Well, I might be using the word ‘literature’ a little loosely. Does pop culture analysis count? I think so.
One of the gifts was “How to Be a Woman” by Caitlin Moran (review to come) and the other was the winter 2017 issue of Bitch magazine. My friend’s mother, who was hosting, seemed horrified my Secret Santa was calling me a bitch but I flipped through, delighted, and read a bolded quote to the room “Women are using performative misandry as both comedy and coping mechanism” and added, “be still my heart!” The room laughed. I was definitely the only one there who fully appreciated my gift.
After sitting down today to read the entire article I am also delighted to find it is online and I am able to share it with you! You can find it here.
In my early years as a feminist I reassured people God-knows-how-many-times that I was not one of “those” feminists. You know, the kind that hate men. It always seemed to reassure people. The alarmed looks disappeared, even if they remained unsettled by this new information about me.
I also distinctly remember one of the first moments I defended ironic misandry as women’s response to the repulsive things that happen to them in the world as a result of patriarchy. A friend of my partner commented on the article I had posted to Facebook, to say “Come on, I know you can’t really hate men… that’s not fair, etc. etc.” My response was that, despite having married a man, some things make me hate men as a group. I eventually came away from that conversation feeling successful because it was an interaction with someone I didn’t know all that well, and I defended myself without alienating them. That, for me, was a big success moment.
Now enter the article in Bitch by Catherine Young. Young skilfully sums up what I have thus far been unable to articulate:
…[P]erformative misandry is a way of inhabiting the most exaggerated, implausible distortion of your position, in order to show that it’s ridiculous.’ Even if feminists sincerely did want to kill all men, ban all men, or bathe in male tears, it would be a logistically difficult and absurd proposition.
The very first post of my blog, I opened with a story about my experience with the word “feminazi.” Young’s article goes on to share that the word feminazi was popularized in the 90s by Rush Limbaugh, and the use of the slur led young women seeking equality to distance themselves from the unshaven, bra-burning feminists (as I once did). My eventual reclamation of the term feminazi is closely linked to the performance of misandry.
I felt like this article was explaining me to myself.
Young skilfully weaves together various quotes from recent articles on misandry that rail against men’s displeasure with misandrist jokes. Most poignantly, she says “Performative misandry forces men to reckon with their own hypocrisy…” – that if jokes don’t mean anything (which men have been claiming about rape jokes for decades) then why do men care so much when women joke about misandry?
Reading this article blew my mind (in a good way!), and for me that line was the cherry on the cake. Young finishes the article with a reality check on institutional violence (including the complications of white privilege).
I am giddy with pleasure over my gift, and grateful for Young’s articulate piece on the significance of ironic misandry for feminism. I can’t wait to read the rest of the issue!
Feeling misandrist after reading this post? Go find yourself a “male tears” mug on Etsy (not an affiliate link, I just love the idea of these mugs in kitchens across the country).