Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Out of Sync

Something odd I noticed the other day is that while the contents of much of feminism have changed in the last twenty years or so, the contents of misogyny have not changed nearly as much. It's as if the two are out of sync with each other.

Misogyny is still about the rotting flesh of all womankind, of all races, all religions, all ethnic groups and all classes. It certainly takes different forms depending on intersections between gender, class, race, ethnicity and religion, but it applies to women just because they are women. It doesn't matter if the woman is good or bad as a person, if the woman is old or young, if she is pretty or not, if she is good at math or not, if she stays at home with small children or is out working with small children or without them. Misogynists hate her or at least deeply despise her for her gender.

Movement feminists don't have a good response to that, because they are splintered into groups working on issues such as reproductive choice, women in the labor force, domestic violence, women in racial or ethnic minorities, immigrant women, women in the military etcetera. They don't have an Anti-Misogyny Squad.

Should there be one? I'm not sure. Can one discuss something with a misogynist? My experiences suggest that this is no more possible than teaching a stone to tango. Perhaps ignoring misogyny is the way to go? Ignorance is mentally healthier and less damaging to the young women, in particular. And not paying attention to woman haters is safer. We all like to feel safe.

But then a generalized contempt toward women is what ultimately underlies everything feminists battle. Everything.

What are your thoughts?