Posts Tagged ‘misandry’

More Misandry

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Apparently it is perfectly OK to speak of “dimwitted males” in a headline.

Would it be OK to write “dimwitted females”? Or would that be oppressive and patriarchal?

Who Has It Worse?

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

There are lots of different shapes and forms that discussions about gender issues can take. They can focus on pay equality, custody battles, divorce, domestic violence, hours worked per week or just about any subject you can think about.

While there are many different gender issues to discuss–and a range of perspectives, facts and opinions to consider–the underlying unnamed question always seems to be: what gender role is worse, the male gender role or the female gender role? Feminism of course, is an entire political ideology built on the premise that the female gender role is far worse than the male gender role, and the premise of feminism has also been unconsciously adopted by most people in industrialized countries.

But what do we really know about the gender roles, and don’t we owe it to ourselves to consciously analyze the two gender roles before making the call of who has it worse? It’s easy to become emotional about gender issues, but emotions alone cannot guide us when trying to make these kinds of distinctions.

My own take on what the two gender roles are about, at their historical core, is the following:

  • The female gender role is about staying safe and protected, thereby giving up a certain amount of freedom and risk taking. The goal of a woman is to keep her children safe, while getting enough resources for herself and the children.
  • The male gender role is about protecting women, thereby giving up a certain amount of health and safety. The goal of men is to take the risks needed to gather adequate amounts of resources for the woman and children.

In other words: women give up freedom to gain safety, and men give up safety to gain freedom. So when we’re discussing what gender role has it worse, it all depends on whether you value safety more than you value freedom. Feminists attack men and the male gender role by saying that men get a much better deal in life since men on average have more freedom. However, they completely ignore that the price men pay for this is disposability (a lack of safety), and the advantage that women get from a lack of freedom is a higher level of safety. The perks of either sex have always come at a price.

At the end of the day, anyone saying that either gender role is better than the other one (at its core), is claiming that freedom is better than safety, or that safety is better than freedom. Personally, I find it very hard to objectively prove that either of these values is better or more important than the other one, which is also why I am not too interested in the discussion of who has it worse.

However, setting the original, “core” gender roles aside for a moment, we also have to deal with whatever contemporary fluctuations and developments that may affect the gender dynamics. Currently, we have a situation where feminism is quite influential in many different countries, meaning that we have a set of new conditions emerging for each gender:

  • Men (and the male gender role…) are no longer appreciated in the same way for the crucial tasks they perform for society and their families, such as working long hours in jobs that may be physically dangerous or psychologically stressful.
  • Women’s gender role has been expanded by encouraging women to enter the workforce. However, women have not been expected to choose professions that entail real physical risks.
  • The efforts to raise the status of fatherhood (which would mean an expansion of the male gender role) have been weak compared to the efforts to get women to join the workforce.

This means that we are at a point where we cannot continue down the same path, unless we want to artificially keep on helping women, while keeping men down.

At the same time, the effect of feminism seems to be just as negative on women as on men. In a previous post I wrote about the research on subjective happiness in women, and how it has gone straight down since the 70s when the female gender role started changing, in no small part due to feminism. In my opinion this decline in female happiness may well be attributable to the contempt that many feminists have shown for traditional female domains such as child-rearing and being “soft and feminine”. While it may not be politically correct to say out loud, could it be that many women are struggling to be happy when they aren’t allowed to raise and educate their children, the way that women always did in the past?

We are thus faced with a very interesting dilemma when discussing what gender role gets the worst deal. Historically speaking, it’s a very tough call, and the seemingly easy call of saying that men have it worse in a feminist world is partially contradicted by research. Thus, all we can say for sure is that: we need to keep on working towards gender liberation, but without the ideological baggage of feminism which prevents men and women from living the lives they truly want.

Misandry in the media, part 4

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

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.

Misandry in the Media – part 3

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

This is the third part of my ongoing series about misandry in the media. If you haven’t already, check out part 1 and part 2.

Have a look at this ad by J C Penney:

So what do we learn from this ad?

  • Men are idiots who cannot even choose a good gift
  • Men are sexist bastards who give gifts such as a vacuum cleaner
  • Men need to be subservient and apologetic if their wife gets angry
  • The woman is always right (“every man in the doghouse thinks he’s innocent, ha ha ha)
  • Women are entitled to getting thoughtful gifts
  • Thoughtful gifts are not enough if they’re too nerdy, and not expensive enough (one man in the doghouse gave his wife RAM memory as a symbol for all the good memories)
  • Men aren’t allowed to care about the looks or weight of their wife
  • Men are lucky to be married to women (wife who’s given a thigh master says sarcastically: wow, I’m married to you)
  • All wives are lovely, all husbands are crude and selfish

What’s even more interesting is the hidden assumption that makes this ad work, namely: men’s life have no meaning unless they get their wives’ approval. The J C Penney ad wouldn’t have been thought of in the first place, nor would it have worked for the audience, if that hidden assumption wasn’t already part of American culture.

Another important dimension of the ad is that it stereotypes women as only wanting jewellery and not being able to accept other gifts, even if those gifts are thoughtful. So there is a misogynist components in there, which is hardly surprising since it’s hard to perpetuate stereotypes about one gender without adding a couple of stereotypes about the other gender.

What’s also interesting to note is that all the wives are thin and hot while the husbands look like average men. This could be construed as misogyny, but it could also have been done as a way uphold the wives’ superiority, in contrast to the men who have normal looks.

If the ad wasn’t enough, there’s also a special homepage where men can learn how to get out of the doghouse by buying their wife a diamond (while listening to the speaker voice doling out “good advice”).

Finally, can you imagine an ad being done where women are in the doghouse for not pleasing their men?

Misandry in the Media – part 2

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

This is the second time I give examples of misandry in the media. If you didn’t already, check out part one.

In part one I listed three different principles for misandry in the media (men are stupid, men need women to get anything right, only women must evolve), and here I’ll list two more.

Principle #4: Blame it on Men

In a Huffington post article, Nora Ephron writes the following:

But now there are two [presidential candidates] and we’re facing Pennsylvania and whom are we kidding? This is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I don’t mean people, I mean white men. How ironic is this? After all this time, after all these stupid articles about how powerless white men are and how they can’t even get into college because of overachieving women and affirmative action and mean lady teachers who expected them to sit still in the third grade even though they were all suffering from terminal attention deficit disorder — after all this, they turn out (surprise!) to have all the power. (As they always did, by the way; I hope you didn’t believe any of those articles.)

To put it bluntly, the next president will be elected by them: the outcome of Tuesday’s primary will depend on whether they go for Hillary or Obama, and the outcome of the general election will depend on whether enough of them vote for McCain. A lot of them will: white men cannot be relied on, as all of us know who have spent a lifetime dating them. And McCain is a compelling candidate, particularly because of the Torture Thing. As for the Democratic hope that McCain’s temper will be a problem, don’t bet on it. A lot of white men have terrible tempers, and what’s more, they think it’s normal.

So let’s see what this well known film director/producer/screenwriter/journalist is saying…

  1. Even though more than half the people of Pennsylvania are women, all power rests with the men
  2. We shouldn’t care about boys’ problems in schools, and young men’s problems to get into college, because those problems are “stupid”
  3. Men have all the power, because I say so.
  4. White men cannot be relied on, and often have terrible tempers.

She doesn’t offer any proof or even logical reasoning why this is so. Without hesitation, she say things that would be completely unacceptable if she wasn’t talking about men. Could you imagine anybody getting away with saying those things when addressing women or jews, to name but two groups?

Principle # 5: Men Are Expendable

In the following video novelist Isabel Allende gives a talk at TED, which is where some of the smartest people in the world go to discuss Technology, Education and Design. If you don’t care to watch all of it, then start watching at 14 min 30 s:

This is what she says:

  1. Empower women and we’ll get peace and prosperity
  2. Most war casualties are women and children
  3. There is a Marxist class struggle between men and women, just like there are between actual classes in society
  4. Every man can at least abuse his woman or his child
  5. Old men have to die off before real change can occur

After the talk she gets a standing ovation. I’m not sure why. Is it because she wants old men to die? Or because she lies about the fact that more men die in wars than women? Or because she thinks all problems are caused by men and will be solved as soon as women get more power? Or is it because she baselessly alleges that all men abuse women and children? Or is it simply because she regurgitates the common feminist mantra of women fighting a Marxist battle of the classes?

All we can know for sure is that misandry runs deep, otherwise she wouldn’t get a standing ovation.