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.
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.
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.
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,
“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.
Misogynists come in many forms:
- 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.
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.
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.'”
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
|||^||Psychology Today: 12 Ways to Spot a Misogynist|
|||^||everydayfeminism.com: 10 Types of Misogynist Men We All Need to Know About – And Then Call Out!|
|||^||Fortune: The abrasiveness trap: High-achieving men and women are described differently in reviews|
|||^||Sacraparental: Everyday Misogyny – 122 Subtly Sexist Words About Women and What to do About Them|