Sunday, August 23, 2009

Misandry in the New York Times

So I was reading the New York Times Magazine, as I am wont to do of a Sunday afternoon, when I came across this interview with the president of Liberia. This being the issue of the Times Magazine devoted to women's rights, I suppose blatant misandry was to be expected.

I'd like to take a moment to point out to you just how pervasive these ideas about the "nature" of men as aggressive and hostile are: they can be published in a news source like the New York Times with nary an eye batted. A direct quote, with President Sirleaf's responses in italics:

Yes, there's that recent case in Phoenix, Ariz., where an 8-year-old Liberian refugee was raped by four Liberian boys, only to have her parents initially shut her out of the house.
We have asked our ambassador to work with the family to see that the child is put in some protective shelter for a while. Also, we think the boys need counseling because during the years of war, morality and discipline and legality all broke down. It made these young people men before their time.

What does that say about the inherent character of men?
I just think that unless you have that cohesiveness in the family unit, the male character tends to become very dominant, repressive and insensitive. So much of this comes also from a lack of education. As more men become more educated and women get educated, the value system has to be more enhanced and the respect for human dignity and human life is made better.

Once you ask that question, you've answered it. Four war-torn boys perform a crime- four boys at the extremity of human ability to cope- and this is supposed to speak to the inherent character of men. Why the inherent character of men and not of people? Her parents, both male and female, shut her out. Does that speak to the inherent quality of parents? Of mothers? Of people?

I do have to give the president credit for pointing out both that the boys came from a horrific background themselves, and that the solution is education. Her responses to other questions indicates to me that her attitude towards the "character of men" is not that it is so much inherent as learned: she blames male insensitivity on a lack of cohesiveness in the family unit, and concedes that if women were given absolute power, over a long period of time they would "become men."

Still, this Deborah Solomon interviewer person is on my short list.

1 comment:

  1. This being the issue of the Times Magazine devoted to women's rights, I suppose blatant misandry was to be expected.

    Why in the bloody hell would it be "expected"? Would you be just as likely to say that blatant misogyny is to be expected on a "men's rights" forum or devoted issue of the Times Magazine?