Wednesday, 9 March 2016
During the month of March, in honour of International Women's Day on March 8, I am posting words and expressions related to the lives of women and girls. Expand your vocabulary, expand your mind.
misandry: This very rare word means sexual discrimination against and hatred, denigration and sexual objectification of men. It is the opposite of "misogyny," which expresses the same attitudes and actions towards women. Not being big on hatred towards anyone, still I think it's interesting, unfortunate and sadly unsurprising that we have a common word for such attitudes and actions against women but no equally common word aimed at men.
How intriguing...or something...that although I have known women who hate/greatly dislike/have trouble trusting men in general, the English language has only this virtually unknown word to represent the denigration of men. Do some women denigrate, hate and sexually discriminate against men? Of course. Is the word misandry so rare because women are more equality-minded than men? More aware? I'm not touching those questions with a ten-foot pole.
However, I am sure that women's experiences of abuse, denigration and objectification are so common around the world and through time that their human reaction against the males who enact such treatment is not expressed – rightly or wrongly – in the English language. Well, I suppose you could say that okay, thank you and yes are common words that women are so often taught to say, but that's obviously not what I'm talking about.
We absolutely do not need another word for hatred, but I do believe it's important to become aware of how our language represents and validates our thinking.