Wednesday, January 28, 2009
John Updike, who died yesterday, was the topic of a radio interview I heard. The interviewer asked a critic about Updike's misogyny and the critic nimble-footedly avoided saying anything much about it. Yet John Updike's writings are misogynistic. That never stopped him from being regarded as a mainstream writer. Neither has misogyny damaged Milan Kundera's reputation, for example, or labeled either writer as an extremist.
But the mainstream certainly sees Andrea Dworkin as a misandrist. This is worth thinking about, because it tells us pretty clearly that some amount of misogyny is acceptable in the mainstream cultures. The same is not true of misandry.
If you are not yet convinced, consider the anti-feminist or anti-woman women who are trotted out in political programs all the time. Then try to imagine all that reversed. We don't have a single strong feminist (and these would be people who are not misandrists at all) in any of the political shows, even though there are several misogynists.
Makes you take notice, doesn't it?