Misandry explained. Because people (including myself) tend to scream MISANDRY ISN’T A THING without ever explaining why. So here we go.
misandry: the hatred or dislike of men and boys.
Technically, misandry is a thing. There are people who hate men and boys. (To my knowledge, there haven’t been any empirical studies on this so I’m assuming this is a very small percentage of people, given that men still run the world and all.)
What misandry is not is equivalent to misogyny. While misogyny is literally the opposite of misandry (the hatred or dislike of women and girls), they are not the same. It’s certainly possible for people to hate men and boys, but this hatred is not manifested in any culture, anywhere. Misogyny is. In a big way. (Think of how women’s work is constantly undervalued, how they are paid less, how they’re shamed for being sexual and men are not, how they’re constantly sexualized in ads and media, how everything feminine is considered less worthy, how they’re more likely to experience sexual assault and domestic violence, how women have historically been treated like property, how they weren’t even CONSIDERED PEOPLE, et cetera.)
Again: Misandry is not reflected in our beliefs or institutions.
When you argue that something is misandrist, 99.99% of the time it’s because you are mad at sexism. Let us review some definitions from our gal Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl:
oppositional sexism: the belief that female and male are rigid, mutually exclusive categories, each possessing a unique and non-overlapping set of attributes, aptitudes, abilities, and desires.
traditional sexism: the belief that maleness and masculinity are superior to femaleness and femininity.
Fun fact: While sexism (especially traditional) hurts women the most, sexism (in all forms) hurts everyone.
Let’s take the commonly used example of a man losing a custody battle. The court system is very complex and family law is certainly flawed, but the usual assertion is that it’s misandrist and against men from the start. This may be true, but it’s not because of a hatred for men. It’s because of an internalized belief that women are the better and more natural parents. (Which we know is not true.) And guess what that’s an example of? Our enemy, oppositional sexism.
It is sexism that dictates that men: can’t have or express feelings, must be aggressive and dominant, cannot wear dresses or skirts or behave in even a slightly feminine manner (lest they be subject to ridicule), shouldn’t or simply are not expected to take equal part in domestic duties (childcare, shopping, cooking, cleaning), so on and so forth. Any blowback you receive for transgressing these or other bullshit “guidelines” is sexism. (I agree with Serano that it is also femmephobia.)
Those clueless, beer-chugging doofuses on sitcoms? The result of a number of negative sexist stereotypes about men that are often perpetuated by men themselves—who are often the writers and producers. The idea that men are not good parents? A result of a society that believes women are simply better at child-rearing and domestic duties. Men being discouraged from feminine behaviour while women are often encouraged to take on more masculine traits? That’s because anything masculine is perceived as being more valuable. The fact that more women are graduating from university? Considering the fact that women are 51% of the population, this kind of makes sense. Also, does it really matter if men are still holding the vast majority of top positions in nearly every industry? Or if laid-off women take a longer time finding work because men get most of the jobs? AND HEY REMEMBER WHEN WOMEN WEREN’T ALLOWED TO GO TO UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE AT ALL? My point? None of this stems from hatred of men or boys.
So when we get frustrated and say MISANDRY IS NOT A THING or AH JEEZ THERE THEY GO ALL WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ AGAIN it’s because we are mad at the ignorance in this tremendously sexist culture and people’s unwillingness to learn about or understand it. We’re also mad at sexism itself and of course, The Dreaded Patriarchy. (No man-hating in there.) Also? Feminists have been examining how sexism affects everyone for almost the past ever, and we’re kind of annoyed that nearly NO ONE recognizes this.
Misandry: Not a thing. Tell your friends.
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