We hear a lot about misogyny- whether in the media, the news, or in your own life, misogyny is something we all hear about or may even experience. So today, I thought I would write a post about what exactly misogyny is and how it can affect everyone across the world every single day.
Below, find my thoughts on misogyny- and how we can combat the difficult attitudes entrenched in society today.
What is misogyny?
If you go by the dictionary definition, misogyny is:
“The dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.”
Now, on the face of it, this doesn’t seem to particularly exist in England- I wouldn’t say I know any men that actively hate women for being women, or view their female contemporaries with contempt.
However, I would say that the presence of ‘ingrained prejudice against women’ is still incredibly prevalent in England, and misogyny, for all the advances we have made, still exists across the world. Although I am primarily speaking about my experiences in England, I am well aware that this issue affects people across the world, women in the non-Western world even more so.
So when one of my friends decides to suggest that misogyny is no longer present in our society, that the majority of issues have been solved, and there is no longer an ingrained prejudice towards women, or even an ingrained attitude that women themselves feel somehow inferior, I was, understandably, riled up. Perhaps a little too much, but hey, that’s who I am.
Because men can never understand the feeling of fear when a man approaches you in the street. Men can never understand what it is to look behind you every minute when walking back alone from the club wearing a short skirt, and to know that should anything happen, the probability is that he would probably never get in trouble for it. Men can never understand what it feels like when you walk past a group of men in a dark street, and you have your phone already dialled on 999, just in case.
And this isn’t me saying that men can’t face problems too. The rate of crime means that men are also conditioned to feel scared when separated from a group of friends in a dodgy area of town. But women are trained to fear so many eventualities, that every time they step out of the door on the way to a night out, they go through the procedure of what to do in an emergency without even thinking about it.
But this is not every man’s fault, of course. It is the way society and individuals conduct themselves, and it is an ingrained attitude that cannot be changed in a generation. But when someone suggests that this feeling does not exist, with no first-hand experience, it makes me sad. My generation is supposed to be more liberal, more equality-centred, more understanding than any previous generation, and yet more and more I hear opinions coming from people my own age that make me feel like perhaps we have not come as far as we think.
When considering this question of misogyny, rape always comes up. How can you talk about the ongoing misogyny of society, without considering the violence that perpetrates women across the world every single day? I decided to look up rape statistics while we were having this debate, to prove that women are greatly affected by violence perpetrated by men. Some websites said that as many as 1 in 3 women will experience some form of sexual abuse while studying at University. This figure shocked me. This means that the boyfriends of 1 in 3 women pushed their girlfriends to do something they didn’t want to do. 1 in 3 women who got left alone in clubs were subject to sexual violence.
And contrary to what some believe, consent is more than just saying ‘yes’ once and then both people having the right over the other’s body, whether that is the woman or the man.
So, to conclude my ramblings- misogyny is still a problem in society. Okay, there are few men who actively hate all women, and fewer still that would see women as inferior beings. But the ingrained attitude towards women is still as prevalent as it ever was, and the fear that women are constantly made to feel, whether through male dominance, or the fear that they will not bring their perpetrator to justice, as is very often the case (just because a crime is committed, it doesn’t mean the criminal will be punished, or even the crime reported) is not a resolved issue.
To leave this fairly negative post on a positive note, we have come so far in the last 100 years, and I have no doubt that we will go further in the next 100. With more people speaking out against the issues women face, and the need for a change in attitude, more will be achieved.
What does misogyny mean to you? What do you think of the definition of misogyny? How have misogynistic attitudes affected your life?
Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
Happy reading x