Thursday, October 7, 2021

Respnding to Heather Mallick

In her Star column earlier this week, Ms Mallick demanded that men control the men who hate if that were not only feasible but also a reasoned argument.

It is neither!

First men who hate women are the culmination of a biography that inevitably carried a cast of characters of both genders. The misogyny we see today rests on the shoulders of individuals as well as a culture that, admittedly, bears responsibility for a cultural history and anthropology that has been determined, designed and deployed by a toxic masculinity.

Men wrote the sacred books, the philosophy and legal treatises, the medical journals, the scientific "method" and even the parameters that define psychiatry and mental health.

Although many of the "patients" of those theories were, and continue to be, women, the perspective that observed and diagnosed and theorized about their "abnormalities" was and continues to be masculine.
Reductionisms abound for many reasons as do binary approaches, neither of which depict or resolve many human psychic dilemmas.

Literalisms cannot be allowed to erase the poetic and the mythopoetic perspective and their serious gifts of a world perspective that stretches into the ambiguity and the mysteries on which we all depend.
Ms Mallick's authentic feelings about male responsibility for other males is grounded in the facts of domestic and systemic abuse against women.

However, the headline to her column is as specious and effectual as would be its inverse:
"women must control the women who hate men"
In a world where gallons of 'ink' are spilled decrying misogyny, hardly a drop is spilled decrying misandry.

And only if and when women reflect on their personal encounters with men, in collaboration with both genders, and men do the same in collaboration with both genders will the prospect of mitigating the abuse that is inflicted by both on the other as well as on themselves appear on our shared horizon.
If we were determined to examine the details of each life of an abuser of women, in too many cases there were/are women who helped shape the distortion of their self-worth and the unwarranted and unjustified resort to violence and revenge. Doubtless, the same is true for women who hate men even though the expression of that hate takes different forms than the violence perpetrated by men against women.

Pulling the mask off the extrinsic evidence of violence and contempt between the genders is one of the most serious challenges of our public discourse. And that is a task that cannot be accomplished by men only.

Ms Mallick's recent piece could plant seeds of reflection in both men and women if for no other reason than her premise is so misguided.

Sometimes the most unbalanced perspective prods the voices in rebuttal to generate a substantive public discussion. And a substantive and balanced discussion of gender relations will go a long way to helping detoxify other vitriolic public rhetoric.

And that would do much to reduce the tension and the angst that grows hourly, ubiquitously.  


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