Misogyny is an exaggerated aversion towards women. Compared with anti-woman sexism, misogyny is usually regarded as directed against women by some men, though women can also harbor misogynistic views. In feminist theory, misogyny is recognised as a political ideology similar to racism or anti-Semitism, existing to justify and reproduce the subordination of women by men. The etymology of misogyny comes from the Greek and means to hate (misein) woman (gyne).


Forms of misogyny

There are many different forms of misogyny. In its most overt expression, a misogynist will openly hate all women, and will hurt people simply because they are female. Some rapists and sexual predators fall into this category.

Other forms of misogyny may be more subtle. Some misogynists may simply hold all women under suspicion, or may hate women who don't fall into one or more acceptable categories. Entire cultures may be said to be misogynistic if they treat women in ways that can be seen as hateful. Examples include forcing women to tend to all domestic responsibilites, demanding silence from a woman, or beating a woman consistently. One theory, mother/whore dichotomy, states that women can only be "mothers" or "whores".

Frequently the term misogynist is used in a looser sense as a term of derision to describe anyone who holds an unpopular or distasteful view about women as a group. A man who considers himself "a great lover of women," therefore, might somewhat paradoxically be termed a misogynist by those who consider his treatment of women sexist.

Misogyny in philosophy and religion

Many religions and philosophies contain what could be called misogyny. Paul insisted that women cover their heads and should not talk in church ("Keep silence in the churches, for it is a blasphemy to speak."). The Protestant division of the Ten Commandments could be inferred as referring to wives as property rather than people. In Islam, a woman receives half as much inheritance as a man, and her witness is worth half as much in court. In Hinduism, the Code of Manu makes women incapable of ever being independent. At times in Indian history, it was customary for a woman to be pushed onto the funeral pyre of her husband (see Sati). There is, however, wide disagreement as to whether these various teachings are misogynistic.

The 16th century Protestant reformer John Knox wrote a book called The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women in which he argued against the ability of women to govern.

Some of the most famous philosophers exhibited misogyny at times. Arthur Schopenhauer, in a very sophisticated epistemological discussion in his main work, included the sentence, "Reason is feminine in nature: it can only give after it has received". Nietzsche is known for arguing that every higher form of civilisation implied stricter controls on women [Beyond Good and Evil, 7:238]; he frequently insulted women, but is best known for the phrases, "Women are less than shallow", "Woman was God's second blunder," and "Are you going to women? Do not forget the whip!" Napoleon, Machiavelli, Aristotle, Tolstoy and even the progressive Rousseau were also known for making cruel comments about women. (It should also be noted, however, that philosophers such as John Stuart Mill, Frederick Engels and Henry George were supportive of feminism.)

Misogyny in culture

  • Grumpy, in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, says "All females is poison! They're full of wicked wiles!"
  • Chi Fu, in Disney's Mulan, says "Silence! You would do well to teach your daughter to hold her tongue in a man's presence."
  • Anal Cunt, a noisecore shock band (in)famous for their intentionally offensive lyrics, often write songs with mysogynistic themes such as "Women: Nature's Punching Bag", "You're Pregnant, So I Kicked You In the Stomach", and "I Became a Counselor So I Could Tell Rape Victims They Asked For It".
  • R&B group Bell Biv DeVoe famously sang, "Never trust a big butt and a smile" in their hit song "Poison".
  • Comedian Andrew Dice Clay was famous for misogynistic rants in his routines.
  • Punk rock singer GG Allin was infamous for misogynistic songs.
  • Some feminists considered The Rolling Stones' "Stupid Girl", "Yesterday's Papers", and "Midnight Rambler" to be misogynistic.
  • Rapper Snoop Dogg often says "I don't love hos" in his songs.
  • The goth-metal group Type O Negative have often produced misogyny in their songs. One line claimed, "is there no difference between woman and fire. The one burns the flesh, the other the spirit." The first album, Slow Deep And Hard, is particularly misogynistic.
  • Rapper Eminem has been labeled by some critics as misogynistic.
  • In ancient times, Roman satirist Juvenal, in particular his sixth satire.
  • Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver quotes "I realize now how much she's just like the others, cold and distant, and many people are like that, women for sure, they're like a union."

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