Misogyny has always been part of our societies. We see it in in everyday life, at work, and even in social media debates and comment sections. But do we really know the meaning of misogyny? What is misogyny? How does it relate to women and their issues? And most importantly, how can you identify a misogynist?
These questions are important especially for women, because sometimes they don’t even realize that they’re in the presence of a misogynist. They sadly end up supporting the same man who was oppressing them. Therefore, a woman needs to learn all there is to know about misogyny.
Here are some crucial facts that define the term:
What is Misogyny?
Misogyny is about men feeling that women aren’t behaving the way they should, or that women are fulfilling their roles in a way that doesn’t put men in charge. Besides, it is about punishing women who don’t follow the rules of traditional gender roles.
It is a hatred towards women. It entails controlling and punishing the women who refuse to follow social norms and serve men. As a matter of fact, Misogyny usually criticizes strong women who have an open mindset and an independent approach.
Whether it’s slut-shaming or media coverage of violence against women, misogynists punish women for straying from the straight and narrow path of being subservient to men.
There’s also the question of who exactly counts as a woman. As frustrating as it can be to deal with men who behave badly towards biologically-born women, misogyny also affects trans women and genderqueer people.
Moreover, in fact, misogyny is not exclusive to cisgender men, because anyone can be coerced into fulfilling gender roles.
History of the Word Misogyny
If you look up the etymology (the history of a word), misogyny is rooted in a combination of the Greek words for “woman” and “to hate”.
Misogyny, then, means “hatred of women” and has been around for a very long time. It was first defined by Aristotle as the hatred of women or for women.
The dictionary definitions were based on two assumptions: One, that misogyny is hatred of women, and two, that misogynists are men. Even though it can exist across all genders, men are usually the ones who express misogyny the most.
Examples of Misogyny
For example, when a woman “rejects” a man’s sexual advances, she’s punished for not fulfilling her role as an object of male desire. When she fails to prioritize her husband’s and children’s needs and goals over her own, she’s punished for not playing the role of a dutiful wife. When she doesn’t aggressively pursue male attention, they call her frigid or a prude. And when she does, they call her a slut. When she chooses to be financially independent, they see her as a defiant rebel.
Perpetrators of misogyny employ many tactics to prevent women from exposing their abuse. They harass, intimidate, slut-shame or physically assault women to have their way with them. And end up threatening them if they speak up. They do these things to keep women under their control.
Misogynists know that the best way to control women is to keep them ashamed and silent. Unfortunately, when they succeed, they take everything they want.
Who are the Misogynists?
A misogynist is very often a man who has been brutalized by a woman. He could be suffering from a severe emotional trauma that he has never recovered from. The most severe emotional traumas in one’s life are childhood traumas. Especially isolation and neglect at an early age. But it could also be an adult trauma if the woman he loved, for example, betrayed or humiliated him.
No matter how misogynistic the man is, he has most likely been the victim of a woman’s rejection. This is why misogynists tend to hate women in general and have a need to demean them constantly. They call them “crazy” and accuse them of being “insane and unstable”.
The misogynist is in pain. His whole life is an attempt to heal his wound and reach out for love from women. However, he fears rejection above and whenever he finds a partner, he ends up asking too much from her and sabotaging his relationship.
Apart from this, misogynists often seek out other people who feel a similar rage. They come together in groups to let off collective steam. Misogynist groups might have names like Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW), which claims to be a movement of men who will no longer date women or even have sex with them.
Forms of Misogyny
Misogyny — hatred of women — is a deeply embedded cultural phenomenon, which has historically been prevalent across human societies. It is often institutionalized as a male domination. The term has been associated with anxiety, aggression, violence, and sexual abuse. It is widely considered a serious social problem.
Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways. Such as social exclusion, sex discrimination, hostility, androcentrism, patriarchy, male privilege, and belittling of women. Apart from these, violence against women, deprivation of civil rights, sexual harassment, rape, denial of reproductive and abortion rights, forced prostitution, and sex trafficking.
Misogyny is infamous and widespread in our society. Women have been fighting it for generations. It exists everywhere. A great way to decrease misogyny is to support gender equality, and women’s workforce. We need to teach women that they are not any less than men. They need to stand up and fight for themselves.
Misogyny will end when women start speaking up and supporting one another in this fight.
Authored by Aashna Chawla
Edited by Yara Fakhoury