Most dating and relationships books, columns and shows won’t go near issues of faith. Author, professor and speaker Dr. Christine B. Whelan assumes faith has some role, and tackles even the toughest questions.
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In Response to “The Misery of Misandry”
Our readers sound off on Dr. Christine Whelan’s latest Pure Sex, Pure Love column
Readers responded from around the world with great passion to last week’s column on the notion of whether men are inferior to women. Below is a selection of their responses.
My father’s a frequent complainer about the way men, particularly fathers, are portrayed in the media—one of his personal bugbears is commercials which depict the dad as clueless about how to do laundry, make food, etc. However, he recently said to me of my new boyfriend “He’s lucky to have you—and I’m sure he gets reminded of that frequently.” Dad, we’ve been dating for two months! Too soon for the nagging shrew jokes! The flip side to misandry is the stereotype of the woman who’s controlling, egotistical and can never be wrong.
Thanks for the fabulous article on misandry. I’ve been married for 18 years to a man who has earned
none of that scorn. He is passionate, spirirtually
intact, and a partner in every sense of the word.
I strongly believe this is a counterswing from the
‘Father knows best’ era, and everything before that.
Anytime mass assumptions are made of one gender,
individuals lose. Our gender defined roles are chains
that prohibit us from truly looking on one another
In my family, there are seven boys between the ages of
16 and 18 years of age. We have to deal with misandry
at perhaps it’s most powerful, when young people are
so vulnerable to popular culture. It is extremely
difficult to help our sons grow up in a culture where
men are incompetent and women loathe them for it.
Thank God for our husbands!
This is a huge issue, and I thank you for putting it
The simple answers and conclusions are usually wrong,
and it’s important to think on a deeper level.
Maybe the whole question is, ‘why are women pressured
to be smart, beautiful, thin, successful, responsible
and men are forbidden to grow up?’
This is not how we are meant to be.
Thanks for letting me ramble!
Thank you for your thoughtful article. I don’t just say that because I am a man either. I deplore any attempt by either sex to put down or assert power over the other and not truly value them as dignified persons in the Christian sense. Indeed, sometimes such behaviour is more manifest within the gender than inter-gender (I believe, for instance, that women can be more cruel to other women, and men can do more damage to other men, than either ever attempt to do to the other sex). But sadly, I don’t think this is a new trend or phenomenon simply since feminism became a powerful lobby for women’s rights. I think it has always been a part of Western culture—where both sexes parry the apparent “weaknesses” of the other.
Remember the old saying, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”? It acknowledged that gentleness and love wins out at the end of the day—whether that hand be male or female. Of course, I acknowledge also that it was popular at a time when a mother’s hand was seen as the only hand on the cradle. But this showed in a way, that whilst women were seen as subservient by the feminists, because it was seen publicly as the woman’s role and only the woman’s role, to nurture children, women were seen as the real power in society, not men (but this was unfortunately not acknowledged by feminists). And I acknowledge that the whole area of equal rights for women is much wider than just this—equal pay, for instance is essential and not-negotiable in my view—so there were other reasons for the strong reaction by certain women’s groups to gain equality for women in all aspects of society, and understandably so.
If we just take for example, public humour, men have always been portrayed as fawning sex idiots to the glamour and demands of the wiley women in their lives—“The Honeymooners,” “Married with Children,” Mae West movies, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby movies, “The Flintstones,” jokes about mothers-in-law—one can go on naming them. But the women were rarely if ever portrayed as idiots or sex-craved automatons—and neither should they be. But of recent times, this is increasingly the persona of men portrayed in public in general by television ads, movies and so on.
We, men and women, are equal but different—and necessarily so. Rather than trying to assert authority and power, from whatever source, by one sex over the other, or attempt to ridicule the other to gain some kudos, we should celebrate not only each other’s gifts and strengths but our weaknesses too. I think it is deplorable the attempts by some to assert themselves over others—it does nothing to enhance the God-given dignity of each and every individual.
1. Are you kidding—never heard of misandry? Feminism is misandry—any one who doubts that need only read what they have written, esp the “classics”, and the disastrous consequences for men and boys of that hate movement. Why do you think men are depicted in such a sexist way if not as a deliberate result of feminism?
2. You are all-to-familiar with “misogyny” but assume none of your readers have ever heard of misandry, which is accepted behavior in our society—note the abuse the wives in your story heap on their husbands. The vast majority of women routinely express contempt for men—and men take it based on the now outmoded ideas of chivalry and the need to protect and defend women. Women broke that contract long ago—I took off the gloves with women when they called us all rapists and child molesters, and the abuse of men is still rampant and by now endemic.
You are immersed in the hagiography of women as no doubt empowered by “feminism” and now like a “John Wayne” stereotype they are tough, assertive, strong, invincible—Woman! You can take care of your self, don’t need a man to pay the rent, can support yourself—even after marriage.
I absolutely treasure this “Women may be strong, successful and powerful, but for those of us who are choosing lifelong relationships with men “
What condescension toward men—as if we have to ask you women to treat us well. As if women are so great that a few actually deign to associate with … gasp… men!
Your ideal female is rare indeed—“strong , successful, powerful”—that’s about 1% of the female population and about 15% of the male population.
Why shouldn’t women emasculate men? In order for emasculation to be a bad thing there would have to be something unique and drawing about masculinity in the first place. If you take away the fact that most people in our society still prefer to have heterosexual sex lives, I don’t think that there would be much left in terms of either masculinity or femininity that we would cherish. If anything, masculinity is confidence, being the primary provider and guardian, and also being defered to in times of a tie. I know that’s radically counter-cultural nowadays, but men are programmed for such behavior. Stephen Goldberg’s work on the biological underpinnings of patriarchy are especially good, and I would encourage anyone who’s really interested in the truth of sexual differences (and how they can be expected to play out in behavior) to put their social conditioning aside and give his stuff a whirl.
It’s an interesting point about the vows. The epistle of Ephesians, which was once the standard reading in all churches, appears to indicate that women are to obey the husband, whereas men are to honor and love the wife. The imagery used is Christ and the Church. Of course, the part that is rarely emphasized is that men are supposed to earn this respect and obedience through Christ-like self-sacrifice. Nevertheless, it seems to indicate that relationships are “equal,” but it also seems to dismiss the idea of a democracy of two people. I would bet that the old readings in the Latin church pre-Vatican II were more in line with this scriptural verse.
Thank you for your article on misandry. Wonderful food for thought.
However, the example you used at the beginning of your article (“bossy
suggested misogyny, not misandry. There is no parallel to this in the “Father Knows Best” era. “Father” was not a monster.
Perhaps the male stupidity, corruption and incompetence we see in the TV
shows cited in your article are behavior drugs to escape the unfair balance
of adult power foisted upon men two generations ago. Pop culture has swung the pendulum in another direction, while retaining the misogyny. Men are depicted as weak and stupid, and women are bossy she-monsters, albeit
intelligent, good looking and inspiring.
One question at the end of your articles concerns me: “Ladies: …Who wears
the pants in the relationship?”
Your article states “Gender equality in relationships is the goal”, so why
ask this question at all? “Wearing the pants” in a relationship is a
traditional male role. Your question seems to imply that if the woman “wears
the pants,” something is wrong.
Why not ask instead, “Does anyone ‘wear the pants’ in the relationship? If
so, how can we move beyond this to gender equality?”
Finally, what are the implications of this “misandry” upon the Catholic
Church’s all-male hierarchy?
Did you interview my estranged husband and me for this article? It is amazing that you nailed every point as to what went wrong in the relationship. We have been married for 26 years and filed for divorce on June 7th. For the majority of our marriage I made more than he did, but to be honest with you, he never appeared to have it bother him. I worked on a hourly basis and was able to control my wages in a completely different way than he could being salaried. We have 2 girls, 16 and 18, who both have commented not infrequently that I was the person in charge and control. I think they understood all too well the roles that we adapted to in the relationship. The situation evolved to one of being room mates—I often said I was married to Ray Romano without the sex. He rarely had any interest in having sexual relations and I would be hard pressed in 26 years to site many occurrences which he initiated things. The girls have both commented that they think he is gay, which from my perspective would not be out of the realm of possibilities. The odd thing is he was the one who finally decided to move out. The therapists I have worked with as well as others feel there is a piece of the puzzle missing which will come out in the future. For now I am going to get the opportunity to live the rest of my life without the burden of a sexless Ray Romano taking up half the bed.
A few words of appreciation from far off Australia, I often see your BustedHalo (the articles—I’m sure your real halo is quite intact).
I particularly enjoyed your article on misandry, partly because I collect unusual words and partly because of its wisdom. Well written.
I’ve often been puzzled by the logic behind the TV shows you mentioned: if the women portrayed are as smart, clever, beautiful as portrayed, why or how did they choose to marry the stupid, ugly, crass men that they are wedded to?
Are they stupid or something?
Keep up the good writing
In regard to your article I feel your assumptions are spot on.
Over the long holiday weekend, I attended a formal get together with friends and colleagues where I saw a high-powered thirty-five year old female accompany her needy, clingy sidekick of a fiancé. The mismatch between them was so obvious a blind man could see it. She was slender, and attractive who had all the indications of success, confidence, ambition, and independence. He, on the other hand was a skinny, agreeable, intelligent, self-effacing dud whose body language indicated he was manhandled into proposing. As I sauntered my way through the throngs of people, I caught a glimpse of her diamond engagement ring that looked something like a Buick hubcap. A colleague later informed me she was presented something a little less impressive told him to go back to get something “better.” But unlike friends and colleagues, I didn’t feel sorry for the guy. No way! He should’ve been a man to tell her off, to get lost, and find some other loser.
But I didn’t see her ring as a symbol of love, honour, and commitment. Oh no. I saw it as a declaration of surrender where he will no doubt be subjugated into a lifetime of nagging, neglect, and oppression as his self confidence and self esteem will slowly erode away. She may enjoy acting like she’s king of the forest and that her life is going according to some Hollywood fantasy by acting all bossy, but I could see the trouble brewing on the horizon. Sooner or later she’ll grow tired and dissatisfied with him and come to the sad realization how dull and boring it will be when she’s not challenged. A marriage without passion, edginess, or stimulation for growth is a lot like living in prison; but hey, even convicts are entitled to parole. Sadly, this is the state of many relationships today.
Now, women are waking up to the sad reality that the feminization of men didn’t produce a well-rounded, male they were hoping for. What they got were flabby, dish-watery, agreeable wimps whom they now secretly despise. In typical, hypocritical fashion they lament, “Where did all the real men go?”
I know lots of women who “worked” on their boyfriends and husbands by turning them into trained, agreeable circus seals to achieve this desired effect. You’d think these women would be happy with all the social conditioning they did, but from what I observed they’re ticked off because they succeeded. Funny that.
One thing that I noticed years ago, when dating as a father with custody of small children, is the habit of women believing they know more about child rearing than I. I’ve talked with more than a few dads who raised kids alone and this feeling is confirmed from many (most?) of these fathers.
Often a woman who has never raised children and never spent much time
around them will think she knows more than a dad who has raised several
kids. It is really most interesting.
You speak of the common idea that men are inferior beings. That is a
problem and a bigger problem than it appears.