Thursday, September 23, 2010

Who's Hating Who? The logical phallusy of men's claims of endemic "misandry"

image of preposterous t-shirt saying is from here
In case you can't easily read it, the writing on the white t-shirt above says this:


Now exactly how stupid does someone have to be to believe THAT? Exactly how out of touch with reality? Exactly how delusional? How egocentric? How self-absorbed? How clueless?

The reason that mostly WHITE non-poor [North] American (and UK and Australian and European) men can actually think what's on that t-shirt is accurate is because of something called "logical phallusy". Below I'll identify how that works.

Anyone who refuses to figuratively, metaphorically, or otherwise suck the dicks of men are often considered to be man-haters, or, in the newest parlance, "misandrists". (We must ignore, for the moment, that men who get their dicks sucked in any way often enjoy this act because it degrades the person doing the sucking, or, at least, makes the man feel in control, or like he's the master and the other person is the slave, in their sexual if not also emotional relationship.) So too are people regarded as "misandrist" if they refuse to defer to men on all matters "intellectual". So too are people considered to be "man-haters" if they value the perspectives, analyses, and political projects of feminists over those of anti-feminists. So too are people assessed and labeled as "practitioners of misandry" if they value the perspectives, analysis, and political projects of women in the Global South over men in the Global North.

I will tell you what I see: because I call some men some not-nice names when those men are not nice in the ways they speak about feminists, I am regarded as a man-hater. This determination is made unequivocally by many anti-feminist men who claim they aren't anti-feminist (well, some of them claim that; some own it right up front that they are anti-feminists. What they don't like to say out loud is the degree to which they are also misogynists, as this lessens their "victim status" in their claim to be the oppressed gender).

From YahooAnswers to many other social Q&A sites, to men's misogynistic blah-blah-blogs, to reddit-type websites that host topic-specific discussions, these men claim that feminists are "anti-misandrist". There is likely to be no end to them finding still more places on and offline for shoveling this CRAP out for everything to smell. The CRAP being that there is such a thing as a social-political problem called "woman being misandrists". I accept fully that some men--and please keep in mind here I don't identify as a man--do hate men. I accept that some women hate men, although their numbers have never been substantial, relative to "all women". Their numbers are not even significant when compared to the number of men who hate women. But, some men do hate men. Usually that hate goes this way: White men hate men of color, institutionally if not interpersonally; straight men hate gay men, in policy and law if not also in their own social circles. (But usually they express some forms of that hate in their social circles as well. Even if only in "jokes".)

What "anti-misandrists" keep forgetting, or never bothered to notice in the first place, was that the "hatred" that feminists are concerned about isn't only the form of hate that shows up as men being disrespectful or degrading to women. Or the form that shows up as men raping women. Or the form that shows up as multi-billion dollar a year industries called: sexual slavery, trafficking, pornography, advertising, cosmetics, plastic surgery, medical abuse and neglect, or denial of human rights. Or the form that manifests as men believing themselves superior to women, according to male supremacist assessments of what's valuable and what isn't, what's intelligence and what isn't, and what is "humane" and what isn't. What "anti-misandrists" can't quite comprehend, in any intelligible way, is that what feminists are addressing is all of the that and more: how religious institutions discriminate and dominate women, for example.

There are an overlapping, interlocking, systemic and systematic set of assaults against a whole class of people--women--by another whole class of people--men. Some of those misogynistic assaults are acted out against particular groups of women: by white men (or men of color) against women of color, for example. Or by rich men in the Global North (or Global South) against poor (or wealthy) women in the Global South. Or by het (or gay) men against lesbian (or heterosexual) women.

There's a tangled clustering of phenomena, called "hateful" that men perpetrate and perpetuate against women that is not only interpersonal and is not only institutional. Men cannot identify such a complex of "misandry". What they can do is pretend their is one. And they can do this by offering up as "proof" a dozen or two "quotes" by some white feminist women. Some of the quotes are misquotes. Some are from fiction. Some are written by women that were never considered "feminist activists" and lots of other quotes by those same women that demonstrate both regard for and respect of men are not added into that list, because that wouldn't really make the propagandistic and highly delusional point they wish to make.

"Anti-misandrist" men seem to truly, honestly believe that "misandrist women" exist en masse.  And they do, really, honestly, post four to fourteen quotes by like maybe six women as proof-positive that "misandry" is clearly THE SOCIAL-POLITICAL PROBLEM OF OUR AGE. Forget Global Warming. Forget U.S. wars in Asia. Forget famine and the problem of mass starvation and lack of access to basic health care. Forget genocide. And forget "misogyny" in the form of sexual, social, religious, and economic violence against women by men.

Some of these "anti-misandrists" even go so far as to claim that women "hit" men more than men "hit" women, never being very specific when it comes down to defining what "hit" means. Male students claim female students "shame" them in classrooms. Or they "threaten" and "silence" them by objecting to the stupid shit they say. Or they "bash" men in the media as if the media was ever owned by women. This is to say: if women DO "bash" men (verbally) in the media, why do those men who run the media allow that to happen? Is it because women are secretly the tyrants, the private dominators, and true oppressors of men across the West and elsewhere? Is it because the men who profit most from those industries can't help but let women in those industries spew "misandry"? I've yet to see much evidence of this "misandry" and when I "read all about it" all these guys point to are things like ads and TV shows that appear to not regard men as gods.

I hear this a lot: "Women are just as abusive to men  as men are to women." In what village, town, city, state, nation, hemisphere, world, solar system, universe, or multiverse?

I've seen one female relative APPEAR to be more disrespectful of her husband than her husband was of her. And any "anti-misandrist" man, if observing their dynamics, would have concludes that "she's more abusive to him than he is to her" because all they would have bothered to notice were some verbal and some non-verbal cues that she was "less than pleased" with him and sometimes felt genuine anger at him. The verbal "abuse" wasn't manifest in her calling him bad "misandrist" names, mind you. But he did call her very misogynistic terms, regularly. Her "misandry" showed up full blown in her rolling her eyes at stuff he said that she knew was full of shit. So her "eye rolling" is what would get checked off as signs of virulent man-hating/husband-hating, while his general disregard and lack of respect for her is seen as, well, as nothing to get one's pants in a twist about. See, there's really selective "seeing" going on here in assessing where the abuse is (most) in a relationship. So let's tease this out a little more, using the case of this female relative and her now ex-husband.

Who did most of the house cleaning? She did.
Who did most of the cooking? She did.
Who did most, well practically all of the child care? She did.
Who did almost all of the laundry? She did.
Who did almost all--practically every single bit--of the emotional caring of the family members? I mean who showed concern, regard, compassion, empathy, care, attention, and who regularly checked in with family members to find out how they were doing, how they were feeling, and what they might need or want to make their day or lives better? She did. He did almost none of that. Almost NONE. Sometimes he did grill stuff at family gatherings.

Yes, he did do that. So let's give credit where credit is due. But back to how things went most of the time:

Who wanted physical and emotional affection but didn't get it? Her, and each of their children. (I never once saw him hug them or praise them for anything other than athletic accomplishments. And he wouldn't debate this: he knows he was a shitty father in this regard especially.)

Who wanted some forms of "affection" but went outside the marriage to get it? HE did.

He cheated on her, claimed to the women he "rented" or otherwise spent time with that he was in an unhappy marriage as if he couldn't get out of it and as if he couldn't express his issues with their marriage to his wife before deceit and degradation of her and other women began. (The children were grown and out of the house when the cheating really amped up.) He wanted his live-in maid, laundry attendant, cook, nurse, and life manager (that would be my female relative, aka his wife for decades) AND he wanted to (and did) fuck around on her with other women.

But, she did do that eye-roll and also the occasional sigh of disbelief or disgust at things that flowed out of his mouth--as he arrogantly pontificated and obnoxiously postured himself as "the expert" on anything he found himself talking about. Yes, he did that. (There were lots of witnesses.) He was and remains one of those guys who seems to think that if the shit leaves HIS ass it must be pure gold and also perfumed.

So, who here has the problem with being a "hater"? Me, the female relative, or her husband?

The "anti-misandrist" will conclude, beyond any shadow of any doubt, that she and I do, because we don't seem to worship him or even hold him in very high regard. We must remember that even though she "doesn't hold him in very high regard" that she took him to the hospital and all doctor's appointments. She made sure he had food to eat. She prepared foods he enjoyed eating. She made sure he had clean clothes to wear. She made sure their children were attended to emotionally and physically--which meant, of course, that he didn't have to, as if stating, "Well, if SHE'S doing it all just fine, why should I have to do it also??" And yet, let her take the scumbag to court and he'll plead that he ought to get at least 50-50 custody--as if he knows a goddamned thing about how to raise children or how to respect their mother.

He has shown her a lack of regard since soon after they were married and he knew he "had her". Then he felt rather fine about subscribing to Hustler and later to investing a lot of time looking at online pornography. He also later felt just fine about seeking out sex partners online--I'm not saying he didn't have periods of guilt. I'm only saying his guilt didn't override his disregard of his wife.

And, last but not least, after decades of physically and sexually neglecting her, he raped her. Yes, by any definition, he raped her. Because he was angry with her and angry that she wanted more affection from him. So he raped her, anally, and injured her body in the process in ways that could have been lethal had infection set in, somehow believing that by raping her, he'd get HER off HIS back. And guess what? After the rape, she filed for divorce. It was, as they say, "the last straw". She dumped his sorry no-good ass.

Now, who hates who in the above story? Do I hate her now ex-husband? No. Do I have much regard or respect for him? No. But that's not hate. I hate how he treated and mistreated her. I despise the fact that he was so grossly neglectful of her and so grotesquely abusive to her at the end of their marriage.

Does she hate him? No. She's even taken him to doctor's appointments since the divorce, and helped him with some projects--they cleared out and cleaned up their house together, before it got sold.

So this is the part in the "anti-misandry" narrative where the "anti-misandrist" blames HER for hanging around HIM for so long. "Why did she stay with him if he was such a jerk?!!" But they forget to ask, "Why did he stay with a woman who cleans his clothes, cooks his food, raise their children, and also rolls her eyes occasionally?"

If they assess her to be "just as abusive" as he was, then why the hell did he stay with her??!! It couldn't be because he was, in fact, cared for and cared about by her, could it?

And to those who think "she stayed with him for the money", she's also worked a lot outside the home as well as inside it, often being the one to bring in more money than he did as his employment was shaky and hers was steady.

So who hates who in this story? There's one clear answer: he hated her. If we're going to use "hate" to mean systematically abuses disrespects and shows no regard for. And insults. And harms. And oppresses.

If all that equals "hate" then I have not hated him ever, nor has she.

Regardless of what the evidence of sociology, literature, and history has to tell us, the "anti-misandrists" are there to remind us that rape and battery statistics are grossly over-exaggerated. They do this with a straight face while never quite saying that even if that were true, men beating up and raping women would still be a serious political problem. And no matter how low the stats anti-misandrists calculate while determining incidents of such violence against women by men, they are exponentially and socially significantly higher than the rates of women beating up and raping men. This is also to say that there is no social-political epidemic, pandemic, or even "semi-occasional occurrence" of women committing penetrative sexual violence regularly and routinely against men.

According to all historical information thus uncovered, discovered, and recovered (by "unbiased" men at that), women raping men has NOT EVER been a social-political problem. (And there are plenty of objects women could use, so don't blame the lack of incidents on "anatomy": men sure don't when they rape women with objects.) There is also no social-political problem of women intimately terrorising men, or socially terrorising men, or terrorising whole groups of men, such as men of a specific ethnic group, with the exception of Nazi women in Germany in the last century, but their terroristic acts weren't gender-specific, nor was the sex of the torturers gender-specific. Paraphrasing C. A. MacKinnon: Men terrorise women: subject verb object.