Misogyny and Misogynoir-Cultural Feminine Shock Collars

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Misogyny And Misogynoir

Thanks to Pie I found this great site with a terrific discussion on the nature of methods our culture uses to control women and girls.

What was missing from the debate, Manne thought, was a clear account of the nature of misogyny, and so she set out to develop one. The result is her new book, Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny , a carefully argued work aimed at a broad audience, which proposes that misogyny is the act of correcting women who fail to give men what men believe they’re due.

Manne tosses out the common thinking that misogyny is equivalent to despising all women, and instead offers that it’s a way to keep women in their place. Misogyny, she writes, is “the system that operates within a patriarchal social order to police and enforce women’s subordination and to uphold male dominance.” Like a shock collar used to keep dogs behind an invisible fence, misogyny, she argues, aims to keep women—those who are well trained as well as those who are unruly—in line. The power of Manne’s definition comes from its ability to bring together various behaviors and events under one umbrella. If misogyny is anything that enforces women’s subordination, then it turns out that lots of phenomena fit the profile.

[His act of violence] is represented as anomalous. It might be anomalous to have Elliot Rodger, in particular, lash out at a sorority house, or this guy in this fictional case in Fargo kill a woman for mocking him about a washing machine repair. But the broader pattern of lashing out because of that feeling that women haven’t been giving enough—that’s everywhere.

Misogyny is the stuff that women face that destroys them in some instances. “Himpathy” is part of the explanation of why we don’t see it, because we’re identifying with “him” and seeing “him” as the good guy, or worrying about “his” future. We don’t see him as taking a life. We see him as asserting his masculinity or defending himself, or as a poor pathetic character, or as vulnerable. Sometimes these things are true, that he is pathetic and vulnerable, but let’s focus on the women.

Misogyny is the stuff that women face that destroys them in some instances. “Himpathy” is part of the explanation of why we don’t see it, because we’re identifying with “him” and seeing “him” as the good guy, or worrying about “his” future. We don’t see him as taking a life. We see him as asserting his masculinity or defending himself, or as a poor pathetic character, or as vulnerable. Sometimes these things are true, that he is pathetic and vulnerable, but let’s focus on the women.

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And men freak out when women do human things. It’s not that men don’t get it, it’s that they don’t welcome human equality.

The other part of it, too, is that I think [this metaphor] misses that violence doesn’t need an elaborate psychological explanation. Men do violence to women all the timeas a method of enforcing norms or punching down. It’s just not true that people have these huge inhibitions when it comes to violence. Like, maybe with people they don’t know, but with people whom they’re intimate with, and want to express resentment against, it’s ubiquitous.

Kate Manne: “Misogynoir” is [the scholar] Moya Bailey’s term for the potent intersection of anti-black racism and misogyny faced by African American women in the US. One example of misogynoir that I write about in my book is the case of Daniel Holtzclaw, formerly a police officer in Oklahoma City, who preyed on black women—often those who were also further vulnerable in that they were sex workers, poor, and/or were known by the police to have drug addiction issues. Holtzclaw was ultimately convicted of eighteen counts of sexual assault—including sexual battery, rape, and forcible oral sodomy—against these women. The jury, which found him guilty of these crimes, sentenced Holtzclaw to 263 years in prison. The convictions only represented eight of his thirteen accusers. But the white feminist silence around the case in the press, at least initially, was telling—and, I argue, shameful.

On the other hand, the book shows what’s at stake in resisting white supremacist patriarchy, which is misogyny of the most brutal kind that’s visited partly on more vulnerable women, women of color, but also on white women within these racially homogenous and patriarchal partnerships.

Guernica: Now that the book is done, what are you working on?

Kate Manne: I’m interested in gaslighting. In misogyny from the inside, from the perspective of the gaslit, someone who fears being morally punished—not just being treated as bad, but being bad for doing things that are in reality just fine. Like saying no to sex. I guess I’m really talking about all of the ways in which women don’t know our own wills or minds, and also in which women [are encouraged] to act against them because of social control structures.

I need to read more of Manne’s work. Her approach is very grounded and her arguments are reasoned and wide ranging. I agree with her arguments connecting racism, misogyny, and violence not as manifestations of mental health issues, but more as effective ways for white men to get what they want and feel they are owed. The next mass murdering white man who is tagged as having mental health issues (as opposed to be labelled ‘thug’ or terrorist) is gonna get a broadside from all the disgusted women of the @#Me Too moment. I think the days when ‘Boys will be boys’ are coming to an end.

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