Misogyny has been christened as the oldest prejudice. One Roman general whose wife was pregnant sent her a message from the battlefield saying, ‘If – good luck to you! – you bear offspring, if it is a male, let it live; if it is female, expose it.’ This same culture of letting female children die has persisted in many cultures, most recently seen in China. The Greeks believed that a good woman is one who is not talked about even in jest. The world’s greatest thinkers have had varying degrees of disdain and hatred for women. In The Will to Power, Nietzsche wrote of women, ‘What a treat it is to meet creatures who have only dancing and nonsense and finery in their minds!’
According to Aristotle, “the full potential of the child is reached only if it is born male; … ‘for the female is, as it were, a mutilated male.’ Aristotle also believed that women were as inferior as slaves and that obedience is their natural state.
Napoleon Bonaparte echoed Aristotle’s sentiments saying, “Nature intended women to be our slaves. They are our property.”
One Buddha declared women to be too stupid to understand his teachings, adding, “If it were not for women being admitted into our order, my teachings would have lasted 1000 years, now they will not last 500.” Confucius tied it all up, declaring one testicle better than a whole woman.
Martin Luther believed that God intended for women to either be wives or prostitutes. This view of women as falling strictly into this dichotomy is seen in the control society continues to exercise on women’s sexuality.
Women have been killed for not wearing hijab and about 80% of the women in an area stretching from Egypt to Somalia have suffered female genital mutilation.
In recent years, women have been speaking out about this hatred and contempt for women spanning continents and generations. Feminist organizations and movements in different countries have been outspoken, galvanizing millions of women against a system so firmly against them. These resistance efforts have led many, mainly men to conclude that feminism is about hating men. With this belief has come the idea of misandry which is the hatred of men.
Misogyny and misandry are often spoken of in the same breath and compared as if they are similar as if they are just different sides of the same coin. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Individual women hating men cannot be compared to misogyny which operates as a powerful systemic force with a direct impact on women’s lives. Misogyny is responsible for direct physical harm to women and even death. Men who are hated by women don’t face oppression. They are not locked out of school and work opportunities, they are not subjugated in their homes, and they are not subjected to violence because of perceived sexual misconduct. They are not killed because of it.
When men hate women, the entire system works with them to oppress women and keep them in their place. Legislators make sweeping decisions about what women can and cannot do with their bodies; the justice system lets rapists go, religious organizations insist on women’s inferior position, and employers pay them less just because they can. Everything works together conspiring against women.
When women hate men, they stay away from them, when men hate women, they seek to control and subjugate them. That’s a difference that one would not just be remiss to ignore but irredeemably stupid to do so. Ignoring that would be acting in utmost bad faith. Then there’s the question of justification. If one group of people has hated your group for generations and set up systems in a way that actively harms you, are you not within your rights in hating them? Is that not the logical thing to do? Where is the sense in loving a group of people who hate you and actively work to harm you? Where’s the sense in that?
Women’s subjugation and marginalization are at a staggering global scale, and women are just supposed to be calm and dandy with that? What’s with the demonization of entirely appropriate emotions like rage and hate at the injustice of it all?
Misogyny is real and women live their lives in fear of it. It’s why rape, domestic violence, and femicide are at epidemic levels. No woman is safe from it. Men on the other hand, no matter how much women hate them do not live in fear of facing the consequences of said hatred. There is nothing that oppresses men simply for being men, in the same way, misogyny subjugates women simply for being women.
As one woman said, “Yes, misandry is in the dictionary, but, like several other words in Webster’s (pegasus, manticore, afterlife), it falls firmly into the category of “imaginary things.” It doesn’t exist.
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