Are you misogynistic?

Misogyny: dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.

It seems every day that something in the news reminds us that there is a silent attack against women happening in our society today. We have the case of domestic abuse involving Ray and Janay Rice + our voyeuristic desire to see the video of it all happening. There’s the young woman at Columbia who has been forced to literally carry the burden of her rape because the school has refused to punish the thrice-accused perpetrator. Thankfully, her burden has been reduced by the support of other students. Despite our having best intentions, something is still deeply wrong with how women are treated and viewed in society today, by men, women and everyone else alike.

I’m thinking about this because of recent conversations I’ve been having with my roommate – per usual – about the extent to which misogyny permeates our society. I expressed to her that I had a vexed relationship with music because it was alienating. The musicians I love most – like rapper/producer J. Cole and singer/songwriter Noah Gundersen – though not as aggressively anti-women as many men today, still have pretty problematic lyrics. In their music, one gets the impression that the women in their lives with whom they have sexual relationships are dispensable and are only there to help exorcise their demons. Women are supporting characters in their lives, and are not fully humanized. With a lot of the music I listen to and the cultural spaces I’m in, the misogyny becomes even more complex because it is directed specifically towards black women or women of color. Women constantly have to struggle with consuming a culture that actively questions our selfhood. For my roommate though (the everlasting cynic), we’re all misogynistic to some extent, so it’s easy to become desensitized to it. I definitely agree with her: even the most trailblazing feminists can be misogynistic. Think about this character: a young girl who sees herself as equal and “one of the guys” but doesn’t have many female friends because “girls are too petty.” Though she recognizes her own humanity, she doesn’t necessarily appreciate the complexity of the women around her. Mary Wollstonecraft who wrote the Vindication of the Rights of Woman was one such person.

There are many ways that we can be misogynistic. For example, I don’t listen to too many female singers because (my words) “they sing about love too much.” For some reason, I’m able to recognize the complexity of male musicians even when they sing about love, but I don’t give their female counterparts the same willingness to understand. Obviously, this is something I’m working on.

So, I pose this question to you today: are you misogynistic? You might be one of the few people in the world who isn’t, but if you recognize that you are: In what ways?

Post submitted by Kanyin

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