Anti-Male Bias Increasingly
Pervades US Culture
By John Leo

A famous television newswoman told this joke last month at a fund-raising dinner for a women's college: A woman needed a brain transplant. Her doctor said two brains were available, a woman's brain for $500 and a man's brain for $5,000. Why the big price difference? Answer: The woman's brain has been used.
Most in the audience laughed, but one man stood up and booed. What's wrong? asked a woman at his table. The man said, "Just substitute woman, black or Jew for 'man' in that joke, and tell me how it sounds."
At about the same time, American Greeting Cards launched an ad campaign in Newsweek, Life and other magazines. One ad featured a "Thelma and Louise" greeting card, pasted into the magazines, that said on the front: "Men are always whining about how we are suffocating them." The punch line inside the card was this: "Personally, I think if you can hear them whining, you're not pressing hard enough on the pillow."
The newswoman, who is a friend, seemed shocked when I phoned and raised questions about her joke. "The poor, sensitive white male," she said. A spokesman for the greeting card company saw nothing wrong with a humorous card about a woman killing a man. He faxed a statement saying the card had been pretested successfully, and besides, "We've heard no protests from consumers who are buying and using this card." But would American Greetings print a card with the sexes reversed, so the humor came from men joking about suffocating a woman? No, said the spokesman, because 85 percent to 90 percent of cards are bought by women. There is no market for a reverse card.
In truth, no man could get up at a fancy banquet and tell a joke about how stupid women are. And a greeting card joking about a woman's murder would be very unlikely, even if surveys showed that millions of males were eager to exchange lighthearted gender-killing greetings. The obvious is true: A sturdy double standard has emerged in the gender wars.
"There used to be a certain level of good-natured teasing between the sexes," says Christina Sommers, author of "Who Stole Feminism?" "Now even the most innocent remark about women will get you in trouble, but there's no limit at all to what you can say about men."
Men's rights groups phone me a lot, and I tell them my general position on these matters: The last thing we need in America is yet another victim group, this one made up seriously aggrieved males. But these groups do have an unmissable point about double standards. On the "Today" show last November, Katie Couric suddenly deviated from perkiness and asked a jilted bride, "Have you considered castration as an option?" Nobody seemed to object. Fred Hayward, a men's rights organizer, says: "Imagine the reaction if Matt Lauer had asked a jilted groom, 'Wouldn't you just like to rip her uterus out?'"
The double standard is rooted in identity politics and fashionable theories about victimization: Men as a group are oppressors; jokes that oppressors use to degrade the oppressed must be taken seriously and suppressed. Jokes by the oppressed against oppressors, however, are liberating and progressive. So while sexual harassment doctrine cracks down on the most harmless jokes about women, very hostile humor about men keeps expanding with almost no objections.
Until recently, for example, the 3M company put out post-it notes with the printed message: "Men have only two faults: everything they say and everything they do." Anti-male greeting cards are increasingly graphic, with some of the most hostile coming from Hallmark Cards' Shoebox Division.
(Sample: "Men are scum ... Excuse me. For a second there I was feeling generous.") Columnist Cathy Young sees a rising tide of male-bashing, including "All Men Are Bastards" and "Men We Love to Hate" calendars, and a resentful "It's-always-his-fault" attitude pervading women's magazines.
Commercial attempts to increase the amount of sexual antagonism in America are never a good idea. And if you keep attacking men as a group, they will eventually start acting as a group, something we should fervently avoid. But the worst impact of all the male-bashing is on the young.
Barbara Wilder-Smith, a teacher and researcher in the Boston area, was recently quoted in several newspapers on how deeply anti-male attitudes have affected the schools. When she made "Boys Are Good" T-shirts for boys in her class, all 10 of the female student teachers under her supervision objected to the message. (One, she said, was wearing a button saying "So many men, so little intelligence.")
"My son can't even wear the shirt out in his back yard," she said. "People see it and object strongly and shout things." On the other hand, she says, nobody objects when the girls wear shirts that say "Girls Rule" or when they taunt the boys with a chant that goes, "Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider; girls go to college to get more knowledge." Worse, she says, many adolescent boys object to the "Boys Are Good" shirts too, because they have come to accept the cultural message that something is seriously wrong with being a male.
"The time is ripe for people to think about the unspoken anti-male 'ism' in our colleges and schools," she says. And in the rest of the popular culture as well.
From Kathryn Kiffmann
Dear Jeff...
I have really enjoyed your very informative website for the past years. I have forwarded this site to many, whether they appreciated it or not, in hopes that one day they would have an open mind and possibly venture onto the site. And, in the past, if there were articles I didn't agree with, it didn't bother me, as we all are entitled to our opinion, and thanks to your newsite, every opinion is welcome.
The Man Hating In America article is no exception. I understand the feelings the author is relaying to us, and I understand his feelings of reverse-sexism.  The women who are creating these puns, insults and various other attacks are continuing to lash out on past female injustices, as oppose to dealing with there anger, forgiving their male counterpart, and trying to find new means of male/female communication.
However, I can assure you that such behavior does make up the entire country, as I could easily expand this letter 3 pages on terrible, verbal and physical violence that continues to be thrown upon American females.
It may no longer be ethical to insult women in greeting cards, political gatherings, but I assure you, unethical female treatment is alive and well in this country and abroad. As for female assaults, murders, castrations, just research the countries of India, China and Africa to learn of horrid injustices of girls and women. Some countries don't even have a law against crimes against women. Last month on Maui, a male owner of a martial art studio ("jujitsu"), was arrested on 3 counts of rape. The state has considered deporting him, as opposed to having him stand charge for these attacks. In his country, Brazil, he may not even endure a slap on the wrist. Also, Hawaii has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the Country. This violence does nothing more than add fuel to those one would name "male-haters".
If we follow the theory of "yin and yang", we understand the valuable importance of balance between male and female energies. We may be far from reaching this at present, but if all of us (as individuals) endeavor to treat our human opposites as we would choose to be treated, perhaps we'll one day arrive at that place of perfect balance. If we would quit overly identifying ourselves as male or female, and realize we are only that specific gender while on the planet, maybe we would cease our attacks on our opposite as well.
At present, we have greater adversaries to deal with than our opposite gender. And I don't pretend to know WHO our real adversaries are any more. Perhaps it doesn't matter, as there will be no peace on the planet, in the home, or between he and she, until we reach perfect balance within ourselves.
Kathryn Kiffmann


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