Richard re "

Your misogyny scenarios fascinated me. The gut level reaction that something is wrong that one of these scenarios should be anti-male, was as strong as the gut reaction to a good mathematical paradox which betrays bad preconceptions. I certainly agree with your observation that there is no absolute misogyny in a Platonic sense, and I also think the scenarios are worth more thought. I don't really buy in to the power of the penis stuff that our culture invests supernatural powers into the penis it may be true but it doesnt resonate with me, it feels artificial.

Anyway I began by thinking of nonviolent analogues to your scenarios, where there is, say, a male gold digger story, and a female gold digger story. I feel like these stories could be presented in misogynistic ways or misandristic ways in contrast to your scenarios, which I both hit me at a gut level as misogynistic. Now if the stories are violent the gold digger instead beats or murders their poor seduced dupes, I still feel these scenarios could be either misandristic or misogynistic. However the more that the violence is the focus of the story, the more I feel it heads into misogynistic territory. And you are deep in misogynistic territory if you start getting into sexual violence.

Then it struck me that I was preconceiving an audience for these scenarios and that my preconceived audience was male. I don't picture women reading sexually violent material in the same way as men. If this preconception is common then it goes a long way toward unraveling the apparent paradox after all, if you write stories of dogs turning on their masters, or masters torturing their dogs, despite the fact the stories are opposites one could possibly see them both as as miscanistic? And that is, of course, because the audience is assumed to be human.

As an exercise I tried to picture your stories in comic book form, being read by teenage girls the same way I would picture teenage boys reading them really identifying with their sex, and ogling or cringing or feeling empowered by the action. I could start to feel a bit of misandryny. If I pictured the readers as butch man haters I could feel it a bit stronger.

Anyway the sort of introspection that thinking about this requires of me makes me less and less sure the more I think about it, but that is my current outlook on your scenarios.

—Richard Garfield
May 2002

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