Working in a bike shop I frequently discuss the importance of being prepared for a flat tire when cycling. I was doing so with mid-sixties couple Michel and Lisa early this month when I tossed out my line, “Carrying a flat repair kit makes sense even if you don’t know how to fix it yourself. Some passing cyclist will offer you assistance if you’re in need and having everything required to fix a flat sans know-how means Mister or MS fix it can do just that: Fix it.” Turning to Michel I added, “Of course, you or I may have to wait a bit longer for offers of assistance than Lisa here. There are some advantages to being female in a misogynistic society.”
Lisa said, “Chauvinistic. Not misogynistic,” to which I nodded and moved on. I believe that western society is chauvinistic while also being misogynistic but her point was valid. A chauvinist would be likely to help a damsel in distress while a misogynist would not.
“Hey!” Michel said, “Do you know what a misandrist is?”
“Hmm,” replied I. “I know what a misanthrope is; someone who hates mankind, but I’m not familiar with misandrist.”
“It’s women who hate men, the counter part of misogynist,” Michel informed.
“Huh. Good to know. Thanks!” said I sincerely. “But can’t a woman be a misogynist and a man be a misandrist?”
“No,” Lisa said emphatically, “that’s a different word.”
“Hmm,” I repeated. “Cool. Thanks,” I said as tacked back on track.
I love words and I love learning new ones but Lisa’s insistence that only men can be misogynists and only women can be misandrists made no sense to me. Who would be a misanthropist if one cannot be part of the group one hates? People hating people is definitely inclusive, not exclusive, so I dug a bit. There are plenty of women who qualify as misogynists as well as a smaller but significant number of men who qualify as misandrists and of course all misanthropists are inclusive, even if they feel that they are the exception to their rule of hatred and disdain.
Chauvinism is alive and well in the world and should not be confused with misogyny nor misandry which serve no function other than making the planet we share full of misanthropists who fear we’ll never learn to love one another.
I was unable to find a word that means women who hate women or men who hate men that differed from misogynist or misandrist. If you’re familiar with a term that is more precise please comment the word for me and I’ll look it up!
A person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society.
A person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against men.
A person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women.
A person displaying excessive or prejudiced support for their own cause, group, or sex.
(Definitions courtesy of Lexico.)