The Vicky Bliss Mysteries: Great Feminist Books; Unfortunate Use of the word Misandry

I loved these books. They totally inspired my inner history nerd especially as I know *nothing* about art or art history. I love museums and art galleries but my retention of who did what and when is appalling. I have fairly plebian tastes about art and am firmly convinced that all outdoor art installations are meant to be climbed on by small children. There is no point in art existing if we all just stand around staring at it. Art should be engaged with and small children crawling all over outdoor sculptures is engagement.

The first Vicky Bliss book by Elizabeth Peters, Borrower of the Night, dates from 1973. It is an overtly feminist book with the character of Vicky Bliss announcing her stance as a feminist in the first chapter. She is an art historian with a PhD teaching at a small US college [who then starts working at a museum in Germany by stint of some excellent blackmail]. She is bright, funny, intelligent, and ambitious; all required characteristics of a great feminist.

But, and its a huge but, Peters insists on using the word “misandry”. I hate this word, especially when its bandied about to describe one man. It is perfectly legitimate to hate one man because they are a rapist or a misogynist or a racist or homophobic or a thousand other things. But, misandry isn’t the word to use here. It’s just hate. Misandry is a word bandied about by Misogynist Rights Activists [MRAs] who like to think that ‘misandry’ is equal to misogyny which is complete and unmitigated nincompoopery.

Misogyny isn’t just hating women. It’s the structural, institutionalised, and endemic hatred of women which is (re)created and replicated in political, social, religious and cultural systems. It is embedded in every facet of society and isn’t just about disliking one women; it’s about engaging in behaviours which replicate the patriarchal subjugation of women. It is everything from sexist jokes to pornography to rape culture. It’s about millions of women dying needlessly every day because they are women through all kinds of violence including malnutrition from not being valued enough to be given enough food to eat. It’s the laws on rape which favour male rapists over female victims. It’s in the piss poor child maintenance and domestic violence laws. It’s in the basic practise of women being paid less than men for the same job or being considered responsible for all the childcare and housework. It is the practise of rape as a tactic of war on female bodies to “emasculate” their male “protectors”. It is in every music video which requires a talented female musician to gyrate half-naked in order to sell their music. It is everywhere. And, it is everything.

Misandry only exists in the minds of whiny-arsed men afraid of having to give up their privileged positions. Misandry only exists in the minds of misogynists. It is not real.

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