Patriarchy Is Misandry

PIC: LOC (PD)

PIC: LOC (PD)

Sian Ferguson writes at News24:

Where exactly do we see sexism against men? Anything that perpetuates gender stereotyping could be considered sexist. I absolutely detest woman saying things along the lines of ‘men are all the same’ and ‘men are all after one thing’, because it’s sexist. The idea that men are driven entirely by sex (and that women, by contrast, have very little desire for sex) stems from patriarchal expectations of male sexuality. Not only can the acceptance of such stereotypes damage relationships (imagine trying to be in a relationship with someone who constantly second-guesses your intentions because of an untrue stereotype they were brainwashed into believing?), it damages the male psyche and perpetuates patriarchal ideas. As patriarchy advocates the strict adherence to certain gender roles, it asserts that men should behave in a certain way to be considered ‘men’. This is sexism against men. While patriarchy values men over women on a general level, it also values certain men (more ‘masculine’, athletic, straight, etc.) over certain other men (more ‘feminine’, homosexual or transsexual, etc.). As such, it forces men to either act or try to be a certain way, or it attempts to make them feel undervalued. Patriarchy damages men. Patriarchy is misandry. 

Here are a number of patriarchal ideas (that demonstrate sexism against men) which the feminist community is trying to address:

1) The notion that men should be the breadwinners of the family.

Just as feminists dislike the notion that all women should be ‘barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen’, most of us dislike the idea that the ‘man of the house’ should always bring home the highest salary. If you’re a man who’d prefer taking on the role of home executive by staying unemployed and taking care of the house and/or kids, that’s cool. Go ahead. Society shouldn’t hate. If you’re a man who works and earns less than his partner, you shouldn’t feel less ‘manly’ either.

2) Discrimination against members of the LGBTIQ community who identify as male.

Many homosexuals are thought to be less masculine by certain members of society, because the patriarchy dictates that part of being a real man is having sex with a woman. This is a reason why many patriarchal societies view homosexuality as unnatural – think along the lines of ‘men should naturally be sexually attracted to women, and those who don’t conform to this stereotype are wrong and unnatural.’

Being a homosexual man is also often seen as a less desirable thing than being a homosexual woman. Perhaps part of this is because it’s perceived to be more degrading for a man to appear more feminine than for a woman to appear more masculine. Why? Because being a woman is seen as degrading. (Do you see what I mean when I say sexism against woman cannot be addressed without addressing sexism against men, and vice versa?)

I often hear people ask who the ‘man’ and who the ‘woman’ is in a homosexual relationship. As Ellen DeGeneres once said, “That’s like asking which chopstick is the fork.” We’ve been so brainwashed by the patriarchy that we think that the only way a relationship could possibly work is if one person takes the role of the ‘woman’, and the other person takes the role of the ‘man’. This forces both people in the relationship to conform to stereotypes (by pretending to be something they’re not), and distances them from their true selves. 

It’s also important to note that many transfolk – particularly transmales – are faced with sexism. Not only is being a transexual or transvestite seen as unnatural (thanks again, patriarchy!), but when those who are born men identify/feel more comfortable as women they are expected to act like patriarchy’s expectation of women (and vice versa). There is the stereotype that transexual or transvestite men are all drag queens and should behave like flamboyant, overly-feminine women. Some women who were born as men are discriminated against if they demonstrate traditional ‘male’ characteristics.

3) Discrimination against male rape/abuse survivors.

While the rape of women isn’t always taken as seriously as it should be, the rape of males is taken even less seriously. Some people view male rape – especially the rape of males in prison – as a joke. 

4) The idea that men are only men if they are sexually active or promiscuous. 

Just as it’s often seen as a negative thing for females to be ‘slutty’, it’s often seen as a negative thing for men to be virgins. A terrible double standard exists in society – especially in South Africa – where women who sleep around are seen as sluts (bad) while men who do the same are seen as players (good). As unfair as this is to females, a related injustice to men must be noted –   men are only considered ‘true’ men when they’ve had sex. One only has to read a book like Spud to see the type of pressure to have sex that exists amongst males, particularly younger males.

Of course, we also must note that in some social circles it’s seen as good for girls to be promiscuous and boys to be virgins (although these two standards hardly ever exist in the same social circle). Either way, I’ll respond in the same way – your worth, gender and values are not determined  by your sexual history or lack thereof.

5) The notion that ‘men shouldn’t cry’.

I absolutely detest the idea that men shouldn’t show emotion. It really gets to me, so much so that I want to throw my shoe at every KFC advert and slap every parent that scolds their son for crying. I don’t. Instead, I blog. By forcing men to hide their emotions from a very young age, society is creating a generation – generations – of men who have difficulty communicating or controlling their feelings. This is harmful to both their psyche and their relationships.

Read more here.

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  • Rus Archer

    we need a better term than patriarchy
    a true patriarch would treat people well

    • echar

      How about evolutionary throw-backarchy?

    • Liam_McGonagle

      For my money it’s not that men are incapable of being good fathers (in fact, I think they do a much better job of fathering than women, but that’s just a biological/symantic bias). It’s more an objection to the arbitrary and inflexible character of the thing.

      ‘Jus’ because’ should never be an adequate answer to fundamental questions of the social order.

    • Andrew

      Kyriarchy?

      • RealLayer

        Gynocracy.

        • Andrew

          Alice Miller said, if I remember correctly, that what men do in war, women do in the home.

          • RealLayer

            Sure applied in our house when I was a kid. There were days we would have preferred the bayonet to the wooden spoon.

    • Calypso_1

      Like an enlightened despot?

  • Liam_McGonagle

    I have long harbored some of these feelings, but have been too comfortable with my freakishness/self-absorption to care very much about other people’s judgments.

  • Lookinfor Buford

    Please, feminists, don’t do us any favors..
    – Men

    • VaudeVillain

      As a man and a feminist… I wonder which “we” you are referring to.

    • Calypso_1

      You’re a man?

      • Andrew

        Scrupulously.

  • InfvoCuernos

    Ok, I know what LGBT means, but whats the IQ part? – I did look it up and it seems like its undecided. This shit is getting bananas.

    • Nathan Dorey

      That would be:

      – “Intersex” (displaying elements of both male and female genders), and;
      – “Queer” (as in “genderqueer”, not subscribing to either gender distinction)

      • InfvoCuernos

        The information that I found says that I stands for “Intersex” and Q is for “Questioning”. There can be as many subtle differences as there are people in the world, but to me, Queer as you define it seems close to the B-Bi-sexual.

        • Jin The Ninja

          queer is not bi. queer is a non-heteronormative term, used for identifying as an alt. sexuality that is non gender specific. can likened to ‘two-spirited.’ i personally use ‘queer’ because i don’t relate to ‘gay’ culture politically or culturally. i don’t like the way ‘gay’ is used to reinforce a heteronormative political narrative and gender binaries. it also implies a certain level of radicalisation. for many queer people- they don’t relate to gender in the same way that is supposed by the dominant culture. maybe that is simply a political choice or a predisposition- it can be either and both.

          • InfvoCuernos

            That makes more sense to me than the “traditional western” gay stereotype. When I was in the East, I noticed that there didn’t seem to be as much of an emphasis on straight or gay. Men and women danced with whomever they wanted, and although I didn’t spend enough time there to see anything further, it did seem like there was a sexual component to it. In the Middle East, it was much more rigid, but not hetero. In public, you saw young men openly “affectionate” to a point that you would expect to see among US Hetero teenagers-holding hands, sitting on laps, face-to -face with hands in eachother’s pockets-of course, the women were completely absent from public gatherings of men. All of those men would go on to get married to women and have kids, and not think twice about their masculinity.

        • Jin The Ninja

          ‘intersex’ literally refer to people who are born biologically with BOTH sets of sex organs. perhaps their parents decided to raise them as a girl, but they later identify as a man or vice versa. some people simply identify as ‘intersex.’ should be noted that this is not the same as ‘transgendered.’

    • Dylan

      It’s still growing. The current state-of-the-art is LGBTIQQA- “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, (and) Allies.”

    • Liam_McGonagle

      Agreed. On a tangental note:

      Sometimes I think rednecks’ objections to this sort of thing are based on a resentment of what they see as a defiantly separatist attitude of that/those community(ies), and a fear of exposing themselves as unsophisticated rubes when they fail to notice fine distinctions.

      More so that an objection to the ostensibly defining behaviours, anyhow.

      I think the consensus rap is that rednecks are antisocial, because they generally endorse a type of agressive culture of conflict, but I think that’s a little off the mark. Those aggressive stereotypes have a good basis in reality, but they’re really a secondary characteristic–displacement of their culture’s fundamentally conformist attitude.

      I think rednecks may be thinking, “G*dd*mn it! I follow ALL the rules–ESPECIALLY the ones I hate!! How the f*ck do these *ssholes get off flouting them?!!!”

      Think about it: Pretty hard to get much Queerer than Rick Santorum’s sweater vests.

  • LunaS34

    “LGBTIQ”…?

    What is the “I”?

  • Eric_D_Read

    What a complete load of horseshit.
    1. No matter how often it is argued; the fact remains that women are VERY class conscious when selecting long-term mates. Despite any anecdotal exceptions that one can point out, women marry across and up social hierarchies, while men are fine with “marrying down” as long as she’s smoking hot.
    This pattern is not even restricted to humans, but is commonly observable in most, if not all, social mammals.

    2. I give it five years before they need to invent new letters.

    3. Feminism on a meta level doesn’t give a fuck about male rape. Standard response to the topic is : Whaaa what about teh menz! or So; they’re raped by other men so men are still the problem (since women cannot rape men).

    4. Feminists love to mock men who challenge their dogma with standard insults like: You must not be able to get a woman to sleep w/ you, must have a tiny dick, basement dweller (i.e. low social status and no money). See the billy chubbs link for examples.

    5. Yes. Human societies tend to frown on emotionally fragile males. But to chalk that up to social conditioning ignores physical differences between males and females.
    Fun Fact: Males have proportionately larger tear ducts and fewer tear glands than females. Even our physical design dictates that men should cry less than women.

    • echar

      You had me up until #2.

      • Eric_D_Read

        Didn’t have much to say about that one, but at the same time I didn’t want to skip it completely. Consider it a (bad?) joke to lighten the mood.

        • echar

          Evolutionary psychology backs up number 1, the rest I see as commonly expressed binary biases. Which likely widens the divide.

          The part about tear ducts I found interesting, but I pretty much stopped reading when I hit number 3. Not that I am a feminists. The vehement feminists really put me off, I think many likely have their demons and reasons. Same can be said of men that express vitriol towards women/feminists.

      • Eric_D_Read

        What about 3-5?

      • Andrew

        New letters!? God help us!

        • echar

          We must stop this at all costs!

          • Eric_D_Read

            Or just laugh and mock it for the absurdity that it is. That works too.

          • echar

            ok

          • Andrew

            Oh, the ridiculousness of, like, giving things names and shit!

          • Eric_D_Read

            Careful. Since I self-identify as a cis-gendered pansexual aqautic wolverine, you’d best avoid eye contact and display your belly to avoid triggering me.

          • Calypso_1

            From spraying musk?

          • Eric_D_Read

            Why do you hate Transpecies Americans?

          • Calypso_1

            For the record, I love mustelids but I am a Transnationalist.

          • Andrew

            I’m not worried. I carry a knife.

    • Calypso_1

      Pheromones in mammal tears lower testosterone in males.

      In mice this has been shown to prevent mating of adults with juveniles & in naked mole rats to prevent aggression from dominant individuals.
      Human studies have demonstrated similar effects.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131002131438.htm

      • Eric_D_Read

        Interesting.

  • ishmael2009

    I agree with most of what’s being said here except the last bit which seems to me to be an evidence-free zone:

    “By forcing men to hide their emotions from a very young age, society is creating a generation – generations – of men who have difficulty communicating or controlling their feelings. This is harmful to both their psyche and their relationships”.

    Who is doing the “forcing”? Where’s the evidence that men can’t communicate or control their feelings? Who says it’s harmful and again on what evidence? I know the touchy-feely idea of expressing yourself is fashionable but is there really any evidence that it’s better to wear your emotions on your sleeve then it is to just work though it yourself, perhaps with meditation and reflection?

    • Andrew

      > Who is doing the “forcing”?

      My dad. Certain classmates.

      • Andrew

        To the downvoter:

        Too close to home, eh?

    • Oginikwe

      While not a fan of John Boehner, I was a little taken aback by all the heat he’s taken for being a “crier.” He might be a grade A tool, but crying shouldn’t be a part of the criticism.

  • HowardBrazee

    Look at how many insults (such as the ubiquitous F.Y.) are saying, in effect “I treat you as I would treat a woman”.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    I still see tinges of partisanship here. It always bothers me because its always there.

    “it also values certain men (more ‘masculine’, athletic, straight, etc.) over certain other men (more ‘feminine’, homosexual or transsexual, etc.).”

    Like the left right paradigm, it points to there only being two directions. I even found out that LGBTetc. added another letter to it(among many others): A for Asexual implying that if you’re not with the “mainstream” you’re with the one and only substream.

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