Started by dr e, Jan 20, 2005, 11:26 AM
January 23, 2005Is the Men's Movement Misogynistic?According to Gender Studies professor Dr. Hugo Schwyzer, Ph.D., < [email protected] > a member of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism, the emerging men's rights movement is a reactionary expression of deep-seated societal misogyny and homophobia.According to Dr. Schwyzer, talk show host/columnist Glenn Sacks is part of the problem--a "purveyor of a victim mentality for men" who "masks men's own responsibility" for their problems and who "lashes out at those, such as feminists, who call men to accountability for their actions." Schwyzer also labels Sacks a "denier of male privilege," adding "just because a group doesn't feel privileged doesn't mean that they aren't."
He is also of dubious character, as he hangs around many teenage girl's blogs, and is to be found constantly relating his many stories of love and angst. I don't know about you, but I find something odd about a mid thirties gender professor relating his love life to impressionable teenage girls, especially as he often acts as a feminist 'mentor' to these girls in a student/teacher type of way.
The assorted musings of Hugo Schwyzer: a progressive, consistent-life ethic Anabaptist/Episcopalian Democrat (but with a sense of humor), a community college history and gender studies professor, an avid marathoner, aspiring ultra-runner, die-hard political junkie, and proud father of a small chinchilla...
Much of the misogyny of the men's rights movement is directed towards feminists. Just as racists in the Old South divided blacks into "good negroes" and "uppity troublemakers", so misogynists create a dichotomy of "good women" (submissive, eager to please, able to "take a joke", uncritical of bad male behavior) and "feminazis" (women who demand accountability from men and who ask to be taken seriously as human beings.) To say one likes individual women, therefore, is no defense against the charge of misogyny. Plenty of racists like individual members of other ethnic groups. To be hostile to the movement that seeks to liberate women is enough, in my book, to merit the charge of misogyny.Misogyny is also institutionalized in our society. Perhaps it is my Christian faith informing my feminism, but I am convinced that pornography is the representative art form of a woman-hating culture. In porn, women exist to fulfill men's desires -- they have no real agency of their own. To see anyone as existing only to serve you and to fulfill you is, feminists have argued, a practical form of hatred. Relatively few men who use porn are conscious of hating women. But regular use of porn inevitably desensitizes the viewer to the humanity and dignity of all of the women with whom he interacts. It defies all we know about human psychology to say that a fellow can go from masturbating to images on his TV or computer screen into interactions with real women without objectifiying them.Let's be clear here. Most folks, if they are really honest about it, go through periods of their lives where they experience (with varying degrees of intensity) authentic dislike for the other sex. Many will go through periods where they also dislike their own. ( Self-loathing among young women is famous -- if I had a dollar for every young woman I've worked with who's said "All my good friends are guys" or "Girls are too competitive, I don't like them" I'd have enough money to pay for a sweet honeymoon!) Most of us take our own personal negative experiences and, at least for a while, allow them to make us fundamentally suspicious of (and perhaps openly hostile to) the other sex. This is one form of genuine misogyny -- or, yes, misandry.We are eager to evade personal responsibility. An anti-Semite can comfort herself by saying, "Oh, I don't hate Jews -- Hitler hated Jews. I just think that they have too much influence in our culture." A racist can say: "Oh, I don't agree with the Klan. But if my daughter brought home a black man, well, I'd be pretty unhappy about that." Surely we'd all agree that these are examples of bigotry? Similarly, a man can say "I don't hate women. I love women. But I think that feminists are out to control and manipulate us." That's misogyny too.........While the men's rights movement sees organized feminism as its adversary, pro-feminist men see feminist women as our allies. Pro-feminist men don't ask women to do for us what we can do for ourselves (such as tell us how to feel, or motivate us to transform); nor are we interested in taking leadership roles in the women's movement. Rather, we work in solidarity with each other, honoring our differences as well as our common goal.I got involved in the men's movement out of a sense of frustration with the superficial nature of most of my relationships with men. (See my "popular posts" sidebar for earlier posts on men.) I also came to the men's movement out of a sense of righteous pro-feminist anger. I'll be the first to admit, I didn't like other men when I was younger. But doing men's work led me to love and cherish other men -- without becoming hostile towards women.