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15 Nov 2013 00:00
Valerie Solanas, pictured here in 1967, was an American feminist writer who wrote about 'eliminating the male sex'. ?(Fred W McDarrah/Getty)
Pop quiz: What's the opposite of "misogyny"? If you said "misandry", you're not only wrong but also a bit of a negative ninny for thinking the opposite of hating one gender is hating another.
Misandry is its male counterpart, but the opposite of misogyny is actually "philogyny", which the dictionary defines as a "love or liking for women". But don't feel bad if you've never even heard the word before, because the dictionary also describes its usage as "rare".
I'm not sure if it means anything that so few people have a need for this word in their vocabulary, but it feels tempting to draw a parallel with the regressive evolution of eyeless cave fish.
Said Charles Darwin: "I attribute their loss wholly to disuse."
There's certainly a shortage of philogyny within Men's Rights Activism, a loose and alarmingly large group of angry straight men who seem determined to talk their way out of ever getting laid again.
That's their buzz word: "misandry" – the all-consuming hatred and systematic oppression of men, as propagated by jackbooted feminazis. Men's rights activists live in a world where false accusations of rape are a bigger problem than actual rape; where domestic violence against men is equivalent to domestic violence against women; and saying things like: "Women should be terrorised by their men; it's the only thing that makes them behave better than chimps" (a quote from Men's Rights Activism's Ferdinand Bardamu's charmingly titled essay The Necessity of Domestic Violence), is not only perfectly understandable but actively encouraged.
A slogan-like feminist retort is: "Misandry isn't a thing". Some argue that systematic misandry simply cannot exist in a patriarchal society. They claim that by insisting misandry is somehow equitable with misogyny, men's rights activists are just being disingenuous idiots (not necessarily in those words).
So does misandry exist? Being a man, you'd think I'd know the answer off the top of my head, but unfortunately I had to waste valuable time actually thinking about it. Men's rights activists love to quote Valerie Solanas's SCUM Manifesto, which called for gendercide against men, but Solanas was clearly off her rocker, so she's a bad example.
Other slightly saner feminists have produced some real doozies, though. For example, Ms Magazine editor Robin Morgan famously said: "I feel that ‘man hating' is an honourable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them."
And there is plenty more where that came from.
I've met a few misandrist feminazis. How could I ever forget the several women at my university who genuinely believed all men were rapists? Or the friend's housemate who never said "men", only "fucking men" whenever she was forced to use that offensive three-letter word? So there you have it. Misandry exists. My only question is: Who cares?
The men's rights activists do, obviously, but why? Sure, there are more than a few genuine man-haters out there, but how has that impacted my life? I've never been forced into a lower salary bracket because of my gender; I've never had to worry that my clothes or alcohol intake might be signalling my desire to be raped; I've never been made to feel ashamed about that promiscuous stage I went through (quite the opposite).
That's because misandry doesn't do any of these things. Misogyny does.
Now let's draw another cheeky parallel. If the men's rights activists trick of wailing about misandry while completely ignoring their own misogyny doesn't sound strangely familiar, simply substitute "racism" for misogyny and "reverse racism" for misandry, and it's easy to see that disgruntled whites are playing exactly the same little word game.
Like misandry, so-called reverse racism is a classic red herring fallacy and a concept that exists more in the imaginations of narrow-minded bigots than in the real world.
Find someone who's constantly moaning about reverse racism and you won't have to look far to find someone who has never complained about actual racism – you know, that racism that made the world hate South Africa.
And, like men's rights activists, their anger is purely based on the fear that their ill-gotten privileges are being prised from their grubby paws. So slowly, in fact, that I have to wonder what all the fuss is about.
Chris McEvoy is a freelance writer.
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