RADAR ALERT: Misandry in the Media: RADAR Expands its Focus
Misandry, simply defined, is the pathological hatred of men and boys. It is the analog to misogyny, but with the bigotry and rage targeted at males.
Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young, two scholars in the field of religious studies at McGill University in Montreal, popularized the word "misandry" in a series of books on the topic: Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture
(2001); Legalizing Misandry: From Public Shame to Systemic Discrimination Against Men
(2006); Sanctifying Misandry: Goddess Ideology and the Fall of Man
Nathanson and Young describe misandry as "a form of prejudice and discrimination that has become institutionalized in North American society, 'a collectively shared and culturally propagated worldview, not a personal emotion such as dislike or anger'"1
As one would expect from the Nathanson and Young definition, misandry is propagated by the media. A vivid example of this occurred late last year on CNN, the self-proclaimed "Worldwide Leader in News." Interviewing the former Lorena Bobbitt (now using the name Lorena Gallo), who in in 1993 cut off her husband John's penis with a kitchen knife, CNN national correspondent Alina Cho displayed both a shocking disregard for John Bobbitt's ordeal and an appalling camaraderie with a woman who justified sexually mutilating her husband by telling the police, "He always have orgasm [sic], and he doesn't wait for me to have orgasm. He's selfish."2
Her name is Lorena Gallo, but back then on news programs and the subject of late-night comedians, she was Lorena Bobbitt. She's remembered as the wife who employed a – shall we say, dramatic – response to an abusive relationship with her then husband John Wayne-Bobbitt. But in the nearly two decades since then she started a new life. She's been in a long-term relationship, thirteen years strong. She has a five year-old daughter. And while she works as a part-time hairdresser and real estate agent, she says her true passion is counseling domestic violence victims through her organization.
I have to ask you this. As you well know, there was a time when joking about the Bobbitts was a national pastime. I wonder after all of these years – are you finally able to laugh about it?
I finally am. And it took a lot of time, it took a lot of years, and definitely a lot of – I went to psychologists, and thanks to the doctors, the therapies I'm here, and I'll be able to now basically start all over again and start a new relationship and have a family and basically I can laugh now3.
More recently, early this year, Brad Womack, returning to the reality show The Bachelor
for a second season, was slapped by contestant Chantal O'Brian on the season premiere show. Before slapping him, she told him: "I watched your season and I have something for you. It's not from me; it's from every woman in America"4
. Remarkably, Mr. Womack later stated that while the slap was "very real and very hard," he "deserved it," presumably for his behavior in the previous season. He explained the slap this way: "I think Chantal was trying to make a statement about my past behavior, and make a strong first impression, which she did."5
In the grand scheme of things, a slap to the face, even a hard one, is fairly trivial, but that the The Bachelor producers, Ms. O'Brian, and even Mr. Womack (male guilt?) believe it is acceptable behavior for a reality show contestant speaks volumes about the pervasive disregard for men's rights that currently exists in modern America.
During Super Bowl XLV, Pepsi Max ran an ad in which a black woman repeatedly abuses her black husband. This is supposed to be funny. In the final scene, the woman throws a can of Pepsi Max at his head but misses, hitting a white woman instead. Amazingly, Eric Deggans, media critic for the St. Petersburg Times, blogged that the ad was a "toxic package" of "sexism, weird racial overtones and violence against women
(emphasis added). No mention is made of the ad's depiction of intentional violence against men.
On June 13, 2011, in a segment entitled "Girls Rule, Boys Drool,"
New York City's popular NPR host Brian Lehrer interviewed Dan Abrams, legal analyst for Good Morning America
and ABC News
, to discuss his new book, Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else7
. Only on the KKK News Network could one imagine the reverse thesis being advanced, that men, on the whole, are better than women.
Saving the most appalling example for last, we turn to CBS's The Talk
, the poor woman's version of ABC's The View
. The Talk
features a panel of women who discuss current events, including Sharon Osbourne, wife of ageless rockstar Ozzy Osbourne. In his younger, more intoxicated years, he was known for biting the head off a bat and peeing on a monument at the Alamo. But the offensiveness of his antics pales in comparison to Sharon Osbourne's behavior during a recent episode of The Talk
Last month, on July 11, 2011, a 48-year old Californian woman, Catherine Kieu Becker, cut off her husband's penis, and, unlike Lorena Bobbitt, who threw her husband's penis into a field, threw it the garbage disposal unit and turned the unit on. Osbourne, and most of her co-hosts, found the story hilarious. Osbourne mimicked with her finger what she envisioned the penis looked like as it went down the garbage disposal, and called Becker's act "quite fabulous," adding: "Just imagine that thing whizzing around the disposal, it's like, hysterical." She also made sure everyone knew that she lights candles by Lorena Bobbitt's picture.
To her credit, co-host Sara Gilbert, the executive producer of The Talk
, pointed out the obvious double standard: "Not to be a total buzz kill, but it is a little bit sexist. If somebody cut a woman's breast off, nobody would be sitting laughing." Ms. Obourne's disagreed, however. "It's different," she explained, because one is floppy and the other sticks up. Well, there you have it. Severed penises are comedy gold.
RADAR has had some modest success in reforming America's approach to the problem of domestic violence. In fact, the perceived growing power of RADAR was a partial motivating factor for the 2009 hit piece published in Slate.com's Double X entitled: "Men's Rights Groups Have Become Frighteningly Effective".
In the article, the author, Kathryn Joyce, incorrectly labels RADAR as a men's rights group and laments the effectiveness RADAR and other groups have had in advancing their views.
Truth be told, however, RADAR and other groups with similar concerns have, with a few exceptions here and there, actually been quite ineffective in stemming the tide of unjust and harmful domestic violence policies. In reflecting on our efforts to reform the nation's approach to solving domestic violence, RADAR has concluded that one major reason judges, prosecutors, and legislators have been unreceptive to our message is the pervasive effect that misandry in the media has on shaping their fundamental biases.
In support of her view that RADAR is frightening, Joyce simply states, incredulously, that RADAR believes "that false allegations are rampant, that a feminist-run court system fraudulently separates innocent fathers from children, that battered women's shelters are running a racket that funnels federal dollars to feminists, that domestic-violence laws give cover to cagey mail-order brides seeking Green Cards, and finally, that men are victims of an unrecognized epidemic of violence at the hands of abusive wives." Joyce finds it so obvious that no right-thinking person could believe such things that she doesn't even bother to try to refute any of them.
Joyce's faith in the justice of the current system takes on a religious quality. It is this kind of blind faith that RADAR must shatter before any meaningful reform will happen.
Going forward, RADAR will focus less on particular laws and more on the nation's anti-male culture. RADAR plans to focus on the prevalence of misandry and the impact of misandry on the nation's approach to domestic violence. RADAR will highlight the media's role in spreading misandry, with media broadly defined to include not just the print, radio, film and television industries but also the messages disseminated by the nations churches and education, including judicial training that often amounts to nothing more than misandristic indoctrination.
Thank you for your continued support. With your help, we can change the culture. Let's do it.
Date of RADAR Release: August 28, 2011
R.A.D.A.R. -- Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting -- is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://mediaradar.org
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