Misogyny means a hatred of women who don’t act in accordance with patriarchal beliefs about how women should think and behave. Misogyny derives from the Greek misein (to hate) and gynē (woman) and misogyny was first used in 1656 .
It’s a real disservice to leave the definition of misogyny at simply a hatred of women. Misogyny’s meaning actually goes much, much deeper than that. Misogyny can be broken down in at least three ways. First, misogyny is the belief that women are inferior to, less competent, and less valuable than men. Second, misogyny is behaviors or attitudes that stereotype women, usually negatively, though stereotyping in and of itself is negative no matter the stereotype. Third, misogyny is having or showing a hatred of, or prejudice of, women who don’t act in accordance with patriarchal beliefs about how women should think and behave.
Misogyny is so deeply ingrained that many men and women don’t even realize that they may be acting in misogynistic ways. Whether it’s judging a woman for her behavior (ex: That’s not very lady-like) or telling a woman to smile or not look unhappy or mad, or treating a woman differently and as inferior to a man – it’s all misogyny. By the way, misogynists often do not hate all women. They usually only hate the women who do not conform or behave in the ways that they think women should, i.e. they hate all nonconforming women.
It is hell having to live and deal with misogyny.
I had to define misogyny this week because after the horror show that Below Deck was this past season and it’s reunion that allowed for and tried to excuse rampant and dangerous misogyny, I simply could not stay quiet. Too many have tried to speak up, educate and put a stop to the daily misogyny that they face only to be failed by those who are in a position to actually do something about it. Enough. Like with feminist being mistaken for hating men, misogyny is too often mistaken for simply hating all women. By raising our voices and by banding together we can create a shift in the dialogue that surrounds misogyny and it’s misinterpretation and this is one way I’m contributing. We can make a difference and make things better for us all!
Namaste ~ Ella
** If there’s a word you’d like to see added to the Word Nerd roster, please feel free to contact me or suggest it in the comments – I love feedback and recommendations!