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How Misogynistic People Make the Society Take a Great Step Backward

How Misogynistic People Make the Society Take a Great Step Backward

Have you ever had an odd feeling about something, but can’t seem to put your finger on it?

You’re in a meeting at work and notice how that male co-worker repeatedly interrupts the female coworker.

You’re playing a game with friends and the phrase, “you throw like a girl” just doesn’t sit well with you.

You hear a random joke that seems harmless at first, but it’s clear the women in the room are squirming.

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What you’re witnessing is misogynistic behavior. And it’s a big problem in society.

What exactly is misogynistic?

Derived from the Greek word misogynia (anti-woman), misogyny is defined as an unreasonable fear or hatred of women.[1]

People that practice misogyny are known as misogynistic and their behavior has an extremely negative impact on women. It can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, from sexist comments, oppression, and objectification, to more extreme acts, such as violence against women.

And while misogyny can be completely blatant in some situations, other times, people can demonstrate misogyny without necessarily realizing it. In addition, misogyny is more common in men, yet some women can also be misogynistic.

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Where does it come from?

The roots of misogyny can stem from a variety of issues, commonly started early in life. The person may have been raised a particular way, with a huge lack of respect for women. It can also start with a negative experience from a mother, sister, aunt, etc., resulting in an unreasonable anger or phobia of women. Oftentimes, a male-dominated society can breed misogynistic views.

Whatever the source, according to Psychology Today, once a negative seed about women is planted,[2]

“this seed will germinate and begin to grow, the tiny root working its way into the fear processing and memory areas of the brain as its tiny stem works its way into frontal areas of the brain, affecting emotion and rational decision-making.”

Misogyny can begin early in women as well. If they are in male-dominated environments, constantly experiencing a culture that makes women feel inferior to men, women become conditioned to think of other women and themselves in a negative light.

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Misogynists come in many forms:[3]

  • The Spreader – This type of misogynist literally spreads out all over the place. If he lives with a woman, he’s the kind of man that will drop his belongings throughout the property. Or if he is in a workspace, this man will leave out his books, documents, pens, etc., in a manner that makes it clear he has no intention of allowing a coworker to share the area even though it’s supposed to be a shared space.
  • The Explainer – If he sees a woman in a store, place of business, social gathering, etc., he quickly assumes she knows nothing about her surroundings and needs him to explain any and everything to her.
  • The Competitor – He’s the kind of guy that already hates to lose, regardless if it is a woman or man. But as a misogynist, he has a really tough time accepting a woman beating him. Even if she wins fair and square, the thought of a woman beating him is extremely hard on his emotions.
  • The Interrupter – No matter what is going on, this man is going to interrupt a woman during any kind of discussion. He usually talks out of turn to get his point across, and it doesn’t matter if his point isn’t even relevant. In addition, he has zero respect for another person’s time, especially women, and will completely ignore time limits when talking.

These are just a handful of many types of misogynistic people. Regardless of the type, these personalities really perpetuate negativity on women, which leads to the question:

How do we deal with misogynists?

Combatting misogynistic people can feel like an uphill battle at times. That’s because, as mentioned before, some characteristics of misogyny can go unnoticed so long, it’s practically accepted in society.

Some of the biggest places people have to battle misogyny is in the workplace. If women are going to have any chance of ever being viewed as equal to their male counterparts, certain commonly used terms, ways of thinking, and gender bias must go.

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For example, studies show when reviewing men and women regarding performance, women receive much more critical reviews than men. Women were typically described as abrasive, bossy, or confrontational. Yet men are viewed as assertive, confident, and strong. Men are given constructive suggestions. Women are given constructive suggestions – and told to pipe down.[4]

Fortunately, there are various ways to address misogynistic comments and situations. It starts with preparation and thinking about possible responses before a situation occurs. For instance:

  • If you find yourself describing a woman with misogynistic words, ask yourself what you would say if a man behaved this way. Would you comment at all? How would you describe him?
  • If you hear someone else describe a woman with misogynistic words, what could you say? One possible script, to attempt to open up conversation: “Hmm, it’s interesting you call her ‘shrill.’ I don’t hear men with strong opinions called that. Have you ever thought about that?”
  • If someone describes you with misogynistic words, especially in a performance appraisal setting, calling out sexism can be a big deal. “If you want to call someone on sexist feedback, you could try something like: ‘I’m interested why I’m being called ‘bossy’ and ‘opinionated.’ I wonder if you could help me sift through that feedback, and see what I can take from it.'”[5]

Misogyny has a long way to go before it is eliminated from society. But as long as people begin to take notice and address the issues, as well as change patterns and thought processes at an early age, we can begin to see change in society and push forward instead of going backward.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Last Updated on October 14, 2020

The Art of Humble Confidence

The Art of Humble Confidence

To be confident or not to be confident, that is the question. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve been a bit confused about all this discussion about the subject of confidence. Do you really need to be more confident or should you try to be more humble? I think the answer is both – you just have to know where to use it.

East VS West – Confidence, It’s a Cultural Thing

In typical Western countries, the answer to the confidence debate is obvious – more is better. Our heros are rebellious, independent and shoot first, ask questions later. I think this snippet of dialog from The Matrix sums it up best:

Agent Smith – “We’re willing to wipe the slate clean, give you a fresh start. All that we’re asking in return is your cooperation in bringing a known terrorist to justice.”
Neo – “Yeah. Well, that sounds like a pretty good deal. But I think I may have a better one. How about, I give you the finger”
[He does]
Neo -“ …and you give me my phone call.”

In Eastern countries, the tone is often considerably different. Elders are supposed to be revered not dismissed. The words ‘guru,’ meaning a teacher, and the philosophy of dharma, loosely translated to mean ‘duty,’ come from here. In Eastern cultures humility and respect are more important than confidence.

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These perspectives are generalizations, but it shows how the confidence debate goes back deep into our culture. I think that both extremes of pure confidence or pure humility are misguided. Instead of rectifying this situation by simply blending the two: becoming somewhat humble, somewhat confident all the time, I believe the answer is to know when to be confident and when to be humble.

Humble Confidence – Know When to Use It

I’m going to make another broad generalization. I believe that virtually every relationship you are going to have is going to fit into one of two major archetypes, either master or student. In peer relationships this master/student role may switch frequently, but it is extremely rare that the relationship never leans to one side.

In the master role, you are displaying confidence to get what you want. This is public speaker, leader or seducer. Being the master has advantages. You have more control and ability to influence from this role.

The student role is the opposite. You are intentionally displaying humility. This is the student, disciple or follower. Being the student has advantages too. You can learn a lot more in this role and are more likely to win the trust of the other person.

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Know When to Shut Up and Learn

If you are a typical Westerner, you are probably already thinking about which role you prefer. Being the leader is great. You get respect and a higher status. Most of all you get a greater degree of control.

But the problem is that you can’t and shouldn’t always try to be the leader. Trying to assume that role without the skills, resources or status to back it up will lead to conflict. More importantly, there are many times when you purposely want to display humility. Some of the benefits to the student role include:

  • You learn more.
  • Smooths relationships.
  • Makes others more willing to lend a helping hand.

Knowing when taking the humble route is to your advantage. It is far easier to get mentors and advisors if you use humility rather than arrogance. A small sacrifice to your ego can open up the potential to learn a lot.

Confidence to Persuade, Humility to Learn

In reality almost no relationship is as clearly defined as master/student. Within our connections, people have overlapping areas of expertise. I might be an expert in blogging to a non-blogger, but they might be an expert in finance. In each area there are different roles to take.

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Before any interaction ask yourself what the purpose is. Are you trying to learn or persuade?

Persuasion requires confidence. If you are trying to sell, instruct or lead you need to display the confidence to match your message. But learning requires humility. You won’t learn anything if you are constantly arguing with your professors, mentors or employers. Taking a dose of humility and temporarily making yourself a student gives you the opportunity to absorb.

Persuade Less, Learn More

Persuasion is great for immediate effect, but learning matters over the long-haul. Instead of washing over all your communication with pure confidence, look for opportunities to learn. Persuading someone to follow you may give you an immediate boost of satisfaction, but it doesn’t last. Learning, however, is an investment for the future.

Whenever I make a connection with someone and realize they have a skill or understanding I want, I am careful to express humility in that area. That means listening with what they say even if I don’t immediately agree and being patient with their response. This method often drastically cuts down the time I need to spend on trial and error to learn by myself.

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Confidence/Humility Doesn’t Replace Communication Skills

This approach of selectively using confidence and humility for different purposes doesn’t replace communication skills. Humility isn’t going to work if the other person thinks you’re an irritating whiner. Confidence won’t work if the entire room thinks you are an arrogant jerk. Knowing how to display these two qualities takes practice.

The next time you are about to enter into an interaction ask yourself why you are doing it. Are you trying to persuade or learn? Depending on which you can take a completely different tact for far better results.

Featured photo credit: BBH Singapore via unsplash.com

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