Spotting Misogynists

Psychology Today posted an article about how to spot a misogynist. Nothing like getting into the thick of it.

Misogyny is a term casually thrown around to the point where it’s in danger of losing its meaning. I’ve been there, as the one doing the casual throwing. And got my ass handed to me (read the comments, then my follow up).

In Psychology Today, Berit Brogaard writes that,

Misogyny is typically an unconscious hatred that men form early in life, often as a result of a trauma involving a female figure they trusted. An abusive or negligent mother, sister, teacher or girlfriend can plant a seed deep down in their brain’s subcortical matter.

Once 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.

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Brogaard does not take the stance that society is inherently misogynist. Instead, she [Note: my original post incorrectly said he, see comments below] says misogyny typically results from abusive experiences with women – often mothers. This is not to blame women for misogyny, but instead to talk openly about where it comes from. Knowing that, a man can explore his feelings and try to grow.

Still, the article has its issues. In brief, Brogaard says the signs of misogyny are:

He zeros in on a woman and is flirtatious and fun at first, but then becomes like Jekyll and Hyde. He doesn’t keep promises and is not punctual for women, but is for men. He’s grandiose, cocky, controlling, self-centered, and extremely competitive. If a woman does better then he feels terrible. At work, he unknowingly treats women differently. He may demand or withhold sex in his relationships, make jokes about women or put them down in public, and borrow money from them without paying them back. On a date, he may treat a woman the opposite of how she prefers. Sexually, he likes to control women and gives little or no attention to their sexual pleasure. He cheats on women. And he may suddenly disappear from a relationship without ending it, only to return later.

My first observation is how vague certain signs are. Doesn’t keep promises? To pick up some milk after work, or to get married? Extremely competitive? This describes the traditional male role – and one that most women value. Though they frame it as wanting an ambitious man. Is sexually controlling? Which is why women can’t get enough of Fifty Shades of Grey?

Second, there’s a lack of balance. Betty Friedan wrote of the problem with no name, and once second wave feminism took off feminists gave it a name: misogyny. But today there’s a problem with no name. Of course, it does have a name, it’s just that most people don’t have it in their vocabulary: misandry – man hating. And feminism is its main promoter.

Third, what’s missing? No mention of rape or domestic violence? How odd.

Finally, one could change Brogaard’s gender pronouns and her [edit] post would equally apply to misandric women. But far fewer people would get it.

Am I alone in having been in relationships with women who are not punctual, as if only her schedule matters; women who are sexually manipulative (and I’ve got some stories, but I won’t share them publicly); women who borrow money with no intent to pay it back; women who are Jekyll and Hyde; are controlling; who put men down in public – and are praised for it; who treat men differently (worse) than she treats women; and so on?

No, I’m not alone.

Women complain openly about men who behave like this. They call these men misogynists and are told, “You go, girl!”

Men mostly remain silent. Traditionalists expect this. Feminists demand it. A man who complains about such behaviours from women are called misogynists.

Feminism has a misandry problem. And feminists typically lack self-awareness on this issue. But it’s important to ask: how many feminists hate men because of abusive experiences with fathers, brothers, and lovers? It’s not an excuse, but it is context.

Context for both women and men.

 

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