I’ll take your word for it about what you’ve read, but I’ve read tons on this topic and never once see anything that I would characterize as misandry. It’s all been clear, sensible, and compassionate towards the ways that this dynamic also harms men — but that doesn’t prevent it from being attacked by guys who feel threatened anyway — in large part because patriarchy is a dominance hierarchy and criticism (particular from someone who is ostensibly below you in the hierarchy) feels out of line, even if it’s not directed at you specifically.

The Gilette ad is a perfect example. “It’s only by challenging ourselves to do more that we can get closer to our best.” You’d think they said that men are shit instead by the reaction that it got.

“Men do not have to fall for women to rise?” says David Fuller of Rebel Wisdom. I agree entirely but what exactly was there in that ad that was advocating for men falling? Showing men taking a stand on behalf of other people who are being harmed shows men falling? In what universe? None of these guys have said anything substantive or even logical. It’s all just reacting to feelings of being criticized, but don’t you think that bullying and bad behavior should be criticized? Apparently not by women, since the fact that this ad was produced by a woman is one of the main points of contention. I think this is the real issue.

Americans are highly individual-oriented and have a tough time seeing things through the lens of societal dynamics, so that’s a part of the issue, but I was just talking to a guy I consider a real friend who was complaining about boys being “indoctrinated into kindness” as if this wasn’t a natural part of who boys are until they are taught differently so that they can become “real men.” This adherence to patriarchal thinking and gender binaries as being right and natural is another big part of the issue.

I write about different manifestations of patriarchy as a social system based in a dominance hierarchy a lot. This means the focus is not on men over women, but on the other power dynamics as well, such as class, education, wealth, race, etc. Even then, I get an incredible amount of push-back from some guys. A lot of men appreciate having a better understanding of this social system in a way that explains why they don’t necessarily feel all that privileged within it (because they aren’t near the top of the pyramid), but I still deal with a lot of anger simply for broaching the subject or for trying to draw distinctions between things like aggression and assertiveness, cockiness and confidence, etc.

“When looked at from this point of view, it is easier to see the distinction between healthy assertiveness and unhealthy aggression, healthy valor and unhealthy subjugation. Masculine traits aren’t the issue. Coercive, domination-oriented behaviors are, and men have no monopoly on those. They are simply more likely to be encouraged and rewarded in males in places where patriarchal structures are still fully functioning.”

I agree that this OP was very balanced and well done, but in my experience, there is an awful lot of defensiveness out there and very little actual misandry but I respect that you believe differently.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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