No, Misandry Is Not 'The Male Version Of Misogyny'
David Leyonhjelm has proven that his word doesn't mean sh*t.
Alright, let's talk about hating men, otherwise known as "misandry".
If you haven't heard of misandry before, it might be because you spend a healthy amount of time outside and not online.
Misandry -- which is indeed defined as a hated of men, by at least one dictionary no less! -- crops up with fluctuating regularity in comment sections and forums, usually in response to people talking about issues like male violence or the gender wage gap.
"Misandry!" the (almost always) male commenter will cry. "Men have a bad run of it, too."
They'll usually come in here with some stats about male victims of sexual assault (true), or how men experience far higher rates of death by suicide than women (also true), or even about how feminism is all about man-hating and they're just here to fight back for the oppressed male (demonstrably false).
In Australia this week, the term 'misandry' has come into popular use again thanks to none other than Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm.
Following his sexist slurs against Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Leyonhjelm has being doing the great media tour of Australia, stopping off at all the usual suspects: Sky News, ABC Radio, Studio 10.
(The latter was after he called Studio 10 host Angela Bishop a "bitch", a comment for which he later, reluctantly apologised for.)
"I maintain the focus on the issues which I think are important," he told Studio 10 this week, where he was invited to explain his comments.
"I regard Sarah Hanson-Young as a misandrist, that's a version of sexism. It's the male side of misogyny. Sexism includes both misogyny and misandry. She's an appalling misandrist."
The "issue", therefore, was not the debate in parliament about whether pepper spray should be legalised for personal use in the wake of Eurydice Dixon's death. It was about his personal vendetta of Hanson-Young's apparent 'hatred of men'.
But while Leyonhjelm is given all the benefits of being a straight white man and consistently failing up, it's worth examining: what exactly is misandry? And is it the "male side of misogyny"?
The short answer: no.
Misandry is a relatively new term that's been leapt upon by men's rights activists, who bounce between abusing "feminazis" and shaking a fist at child custody laws.
On the surface level, it does indeed seem to be the opposite of misogyny, which is, after all, a term dictionary-defined as a hatred of women.
Misogyny is part of the power structure upheld by a patriarchal society that sees women locked out of full earning capacity, face abuse for speaking out about sexism and misogyny, and be murdered at a rate of one woman per week by a former or current partner. It's categorically worse for any woman who is not white, straight, cisgender and able bodied.
And misandry? Well, sure -- it's a hatred of men. But it doesn't carry the wider systematic, legislated, financial and historical implications that misogyny does. People who hate men tend to avoid them, rather than, say, legislate to take away their bodily autonomy.
Leyonhjelm is using cries of 'misandry' to present himself as victim in the face of feminism, and stir up a hatred of women in his scattered fans.
The opposite of misogyny is respectful equality.
So as Leyonhjelm continues his one-man crusade defending his right to say whatever the hell he wants, consequence-free, it's worth remembering that his words are meaningless.
He claims he doesn't slut shame Hanson-Young, yet tells Sky News that "Sarah is known for liking men, the rumours about her in parliament house are well known." He says misandry is as "inexcusable" as misogyny, but admittedly doesn't understand how a hatred of gender lends itself to violence. He says a hatred of men is terrible, yet calls Malcolm Turnbull a "pussy" and a "soft cock", both highly gendered slurs that target the Prime Minister's masculinity.
He is, frankly, exhausting.
Given he's a man at least partially elected by accident, who is facing re-election, and who has nothing of value to offer the public other than a few outraged press cycles, it hopefully won't be soon until Australian parliament shows him the door.
Featured Image: David Leyonhjelm with Milo Yiannopoulos in December 2017. The latter was fired from Brietbart prior to this invitation over his past comments defending paedophilia and links to neo-Nazi groups. Photo: Getty.