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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 August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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