MISANDRY: Male Man-haters, the Foundation of the Patriarchy

When people point out instances of misandry and say that it is systemic, one of the common objections is that if men run the system, it can hardly be misandrist. Usually this objection is just thrown out as if it is intuitively obvious, the idea being that men will back men the same way that women supposedly back women.

The idea is so naïve that no one who has matured beyond about the sixth grade can take it seriously. There is no logical reason why it should be true and a mountain of evidence from everyday life that contradicts it. If you are unaware of all that evidence, then that is one more example of how privilege blinds.

So when you see men saying and doing misandrist things and enacting them into law and public policy and saturating the culture with them, and when you see women opposing this state of affairs, you have to ask what is going on. People do things for reasons, and however unreasonable those reasons may be, from the viewpoint of the person doing them they make sense. So what do men get out of pedestalization of women and the misandry it entails, and what about it troubles women?

Here are three very recent articles on male victims of DV in the Daily Mail.

The first article tells Ian MacNicholl’s story:

 

“Ian McNicholl had bleach sprayed in his eyes and had lit cigarettes placed up his nose, his arm was also scalded with an iron and he suffered attacks involving hammers and metal bars and his girlfriend was jailed for seven years for GBH.”

 

Paul Roberts: (Here’s a clear case of a woman resorting to violence only as a last resort in self-defense.)

 

“The first time my ex-wife’s temper turned from vicious insults into violence was after I’d had a haircut she didn’t like. She dragged me down the hall by my hair, punching the back of my neck. Soon after, she repeatedly hit me on the head with a telephone receiver after she didn’t approve of the way I’d spoken to my mum. And, most absurdly, she set about my shins with a child’s plastic golf club after I’d hung my underwear out to dry without folding it the right way.”

 

The last one is the story of how Simon Boswell’s wife relied on gender bias in the court system to abuse him by means of accusations of abuse – this one can’t be summarized as easily as the ones above so you should really read the whole thing.

 

 Now there will be those superficial and elitist enough to be tempted to dismiss the stories in these articles because they appear in the Daily Mail. That’s not only superficial and elitist; it’s also beside the point because the point is the nature of the comments. There is a clear pattern in these comments. Women commenters support the male victims and add stories of similar instances. The relatively few negative comments – and it is real progress that this kind of comment is becoming more and more infrequent and that it gets so many down votes – are almost all from men. They ask the usual bone-headed accusatory questions abuse victims get – Why didn’t you fight back? Why didn’t you leave? In the case of male victims these are especially cruel since a man who fights back is almost certain to be charged with the abuse he is in fact defending himself from and since a man who leaves is almost certain to be abandoning his children to the permanent physical custody of an abuser.

 

And when they are asked by men they are especially dishonest. A woman can be forgiven for being unaware of the nature of the legal regime that husbands and fathers live under. Men cannot be unaware in the same way, unless they are not husbands or fathers. If that’s the case why are they even saying anything?

 

So why do men say all this man-hating crap and why do women push back? I think it bears out Typhonblue’s contention that this system of pedestalization of women and denial of their violence suits some men and harms a lot of women. (Of course it suits certain women and their toadies, and those are perhaps the few female commenters who made stupid and hateful comments.) These commenters, male and female, see that and speak accordingly.

 

28 thoughts on “MISANDRY: Male Man-haters, the Foundation of the Patriarchy

  1. Nice post, and I’m glad to see something on this subject. My experience has been much like you describe. One thing I’ve noticed is that it seems to transcend ideological or political boundaries- conservative men typically seem more actively hostile to male victims than conservative women, and feminist men are more so than feminist women. It’s less obvious in the latter group, since men are a minority of vocal feminists and so female misandrists outnumber them in absolute terms, but it still seems to be the case- there’s plenty of feminist men jeering “what about the menz” or telling people to check their “privilege” when someone mentions male victims or men’s problems as if they actually mattered, whereas virtually every self-identified feminist (With the exception of ballgame of the Feminist Critics blog) I’ve seen make serious, genuinely sympathetic attempts to address problems men face without downplaying or trivializing them has been a woman.

    I think feminist men typically have far more in common with old-fashioned macho bullies then either group would care to admit.

  2. While I am a fan of Typhon’s ideas about this I think it goes deeper. I tend to think that human males live within a dominance hierarchy and this pushes men to compete with each other for reproductive access. You can see this in most mammal and primate populations. Males compete for reproductive access while females choose. Recently the evolutionary biologists and psychologists have been pointing out the likelihood of a human male dominance hierarchy. I did a youtube that touches on some of this that can be seen here http://youtu.be/tPPcp7EXriw

    Basically, in a dominance hierarchy you want to be at the top and you want to impress the females as much as possible in order to gain better and better reproductive access. At the same time you want to make your fellow competitors look bad and the last thing you want to do is to provide resources for fellow competitors! Providing resources for those you seek to impress (women) will get you closer to your goal while providing resources to fellow competitors will take you down. If this is correct it goes a long way in explaining the strong tendency of most males to serve females while ignoring the needs of other males.

  3. To me it’s simple. Men (me anyway) are doers, not sympathizers. For example, if someone starts telling me abut a problem they have it’s my initial reaction to try and come up with a solution or think about how they could have avoided the problem in the first place…now I don’t usually express this aloud because I know that some people just want sympathy. But if I’m the internet and someone is complaining then I think it’s totally fair game to offer them a solution. So, I’m not saying that these asshole men Ginko is talking about are doing this specifically just that this is the lens one should use to peer at this phenomenon. It’s men talking to men, only men who aren’t friends talking anonymously to people they don’t care about.

  4. And I am talking more about a personal level..not institutions. On a societal level it’s common for terrible bigoted asinine shit to goes on…imo you don’t need a specific men allying with women at the expense of other men explanation.

  5. Jim, this is quite a post… been thinking about it for several hours, took it out to the Occupy fellas and had a Big Discussion. They all think you da man!

    Jury consultants have long noticed what you are saying… women jurors will have sympathy for men who were attacked by other men, while the male jurors do not. This is so well known that if abuse is going to be used as a defense (as in the Menendez Bros trial), they try to choose more women than men, to stack the deck for a not-guilty verdict.

    Hackberry, but there is also a sympathy factor from women… and I think it might well be cross-species. I have always noticed one fascinating thing: after the tomcats brawl, the hot-and-bothered-female-feline (whom they are supposedly brawling over) is just as likely to go off with the “loser” as the “winner”. Cat behaviorists will tell you its because it isn’t clear to humans who “won”–we are judging it like a prizefight, LOL. Likewise, a man who suddenly acts inappropriately or “messes up” while occupying his pecking order, can abruptly be demoted and lose his pecking order and in doing so, engender sympathy among women, including important women… thus getting his pecking order raised up again. A man who can play this game very well, can end up far ahead.

    Abrupt demotion dept: Sen. Edward Muskie–
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Muskie#Presidential_candidate

    Quote: Subsequently, the paper published an attack on the character of Muskie’s wife Jane, reporting that she drank and used off-color language during the campaign. Muskie made an emotional defense of his wife in a speech outside the newspaper’s offices during a snowstorm. Though Muskie later stated that what had appeared to the press as tears were actually melted snowflakes, the press reported that Muskie broke down and cried, shattering the candidate’s image as calm and reasoned.[5]

    Observation: Although this incident was 40 yrs ago, if this happened now, would jettison a presidential campaign the same way. **Nothing** has changed, insofar as “important” men are still not allowed to be emotional.

    Also: if you see a clip, he really did look like he was crying. (Melted snowflakes, my ass!) However, he didn’t look unreasonable or crazy, but just very upset that they were attacking his wife unfairly.

    But as Jim says: it was ALL male reporters who went after him, and it was ugly. They even said he was on drugs, insane, unstable, etc. For crying! A big lesson to any future candidate. At the same time, you can’t be an “unfeeling” candidate either, as Michael Dukakis was judged to be when he didn’t give the appropriately-angry answer to the “what if your wife was raped and murdered?” question during the presidential debate in 1988. Again, it was all male reporters who made a big deal of this.

    In both cases, judging the appropriate emotional reactions of men was fodder for the Sunday talk shows, as male pundits hooted in superior fashion at both Muskie and Dukakis.

  6. “Jim, this is quite a post… been thinking about it for several hours, took it out to the Occupy fellas and had a Big Discussion. They all think you da man!”

    Whoooo, Daisy – thank you for that. But of course that is the obvious place to take this – it’s about solidarity.

    Guys up above – the individualism and that particular form of competitiveness are a function of a very good kind of privilege, one that has taken out ancestors centuries to build for us. Peole can only afford that kind of infighting when the external threat is minimal. This is what licenses libertarianinsm and it is crucial to the functioning of a market.That is why you do not see that kind of thing in combat zones.

    What you see among men in situations is very deep emotional support, the so-called “combat bonding” How deep? Well something the Army has come to realize as a result of people going on several deployments is that one big part of “re-integration” (into civilian and family life) is telling the guys they are going to have to make an effort to fall back in love with their wives. In theater they have no one to fall back on but each other, and they are ujnder stresses that everyone recognizes are overwhelming if you don’t deal with them – acknowledge them process them, let them pass on through you. And let’s face it, this is not just in theater – coming back stateside is not going to put in contact with anyone but other soldiers who has any inkling of what oyu have experienced.

    Somrhting else that is going on is denialism. Just as it is very hard to accpet that a mother can abuse and kill her own children it is very hard for men to confron their own helpklessnes sin the person of annother man’s agony. again, this kind of denialism is a function of privilege. (And this is not male privielge by any definition, this is more like civilian privilege.)

    Well women don’t have this issue WRT men and men’s helplessness, if they have any strength of their own, if they are not helpless weaklings who have to depend on men for everything and can’t countenance male weakness. That’s actually rare enough that defense attorneys can count on women in general as jurors, as Daisy points out.

    Actually Daisy has also provided an explanation for the phenomenon of “feminist men” I don’t mena the gnerally pro-feminist guys that believe in equality for women because they have mothers and daughters, but the professionally feminist men, who take feminism on as an identity? Have you noticed how an aspect of their feminism is this boneless, hangdog, emo puppiness that makes women just want to cuddle and feed them? Quite the technique. I think that is a big part of the contempt among feminists for the Nice Guy (TM) – it’s all the same thing.

    The Muskie episode is quite apposite, Daisy. Of course times have changed and your countryman Boehner can use tears to good effect now, but your point still holds. And it is mirrored among women. Did you notice how all the worst misogyny against Clinton came from women?

  7. Yes Daisy, there is indeed a sympathy factor and some men are very adept at playing that side of things to move up in the hierarchy. One of the female markers for mate selection is the likelihood of the male sticking around and actively participating in child care. If a woman believes the man will do this his status goes up. It’s also important to realize that women also have a hierarchy that is related to the mate selection dance and that is attractiveness. The women will compete on attractiveness just as the men compete on almost all other categories. LOL

    The Muskie incident is one I remember well. It is also a good example of the harness that men face in not being allowed to have emotional pain. Those men who show emotional pain are doomed to go lower in the hierarchy. The one exception is the true alpha who is allowed whatever emotions he might want to display as long as he is clearly at the top.

    I was thinking today that Typhon’s idea about actor and acted upon has a sexual component. The sex act is clearly males doing the acting and females being acted upon. Interesting.

  8. This article hits all of the nails in the coffin. As a newbie here, I am glad that people take the time to analyze the male aspect of male Feminism and misandry, and how male misandrists in my honest opinion will be the ones to kick our doors down and pull the trigger without any hesitation and remorse if the situation ever arises.

    I know this takes away attention from all of the Feministas out there. But while we are busy barking from our side of the fence, we have these snakes crawling in the grass, waiting to bite us in our asses, so they can administer their hateful, misandric venom. Men internalize their own misandry and externalize it to other men more than any woman ever could.

  9. Honestly, I’ve not often seen men (whether in the MRA or outside it) condemning other men, or asking condescending questions of them to somehow diminish the victim’s suffering. The only times I’ve seen it the commenters were women. I think specifically of articles written at TGMP and Toy Soldiers, as well as the occasional snark at Man Boobz (particularly that time a man revealed that he was a victim of rape and suddenly nearly all the commenters began trashing him, saying he’s a liar, etc etc).

    Which isn’t to say that there aren’t men who don’t attempt to assert themselves like a D-bag through diminishing the experiences of other men via misandry. But certainly I’ve found that most men respond with concern, compassion, and even understanding about my experiences with misandry, and that of others. Typically, I assume, because they’ve experienced it themselves.

    However, ultimately it matters little which gender is which that is being misandric, because for the victim it still hurts.

  10. Just by reading around, I’ve found that male feminists need to be a hell of a lot more strident in their misandry because they need to prove themselves in a way that female feminists do not.

    As a result, I doubt that male feminists can even have a healthy identity. If you take ardent feminist ideology and have it flow-out of the mouth of a man, it looks like pure masochism.

  11. “Honestly, I’ve not often seen men (whether in the MRA or outside it) condemning other men, or asking condescending questions of them to somehow diminish the victim’s suffering. ”

    I have never seen it on an MRA site, and I have seen it condemned a lot in those places. But it is very common in society. Start looking – that’s better than some list I could give.

    When James Landrith came out with his account of being a raped, he posted it to Pjamas Media. The response was horrible. He got slammed and only MRAs and female rape victims stood up for him and told the others to shut the fuck up. That was about four years ago and things have changed a lot at least in the blogosphere.

    But look around. It is especially common when ti comes ot parenting and family matters like divorce.

  12. On a personal level of everyday interactions with people, men (it seems) know where not to go regarding my parenting duties. Oh sure, they’ll poke fun at housework but they seem to know that if they start saying stuff about me being the “primary parent” (this term reduces my wife’s role, but for the sake of brevity) they know it’ll push my buttons. I think men sort of learn how not to start a fight. Women on the other hand will laugh at my face if I am struggling, say at the mall, with badly behaving kids.

  13. Zek J Evets,

    I agree that women can be quite ghastly in these sorts of discussions, and I should probably qualify my original post by saying that most comments I’ve seen by women on the subject are no better than the typical man’s; it’s just that the rare comments I see in most places that are better than the norm tend to be from women.

    I think the fact that the nastiest commenters on the sites you mentioned are women (and here I agree with your perception) is the result of the readership of those particular sites. Toy Soldiers is a site for people interested in the issues of misandry and victimized males, and I think most of the guys at Good Men Project reject many of the traditional demands pushed on men, such as the notion that a worthwhile man must be invulnerable, and, whatever criticisms I may have of that site, are genuinely well-intentioned towards men and interested in talking with them rather than at them. So you’ll run into a lot of guys who are sympathetic to men who’ve been hurt in some way there, and most men who aren’t aren’t likely to be reading the site in the first place.

    In most venues, online or off, most of the people expressing contempt for male survivors when the subject comes up are expressing the attitudes and assumptions that almost all of them were raised in and have spent their lives immersed in. This produces the bulk of the ridicule and contempt in, say, a comment section at a mainstream news outlet or a site like Pajamas Media. Such people will be underrepresented among the readers of Toy Soldiers or (probably to a lesser but still significant degree) the Good Men Project, so you won’t see as much of that traditional contempt.

    That leaves the other sort of people who are hostile to attempts to seriously address the issue of men: people who are not simply regurgitating the attitudes they have unthinkingly absorbed from mainstream culture, but are who are instead driven by a consciously considered and chosen ideology that is uncomfortable with or outright hostile to taking male victimization seriously or treating it as important, especially where things commonly considered “women’s issues” are concerned.

    Attacking male survivors or people who draw attention to them is something that really MATTERS to such people; it’s not just something they do if they happen to stumble upon people discussing the issue, it’s part of a cause they’re consciously dedicated to. Such people are much more likely to actively seek out opportunities to attack concern for male suffering, and so more likely to show up in a venue like GMP or Toy Soldiers where such issues are being considered by people who are actually discussing it sympathetically. They’re also the primary audience of a site like Manboobz. And, of course, most members of this group are women.

  14. John,

    I should probably qualify my original post by saying that most comments I’ve seen by women on the subject are no better than the typical man’s

    I agree with you there. Most women will respond in much the same way as most men, regurgitating the misandry they’ve been taught. Actually, I pretty totally agree with your entire comment. You’ve hit the nail on the head, so to speak.

    Yet I can’t wrap my head around the kind of cognitive dissonance, the necessary double-speak that causes people invested in gender issues to become so blatantly sexist (whether misandric or misogynistic), especially at venues like Man Boobz, or the websites of Amanda Marcotee & Hugo Schwyzer.

    And that to me is the central problem in dealing with misandry, the civil war amongst anti-sexism. The entire idea is torn between the genders, and it seems — at least at the structural level — that there’s little middle-ground to be shared, or compromise to be had.

    This becomes even more confusing when we get back to the topic of considering how to deal with men who engage in misandry yet claim themselves to be Feminists committed to gender equality. How does one confront someone like David Futrelle for hosting a forum to attack a male victim of rape? How does someone confront Hugo Schwyzer’s rapist, murderous past and contemporary demonization of men? How does one do that particularly given the communities supporting them and their ties to mainstream Feminism?

    That is where I breakdown. Because it seems all so impossible to fight an institution and an individual simultaneously.

  15. When James Landrith came out with his account of being a raped…

    I wrote about rape of men on my blog today… I was skeptical but very polite and respectful. Open and honest discussion is welcome. No hidden agendas, its all right there.

    http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/2012/02/take-me-back-to-place-where-i-first-saw.html

    I was also inspired by the death of Yeardley Love, as I said. Had major fucking Flashbacks!!! But you all may find it interesting that terrible Eric, the man who shook me, was in a relationship with a radical feminist and was considered a feminist himself. So of course, I was “overreacting” to his violence–a feminist man can’t be violent against women!!!!! (His first allegiance was to Mao, however, so I just called him a leftist).

    IMO, an honest airing of the “can men be raped by women” (not by toilet plungers and broomsticks, but in the so-called regular fashion) question, is crucial to feminism and the relationship of misandry to feminism. Pregnancy and rape (not necessarily in that order–and one can LEAD TO the other, of course) have been regarded as the crux of women’s oppression. In other words, women’s physical differences from men. I think we really need to go here. I am willing to be nice about it, if yall are.

    But already, a regular on my blog (does not identify as feminist), finds it hard to imagine rape of men by women. So, this is a PR thing that will need heavy discussion. I even linked awful Feminist Critics in my reply to her — the thread about rape that started with my question.

    Again, just my opinion… take it for what its worth.

  16. In college I saw a movie called The Seven Beauties. It’s an Italian movie about a man in a concentration camp who has to perform sexual favors on a female military Nazi person. That was the first time I was ever exposed to the idea of woman on man rape.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075040/

  17. “IMO, an honest airing of the “can men be raped by women” (not by toilet plungers and broomsticks, but in the so-called regular fashion) question, is crucial to feminism and the relationship of misandry to feminism. Pregnancy and rape (not necessarily in that order–and one can LEAD TO the other, of course) have been regarded as the crux of women’s oppression. In other words, women’s physical differences from men. I think we really need to go here. I am willing to be nice about it, if yall are.”

    “So of course, I was “overreacting” to his violence–a feminist man can’t be violent against women!!!!! (His first allegiance was to Mao, however, so I just called him a leftist). ”

    I am beginning to wonder if all professionally or maybe confessionally feminist men are really just an extreme form of Nice Guy and if they have the same creepy sense of sexual entitlement that Nice Guys are accused of displaying. So that kind of violence would comne with the terristory.

    A Maoist? There’s your violent tendency.

    Speaking of Mao, if you ever get a hold of it, read Barbara Oakley’s “Evil Genes.” She cites Mao as an example of a malignant narcissist.

    Come along for the ride, Daisy.

    Actually I saw this explored on one thread in 2008 on Feministe. It went for like 600 comments and there were people like Goddess something or other calling people rape apologists for failing to see who men’s consent is ignored and violated all the time in the course of normal social interaction – drunk fucking and all that. She was splendid.

    Of course there were thse who insisted that men cannot be raped – not rape rape – as a matter of category. How paleo is that? I thought that had died out by 2000.

  18. That was a bit (hehe to say the least) out of my normal reading material but it was very interesting. Thanks for the perspective. She had some prescient things to say.

  19. >>Yet I can’t wrap my head around the kind of cognitive
    >>dissonance, the necessary double-speak that causes people invested
    >>in gender issues to become so blatantly sexist (whether misandric or
    >>misogynistic),

    You have the order backwards. They are haters first, then seek cover and resources and confirmation among those practicing gender issues.

  20. “You have the order backwards. They are haters first, then seek cover and resources and confirmation among those practicing gender issues.”

    RR, this is exactly right. I can’t understand why this is not more widely understood. Zealots are zealots regardless of what ideology or reeligion they are zealous for, utopianists are utopianists regardless of thier program (and incidentally almost by definition nihilists too) and haters are haters.

    Right around the Iraq War people started noticing how many firebrand leftists had somehow had become firebrand neo-cons, and how often people could flip for extreme left positions to extreme right-wing.

    It’s like learning a new word; suddenly you start hearing and seeing it everywhere.

  21. Ginkgo,

    Possibly, but I’ve also seen people involved with a particularly movement or another go from idealistic, hopeful, naive, etc., whatever — and then become extremely reactionary, defensive, and fundamentalist. Would you say that they were then always like that? Or do you believe people can change, even if it’s for the worse?

    Perhaps many zealots are merely looking for a cause to cling to, and perhaps many extremes do meet at opposite ends, but I’m talking about the grand masses of people who have changed from being moderates in their socio-political beliefs to far more extreme positions.

    How does someone, like say, George Sodini go from mild-mannered guy to misogynist homicidal maniac? For some, it’s easier just to despise and dismiss people like that, but I feel that if we continue to ignore how people can become radicalized, then we’ll continuously find ourselves fighting individual zealotry instead of fighting actual oppression.

  22. I think people (or a large amount of people anyway) are reactionaries. They are fed whatever it is that pushes their buttons such that they react in a predictable manner. You can tug at heart strings or stoke flames. The same people can be made to cry over a dead puppy or cheer for a massacre. So how does one get good people to do bad things? Instill them with dogma.

  23. “Possibly, but I’ve also seen people involved with a particularly movement or another go from idealistic, hopeful, naive, etc., whatever — and then become extremely reactionary, defensive, and fundamentalist. Would you say that they were then always like that?”

    They don’t get radicalized, they were always radical. You said idealistic, right? Sure they can be all cheery and hopeful before they come up against reality and turn all biitter and nasty because the universe doesn’t comply with their wishes. This culture in particular makes a virtue of being a spoiled brat.

    “How does someone, like say, George Sodini go from mild-mannered guy to misogynist homicidal maniac?”

    Justr as a species we’re pretty homicidal already, so it doesn’t take all that much io the first place. Someone who does all the right things and says all the right things and still the universe fails to give him what he thinks he deserves may very easily get a case of the injustices and get all violent.

  24. I’ve gteotn quite a few of these. Including you’re fat and your husband’s a pussy! Also known as: you’re ugly and I bet your husband doesn’t even exist! Cara’s last blog post..

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