Misandry in the media, part 4

August 25th, 2009 by Pelle Billing

Yesterday I was sent a link to a podcast (part 1, part 2) that you may want to check out. The podcast focuses on misandry in the media, a recurrent topic on this blog.

I was also sent the transcript of the podcast, and there is one section that is very interesting:

In Australia a broader and more extensive content analysis of mass media portrayals of men and male identity was undertaken in 2005 at the University of Western Sydney, by Dr Jim Macnamara.

It focused on news, features, current affairs, talk shows and lifestyle media, and found that men are widely demonised, marginalised, trivialised and objectified in non-fiction media content that allegedly presents facts, reality and “truth”.

Examine the quality and scope of the evidence. The study involved collection of all editorial content (no cherry picking) referring to or portraying men from: 650 newspaper editions (450 broadsheets and 200 tabloids), 130 magazines, 125 TV news bulletins, 147 TV current affairs programs, 125 talk show episodes, and 108 TV lifestyle program episodes. They were from the 20 highest circulation and rating newspapers, magazines and TV programs over a complete six-month period. Media articles were examined using in-depth quantitative and qualitative content analysis methodology.

This comprehensive and exhaustive research found, in volume, that fully 69 per cent of mass media reporting and commentary on men was unfavourable compared with just 12 per cent favourable and 19 per cent neutral.

Men were predominately reported or portrayed in mass media as villains, aggressors, perverts and philanderers, with more than 75 per cent of all mass media representations of men and male identities showing men in one of these four ways.

More than 80 per cent of media mentions of men, in total, were negative, compared with 18.4 per cent of mentions which showed men in a slightly positive role.

The cited study was performed in Australia, so we cannot automatically extrapolate the results to other cultures. However, my gut feeling is that the trend would be similar in every Western country that has been strongly influenced by radical and postmodern feminism.

For example, in Great Britain early feminist Doris Lessing had the following to say at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August 2001 (still quoting the transcript):

“I find myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed.”

She went on to point out-

“The most stupid, ill-educated and nasty woman can rubbish the nicest, kindest and most intelligent man and no one protests…”

Her audience was stunned

The phenomenon of misandry in the media has also been acknowledged in a Canadian book:

Canadian authors, Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young in a controversial 2001 book, Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture reported widespread examples of “laughing at men, looking down on men, blaming men, de-humanising men, and demonising men” in modern mass media. They concluded: “… the worldview of our society has become increasingly both gynocentric (focused on the needs and problems of women) and misandric (focused on the evils and inadequacies of men)”.

Does this mean that we should now only feel sorry for men, and have men be victims? Far from it… I’m sure that stereotypes of women still exist in the media too, and I’m not interested in having either women or men take on some kind of victim role.

However, the feminist mantra of women and only women being the oppressed and stereotyped gender in the media, is beyond outdated–and anyone still making that kind of claim needs to wake up and smell the new reality that we live in.

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26 Responses to “Misandry in the media, part 4”

  1. David Says:

    Another great post, Pelle! (They’ve all been great.)

  2. Pelle Billing Says:

    Thanks David!

  3. Gilesy Says:

    Very interesting Pelle, thanks for uploading this.

    I feel like a lot of this particular misandry is part of 3 things
    1) a guilt complex for previous misogynist protrayals (and sometimes a joke based on that – such as with the newer ‘silly incompetent men / wise guiding women’ adverts)
    2) an appology for living in a Patriarchy with women as the ‘power minority’ (irrelevant how true, just the perception of it is required) – basically never tease a minority, instantly becomes oppressive – so White, Hetero, Male stereotypes are ‘fair game.’
    3) a way of playing the rather popular ‘gender game’ (men do this, women do that) in a way that won’t run straight into ‘sexist’ protests.

    other co-correlates are definately less pleasing for a positive male stereotype – the most emotive (and newpaper-selling) crimes are virtually always commited by men more often then women. Quite why motives and justifications are hardly ever viewed in terms of male stereotypes – pressures on men, acceptability of violence, dominance/winning being all-important I don’t know.

    Humans are predisposed to think in terms of ‘us and them’ / ‘men and women’ and I’d very much like to see society move away from this dichtomony completey.

  4. desips Says:

    Pelle, thanks for this post.

    I’d been hoping there was some study done into the trend that up until now I’d been assuming based on personal experience / anecdotal evidence.

  5. amfortas Says:

    Thank you for giving space to my podcast and script excerpts Pelle. If people wish to download those two and any other of my works and use them in Men’s groups or seminars or even play them on a ghetto-blaster in the supermarket, please go right ahead. They are totally free and you only need to donate $20 to your nearest (genuine) men’s rights group to help with their headache tablet budgets.

    Damned fine voice isn’t it :)

  6. hampus Says:

    I need officially recognised media in Sweden to accept this fact, refferring to their propaganda for decades. When will our newsdelivers acknowledge their huge mistake?

    I will hate them for eternity until they do so.

  7. Mark Davenport Says:

    @ hampus:
    Get really angry at the media people but hold off on the hatred, They just went through a phase that history “required” of them. Only victims “need” to hate.

  8. hampus Says:

    Thank you Mark, I agree with you intellectually, but where does one find justification?

    I guess your answer will be none is to be found?

    Very well then.

  9. Jim Says:

    Here’s a good example of out-and-out feminist hate speech, in the hallowed piece of shit New York Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1995/05/21/weekinreview/word-for-word-sir-charge-fair-lady-s-question-why-can-t-man-be-more-like-woman.html

    This is the kind of shit that Doris Lessing was talking about back in 2000 or so.

    hat tip – Fasle Rape Society http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/

  10. Albert Klamt Says:

    Hi Pelle,

    another great entry. And one more contribution to new identity building in 21st century for men.

    Best, from Germany,
    Albert

  11. Mark Davenport Says:

    @ hampus:

    Just as history required the error, it was nonetheless a step forward. Your “justification” will have to wait but history also dictates that it will come – just as all white men had to be seen as equal before all men could be seen as equal, etc. We have to take our turn, but we don’t have to take it passively.

  12. hampus Says:

    Thank you, Mark.

  13. G Says:

    Ive noticed this trend growing significantly in the UK over the last 3-4 years. My personal favourite is a current advertising campaign for an oven cleaning product, which states that it is “so simple even a man could do it”.

    Even taken in jest as it seems to be intended, it is still indicative of the kind of underlying attitudes that are prevelant across the media.

    Great article, thank you.

  14. Pelle Billing Says:

    Thanks G. I embedded the video you refer to in one of the previous installments of “Misandry in the media”.

  15. Chris Marshall Says:

    Does this mean that we should now only feel sorry for men, and have men be victims? Far from it…

    May god have mercy on my soul for writing this, even as a devil’s advocate…

    In your closing paragraph, you seem to be saying that it would be a mistake for the men’s movement to engage in any of the dishonest anti-the-other-sex campaigns that feminism has become so famous for.

    Presumably, you are arguing from the more general principle that “honesty is the best policy.” Spreading lies is more harmful than helpful in the long run.

    Sometimes I have to wonder, though, at how effective widespread lies can be, and who is really being fooled, if anyone even is, deep down.

    What if the main effect of the demonization of men was not cowing men, but the suppression of a widespread tendency in women to defer to men, so that they would be able to want more educational and economic opprotunity, and they would stop worrying about what that would do to the men displaced as a result, or who would raise children while they pursued opprotunities? Can we really say that widespread misandry wasn’t a very successful tactic on the part of feminists in advancing women’s rights?

    Is playing fair always called for? I do have to wonder, when I see how successful those who don’t play fair are and continue to be.

  16. amfortas Says:

    The main problem with the MRM and its response to misandry (or lack of response) is that it is not organised. Were it to be organised it might have a chance to re-educate society with truth. Truth, spread widely and understood is always the first and obvious choice,

    But some realities are clear, even then. In the face of massive lies, whatever their motivation, truth is all too often defeated. Truth is expensive: Lies are big income earners.

    “White” propaganda has never worked by itself. “Gray” and “Black” usually have to be employed, and that is an ‘occasion of sin’ that can do tremendous damage to a soul.

    But as in war, where bodies are willingly sacrificed to defeat a great evil, it is reasonable to ask if men should be willing to sustain damage to their souls, short of losing them altogether to the Princess of Lies.

  17. Pelle Billing Says:

    Interesting discussion Chris and amfortas.

    I still believe in telling the truth, but I would make a distinction between telling the truth and being timid. It’s entirely possible to challenge radical feminists in a direct way, while still using nothing but the truth. For example, it’s not uncommon for radical feminists to want to have their cookie and eat it too (in fact, it is built into their rhetoric). So when a woman who is a self-proclaimed (radical) feminist expects her boyfriend to support her, we can be very direct with her and call her on her inconsistency.

    We can also show how history contradicts the theory of an oppressive patriarchy, and how the natural sciences contradict the theory that all gender differences are culturally constructed.

    It’s also important to remember that most women are not radical feminists, and women are increasingly becoming fed up with their rhetoric. Mothers want their sons to do well in school, young women don’t want to date young men who have been deflated by feminists, etc. Over time, women and men together will start resisting feminism.

  18. amfortas Says:

    “It’s entirely possible to challenge radical feminists in a direct way, while still using nothing but the truth”

    I agree, Pelle. My podcasts on ‘Deliberately Lying about Domestic Violence in Australia’ which I sent to you recently shows such a challenge and what we are up against. When Governments lie and so many organisations and people, predominantly women , have a financial incentive to believe the lies, the prospect of women becoming increasingly fed up and changing their view and the system is remote. At the very least, painfully slow. Meanwhile small children die, as I gave an example in the second part of ‘Give a Dog a Bad Name’.

  19. Pelle Billing Says:

    “When Governments lie and so many organisations and people, predominantly women , have a financial incentive to believe the lies, the prospect of women becoming increasingly fed up and changing their view and the system is remote. At the very least, painfully slow.”

    I’m not so sure. Here in Sweden, the only member of parliament that has spoken up against feminism is a woman, and a fairly young one at that. It is also a woman who has received media attention for criticizing the “research” of gender study departments (again, a fairly young woman). I’m in contact with a third Swedish woman who runs a highly controversial blog that investigates how unfair family courts can be towards men. And there’s a fourth woman that I’ve been in touch with who has put her career on the line to challenge the feminist perspective on intimate partner violence.

    I still believe that men need to stand up for themselves and do the bulk of the work in showing what a disgraceful movement radical feminism is. But I think that women will increasingly be our allies.

    I also place great faith in mothers. They want there sons to succeed and they will not put up with schools or universities that have an anti-boy mentality.

    Let’s also remember that Christina Hoff-Sommers is a woman, and she has written two tremendously important books that show what radical feminism and gender studies are really about (in a nutshell: manhating).

    Still, I get what you mean amortas. A lot of women really enjoy the privilege that radical feminism affords them, and they love having their cookie and eating it too. So there will be a lot of resistance when those privileges are stripped away.

  20. Chris Marshall Says:

    I also place great faith in mothers. They want there sons to succeed and they will not put up with schools or universities that have an anti-boy mentality.

    I feel the same way, and use this same touchstone to keep perspective when I am confronted with the argument that women as a whole could actually work against men as a whole.

    I can’t imagine all the mothers I know consciously putting up with any anti-male programs.

    I wonder if the recent awakening of the men’s movement isn’t driven in large part by the participation of women who are fed up with their sons, husbands, brothers, and fathers getting the shaft.

    One notable example: The recent landmark case in California (about the man denied services from state-funded DV shelters for the abuse he suffered at the hands of his wife) was brought by the man’s daughter.

    It may be that the societal bias against men complaining is so strong that the only shot the men’s movement has at being broadly heard is to have women at the front lines doing the complaining.

  21. Jim Says:

    “I wonder if the recent awakening of the men’s movement isn’t driven in large part by the participation of women …..”

    Second wives have been in on the father’s rights movement form the beginning. It quite often takes a seciond wife to point out to a man just where the first wife lied, is full of shit, used her gender to get pity, etc.

    Mothers and aunts – there is a woman who calls herslef SGT Mom who comments on The False Rape Society ; she is a very full-throated advocate for young men who get rail-roaded on false rape accusations.

  22. Danny Says:

    Yes it would seem that while it may be unfair that the men’s movement will only gain real steam with the the help of women it is a necessity. Second wives, mothers, aunts, sisters, and other women who have seen and lived the damaged that other women have done to the men in their lives are giving a voice to that pain.

    But I wonder. Do you think that feminists would try real hard to take these women into their movement under the banner of “patriarchy hurts men too” and hold them up as proof that feminism does fight for men as well as try to silence men who bring these issues up? The reason I ask is because of the many times I’ve seen feminists who shrug off men trying to bring such things off with a bit of lip service that is basically meant to shut them up because they are non feminists.

  23. Chris Marshall Says:

    Do you think that feminists would try real hard to take these women into their movement under the banner of “patriarchy hurts men too” and hold them up as proof that feminism does fight for men as well as try to silence men who bring these issues up?

    I am having a hard time picturing that process.

    Suppose the second wife of a man that’s having his paycheck confiscated to support his first wife so she doesn’t have to work is looking for help/sympathy, and a feminist that wants to deny the legitimacy of men’s issues approaches her and tries to take her into the fold, so to speak.

    What would that conversation look like?

    W: the court system is confiscating my husband’s paycheck so his ex can live her life-long dream of not lifting a finger, and of minimizing her children’s contact with their father. I’ve never seen such injustice in my life, let alone experienced it. Who knew the system was so out of whack? ‘In the best interests of the child’ my ass. How can I fight this?

    F: Come join the feminist struggle. The patriarchy hurts men too. We are having a protest tomorrow against the fact the women earn 75 cents on the dollar that men do.

    W: How exactly does that help me, my husband, or his children?

    F: Well I suppose it doesn’t. But if you think about it, men have all the power. Women didn’t cause this. Perhaps he should talk to some other men about this.

    W: He has. The judge is a man. He can’t seem to give away my husband’s money fast enough.

    F: Let’s just forget I ever spoke to you, OK?

  24. Jim Says:

    “The reason I ask is because of the many times I’ve seen feminists who shrug off men trying to bring such things off with a bit of lip service that is basically meant to shut them up because they are non feminists.”

    So much so that PHMT is widely used as code for just the kind of dismissal Danny is referring to. The one you very commonly see is “What about teh menz”.

    This kind of attitude used to be a lot more common in discussion threads on circumcision, but increasingly there has been push back on that, so they have cowered down a bit. I actually saw one commneter call a woman a “monster” when she said she would circumsize her son for cosmetic reasons “because women don’t like the look of an uncircumcized penis.” He called her a monster and she disappeared form the dicscussion – as a participant. She was a topic of the discussion for some time.

    Then there is the blank denials when men’s issues are broached on feminist boards – false rape accusations, child custody injustices, paternity fraud, the “garbage gap”, a long list. The denials take the form of shaming language, ad homs, endless sophomoric requests for documentation and proof, on and on and on.

    So feminists have a long way to go to build any crdibility when it comes to helping men.

    After that theywill still have a long way to go towards developing any kind of actual competence at these issues.

  25. Danny Says:

    Chris:

    Suppose the second wife of a man that’s having his paycheck confiscated to support his first wife so she doesn’t have to work is looking for help/sympathy, and a feminist that wants to deny the legitimacy of men’s issues approaches her and tries to take her into the fold, so to speak.

    What would that conversation look like?

    Something like this:

    W: the court system is confiscating my husband’s paycheck so his ex can live her life-long dream of not lifting a finger, and of minimizing her children’s contact with their father. I’ve never seen such injustice in my life, let alone experienced it. Who knew the system was so out of whack? ‘In the best interests of the child’ my ass. How can I fight this?

    F: You and your husband should embrace feminism. For a long time we have been dedicated to helping men break the unfair gender roles that bind them.

    W: You mean how men are expected to furnish a woman’s standard of living even after the marriage is over and that the kids go to her by virtue of her being a woman?

    F: No I’m talking about the patriarchy that assumes that women can’t maintain their own standard of living and the unfair gender expectation that women are supposed to keep the kids because we are women.

    W: Isn’t that what I just….

    F: No you’re making it all about teh menz. What we are talking about is freeing women from the bonds of servitude that the patriarchy has held them under for ages. If he can get over his own “oppression” and see the suffering that women face he will see that feminism is the way to help him.

    W: But what about his bond with his children?

    F: Yeah there are some men out there that are mistreated but for the most part its because most deadbeat dads don’t want to be in their children’s lives and using the courts to secure child support is the only way to maintain the best interests of the children.

    W: But he is not a deadbeat and is actually fighting to stay in their lives. How is using all of his money of child support and court fees in the best interests of the children?

    F: If he would accept the fact that he has male privilege and embrace feminism he will see that maybe he should be trying harder to be in the children’s lives. And if you were to show him the oppression that you face every day as a woman he might be even more inticed to embrace it.

    W: So in other words if he helps women he will help himself and other men in his situation as well?

    F: Yes.

    W: (headsmack)

    I didn’t say it would work I just said they would try.

    Jim:

    I actually saw one commneter call a woman a “monster” when she said she would circumsize her son for cosmetic reasons “because women don’t like the look of an uncircumcized penis.” He called her a monster and she disappeared form the dicscussion – as a participant. She was a topic of the discussion for some time.

    But if a father said he wanted to have something done to his daughter “because men like for women to look a certain way” there would be feminist outrage and the tanks would circle.

  26. Jim Says:

    “But if a father said he wanted to have something done to his daughter “because men like for women to look a certain way” there would be feminist outrage and the tanks would circle.”

    She got circled on on that thread. People condemend her notion of male disposability, her shallow concern about looks, her bizarre non-human concern more for the esthetic preferences of some hypothetical women over her own flesh-and-blood’s physical integrity (hypothetical son, too, probably; she didn’t really sound like she had a kid or had any idea of what having a kid was like).

    Attitudes are changing, at least in some areas.


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