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
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:
‣ The able-bodied
‣ Members of the middle- and upper-classes
And particularly in the Western World:
‣ 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.