The Bad-Man Hype

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About Victoria Medgyesi

Writer and speaker Victoria Medgyesi challenges the assumptions behind negative stereotypes, and the hidden cost to both men and women of not doing so, in “The Bad-Man Hype.” As a journalist, her groundbreaking coverage of how stereotypes impact people with disabilities earned numerous awards. Visit her website and share your stories here.


  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    “dare” to tell the story? That implies there’s some risk. Don’t think so.

    I suppose the cumulative effect of the cumulative effect is inescapable, but most men I know or know of don’t pay any attention. Oh, they know it exists. But it’s meaningless to them. Since nobody they know is dumb and evil, or if they are, there are other men who take care of business, it’s meaningless as to having an effect on them.
    Except to muse that the advertisers work very hard and spend a great deal of money to appeal to a specific target market. And who’s supposed to be buying the stuff marketed in the dumb-guy ads? Got to wonder about that.

  2. Mark Neil says:

    I’ve seen it often, and not sure who to attribute the quote to, but it is said “a society that treats it’s men despicably will inevitably raise despicable men”.

    This has come about as a result of attempts to level the playing field for women. Tear men down in order to raise women up. I know many feminists will take offense to this, but I point to Dworkin and her assertions about men, male sexuality, and heterosexual sex. This isn’t an assertion that all feminists are like this, only that some feminists took this route and it has stuck. Add to that the resistance to the idea that men can be discriminated against, or victims of some kind of systemic negativity, and you have a scenario where men are reflected on poorly and aren’t able to raise attention to it without being called whiners, humorless, misogynists or “afraid of losing their privilege”.

  3. Here’s one that just showed up in the newspaper–abc-news-topstories.html

    There are also the 4 men who died protecting women in the recent batman shooting.

    • Richard Aubrey says:

      Ref the Batman shooting: IIRC, the guys did not receive universal approbation. Problem is…if they did good, that’s the standard. And who wants to live up to that standard? You could be killed!

      • I will agree that the guys did not receive universal approbation, and I think that’s the problem. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging when men do heroic stuff, as a sign of man’s potential. But I will agree with you that it has become the standard. An expectation. A man is expected to use his body as a shield to save the life of a woman. We’re told “that’s what a real man does”. The irony being that those who say that’s what it means to be a real man are often the same ones that say men are all Schrodinger’s rapist. It’s not wrong to recognize people for their heroic actions. For their self sacrifice that THEY choose to make. But it is wrong to pretend that’s the norm, the expectation. After all, if that’s just the everyday expectation, what does one need to do to be a hero? For a women, it’s pointing a finger at an alleged rapist. But a man… even giving away his life for another is only what’s expected.

        So I partially agree and partially disagree with what I interpret as your position. Sad part is, the guy who ran out of the theater and left his girlfriend behind got more attention than the 4 men who died saving other peoples lives.

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    Mark. Clearly, that’s not the norm. As Peggy Noonan said, the guy who punched the shark–and was killed–to save his wife doesn’t get nearly the applause a Woody Allen type would get for a humorous reflection on not punching the shark.
    And I didn’t say it should be the norm. I said that if we give these guys universal approbation, it becomes the norm and there are some guys who are afraid of such a standard. You could get killed.
    And, as a culture, we get to choose our norm. Some think self-sacrifice is a minimum standard in such situations. Others don’t.
    My own feeling is that, if I thought quickly enough, I’d do it. I’ve done several things which could have gone wrong and gotten me killed, but which went right. But I knew the risks going in. So I think I would, given sufficient mental acuity to assess the situation.
    Given that, if I failed, I’d reproach myself, and I would reproach anybody else who bailed. Like the guy who got hold of himself halfway home as you mentioned. I think–I hope–he’s an object of fascination like any deformed part of nature. Not a valid behavior choice.

    • Perhaps you should read the comments section of those types of articles and see just how many people think it IS the norm. The expectation of what a “real man” is… and how few actually rail against that view.

      Let me ask you… WHY doesn’t the guy punching the shark to save his wife get as much of an applause as the Woody Allen humorous reflection? Perhaps it’s because what the guy did is what was expected of him, and isn’t seen as anything special?

      And while it bothers me to think that this is what is expected of men (but what makes a woman something incredibly special? so much for equality), it likewise bothers me the idea that these people’s should sacrifices, their risks, should be ignored as if they were everyday actions and expectations. Or as if they were some horrible thing to have done. What those people did was special. It was dangerous, but they did it anyways for the potential to save another’s life. They should be recognized as doing something out of the ordinary, and the current system of seeing it as the norm, and your system of ignoring it to avoid becoming the norm… nether of these works for me.


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