What is Misogyny?

Trigger Warning: mention of rape and violence. If this is triggering for you, please get any help you need.

  I’ve written before that one of my pet peeves is when people misuse the term misogyny. Msogyny is defined as: dislike of, contempt for or ingrained prejudice against women. 

So, what does that mean in real – life terms? I think deeply ingrained attitudes that lead to gross mistreatment of women and young girls, either personally or culturally and systematically. Examples include:

  • ISISystematic abuse (particularly rape) against women and girls, forced marriage, etc (for example: ISIS)
  • Toxic attitudes that say that women do not have the right to have autonomy over their bodies (e.g. Julien Blanc)
  • Bullying of female employees in the workplace (note: I’m not talking about banter. I’m talking about deliberate degredation of women in the workplace)
  • Comparisons of women to ‘meat’ in regard to hoe a woman dresses. Again, I think it’s used to diminish a woman’s right to own their own body and sexuality

So there’s a few examples from the top of my head on what I think misogyny looks like. Now I’ll talk about what I think misogyny ISN’T:

Misogyny isn’t mere disagreement with a woman or a particular issue attributed as a woman’s issue, (e.g an opinion on working mothers necessarily).

I think misogyny goes beyond just being rude (or being to be perceived as rude) to a particular woman (this is from something I heard last night which sparked the idea of this post. Please take note, I do not endorse nor condone being rude to anyone).

 

I am sick of the term ‘misogyny’ being thrown around too willy – nilly. It really doesn’t help anyone who is the victims of oppression or crimes I believe that are caused, at least in part, because of misogynistic attitudes.

There are some of my thoughts. What are your thoughts on what misogyny is and do you think that the term is too often misused?

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Julien Blanc and Attitudes Toward Women

Trigger Warning: This post talks about sexual assault and rape culture. If this is triggering for you, please proceed with caution. If you need help with personal issues, please get it.

On Wednesday night, The Project did a story on controversial “dating coach” (I use that term extremely lightly, hence the quotation marks), Julien Blanc, who’s “seminars” have been recently cancelled in Australian capital cities, particularly, Sydney and most recently from what I’ve read, Brisbane.

As people probably know, Blanc is an American Youtuber that is infamous for filming himself forcing young women to kiss him or of him inappropriately groping them. He argues that this is a successful “pick – up line”, even though the women that comes into contact with him are very resistant in the least.

The thought of someone like that even having an audience, people who is actually intrigued by what he has to say, let alone believing it, scares me. It feeds into misogyny in society. It further pushes the message that women haven’t got a right to their own sexuality or bodies. These attitdues NEED to die out.

I’m saying this in this blog, because it’s *believed that asexual women are more vulnerable to sexual assault*. When an asexual woman says to a man who’s interested in her that she isn’t interested, her requests get ignored. Huffington post has done an article on this here.

 

Let me be clear. This dangerous attitude toward women and their sexuality isn’t only damaging to asexual women (althought it is believed that they and lesbians in particular  are vulnerable), it affects women in general. How many times has rape been legitimised because of what a victim has supposedly wore? Too many times I care to think about. And that’s from what I’ve heard!

Nobody “owns” anybody. We need to get that. We don’t have the right to demand that other people become our property. This is where abuse starts. Each person owns themselves. This attitude of people “owning” women has had the opposite, but same damaging effect in other circles, particularly hardcore conservative communities.

 

*I’m not sure of the exact statistic, so I can’t for certain say hte rate that this is happening. In the xojane article http://http://www.xojane.com/#!/sex/true-love-waits-pledge, Samantha Pugsley explained how growing up in a culture where virginity was prized above all else, actually ended up damaging her view of her own sexuality, even after marriage, because of the shame she grew up with. This again, I believe stems from the same toxic attitude, that women can’t control when they have sex or whom they have sex with. It’s in the hands of someone else! I’ve argued before that if someone wants to remain a virgin or celibate, then their wishes should be respected. But I also argued that it should stem from personal conviction and choice, not enforced by the outside.

 

I want to give credit where it’s due. I commend the people responsible for the boycotting of the Blanc seminars. I also applaud the panel on “The Project” and how they responded to it. A further heartfelt hats off to Pete Heliar and Hugh Riminton who both condemned Blanc’s show, particuklarly Riminton, who rightfully slammed Blanc’s attitudes  as  being “misogynistic”. Thank you all for such a strong approach to it. And what the panellists said was right. We need to talk to young men (in particular) in how to treat women properly. We also need to talk to women on how THEY are the masters of their own bodies. THEY get to decide when they have sex (or not). NOBODY has a right to take that away from them. And of course, it goes the other way round too.

Stop Misusing The Term Misogyny!

A conservative commentator was accused of misogyny after criticising the former  Governor General for her role in international matters over a year ago. So a middle – aged man, who’s married, and who has actually vocally condemned a very insensitive comment toward another woman is now a misogynist?

This political correctness and using such terms as a means to attack someone who has made a critical comment, which, by the way, had nothing to do with gender (from what I could understand), is not just political correctness gone mad, but I truly believe, waters down the suffering that women really face misogyny around the world. Real abuses go on around the world. Women are devalued, not given legal rights, are victims of violence because they are women, sexual harassment is often brushed aside and many women find it virtually impossible to get justice after being attacked in many cases. These are what I consider examples of misogyny.

I have said it before that political correctness backfires. We can’t get to the point that terms like ‘misogyny’ are so overused that no one takes cases that should be given the time of day.

People really suffer discrimination around the world, whether misogyny, racism, homophobia, etc. People even die or face severe violence because of who they are. It’s not something to be trivialised.

Misandry Should Be Condemned As Much As Misogyny

WARNING: this post mentions domestic violence and abuse. If this is triggering for you, proceed with caution. 

 

There is a hashtag trend apparently floating around Reddit #EndFathersDay (according to Twitchy.com). According to the blogger, it was meant to be a parody, I’m guessing of the hashtag #YesAllWomen on Twitter. If it’s meant to be satirical, frankly, I don’t find it funny, and if it isn’t, it’s atrocious.

Firstly, hate campaigns, including misandry are just cheap. In my honest opinion, it takes away from the issue of violence against women, rather than successfully condemning it.

Secondly, what about men who have been abused, either as adults or children? Shouldn’t they have a voice as well as female victims? Statistically, as I understand, the majority of domestic violence in the West is perpetrated by men and the majority of victims are girls and women. But there are men who have been or are victims of abuse and, like female victims, their voices should be heard. Recently in the UK, there was a social experiment where they had a man and a woman having a physical altercation. When the woman was being hit and shoved, onlookers rightfully intervened and the man was rebuked. However, when the tables were turned and the man was being physically assaulted by the woman, no one intervened and some people were even amused rather than horrified. I just habpve to ask ‘why?’.

One theory I have is that we have had a warped sense of what is ‘masculinity’ for too long. That has bred indifference, as well as hatred of men in the West.men can’t be victims, only perpetrators of violence. This warped vision of masculinity has also affected the way women want to be perceived because they wasn’t to reject the notion of feminity, but also adopting “masculine” traits that society condemns when exercised by men. Why can’t those traits be condemned outright for both men and women?

Please note, I am in no way defending violence agai st women or watering down it’s prevalence or impact. What I’m arguing is that misandry shouldn’t be tolerated, like misogyny and violence against women should not be tolerated. If we want gender equality, we need to work together, not against each other. I’ve argued before that reverse discrimination doesn’t help anyone, neither does division (see “Elitism Shouldn’t Be Encouraged By Anyone”). Two wrongs don’t make a right.