I am a curious creature. A side effect of this? There are some things one sees that then cannot be unseen.
Facebook algorithms take note of what you like or comment on and present articles and posts accordingly. I follow feminist authors. I campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence and I find human psychology fascinating; so I see a lot of meaty and progressive articles on my feed.
Then I open the comments section. And then my eyes bleed. I repeat, it can NOT be unseen.
I gotta hand it to the bros that passionately post war and peace over and over again as if they’re surprised at the feminist context of these articles; posted by a group with a feminist name, with a brief description on their page that they are supporters of feminism and clearly articulated intentions to maintain that theme. They are relentless. They are consistent. And they are rather informative.
(Note: They also make for a great game of MRA bingo, collect all five to get a prize! “Ad hominem”, “logical fallacy”, “feminazi”, “one in three”, “matriarchy”.)
A lovely gentleman who claimed all funding for gendered violence should cease because his ex had been awarded sole custody of their toddler by family court told me all about how he was a MGTOW (men going their own way). I admit, I’m still confused as to how anyone can call their way their own when it’s completely reactive to another person, in this case, his ex that he claimed to hate and feminists that he claimed to fear/ pity/ laugh at/ despise (he couldn’t quite make up his mind), but he made a valiant effort at making himself heard.
Did he change anyone’s mind? No.
Did he achieve anything for single fathers? No.
Did he achieve anything for male victims of DV? No.
Did he derail the conversation about violence against women? Of course.
And that is all you need to achieve to be a successful MRA. Just stop the women. Stop the conversation. Deny the statistics. Make sure the women on the thread know they are not acting to your liking! How dare they?!
So how about those statistics huh? Let’s see. Almost two women a week die at the hands of their ex or current male partner in Australia. It is statistically the most likely way a woman will be murdered in this “developed” country. Women are five times more likely to be hospitalised than men when on the receiving end of intimate partner violence and where incidences of violence between a couple are four and above, the ratio of female victims to male victims is 9 to 1. Research indicates that economic abuse, especially when paired with the gendered wage gap and prescribed gendered parenting roles impedes women from leaving their abusers. Research also indicates that DV incidences are most likely while the victim is pregnant. For the cheap seats in the back, by acknowledging the lack of balance in the statistics and the contributors to it is not denying male victims exist, it’s simply recognising the proven correlation between issues specific to women and their over representation as victims of DV. Misogyny is deadly to us.
Men are majorly over-represented in suicide numbers, they are most likely to be murdered by an acquaintance, they get sick, they die in workplace accidents. But unlike women, the biggest danger to them is not the opposite sex. When they point their fingers at feminists, demanding compensation for being expected to pay for dates, hide emotion and succeed at sports, they are nothing but confused as they have only the patriarchy to blame for those things. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”…unless they’re a confused and angry MRA.
Why are men hurting women at such a disproportionate rate? Why are MRAs and MGTOWs so aggressively taking over the conversation women are having about women? Why are they so intensely supportive and receptive to women who wear their internalised misogyny with pride as if just choosing to associate with these women isn’t enough, they also need to ensure other women know that this is the standard they expect when talking about gender equality? (In case you’re wondering, another education piece from a helpful MRA was a crash course on the “Honey Badgers”, a group of women that denounce feminism and insist men are the oppressed gender. Also another thing that I can’t unsee: women demonstrating their solidarity to men by labelling themselves a “sweet pussy”.)
If you ask them, they say feminism angers them. They say the world was functioning and balanced when women knew their place and gender roles were “natural”. They refer to evolution and science and history to make their sexually frustrated points. Anybody reading their dribble could be excused for believing that misogyny was birthed alongside the suffragette movement and has gotten ugly and vocal as feminist ideals become more radical (equal pay for equal work, CRAZY!!).
But they would be wrong.
Because misogyny seems to have been around as long as gender roles have been.
I might not be a World of Warcraft nerd like most of the MRAs mentioned in this post, but I am a poetry nerd. And the story of Pandora could not personify the disrespect, resentment and disdain women have endured in their lives any more accurately if Hesiod had intended it.
“From her is the race of women and female kind:
of her is the deadly race and tribe of women who
live amongst mortal men to their great trouble,
no helpmates in hateful poverty, but only in wealth.”
For. Fuck’s. Sake.
Before I get carried away, let’s just make sure we are on the same page about Pandora. You know Pandora right?
“After humans received the stolen gift of fire from Prometheus, an angry Zeus decides to give humanity a punishing gift to compensate for the boon they had been given. He commands Hephaestus to mould from earth the first woman, a “beautiful evil” whose descendants would torment the human race.”
So, she has with her a jar that later turned into a box that held “evils” such as ‘burdensome toil and sickness that brings death to men” (91–2), diseases (102) and “a myriad other pains”‘. She is a punishment from Zeus to mankind disguised as a gift. She promptly opens her jar and unleashes these evils on the originally perfect and peaceful human race (human race that incidentally enough consisted of only men before the first woman ever arrived with said evils – there’s some symbolism if ever I saw it).
Another thing you may remember about the story of Pandora is that the gods graced her with gifts of beauty and charm.
Points of note:
- Men and only men are accepted as the default human race.
- The first woman was a gift from a masculine god to men, a thing, a trinket, a tool, a trick.
- She was blessed with virtues solely intended to beguile men.
- She delivered the suffering of man kind, men apparently have no fault in the evils of the human race.
As much as I enjoy Greek mythology, it holds about as much scientific certainty as creationism does. Speaking of genesis actually, anybody remember Pandora’s fate sister, Eve? Created by a male god and handed to man, already inhabiting the peaceful and wonderful earth on his own, as a gift. A thing. A trinket. A tool. And the snake, lucifer, uses her to perform his trick. She is to blame for the suffering of all men.
Genesis and Work of Days were written by M E N of flesh and blood. Like all works of art, they are reflective of their times and the composer’s personal beliefs. Scholars still can’t agree on exactly when Genesis was written, suffice to say it was thousands and thousands and thousands of years ago. Hesiod’ poems featuring Pandora date as far back as 700 BC.
Bras had not been burnt yet. Kim Kardashian’s sex tape wasn’t released yet. Women were not breaking “tradition” and keeping their own names yet. Birth Control hadn’t been invented yet. Family court had not been established to “ignore” fathers yet.
Regardless, here are these classic pieces of writing that are so deeply entrenched in misogyny and complaining about womenkind that I really can’t decide whether the author is a middle aged and frustrated virgin or completely unloved by his mother.
Misogyny is a horrible thing. To be misogynistic is awful and to be ashamed of displaying misogyny is natural. But to deny your unconscious bias that leads to misogyny is harmful and narcissistic. Especially when Misogyny is literally killing Australian women.
With stories like these being told to us as soon as we can comprehend, with imagery and media that consistently perpetuates a double standard between men and women, it is actually natural to be misguided in relation to gender roles.
To be overwhelmed by a tough world and experience anger and frustration is natural.
To blame women for that overwhelming world and the negative feelings it brings, is not only unnatural, it’s actually unoriginal AF.
Pandora and Eve were framed, and women that “step out of line” are still going to trial for their “crimes”. Feminists are not imagining what men have been documenting for millennia.