Misandry: How We Rarely Think About This Invisible Hatred of Men

misandry

In his book, I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression [3] author and psychotherapist Terrence Real says, “Boys and men are granted privilege and special status, but only on the condition that they turn their backs on vulnerability and connection to join in the fray. Those who resist, like unconventional men or gay or bisexual men, are punished for it.” I completely agree with him.

The language of hate and love

The old adage, “Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words can never hurt me,” is wrong. Words can and do wound. They perpetuate norms that give rise to bigotry, misogyny, misandry, racism, homophobia, and more. Given how “manliness” is enforced by both men and women, is it any wonder that men have become fair targets for a running commentary of contempt?

Even the absence of online discussions of microaggressions against men is itself a microaggression because the absence renders the problem invisible. Some discussions of microaggressions toward women and minorities even say that because men are privileged they can’t experience microaggressions. But many men are not privileged. These men have been rendered invisible and at the same time marked as fair game.

Related: Only Real Men Cry: Men Who Cry Are Not Weak, They Are Stronger

It pathologizes men when we assume something is wrong with a guy who doesn’t like sports, isn’t tall, dark, and handsome, or otherwise doesn’t fit a manly stereotype. It also pathologizes men when we assume the worst transgressions of a few are characteristics of all. It doesn’t help women (or blacks or LGBT individuals) to engage in the sport of putting down men.

We might begin by extending to men our sensitivity about the harm done by microaggressions. It could open the door to compassion and help us build a more humane world.

References:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microaggression_theory

[2] Nadal, Kevin. 2013. That’s So Gay: Microaggressions and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community.

[3] Real, Terrence, 1998. I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression.

Written By Joe Kort 
Originally Appeared In Psychology Today
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Misandry: How We Rarely Think About This Invisible Hatred of Men
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