of misandry previously on my blog, I received several comments that attempted to take me up on my challenge: Present me with what you believe to be a demonstration of misandry, and I will prove how it is actually a demonstration of misogyny. The problem is, those attempts were rooted primarily in ignoring everything I’d already written and attempting to make points I’d already disproven. -.- So, I’m expanding upon my previous items, including new resources in this new post, as well as adding one additional talking point, so this post can exist as a misogynist-free link for feminist use.

So, without further ado, let’s talk magic misandry!


You get the idea.

1. Campaigns against domestic violence and rape focus on women, when there are male victims, too.

Yes, men are the victims of domestic violence, and yes, men get raped. As acknowledged at the start of one of my previous posts, ten percent of rape victims are male. But you know what that leaves? 90 percent who are female. Should that ten percent get ignored, should their crimes not be prosecuted? Of course not. But focusing on so few while so many suffer is not going to in any way affect the long-term problem. And part of that long-term problem is the cult of masculinity that drives men to rape–including the rape of other men. 99% of rapists are men, including the rapists of men, hence why feminists focus on tackling the rape culture that trains men to treat sex as a power struggle, and to seek dominance through sexual violence.

Likewise, women are far more likely to suffer domestic abuse. Feminists do not advocate for male victims to be ignored, we advocate for female victims to be recognized, in crimes that are often glossed over by society at large, in a powerful demonstration of misogynistic hatred. Suggesting that feminists don’t want to acknowledge or find justice for male victims is a strawman. We want every individual to have the justice they deserve; we just know that it can’t happen for most female or male victims until we fix the social structures that ignore crimes targeted at females and the feminine.

2. Men are depicted poorly in media, as neanderthal losers with beautiful, capable wives.

First, stop a moment to consider how little women are portrayed in media at all, let alone as anything other than a supporting character to the male-driven plot. Second, examine how many female characters are nothing but tired stereotypes, objectified sex objects, unwilling incubators, oversexualized villains, or exaggerated targets for male scorn.

Third, evaluate the reality of that neanderthal husband/hot wife dynamic: It’s sending the message that no matter how much of a “catch” we ladies are, we’re to be ensnared by any wandering male who happens to deem us worthy of his attention. How many television shows feature a conventionally unattractive, rude, obese women with her Chippendale-double husband? It’s not an insult to men that they’re told they can be as slovenly, ill-mannered, and lazy as they wish and still expect a beautiful, capable wife. It’s a statement on how we, as women, should have low standards because we should be grateful for any and all male attention that is granted to us.

Finally, how capable are these women, really, and where does their expertise lie? Often, the wives are stay-at-home moms, and yes, spectacular ones; but this is an extension of the misogyny that says women are biologically driven to be good mothers, and males aren’t required to be good fathers. Occasionally the mom will be an amazing multi-tasker, working outside the home (often as a receptionist or other subservient role) while also keeping her home, children, and husband in hot meals, clean clothes, and constant love and affection. But this isn’t about painting women as super-capable, and it’s certainly not about how men respect a career woman. It is about the standard that we, as women, are held to in real life, where even if we work outside the home, we are expected to pick up most of the household chores as well, and do it with a smile, because that’s a woman’s role.

3. Girls and women are allowed more self-expression; it’s okay to be a tomboy, but not a girly-man.

This is not a hatred of men and all things male, it is a hatred of anything female/feminine, even when demonstrated by a male. This is called coded misogyny (not “magical misandry”), and is the vehicle through which men suffer from sexism. It is a fashion in which male rape is often derided–it is mocked as a feminine violation, and the victim as less of a man for “allowing” it to happen.

To the contrary, a woman or girl demonstrating masculine qualities faces two possible outcomes: Acceptance and congratulations for embracing attributes viewed as beyond her normal, limited female scope of accomplishment, or derision for desiring a role equal to men, for shirking her inherently feminine duties of taking care of the home, looking conventionally pretty, etc.

4. There are programs in place to help women–such as college scholarships–while no such programs exist solely for men.

This is an argument laid against most any affirmative-action-style program. It’s viewed as “reverse prejudice” that allows the minority an unfair chance. But, even in a world where women are no longer a surprise in college, we are still fighting an uphill battle after we graduate. A woman with a degree is not on a level playing field with a man holding those same credentials. Even if she overcomes the hiring discrimination laid against women, she would still make less than a man in a comparable position. And heaven forbid she go about doing “womanly” things like becoming pregnant, she’ll face even more job discrimination. So while the leg-up via a scholarship may seem an unfair advantage at the start, it still does not even give women a chance at equality in the real world. You cannot begrudge the child who lives on bread and rice a free ice cream bar while the child finishing his steak and eggs gets none.

5. Family courts favor women.

First, allow me to point out that yes, women are typically favored in custody agreements. Again, this is coded misogyny working against males. Women are seen as the nurturers, the natural caregivers of children, which is why the courts tend to favor them in custody agreements. Contrarily, men are considered the providers, yet alimony reform is allowing men greater freedom from the burden of paying for an ex-wife who was shuffled into a less monetarily advantageous situation by cultural oppression which keeps women in the home, unable to earn even the reduced salaries available to women in the workforce.

The entire concept of “misandry” is based on it being the antithesis of misogyny. The idea is, sexism is a two-sided coin, and both sides can’t be heads. Except, yeah, they can. This is Social Justice 101 stuff, but I’m going to break it down for those not already familiar:

All the nasty “-isms” of the world are formed with the combination of prejudice and power. Therefore sexism requires not only prejudice against one of the binary sexes, but the social power to oppress that sex. Women do not have that institutionalized social power, men do. And yes, this applies to all the nasty -isms, so please do not derail with assumptions that someone white like myself must think people of color can be racist against me; they can’t. The social groups with institutional power are, off the top of my head:

‣ Caucasians
‣ Men
‣ Heterosexuals
‣ Cissexuals
‣ The able-bodied
‣ Members of the middle- and upper-classes
‣ Neurotypicals

And particularly in the Western World:
‣ Christians
‣ Thin people
‣ Native-born citizens

None of these people can be oppressed as a member of that privileged group. While intersectionality and the kyriarchy can make issues of social privilege complicated, that fact is inarguable. For example: A black man may be oppressed by a white woman through racism, and a white woman may be oppressed by a black man through sexism; but a black person cannot oppress a white person through racism, and a woman cannot oppress a man through sexism. Only the socially privileged, empowered party has the institutional power to oppress another person. That role as privileged person or oppressed minority may be fluid depending on the oppression dynamic being discussed, but no one can rid themselves of privilege, regardless of how they may lack it in other arenas.

But, let me surprise you for a moment: Women can indeed be sexist! But only by backing themselves with the misogynistic power structure. That is, they have the ability to internalize misogyny and help perpetuate it against themselves and other women. They cannot be misandrists, because misandry’s existence requires a world in which women hold institutional power over men. If you are one of those men who says, “Yes, women are oppressed, but misandry is still prejudice,” please stop right there. You need to recognize that it is not okay to constantly focus on how men are victimized by the system that actively oppresses women. If you want to stop suffering from sexism, you need to first recognize that the sexism you suffer from is misogyny. By creating a world without misogyny, we create a world where men will not be punished for seemingly “feminine” behaviors, where mothers will not be assumed the only competent parents, and where we can all exist as respected human beings and not caricatures of our sexes.

Are there some women who hate men? Of course. There’s always somebody who hates somebody else. But it is not institutionalized oppression, and that is why feminists don’t want to hear about it. We do not have the power to oppress men. We do not earn more money than men, and therefore have the ability to manipulate our husbands into staying under our abusive thumbs, or foregoing their own personal enrichment to stay at home and care for us and our children. We do not dominate the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the White House, and we cannot pass laws telling men what they are and are not allowed to do with their own bodies. We do not as a group have the power to control men. Are there individual women who lord power over men? Of course. But it is not institutionalized, it is not the dynamic inherent in government, media, and the majority of households, it is not oppression.

Please, men, if you wish to argue the evils of the ever-mystical misandry, take a moment to first consider the myriad of privileges that you enjoy without even having to think about them. Remember that you do not have to side-eye every woman you meet, for fear that she might make you a statistic. Think of how socially acceptable it is if you tell your friends you don’t know how to cook, you don’t do your own laundry, you can’t remember the name of your child’s preschool teacher. And for a moment, think of the women you care about–your mother, your partner, your sisters, your friends–and know that if you can think of even six women, then statistically, one of them has had a rape attempted or completed against her. If you are my friend, reading this, you cannot escape that knowledge–I am a rape survivor, sitting on this end of my computer, asking you to acknowledge that my attack and all others like it are because women are not treated equally in this society. And I’m asking you to help change that, so maybe my little girl can avoid being yet another rape statistic like her mother.

About bunnika

shout at the brick wall; if it doesn't hear you, shout louder
This entry was posted in challenging privilege, feminism, human rights. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Sorry, Men, You’re STILL Not Oppressed: Reexamining the Fallacies of “Misandry”

  1. jennampitman says:

    Excellent as always! There are some great points in here. This will be another bookmarked pages. Thank you so much for writing these!

  2. pleasure_past says:

    Great post! It’s a shame the MRAs just couldn’t leave the other one alone, but this one is great and it’s always good to have a clean slate.

    • bunnika says:

      Thank you. :-) And this way, I figure the MRAs can unbundle their undies, because they can still have their word without being ~silenced~ by us crazed man-hating feminists, but feminists won’t have to actually encounter that BS unless they’re emotionally ready to tackle it.

      How long do you think before an MRA completely ignores my preface and tries to comment on this post? I bet I can take a shot for each hour before they do, and still come out sober at the end of the night. >.>

  3. Asia Morela says:

    Very good post! I’m going to go along what you’re saying, and add a point which I recently managed to make against people who claimed that feminism was about women and men alike, because men are also denied the freedom to be less masculine if they want, etc.
    While numbers and statistics are important, they’re not at the heart of the problem. Even if women were an actual minority (which is the case with some other -isms), it still wouldn’t be okay. I think you really nailed it in one of your previous posts about slurs: one group is said to be oppressed when the oppression faced by individuals relies *solely* on their being part of that group. This woman was denied a job because she was a woman, and nothing else. Or she was raped because she was a woman, and nothing else.
    Men, in contrast, cannot be victims only because they are men. If a man wearing a dress is attacked, it won’t be because he is a man, but because he is a man AND wearing a dress. In the end, it is… cissexism? But the cause for his attack is never going to be his being a man as such.
    The only way men could be direct victims of some kind of misandry would be if a crazy woman killer started shooting at a bunch of guys under the explicit pretext that they are men (which, to the best of my knowledge, has never happened, while the opposite, crazy male killer shooting random women after declaring his hate of feminists, has). But it still, definitely wouldn’t be institutionalized “misandry”, and in any way comparable to the misogyny prevalent in our societies.

    • bunnika says:

      An excellent point of clarity on the “whys” of prejudicial violence against members of privileged groups. In your example (“If a man wearing a dress is attacked”), there are so many prejudices that could be at play, from misogyny to homophobia and a lot in between. But it’s absolutely not about simply being male–it’s about a perceived “failing” at masculinity (a misogynistic demand for men to meet in the first place).

      The “crazed woman killer” scenario is something I’ve heard people refer to as an example of “misandry,” but it honestly makes me uncomfortable. I’m never going to defend a murderer’s “right” to murder (for obvious reasons), but the dynamic in place that could push a victim to that point (and women are all victims of misogyny, some more outright through violence just as rape, DV, etc.) versus the pure prejudice that could push a privileged person to that point…the ends are both horrible, but the motivations have a stark enough difference that I don’t think they can be weighted the same. Just as victims of rape and DV should all be allowed justice, so should all violators be punished for their crimes, but until there’s less of a power imbalance, I’m just uncomfortable with the linguistics.

  4. Amanda says:

    I got sucked into your blog despite my supposed “internetless” week. I’m glad I did though. I’ve been really upset with some specific misogynist statements made towards me lately – statements which I’ve talked and talked about but am not being heard. I really applaud you on several levels: first, for so *clearly* & intelligently responding to each comment (despite certain commenters’ ability to see it, or complete disregard for it once seen); second, for giving them their “voice” even when it was completely disrespectful and condescending to you (though I applauded each well-deserved ban, not gonna lie…you have way more patience than me); and third, for making an actual safe place to hold well-meaning, open discussion.

    And also for helping put my head in the right spot, and just for helping me know that some people out there Do get it.

    • bunnika says:

      Oh don’t worry, I enjoy those well-deserved bans more than anyone. ;-P

      I’m really glad that this blog is able to help you, help anyone, really. It’s what makes me feel like the frustration (with MRAs, with society, with everything) is worth it.

  5. AM says:

    I have never, ever been able to get my head around #2. Yes, it’s a common and overdone trope. Bumbling, lazy, overweight guy and hot disapproving wife. But THE GUY IS ALWAYS, ALWAYS THE PROTAGONIST. He’s the funny one. He’s the one the audience are supposed to root for. His idleness and slovenly ways are not portrayed as negative traits. The hot wife is the nag, the pill, the killjoy, despite the fact she’s generally running around cleaning up after him. The audience are not intended to be on her side.

    Reverse the genders, and these guys would still be whining about misandry.

    • bunnika says:

      Precisely! I can think of exactly one popular example of a show starring a woman who in any way approached this stereotypical male protagonist: Roseanne. And even then, she wasn’t “bumbling,” and her husband didn’t have to clean up her messes. She worked outside the home, and still was the primary caregiver to the kids. And she didn’t have a “hot spouse” like her male counterparts do. I love that show for its realism, but it’s sort of a perfect example of how female characters are never allowed the freedom given to males.

  6. John Rael says:

    Nice Article. I’d like to add to #2. Another reason that men are “dumb” and women are “smart” in sitcoms is because “normally” the exact opposite is supposed to be true. A smart woman?! Isn’t that hilarious!

  7. I am so, so, so relieved to see this. You took everything I’ve been thinking and put it into an eloquently put blog post. I read your original and was horrified by the comments I was reading, man after man making these same arguments again and again and AGAIN… But time and time again you held your ground and challenged their ideas by pointing out their privilege. Truly an inspiration.

    • bunnika says:

      Thank you so much for this comment. Honestly, the comments published on the original entry are far from the worst I’ve received (I flat-out refuse to publish the truly horrible ones), so it can be a really draining experience trying to maintain this blog. Comments like yours are the reason I keep going; the inspiration is completely mutual.

  8. bambou says:

    Reblogged this on Life as Improvisation and commented:
    I’ll expand on this later on, but this post basically barreled through typical MRA BS arguments, so it’s definitely worth keeping it around for later reference.

  9. bandaloopdeloop says:

    In my experience, the policing of masculinity that goes on in males-only spaces is as close to actual oppression as we get, and even then, it is eventually self-inflicted via what Augusto Boal calls the ‘cop in the head.’ I have been fortunate enough to be able to escape the worst of that kind of environment, but I still saw enough of it to have a cop in my head. See also “man laws,” “Bro Code,” etc. etc.

  10. There is one point I would like to make concerning number 2) “Men are depicted poorly in media, as neanderthal losers with beautiful, capable wives.”

    Those who complain about men’s depiction in media often speak about the issue in the passive tense (i.e. men are depicted a certain unflattering way), rather than the active tense (i.e. writers depict men a certain unflattering way), as though men in media just sort of appear the way they do without any external influence.

    According to the Writer’s Guild of America’s 2009 report, women make up just 25% of writing jobs in both TV and Film, and make up even less in executive roles. In the advertising industry, women make up less than 5% of the creative directors. So what does this mean?

    It means that those unflattering depictions of men in the media that MRAs like to complain about are the result of men writing those characters! Doofy husbands, fat slobs and neanderthal losers depicted in TV, advertisements and movies exist the way they do because executive producers and writers design men to look that way.

  11. Juliet says:

    I can not express how thankful I am that I came across this post. It helped me understand my own thoughts. It is so amazing to see the whole community of people on here with similar ideas to me, because I feel like where I live, everyone is sexist towards women (including women). I am 15 years old and I go to an all girls school. It makes no sense to me how even though the only men in our school are teachers, most conversations between girls are dominated with talk of boys, whether it be about famous actors/singers or the things the girls are going to do with their boyfriends later.

    I have been feeling so angry and powerless recently, after reading posts where all the things done to me without me even noticing are pointed out. Anyway, reading all these posts and posts on other blogs about similar subjects – some written by males – makes me so relieved… but I’m still angry.

    I’m sorry if this isn’t making a lot of sense right now, but I just wanted to say thank you so so much.

  12. jonnyariga says:

    Wow, what a wonderful post. I read the original one too, including all of the comments, and I was shocked at some of the ignorant and hateful responses that you received. Your replies to those comments were brilliant, and sometimes had me rolling on the floor laughing.

    In any case, I am a woman, and I love what you do. You’re really an inspiration. Please keep on writing blogs!

  13. profreedan says:

    Here’s a question. Am I as a working class man more privliged than the Queen?

  14. Chris says:

    I see lots of cats in your future.

    • bunnika says:

      Whoa whoa whoa hang on.

      What did you say?

      Are…are you trying to imply that that’s a bad thing?

      Ooooohhh I bet you feel real big, comin’ on here, insulting cats or cat ladies or things about cats and ladies who like cats and and and…cats.

      Who the hell do you think you are?!

      Why I oughtta….

      Fuckin’ anti-fem’s, they’re like bedbugs, you can’t fucking get rid of ‘em.

      Whatevs, you aren’t even worth my time….

    • Dude, women who do not buy into the patriarchy get a lot of cats and it’s fucking science, bro. *Hi-five!*

  15. J Manko says:

    This is such a beautiful post. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

  16. Kathryn says:

    Regarding men who are in domestic violence situations, they are far more likely to have resources to leave as well.

  17. w wilson says:

    Privilege is a very difficult thing to acknowledge when you don’t see the fruits of the privilege, which is why it is so important for more women to speak out.

  18. robertsloan2 says:

    Excellent post. Made sense to me. I was one of those guys. I learned. Is it that weird to have been dumb when young especially when schooled in a toxic environment? No, but it does mean I need to be aware of it if I start doing it now. Think things through and look at things from different angles to see what privilege is being applied and by whom.

  19. Andy says:

    This is the perfect website for everyone who would like to find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a topic that’s been discussed for decades. Excellent stuff, just excellent!

  20. Aleica CLoureed says:

    I love this so much! The only thing I can possibly say that I’m not 100% on is the custody thing. I’ve seen moms left and right lose their kids to their ex’s (which happened to be on drugs, or make lies in court to win their child, ect.). I know that doesn’t happen everywhere, but I’ve seen enough personally to say that it is a thing that should be noted. c:

  21. Pingback: TYSK #3: Misandry (and why it’s not a thing) | Hoochie

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