What is Misogyny, and How to Recognize a Misogynist


Misogyny is such a large and complex issue that full explication within PolicyMic’s 500-word article guideline is impossible. Science Daily offers a simple definition, as well as explains misogyny's distinction from sexism and misandry. PolicyMic has voluminous archives on the subject: a search of the word "misogyny" yielded 42 articles and 115 comments (bound to grow). Both women and men have written these articles; they are under political, cultural, technical and international headings and deal with dozens of different individual topics.

While it is debatable at which point on the continuum between simple snarkiness through full-bore misogyny any given statement or specific action may fall, some general characteristics of misogynistic behavior can be teased from available data.

Kevin Drum, a political blogger for Mother Jones, wrote in "The Misogyny Bubble," about the widespread online verbal abuse of female writers and the explosion of misogyny that has come with the enablement of technology. The women of PolicyMic have experienced this form of abuse – and some have left the site because of it. The misogynists are among us.

Misogyny is systemic, organized and has fan websites. Misogyny is also – because of the very nature of its deep-seated, psychological hatred – a linking factor among the various top-of-the-FBI-mind hate groups and militias. That means that people who hate women may also exhibit authoritarian, violent and bigoted behavior towards minorities. And they are politically active – as opposed to lurking on the fringes of society prior to, say 2008. Here is a list of blogs and sites in the so-called "Manosphere," which sponsor and encourage misogyny (warning: do not link unless you have a strong stomach): Alcuin, Boycott American Women, The Counter Feminist, The False Rape Society, In Mala Fide, MarkyMark's Thoughts, Men's Activism, Reddit: Men's Rights (there has been some pushback on Reddit Creepshots, so this area may have been taken down), RooshV, SAVE Services, The Spearhead, and A Voice for Men.

Misogyny crosses cultural and racial boundaries. No less a journalist than Bill Moyers has written on the preponderance of anti-female language in hip-hop music. PolicyMic’s own Abdul Siddiqui has written in detail about the misogyny inherent in an entire series of computer games.

Misogyny is international in scope. Soraya Chemaly writes about this in her article about Patrick Stewart's support of International Women's Day. We have recently begun to hear stories about rape being used as a method of "enhanced interrogation" against protesters arrested in Egypt but Alexandra Zimmerman wrote about the kind of misogyny experienced by female protesters during the Arab Spring a year ago.

"Rape culture" is a manifestation of universal misogyny in that it is about power and powerlessness – not about sex. No less a media outlet than Vaishnava News published a comprehensive list of behaviors to warn Indian women about misogynistic men in 1998! Womansavers.com has a group of "relationship" articles, of great help to young women in dating mode. The article about misogyny provides a stark warning – if you're involved with a man who exhibits 4 or more of the following, he needs help. You cannot help him but you can help yourself by getting clear of that relationship. If he stalks you, get a restraining order.

Characteristic Behaviors of Misogynists:

*A Knight In Shining Armor, "I'll save you." * Zeros in on a woman; he chooses her. * Extremely possessive, always wanting to know where you are; whom you're with. * Obsessively jealous, even of your women friends. * Has first class spending habits; always wanting more. * Can't stand criticism; always on the defense. * Exciting, fun, charismatic. * A product of a dysfunctional family. * Had a poor relationship with his mother. He had an abusive or passive father. * Has a distorted view of reality. * Uncomfortable with feelings; contemptuous of other's weaknesses. * Has problems with authority figures. * If you share a secret with him it may be used against you. * Threats of withdrawal if you don't comply, "If you really loved me, you would …" * Makes fun of you, calls you names and inflicts little digs; hostile humor. * You feel awkward and incompetent around him; controlled. * Embarrasses you in public, or flatters you then cuts you down when alone. * Is nasty behind the wheel and feels that others' mistakes are directed toward him. * Wants or demands undivided attention; you are to be available when he wants you. * Cruelty may be directed toward animals. * Has a dual personality (Jekyll/Hyde). * Has grandiose behavior; is cocky, controlling, self-centered. * Is preoccupied with sex and is sexually controlling. * Is competitive; must always win; his way or no way at all. * As a child, he enjoyed playing with fire; more than curiosity. * Was or is involved in a violent sport. (What is he doing now?). *Comes on too strong, love bombing at first. * Believes in the traditional stereotype role modeling and roles. * Is a habitual liar; he twists facts to make it look as if he were the victim. * Has extreme mood swings (extreme high to low). * Takes no responsibility for anything; blames others/things/circumstances for his behavior. * Treats you rough at times; twisting your arm, grabbing, shoving. * Is nice to others, but treats you badly; shows no respect. * Steals, uses people, cheats them out of their money; always borrowing, never pays back. * Professes to be religious then attacks YOUR religious beliefs. * Gives gifts then demands favors. * Makes jokes and puts women down in front of you then ridicules you for being upset. * Encourages pity from others; convinces you to feel sorry for him for all he's had to endure. *Constantly cuts down your family and friends; isolates you. You must account for your time. * Very impatient and when he gets angry will destroy property; usually yours. *Overly sensitive and sulks when he doesn't get his way. * Tells you everything to do; what to do, how to do it, when to do it; what to wear.

Men: if you do any four of the above, seek help from a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist. You are in danger and you put your loved ones in danger as well. Misogyny is not "just boys being boys." It is mental illness and, while you must participate in your own treatment – if you deny or refuse, you will receive no quarter on PolicyMic from me.