Is it OK for all men to be seen as predators?

stereotypesFrom 5 Things To Show That Men Are Daily Victims Of Gender Bias Too

As a society we talk a lot about racism and other forms of discrimination. But when it comes to men and the way they are being stereotyped and discriminated against, no one seems to have much to say.

I was taught from early age to be fearful of men and talk only to women if I needed help. In spite of good intentions of ‘keeping me safe’, that strategy made it only worse by limiting the pool of people I could ask for help when required. In fact, the safest I ever felt as a child was among boys and men.

Father holding daughter at beachFrom Greatest American Dad

For that reason, I get very upset when I come across examples of men being treated as potential predators. Child advocates advise parents to never hire a male babysitter. Airlines are placing unaccompanied minors with female passengers rather than male passengers.

In 2007 Virginia’s Department of Health mounted an ad campaign for its sex-abuse hotline. Billboards featured photos of a man holding a child’s hand. The caption: “It doesn’t feel right when I see them together,” which implies that my dad or uncle could be seen as sexual abusers if they were holding my hand in public when I was a child. How sick is that? What if I gave my dad a hug or a kiss in public, as I naturally did a lot as a child? Or sat on my dad’s lap? What’s wrong with that? Why should children be denied their father’s affection because of someone else’s sick mind?


Not surprisingly fathers’ rights activists and educators argue that an inflated predator panic is damaging men’s relationships with children. Some men are opting not to get involved with children at all, which partly explains why many youth groups are struggling to find male leaders, and why there are so few males involved in early childhood education or  teaching in primary schools.

One of my male friends recently came across a lost child in tears in a mall. His first instinct was to help, but he feared people might consider him a predator. So he asked his daughter to comfort the lost child instead. “Being male,” he explained, “I am guilty until proven innocent.”

And that’s not the worst. In England in 2006, BBC News reported the story of a bricklayer who spotted a toddler at the side of the road. As he later testified at a hearing, he didn’t stop to help for fear he’d be accused of trying to abduct her. You know: A man driving around with a little girl in his car? She ended up at a pond and drowned.

Abigail RaeFrom Neglect Ruling in Girl Pond Death

People assume that all men “have the potential for violence and sexual aggressiveness,” says Peter Stearns, a George Mason University professor who studies fear and anxiety. Kids end up viewing every male “as a potential evildoer,” he says, and as a byproduct, “there’s an overconfidence in female virtues,” in spite of disturbing statistics on physical abuse inflicted on children by female perpetrators.

From Messages the Abusive Woman uses to Control her Children

Most men understand the need to be cautious, so they’re willing to take a step back from children, or to change seats on a plane. One abused child is one too many. Still, it’s important to maintain perspective. “The number of men who will hurt a child is tiny compared to the population,” says Benjamin Radford, who researches statistics on predators and is managing editor of the science magazine Skeptical Inquirer. “Virtually all of the time, if a child is lost or in trouble, he will be safe going to the nearest male stranger.”

Society protecting children by treating all men as potential predators is not safe. Just sick.

From Gender and Aggression



Negative portrayal of women and men in mass media

“Mass media became one of the main sources of popular culture in modern capitalist society. Media, however, not only entertains and offers news to people, but also transfers the stereotypes, beliefs and values of the society to reproduce the existing order of social life.”

Lily Gataullina

Mass Media

Mass media exert extraordinarily powerful influences upon the way we think. For a number of years women has drawn attention to and fought against stereotypical and sexist portrayals of women in mass media. Unfortunately sexism against women remains, as pointed out in the recent documentary called Miss Representation:

What about men? Are they being treated nicer by the media?

As Jim Macnamara points out in “Dissing’ men: the new gender war”, “Until recently, gender theorists and media researchers have argued or assumed that media representations of men are predominantly positive, or at least unproblematic. Men have allegedly been shown in mass media as powerful, dominant, heroic, successful, respected, independent and in other positive ways conducive to men and boys maintaining a healthy self-identity and self-esteem.

However, this view has come under challenge over the past few years. John Beynon, a Welsh cultural studies academic, examined how masculinity was portrayed in the British quality press including The Times, The Guardian and The Sunday Times over a three-year period from 1999-2001 and in books such as Susan Faludi’s 2000 best-seller Stiffed: The Betrayal of Modern Man. Beynon concluded in his 2002 book, Masculinities and Culture, that men and masculinity were overwhelmingly presented negatively and as “something dangerous to be contained, attacked, denigrated or ridiculed, little else”.

Canadian authors, Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young in a controversial 2001 book, Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture reported widespread examples of “laughing at men, looking down on men, blaming men, de-humanising men, and demonising men” in modern mass media…

An extensive content analysis of mass media portrayals of men and male identity undertaken for a PhD completed in 2005 through the University of Western Sydney focusing on news, features, current affairs, talk shows and lifestyle media found that men are widely demonised, marginalised, trivialised and objectified in non-fiction media content that allegedly presents facts, reality and “truth”…”

The most disturbing is the difference in the way some people react to negative portrayal of women and men, especially when it comes to depiction of violence – see a few examples provided below:

The negative portrayal of women and female identity is not only a matter of concern for women, but also for men. What is happening to women has an impact on men who live and work with them and who care about the health, welfare and happiness of their wives, partners, sisters, female friends and their daughters.

In the same way, the negative portrayal of men and male identity is not only a matter of concern for men, but also for women. What is happening to men has an impact on women who live and work with them and who care about the health, welfare and happiness of their husbands, partners, brothers, male friends and their sons.

Let’s free our minds from the negative stereotypes promoted by mass media and support each other in finding our true nature – who we really are.

Man Woman

Fighting misogyny and misandry with positive empowerment


In all cultures and in all time periods there are/were good honest people (men and women) who care/d about other people and there are/were nasty ones. Societies with a high level of misogyny usually also have a very high level of misandry, gender-based prejudices and violence. That’s why we need to be very careful in the way we address such issues and write about them to make sure that good, honest, caring men and women don’t get insulted or upset; that traditions that protect people in a certain environment do not get broken by notions, evolved in a totally different environment.

Unfortunately there is a lot of violence in some places on this planet where streets are not safe for either women or men.  Unfortunately, police in some places is totally useless and justice system is totally dysfunctional – and it might be outside of our control to get that changed in the nearest future.  As women are generally physically weaker than men, they tend to be targeted by criminals as an easier prey. Therefore in a violent environment they might require more protection from men and might need to adopt certain style of behaviour for the sake of survival. Is that misogyny? Or is that misandry? Should we ‘empower’ women in such violent environment to go alone on the street in the middle of the night? Should we ‘empower’ women to use provocative clothing to look ‘cool’ and ‘independent’? Should we ‘empower’ women to drink alcohol or take drugs that will totally incapacitate them and make them an easy prey?

Often such risk-minimisation measures are confused with ‘victim blaming’ (Scott Williams provides one of the most recent examples of such victim blaming on his blog). I do not support victim blaming and feel very angry when I come across victim-blaming strategies and statements, no matter whether the victim is male or female. However at the same time I also get very angry when I see risk-minimisation messages being distorted and blocked by some dubious campaigns such as SlutWalk that do not take into consideration the complex nature of the inter-personal violence issues. Until all people learn non-violent conflict resolution strategies and until this planet is free of rapists, murderers, robbers, certain risk-preventative measures might be required to keep people safe and alive. Any campaign that puts women’s lives at risk is as misogynous as ‘victim blaming’ and denying women basic human rights.

Let’s empower both women and men in a positive way. Let’s empower them to get a better understanding of the world around them, to ‘write’ their own life stories without someone else holding the pen, to be happy. However let’s not empower them to display the nasty side of human nature, let’s not empower them to be led by their violent biological instincts, let’s not empower them to be cruel to other human beings on this planet. A few examples of the results of such ‘negative’ empowerment can be found in Theodore Dalrymple’s writings . BroadBlogs provides a more recent example of such ‘negative’ empowerment or abuse of personal ‘freedom’ and ‘freedom of speech’ granted to people in Western societies.

Let’s also remember that men need positive empowerment as much as women. Let’s stop generalising and judging all men by some nasty examples that appear on the front pages of the newspaper or feature in the historical books. Unfortunately, men got a bad reputation in history as only powerful men usually get depicted in the history books. And powerful men are usually the nastiest ones. As the results, there are lots of prejudices against men in this world which make their life a real hell.

Let’s stop fighting misandry by spreading misogyny and let’s stop fighting misogyny by spreading misandry. Instead let’s empower both women and men to have a happy, fulfilling life journey caring about each other.