[A rewrite of Brogaard’s piece at Psychology Today (2015), “12 Ways to Spot a Misogynist.” It took surprisingly few revisions. Most of the changes were generic (e.g., “woman” to “man,” “him” to “her”).]
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The misandrists. You may have heard of them. But what you may not realize is that they can be anywhere around you. They are notoriously hard to spot. They do not come with a label attached, and they may even come across as pro-man.
In most cases, misandrists do not even know that they hate men. Misandry is typically an unconscious hatred that women form early in life, often as a result of a trauma involving a male figure they trusted. An abusive or negligent father, brother, teacher or boyfriend can plant a seed deep down in their brain’s subcortical matter.
Once planted, this seed will germinate and begin to grow, the tiny root working its way into the fear processing and memory areas of the brain as its tiny stem works its way into frontal areas of the brain, affecting emotion and rational decision-making.
The first signs of misandry are barely noticeable, but with additional exposure to neglect, abuse, or lack of treatment, this behavioral seeding will grow larger and more prominent. But even when the misandry reaches maturity and the tendency toward acting with hatred toward men can no longer be controlled, the misandrist and the women around her will often fail to notice the condition until it’s too late.
The following traits are typical of the misandrist:
- She will zero in on a man and choose him as her target. His natural defenses may be down because she’s flirtatious, exciting, fun, and charming at first.
- As time goes on, she begins to reveal a Jekyll & Hyde personality. She may change quickly from irresistible to rude, and from rude back to irresistible.
- She will make promises to men and often fail to keep them. With women, on the other hand, she will almost always keep her word.
- She will be late for appointments and dates with men, but be quite punctual with women.
- Her behavior toward men in general is belittling, snide, controlling, and self-centered.
- She is extremely self-entitled, especially with men. If a man does better than her socially or professionally, she complains of discrimination. If a woman does better, she may have mixed feelings about it but she is able to look at the situation objectively.
- She will unknowingly treat men differently from women in workplace and social settings, allowing women various liberties for which she will criticize male colleagues or friends.
- She will be prepared (unconsciously) to use anything within her power to make men feel miserable. She may demand affection or withhold sex in her relationships, make jokes about men or put them down in public, “borrow” their ideas in professional contexts without giving them credit, or borrow money from them without paying them back.
- On a date, she will treat a man the opposite of how he prefers. If he is a traditional male who likes a woman to be cute, fun, and willing to end the evening with a bit of making out, she will be aloof, subtly denigrating, and will leave him feeling like there was something wrong with him for desiring physical contact. If he has a more gender-equal attitude, she will make him feel like a loser for not holding the door, not buying her dinner, and not exhibiting red-blooded male zest.
- Sexually, she likes to control men and gives little or no attention to their emotional satisfaction. Instead of giving them something passionate, she will drag out the preparations and distractions until it feels like a chore. She likes oral sex but only as a recipient. Afterwards, she will turn irritable and cold, or invent an excuse for an argument, or drop little remarks to make clear she doesn’t need him.
- She will cheat on men she is dating or in a relationship with. Monogamy is the last thing she feels she owes a man.
- She may suddenly disappear from a relationship without ending it, but may come back three months later with an explanation designed to lure the man back in.
- She may write an article attacking men for behaviors readily found in women as well.
Only rarely will a misandrist possess every one of these traits, which makes it harder to identify them. Their ability to lure men in with their charm and flattery adds to the difficulty of spotting the early-warning signs.
Man haters (unconsciously) get off on treating men badly. Every time they can put down a man or hurt his feelings, they unconsciously feel good because deep down in their hidden brain, their bad behavior is rewarded with a dose of the pleasure chemical dopamine—which makes them want to repeat the behavior again and again.
Berit Brogaard is the author of On Romantic Love – and Ray Woodcock is a critic.
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This piece makes two points: (1) The women who complain most loudly about men tend not to validate comparable male complaints about women and (2) like most of the mainstream media, Psychology Today remains focused on publishing anti-male junk. Let me know when they publish something like this against women.