Word of the day: misandry. That is, the hatred of or prejudice against men. Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with the term. It rarely comes up. I mean, when was the last time you heard a comedian being taken to task for being a misandrist? But you’re about to start hearing it.
According to an article on Time.com, the term is cropping up online as a kind of inside joke between women. “When feminists joke that they are misandrists, they are riffing off the misguided popular notion that they are man-haters. They mean to satirize the women who say they are not feminists because they love men. It’s an inside, inside joke,” writes Sarah Begley.
Some examples of that ironic jesting reportedly include a barrette emblazoned with the term misandry on Etsy (see photo above, although it’s now unavailable), and some misandrist-inspired lullabies: “Hickory, dickory, dock/You know what this rhymes with/And what we’ll do to it/And you won’t like it.” For Begley, the joking represents a false move for an already beleaguered movement. She cautions feminists to play nice: “to get folks on your side, you need an appealing message. Humor can help. But ironic misandry is just bad PR.”
Is it, though? Misogyny seems to be working pretty well for everybody else, PR-wise. Seth MacFarlane has built an empire on it. Dare to go after him and other cultural provocateurs and you’re labeled humourless—or worse—feminist. Why can’t feminists get in on the politically incorrect joshing?
The population is pretty irony-savvy at this point and, given our cultural comfort with misogynistic humour, it only seems fair that we let feminists unbuckle their chastity belts and have an inappropriate laugh, too. Begley’s argument against feminists who joke about hating men suggests that a) feminists need to tread carefully so as not to upset a global population that’s seemingly A-OK with gender inequality, and b) nobody likes a feminist with a sense of humour. This seems pretty unfair—kind of like the gender wage gap.
There is an equitable compromise, however. Ditch both misogyny and misandry and adopt misanthropy as the only acceptable comedic P.O.V.