August 2014 saw the publication of a number of articles discussing an unfortunate development in the gender debate that has been labelled ‘ironic misandry’.
Misandry is, of course, the irrational fear and loathing of men. These articles spawned the #MaleTears hashtag on Twitter, as well as the production and marketing of a range of products on the theme, such as coffee mugs and t-shirts.
I loathe the concept of ironic misandry and see it as yet another symptom of an ideology that has gone seriously off the rails. Here’s why:
1. Ironic misandry is entirely at odds with the credo of ‘do unto others’
According to Wikipedia, “the Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a maxim, ethical code or morality that essentially states either of the following:
One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself
One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated
This concept describes a reciprocal, or two-way, relationship between one’s self and others that involves both sides equally, and in a mutual fashion.”
Many of us think of ‘do unto others’ as being a Christian credo, but the same or similar phrase is common to many religions and cultures across history. That’s no accident. ‘Do unto others’ is a noble and eminently sound ideal that would be understood and supported by most reasonable people.
Ironic misandry runs contrary to how I want to treat others or be treated myself. Ironic misandry does not represent how I want my friends and family to be treated, and I don’t think it’s how most women want their male friends or family members to be treated. And don’t even try to suggest that mocking men is different because … patriarchy.
And in terms of the community generally, how would most women would react were this concept to be turned back onto them in the form of ‘ironic misogyny’? But more on that later.
2. Ironic misandry isn’t ironic
The definition of ‘irony’ is:
the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result.
But the indisputable fact is that real life feminists don’t believe or act in the opposite manner, i.e. treat men in a loving and respectful manner. Look at my posts on feminism, feminist anger, and feminist censorship for examples of what feminists say about men and how they treat them. Heck, just look at comments by Clementine Ford in her paper listed above, or Samantha Allen in this article.
Clementine Ford describes the “I bathe in male tears” logo and associated paraphernalia as “one glorious phrase and a handful of beautiful associated memes“. She goes on to state that “images such as the above pillory the buffoonery of the MRA movement while giving increasingly stressed out and undermined women a means of laughing at the enemy.”
So despite the fact that feminists are always telling us how they don’t hate men, Clementine has no qualms about referring to us as “the enemy“. (Oh I get it, just joking, right?)
Ironic misandry isn’t rocking the boat with regards to the status quo – it’s reinforcing it.
The proponents of ironic misandry consider it first and foremost a humorous invention. I beg to differ. As would, I would suggest, most mature adults concerned about social justice and the welfare of men and boys. In fact pretty much anyone with an ounce of empathy, a conscience, and a brain in their head. Either way, you can’t change sexist bigotry into something else just by claiming it is funny. As they say, “a monkey in silk is a monkey no less“.
Regardless of the selective blindness of feminists, many men and boys are suffering and their tears are very real. For example, we have just experienced the suicide of comic genius Robin Williams, at a time when the suicide rate for men is substantially greater than for women. Ditto for homelessness, etc.
3. Ironic misandry erodes mutual respect between the genders
Ironic misandry removes even further respect between the genders, when mutual respect is an essential ingredient in moving onwards and upwards with the gender debate. We need to be doing everything we can to build respect not eroding it further. Ironic misandry and other feminist devices like it will condemn us to many more years of lobbing grenades from trench to trench instead of working together to address a multitude of issues of shared concern.
Given that that the original ‘Slate’ article has been addressed by others, I’ll conclude this post with some comments in relation to the paper by Clementine Ford which I found to be particularly noisome:
MRAs will have you believe that misandry is: a) rampant within the feminist community and b) capable of causing equal if not greater harm to men than millennia of oppression and disadvantage could ever possibly do to women.
As I indicated earlier misandry IS rampant within the feminist community, as is feminist denial about that fact. I challenge you to assume a male identity and go online and try to post reasonable comments in debates regarding gender, and see how you are treated. How you are are routinely abused. How your posts are removed. How often you are banned, excluded, denied a voice.
Oh, and by the way Clementine, didn’t you/your editor close your article to comments so very quickly once the expected support failed to materialise? Let’s see what reader Jane was able to contribute before the shutters came down on your sideshow:
Baffled to why teenage girls don’t describe themselves as feminists? Re-read this article and imagine yourself as a teenage girl looking for relevance to her life. Instead of a reasoned argument, inspiration or anything that might be impacting her now or in the future, Clem “click-bait” Ford delivers a short rant on why it’s fun to ridicule certain people on the internet. Sure it might be a “release valve” to Ford who must have to deal with some crazy nutters on the internet but if this is the only article they read on feminism this week while asking, “Am I a feminist?” then I can understand why many, a few or even one young woman might reply, “If this is feminism, then no.”
Feminists just love to exaggerate the position of MRA with assertions like “MRA claim that men are more oppressed than women”, “MRA would have you believe that everything bad that happens to men is because of women”, and so on, and on. Can Clementine point us towards even one reference where MRA have stated that misandry can cause more harm than all the oppression and disadvantage ever experienced by women? Of course, she can’t – because no MRA ever made such a statement.
“Misogyny and misandry are treated by MRAs as interchangeable things, with the latter being widely viewed as ‘just as bad, if not worse’.”
No, MRA treat these as two distinct things. The fact that some MRA might consider ‘misandry’ to be worse, is due only to the level of denial and hypocrisy within the feminist movement (regarding their inherent misandry), and the resultant chasm between how feminists demand to be treated and how they treat others.
“Feminism seeks to dismantle the patriarchy, thus liberating both women and men from its suffocating clutches.”
“Humour is a vital tool for feminists lest we lose our marbles completely when dealing with the irrational and factually incorrect bleatings of people who, among other things, argue that sexual violence statistics have been made up by feminist run government agencies to oppress man’s sexual nature.”
Clementine, some examples please of statements made by MRA that are “factually incorrect”, or where MRA have claimed that sexual violence statistics were made up … “to oppress man’s sexual nature”. MRA have highlighted inaccuracies and distortions within statistics related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and other issues. I invite you to examine and comment upon the many examples that are provided in my blog posts on these topics. MRA raise these concerns only in the interest of enabling informed public debate based on a balanced and accurate portrayal of these important social issues.
4. Gender reversal: What happens when a man attempts ironic misogyny?
In 2010 Paul Elam published an article entitled ‘October is the 5th annual Bash a Violent Bitch Month‘ in response to an earlier article in the feminist journal ‘Jezebel’. Although Paul has always asserted his article was satirical, years later it is still cited by feminists as proof of the alleged hideous misogyny of the men’s rights movement. A well-written discussion of Paul’s article can be found here.
Did feminists extend the same patience and understanding towards Paul’s or Roosh’s ironic offerings, to which they themselves felt entitled? Absolutely not, and in Roosh’s case both he and his supporters were subjected to a global campaign of harassment and threats of violence. Yes, the very same behaviour that feminists angrily assert that men oppress women with. Anyway read both this article and this one, and you can form your own view.
Moving forward to June 2016, and Australian TV personality Eddie McGuire chose to offer up a little of his own brand of irony. Team feminism went ballistic. And on and on they went:
In this article Irish feminists reject the notion of misandry (October 2017)
“It is impossible to have an “ingrained prejudice” against men when we live in a world made by men for men. In a patriarchal society, the idea of men who are oppressed by virtue of their gender could never be anything but a joke.“
“Eight women create an internet utopia where they discuss the most intimate details of their lives, the most righteous, and the most hilarious. Dating, camming, work, love, and how to be an out and proud feminist. But when one of them disappears after being attacked everything changes. #KillAllMen suddenly moves from joke to reality.”
The Men’s Rights forum on reddit.com makes for great reading if you want to get a quick handle on gender issues from a non-feminist perspective. The forum often features discussion threads that exemplify the frequently outrageous double-standards disseminated by the feminist movement and mainstream media alike.
Here’s a selection of alternative scenarios wherein which one might do well to flip genders and re-assess the situation …
“The club also released a picture of a topless male model, complete with sixpack, for the big match — but it was the women’s poster which did not escape the wrath of social media.” Because … and despite …
Women kicking balls? I’d like to see that (22 January 2017) a new TV ad campaign to support women’s sport. Good goal, poorly executed … let’s continue making light of female violence. And in terms of gender-reversal … ‘Men grabbing pussy? I’d like to see that‘ saw unending scorn being poured forth upon Donald Trump … and switching genders doesn’t make it suddenly funny.
Perth man says he won’t date women who are ‘over 30 and overweight’ (5 October 2016) Article neglects to mention that women cut off men as abruptly as this (due to some perceived deficiency re: money/career/height/car/etc) every single day. The difference is man complains about getting rebuffed = loser/creep, whereas woman complains about getting rebuffed = victim/hero. Related Reddit discussion thread here.
‘I’m tired of being ashamed of my micro-penis‘ (25 September 2016) And no, I don’t anticipate a companion piece about a woman with an extremely loose vagina because it’s only OK to objectify/demean men with click-bait rubbish like this.
Journalists have used the 2016 Olympics in Rio as as opportunity to yet again demonstrate how objectification of men is OK, whilst simultaneously ranting about alleged objectification of female athletes:
Reader’s comment: “It’s all very simple. Admiring female beauty is wrong. Admiring male physiques is right. When you replace ‘objectification’ with ‘admire’, you illustrate how moronic the concept is. I have asked feminists the difference between objectification and admiration, and the answer is some purported subtle difference in attitude in the mind of the beholder. Rather conveniently, only a feminist can tease this difference out, like a French pig sniffing for truffles.” (Source).
This feminist takes the classic perspective that it’s different for women to objectify men because women don’t abuse or assault men, etc. See related Reddit discussion thread here.
“Bemused onlookers praised the scorned woman’s courage as the alleged love rat jumped in his car and sped off. Stylist Connie Nakala, 28, said: “She’s brilliant. An inspiration to all women everywhere!” While Associate Nitin Sharma, 30, said: “She was very brave to do it. And good for her.””
In this incident a female sports presenter made disparaging on-air comments about the appearance of a football player, but when he responded like-for-like then HE was the one subject to public criticism (14 January 2016)
Eight benefits of dating a younger man (27 August 2014) Read this article carefully and then imagine the sexes were reversed. Would the article have been published? What would the public reaction have been?
“If a fraternity posted a sign that branded certain women “sluts,” does anyone seriously think the fraternity would not be punished for that? That the school’s president wouldn’t condemn it and call for an investigation and hearings? That Bwog and like-minded progressive outlets wouldn’t have a conniption? But it’s okay to distribute flyers calling certain men rapists. (And which is worse, being called a “slut” or a “rapist”?)
Domestic violence (DV), also referred to as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) or Family & Domestic Violence (FDV), is a shocking blight on the community. This is a scourge that inflicts substantial negative impacts on the lives of countless men, women and children. Whilst definitions have evolved and broadened, DV is loosely defined as “physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse“.
It is important to acknowledge that DV encompasses man on man, women on women, man on woman, and woman on man violence (both cis- and transgender). Further, in many instances violence is perpetrated by both partners as shown in the accompanying diagram. There is also a strong nexus between the incidence of child abuse/neglect and subsequent perpetration of domestic violence by affected individuals upon reaching adulthood.
The Wikipedia entry for ‘Epidemiology of domestic violence‘ provides readers with useful background information on this topic. For those willing to read something a little meatier, I would recommend this paper by esteemed DV researcher Malcolm George. Malcolm walks the reader through the historical context to the current debate about gender differences in violent behaviour and the way that society responds to the issue.
Many of those working within the DV sector, particularly here in Australia, only choose to acknowledge one element of the problem – that part involving male perpetrators and female victims. It is no coincidence that most staff within these government agencies, universities and NGO’s are strongly influenced by, and biased towards, feminist ideology. The feminist position is unequivocal, and it is that domestic violence = men’s violence towards women. Here is an example of that mindset, and here are many others.
This routine failure by feminists to recognise and discuss male victims, female perpetrators and bi-directional violence is no accident or coincidence. It is a deliberate strategy to build their brand, and in so doing demonise the overwhelming majority of men who have never, and would never, hurt or abuse their partner.
As a result, and in order to support the feminist narrative, a great deal of ‘cherry-picking’ and misrepresentation occurs in relation to the statistics provided in DV literature. In addition, the design and implementation of survey instruments is too often tainted with bias. This issue, that of feminist efforts to hide or discredit legitimate research and/or generate false or misleading statistics, is explored in this further blog post.
You will note, as you scroll down this page, that there are a multitude of sources of DV statistics, particularly the United Kingdom and the United States. Here in Australia, much less research has been undertaken – particularly in relation to male victimisation. One of the more significant sources is the Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey 2012, which found that one in three victims of domestic abuse were male. The results of overseas studies generally found levels of male and female victimisation that were closer to parity, and in some instances even higher rates of victimisation for men that women.
Unfortunately many journalists display remarkable tunnel-vision when addressing the topic of IPV. Indeed some have suggested that the media is complicit in the same sort of systemic gender bias against males noted earlier amongst those working in the field of DV.
Turning to my first example, an article called ‘Til death do us part’ which appeared in The Australian newspaper. It consisted of five pages of heart-wrenching coverage of men’s violence towards female partners, but made no mention of any other form of domestic violence, i.e. m-m, f-f, or women on men. Similarly this February 2014 article from The Mail newspaper also neglected to mention that men can be victims too.
Fiona McCormack also ignores male victims and female abusers this item on Australian ABC TV … except in an aside where she implies that anyone who raises the issue of women abusers is only seeking to “excuse” the behaviour of male abusers. This is very much akin to the feminist predilection of labelling anyone who questions various aspects of sexual assault (e.g. false rape allegations) as being “rape apologists” “victim blamers” etc.
Now let’s turn to this article by Charlie Pickering (more about Charlie here). Charlie is concerned that more attention is paid to the issue of random one-punch attacks on men, than on the violence visited nightly on women people in their homes. He goes on to state:
“For a long time, the termdomestic violence has softened and normalised what is really going on. A more accurate term is ‘men’s violence against women’. Not ‘violence against women’, because that takes the responsibility for it away from those who need to be made responsible.”
This belief, that by acknowledging male victims and female perpetrators, we are somehow ignoring the validity and the pain of female victims is absurd, yet unfortunately commonplace in public discourse. The fact that there may be somewhat fewer male victims does not, nor should not, make domestic violence a gendered issue.
A precious few writers, like this one, suggest a more practical and unbiased approach to the issue:
“When it comes to the statistics about domestic abuse, it doesn’t matter to me how many men to how many women experience domestic violence. Domestic violence is a power issue more than a gender issue. Intimate Partner Violence affects men and women, and I really do not care in what proportion …
Within anti-domestic violence advocacy, there seems to be a trend to pit female victims against male victims and vice-versa. I do not know who is behind it, nor do I know if there is a “who” to blame. I do know that blame has no place in this fight against domestic abuse, especially when victim blames victim for any reason …
In a perfect society, men and women are equally protected under the law not because more laws were made to protect one sex but because in each mind and heart of all people, women and men are respected equally, and the individual contributions or crimes are our only measures of judgment. However, this ideal is as far away from our current reality as the idea that no person would seek power over another.”
Many others within the wider community have, however, embraced a biased and incomplete representation of DV, liberally salted with misinformation, at face value. Who could blame them, given that so many sources are bellowing out the same relentless message about male perpetrators and female victims, whilst studiously ignoring other elements of the issue.
Here in Australia, let’s look at this page within the web site of the Department of Social Services entitled ‘Women’s safety’, and the linked 28 page literature review prepared by ‘Urbis’ consultants at a cost of $220,000. One would have assumed, especially given the enormous cost, that the review would have encompassed all forms of abuse and perpetration. But, unfortunately, it did not.
In fact the review states that “Male perpetrators of domestic violence or sexual assault against men and female perpetrators of either offence against men have not been considered in this literature review. It is acknowledged that in practice the great majority of programs will be targeted towards men who commit domestic violence or sexual assault against women.”
Yes, that makes perfect sense … there are no programs for female offenders so let’s pretend they don’t exist. Such circular logic is (almost) unbelievable. And no, there is no corresponding ‘Mens Safety’ page within the DSS web site.
To be fair, the authors of some studies do admit that there are many female perpetrators and male victims, and that little research has been directed towards these groups. They also admit that there are probably many similarities between male and female perpetrators of IPV. They then invariably proceed, however, to offer a variety of justifications to continue their focus on the ‘domestic violence = Mens violence towards women’ model (example).
When misleading statistics are repeatedly exposed the feminist reaction is to move the goalposts by expanding the reach of the definition of domestic violence to encompass sexual violence, and less tangible forms of non-physical ‘violence’. This serves to both maximise the perceived magnitude of the problem, as well as support the anti-male narrative.
Naturally those areas where female perpetration is substantial, such as child abuse and elder abuse, are totally ‘out of bounds’. This theme is explored in this separate blog post. The same approach has been taken by feminists to prop up the notion of the existence of a ‘rape culture‘ in western societies.
Those of us concerned about men’s rights seek to have all aspects of domestic violence considered, as well as seeking remedies to specific issues such as:
the lack of resources to assist abused men and their children
laws and legal procedures that are based on the assumption that the male in the relationship is the abuser
negative and biased behaviour towards men who seek assistance, for example the screening of (only) male callers to abuse help-lines to determine if they are in fact perpetrators (example)
A selection of statistical sources that haven’t been doctored to support the feminist narrative
“Almost 24% of all relationships had some violence, and half (49.7%) of those were reciprocally violent. In non-reciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases.”
More than 125,000 women homeless because of domestic violence (15 February 2016). The only figures for male victimisation that were mentioned – because they appeared to support the feminist perspective – were drawn from this media release from a government agency. What’s not mentioned though is that the relatively low numbers of men seeking assistance are indicative of factors other than simply lower rates of male victimisation, incl.:
the rampant genderbias of ‘help-lines’, advocacy groups and even government agencies
the (widely-known) lack of resources available to help male victims (with or without children, and
the much greater incidence of non-reporting of DV by men (compared to women)
“The proportion of male victims who told police about their domestic abuse increased from 10.4% in 2014-15 to 14.7% this year as charities said more men were shaking off the stigma of talking about their suffering.“
For Nelson Women’s Refuge manager Katie O’Donnell, the solution to New Zealand’s domestic violence problem is more straightforward. “People say it’s a really complex issue. Well, it is a complex issue but also it isn’t – guys just have to stop doing it”
Telstra introduces domestic violence leave (13 January 2015) Australia. Article implies only women are victims of domestic violence and leaves us guessing as to whether the company policy is sexist/discriminatory – or just the journalism
In this article a feminist writer, Amanda Hess, attempts to rationalise why domestic violence by a female sports star should be addressed differently than in the case of a male sports star (22 September 2014) Most of the 600+ readers comments that followed disagreed and told her so in no uncertain terms.
‘Lollies at a childrens party and other myths: Violence, protection orders and fathers rights groups’ by Miranda Kaye and Julia Tomie (1998). Another detailed but flawed paper in support of the feminist position on DV. Its main line of attack is that available statistics don’t support claims made by men’s rights advocates. It conveniently ignores the fact that most Australian DV research is undertaken by feminists and biased towards finding ‘evidence’ to support a pre-determined conclusion. Thus the accuracy and impartiality of the research is the real issue, rather than the credibility of the whistle-blowers.
The paper also misinterprets and/or takes out of context, many of the comments it attributes to fathers groups in an attempt to portray them as irrational or unreasonable. Finally the authors attack specific statements put forward by fathers groups despite the same arguments having been used (at other times) by feminists in support of their own (feminist) perspective. The authors of this paper, for example, want to jump from one camp to the other (and back again) in relation to the issue of whether behaviour other than physical violence should be included in the definition of domestic violence.
We need to show it’s just not manly to hit out (9 July 2014) Nonsense article dripping with white knight bias … “The idea that the woman may be equally to blame, even if she is also violent and even the initiator of the violence, is simply not acceptable”
A reddit discussion thread about the anti-male bias evident in the web site of an American domestic violence centre’s web site. Unfortunately such bias (i.e. stating or implying that all men accessing the site are abusers and that all women are victims) is also common in domestic violence centres in Australia.