Saturday, December 19, 2009

Media Misandry

Many of you are undoubtedly looking at the title of this posting and saying to yourself: "Huh?" I can't say that I blame you, as I had to look up the term myself. But it is in fact a term with which we should all become more familiar, since it appears to be a growing sentiment in this country. 

Now for those who will not take the time to look up the term, Misandry is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as: "a hatred of men". I find this to be a growing message in this country, willingly perpetrated on the public by the popular media. TV sitcoms on all of the major networks (and many of the cable networks as well) have shows in which apparently all of male characters are portrayed in a less than favorable light. 

If this were not enough however, additional abuse is heaped upon my gender during the commercial breaks. Women buy smaller, environmentally friendly cars, while guys buy trucks. Women save money buying groceries that men spend on foolish toys. Women, hoping for a modicum of thrift and common sense from their spouses, send them shopping for home appliances; only to have these men, who are seeking only the quickest way out the situation, allow the store to do the searching while actually spending their time vainly attempting to fool their spouses (and playing ping-pong)

Nor is even radio a safe haven from these demeaning examples of male bashing, as advertising spots depict the advantages of women having the time to blog about their "jerk ex-boyfriend". Positive messages about members of the male gender seem limited to straight men who show up with jewelry or new cars for their female paramours or gay men who seem to have the ability to understand how horrible straight men are. (Please don't write me about gay bashing, as this is anything but my intent or point.) 

This consistently poor representation of men disturbs me in ways that I have difficulty describing (not that this has or will keep me from trying). Not only do I find all of this grossly insulting to myself and other members of my gender, but I wonder at the example that it provides. 

Too much of television today is geared towards and watched by impressionable young males. Far too many of those young people we are told, are looking for positive role models in sports in the media. What then are they given as a guide in the media? It appears to be an endless series of images in programs and commercials of a group of moronic, juvenile, and mostly disgusting, beer-swilling misogynists (the opposite of misandry but you probably figured that out), who are completely incapable of self-sufficiency. 

This is something that I think all can agree might be something better left off of the role model educational curriculum. Now this should surprise us, since we are told that corporate America is in fact one of the last bastions of male domination. If we are to believe that this is truly the case though, how could these negative images be the media message of the gender in charge? Could it be that men are filled with such self-loathing that they allow these images as some demented form of penance? Could it be that some of these images are correct and that while men think that they are in charge, they are secretly being manipulated by women into doing things against their own best interest? Could it be that not only do men fit a profile that may not place them much above the other apes, but are so blind to their own shortcomings that they either don't realize the message being sent or mistakenly and wholeheartedly endorse these images as an accurate projection?

Don't get me wrong, many of us may well fit the profile being handed out (Nah ...); but pointing it out doesn't help, reminding us of it shatters our all too fragile male self-esteem, and bombarding the airwaves with such images can only contribute to the continuation of what (according to these images) must already be an appalling situation. So if any of you media or advertising moguls out there are reading this (yeah, like that's happening), would you mind giving us a break from this Media Misandry.

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