Monday, March 03, 2008

Misogyny and Misandry

There is a thread on a mainstream parenting forum which begs the question; "How can we teach our sons and other people's sons not to be rapists and misogynists?"

I was completely blown away by the question.

I posted to say it was offensive that the assumption in this question is that boys need to be taught NOT to be misogynist or rapists. I was told that was not what was being suggested by the question, but that people wanted to discuss how to reduce the *likelihood* of boys becoming misogynists and rapists.

I wonder what the response would have been to the question, "How can we teach our daughters and other people's daughters not to be sluts and bitches?" (which is a comprobable generalisation about women)???

ARGH! Does this strike anyone else as simply IGNORANT??? Am I alone in being offended by the notion that boys need to be taught how to NOT be misogynists and rapists.

I argued that if a boy child was brought up in a family that was loving and respectful they could not become a misogynist (a woman hater), because they would learn from being loved and respected to love and respect.

ALL families should be loving and respectful, so were the family representatives on this thread admitting that in having to make a concerted EFFORT to teach their boys NOT to be women haters and rapists that their family was lacking in love and respect???

I asked if, given that boys need to be taught not to be misogynists (because obviously it's innate, at least according to this group of respondents), should we not also be concerned with preventing our daughters from becoming misandronists?

Of course, I had to go looking for that word, because you NEVER hear of misandry. I don't think this is because misogyny is rampant (as the opening poster suggested) and misandry simply doesn't exist. I feel it has more to do with women more readily pointing the finger at men who don't do dishes and calling them misogynists than men pointing the finger at women and calling them misandronists...

I'm not disputing the existence of misogyny. Not for a second. I'm pretty sure my father boarders on this himself after a couple of scotches, I'm just offended at the suggestion that women need to take a defensive stance with their sons to prevent them becoming rapists because they see women treated poorly on tv.

Misogynists don't spring from loving and respectful families. By loving and respectful, I mean all the members of the family loving and respecting one another.

Also, if you view you child as potentially dangerous, won't you treat them that way, won't they internalise that view of themselves and then live up (down) to that expectation of who they will be for the rest of their lives.

If you view your son as a potential misogynist, won't you, as his mother, be on the defensive when he ignores a request from you, or doesn't offer to do the dishes, or says something dumb like, "girls smell" at the age of six... If you then jump on him every time he transgresses, isn't there a risk that he WILL NOT feel loved and respected for the person he is, and then be MORE likely to become exactly what you fear - a woman hater?

Anyway, I found the question rather depressing and offensive in it's premise. And why aren't there threads like this about little girls? Is it impossible for women to be dangerous misandronists? Obviously not...


Mr B said...

Oh how odd, what a depressing question. And yup I totally agree with your answer.

Jayne said...

Yeah the title of that thread was dumb, and poorly worded. However I do think it raised some interesting points about misogyny (and misandry and hey-I learned a new word in misandry! :) )But yeah I agree with you that if parents have that (or any negative) expectation of their kids in the first place, it's going to be bad news.

Sister Suffragette! said...

Don't know the forum or thread myself but there is sooooo much misandry in our culture. The difference between misogyny and misandry is that misandry is still culturally sanctioned. To a degree misogyny is as well (AFL culture springs to mind :( ), but there is a definite double standard growing.

It is 'cute' to point out how hopeless men are, how stupid they are, how inept, but saying the same of a woman (especially blatantly) will raise murmurs of dissent to say the least. It is also OK, it seems, for a woman to openly discuss a man's body parts, and how much she'd like to x, y and z with him and that's funny (thinking of SYTYCD here in particular). I know that men are the greater perpetrators of sexual violence by far and that is why this double standard is allowed, but by doing men this disservice we also lessen ourselves and our own power as women. For example, it seems common to talk about a man 'babysitting' his own kids. When I look after my kids alone it is just parenting not babysitting. Fathers deserve that same respect, and by diminishing their imput with our children we diminish our own support basis. Why would a man step up to truly share the load of parenting and housework if his imput is belittled?

We need to respect each other to enjoy true equality.

Sif Dal said...

Chrissy, yes, yes, YES! (I'm not ignoring you guys, Nic and Jayne :D)

Misandry is condoned by the very existence of misogyny. Which is like Luey saying he can hit Bryn because Bryn hit him first... Two wrong never have and never will make a right. Men and women both have a responsibility to respect one another. If you believe men BEGAN this, then, as I say to the boys, is it ok for women to CONTINUE it?

Good Job!