Random AsidesSkepticism

Bad Chart Thursday: Misandry, Matriarchy, and More

If misogyny and misandry were forced to make small talk, would they find they have anything in common? Both are gender related, sure. Oh, and they have the same prefix! But then . . . awkward silence, at best.

Or maybe they’d get along famously, like a little boy and his imaginary friend, the one he pretends to be battling so he can feel justified when he lashes out.

Both would probably be surprised that one thing they have in common is . . . feminism?


Not only does this Venn show feminism as the shared feature of misogyny and misandry, the diagram gives them equal weight, as though misandry is the huge systemic problem that misogyny is. As though misandry is real at all. Similarly, while MRAs in the misogyny circle are real, feminazis, over in the misandry circle, are just as imaginary as misandry itself.

I wasn’t able to track down the original source of the diagram, but I’m guessing the overlap was maybe intended to display the solution to misogyny and misandry rather than where the two actually overlap in reality, since misandry isn’t actually, you know, in reality, and misogyny is pretty much as far from feminism as it’s possible to be.

The concept of feminism as being beneficial to both men and women is a good point to get across, but this false balance Venn just undermines that message.

Still, at least that Venn is somewhat comprehensible, unlike this one, shared with me by Cully Rae Jepsen. Neither of us could track down the original source of this Venn, so maybe it’s deliberately terrible? For all the terms packed in there, I’m still trying to find anything that’s even remotely accurate. You’d think that would have happened by accident, at least, but . . . no.

matriarchy patriarchy venn

The primary concepts are patriarchy and matriarchy, with blue and pink to distinguish each circle, just to give you a heads up that the diagram relies on masculine and feminine stereotypes, such as soft science for matriarchy and hard science for patriarchy. Similarly, the arrows criss-crossed over the Venn show the “axis of knowledge” increasing as it moves up toward patriarchy and the “axis of care” increasing as it moves toward matriarchy. And the economic and political systems tend to fall into the communal, supportive realm for matriarchy and the authoritarian, individualist realm for patriarchy.

So basically matriarchy is run by Care Bears and patriarchy by an Ayn Rand character. Sounds legit.

This Venn suffers from a similar problem as the diagram above. Like misogyny, which is a very real and pervasive problem, patriarchy is also the reality of the world we live in. Matriarchy, not so much, although definitions of matriarchy are complex, and I welcome comments from people who are more knowledgeable about this to shed light on whether any true matriarchal societies exist, or what that even means. From my admittedly limited understanding, matrilineal societies still seem to fall within patriarchal gender roles and/or governance. Matriarchy as polar opposite and of equal weight and reality to patriarchy as shown in this chart, however, is hypothetical, not real.

So at most, this Venn shows us features that might be consistent with a hypothetical matriarchy even though all the features listed have arisen or dominated within a patriarchy. So we’re left with a diagram that describes its creator’s imaginary matriarchy in ways that limit and define real concepts, such as patriarchy, in imaginary ways.

Where the circles overlap, the diagram has one term: market economy. That’s it. That’s all that the patriarchy and matriarchy share, because . . . it’s supposedly a middle ground between Austrian School and Marxism-Leninism, I guess? There’s no equivalent middle ground for the political, philosophical, or science concepts, which seems odd within the imaginary dichotomies of this chart but perfectly reasonable in reality, where most ideas don’t fall so neatly into opposing categories.

Gender atheism and sexuality atheism are outside both circles and in the same large font size as patriarchy and matriarchy. I think this placement of gender atheism is intended to show that those who do not believe in the gender binary are outside patriarchal and matriarchal systems. I’ve seen this meaning for the phrase, although I haven’t seen the equivalent for sexuality, and the use of “atheism” is confusing as a catch-all term for not believing something that doesn’t have anything to do with theism.

And just in case this diagram was not confusing enough, the creator tossed in a bunch of tiny arrows that I imagine have meaning of some kind somehow. Hard sciences lead to gender atheism, which leads to radical feminism, which leads to cultural Marxism, which leads to “true” anarchy, whatever those scare quotes mean. So in other words, hard sciences are the gateway drug to anarchy?

Then we have soft sciences that lead to the welfare state, which leads to left totalitarianism, which leads to Marxism-Leninism, which leads back to the welfare state and continues in a circle, much like the hamster wheel that is operating the Rube Goldberg device that the creator of this chart clearly made to pull up his own bootstraps so he could make convoluted charts deriding the “welfare state.”

Even more bizarre, somehow, is that soft sciences also lead to sexuality atheism which leads up into the patriarchy to . . . fourth-wave feminism?

I think we just got on the wrong bus.

Similar to pie charts, Venns are simple in form but remarkably easy to use for information that just doesn’t make sense diagrammed in this way. To be fair, though, the information in both Venns here wouldn’t have made much sense presented in any other format either, except maybe in some parallel universe, where everything is the exact opposite, even things that don’t actually have opposites. That theory actually makes more sense than these charts do.

Melanie Mallon

Melanie is a freelance editor and writer living in a small town outside Minneapolis with her husband, two kids, dog, and two cats. When not making fun of bad charts or running the Uncensorship Project, she spends her time wrangling commas, making colon jokes, and putting out random dumpster fires. You can find her on Twitter as @MelMall, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

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  1. Basically any woman who stands up for other women can be labeled a misandrist by MRAs. I’ve tried, but I’ve yet to encounter a woman who holds men in the contempt which they have for women (mostly the women who spurn their advances). Most men think MRAs are potty. But then they’re all “beta fags”, I guess!

  2. Maybe OP wasn’t aware of what a Venn diagram was for?

    A proper graph would be a spectrum, possibly horseshoe-shaped.

    Of course, that depends on the notion that misandry is a major force and not just a strawman made up by misogynists.

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