Conversation: “I don’t hate men, I just generally dislike them.”

On my shift at work today, I had a conversation with a woman (let’s call her Mary) who had a mother that is an open misandrist. Mary’s mother was said to have hated men and blamed them for every problem, and, therefore, Mary definitely had some misandrist positions. Misandrists (and misogynists) frustrate me because they characterize every member of the accused group as being inferior, lacking positive qualities, etc.

Mary said that as a whole, she distrusted and disliked men. I attempted to question her about her feelings, and she simply said that trusts women more and thinks more highly of them. My other coworker who is also on shift is a woman (let’s call her Susie). Mary explained her standpoint by saying, I know both Susie and you about the same, however, I would naturally go to Susie for any assistance. That sentiment appears awry. Other than in situations in which a woman could be harmed or in which a women’s expertise really matters, there should not be such a defiant reliance on only women and a repugnance towards men. I said a few things, but Susie chipped in and agreed with Mary, so I eased out of the conversation.

I felt uncomfortable because standing up for men isn’t something that is socially normal. It’s common to hear people “joke” about men’s shortcomings and blunders and hold disadvantageous sentiments towards them, so when I grew agitated at Mary’s words, I had to keep my mouth shut. People, especially men, who stick up for men often are (unfairly) categorized as misogynists, and to be labeled as a misogynist is a corrosive and limiting social marker.

I may be ignorant of women’s reasoning; I am not a women so I cannot pretend to understand some of the unwritten axioms by which they live. However, this instance is not the first case of Mary saying some unjustified words about men. I am not affected by her statements in the sense that I will go home and hate myself because of what was said to me. I am worried because these subtle verbal remarks propagate negative images of men, and these harmful stereotypes become normalized. We have seen the unfortunate results of these tendencies in portrayals of African Americans, for example.

I am going to start recording experiences like this to provide real-life situations in which men are being unfairly treated, and maybe some of you can relate.

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