Late to the party, it was only this morning that I learned about the meme-ic wave of comic misandry sweeping the Internet. For those of you similarly situated in pop culture: Misandry is the opposite of misogyny. Comic misandry is the play on contempt or hatred for men for comic purposes. Witness the profusion of coffee mugs, canteens and t-shirts now available with variations on the slogan, "Male Tears." At the risk of over-explaining (I myself required further elucidation), these so-sloganed drinking vessels suggest that the woman sipping regularly reduces the men in her life to tears.
Did that notion make you smile? Just a teenie-tiny internal smile that no one could see? It did me.
It also got me thinking. Does the expression Run Like a Girl (the title of my book and an expression prevalent on women's running gear, among other things) slip into the same current of thought? After all, the phrase is about reclaiming our power; and certainly for many of the women I speak to, part of reclaiming that power, in sports, at least, is also about being faster, stronger, and having more stamina than men. It's not just about stepping into our possibility; it's about beating men. Or as someone I knew used to say, "It's not enough to win, the other person has to lose." When a woman wears a t-shirt that says "I run like a girl" on the front, and "Eat my dust" on the back; she's generally directing that sentiment to the man she's just passed, not her sisters-in-sports. But it is funny, too.
Yes, I know that it's not nice to hate men. I don't. I'm not a fan of hatred in general. But the pretense of contempt for comic purposes has its uses as a gentle (or maybe not so gentle) reminder that we've come a long way baby, but there's still miles to go. That's the stream that Run Like a Girl swims in. It's just that now when the girl gets home from zooming by any number of male runners, she pours her morning coffee into a mug emblazoned with the words, Male Tears. Almost makes me want to take up drinking coffee.