The Importance of Misogyny

Kelly Jones posted this video in 2009, I’ve just discovered it. I admit that I was a bit shocked by her title, but I find myself mostly in agreement with her.

My response:

“Misogyny” does not mean the rejection of woman. It is contempt (holding in low regard, viewing something as beneath one’s standards) and/or hatred (passionate dislike; to “like” something is to enjoy it, or hold it in high regard) of women as a class.

The authentic meaning of misogyny, therefor, is holding women, as a class, as people that are beneath one’s standards, as unenjoyable or held in low regard.

Misogyny, refers to the hatred or contempt of human females, not their traits. A deeper inquiry into the matter as you have done here does expose that it is indeed the rejection of harmful or non-productive traits, those that impeded survival and climbing up Maslow’s hierarchy.

The problem though is two-fold:

First, our little monkey brains finds it easier to do what brains do best: manipulate sensory input, therefor it is easier to focus on an object (a body) that has traits (female) than it is for it to focus on non-sensory, intangible traits such as those you’ve described. Instinctively, and without work, humans will usually ascribe misogyny as a social disapproval, or lower moral value to women, incorrect as this may be upon deeper inspection.

Second: there is political (and emotional) weight behind the word misogyny, and a path-of-least-resistance investment in continuing to perceive the word as such.

If general get-along-ness in today’s conditions is of importance, then we must start from where we stand. High tech society, low-tech instincts. We do have an advantage though: we can be acculturated, learning by repetition.

A way of “eliminate misogyny” would be to acculturate humans to transcend our instincts (Pff! Barely an afternoon’s work!). One way of doing it would be to use the therapeutic technique of habituation as a parenting technique. Another of course, is to teach critical thinking from day 1. I’m sure there are more.

I agree with your analysis, and yet find myself unsatisfied at being unable to see a (relatively) quick and practical means of bringing about a more practical set of cultural responses.

Thanks for making me think.

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