By: Violet Paradox
To those men who think misandry is on par with misogyny, I ask you - How has misandry affected your opportunities in life? The fact that some women find you or other men personally deplorable does nothing to take away from the privileges of being male in this world. Yes there are some women who hate men, it's a natural response to a society that consistently and continually reinforces the message that women are inferior and worthless, where women are raped, beaten and abused in numbers wildly disproportionate to men, told we are sluts for daring to own our own sexuality, wear the clothes we want, speak our mind, for just being a woman. When everywhere we look we see women being objectified, sexualised, expected to live up to unrealistic beauty ideals. Shamed if we're thin, shamed if we're fat, shamed if we choose to let our body hair grow naturally or fucking dare to have the audacity to grow older and then shamed again if we give in to the pressure this expectation of perfection creates and cut ourselves to pieces trying to obtain the unobtainable.
To those men who label it misandry when men are portrayed as bumbling and incompetent in domestic matters such as running a household and raising children, who complain about the social expectations of the dating scene, ie; who pays for dinner, the issues involving child custody, and the harmful stereotypes of masculinity which stifles men from fully expressing themselves and their emotions for fear of being labelled as weak, these are in actual fact, effects of patriarchy. It's been said before, but I will say it again, patriarchy hurts men too. The same hateful system, that although ultimately benefits men and oppresses women, does have negative side effects which are felt by men. It's something that feminism does address when discussing the effects of patriarchy and women's oppression and it is real, but it is NOT MISANDRY.
Also, is it surprising that like men, women internalise the messages of patriarchy? Just as a woman may internalise the expected behaviours and stereotypes for women that patriarchy teaches, she does likewise with the messages patriarchy reinforces about men. It is still misogyny when she expects you to pay for her dinner, open doors for her, judges you for not being the 'manly man' by daring to be vulnerable and show emotion. It is crappy, unpleasant behaviour but it is NOT MISANDRY.
Unlike misandry, misogyny has very serious and damaging effects for women. It's what fosters rape culture which excuses sexual violence and other abuses towards women by calling on harmful stereotypes and myths that are used to blame victims and hold them responsible for their own attacks and rapes. The pervasiveness of rape culture promotes such a fear in women that it restricts their ability to move freely in the world. Misogyny restricts women's careers and earning potential, especially in male dominated professions and work environments. And professions that are typically female dominated are held in lesser regard by society and remunerated accordingly. Then there is the Madonna/Whore complex which polices women's sexuality by basing a woman's value on her sexual status. Slut shaming plays on this. It is used to excuse all matters of crimes against women and also as a powerful silencing tool, as many women will go out of their way to avoid labels like, 'slut' and 'whore'. Misogyny is restricting, oppressive and dangerous for women and sometimes men. Misandry might hurt your feelings, but it's unlikely to turn your whole world upside down.
Image courtesy of [Salvatore Vuono] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net