Ozy and I were talking over what we’ve learned from hashing gender issues out on this blog, how writing about things has clarified our thinking, what answers we’ve been able to glean, what we’ve learned from discussing these matters with others, and we noticed a very specific and predictable pattern. Any theory or ideology that is based on a big and usually bullshit generalization about women invariably carries with it an unspoken corollary: a big and usually bullshit generalization about men. And vice versa.
Try this out on some of your favorite misogynist and misandrist tropes, it’s fun. Men are all slobs… women should be keeping house. Women need to cover up their bodies or they deserve to be raped… men are animals who commit immediate rape at the sight of cleavage. Women are all gold-diggers… men are only valuable for their success and money. Women are only valuable for their looks… men are all shallow. I can keep this up all night, ladies. (…men like dumb sex jokes.)
Based on this, we are proposing a rule of thumb that we’re calling Ozy’s Law: It is impossible to form a stereotype about either of the two primary genders without simultaneously forming a concurrent and complementary stereotype about the other.
Or, more simply: Misandry mirrors misogyny.
This isn’t to say that in any given case, the misandry and misogyny are necessarily equivalent. Sometimes they are, other times one or the other definitely predominates. But they’re always paired. Often they’re just an unspoken assumption, something people are taking for granted as axiomatic. The problem is that it’s possible to question one half of an unspoken assumption without even really examining the other half.
Thus, you get women who (rightly) complain about the wage gap without seeing how men are made into “success objects”. You get men who complain about the stupid-manchild-husband trope in media, without seeing that it always comes with the humorless-killjoy-wife trope. You get people unable to see past their own sense of grievance to look at how the system that’s hurting them is hurting other people.
Feminism has been having this problem for a while, and is only starting to engage with it. More and more feminists are realizing that men’s issues have gone undiscussed for a long time, and are too intricately bound up in women’s issues to be ignored any longer. This is evidenced by, for example, the existence of this blog and the many incoming links to it from prominent feminist spaces. I think that’s a good trend and one to encourage, especially given how, if we’re taking Ozy’s Law as true, most feminism has been effectively blind in one eye. A lot of ugly stuff and a lot of pain has gone unnoticed by a movement dedicated to unpacking and examining the stuff that used to go unnoticed. That’s not good, but at least it’s starting to change.