Being a Man / Equal Rights / Feminism / Masculinity / Take the Power Back / Terms you should know

TYSK #3: Misandry (and why it’s not a thing)

tumblr_mlmugdIE981s6duydo1_400Misandry (definition: hatred of men) is not a thing.

This is a controversial statement to make.

However, when feminists use this catchy slogan, we are completely aware of the fact that there are, indeed, situations in which men are disadvantaged by their gender. We are not disputing this fact, we are simply pointing out that, given the current reality that men hold the “one-up position” in society, true misandry does not occur and cannot occur on a large enough scale for it to merit the same amount of attention and activism that misogyny does. In other words, the current societal climate necessitates that issues of misandry are not our primary concern.

Hence, the feminist slogan, “Misandry is not a thing”.

Feminists are consciously refusing to spend an equal amount of time and effort addressing misandry, because an equal amount of time and effort should not be allocated to solve the subsidiary issues of the privileged group.

Even so, often in the midst of conversation regarding feminism someone points out how men are left out of the discussion. This person (if not arguing from the standpoint that feminism is secretly advocating  men’s oppression) argues that if feminists wish to get men on their side, they ought to include talk about both men and women’s issues. Focusing solely on women supposedly alienates the people feminists need to ally with in order to enact social change.

This is why there is such opposition to the term “Feminism” as used to describe the movement towards gender equality. If it is a movement based on eliminating pernicious social norms and structures which disadvantage both men and women, why not call it “Equalism” or something of the like?

The answer is that feminism is named thusly to put the focus on the disadvantaged group: women. The pernicious social norms and structures are damaging to women far more often than they are to men. This is true to such an extent that in our society, the supposedly neutral human – the default – is a man. So when we choose to use the term “Feminism,” or the slogan “misandry is not a thing,” we do so intentionally to direct the focus to the group who is most often ignored, underrepresented, and harmed.

Yes, men, we need you on the side of feminism for this whole thing to work. But we do not need to mitigate our efforts to solve women’s issues by addressing misandry as much as we address misogyny. To do so would be to enforce male privilege, not lessen it. The process of achieving equality of the sexes requires men to give up their privileges, one of which is their expectation to be included in and catered to by every institution and discussion.

Feminists are not in any way advocating the systematic oppression of men by using the slogan “Misandry is not a thing.” We are not telling men that it is impossible that their gender could somehow disadvantage them, either. We are simply asserting the point that misandry, here and now, in this discussion, is not relevant. Misogyny is.

The unfortunate day could hypothetically arrive when men are the underprivileged group and misandry does merit our attention, but that day is nowhere in the near future. Those who cry “Misandry!” when they hear “Feminism!” need to stop yelling fire before someone has even lit a candle.

For further reading:

If I Admit That ‘Hating Men’ Is a Thing, Will You Stop Turning It Into a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

Sorry, Men, You’re STILL Not Oppressed: Reexamining the Fallacies of “Misandry”

This post was written in partial response to:

On the Misandry Isn’t a Thing Thing

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7 thoughts on “TYSK #3: Misandry (and why it’s not a thing)

  1. Hi there, Ally Fogg here, I wrote the blog “On the misandry isn’t a thing thing” to which this piece is apparently in (partial) response. Thanks for taking the time to read it and respond. As you might guess, I picked this up from a pingback.

    First of all I would ask any readers who are interested to click through on the link to my blog above, because I don’t think the argument I’m making there is really the one that is being responded to in this post. At no point have I ever suggested that misandry should merit the same amount of attention and activism that misogyny does, nor that issues of misandry should be a primary concern of feminism, or that feminism should spend an equal amount of time and effort addressing misandry (nor do I believe any of those things)

    However where I have a problem with this post is that you go from those assertions (which I agree with, I stress) to saying “Hence, the feminist slogan, “Misandry is not a thing”.

    I don’t think that ‘Hence’ makes much sense! Soil degradation in rural China is not a primary concern of feminism either, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a thing! What you actually mean, I presume, is “Misandry is not a thing that concerns feminists.” That’s absolutely fine, but it is not the same statement.

    I appreciate that “misandry is not a thing” is a slogan, not a philosophical treatise, and doesn’t necessarily need to stand up to rigorous rational analysis, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong in pointing out that it doesn’t stand up to rational analysis!

    it is not for me as a man to tell feminists what their slogans should be – far less what their priorities should be. As it happens, as I argue in the original post, I think there are some manifestations of misandry which could be of interest or concern to feminists, precisely because they serve a role in sustaining patriarchy, (in another post I coined the phrase ‘patriarchal misandry’ to cover that) but I’m not about to start demanding that feminism promotes my concerns to the top of the list.

    However I will repeat what I said in the other blog. When feminists say “misandry is not a thing” what I interpret that to mean is that they do not care about any systematic (including patriarchal) injustices, hardships or suffering imposed upon men as a consequence of their gender. That’s fine, feminists don’t have to care about those things, it’s just that any subsequent claims that they have cares and concerns about men and boys start to look extremely hollow in that light.

  2. “When feminists say “misandry is not a thing” what I interpret that to mean is that they do not care about any systematic (including patriarchal) injustices, hardships or suffering imposed upon men as a consequence of their gender.”

    You seem to have missed the point of Lexicontra’s post, in turn. She wrote this: “Feminists are not in any way advocating the systematic oppression of men…” And you’ve written this: ‘Feministis don’t care about hardships suffering upon men as a consequence of their gender.’ These interpretations are not compatible. I could simplify further:

    Lexicontra: “Misandry is not as big a problem as misogyny (which is why we use this slogan).”
    Hetpat: “Feminists use that slogan because they are indifferent to, or deny, misandry.”

    I trust that with a little good will and patience, you can get on the same page without continuing to incorrectly paraphrase each other.

  3. Here’s an informative analogy in the form of a blog exchange:

    A: “Racism against whites is not as big a problem as racism against blacks (which is why we use the slogan, ‘reverse racism isn’t a thing’).”
    B: “Advocates for minority advancement use that slogan because they are indifferent to, or deny, injustices against whites.”

    It wouldn’t be out of line to see disingenuity in the response above by B.

  4. Hetpat,

    I agree that this statement would, in a vacuum, be true:
    ~ Feminists don’t HAVE to care about misandry, but any subsequent claims that they have cares and concerns about men and boys start to look hollow. ~

    I believe that, regardless of whether they have to or not, the writers at Hoochie do care about misandry, as highlighted by zakbos.

    However, the post above is arguing two key points:
    – there is good reason to care MORE about misogyny.
    – the extent to which this is true, justifies using the slogan “misandry is not a thing”.

    From what I understand, the second point is the one you take issue with.

    I ask you to elaborate: do you believe the slogan’s rational shortcomings overshadow its provocative practicality?

    Please share your thoughts.

  5. 10tatif (and zakbos)

    Thank you for your replies.

    However, the post above is arguing two key points:
    – there is good reason to care MORE about misogyny.
    – the extent to which this is true, justifies using the slogan “misandry is not a thing”.

    From what I understand, the second point is the one you take issue with.

    Kind of, yes.

    What I’m really saying is the statement:

    “X is not a central concern of feminism” does not lead logically to the statement
    “X is not a thing.”

    Whereas
    “X is not a central concern for feminism” DOES lead logically to the statement
    “X is not a thing I care about as a feminist.”

    So when I hear the phrase “Misandry is not a thing” I can only presume that what is really meant is “Misandry is not a thing I care about as a feminist.”

    As I say, I think it is perfectly reasonable that feminists should take that position, but I’m suggesting that if a feminist is to do that, she should at least be open and honest about exactly what it is she is saying.

    However at the heart of this debate is a bigger and more difficult question of what we actually mean by the word misandry.

    I think there’s an assumption here that for misandry to be “a thing” it has to be an exact mirror image of misogyny, it has to carry the same ideological and cultural weight, and has to have equivalent social impacts.

    I fundamentally disagree with that. One of the main points of my blog was to dispute and reject that assertion. I argue that misandry is not an exact mirror image of misogyny, it does not carry the same ideological and cultural weight, and does not have equivalent social impacts. It is something that is qualitatively and categorically different to misogyny, but which nonetheless has its own, albeit different, negative impacts, human costs and hegemonic functions.

    My distaste for the slogan “misandry isn’t a thing” is that it doesn’t just say “this is not something that I care about” it goes further, saying “this is something that nobody should care about.”

    From a moral standpoint, and indeed from a political, social justice standpoint, that’s not something I’m happy to accept. I don’t demand that feminism devotes its energies to working against gender-specific problems affecting men (even those originating in patriarchal norms and processes), but I do ask that feminism allows men space to challenge such issues ourselves, and it concerns me that the slogan “misandry is not a thing” makes it harder for us to do that.

    Is that any clearer?

    • We’re talking past one another. I’ll get right to the point:

      The top post does not define ““X is not a thing” as you do. Therefore, your reasoning is less incorrect than incorrectly targeted.

      This kind of misunderstanding, of course, is the price to be paid when we reduce issues embedded in the social and cultural complex to mere slogans. But then, slogans have their value and place in discourse.

      I invite you to consider your response — think of the rhetorical meaning intended by the slogan “Misandry is not a thing” qua slogan, rather than extracting it from that rhetorical context and trying to analyze it like a proposition in a philosophical paper. This is not philosophy, this is the rough-and-tumble domain of online discussion. A different set of analyses are needed.

  6. Pingback: Two Replies to the Problem of Misandry | Hoochie

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