Posts Tagged ‘misandry’

In my previous post on Commercials: Misandry in the Media, I pointed out how a good number of commercials these days portray men as clumsy oafs who need women to fix the problems they cause.  The more research I’ve done, the more commercials I’m seeing that have no problem with portraying men as idiots or even displaying violence against men as acceptable.

Crumbling ManWhen you view commercials from this point on, I hope you’ll take a moment to imagine what would happen if the gender roles were reversed and males played the female parts and vice versa.  If the idea of a woman being treated as the man in the ad is angers you or sets off a cry of misogyny, then you have to admit it’s a display of misandry.  If a man punching a woman is not acceptable, then it shouldn’t be acceptable for a woman to punch a man.  If a man rolling his eyes in disgust at something a woman did is not acceptable, then it has to be equally unacceptable for a woman to roll her eyes in disgust at a man’s behavior.

Am I making more of this than there is?  I don’t think so.  Remember, I’m not talking about one commercial or even a handful, but I’m referring to a common practice in most commercials today.  For specific examples, I recommend the YouTube video series by Vinny Mac, Misandry in the Media.

I’ll admit that when it comes to sitcoms, I’m not up with the latest TV shows.  Several years ago, I realized the majority of sitcoms I saw were participating in a type of male-bashing that made me quite uncomfortable.  Now, I understand sitcoms are all about people doing silly things, but if we’re going to avoid either extreme of misogyny or misandry, the silliness needs to be equally distributed between the genders of the characters.

Back in the early ‘90s (1991-1994), we saw the Jim Henson Dinosaur family that gave us a recurring example of misandry by the baby and his reference to his father as “Not the Momma.”  Not only was the father denigrated as stupid and oafish, but he was so disrespected the child wouldn’t even call him Daddy.

As we peruse a listing of the common sitcoms in the 90s, we see several promoting smart women and stupid men:  Rosanne, Coach, Cheers, Designing Women, The Golden Girls, Murphy Brown, The King of Queens, and Everybody Loves Raymond (and don’t forget the short-lived Men Behaving Badly).  In each of these, the man was often wrong, stupid, messy, uncivilized, and the woman right, smart, clean, and civilized.  If there was a marriage relationship involved, the women ruled the house, and the man merely followed along with her leadership.

Of course, the long-running animated Simpsons is a perfect illustration of how the men in the family are the stupid ones and the women are smart.

Then we move into the 2000s with more men-bashing sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs, and Two and a Half Men to show us just how disgusting men can be.

In the 2010s, we have The Big Bang Theory to prove to us that even smart men are stupid inside, and Mike and Molly to remind us that women are really the smart ones in the relationship.

Are there women in sitcoms who are shown to be buffoons or less intelligent?  Yes, but the percentage overall is quite skewed.  If the antics of these sitcom characters was equally distributed between males and females, I wouldn’t be writing this post.  But this is not what we’ve seen.  We might see a mother or a wife used as the source of the humor in rare instances, but the great majority of laughter comes at the expense of the husband or father doing something idiotic that nobody would realistically do.

If you recall from my post about the different way men and women bully, I stated that girl bullies tend to use words and social belittling to inflict emotional pain on those they are bullying, so this is how women tend to perceive bullying, as verbal or social denigration.  Men, on the other hand, perceive bullying as a physical threat.

So when men are put down in sitcoms and commercials, who is receiving the message that men have less value than women?  Women in general and young girls specifically.  Verbal and social put downs are how women show disrespect for someone.  Portraying a man as oafish, or a slob, or unintelligent sends a clear signal to other women, including young girls, that the subject of that verbal or social put down is to be considered less valuable than other people (in this case, women).

My greatest concern with how men are portrayed in both sitcoms and in commercials is that it’s sending this subconscious message to young girls that men are less valuable and should be viewed as such by any real woman.

Is it sending a subconscious message to young girls that men are less valuable?

After years of this kind of treatment, some men are starting to realize the damage these verbal and social assaults are causing.  However, with the current brand of ultra-feminism, if men try to object to how they’re being portrayed, they’re likely to be accused of being misogynists or told to shut up.

When I started this series about misandry, I posed the following question in a closed writers forum I’m part of:

I’m working on a blog post entitled, “Misandry in the Media.” I’m interested in hearing opinions about whether you think misandry does or doesn’t exist in the media and if you see any connections with social trends that might be causing more or less misandry in the media.

That sounds rather noncommittal, I know, but I’d like to hear all sides of it (even though I do have an opinion of my own that is my starting point…I’d like to hear a variety of opinions). Since this could very well end up as a political brawl, please feel free to message me with your viewpoint instead of responding to this post.

Again, since this could end up being a very hot topic, I’m very open to people sending me messages instead of responding on the post.

Hope I don’t regret this.

I regretted it.

Over 200 pages of posts later (509 individual posts), I had heard more vitriol than I’d imagined existed in the world.  Because this was a closed forum, I’m not at liberty to directly quote anyone, but I’m going to include this video because it represents much of my experience.  (Warning:  Strong language…mostly by Feminists.)

My conclusions after reading the entire thread were similar to the conclusions of the man in the above video.  Feminists ignore and deny that any misandry exists, and anyone who suggests it becomes a target for their hatred.  (By the way, most of the women and men who expressed support for my idea that misandry exists did so in private messages to me instead of in the thread itself.  They told me they were not willing to be flamed for their opinions, which is what those brave souls who did post publicly experienced.)

But let me give you some statistics that might surprise you.

Did you know that (these are taken from here):

  • in 2010 the CDC’s report revealed that about 40% of rapists are women?
  • In a study of 7667 university students, 3% of men reported being victims of forced sex, but only 2.3% of women reported the same?
  • In correctional facilities, 94% of youth who are sexually abused within those facilities report it was done by female staff, even though only 40% of the staff is female?
  • Significantly more men are victims of violent crime than women?
  • If a man and a woman are arrested for the same crime, the woman will have a better chance of acquittal and receive a lighter sentence if found guilty merely because she’s a woman?
  • The suicide rate for men is three times that of women?
  • Most homeless people are men?
  • In 2009/2010, women received $57,562,373 from the government while men only received $1,516,460?
  • In custody battles, mothers are awarded primary custody in 68-88% of cases, with men coming in a distant second at 8-14%? (from the Huffington Post)

While Feminists might like to claim misandry doesn’t exist or that men are never discriminated against, the facts contradict that stance.

As Christians, we have to remember that this is not a power struggle where women have to rip power from men in order to build themselves up.  It’s about respect, and any loss of respect for one gender loses respect for the other gender as well.  Men and women were created equal in substance, both in God’s image, and as such, both men and women deserve respect.

couple holding handsWhen it comes to males and females in our world, we need to start with the understanding that substance and role are two separate issues we have to address.

All humans are composed of the same substance.  We have the same chemicals in our bodies, and the same basic structure.  While men and women have a different arrangement of their sexual organs, the substance that makes a human different from a dog or a cat remains the same across all humans.  We all have the unalienable (God-given) rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Although men and women were created equal in substance, we are not the same in regards to roles.  No, I’m not going to say that a woman’s place is in the kitchen or only men should work full-time jobs.  But by and large, there are some things men are better at than women and women are better at than men.  Our society wants to deny that, but it doesn’t change the truth.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone, though, because we can easily recognize a difference in role within a gender.  Some women are better leaders than other women; some men are better child care providers than other men.  It’s not a dishonor to say someone has a different role from others.  It’s actually a recognition of the individual’s God-given talents and skills.

A business might have many vice-presidents, but when the decisions need to be made, the CEO makes that final determination.  That’s why he or she is the CEO.  The CEO is chosen to lead because they have the talent and skills to do so.  The company puts faith in that CEO’s decision-making ability and they allow him to make the decisions necessary for the business to run smoothly and efficiently.  A good CEO will seek out and listen to the advice of their vice-presidents, but in the end, it’s the CEO’s decision the company follows.

Does this give a carte blanche to the CEO to do whatever he wants without any regard to those who work under him?  Of course not.  While some CEOs might do this, a business runs more smoothly when the CEO recognizes and relies on the expertise their vice-presidents bring to the table.  No one person has all the skills necessary to run a large company well, and a wise CEO chooses vice-presidents who have abilities that complement their own.

In a similar way, God has given talents and skills to both men and women and given them specific roles.  Ephesians 5:21-33 shows us the established order God has set down in families.  Just as the vice-presidents don’t run the business, God didn’t intend for the wife to run the family.  God established an order where the husbands become the CEO of the family.  Just as with the CEO, a wise husband listens to his wife and relies on her complementary skills to make the marriage strong.

Not only did God put the husband in the role of CEO, but He laid on his shoulders a difficult task.  God requires men to love their wives in the same way Jesus Christ loves the Church, even to the point of giving up his life for her.  It’s important to remember that although the husband might be the CEO, Jesus Christ is the board of directors.  A CEO always has to give an account to the board of directors, and husbands are accountable to Jesus Christ Himself.  Every husband will stand before Jesus Christ one day and be judged on how he treated his wife and children.

Wives have also been given a specific role in a marriage: to let their husbands make the final decisions.  Just as it’s not the place for a vice-president to have the last word on running the business, the wife shouldn’t have the last word in running the family.  God tasked her to act toward her husband as the Church is to act toward Christ.

Now that I’ve laid down what God’s intention for male/female roles, let me remind you that we live in a fallen, sinful world.  God created the world as perfect, but mankind walked away from that sinlessness and into rebellion against their Creator.

Because of that, we have seen throughout the centuries men who have shunned God’s intention for how a husband is supposed to treat a wife (as well as wives who have shunned how God intended them to treat their husband).  When a man beats his wife, that is not how God intended him to treat her.  We can’t blame God for a man’s evil choice.  We can only blame the man for making his sinful decision to ignore what God told him and to do what he chose instead.

The problem we have is not that God created men and women to have different roles in life, but that men and women refuse to follow God’s intended plan for interactions.

I’ve written several posts so far giving some background to the subject of misandry, and I felt this foundational distinction between substance and role was necessary before we get into the meat of the topic.

Whether we’re discussing misogyny or misandry, we’re still dealing with choices men and women make that go against God’s intention of how each gender is to be treated.  It doesn’t matter if there’s been more misogyny over the centuries than misandry.  Both of them are equally contrary to how God has told us to respond to the opposite sex.

Any amount of misogyny or misandry steals away from us all the dignity and respect God intended us to have for each other.  Love, respect, and dignity are all infinite commodities that grow as they’re shared.  Disrespecting someone won’t make others respect you more.  You and the person you disrespected both lose.  But respect increases the more you give it to others.  Respect has to do with the person’s substance as a human being, rather than with their position or role.

This difference between God-given roles is not something to be ashamed of, or to deny so you can be politically correct.  Instead it should be cherished and celebrated as we see the variety of talents and skills God has given us all.

The substance is the same; only the roles are different.

Think back to your high school days to that one kid you could always count on to bully you around. What form did his bullying take? Chances are the response to that question might depend on which gender that bully was.Bullying photo

When it comes to bullying, there’s a tendency for males and females to both perceive and perform bullying differently.  A young boy grows up in a world with other boys who are stronger, taller, more muscular, and he learns to live with a threat of being physically hurt by these bullies.  Certainly, boy bullies will throw verbal insults at the boy victim, but the greatest fear the boy victim has is being pummeled or pushed or locked in a locker or having his head stuck in a toilet for yet another swirly.

Girl bullies, on the other hand, sport a different technique.  Their threats tend to be less physical and more social and emotional.  Girl bullies will spread vicious rumors, spout insults intended to ridicule the young girl victim, or orchestrate a social blacklisting program to exclude the girl victim from any groups she hopes might embrace her. Occasionally, girl bullies will bring out their fists, but the greatest threat a girl victim faces is social ostracization.

As we continue to look at misandry in the media, this gender difference will play an important role in how misandry is perceived.  A man might dismiss insults or ridicule as merely annoying and harmless, but a woman might see those same put downs as destructive. Given the gender differences between the general perception male and females have about bullying, how would misandry look to a man?  How would it look to a woman?

It seems to me that since men perceive bullying in a more physical sense, they might not consider a commercial that portrays men as oafish slobs offensive.  In researching this article, three men in separate emails used the phrase, “We men have broad shoulders.”  I don’t think that was by accident.  Let’s go back to the boy bully image.  What was the real threat the boy victim faced?  Physical danger.  Is it any wonder then that a continual denigration of males in the media flies under most men’s radar?

But if misandry exists in the media (obviously, I believe it does), it’s vital to ask who the targeted audience is and is the misandry affecting that targeted audience in any way?

Maybe the targeted audience isn’t men.  Maybe the audience this concentrated denigration of men is targeting is the half of our population who grew up with put downs and ridicule from girl bullies.  Is this type of misandry altering young girls’ perceptions of men in a way that engenders fear or contempt as they mature?  Is it a low-level flow of ultra-feminist thought that feels it must pull men down in order for women to be raised up?  Is it a pendulum swing by the die-hard feminists who don’t want equality, but superiority?

These are questions we must consider as we think through the undercurrent of contempt for men that flows through our various media outlets.