A deep-set hatred for the world in general or the opposite gender specifically has been the driving force behind many literary, political and social movements for thousands of years. Hatred for all mankind is known as misanthropy, while hatred or disrespect for women as a gender group is considered misogyny. When the object of scorn or hatred is men as a gender group, the term is misandry. Examples of literary and social misandry can be traced back to at least the ancient Greeks, with several noted female dramatists using hatred for men as the basis of their works. This theme of misandry continues through the present day in art, literature and politics. The feminist movement of the 1970s, for example, was at least partially fueled by a communal contempt for a male-dominated society.
The difficulty with sustained misandry is the same as sustained misogyny or misanthropy. Although each gender can be safely accused of disrespecting or disregarding the other at times, the negatives generally do not outweigh the positives. Complete and utter hatred or contempt for the opposite sex, whether in the form of misogyny or misandry, is generally viewed as an irrational or polarizing condition. While the feminist movement of the 1970s did accomplish many of its goals for gender equality, critics tended to focus on the apparent misandry of some of its organizers and advocates. Some of the movement's guiding literature appeared to promote an anti-male agenda, placing much of the blame for society's problems on the chauvinistic, women-hating men who dominated it. By taking such a strong anti-male stance, some feminist movement leaders risked accusations of reverse bigotry or sexual discrimination.
Both misogyny and misandry suggest a deep-seated mistrust or prejudice towards the opposite sex. Sometimes a person's misandry or misogyny can be traced back to early childhood experiences or sexual trauma. A woman who was raised in a male-dominated household with an abusive father and passive mother, for example, could develop a very negative impression of men over time. This form of misandry could be reinforced by a pattern of abusive relationships or employment under a controlling male boss. A misandrist often develops an irrational hatred or prejudice towards all men because of these oppressive life experiences at the hands of abusive or controlling men.
There are some who suggest certain women explore same-sex relationships not because of a natural proclivity but because of a sense of misandry. Some women may have originally identified themselves as heterosexual, but experience such horrible abuse at the hands of male partners that they develop a sense of hatred towards men in general. It is important to note, however, that not all advocates for gender equality are motivated by such misandry. As with male misogyny or general misanthropy, true misandry is very difficult to maintain over an entire lifetime.