Recently, someone asked me about misandry.
Why are feminists so dismissive of it? After all, society contains harmful messages about men and masculinity. Why act like they don’t exist?
I thought about this for a minute before responding. I’m a major proponent of the well-worn feminist refrain, Sexism Hurts Men Too. I believe it; gender roles are restrictive and harmful for everyone.
But, I told him, there’s a difference between sexism and misogyny. Sexism may be a double-edged sword, but the sharper edge points toward women. Men (especially cis-men) are still unequivocally the winners of the gender-we-value award.
When we talk about misogyny, we’re not just talking about discrimination; we’re talking about hate. The kind of hate that’s systemic, strong, and pervasive. Misogyny is about the kind of hatred of women and of femininity that makes this world a dangerous place for women to navigate- both dangerous to our sense of self, to our souls, but also staggeringly physically dangerous.
The world just doesn’t have that kind of hate against men. That, I told him, is why so many feminists respond to claims of misandry with derision. The harmful effects of sexism on men are real, but misandry? Misandry is a joke.
Then I ran across this article on xoJane, about women who proudly claim to be misandrists, and what that means (summary as far as I can tell: misandry isn’t real; we use it to codify our radicalness and as a way of dealing with misogyny fatigue). I sent it out on our weekly reading-and-discussion email thread, and what you see below is the ensuing conversation. I would love to hear your thoughts on this- let’s continue the conversation in the comments!