Following is an open letter to President Joseph E. Aoun, Northeastern University by the President of the Australian Men’s Rights Association Inc (AMRA). –Ed
President of Australian
Men’s Rights Association Inc.
Professor of Sociology
Professor and Director, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program
Dear President Aoun,
Although many people deny it, we live in a society where misandry is common. Even as I write this my editor underlines the word misandry, indicating an unknown term. When I write misogyny this does not occur. The term misandry is increasingly appearing in dictionaries though, with Merriam-Webster
describing it simply as a hatred of men while Oxford Living Dictionaries describes it as a Dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men (i.e. the male sex).
I wish to bring to your attention an article written by Professor Suzanna Danuta Walters recently. A preamble to the article states Suzanna Danuta Walters, a professor of sociology and director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Northeastern University, is the editor of the gender studies journal Signs. An archived copy of the article can be seen here.
This article is not a satirical piece. Ms Walters mentions a variety of topics to justify her advocacy of man-hating including arguing that sexual violence is something men do to women and invoking the alleged gender wage gap.
This letter is not intended to be a critique of Ms Walters’ article but it is worth noting some problems with her claims.
Ms Walters states:
But this recognition of the complexity of male domination (how different it can be in different parts of the world, how racism shapes it) should not — must not — mean we forget some universal facts.
Pretty much everywhere in the world, this is true: Women experience sexual violence, and the threat of that violence permeates our choices big and small. In addition, male violence is not restricted to intimate-partner attacks or sexual assault but plagues us in the form of terrorism and mass gun violence.
Perpetration of sexual assault by women on men is grossly under-reported, with organisations such as the FBI only counting such assaults within the last few years. All readers are encouraged to read the research paper The Sexual Victimization of Men in America: New Data Challenge Old Assumptions by Lara Stemple, JD￼ and Ilan H. Meyer, PhD, as a starting point.
A selection of results from this research paper are presented here:
Not only does the traditional sexual victimization paradigm masks male victimization, it can obscure sexual abuse perpetrated by women as well as same-sex victimization. We offer a few counterparadigmatic examples. One multiyear analysis of the NCVS household survey found that 46% of male victims reported a female perpetrator.23 Of juveniles reporting staff sexual misconduct, 89% were boys reporting abuse by female staff.33 In lifetime reports of nonrape sexual victimization, the NISVS found that 79% of self-reported gay male victims identified same-sex perpetrators.34
The NISVS’s 12-month prevalence estimates of sexual victimization show that male victimization is underrepresented when victim penetration is the only form of nonconsensual sex included in the definition of rape. The number of women who have been raped (1 270 000) is nearly equivalent to the number of men who were “made to penetrate” (1 267 000).5 As Figure 1 also shows, both men and women experienced “sexual coercion” and “unwanted sexual contact,” with women more likely than men to report the former and men slightly more likely to report the latter.5
Without seeking to outline an entirely new classification scheme, we posit that “rape” as currently defined by the CDC and the FBI will continue to foster the underrecognition of the extent of male victimization. Terms such as “sexual assault” and “sexual victimization,” if defined in gender-inclusive ways, have the potential to capture the kind of abuse with which federal agencies ought to be concerned. They can be used more consistently and with less gender and heterosexist bias across crime, health, and other surveys. This would facilitate important cross-population analyses that inconsistent definitions now limit.
Ms Walters’ article also talks about the alleged gender wage gap. In reality what we have is a gender earnings gap. This is a topic that has been researched by academics and governments for decades and the results are virtually always the same. The bulk of earnings differences between men and women (typically 93-95%) can be explained by known factors that have nothing to do with discrimination. A small proportion of the difference (typically 5-7%) remains unexplained. This is definitively covered for the US labour market by the CONSAD Report.
Ms Walters also raises the notion of The Patriarchy to justify her feelings towards men. The feminist notion of The Patriarchy is a myth and shows, at best, a very naive view of history. The existence of the feminist notion of The Patriarchy, historically or in the present time, has been thoroughly debunked elsewhere.
Ms Walters finishes the article with:
So men, if you really are #WithUs and would like us to not hate you for all the millennia of woe you have produced and benefited from, start with this: Lean out so we can actually just stand up without being beaten down. Pledge to vote for feminist women only. Don’t run for office. Don’t be in charge of anything. Step away from the power. We got this. And please know that your crocodile tears won’t be wiped away by us anymore. We have every right to hate you. You have done us wrong. #BecausePatriarchy. It is long past time to play hard for Team Feminism. And win.
Her suggestion that men should abandon all positions of power and authority is, at the very least, extraordinary.
While Ms Walters is entitled to her opinion and may hate those she chooses to hate, I question her suitability as a professor at your institution. Many university students are young and impressionable and often lack significant life experience before attending university. It is troubling to think that a woman such as Ms Walters would have the opportunity to express her extreme views to impressionable young students in a university lecture setting.
Please note that this is an open letter and will be published in various locations online. In the interests of transparency we strongly encourage Northeastern University to publish a response. From time to time we will report to our readers as to whether a private response has been received or a public response published.
President, Australian Men’s Rights Association Inc.