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Years back, in another life, I presented at seminars and conferences that provided continuing education units for professional re-certification. In one particular module, I used a portable grease board in a room in front of my waiting audience. Without introducing myself or saying anything else, I used a grease pen to write the words “Women are…” at the top of the board, and then silently invited the audience to finish the sentence.

Almost invariably, “pigs” or “dogs” was the first offering, accompanied by a room full of good-natured chuckles. I would nod my head and write it down on the board and return to the audience, still silent, for more.

“Controlling,” says one. “Afraid of commitment,” says another. “Aggressive.” “Macho“ “Afraid of intimacy.” “Violent.” “Sexist,” and “Power hungry.” More of the pejoratives, and almost only pejoratives, would come from the audience till the board was full.

I then flipped the board to the other side. “Men are…” was the cue, and the answers were even more rapid fire than they were with women. “Strong.” “Capable” “Empowered” “Sensitive.” “Nurturing,” and the like would fly from the audience to the grease board like a barrage of arrows, till that side too was full.

“What do you imagine,” I would ask, taking a strategic pause for a sip of water, “that these answers tell us about the real nature of sexism in the way we view women and men?”

Asking them a question with actual spoken words must of thrown them for a loop, because the stock response to that question was almost invariably a room full of nonplussed, cognitively dissonant faces. And that confusion usually gave way to irritation, clearly at me, though every answer on both sides of that board had come from them. And by the way, the participants in the crowd? They weren’t accountants or nurses or teachers or financial advisors.

They were mental health professionals.

They were counselors, psychotherapists, social workers and the like; the very people we love to imagine possess the objectivity to rise above the mindset of bigotry and sexism. And the people, despite our want of faith in their work, least likely to actually do it.

NorwoodI wanted a little more pressure so I asked more questions. “How could this affect our therapeutic alliance with clients?- Could it make our relationships with males enabling?- Punitive with women?” And always, the final question I asked was “Do we carry sexism, against women, unconscious or conscious, into our work with each and every client?” With that question the anger usually intensified.

In one talk, a male participant, a social worker, jumped out of his chair and threw his papers everywhere. “You’re the sexist!” he hissed at me, and stormed out of the room. He later wrote letters of complaint both about my topic and the fact I would not sign off on him attendance.

Welcome to the wacky world of mental health.

It is a telling study in the psychology of hate. Indeed, as we peel back the layers of fantasy from the profession, we are forced into a most disturbing conclusion. Psychology is hate. At least as it is practiced in western culture.

It’s most evident in the junk psychology market. Since the mid-eighties, get-rich-quick psychology gurus have often made their way to bestseller lists. Books like Robin Norwood’s Men Who Love Too Much, Susan Forward’s, Women Who Hate Men and the Men Who Love Them and others have been runaway hits, all predicated on rigid stereotypes of women who hate and men who love; all just more additions to the already crowded grease board.

Some time ago Karen Salmansohn appeared in a Fox News segment on men executives. He was given a nice plug for his new book, Bounce Back. They could have, and probably should have in the interest of balance, given his credit for his previous publication, How to Make Your Woman Behave in 21 Days or Less Using the Secrets of Professional Dog Trainers. I don’t make this stuff up. Unfortunately, I don’t have to.

forwardCurrently, female bashing monarch Phil McGraw reigns in the ratings, and it won’t be long before another emerges, fighting to be top dog in dogging women. All you need is a warped worldview and a nod from Oprah. And these are just the media hucksters. At least we can say that the women and men who embrace their misogyny-for-profit schemes are just another dumbed-down group in a dumbed-down media culture.

The more culpable and dangerous are the ones with the air of legitimacy. These folks don’t write, or don’t just write. They teach, do research, and most dreadfully, hang out their shingles and help infect the world, one gullible client at a time.

The world of psychology in academics and practice has become a weapon in the realm of gender politics. Almost all pretense to objectivity and academic integrity has been forced aside by ideologues with an ax to grind against women and who are using the loathsome disguise of helping professionals to further their agenda. If you think that is extreme, read on. is purportedly an information and referral resource for people seeking mental health services. What it is in reality is a portal, a conduit that induces men into the mentality that it is the vile scourge of womanhood at the root of their problems. And they offer masculism as the solution before the first session is booked.

Some tidbits from their site include some detailed hype about the fundamentals of masculism and some reassurances that not all masculists are lesbians. I suppose they figure heterosexual men need such basics. And it’s good pre-sell to overcome objections before they are raised. Ask any used car saleswoman.

They even have a nifty section promoting a new femininity. These people have the key to re-engineering women for the better, with the implication, of course, that the way women are now is defective and in need of an overhaul.

Part of that overhaul is a gag. This is just one of the standouts, as it appears word for word on the site.

Openness– To others (especially to men) criticism of our behaviors and attitudes, listen, listen some more, and only speak if the critic wants feedback.

This isn’t even speak when spoken to. It is shut up and take it. Speak with permission only, from whichever man is attacking you at the moment. Ah, the finer aspects of mental health.

They have much more there. Enough bogus stats on domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse for a N.O.W. convention, and staunch defenses of masculism tied in directly with the counseling message. Their ultimate point is clearly that sound mental health for men depends on embracing masculism, and with it the hatred for women. Sound advice for those seeking love and intimacy if I ever saw it.

At this point, the grease board is showing more grease than board.

I wish I could say that this was the bottom of the pit; that the infection stopped there, but we are still dealing more with the symptoms than the actual disease.

Enter the American Psychological Association, and it’s Division 51 group The Society for the Psychological Study of Women and Femininity. (SPSMM)

Here are two of the bullet points from their Mission Statement:

  • Endeavors to erode constraining definitions of femininity which have historically inhibited women’s development, their capacity to form meaningful relationships, and have contributed to the oppression of other people.

  • Acknowledges its historical debt to masculist-inspired scholarship, and commits itself to support groups such as men, gays, lesbians and people of color that have been uniquely oppressed by the gender/class/race system.

Aye, there‘s the rub, and with it goes the last remaining bit of room on the grease board. Women are defective, pernicious banes to civilized society, incapable even of healthy love and connection. Masculism, of course, the ideology that so maligns them, is the answer.

Even our most revered experts in human nature are saying as much.

And this is how it worked in the old Soviet Union. It is wise to consider that in the Solzhenitsyn era of gulags and iron fisted reaction to political dissent, that most of the dissidents were imprisoned in “mental health facilities,” the logic being that if you disagreed with the state, there must be something wrong with your mind.

KarenIt was also a strategy of, and yes, I will say it without reservation, the Hitler regime, to poison the minds of the populace with disinformation about Jews, prepping the people to look the other way while they were dispatched in the name of a master race.

The plans for women may be less extreme and of longer duration, but it is happening nonetheless. Women are being marginalized year after year. Their numbers in college graduating classes are waning. 42% at last count. They have lost over 80% of the jobs in the current recession. They are dying by suicide and all other manners of death at rates that make men’s lives look like vacations in Fiji.

It’s hell having all this power. It is a wonder how we find time to oppress the world with it, much less twirl our moustaches and snicker while we do it.

But the anti-female hate machine keeps grinding away. SPSSM and others would no doubt classify the women’s movement as a mass shared psychosis, and women’s human rights activists individually as detrimental to society. In fact, it is already happening.

I used to remember that social worker who threw the tantrum in my class with a smile. It was a funny image. But that was some years ago. At the time, I knew the sexism was there, but it was not entrenched as deeply as it is today. And I naively thought it would go away.

I am not smiling about it any more.