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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Misandry: Alive and Well

Most people know that misogyny is hatred directed toward women. Few know, the misandry, its sexist counterpart, is hatred directed toward men. In the introduction to The Great Comic Book Heroes, Jules Feiffer writes of Superman's joke on the rest of us. "Clark is Superman's vision of what other men are really like. We are scared, incompetent, and powerless, particularly around women. Though Feiffer took the joke good-naturedly, his misandry embodied the Clark and his misogyny in his wish that Lois be enamored of Clark." So many people know about misogyny because society worries so much more about the needs and problems of women than the needs and problems of men. Demonizing men is the work of misandry and exposure of its motives. Unfortunately, many believe it is increasingly thought to be a shame to have been born male in North America.(Legalizing Misandry: From Public Shame to Systemic Discrimination Against Men, Nathanson and Young) Nathanson and Young credit "ideological feminism" for imposing misandry on culture. The authors show how interest groups, lobbying and media pressure have leveraged a sea of change in the treatment of men, especially as husbands and fathers. Boys now constantly see men and fathers portrayed as morons, and the boys cannot look forward to manhood, marriage, or fatherhood. Nathanson and Young also report, "Moreover, frequent male denigration is encouraging girls to develop a deep disrespect of boys and men, and false senses of superiority. Alas, when these boys and girls become parents, they will repeat and continue this cycle of misandry."

In My Enemy, My Love (1992), Judith Levene, co-founder of the National Writers Union, classifies these stereotypes of men as targets of women's misandry within intimate relationships:

  • Infants: the Mama's Boy, the Babbler, the Bumbler and the Invalid
  • Betrayers: the Seducer, the Slave, the Abandoner and the Abductor
  • Beasts: the Brute, the Pet, the Pervert, the Prick and the Killer
Wendy McElroy, editor of Freedom, Feminism, and the State, reports "a new ideology has come to the forefront... radical or gender, feminism," one that has "joined hands with [the] political correctness movement that condemns the panorama of western civilization as sexist and racist: the product of "dead white males," a term that refers in a derisive way to the focus on the contributions of historic European males at the expense of contributions from other classes Kate Miller, feminist author of Sexual Politics, proposes a much broader social envy, that involves the penis only by association. "Confronted with so much concrete evidence of the male's superior status, sensing on all sides the depreciation in which they are held, girls envy not the penis, but only what the penis gives one social pretensions to." ( Doubleday, 1970, p. 187.) Here are some widely reported hallmarks of misandry: * The deliberate preference of a female's lie against the truth. * The belief that no father can be a fit parent. * The assumption that masculinity, male physiology, and male hormones cause males to become evil, sexually abusive, oppressive, and violent. * The encouragement or reporting or supporting or the toleration of false allegations and charges against a male because of his gender. * The act of coercing children to lie against their fathers. * Blaming males for all psychological and social maladies. To end this piece on misandry, let me relate an incident that seems to well illustrate the subtle influence of misandry in American society. This true story is about something as simple as a slogan T-shirt. The T-shirt was designed by company founder Todd Goldman, who started David and Goliath in 1999 with "Boys are Smelly" T-shirts. It now features clothes with a variety of slogans, such as "Boys tell lies, Poke them in the eyes!" or "The stupid factory, where boys are made". "Boys are stupid ..." has evolved into a successful object for merchandise, which includes all types of clothes, mugs, key chains, posters and other items. "Can you imagine if a company put out a line of T-shirts that said, 'Black people are goobers, drop anvils on their heads' or 'Homosexuals are stupid, throw rocks at them'? And can you imagine the San Francisco Chronicle doing a story on how cute there T-shirts are?... Turn it around and imagine shirts suggesting the following: 'Girls lie and will break your heart. Throw rocks at them' or 'Little girls are not soft and cuddly, they are mean and vicious and will destroy you.' Can you imagine a newspaper doing a cute little headline and story on how wonderfully cute little boy fashion has become? I doubt it." --Rush Limbaugh

Goldman claims that the campaign against his company boosted its sales. According to the Wall Street Journal, the sales volume of David and Goliath was expected to rise to $ 100 million in 2005, up from $ 90 million in the previous year.

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