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No, They’re Not the Same: Misogyny versus Misandry

Photo by Michelle Ding on Unsplash


A woman who harbours hatred toward men is not equivalent to a man who harbours hatred toward women, especially when considering the broader demographic context—men hating women are fundamentally distinct from women hating men. While etymology and simple reasoning might suggest an equivalence, the stark reality reveals otherwise. One represents a reactionary response, while the other constitutes a systemic assault, a distinction supported by statistical evidence.


In 2022, approximately 48,800 women reported experiencing intimate partner violence and familial attacks. On average, over five women or girls are fatally victimised by acquaintances or family members. Female homicides linked to intimate partners or family members account for 55 per cent of cases, compared to 12 percent of male homicides under similar circumstances.


Globally, an estimated 736 million women aged 15 or older have encountered some form of abuse at least once in their lives, excluding instances of sexual harassment. Women who have endured such traumas experience elevated rates of mental health disorders, sexually transmitted diseases, and unplanned pregnancies. Regrettably, the majority of violence against women stems from their intimate partners, whether current or former.


A troubling trend is the rise of ‘hyperwokeism’, a tactic used by some men to undermine feminist causes by labelling them as misandrist propaganda. Being labelled as a misandrist has become alarmingly easy in today's climate—simply expressing a desire not to be approached unsolicited or setting boundaries after receiving objectifying comments on one's body is enough to earn this label.


The emergence and growth of feminism, particularly in contemporary society, have posed interesting challenges to men. Men no longer have the freedom to make unrestricted comments, enter women's spaces without consideration, approach women casually, or even enter an elevator without considering whether their presence might discomfort a woman. It prompts the question: What freedoms do men still possess in today's society? 


That is a rhetorical question. 


Misandry, the hatred for men, is acknowledged, but it prompts the question: why do misandrists harbour such sentiments? Misogyny has evolved into extreme ideologies like incel extremism. Incel, short for involuntary celibates, comprises individuals who feel entitled to sex due to prolonged celibacy. They form a significant part of the Manosphere, a network encompassing various communities with antipathy towards women, including pick-up artists and men's rights activists. Despite the name, men's rights activists often dispute feminism and argue that society consistently favours women over men, rather than advocating for genuine men's rights.



The community mindset infiltrates the lives of young boys and men, who flock to social media platforms to spew their disdain for women. Andrew Tate epitomises a figure whose influence has wrought immense harm upon boys, particularly during the COVID-19 lockdown when our screens consumed us. 


Young men are profoundly affected by the distorting lens of pornography, which portrays women in a warped light, leading men to believe that sex mirrors what they see online. For boys yet to experience intimacy, their expectations are skewed, while men in relationships may coerce their partners into undesired acts inspired by internet depictions.


The proliferation of alpha male content online has created a normalised space where men and young boys can casually integrate derogatory remarks about women into everyday conversations without facing consequences. This normalisation not only perpetuates harmful attitudes but also shields perpetrators from accountability. When confronted, instead of acknowledging the problematic nature of their language, they defensively label critics as "snowflakes," vehemently rejecting any critique. 


The widespread acceptance of derogatory remarks about women not only perpetuates harmful attitudes but also undermines the validity of women's experiences. When women express discomfort around men or recount traumatic events, the same dismissive and light-hearted attitude prevails. Questions like "Are you sure it happened?" or "It couldn't have been that bad" minimise their experiences and perpetuate the harmful notion that such behaviour is inherent to men. This dismissiveness further silences women and reinforces a culture where their voices are disregarded, making it challenging for them to seek support and justice for instances of harassment or assault.


In a personal encounter, I once found myself in a debate with a young man regarding the distinction between victim blaming and rape prevention. Despite the gravity of the topic, he struggled to provide a satisfactory response and instead attempted to deflect the discomfort by posing a seemingly trivial question: whether a McChicken qualifies as a burger or a sandwich. He then proceeded to assert that while unfortunate events occur, attempting to save the world and prevent such occurrences is futile, and we should simply accept them and focus on the positives. His nonchalant attitude was particularly striking considering that it is predominantly his gender that perpetuates insults against mine, a reality that he seemingly overlooks from his privileged position as a wealthy young man.


As we shifted to the topic of consent, he adamantly insisted that a "yes" always meant consent, no matter the circumstances. When I posed a scenario where a woman, after a night of drinking, enters a man's car, implying a sexual expectation, and questioned if the man has the right to react cruelly if it doesn't happen, he shockingly agreed. To him, the woman's actions signalled consent, even if unspoken, justifying any disappointment or mistreatment from the man's end. This mindset starkly reveals the dangerous misunderstandings and power imbalances surrounding consent and sexual autonomy, particularly in contexts involving alcohol.


It also indicated to me that for him, it's commonplace for a man to anticipate sex after showing what should be considered basic human decency to a woman, such as taking her out, paying for drinks and dinner, or offering a ride home. In his view, sex becomes a form of payment—a transactional exchange rather than an expression of mutual desire and respect. This perspective underscores the importance of understanding that such actions should stem from genuine kindness and respect, rather than being perceived as prerequisites for sexual fulfilment.


The Manosphere dehumanises women into "femoids" and objects of sexual desire. Women are portrayed as opportunistic social climbers who pursue relationships with men of higher status, labelled as "Chads" or "Alphas". Consequently, incels believe they must subjugate women, often resorting to violence, to achieve their desires. Within the incel community, subgroups target women of specific races, classes, demographics, and, disturbingly, even children. This belief system disregards the importance of female consent, placing sexual relations solely in the hands of men.


While not all Manosphere communities focus explicitly on sex, like incels, men's rights activists criticise gender equality, healthcare, and men's perceived loss of power and status in contemporary society. 


In a world where women fear for their safety on dates, worrying about potential violence or drink tampering, men express concerns about women being overly selective, educated, and assertive for their liking. They feel that standards are too high. The MeToo movement, in particular, has made it exceedingly challenging to navigate the expectations of being a man.


Instead of seizing discussions like these as chances for personal growth, numerous men opt to rant about how their familial, friendly, or romantic ties with women automatically categorise them as feminists, absolving them of any threat to women. Ironically, these very men might also joke about female colleagues using romantic liaisons to secure professional advancements and trivialise household chores by deeming them effortless and emasculating to consider assisting with. 


Isn't it ironic that men disparage women while simultaneously relying on our submissiveness to affirm their masculinity? Even though both parents work full-time jobs, Mom is still expected to handle the overwhelming responsibilities of housework and childcare when she returns home. Meanwhile, Dad relaxes with his feet up, watching a football game, and consuming beer after beer, claiming his day was exhausting. 


When Dad does decide to engage in an argument, it's often with fervour, citing his contributions such as fixing plumbing, repairing the car, regrouting tiles, and so on. While it's true that many men are adept at such tasks, they're not necessarily daily chores, are they? Meanwhile, Mom handles the laundry, cooking, cleaning, dusting, attending PTA meetings, arranging playdates, and various other tasks like dentist appointments, shopping, school projects, and chaperoning trips. Day in, day out. She’s often the last to eat, the last to sleep, and the first to rise. 


The upbringing of boys and girls, particularly concerning the expression and management of anger, raises significant concerns. Boys are often instructed that anger is a masculine trait, synonymous with power and strength. Paradoxically, anger isn't acknowledged as an emotion for men, which allows them to evade accountability for displays of rage, as men are stereotypically unemotional. Conversely, women are frequently characterised as emotional, leading to the assumption that they cannot make impartial judgments due to their tendency to cry and appear irrational when angry. 


Many situations that should have sparked anger in women instead result in feelings of confusion, sadness, depression, and a sense of being lost. Because women never learned how to properly handle anger, they experience a range of other emotions instead.


When a boy from class bullies us on the playground, it's often dismissed as endearing and interpreted as a sign of affection, rather than recognized as a manifestation of the privilege associated with the possession of a penis. Girls are indoctrinated from a tender age to passively accept attention from boys, under the oppressive notion that fighting back isn't feminine. The relentless pressure to conform to narrow gender roles is thrust upon us, ingrained with the cruel belief that deviating from these norms will render us undesirable to boys. 


The toxic mantra of "boys will be boys" persists, even when men exhibit violent behaviour towards women. Consequently, girls grow into women who are expected to tolerate such actions and make excuses for men's behaviour. Victims are often blamed, with trivial reasons like their choice of clothing being used as justification for the violence inflicted upon them. 


Consider Afghanistan, where, following the withdrawal of the US army, the Taliban has regained control. Under their rule, women are forbidden from leaving their homes without covering and male supervision, and girls are denied access to higher education and employment opportunities. Despite government claims that this is in women's best interests and that they do not voice grievances, it's clear that those who do speak out are silenced, imprisoned, or worse—serving as cautionary tales for others. Do women refrain from complaining out of contentment, or out of fear? 


Observing the systemic oppression of women doesn't necessitate a journey to Afghanistan or Iran. While it's notably pronounced in those regions, consider a typical nuclear family. Consider society's perception of a good father. We often envision a dad who attends soccer games and "babysits” the children while mom enjoys a rare night out with friends, albeit with her constantly checking her phone, just in case dad struggles with managing toys after play time ends. 


Now, contrast this with society's view of a bad mother. It's often associated with a mom who can't be in five different places at once, who occasionally indulges in her hobbies, or who resorts to giving her kids the iPad to calm them down. The threshold for a dad to be deemed good is relatively low, while it's similarly easy for a mom to be labelled as bad. 


This normalisation has become so ingrained that challenging it can make you feel like an outsider, the lone individual striving to enact change for her self-interest. When a man fulfils the responsibilities of a parent as expected, he's often labelled as gay and feminine. The notion is, why would a "true" dad want to watch Disney movies with his children or learn how to braid his daughter's hair? 


Even when a man contributes to household chores, he often faces criticism for deviating from traditional gender roles and engaging in tasks typically associated with women. Who is faulting these men for fulfilling their duties as good men? Who ridicules a man for openly loving his partner's children, regardless of biological ties? Who brands men as "beta" for not fixating on the body count of women?


Predominantly other men.


Men are victims of the patriarchy too; they suffer its consequences.


It's understandably tough to break down a system that you, your father, and his father have staunchly upheld. Yet, the patriarchy harms men just as much. This contributes to alarmingly high rates of male suicide. They often lament the stress of being the sole breadwinner, and indeed, it's a heavy burden. But this pressure stems from women not being allowed to work outside the home. The patriarchy places this burden squarely on men, not on women.


Misogyny may not be as overtly violent as historical forms of oppression, like selling women for 50 silver shekels, but it's still deeply ingrained in our society. It's in our DNA, our heritage. Even women carry a sense of misogyny that requires constant examination. How many times have you, as a woman, questioned another woman's clothing or choices, or even your own?


The fundamental difference between misogyny and misandry lies in their manner of use. While misandry seldom leads to physical harm or oppression of men, at most causing offence, it truly serves as a response to long-standing misogyny. In contrast, misogyny represents a systemic and intentional assault on women, persisting despite societal advancements and skillfully embedding itself within societal norms, often remaining unseen but deeply rooted.

Edited by: Shawn Chodhry and Georgiana Jureschi

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