MISANDRY – Gender Politics and Raising Boys

Commenter RocketFrog contirbuted a really interesting comment. I thought it merited a post of its own because it descibes something I have seen across the manosphere – men who have been disparaged and emotionally abused as little children in some way by adults caught up in the gender ideology struggles of the last couple of generations (Not to say that people weren’t harmed by traditional gender ideologies, but that is a related discussion.)

One thing that stands out in his account is his mother’s recognition of the damage some of these doctrines were having on him and her actions to correct that. That’s humanity overriding belief.

This kind of thing is not restricted to feminism and feminist mothers. People hurt other people with thier ideologies all the time. This is the difference – what RF describes sounds what it would be like to be a black child growing up in a White Supremacist household – and how often does that happen? Compare that to how often boys are raised by radfem mothers

A large part of why I personally read (and post) on gendersphere sites has to do with why Ginkgo calls some of these sites “burn wards”.

I was raised by a feminist mother, although she jettisoned most of her more extreme views when I was still very young – she has later explained to me that raising boys taught her that her former views on male nature were mistaken (and today, her actual opinions on gender are more closely aligned with the MRM than with feminism – she regards it as a disaster that young men do so poorly in the educational system, that they so often develop mental disorders and that so many of them commit suicide). Her friends, however, did not (and neither did the largely female staff of child care institutions I grew up in), and I spent most of my childhood absorbing various nasty views about men, served to me before I really had the critical faculties to understand that I was only hearing one side. I knew that rape was a horrible thing men did to women before I even knew what sex was. I knew that all the things I liked about myself – such as being smart and kind – were considered ”girlish”; these women would often comment that I was so smart that one should think I was a girl. I knew that men were stupid, grunting ogres who watched soccer and liked violence – and I remember vividly how horrified I was to discover that I was going to grow up into such a creature. (It needs to be said that I was hyperlexic, and would sometimes grab random literature from my parents’ bookshelves and read through – my word decoding ability far outstripped my actual comprehension). My father was a quite kind, but also quite troubled man, who I lost contact with when I was very young. My stepfather spent most of his time demonstrating that men could be exactly as horrible as all those women said they were.

I am convinced that many other boys have gone through similar childhoods, and emerged healthy on the other side. The issue of “all things good are associated with the other gender, all things bad are associated with me” is probably also an experience I share with girls who grew up in patriarchal environments. Perhaps the reason that I grew into what I did is just that I have a naturally weak and fragile psychological disposition (which I probably do; things others consider trivial can freak me out completely, as is unfortunately common for autistic people). But at any rate, by the time I was a young adult, I so thoroughly hated everything male that I wished to be castrated or nullified to take myself out of the role of the inadvertent suppressor. I have spent time living in self-imposed “solitary confinement” because I thought that my mere presence in public spaces contributed to oppression of women. The combination of radfem rhetoric and a very literal, some might say gullible, mind, did not help.

 I did not grow into a caustic misogynist; I grew into a hateful, self-loathing misandrist. I still am, even though I try my best not to be. I wasted what should have been the best years of my life sitting around hating myself due to my gender. I still struggle to not immediately associate everything male with evil; it is my “backbone” reaction by now. I still view sex as a consensual kind of rape (rather than rape as a nonconsensual kind of sex) unless I take time to think things through and remind myself that this is just because I learned these things in the wrong order. I am practically unable to interact with women in any way but in either a professional or purely platonic context (which is a bit of a bummer, since I am unfortunately heterosexual).

The feminists I grew up with were a very different bunch from most of those I see now, writing on the Internet. Perhaps it is a generational issue. Most of the feminists I grew up with were *extremely* essentialist, they believed that men and women were so radically different that they were practically different species (with men being naturally prone to violence and oppression, and women being naturally peaceful and cooperative). Most of the feminists I see writing online have a different core view, namely that gender is socially constructed, and that the social constructs we currently have for gender are broken and lead to broken human beings. And that is actually a view I can “naturally” sympathize with, because I think I am a broken human being, and gender enforcement was one of the things that contributed to turning my life to shit. It is just that the most militant gender enforcers I have ever met also called themselves feminists.

Some of the voices from the MRM – the more misogynist ones – remind me of a sort of mirror image of the women I grew up with. They are saying exactly the same kind of thing, except that instead of saying that men are violent and brutish and nasty, they are saying that women are deceitful and evil and nasty. They are focusing on negative human traits and making them negative female traits – which I think is not only counterproductive and stupid, it is also wrong (men cannot be deceitful? Male politicians seem to be just as good at manipulating and lying as any woman). This is the personal side of why I do not call myself an MRA or support the MRM – their misogyny reminds me so much of the misandry I experienced as a child; I cannot support people who remind me of that. The less personal and more overtly political aspect is that I will not support a movement that willingly includes white supremacists, heterosupremacists and misogynists – if the MRM criticizes feminists for not denouncing Mary Daly’s genocidal fantasies, all the anti-trans sentiment or the use of racist imagery in Amanda Marcotte’s books, then it is a bunch of hypocrites if it does not denounce its own extremist hatemongers.

I want to heal myself, and many of the wounds I have in my mind are gender-related. By discussing these things in public, I hope that other people with similar wounds might have a slightly less difficult time healing themselves (if it is possible, which I am not sure of for myself). I do not want to hurt women as revenge. Some MRAs seem to want revenge; that is a motivation I do not have (not because I am particularly good, but simply because it will not help anything at all).

Note how much of the misandry he was exposed to was really just re-packaged old traditionalist misandry – the macho, Neanderthal stereotypes, the gender essentialism, all apparently all motivated by a deep sense of male disposability – all chime with traditionalist cultural memes far more than with what most mainstream feminists would claim is mainstream feminism.

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  • Factory

    ….and how much of the ‘misogyny’ is really his hypersensitivity?

    Whenever I see these accusations, I also note a striking corollary…there is never any examples given.

  • Ginkgo

    Factory, that is pretty much implied in this. The misandry he describes is naturally going to lead to just those accusations of misogyny. It’s pretty tradcon, really. Men are brutes and part of that brutishness, or even the core of it, is failing to appreciate and emulate feminine grace and poise. Self-serving twaddle.

  • Erenthia

    My childhood experiences also led me down a path of extreme self-loathing for being a member of a gender whose sole purpose seemed to be to rape and oppress. I also knew the term “rape” before I knew what sex was, though this had more to do with my parents laziness than any attempt to instill feminist ideals in me. Most of my internalized misandry came from the television. I can only think of one instance when my mother said anything on the subject (she parroted the old line about how men used to have the power of life and death over their wives), but it wasn’t a major issue for her. However, it did validate all of the third-wave feminist garbage I was fed by 90s TV.

    I also do not consider myself an MRA, but only because I have high standards for what constitutes an “activist”. I do nothing in my everyday life about institutionalized misandry. I’ve raised awareness amongst my closest friends, but that’s about it. And while I do worry about initiatives like manhood101 I don’t consider it the responsibility of others to do something about it – it’s *my* responsibility since I’m the one with a problem with it. Most of my presence in the gendersphere has been more about self-healing than getting anything accomplished in the wider world.

    My relationship with my wife has been drastically affected. On the whole I think it’s been positive, though as with any healing process, there have been some serious hiccups. I can’t count the number of times I crashed and burned in college (finally just giving up) because I just didn’t feel like I deserved to succeed. I’d just be taking away from the limited pool of success that some woman somewhere deserved more than I did (just for being a woman). That led to $50k in student loan debt with no degree and hardly any realistic ways to support my family. I’m finally reaching the place where I feel like I deserve to succeed but since that came hand in hand with discovering how toxic university life is, I’ve decided to seek my fortunes elsewhere.

    Even though things have gotten a lot better for me, I’m still trying to relearn basic principles of how to relate to people (especially ones who happen to be women). I spent my whole life being so accommodating, that I worry I’m over-reacting and becoming a jerkass even with my wife. I’m naturally a very kind person. My first instinct is always to help people, but I’ve started to become much more likely to question that instinct if the person in question is a woman. I don’t like being that way. My fear of being taken advantage of has completely over-ridden my deeper nature and I hate it. I don’t lay these problems at the feet of the gendersphere or the MRM mind you. If my parents had taken a more active role in teaching me what the world was like, if they had taught me a better way of relating to women than self-destructive altruism then I wouldn’t be here, having to reteach myself some extremely basic shit at 30 years old. Ultimately it’s their fault I ended up like I did, but it’s my fault if I stay this way. I just hope I don’t seriously damage my marriage while I figure things out.

  • Jupp

    Factory:
    “….and how much of the ‘misogyny’ is really his hypersensitivity?”
    The question is when does sensitivity become hypersensitivity? It seems to me that there is a significant difference between the genders regarding what they regard as offensive. Examples:
    -Women seem to be significantly more sensitive when it comes to “their boundaries”.
    -Talking to women you have to sugarcoat things way more than with men.
    -When talking about their feelings most women, unlike men, require some reassurance.
    In regard of this, it seems generally feasible to adjust your behaviour depending on the gender of the people you interact with;
    but if this is so, shouldn’t parents raise their kids accordingly?

  • RocketFrog

    Factory:

    I am not David Futrelle, I do not keep a “shit list” of ugly things people have said on MRM websites. I can go to MRM sites and find examples of misogyny if you want.

    I think I am more sensitive to misandry than to misogyny, although the responses are different. When I read something I consider misogynistic, I get annoyed or angry. When I read something misandrist, some switch in my mind seems to flip, and I either take it all to heart and spend a few days with a brand new reason to despise myself for being male, or I just feel terribly remorseful, guilty or shameful.

    The only thing written on a MRM site that I had a similar reaction to was on In Mala Fide, in an article that stated that men with Asperger’s syndrome “need to be bullied”, to keep them in their place and to keep them from polluting the Internet with “Aspie drivel”. That also made me “switch off” for a few days, but I think that is mostly because it reminded me of my own bullies from my childhood and young adulthood (or because it fueled a thought I often have about my own natural inferiority and how it is the natural order of things that I must be isolated and beset by bullies, even though on some level I know that this line of thinking is fascist bullshit; fascist bullshit I would never accept said about anyone else).

    Erenthia:

    I managed to get through university through a combination of two things: A complete single-minded, some would say obsessive, focus on my academic subject, and deliberately avoiding any reading material that had anything to do with gender. At that point in my life, I had just emerged from a serious alcohol problem, and I just tried to shield myself from the self-destructive thoughts as best I could, by trying to avoid all triggers I knew about.

    I have given up on ever establishing anything but professional or purely Platonic relationships with women. Most women have expectations that I cannot realistically meet, and most women can easily find better men than me anyway. I did have a girlfriend earlier in my life, but that relationship was a spectacular failure – in no small part because she was also very much aware that she could get a better man, which she would frequently remind me.

    I try my best to keep active and remain as cheerful as I can about it all (at least I have lots of time to explore my more intellectual interests), but I am always painfully aware that this is not at all the life I had hoped for, and that there are parts of human life that are off-limits to someone like me.

    It is probably unfair to blame feminism for the failings of a man with multiple psychiatric diagnoses, so take what I write for what it is.

  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com Stoner With a Boner

    RocketFrog-

    Calling Inmalafide a “men’s right’s” sight is a bit off….

    That said I have definitely seen comments that Ferdinand Bardimu and others said that were extremely bullying….

    They also had white nationalists (I’ve recently been informed that Neo Nazi’s are a whole different hate group and I’m committing a hate crime by conflating one type of racist with another) and others assorted people I would not want to meet in real life…..

    I did contribute to that cesspool 😉

    http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/its-official-no-more-inmalafide/

  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com Stoner With a Boner

    “It is probably unfair to blame feminism for the failings of a man with multiple psychiatric diagnoses, so take what I write for what it is.”

    When bigots like Marcotte and Futrelle bully men with poor social skills with the same zest as the bigots at Inmalafide-they DO deserve blame and pushback.

    They do deserve to be called out and shown for what they are….

  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com Stoner With a Boner

    “Some of the voices from the MRM – the more misogynist ones – remind me of a sort of mirror image of the women I grew up with.”

    I’ve gotta say the current MRM is an epic fail for me, I’ve even had words with Paul Elam and it wasn’t pleasant. He even told me to go back to the basement to play video games or so such “call from authority.” Seems like a similar playbook that Marcotte and Futrellle use….

    I actually told my mother that her and my father deserved each other. (They slapped each other around.) Kind of feel the same with feminists and the MRM.

  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com Stoner With a Boner

    My mom s a 2nd wave feminist….

    I remember reading her copy of The Female Eunich when I was 17 or 18 and I was like “oh, now I know whay she hated me soooo much. It’s because of feminism and the fact she picked a bad husband. I was just the closest human punching bag……

  • wudang

    Rocketfrog, I can emphasize with your experience. I haven`t had a bad divorce or much bad experiences with women per se but internalized way too much misandry and that was very detrimental to me.

    You mention multiple psychiatric diagnosis’s, aspberger (do you have aspberger yourself?) and giving up establishing intimate connections with women. Meditation and qigong can be used to radically rewire a person in ways most are not aware of. I´ve used it to deal with my own hypersensitivity so that it is no longer a problem but an asset, to go from being so much in my head I had bad control over my body to having such a good body mind connection dancers tell me I could easily become a professional dancer if I wanted to, to go from being mostly unaware of my feelings because they felt too powerful and I surpressed them to letting them flow freely and being unusually aware of what I am feeling, to go from being far too much in my left logical brain half to synchronizing my brain halves, from being unaware of a lot of what peoples body language means and what they are feeling (although very good at reading certain other things in other people) to becoming very, very good at reading other people and I`ve cleaned out tons of old psychological wounds and issues that would have been very difficult to heal otherwise. I have also talked to people in real life and online that have healed themselves completely from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, deep depression, anxiety disorders and all sorts of emotional issues. I`ve also talked to numerous people that have used it as a base to rewire themselves so that social skills where easy to learn (they are easy to learn if you can feel your own emotions, can read others emotions and are emotionally balanced and healthy). Although it is far from researched enough there is research that indicates strongly that meditation and qigong can do these things. The long term meditators that where tested were for example better able to read the emotions of other people than anyone that has ever been tested and the ability to read others improves in people after only a few months of meditation. Long term meditators also show levels of happiness and emotional health that surpasses the norm. Long term meditators have also shown amazing ability to control their brain activity at will in various ways that non meditators have no ability to.

    If you are interested I can point you to practices and teachers and reading material and I can also write some more in emails about how this stuff works. You will need to put in a lot of effort but the results will be amazing. It just saddens me when I see people that have given up hope when I know there is stuff that can help so I just wanted to through this out there.

    I highly recommend you search up a book called possessing me by the blogger and youtube meditation teacher SFJane. It is her story of how she cured herself 100% from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, being violently aggressive and suicidal through meditation and qigong. Her case was extreme and required an extreme effort even most people with heavy issues would not need to put in but it is a great example of HOW this stuff works in healing hardcore issues.

    Once you have the basic deeper issues sorted out there are great resources for learning basic social skills and skills with women if you still feel you lack them and I can point you towards good and healthy resources if you want them.

  • http://www.youtube.com/pianomosaic Diesirae

    I can definitely relate to this. I’m also from the generation that grew up in a society of misandry and when I was not yet an adult it was impossible not to internalize much of it.

    Now that I’m better equipped, I have the means to deal with it better. Though it will never be completely gone I think.
    I found what helps is to focus on the positive things. Even if you think there aren’t any, just searching for them will improve everything.

    What also helps is to realize that this is what drives many feminists as well – internalized misogyny.

  • Hackberry

    A major difference I note is that the hateful feminists were ones that had popular and successful books, were writing national magazine articles in successful national magazines, getting applause and affirmation at speaking gigs etc. Hateful stuff, but reinforced by an unaware and gynocentric culture. Comparable MRA’s? No way. There simply aren’t any (or very very few) MRA’s who are writing successful books about men’s issues, getting national magazine articles published, doing large speaking gigs with applause and affirmation. The two are simply not comparable. I suppose a case could be made for Warren Farrell falling into that category but you would be hard pressed to classify him as hateful. To claim a desire to dis-identify with a movement due to a few who lack both credentials and credibility seems a bit weak to me.

  • JE

    “but that relationship was a spectacular failure – in no small part because she was also very much aware that she could get a better man, which she would frequently remind me.”

    Not parhaps in no small part because she was seriously psychologically abuse, as becomes clear every time you talk about her behaviour and this is just yet another exemple of? Someone who stays with someone but keeps saying they can do better isn’t interested in “better” they’re interested in what they have, a person who is willing to suffer their cruelty.

  • Eagle34

    Hackleberry: “I suppose a case could be made for Warren Farrell falling into that category but you would be hard pressed to classify him as hateful.”

    Warren Farrell was a feminist himself, a part of N.O.W. (National Organization for Women) until he quit after reaizing people just don’t see the suffering of men.

  • Eagle34

    There’s something I don’t get in regards to RocketFrog’s abuse.

    If we were talking about an evengelical christian hurting their kin while spouting phrases from the bible, society rightly condemns it as child abuse.

    Hitler was condemned and is considered evil (justifably so) for his views on Jewish people and what his regime did to them in concentration camps. That was considered pure abuse and torture.

    Yet, when looking at what radical feminists did to RocketFrog, society is hesitant to call it abuse. Or worse, they’re brushed off as having nothing to do (just a mental nutcase using their feminist viewpoints to justify the hurt) with feminism in order for the movement to save face without outright saying he was abused..

    I don’t get it. Can somebody please explain the lapse in logic? Though I’m certain as to what the reasoning behind it is.

  • Ginkgo

    SWAB
    “(I’ve recently been informed that Neo Nazi’s are a whole different hate group and I’m committing a hate crime by conflating one type of racist with another)”

    Well isn’t that just *precious* of them! THEY CAN CHOKE ON IT. They are all the same pile of shit, so no, there is nothing wrong with conflating them. The police in our region monitor them constantly and make no such distinctions as these people think exist. They love to split and swarm and be a “leaderless resistance” and deny their linkages. They are not fooling anyone but fools.

    @Hackberry
    “A major difference I note is that the hateful feminists were ones that had popular and successful books, were writing national magazine articles in successful national magazines, getting applause and affirmation at speaking gigs etc. Hateful stuff, but reinforced by an unaware and gynocentric culture. Comparable MRA’s? No way.”

    This is an important point. Whether or not there is equal hatefulness in both communities is only a piece of the picture, and a relatively minor one. What determines the actual effect on other people’s lives is the social power an ideology has. Traditionally women have always had license to judge and regulate men’s conduct, and feminism simply assumed this privielge and used it to enable its commanding moral position.