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Misandry (IPA [mɪ.ˈsæn.dri]) is the hatred of men. The word comes from misos (Greek μίσος, "hatred") + andras (Greek ἀνδρας, "man"). Although misandry is sometimes confused with misanthropy, the terms are not interchangeable, since the latter refers to the hatred of humanity in general. An idea related to misandry is androphobia, the fear of men, but not necessarily the hatred of men.

Causes of misandry

Misandry is usually, but not exclusively, associated with women although men can also hold misandrist views. Although misandry is discussed less frequently than misogyny, and so is also less understood, there is increasing research into and discussion about the topic. Although the research is comparatively new, a growing body of work is emerging in current cultural theory.

Some feminists and masculists posit that the "war of the sexes" arising from traditional gender roles and their breakdown are the primary source of both misogyny and misandry.[How to reference and link to summary or text] This apparently implies misandry could be mitigated by both men and women respecting each other's similarities and differences, and men and women together are responsible for it.

Some masculists maintain that misandry has been endemic since the 1980s (Nathanson & Young, 2001, p. 234) stemming from the spread of anti-male feminist advocacy in popular culture, and thus assert that misandry has become a social pathology. Some feminists, however, controversially claim that misogyny is a verifiable social disease, but misandry may not exist at all (Nathanson & Young, 2001, p. 18].

Degrees of misandry

Misandry may be exhibited to differing degrees. In its most overt expression, a misandrist openly hates all men simply because they are men. Other forms of misandry are more subtle. Some misandrists simply hold all men under suspicion, or hate men who do not conform to one or more acceptable categories. Entire cultures may be said to be misandrist if they treat men in ways that are perceived hurtful. Misandry is often not recognised, since it exists under many different guises, disguised and qualified. {Judith Levine, 'My Enemy, My Love', 1992}

Misandry is a negative attitude towards men as a group, and as such need not fully determine a misandrist's attitude towards each individual man. The fact that someone holds misandrist views may not prevent them from having positive relationships with some men. Conversely, simply having positive relationships with some men does not necessarily mean someone does not also hold misandrist views.

Misandry in mythology

The Amazons of Ancient Greek Mythology were a nation of women warriors. The primary depictions generally focus on role-reversal, swapping the classical Greek ideals of "female" passivity and dependence for "male" strength and ability. In some versions, the Amazons display misandry through actions such as forbidding men to reside in Amazon country; killing their male offspring (the result of their yearly mating with the all-male Gargarean tribe) or exiling them to return to the Gargarean fathers (Strabo xi. p. 503). The women of Lemnos, filling a similar role in the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, commit acts of mariticide and patricide and proceed to rule their island themselves.

However, these are the exceptions to the classic tale. In other tellings, the Amazons are simply a target of male conquest, as in the tale of Heracles and Theseus attempting to obtain the girdle of the Amazonian queen Hippolyte (Apollodorus ii. 5). Furthermore, some tales (e.g. both of the previous) conclude with Amazons welcoming, marrying, or congenially procreating with the male heroes.
Most modern (20th century) depictions, on the other hand, are not misandric at all. Instead, the modern Amazon is treated sympathetically and is a character whose respect and cooperation the male heroes are challenged to earn. (See Modern Depictions of Amazons.)

Misandry in feminist literature

Some feminist literature contains misandrous statements.

"Marriage is an institution developed from rape as a practice."
"The penis must embody the violence of the male in order for him to be male. Violence is male; the male is the penis; violence is the penis..."
Andrea Dworkin, Pornography
"Men's need to dominate women may be based in their own sense of marginality or emptiness."
"While men strut and fret their hour upon the stage, shout in bars and sports arenas, thump their chests or show their profiles in the legislatures, and explode incredible weapons in an endless contest for status, an obsessive quest for symbolic 'proof' of their superiority, women quietly keep the world going."
"He can beat or kill the woman he claims to love; he can rape women, whether mate, acquaintance, or stranger; he can rape or sexually molest his daughters, nieces, stepchildren, or the children of a woman he claims to love. The vast majority of men in the world do one or more of the above."
Marilyn French, the War Against Women
"I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which man structurally does not have, does not have it because he cannot have it. He's just incapable of it."
Barbara Jordan
"Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes gain from the experience."
Catherine Comin
"Men's sexuality is mean and violent, and men so powerful that they can 'reach WITHIN women to fuck/construct us from the inside out.' Satan-like, men possess women, making their wicked fantasies and desires women's own. A woman who has sex with a man, therefore, does so against her will, 'even if she does not feel forced.'"
"I feel what they feel: man-hating, that volatile admixture of pity, contempt, disgust, envy, alienation, fear, and rage at men. It is hatred not only for the anonymous man who makes sucking noises on the street, not only for the rapist or the judge who acquits him, but for what the Greeks called philo-aphilos, 'hate in love,' for the men women share their lives with--husbands, lovers, friends, fathers, brothers, sons, coworkers."
Judith Levine
"Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation, and destroy the male sex."
"To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he's a machine, a walking dildo."
Valerie Solanas
"The male is a domestic animal which, if treated with firmness...can be trained to do most things."
Jilly Cooper
"I feel that 'man-hating' is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them."
Robin Morgan
"And if the professional rapist is to be separated from the average dominant heterosexual (male), it may be mainly a quantitative difference."
Susan Griffin
"MALE:...represents a variant of or deviation from the category of female. The first males were mutants...the male sex represents a degeneration and deformity of the female."
" obsolete life form... an ordinary creature who needs to be watched...a contradictory baby-man..."
'A feminist Dictionary', ed. Kramarae and Triechler

Misandry in popular culture

An analysis of popular culture (e.g., literature, television, film, greeting cards, comics, advertisements, etc.) provides numerous examples of misandry in modern Western society, such as [Nathanson & Young, 2001 & 2006]:

  • General neglect of male issues, such as the facts that:
    • Depression affects more than 6 million men in America alone[1], but the figures may be even higher due to the social stigmas attached to reporting it.
    • A much higher percentage of male teenagers commit suicide than female teenagers.
    • Men constitute approximately 80% of suicides.[2]
    • Men make up approximately 90% of the prison population in the United States.[3]
    • The majority of alcoholics[4], drug addicts, and homeless persons are men.
    • Men have lower levels of university attendance, do increasingly worse in high schools and middle schools than women, and are far more frequently diagnosed as supposedly being afflicted with learning disorders such as ADHD.
    • Men, on average, have a lower life expectancy than women.
  • Popular culture often depicts men as sex-crazed, and overbearing, an extreme exaggeration of most men's natural interest in sexuality and evolutionary ability to act aggressively.
  • Prevalent attitudes in which women are supposedly superior to men, which includes such diverse anti-male claims as:
    • Women are able to think more rationally.
    • Women can make better choices, especially under pressure.
    • Women can understand complex issues, including politics, more easily.
    • Women's brains are superior to men's due to some (disputed) studies claiming that women tend to have a slightly larger corpus callosum than men.
    • Women have special, innate, or better-developed intuitive or multitasking abilities than men.
  • Depictions in sitcoms, advertising, and other television shows in which men (especially fathers) are shown as bumbling and inept.
  • Recounting of death in which the body count as described in terms of "X fatalities, including Y women and children," which reduces the value of the adult male lives lost.
  • Numerous cultural double-binds, such as:
    • Men and women are expected to be equal, but men are often expected to be the sole monetary contributors towards expenses (for example, buying expensive jewelry, paying for meals, etc.).
    • Men are told to be increasingly accepting of women who do not fit their expectations of attractiveness, while simultaneously being told (by advertising, print media, etc.) to make themselves increasingly attractive to women.
    • Men are expected to be masculine, aggressive defenders of women, but also to act feminine and embrace typically female traits.
    • Men are taught from a very young age that women are to be kept "on a pedestal" and revered, but the same cannot be said about women to men.
    • The increasingly popular cultural focus on the importance of having an above-average penis size, while simultaneously depicting focus on breast size, waist-to-hip ratio, and other attributes of female sexuality as sexist.
  • There is a dichotomy between how men and women are perceived as attractive — women are often depicted or discussed as being beautiful even to other women, while men are regarded as being innately less attractive.
  • Men are expected to repress their sexuality, and are taught that admiring women's bodies is wrong.
  • Workplaces will often taken the word of women over men when considering sexual harassment claims, even if no evidence supports the women's grievance.
  • In court cases regarding rape, the woman's word is often taken over the man's, even if there is no evidence that rape has taken place.
  • When considering crimes of equal magnitude, men will often be dealt harsher sentences than women.
  • Advertising and other media frequently depict men in painful or humiliating circumstances (e.g., being hit in the testicles, threatened with castration, sexually harassed, deliberately denied sexual interactions for control or amusement, raped, verbally assaulted, etc.) as being acceptable or even humorous.

The controversial French movie Baise Moi (2000) is sometimes cited as an example of a film which has attitudes of blatant misandry; two women go on a sexual and murderous rampage of various men they encounter. A similar film by Russ Meyer entitled Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! was released in 1965. The T-shirt slogan "Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them" has been criticised by some as supporting misandry.

It is also sometimes argued that misandry is present in children's culture, most notably with the saying:

"Snips and snails and puppy dogs' tails - that's what little boys are made of. Sugar and spice and everything nice - that's what little girls are made of."

While modern gender-neutral language has changed gender-positive statements in popular narratives, such as in the case of Star Trek's 'to boldly go where no man has gone before' becoming 'to boldly go where no one has gone before'; expressions which may be interpreted as pejorative, such as The Shadow's "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?" remain unchanged: "Anyone who's ever dated one" was then added by Entertainment Weekly (Nathanson & Young, 2001, p. 234) illustrating the allowability of misandry to be expressed in popular humor.

In Are Men Necessary?: When Sexes Collide (Putnam, 2005) Maureen Dowd claims that men are afraid of a strong female identity and rallies against men who are 'becoming extinct' and comparing them to 'ornamentation'. In an interview about the book on The Colbert Report, Dowd denied the book is meant to be misandric, saying the answer to the titular question "is obviously yes", but there are a variety of other examples of similarly abrasive titles, as well as commentators who would claim that Dowd's overall answer to the titular question is not "obviously yes".

In the United States, Federal laws require males to register for a military draft at age 18 but do not make the same national service requirement of females when they reach the age of majority. Federal, state, and local laws that prevent men of age 18 who have not registered for a military draft from receiving benefits such as educational funding and a driver's license. [1]

State laws that make the felony of statutory rape applicable to 18 year old males who have consensual sex with a 17 or 16 year old female. [2]

State laws that silently and automatically remove an absent father's legal right to future legal custody of his child. For example, laws that allow a baby to be placed into adoption without the father's notification or consent. [3]

See also


  1. "Men and Depression," National Institute for Mental Health.
  2. "Suicide rates in countries throughout the world," Fathers For Life.
  3. "Prison Statistics," U.S. Department of Justice, 30 June 2005.
  4. "Alcoholism Statistics," Narcanon Southern California, Inc.


  • Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture; Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young, McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, 2001; ISBN 0-7735-2272-7
  • Legalizing Misandry: From Public Shame to Systemic Discrimination against Men; Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young, McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, 2006; ISBN 0-7735-2862-8
  • The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men; Christina Hoff Sommers, Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, 2001; ISBN 0-6848-4957-7
  • Domestic Violence: The 12 Things You Aren't Supposed to Know; Thomas P. James, Aventine Press, 2003, ISBN 1-5933-0122-7
  • The Decline of Males: The First Look at an Unexpected New World for Men and Women; Lionel Tiger, Golden Guides from St. Martin's Press, 2000, ISBN 0-3122-6311-2

External links

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