Misandry

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Misandry /mɪˈsændri/, from the Greek misos (μῖσος, "hatred") and anēr, andros (ἀνήρ, gen. ἀνδρός; "man"), is the hatred or dislike of men or boys.[1][2] Misandry can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of men, violence against men, and sexual objectification of men. The form "misandrist" was first used in 1871.

Misandry can take the form of the marginalisation of men, in which they perform the most dangerous occupations and are regarded as being disposable, men having lower life expectancy and higher suicide rates than women. It has been described as damaging to both men and women, preventing mutual respect between the sexes.

Although the word is relatively modern, there is evidence of implicit, even explicit, misandry in literature from the Ancient Greeks to Shakespeare and modern literature, such as The Vagina Monologues and even comic book heroes.

Origins[edit]

Misandry, a word which appeared in the nineteenth century, is parallel in form to 'misogyny'. The form "misandrist" was used in The Spectator magazine in April 1871.[3] It appeared in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) in 1952. Translation of the French "Misandrie" to the German "Männerhaß" (Hatred of Men)[4] is recorded in 1803.[5] Misandry is formed from the Greek misos (μῖσος, "hatred") and anēr, andros (ἀνήρ, gen. ἀνδρός; "man").[6]

"Patriarchal" and "disposable" males[edit]

Activist Warren Farrell has written of his views on how men are uniquely marginalized in what he calls their "disposability", the manner in which the most dangerous occupations, notably soldiering, were historically performed exclusively by men. In his book,The Myth of Male Power, Farrell argues that patriarchal societies do not make rules to benefit men at the expense of women. Farrell contends that nothing is more telling about who has benefited from "men's rules" than life expectancy, which is lower in males, and suicide rates, which is higher in males.[7]

Religious Studies professors Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young made similar comparisons in their 2001 three-book series Beyond the Fall of Man,[8] which defines misandry as a "form of prejudice and discrimination that has become institutionalized in North American society", saying "The same problem that long prevented mutual respect between Jews and Christians, the teaching of contempt, now prevents mutual respect between men and women."

Radical feminism and misandry[edit]

Academic Alice Echols, in her 1989 book Daring To Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967–1975, argued that radical feminist Valerie Solanas, best known for her attempted murder of Andy Warhol in 1968, displayed an extreme level of misandry compared to other radical feminists of the time in her tract, The SCUM Manifesto. Echols stated,

Solanas's unabashed misandry—especially her belief in men's biological inferiority—her endorsement of relationships between 'independent women,' and her dismissal of sex as 'the refuge of the mindless' contravened the sort of radical feminism which prevailed in most women's groups across the country.[9]

The writer bell hooks [sic] has discussed the issue of "man hating" during the early period of women's liberation as a reaction to patriarchal oppression and women who have had bad experiences with men in non-feminist social movements, but has criticized separatist strands of feminism as "reactionary" for promoting the notion that men are inherently immoral, inferior and unable to help end sexist oppression or benefit from feminism.[10][11] In Feminism is For Everybody, hooks laments the fact that feminists who critiqued anti-male bias in the early women's movement never gained mainstream media attention and that "our theoretical work critiquing the demonization of men as the enemy did not change the perspective of women who were anti-male" leading to an unnecessary rift between the men's movement and the women's movement.[citation needed]

Though bell hooks does not name individual separatist theorists, Mary Daly's utopian vision of a world in which men and heterosexual women have been eliminated is an extreme example of this tendency.[12] Daly argued that sexual equality between men and women was not possible and that women, due to their superior capacities, should rule men.[13] Yet later, in an interview, Daly argued "If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males."[14]

Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young argued that "ideological feminism" as opposed to "egalitarian feminism" has imposed misandry on culture.[15] Their 2001 book, Spreading Misandry, analyzed "pop cultural artifacts and productions from the 1990s" from movies to greeting cards for what they considered to be pervasive messages of hatred toward men. Legalizing Misandry (2005), the second in the series, gave similar attention to laws in North America.

Wendy McElroy, an individualist feminist,[16] wrote in 2001 that some feminists "have redefined the view of the movement of the opposite sex" as "a hot anger toward men seems to have turned into a cold hatred."[17] She argued it was a misandrist position to consider men, as a class, to be irreformable or rapists.

Barbara Kay, a Canadian Journalist, has been critical of feminist Mary Koss's discussion of rape culture, describing the notion that “rape represents an extreme behavior but one that is on a continuum with normal male behavior within the culture" as "remarkably misandric".[18]

Feminism and misandry[edit]

In a study of 488 college students regarding ambivalent sexism towards men, researchers found that women who did not identify as feminists held more hostile views towards men than self-identified feminists.[19]

Criticism of the use of the term[edit]

In his 1997 book The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy, sociologist Allan G. Johnson stated that accusations of man-hating have been used to put down feminists and shift attention onto men in a way that reinforces male-centered culture.[20] Johnson said that comparisons between misogyny and misandry are misguided because mainstream culture offers no comparable anti-male ideology. He says in his book that accusations of misandry work to discredit feminism because "people often confuse men as individuals with men as a dominant and privileged category of people."[20] He wrote that given the "reality of women's oppression, male privilege, and men's enforcement of both, it's hardly surprising that every woman should have moments where she resents or even hates 'men'."[20]

In the 2007 book International Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities, Marc A. Ouellette contrasted misandry with misogyny, arguing that "misandry lacks the systemic, transhistoric, institutionalized, and legislated antipathy of misogyny" though acknowledging the possibility of specific "racialized" misandries and the existence of a "misandric impulse" in popular culture and literature.[21] Anthropologist David D. Gilmore argues that while misogyny is a "near-universal phenomenon" there is no male equivalent to misogyny.[22] Gilmore also states that misandry refers "not to the hatred of men as men, but to the hatred of men's traditional male role" and a "culture of machismo". Therefore, he argues, misandry is "different from the intensely ad feminam aspect of misogyny that targets women no matter what they believe or do".[22]

In literature[edit]

Ancient Greek literature[edit]

Classics professor Froma Zeitlin of Princeton University discussed misandry in her article titled "Patterns of Gender in Aeschylean Drama: Seven against Thebes and the Danaid Trilogy".[23] She writes:

The most significant point of contact, however, between Eteocles and the suppliant Danaids is, in fact, their extreme positions with regard to the opposite sex: the misogyny of Eteocles' outburst against all women of whatever variety (Se. 181-202) has its counterpart in the seeming misandry of the Danaids, who although opposed to their Egyptian cousins in particular (marriage with them is incestuous, they are violent men) often extend their objections to include the race of males as a whole and view their cause as a passionate contest between the sexes (cf. Su. 29, 393, 487, 818, 951).[23]

Modern literature[edit]

Feminist philosopher Christina Hoff Sommers has highlighted the misandric nature of Eve Ensler's play The Vagina Monologues where "there are no admirable males...the play presents a rogues’ gallery of male brutes, sadists, child-molesters, genital mutilators, gang rapists and hateful little boys" which she finds out of step with the reality that "most men are not brutes. They are not oppressors"[24]

Julie M. Thompson, a feminist author, connects misandry with envy of men, in particular "penis envy", a term coined by Sigmund Freud in 1908, in his theory of female sexual development.[25] Nacy Kang has discussed "the misandric impulse" in relation to the works of Toni Morrison.[26]

In his book, Gender and Judaism: The Transformation of Tradition, Harry Brod, a Professor of Philosophy and Humanities in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Northern Iowa, writes:

In the introduction to The Great Comic Book Heroes, Jules Feiffer writes that this is 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, a more cynical response would see here the Kryptonian's misanthropy, his misandry embodied in Clark and his misogyny in his wish that Lois be enamored of Clark (much like Oberon takes out hostility toward Titania by having her fall in love with an ass in Shakespeare's Midsummer-Night's Dream).[27]

Literary critic Harold Bloom argued that even though the word misandry is relatively unheard of in literature it is not hard to find implicit, even explicit, misandry. In reference to the works of Shakespeare Bloom argued "I cannot think of one instance of misogyny whereas I would argue that misandry is a strong element. Shakespeare makes perfectly clear that women in general have to marry down and that men are narcissistic and not to be trusted and so forth. On the whole, he gives us a darker vision of human males than human females."[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Misandry" at Oxford English Dictionary Online (ODO), Third Edition, June 2002. Accessed through library subscription on 25 July 2014. Earliest recorded use: 1885. Blackwood's Edinb. Mag, Sept. 289/1 No man whom she cared for had ever proposed to marry her. She could not account for it, and it was a growing source of bitterness, of misogyny as well as misandry.
  2. ^ "Misandry"at Merriam-Webster online ("First Known Use: circa 1909")
  3. ^ Review of novel "Blanche Seymour", The Spectator, London, Apr. 1, 1871, p. 389. “We cannot, indeed, term her an absolute misandrist, as she fully admits the possibility, in most cases at least, of the reclamation of men from their naturally vicious and selfish state, though at the cost of so much trouble and vexation of spirit to women, that it is not quite clear whether she does not regard their existence as at best a mitigated evil.”
  4. ^ "Translations for Männerhaß in the German » English dictionary". Pons Dictionary German To English. PONS GmbH, Stuttgart. Archived from the original on Mar 19, 2014. 
  5. ^ Johann Georg Krünitz (1803). Oekonomische Encyklopädie oder allgemeines System der Staats-, Stadt-, Haus- u. Landwirthschaft: in alphabetischer Ordnung. Von Lebens-Art bis Ledecz : Nebst einer einzigen Fig. Friedrich's des Einzigen, u. 3 Karten 90. Pauli. p. 461. 
  6. ^ Oxford Dictionaries http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/misandry
  7. ^ Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power, (N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, 1993), Chp. 2
  8. ^ (Nathanson & Young 2001, pp. 4–6)
  9. ^ Echols, Nicole. Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967–1975. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989, pp. 104-105, ISBN 978-0-8166-1786-9.
  10. ^ hooks, bell. (1984), Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, South End Press; Boston.
  11. ^ hooks, bell. (2005), The Will To Change: Men, Masculinity and Love, New York; Washington Square Press.
  12. ^ Daly, Mary. (1998), Quintessence...Realizing The Archaic Future, Beacon Press; Boston.
  13. ^ Daly, Mary. (1990), Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism, Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, pp. 384 & 375–376
  14. ^ Ridle, Susan (Fall/Winter 1999). "No Man's Land". EnlightenNext Magazine
  15. ^ (Nathanson & Young 2001, p. xiv) "[ideological feminism,] one form of feminism—one that has had a great deal of influence, whether directly or indirectly, on both popular culture and elite culture—is profoundly misandric".
  16. ^ The Independent Institute
  17. ^ (McElroy 2001, p. 5)
  18. ^ Barbara Kay, (2014) ‘Rape culture’ fanatics don’t know what a culture is", National Post, http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/03/08/barbara-kay-rape-culture-fanatics-dont-know-what-a-culture-is/
  19. ^ Anderson, K.J., Kanner, M. and Elsayegh, N. (2009), "Are Feminists Man Haters? Feminists' and Nonfeminists' Attitudes Toward Men", Psychology of Women Quarterly, Vol. 33, pp. 216-224
  20. ^ a b c Johnson, Alan G. (2005). The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy (2, revised ed.). Temple University Press. p. 107. ISBN 1592133843. 
  21. ^ Flood, Michael, ed. (2007-07-18). International Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities. et al. London; New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-33343-1. 
  22. ^ a b Gilmore, David G. Misogyny: The Male Malady. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009, pp. 10–13, ISBN 978-0-8122-1770-4.
  23. ^ a b Zeitlin, Froma I. (April 1, 1990). "Patterns of Gender in Aeschylean Drama: Seven against Thebes and the Danaid Trilogy" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-12-21.  Princeton University, paper given at the Department of Classics, University of California, Berkeley
  24. ^ Sommers, Christina Hoff. (2008), What’s Wrong and What’s Right with Contemporary Feminism?, Hamilton College. Retrieved 2014-01-27..
  25. ^ Emphasis added. Julie M. Thompson, Mommy Queerest: Contemporary Rhetorics of Lesbian Maternal Identity, (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002).
  26. ^ Kang, N. (2003), "To Love and Be Loved: Considering Black Masculinity and the Misandric Impulse in Toni Morrison's "Beloved", Callaloo, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 836-854.
  27. ^ Gender and Judaism: The Transformation of Tradition, Harry Brod
  28. ^ Brockman, Elin Schoen. (1999, July 25) "In the Battle Of the Sexes, This Word Is a Weapon", New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/25/weekinreview/in-the-battle-of-the-sexes-this-word-is-a-weapon.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar

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