Media Misandry: In Truth's Face - Part of the "Me-Gender" Series
By Rod Van Mechelen
Seattle Time's article is a grenade in the gender war.
Never live in the progressive media
1995 Bellevue, Wash. - Generally, the only members of the mainstream media who enjoy interviewing me seem to be conservative and liberal radio talk show hosts.
Conservatives enjoy having me on their shows because it gives them a chance to feature an articulate, knowledgeable and authoritative non-extremist who shares many of their opinions. Moderates, because I can dish it out without going off the deep end.
Like the time, on Andi Beck's show before she and her husband, Jim Altoff, moved to the midwest. Former Seattle NOW president, Louise Chernin, was on the air trying to defend their slogan, "Stop Sucking and Start Biting." In response to one of her many complaints about men, I quipped, "Men will be nice when nice guys get laid." I think their ratings must have jumped 50 points after
Portraying humor as misogynist ideology
Perhaps this is why progressives tend to interview me only on tape, or for articles, where they can cut, splice, and manipulate things. Given that feminists like Gloria Steinem and Catharine MacKinnon complain how the mainstream press misrepresents their views, I think it's likely they do it less for ideological reasons than to boost ratings or increase circulation.
Maybe this is what Seattle Times staff reporter Jolayne Houtz had in mind as she was writing her January 10, 1995, article about me and The Backlash! Right off, she quoted the following:
When men make money, they spend it on women. When women make money, they spend it on themselves. 71 cents on the dollar is too much. (Women) should get no more than 50 percent on the dollar, and for the first 10 years they should work for free. - In Her Face!! -- Bellevue Man's Magazine Is A Grenade In The Gender War, Jolayne Houtz, Seattle Times, Tuesday, January 10, 1995
Yes, that did come from The Backlash! It was one of John Page's "PC Seldom" quotes. They are always acerbic, tongue-in-cheek, and about as politically correct as Al Bundy. Evidently, however, the folks at The Seattle Times don't appreciate PC Seldom's sense of humor because Houtz described this as "the gender war, ungloved."
I wonder how she would describe the many negative generalizations about men that The Seattle Times has promoted. Nuclear annihilation?
Portraying an article about feminist hyperbole as misogynist ideology
From there, she turned her attention to Pat Faute's article, 7 Times 7 Times 7 Times 7, taking some of his examples of what the feminist inclination to exaggerate might look like if we indulged in it, and recasting them in a different context to make it appear we actually believe them:
(Rod) comes off soft-spoken, even pensive -- not what one might picture as the man responsible for publishing such misogynistic musings as this:
The average man's brain weighs 557 pounds more than the average woman's brain. The average woman has 14,189 more pounds of subcutaneous fat than the average man...much of this fat is in women's heads, where obviously they have some spare room. - In Her Face!! -- Bellevue Man's Magazine Is A Grenade In The Gender War, Jolayne Houtz, Seattle Times, Tuesday, January 10, 1995
Executive Editor dismisses misandry
Like the feminists, we're accustomed to having the mainstream media misrepresent us, but when Pat saw how far Houtz went, he wrote the following to Michael Fancher, since retired Executive Editor of The Seattle Times:
Dear Mr. Fancher,
Here's what Fancher wrote in reply:
I wish to register a complaint against staff reporter Jolayne Houtz. She took something I wrote for The Backlash completely out of context and made it look sinister, when it was obviously meant to be humorous and tongue in cheek.
The main point of my article was to expand on Christina Hoff Sommers' idea that the media are highly slanted toward feminist principles--to the degree of distorting any opposing views. And Ms. Houtz sure proved my point.
I knew when I wrote that article that some women's advocates could take it out of context and use it against me and the point I was making. But I never expected any of the mainstream media to have the temerity to do this. Certainly they would have some integrity. Silly me.
I have included copies of both articles so that you can judge for yourself whether I committed "misogynistic musings" or Houtz owed an apology. My article appeared in the November (1994) Backlash. Houtz's article appeared in the January 10th Scene section.
Dear Mr. Faute,
It's nice to see Mike has a sense of humor. Unfortunately, his sense of perspective may suffer from the fact he occupies a position of power and influence shared by less than 3 percent of the American male population (of any race). As one who had to confront being homeless twice before my 5th birthday, and many times since, I can only wonder what it must be like to enjoy that kind of security, and at how gratified he might feel to learn I lost my job at Egghead almost immediately following publication of Jolayne's article.
Thank you for your letter. I've reviewed your original article in the Backlash, and the portion of the article written by Jolayne Houtz to which you refer.
To be honest, I think most readers would assume the quotes used from your Backlash article were meant to be cynical (another synonym for "misogynistic"). I doubt many of our women readers found the quotes humorous but I also doubt they found them "sinister."
I'm sorry if you feel Ms. Houtz was distorting your views. At least she didn't use the quote about your 506-foot penis. Now that would have been sinister.
Sincerely, Michael R. Fancher
The Seattle Times' unprincipled agenda
Houtz's article was not just slanted, but also sensationalistic:
The tone of The Backlash! is edgy, sometimes even violent (emphasis added). In January's (1995) issue, the magazine tackles sexual harassment (why shouldn't men be able to argue that women wearing tight sweaters and "libido-arousing perfumes" are guilty of sexual harassment?), the myth of female powerlessness ("Since 1920, women have had control of the American political system because they have been the majority of voters") and maternal bias in custody cases. - In Her Face!! -- Bellevue Man's Magazine Is A Grenade In The Gender War, Jolayne Houtz, Seattle Times, Tuesday, January 10, 1995
This is "edgy" and "violent"? Sounds like feminist double-speak. Consider the January articles she didn't mention: Jeff Seeman's Gender bigotry..both kinds: Since when is misogyny a valid response to misandry?, Armin Brott's When Domestic Abuse Hurts Kids, and Raj Kumar Singh's essay on Vasectomy and choice for men, to name a few.
We can only speculate as to why Houtz and The Seattle Times chose to indulge in the bias and sensationalism typical of a cheap tabloid. Maybe it's simply a matter of "everybody's doing it, so why shouldn't we?" Or perhaps they serve an agenda less principled than we might hope.
Rod Van Mechelen
Rod Van Mechelen is the author of What Everyone Should Know about Feminist Issues: The Male-Positive Perspective (the page now includes several articles by other authors), and the publisher of The Backlash! @ Backlash.com. He is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and served for 9-1/2 years on the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Council.