Monday, March 15, 2010

On Misogyny and Misandry

Suzie's post below made me thing about man-hating vs. woman-hating, especially this bit:

Because of her depictions of men and penises, the Daily Beast says, Aurel Schmidt got tagged as a man-hater. "I was coming across a little feminist-y." To Yablonsky, Schmidt says, "I don't want anyone to accuse me of being a man hater, which I'm not." Schmidt must believe that her gender affects her success. After all, a man who made the same art wouldn't be perceived as a feminist man-hater.

The equal-sign between a man-hater and a feminist is always exciting for me. Why is demanding equal opportunities for women and equal respect for traditionally female spheres of activity the same as man-hating?

And why is that label so frightening? It seems to be frightening or at least something one has to defend oneself against. Yet even Rush Limbaugh can't be bothered to defend himself against the accusations of misogyny (except by joking that he likes Women's Movement, especially from behind).

All this teaches us about the society we live in, its customs and its power distribution. A fairly large dose of misogyny (locker-room talk about them c**ts and such) is regarded as normal, as average, and really giant doses of misogyny (ask me sometimes about my travels on men's rights sites and how much the consequent therapy costs) is labeled as deviant behavior, something to be ignored. Even I, a feminazi of the highest category, often skip reading comments threads full of woman-hating. Life is too short and I'm but one goddess.

But life doesn't seem to be too short for all those magnifying glasses which come out to detect man-hating, and odd things qualify for it.

My point is not that man-hating would be nonexistent. It's not. But it's rare when compared to woman-hating, and the latter is much more socially expected, ignored and even approved. Both men and some women engage in the latter but I can't remember ever seeing a man engage in the former (in the sense of saying really nasty things about his own gender) and the number of women I'd call man-haters is quite small, too.

As I'm an optimistic goddess I hope that the overall levels of misogyny are low, too. But it really is too culturally invisible for us to say for certain. Just go through some of the Great Works of Western Civilizations or the major books of the three Abrahamic religions and what you find is zero man-hating but plenty of woman-hating. In a sense we are all prepped to accept some woman-hating as normal.