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Today’s guest is Swedish theologian, Petra Carlsson.
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misandry |misˈandrē| noun the hatred of men by women
ORIGIN 1940s: from Greek miso- ‘hating’ + anēr, andr- ‘man,’ on the pattern of misogyny.
As promised, I’m covering the female side of misogyny, which is misandry. I call this type of article a “BOOM post”. You have been warned.
I would be remiss to not admit that sectors of feminism are strongholds of misandry. Feminism, though, as many women think of it, is far more general. It has to do with equitable treatment toward women, in business, home life, society in general, and it hinges on the ability, explicitly or implicitly, to have choice (of many kinds) as a basic unalienable right. A wiser person, female or male, will understand, however, that freedom of choice must be balanced with one’s community, not rooted or executed from a selfish starting point.
It seems to me that troubles for either gender will stem from control issues. For men, it may be that they feel somehow impotent in their life, interactions, career path, health, etc. Perhaps the feeling or appearance of weakness is the pivot point.
For women, it may be that they want to be regarded well, and cherished (and I don’t mean in simply an emotional, or fuzzy way. This is more of a cherished at an essential level of being for (female) human flourishing). They want to not feel objectified (which, is disregard), or to relegated to a small box, i.e. a narrow role, a low ceiling limiting personal or career pursuits, an intellectual prejudice.
I find it interesting that body image plays a powerful role for both men and women. Ill-health, lack of fitness, the effects of aging, being fashionable, and certainly other issues influence personal issues of self-worth, emotionally and bodily. They also influence how each gender reacts to the other. Those things hated, or feared in one’s self will be trigger points and irritations all too glaringly visible in the other gender. Spite develops.
I will cover some ways misandry happens among women. Please note I use the word among purposefully, because there seems to be an execution of misandry in a social capacity more than in any other way. For men, they may both take their misogyny on as a personal war, and they may find strength in numbers, but women may tend towards a “team strategy”.
For women, physical aggression with misandry is not normative. Rather, it is mental, social, and tactical. Bullying of other female by female happens this way as well. The tendency may to manipulate, rather than misogynistic tendency to (in some respect) conquer or master (perhaps with resources, people, money, intellectual pursuits, empire, and including areas of competencies and skills). (I’m speaking quite generally, please bear with me.) Women seem more socially powerful, while men seem more dominant. Perhaps a good analogy is to say influential in contrast to jurisdictional.
For some general information, I will note 6 areas ripe for, or given to misandry. (Please note that these same areas are ones of great good, effectuality, and ministry if they are not perverted by selfishness and sin. Yes, the same goes for males.) Steps should be taken to purify and strength these venues through the Holy Spirit, and his Fruit, not disable or disband them.)
1. Gossip as bonding.
2. “Tribal Culture” (if you will) of malcontent.
3. A “sick clique” (more on this is a later post) It has to do with venting, fault finding, griping. For men, the counterpart might be verbal attacks or passive aggression. But, this also can and does happen with females.
4. Platforming (A leader or leaders pumping up/motivating a like-minded group)
5. Subversion of Systems (rather than negotiation)
6. Rebellion (overt or covert/and sometimes unintentionally) to authority, powerful groups, institutions, concepts, norms in question.
Often man-hating patterns are established in the context of a social group norm. There may be a retaliation tenor, as well. A pecking order type of culture may subtly and socially pressure its affiliates to employ a particular attitude. Acceptance in the group will be linked to the propagation and use of this structure, and its attitudes. Bear in mind, unlike many times with males, this all happens as sub-context, and is almost always implied, not vocalized.
(There are others areas. I welcome your additions, or specific ideas or comments on them.)
To expose the flaws and missteps among women is to set myself up as an enemy of women, and undermine some of the great and vital gains women have made societally to achieve appropriate equality. Quite a few people, whether they will admit it, or not, believe a certain amount of misandry seems justifiable because of humanity’s long history of abuse and antipathy toward the female gender. In recent, postmodern times, the female voice (or story), as well as many other historically-marginalized groups, has been given new validity and attention.
It is not my intent, of course to sabotage any positive and rightful gains for females. I do believe these rectifications have been sorely overdue, and really have not yet been accomplished. And what a sad commentary on the Christian assimilation of the ministry of Christ, and the human expression of the redemptive nature of the gospel.
To women, I say, we can be secure and mature enough to take on and strength whatever weaknesses we may have that are causing injury of harm to the body of Christ. We can work toward a better way, healing, and unity. As for you males, please read this all compassionately, and let it help you understand women’s weaknesses and strengths better. There is responsibility that comes with know more, so I trust you to use this new knowledge for good not evil.
I mention all of this, not to divide any of us from each other, or to give us weapons to beat each other with, but rather to call out areas of potential growth. Then, we can call them into question ourselves (men and women), confess before God, humble ourselves to each other in love and service, and work toward unity, reconciliation, and enacting God’s glorious Kingdom Come. God transcends gender, and our petty hang ups and weaknesses. It is in God’s strength and grace that we may be fashioned as new creatures that reflect God’s good character and nature.
I would have loved to make this whole article somehow more jocose (or humorous at all), because that’s usually how I roll, but I couldn’t switch gears, adapt and integrate that writing style on this one. Don’t expect such seriousness in any following installments on this, or any topic. (There’s only so much of this trajectory I can take, before I have to insert more cheer.) :)
So-weigh in. I’m listening.
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