Friday, 25 May 2012

This means war.

It's Friday! Let's talk about something light and fluffy, like misandry. It's my new word. If you want to look it up, I'll save you some time. It's a noun meaning the hatred of men by (but not limited to) women.

I'm not talking about a woman letting off steam about the man in her life who lets her down in numerous, heartbreaking ways, and who is possibly the latest in a long line of men who have treated her badly. In my opinion, this is not the same thing. (In some cases, no doubt it leads to hating men. But that's not what I'm interested in).

There seems to be a trend in advertising and the media to portray men in a less than favourable light. From  a recent campaign by Boots in which two women are discussing their numerous tasks for the weekend, all to be completed whilst bravely soldiering on with the flu (whilst their partners are in bed with a cold), to this article in the Telegraph here, in which the paper conducts a straw poll, the message is simple: men are a little bit useless.

Why is this acceptable?

The implication of the question, "If you are a woman, would you trust a man to take the male contraceptive pill?" is that men are inherently more unreliable than women. Where is the evidence for this? Do we ask men if they trust their girlfriends/partners/wives to take the pill?

I've been so busy thinking about the example I set for my son that somehow I hadn't really noticed this stereotype, persistent and reinforced at every turn. I can see that it's not enough to watch my colour choices, or encourage him to play with both cars and dolls, or to try to model equality. I will have to be alert to these kinds of negative messages which tell him that because he's male, he's not expected to be reliable, or capable, or any any other positive character attribute the media deems unnecessary based on his gender.

I was sort of prepared for the nappies. (Ok, that's a lie.) I wasn't really prepared for this. Nonetheless, as my title suggests, this mean war.


  1. Dear Heidi, I agree that sexism is not acceptable, any more than any of the other "isms" are. I am imagining Morison reading an article - he is so advanced, I had no idea - and you discussing it with him. Well, you may as well talk about something worthwhile, as you are changing the nappy. Seriously though, your modelling is very important, and will be his guiding force for many years. Don't underestimate the impact you will have. Tim is now 11, and the biggest hero in his life is still - you guessed it - Dad. This will change in a year or perhaps 2, as it should when he begins to detect his parents' flaws. The boyness will out, no matter what we do or say. Raising a (beautiful, affectionate, useful) boy has been the biggest antidote to my misandry. And if I can change, there is hope for all! Excellent work, Heidi.XX Neet

  2. Ok Hi AGAIN. I have tried to do this before and failed. So here you are, a 'new' mum, (see there you go, that's 2 uses of apostrophes)doing all this blogging and here's me, stuck in dinosaur land, can't even get a comment together. I wrote something really intelligent and witty before, I swear, only when it didn't send, I have not the heart or the memory to rewrite it all. You are a marvellous mother, quite obviously. XXNeet

  3. Thank you for your comments! For some reason they ended up in the spam folder, which probably explains why you had trouble posting them. Looking forward to discussing all these things and more in person very soon. x