Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Misandry: The other side of sexism

Misandry is the hate of men.  It's counterpart, misogyny, the hate of women, is much better known.  Some people call this "reverse sexism", but they do not understand the term.  This is not a reversal of sexism but sexism itself.  Today, many people think there is no such thing as a systematic oppression of males in our society, some people think such a thing could never happen, and some have never even thought of the idea.

Sadly, after exploring the reactions to similar topics, I have little faith in people and their ability to see either the main points or the bigger picture, and I feel as though I need to blatantly defend myself with this disclaimer to spare myself a lot of hateful comments:
I do not intend to belittle the issues women face every day due to our patriarchy, neither do I intend to deny any privileges that men may have in society.  I intend to draw attention to issues that men face, and suggest the possibility that women are privileged in their own way in the same society.  The two statements are not at all exclusive.  I do not consider myself feminist nor masculinist, but humanist: I aim for women's rights just as I aim for men's rights, with equality between all sexes and other categorizations of people, be they in gender, sexuality, race, etc.  Finally, I do not at all claim that we are at an equality where we are now, just that equality is the ideal goal.

I have collected 4 major recent cases that easily display the misandry in today's society, and each one will cover a topic of flirting/being sexualized, exhibitionism/voyeurism, rape, and genital mutilation.  With these few cases, I hope to bring to light some of the unfairness that men deal with.  Each case will be presented objectively, then presented again with reversed gender roles to further push objectivity, followed by my own analysis of the situation.  Please read about each case and look up more about it if you'd like to know more.

Case of Rebecca Watson - Sexualization
This year, a woman gave a talk at a feminist event.  Afterwards, she went to a bar to drink and discus the issues with many of the attendees.  When she left for her hotel room, a man asked "Please don't take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting.  Would you like to come to my room for coffee so we can discus this further?"  She declined, and nothing came of it.  The following day, she posted a vlog explaining what happened, how she felt sexualized, and condemning his actions.  She was encouraged by thousands of commentaries by bloggers and vloggers.
Watch this: Rebecca Watson commenting on what happened

Role Reversal:
A man gets hit on by a woman, and he declines.  Nothing happens.  He posts a video on the topic, but it gets largely ignored, because this seriously isn't a big deal; not because it happens all the time, but because making a pass at someone of the sex they are attracted to (if that's what the man was doing) is not sexist.

Main Issues:

  • She explained her situation, placing herself as a weak, helpless, defenceless, single woman.  In my opinion, this is a total step back for feminism.  She handled the situation in a completely reasonable way given her feelings.  She had all the power that was needed in this situation.
  • He was not doing anything sexual, nor did he even imply sex at all.  He offered coffee and discussion because he was genuinely interested in her views on feminism and women's issues.
  • He was not rude, forceful, or degrading her in any way.  He backed off when she rejected him, and did not press the issue any further.
  • He asked, even pleaded her to not take things the way she probably would, trying to be respectful of her views.
  • Even if he did mean to offer sex, the idea that men should not be allowed to show any interest in a woman is terrible.  Is a man just supposed to wait until a move is made onto him before he can express his interest?

Case of Eric Williamson - Exhibitionism/Voyeurism
A man is naked in his house, making coffee at 5:30 in the morning.  A woman walks through his yard as a shortcut with her child.  Looking in the window, she sees his naked body, and is offended.  She calls the police, and he gets arrested for being an exhibitionist.
Watch this: Fox News report of incident (sorry)

Role Reversal:
A woman is asked in her house.  A man walks through her backyard as a shortcut.  He sees her body and calls the police right away. He gets arrested for trespassing and voyeurism, rather than her.

Main Issues:

  • She was on his property, and otherwise would not be able to see his body.  If she did not want to see him, she shouldn't have walked through his yard, or looked into his windows.
  • He was in his own house, and should be able to be as nude as he likes, as often as he wants.
  • Her child was a boy.  Should the male body be censored so strongly from a boy?
  • He was doing nothing sexual. He was just naked.  I feel that the human body should not be censored at all, from anyone.  If they don't want to see it, they don't have to look.
  • A man's body is seen as offensive, more so than that of a female's body.  Everyone knows that full frontal nudity in a movie is a way bigger deal when showing off a man's body.  Things shouldn't be this way.  The male and female body should be viewed as equal, in offence, but also in beauty.

Case of Olga Zajac - Rape
A man tried to rob a store.  The female owner overpowers the male, and she binds him.  She keeps him in the closet for 3 days, continuously raping him, and force-feeding him only viagra to maintain his erection.  When the story gets out, she is praised by thousands of people in the news, on facebook, etc.  When asked about the incident later on, she claims that when she released him, she paid him, so it's not rape.

Role Reversal:
A woman tries to rob a store, but the male store owner knocks her out, and repetitively rapes her for days.  When he decides to let her escape, she calls the police, and he gets sent to jail, just as any rapist should.

Main Issues:

  • "He was committing a crime, so he deserved it."  No.  He did not.  No one deserves to be raped.  You can't even give the "eye for an eye" argument here, because he was robbing a store, not raping her.
  • "A man can not be raped by a woman."  He was.  Men can be raped by women, and men are raped by women.  In fact, it happens a lot more often than you'd think, and that's not just including the newer, looser definitions of rape.
  • "He probably enjoyed it."  He was raped!  Even if he was given some pleasure from some the situation, it doesn't change the fact that it was against his will, so it should have been decision weather he received that hypothetical pleasure, not hers.
  • "He was paid for what she did, so it's okay."  Contrary to what some people believe, being a prostitute does not mean that you instantly consent to every act done to you.  A prostitute has a right to choose what acts to perform, and what money to accept.  Not only was this man denied that right, but he was denied the ability to consent to being a prostitute in the first place.
  • "A man would have done it to a woman, so it's okay."  This generalization is terrible and sick.  Thinking punishing one person for another's deeds is a terrible fallacy.  It's sexist and disgusting.
  • "You go, girl!" mentality.  Egged on by the thousands of encouraging comments, blog posts, news reports, facebook groups, etc, this woman, and other woman may do this again, thinking not only that they could get away with it, but that it would be the right thing to do.

Case of Catherine Kieu Becker - Genital Mutilation
A woman, upset with her husband (soon to be ex-husband, since they were set to get a divorce) drugs him, and ties him to their bed. She waits for him to wake up, then cuts of his genitals with a knife.  She then throws them into the garbage dispenser.  She is praised my thousands of people.  Her story is told on talk show, earning her laughs and cheers and praise.
Watch this: Talk show, The Talk", on this case

Role Reversal:
A man upset with a woman carves out her reproductive organs.  Wait a minute, this has been done before!  Has anyone heard of Jack the Ripper?  Yeah, this is pretty much what he did for fun.  He was not hailed as a hero by men everywhere, he was viewed as a sick sociopath, and that's exactly what he was.

Main Issues:
  • The action was seen by many as an act of revenge for filing divorce.  We are said to live in a world where spouses can choose to end marriages, but when there is fear of mutilation, or punishment of any kind, for speaking out, is there really choice?
  • Directing harm to men's genitals is often viewed as a joke in media, from cartoons making the taletell "Ding!" sound on impact to women in claiming to commit this very act as punishment for upon the man for having an affair, ending a relationship, or even for being the father of her child (usually during pregnancy and birthing scenes), and this is all viewed as okay by billions of people.
  • "You go, girl!" mentality, once again.  This time, it was the worst I have ever seen.  Talk show hosts hold her up high, calling her actions fabulous, hysterical, wonderful, and mocking the man and the image of his dismembered genitals being ground to bits.  One woman suggested throwing the mess to the dogs, and letting them chew the remains, among many other things.
  • When one woman on the talk show suggested that laughing at the man's situation could be sexist, that if a similar act was committed against a woman by a man, that no one would be cheering, she is assured "No, it's different; he's a man."  These misandric ideas are aired on national, public television during daytime hours, influencing the way people view men, and encouraging women to do the same kind of acts.

Now, in each of these cases, the big issue as I see it is not what the few people involved did (of course those things are bad, but people will most likely always do terrible things) but rather the reactions of the masses: the reaction of the police, of the news, of the media, and of the many, many political activists that are trying to push for human rights, and are not hitting the nail on the head at all.

So many people think that violence against men is justified because they are men, that hate is deserved, and that their rights are indeed worth less than they should be.  Many will say it is a trivial matter now, but it is a quickly growing concern, and if we keep ignoring it, then before we know it we will have to fight this issue.  The sooner awareness is spread, the easier the future will be.  My hope is that this will always truthfully be a trivial matter.

Please comment on this post, as I would love to hear what you have to say on this topic.  This is only the first post I will make in this light, and I intend to create a discussion that will not only open others' eyes to the situation, but also my own to any concerns people many have.

~ John Adam


  1. So I'm finally getting around to commenting on your post! It's going to be throrough so bear with me.

    I watched the video for your first example, and while we can say it was just a normal instance of a man hitting on a woman, I don't think this is the case. For one, the woman was giving a presentation on feminist issues and mentioned that she feels uncomfortable when men sexualize her. And it's easy to say "hey, all he wanted was a cup of coffee and to talk!", but really, he wanted to talk alone with her at 4 in the morning in his hotel room? I don't think it's a big assumption that he was looking to have sex with her. We would all be naive to think that was his only goal, to discuss feminist issues. It's certainly not wrong of him to find her attractive, but it appears that he did indeed miss the point of her presentation. It's like someone revealing they're afraid of spiders and having a person foist their pet tarantula on them. It's easy to see why the woman was uncomfortable. She didn't claim it was sexual assault or anything, only that she was annoyed at his advance, which is a fair reaction given how she had just spoke about how this sort of attention makes her uncomfortable. I think she made it clear that this was an individual response to the situation; She is not suggesting that all women should be made to feel weary by being hit on in such a manner.

    As far as your second example, I agree with you. It is completely silly that he was charged for this "Offence". I think MOST people would agree with you, actually, which is why it made the news. It's kind of like those examples where someone goes to burglarize a home and trips on the child's toy in the hallway, and then sues the homeowners for his resulting injury. I think if people thought this was a genuine sexual crime, it would have received about as much attention as do flashers on the subway, which is to say, nil. As for showing naked male bodies in television, talk to the men about that. It's rare because men don't want to see it. I just finished reading Tina fey's book, and she was mentioning how common it is for tv exec to say things like, "I just don't want to fuck anyone in this show!", meaning the show won't be successful because of the lack of hot people. And given that most of these execs are straight men, do you REALLY think they want to see naked dudes?

    Third example: really fucking gross. She's a criminal, no doubt about it. I know people make light of sexual violence against men (I was one of them at one time), and I hope one day it'll stop. I can't make excuses for these people.

  2. Although, I take issue with your assumption that justice would be served if the victim had been a woman... I don't have statistics, but rape is prosecuted very little. Most victims are persuaded to drop the accusations, and rape kits have remained untested for years. Law enforcement just doesn't see them as urgent enough.

    Fourth example: That is pretty horrific. I think it was mostly Sharon who was making those comments, though. It seems the others felt a little uncomfortable, and the laughter came from the absurdity of the crime, not the actual crime itself. The audience, though...I can't explain their reaction. Maybe mob mentality? I doubt they'd think it's funny if someone cut off
    their son's dick for such a stupid reason. In any case, the presenters apologized, which of course doesn't make it better, but it reveals that they saw a problem in the way they were talking.

    My final point: gender issues for men are certainly present in our society, but, much like women had to do, men must make these issue visible by talking about them to make people see the injustice of the situation. Thus far, "men's rights" campaigners has focused on issues like affirmative action and family law to try and make their point, but as your post suggests, these are comparatively minor problems.

    Actually, wait, one more thing. Your outrage at these four examples seems to focus more on the public reaction rather than the actual result, the idea of "why aren't people more angry about this?", that somehow the reaction would be different if the victims in the above cases were women. I don't have an answer for you. And I can't think anymore because all my thinking energy is gone. Maybe I'll post again when it's renewed.

    Overall, a good post! I had to do it in two parts because there's a character limit. Lame!