[Editor’s Note: A modified version of this article was previously sent to the ABC’s The Drum a few years ago. Needless to say, The Drum couldn’t possibly publish it, or any other article critical of feminism. Nonetheless, the topic is as important today as it was then.]
I have, for a long time, been deeply disturbed by the seemingly endless demonization of the male gender in our society. I won’t even attempt to delve too deeply into the countless examples of this bigotry that one can come across in some form of media on an almost daily basis. Much of it is based upon utter fabrications and deliberate deceit and propagated by people with a hidden agenda. It is almost impossible to combat because any man (or woman) who raises an eyebrow (let alone a voice) in protest is immediately branded “a woman hater,” “misogynist,” or a supporter of the oppression of women. It is a very clever tactic. I suppose people who questioned the tactics and rhetoric of totalitarian governments were labelled traitors and enemies of the state in times gone by.
This tactic has been very successful, and only the bravest of people will take the risk of wearing such labels by attempting to address this horrendous imbalance in the way each gender is represented in our Western culture.
Often this bigotry comes in the form of outrageous double standards that are so common most people barely register the fact that they are watching bigotry on their screen. Two of the more mild examples of this happened while I was watching The Big Bang Theory only this week. In the first episode, Penny (an attractive young woman) was comforting a nerdy friend. He mistook her affection for something more. He attempted to kiss her, and she promptly smashed his nose with her fist. In the following scene, we see the man with two black eyes and a swollen nose with bloodied tissue sticking out of both nostrils. A series of jokes were then made about the bashing.
Try to imagine for one moment the scenario being reversed. The show would be banned from our screens, and feminists on soap boxes—both male and female—would hold this show up as yet another example of the hatred and contempt our society feels for women and how little we value their lives. The following night, Penny told Sheldon she would “kick him in the nuts” if he continued to annoy her—cue laughter and hilarity.
Imagine if Sheldon had said, “I’ll kick you in the vagina if you annoy me again!” The outrage would have been fierce. Why? A man is every bit as vulnerable as a woman when it comes to being kicked in the genitals and, in fact, more so. The notion that we are physically stronger bears no relevance. Why is the infliction of pain and injury upon a man so often the cause of mirth among people? The vagina threat would never have been allowed to be spoken on this show. Perhaps a similar comment may be used in a film depicting some “typical” wife-abusing low-life, but a popular comedy? I think not. This simple example is enough on its own to demonstrate the double standards present in our society.
A man recently made the comment that if we wished to see the true value of men in Western society, we need only imagine a man having his penis cut off and being found lying in a gutter, bleeding profusely. The commentator was certain that within 24 hours the poor fellow would be the punchline of countless jokes on TV talk shows, newspaper columns, cartoons, and in the Twittersphere. Does he exaggerate? Sadly, no.
Some time ago, a woman by the name of Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husband’s penis while he slept. She was arrested but very quickly became the “victim.” Then the true horror show began. Hundreds of woman gathered in the streets, chanting for Lorena and calling her a hero. T-shirts with cruel captions expressing great glee over the mutilation of a man none of them knew sold like hotcakes. It was enough simply to know he was a man. She was a celebrity guest on a range of TV talk shows and appeared on stage with at least one comedian (David Statton), who asked her if she had lopped off any more penises lately. This brought roars of laughter from the crowd and a giggle from the happy hacker. To this day, her name seems to bring a smirk to the faces of many women.
We are constantly told we live in a man’s world where the lives of women are demeaned and devalued. This is clearly untrue. Such scenarios would never occur if the mutilated victim of a violent attack was a woman.
All of the incredibly strong feelings this issue has always stirred in my heart were crystallized for me by an incident that took place a few months ago on an American TV talk show. This program is, in fact, titled The Talk, and it operates in a similar manner to women’s shows like The View or our local version, The Circle.
A woman—Catherine Kieu Becker—had drugged her husband, tied him to his bed, and when he woke up, she had sliced off his penis and thrown it in the garbage disposal unit, shredding it beyond repair. What was the reason for this savagery? Earlier that night he had told her he wanted a divorce.
The talk show hosts, including Sharon Osbourne, focused on this incident on their TV show. For some eight to ten minutes they entertained their predominantly female audience with comments like these:
“I do think it’s quite fabulous!” Cackling laughter.
“That will teach him!” More mirth.
“She should have thrown it in the dog’s bowl!” Further hilarity.
“Why should the dog suffer?”
“Can you just imagine that thing whizzing around? Hysterical!” This was accompanied by finger gestures.
“I’ll light candles by her picture.”
There was more, but this will give you the general tone of the conversation. These women did not lose their jobs. They did not have their media careers even slightly tarnished by this commentary. This poor man was recovering in hospital, facing a future that has been irreparably damaged by this shocking act, and only days after the incident he was the subject of hilarity among a large group of women.
We all recall the unbelievable fallout when Sam Newman had the gall to undress a mannequin dummy on The Footy Show. The same Footy Show that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for breast cancer and promotes women’s involvement in our game has never in its long history for one moment joyfully celebrated the mutilation of a woman. Yet the show is regularly labelled misogynistic and anti-women. Newman was actually suspended from the show for some time for his mannequin misdemeanour, and many outraged media commentators attacked his actions.
Sharon Osbourne continues to appear as a judge on TV shows and does all kinds of media work. The “apology” she begrudgingly gave in between suppressed giggles was almost as offensive as the comment she and her co-hosts had made the day before.
How it is possible for any fair-minded, honest person to deny the evidence of misandry that we witness every day in our mainstream media? There is no need to trawl the net for some anonymous creep posting nasty comments. Just turn on your televisions or read your daily paper.
http://youtu.be/Sw5JyXNEwtk Big Bang
http://youtu.be/kkmanLIAdXI The Talk-Sharon Osbourne
http://youtu.be/sBbXVH0Y3_g Humorous coverage of a man who cut off his own penis
http://the-speccy.blogspot.com.au/2008/05/sam-newman-versus-sisterhood.html an article on Sam Newman’s mannequin stunt.