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 (2010).
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
ALINA CHO, national correspondent, CNN:
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?
LORENA BOBBITT (nee GALLO):
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
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
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"6 (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
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://www.mediaradar.org