Posts Tagged ‘perceptions’

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.