If you have been speaking for women’s rights on the internet lately, it is more likely than not that you have been slammed with how women have been “siphoning the discourse for rights by simply hating on men.” But is Misandry real or is it another bed-time story that men like to tell themselves?
“Not All Men”
Yes. Not all, but enough, men; enough men to make the world a living hell for non-men.
In order to conclude whether or not misandry is real, it is imperative to understand what it looks like. While Google explains it as ‘dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men (i.e. the male sex)’, lay people like us can understand it as hating men just because of them being one. But do we really hate men for being men, or is it just our discontentment against years of systematic oppression and toxic gendered biases that has started to manifest itself against patriarchal conditionings of the society? Are they really victims of this so-called reverse discrimination or are men in structures of power and privilege just threatened by discourse for an equality that transcends tokenistic illusions of equal rights?
We live in a world that functions on the submission of women to the patriarchal lords. This submission is core to the existence of the current capitalist order. But with time, the control has been challenged. Misogyny cannot be as blatant as it was a hundred years ago. Now in order to stay in power, men need to continue to helm their cognitive and vocal capabilities. And here we are discussing if something as boisterous as “misandry” is real. The structural issue with the misandry argument is that women don’t hold the social capital to oppress men. The power lies in the hands of the men who have historically denied women any form of freedom. Even with an intersectional lens, separation of misogyny from all other forms of oppression becomes necessary due to its sheer omnipresence. The multiplicity of identities needs to be blurred and singular emphasis on the male identity is extremely important.
Sure women today have the right to vote and agency to work, but these don’t automatically translate into their equal pedestalization because patriarchy makes men believe that rights for others exist because they allow them to and not because they’re intrinsic for the society to operate. This accrues when even today women are automatically assumed to be homemakers, and then husbands have the agency to say they ‘allow’ their wives to work, reducing this choice to a charity. This reflects women in workplaces being characterized as incompetent, their promotions and merit literally being conditional to sexual favours and then being antagonised for choosing what’s rightfully theirs over some manufactured sense of integrity that is not only imposed on women by patriarchs but also kept exclusive to them. This also looks like men believing they can exercise physical and sexual dominance over women who disagree with then or defy them, by actually using rape threats to have their way in unfavourable situations. There is a never-ending list of such examples with trickle down effects that are quintessential to how patriarchy has used men as agents to historically disempower women, and we are more than angry at men when this skewed system of balance exists and they try to get away with it using #NotAllMen.
Now if you love to ruin your mental stability, strike a conversation with a “Meninist” about why they think misandry is real. Their arguments helm on a one-liner explanation that feminists on the internet hate on men. Before anything else, a Twitter thread against someone’s misogynistic attitude and microaggression doesn’t tangibly harm them but only educates. The internet is supposed to be a safe space; the creation of safe spaces requires the oppressed to feel comfortable and not the privileged for whom the entire world is a safe space. Rather than tone-policing minorities which have been a common part and parcel of the oppression they face, the privileged, in this case, men need to start acknowledging and taking responsibility.
But do we hate the male gender? No, because we are also angry at men for not just telling women what to do but also to other men. Feminists rather welcome the cause of men as that are victims of patriarchy too. We are infuriated when they are forced to buy into these superficial ideas of having to be the bread-earners, having to be the ironclad pillars, having to know what to do and how to dictate, and anything less making them ‘not man enough’. We are angry when these men choose to opt out of these power dynamics, express their emotions or respect station of women irrespective of a quid-pro-quo, they are so easily called ‘gay’ with an intent to degrade, which not only is homophobic, but also pressurizes men to continue this toxic legacy of oppression.
However, It is important to understand. But it is the men who are the perpetrators and criminals of this system and they are the sole beneficiaries of patriarchy too. Conversations about men’s issues are welcome but not at the behest of women or taking space from women’s issues. Discourse isn’t a pie and the day the world understands this, it’ll become a much better place to live in. Discuss and raise your grievances against patriarchy, question the status quo and change. But sadly this never converts into actual action. Men’s issues are reduced to nothing but “comebacks” to invalidate women which is detrimental to both the groups in question here.
If you look closely, you will realise that we don’t really hate men, we are just angry at them because of the damages they have accrued to society by automatically assuming them in-charge of what goes around and how. It is patriarchy we hate instead, and we are infuriated at men for being agents to it, and refusing to opt out, just because it is uncomfortable to do so.
Misandry is truly and absolutely a myth. *mic drop*
- Indian Mothers and Your Internalized Misogyny
- Microaggressions against Women: Decoding Everyday Misogyny in STEM Education
Feature Image Credits: Pinterest
Two Angry Feminists: