Misandry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Misandry// is the hatred, dislike, contempt for or ingrained prejudice against men and/or boys.[1][2] Misandry can be manifested in numerous ways that have their parallel in misogyny including sexual discrimination, denigration of men, violence against men, and sexual objectification of men. Warren Farrell has written of how men are uniquely marginalized in what he calls their "disposability," the manner in which the most dangerous of societies' jobs throughout history, particularly soldiering, have been performed by men. The female counterpart of misandry is misogyny, the hatred or dislike of women; the antonym of misandry is philandry, the love or fondness of men.

The word misandry can be traced, in English language, back to at least 1871, when it was used in The Spectator magazine.[3] It appeared in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) in 1952. Translation of the French "Misandrie" to the German "Männerhaß" (Hatred of Men)[4] is recorded in 1803.[5]Misandry is formed from the Greek misos (μῖσος, "hatred") and anēr, andros (ἀνήρ, gen. ἀνδρός; "man").[6]

Comparisons with other forms of prejudice[edit]

Writer Warren Farrell compared the dehumanizing stereotyping of men to the dehumanization of American slaves, stating that the male role in most traditional societies is similar to the role of the second class slave, while the female role is similar to the first class slave. The second class slave would labor outside, while the first class slave worked in the home.[7]

In the past quarter century, we exposed biases against other races and called it racism, and we exposed biases against women and called it sexism. Biases against men we call humor.

—Warren Farrell, Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say

Religious Studies professors Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young made similar comparisons in their 2001, three-book series Beyond the Fall of Man,[8] which defines misandry as a form of prejudice and discrimination that has become institutionalized in North American society, saying "The same problem that long prevented mutual respect between Jews and Christians, the teaching of contempt, now prevents mutual respect between men and women."

In the 2007 book International Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities, Marc A. Ouellette dismissively contrasted misandry with misogyny, arguing that "misandry lacks the systemic, transhistoric, institutionalized, and legislated antipathy of misogyny" though acknowledging the possibility of specific "racialized" misandries.[9]Anthropologist David D. Gilmore argues that while misogyny is a "near-universal phenomenon" there is no male equivalent to misogyny. He writes:

Man hating among women has no popular name because it has never (at least not until recently) achieved apotheosis as a social fact, that is, it has never been ratified into public, culturally recognized and approved institutions (...) As a cultural institution, misogyny therefore seems to stand alone as a gender-based phobia, unreciprocated.[10]

Gilmore also states that neologisms like misandry refer "not to the hatred of men as men, but to the hatred of men's traditional male role" and a "culture of machismo". Therefore, he argues, misandry is "different from the intensely ad feminam aspect of misogyny that targets women no matter what they believe or do".[10]


Academic Alice Echols, in her 1989 book Daring To Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967–1975, argued that radical feministValerie Solanas, best known for her attempted murder of Andy Warhol in 1968, displayed an extreme level of misandry compared to other radical feminists of the time in her tract, The SCUM Manifesto. Echols stated,

Solanas's unabashed misandry—especially her belief in men's biological inferiority—her endorsement of relationships between 'independent women,' and her dismissal of sex as 'the refuge of the mindless' contravened the sort of radical feminism which prevailed in most women's groups across the country.[11]

The text contains aspects of Freudian psychoanalytical theory: the biological accident, the incomplete sex and "penis envy" which became "pussy envy."[12][13]

bell hooks has discussed the issue of "man hating" during the early period of women's liberation as a reaction to patriarchal oppression and women who have had bad experiences with men in non-feminist social movements, but has criticized separatist strands of feminism as "reactionary" for promoting the notion that men are inherently immoral, inferior and unable to help end sexist oppression or benefit from feminism.[14][15][16] In Feminism is For Everybody, hooks laments the fact that feminists who critiqued anti-male bias in the early women's movement never gained mainstream media attention and that "our theoretical work critiquing the demonization of men as the enemy did not change the perspective of women who were anti-male" leading to an unnecessary rift between the men's movement and the women's movement.[17]

Though bell hooks does not name individual separatist theorists, Mary Daly's utopian vision of a world in which men and heterosexual women have been eliminated is an extreme example of this tendency.[18] Daly argued that sexual equality between men and women was not possible and that women, due to their superior capacities, should rule men.[19] Yet later, in an interview, Daly argued "If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males."[20]

Naomi Wolf in Fire With Fire contrasted "power feminism" with "victim feminism" arguing that the latter promotes the "angelization" of women as victims that speak with a pure voice and inversely demonizes men as inherently amoral.[21] Wolf's analysis of victim feminism echos the criticism that Betty Friedan made of female chauvinism which she defined as "the assumption that women have any moral or spiritual superiority as a class".[22]

Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young argued that "ideological feminism" as opposed to "egalitarian feminism" has imposed misandry on culture.[23] Their 2001 book, Spreading Misandry, analyzed "pop cultural artifacts and productions from the 1990s" from movies to greeting cards for what they considered to be pervasive messages of hatred toward men. Legalizing Misandry (2005), the second in the series, gave similar attention to laws in North America.

In 2002, punditCharlotte Hays wrote "that the anti-male philosophy of radical feminism has filtered into the culture at large is incontestable; indeed, this attitude has become so pervasive that we hardly notice it any longer".[24]

Sociologist Anthony Synnott argues that the reality of misandry is undeniable when one looks to cultural, academic, and media depictions of men. He states that "misandry is everywhere, culturally acceptable, even normative, largely invisible, taught directly and indirectly by men and women, blind to reality, very damaging and dangerous to men and women in different ways and de-humanizing."[25] He also criticizes modern scholarship on men as "dehumanizing" and lacking in awareness of statistical reality.

Wendy McElroy, an individualist feminist,[26] wrote in 2001 that some feminists "have redefined the view of the movement of the opposite sex" as "a hot anger toward men seems to have turned into a cold hatred."[27] She argued it was a misandrist position to consider men, as a class, to be irreformable or rapists. McElroy stated "a new ideology has come to the forefront... radical or gender, feminism," one that has "joined hands with [the] political correctness movement that condemns the panorama of western civilization as sexist and racist: the product of 'dead white males'."[28]

In 2001, novelist Doris Lessing delivered a speech at Edinburgh Books Festival criticizing a "lazy and insidious" culture had taken hold within feminism that reveled in flailing men. Lessing stated "I find myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed" and linked the pervasiveness of these attitudes within schools to boys educational underachievement.[29]

Barbara Kay, a Canadian Journalist, has been critical of feminist Mary Koss's discussion of rape culture, describing the notion that “rape represents an extreme behavior but one that is on a continuum with normal male behavior within the culture" as "remarkably misandric".[30]

In literature[edit]

Ancient Greek literature[edit]

Classics professor Froma Zeitlin of Princeton University discussed misandry in her article titled "Patterns of Gender in Aeschylean Drama: Seven against Thebes and the Danaid Trilogy."[31] She writes:

The most significant point of contact, however, between Eteocles and the suppliant Danaids is, in fact, their extreme positions with regard to the opposite sex: the misogyny of Eteocles' outburst against all women of whatever variety (Se. 181-202) has its counterpart in the seeming misandry of the Danaids, who although opposed to their Egyptian cousins in particular (marriage with them is incestuous, they are violent men) often extend their objections to include the race of males as a whole and view their cause as a passionate contest between the sexes (cf. Su. 29, 393, 487, 818, 951).[31]

Literary criticism[edit]

In his book, Gender and Judaism: The Transformation of Tradition, Harry Brod, a Professor of Philosophy and Humanities in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Northern Iowa, writes:

In the introduction to The Great Comic Book Heroes, Jules Feiffer writes that this is Superman's joke on the rest of us. Clark is Superman's vision of what other men are really like. We are scared, incompetent, and powerless, particularly around women. Though Feiffer took the joke good-naturedly, a more cynical response would see here the Kryptonian's misanthropy, his misandry embodied in Clark and his misogyny in his wish that Lois be enamored of Clark (much like Oberon takes out hostility toward Titania by having her fall in love with an ass in Shakespeare's Midsummer-Night's Dream).[32]

Julie M. Thompson, a feminist author, connects misandry with envy of men, in particular "penis envy," a term coined by Sigmund Freud in 1908, in his theory of female sexual development.[33] Nacy Kang has discussed "the misandric impulse" in relation to the works of Toni Morrison.[34]

Feminist philosopher Christina Hoff Sommers has highlighted the misandric nature of Eve Ensler's play The Vagina Monologues where "there are no admirable males...the play presents a rogues’ gallery of male brutes, sadists, child-molesters, genital mutilators, gang rapists and hateful little boys" which she finds out of step with the reality that "most men are not brutes. They are not oppressors"[35]

Criticism of the term[edit]

In his 1997 book The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy, sociologist Allan G. Johnson stated that accusations of man-hating have been used to put down feminists and shift attention onto men in a way that reinforces male-centered culture.[36] Johnson said that comparisons between misogyny and misandry are misguided because mainstream culture offers no comparable anti-male ideology. He says in his book that accusations of misandry work to discredit feminism because "people often confuse men as individuals with men as a dominant and privileged category of people."[36] He wrote that given the "reality of women's oppression, male privilege, and men's enforcement of both, it's hardly surprising that every woman should have moments where she resents or even hates 'men'."[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/misandry
  2. ^http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misandry
  3. ^Review of novel "Blanche Seymour", The Spectator, London, Apr. 1, 1871, p. 389]
  4. ^"Translations for Männerhaß in the German » English dictionary". Pons Dictionary German To English. PONS GmbH, Stuttgart. Archived from the original on Mar 19, 2014. 
  5. ^Johann Georg Krünitz (1803). Oekonomische Encyklopädie oder allgemeines System der Staats-, Stadt-, Haus- u. Landwirthschaft: in alphabetischer Ordnung. Von Lebens-Art bis Ledecz : Nebst einer einzigen Fig. Friedrich's des Einzigen, u. 3 Karten90. Pauli. p. 461. 
  6. ^Oxford Dictionaries http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/misandry
  7. ^Warren Farrell "The Myth of Male Power," Berkeley Publishing Group, 1996.
  8. ^(Nathanson & Young 2001, pp. 4–6)
  9. ^Flood, Michael, ed. (2007-07-18). International Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities. et al. London; New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-33343-1
  10. ^ abGilmore, David G. Misogyny: The Male Malady. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009, pp. 10–13, ISBN 978-0-8122-1770-4.
  11. ^Echols, Nicole. Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967–1975. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989, pp. 104-105, ISBN 978-0-8166-1786-9.
  12. ^Castro, Ginette. "American Feminism: A Contemporary History". New York: New York University Press, 1990, p. 73, ISBN 978-0-8147-1435-5.
  13. ^Smith, Patricia Juliana. The Queer Sixties. New York: Routledge, 1999, p. 68, ISBN 978-0-415-92168-8.
  14. ^Hooks, Bell (2000), Feminism is For Everybody: Passionate Politics, South End Press; Cambridge.
  15. ^Hooks, Bell. (1984), Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, South End Press; Boston.
  16. ^Hooks, Bell. (2005), The Will To Change: Men, Masculinity and Love, New York; Washington Square Press.
  17. ^Hooks, Bell (2000), Feminism is For Everybody: Passionate Politics, South End Press; Cambridge, p. 69.
  18. ^Daly, Mary. (1998), Quintessence...Realizing The Archaic Future, Beacon Press; Boston.
  19. ^Daly, Mary. (1990), Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism, Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, pp. 384 & 375–376
  20. ^ridle, Susan (Fall/Winter 1999). "No Man's Land". EnlightenNext Magazine
  21. ^Wolf, Naomi (1993), Fire With Fire: The New Female Power and How it Will Change the 21st Century, Chatto & Windus; London, pp. 156-163
  22. ^Friedan, Betty. 1998. It Changed My Life: Writings on the Women's Movement. Harvard University Press.
  23. ^(Nathanson & Young 2001, p. xiv) "[ideological feminism,] one form of feminism—one that has had a great deal of influence, whether directly or indirectly, on both popular culture and elite culture—is profoundly misandric".
  24. ^Hays, Charlotte. 'The Worse Half.' National Review 11 March 2002.
  25. ^Why Some People Have Issues With Men: Misandry, Psychology Today, October 6, 2010
  26. ^The Independent Institute
  27. ^(McElroy 2001, p. 5)
  28. ^(McElroy 2001, pp. 4–6)
  29. ^Gibbons, Fiachra. "Lay off Men, Lessing Tells Feminists", The Guardian, Tuesday 14 August 2001.
  30. ^Barbara Kay, (2014) ‘Rape culture’ fanatics don’t know what a culture is", National Post, http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/03/08/barbara-kay-rape-culture-fanatics-dont-know-what-a-culture-is/
  31. ^ abZeitlin, Froma I. (April 1, 1990). Patterns of Gender in Aeschylean Drama: Seven against Thebes and the Danaid Trilogy (PDF). Retrieved 2007-12-21.  Princeton University, paper given at the Department of Classics, University of California, Berkeley
  32. ^Gender and Judaism: The Transformation of Tradition, Harry Brod
  33. ^Emphasis added. Julie M. Thompson, Mommy Queerest: Contemporary Rhetorics of Lesbian Maternal Identity, (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002).
  34. ^Kang, N. (2003), "To Love and Be Loved: Considering Black Masculinity and the Misandric Impulse in Toni Morrison's "Beloved", Callaloo, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 836-854.
  35. ^Sommers, Christina Hoff. (2008), What’s Wrong and What’s Right with Contemporary Feminism?, Hamilton College. Retrieved 2014-01-27..
  36. ^ abcJohnson, Alan G. (2005). The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy (2, revised ed.). Temple University Press. p. 107. ISBN 1592133843

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]