Jola Mecani is one of our newest volunteers. She recently authored our Research Brief: Misandry in the Media and Pop Culture. Here she explains what prompted her to get involved with our organization and to focus her attention in this area.

When I think of my father, I like to ponder about how he was strong and weak, capable and incapable. He was the sum of all of his parts, the good, the bad and the beautiful.

Personally I would not like to see him reduced to a few overly generalized terms such as a butch man when he held his ground, or a weak incapable man when life knocked him back a few steps. I would not like to hear of him being called a sissy when painful moments reduced him to tears, nor called a demon when he lost his patience. It is not fair to him or his children to be labelled by tv programs, greetings cards, commercials and ads as ‘most likely to be abusive’, ‘most likely to not use his head’, ‘most likely to leave his children’, ‘most likely to cheat’, ‘most likely to end up in jail’ and many more damaging stereotypes and simplistic generalizations.

It is important, if not essential, to bare in mind the inescapable consequences of devaluing and demonizing men in society. They are, after all, our fathers, our husbands, our sons, and our friends. When media sources perpetually display them as incapable or as violent, we must remember that these are the expectations we are feeding to young boys, grown men and women alike.

Stop and think of male roles in popular cartoon and tv shows watched worldwide at the moment. Let’s take as our first example, Family Guy and dissect the notorious Peter Griffin- not much of a father, not much of a husband, prefers to waste his time and money on cheap booze at his local bar. This ‘dumb dad’ stereotype has always been around. If not in the form of Peter Griffin, then Fred Flintstone, or Raymond Romano in Everybody Loves Raymond.

These characters portray men and fathers as incompetent and in plain language, as screw ups. Our men deserve better. These stereotypes lead to greater inequalities being reflected in our legal system, and the nature of policies governing relations between men and women.