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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Misandry

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Author Topic: Misandry
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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We talk a lot about misogyny here, but a bit less about misandry, so since it came up for me in the last couple weeks in a big way, I thought it would be a good opportunity to have a conversation about it.

You can read about what spurred this on here: http://www.scarleteen.com/blog/heather_corinna/2010/03/15/so_about_that_video

It's a good entry point for this conversation, I think. To pull from that:

quote:
That concern is part and parcel of my views as a feminist because what I want from feminism is gender equity: that means people of all genders being treated with care and respect, not just women or not-men.

Misandry is the male-directed version of misogyny: it's contempt of men and boys, like misogyny is contempt of women and girls. And like misogyny, one doesn't have to be of a different or opposite gender or sex to be misandrist. There are and can be misandrist men just like there are and can be misogynist women. Often misandrist men and misogynist women frame themselves as "better than" all other people of their gender, or try and suggest most of their gender, but not them, suck in some way so as to position themselves as superior, often for personal gain or as a way to hide their own crummy behavior.

"Men are assholes" is a strongly misandrist statement, much like statements like "men are pigs" or "men are dogs" are; just like statements like "Women are bitches" or "Women are golddiggers" are misogynist. (Of course, if you think men are such idiots, why is the message you're giving to women to use contraception rather than not to get in bed with them at all? I digress.)

Presenting the way the guys in this video were behaving as something unilateral to all men -- which is what you do when you follow it with a statement that says "men are..." rather than "these men are..." -- is misandrist. I'd go a step further and say that presenting the challenges many men have in their relationships with other men as somehow being about women or something women need to manage for or around them is misandrist. Suggesting that men saying immature or silly things about sex to each other tells us something about their character is potentially misandrist, especially if you're suggesting there aren't groups of women who do the exact same thing (and there are).

We can talk about the vid or misandry in general. I think one interesting and important thing to discuss is how misandry is important for those of us working for gender equity. So often, feminism is misrepresented as women wanting to take all the power to lord it over men the way men have lorded it over women, even though that would stand counter to most of the core values of feminism as a while, even in it's variations. Often gender equality and equity are also misunderstood terms, as is the notion that we can't ever really have either if any gender is oppressed.

Might also be worth talking about any misandry you've experienced in your life, or even inadvertently enabled.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Felixosaurus
Activist
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Great topic!

I'll be interested to see where this goes. I think the relationship between feminism and equality and misandry can be a bit tricky; I think that the focus on women as a prime concern of feminism is critical, but it can sometimes lead to an exclusion of men, and particularly an exclusion of men where discussions and dialogue could be productive. I'm not saying that the prime goals of feminism in focussing on women (unlike everything else that is defaultly male) is misandrist, but in some cases it works out like that.

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www.criticalmasculinities.com

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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No, I hear you. I do think it happens less often than it's seen as happening, but it happens.

I think one way this can be tricky is understanding that when any group of people is oppressed by another group, the oppressed group having their own space and communication without the other group is generally key. Oppression divides and splits connection between the people who are oppressed by design, so those people reconnecting together has got to happen for that group to do what it can to be empowered. And that tends to mean a lot of exclusion of the other group, especially until the oppressed group DOES have equality and is not oppressed anymore. And we're so not there yet.

That said, we certainly have male allies, and there are also many men who, while members of the group that when it comes to sex and gender, does have more power and privilege, within that group have their own oppressions. And I think what often unfortunately happens is that some of those men look to women to help them fix it, rather than working with other men first, something women are obviously going to resent and often find counter to our aims of gender equality, especially for those most oppressed by men, who are never going to BE men, if you follow.

But all of that is obviously very different from misandry, and misandry is counterproductive to gender equality. However, in a case like this video, it didn't come from feminists, and from what I can suss out about the making and distribution of the video, it came more from men than women, too.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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