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Misogyny ( ) is hatred (or contempt) of women or girls. Misogyny comes from Greek misogunia (μισογυνία) from misos (μῖσος, "hatred") and gynē (γυνή, "woman"). It is parallel to misandry—the hatred of men or boys. Misogyny is also comparable with (but not the same as) misanthropy which is the hatred of humanity in general. The prefix miso-, meaning 'Hatred' or 'To hate' applies in many other words, such as misandry, misocapny, misogamy, misarchy and misoxeny.

Marcus Tullius Cicero reports that Greek philosophers considered misogyny to be caused by gynophobia, a fear of women.Marcus Tullius Cicero, Tusculanae Quaestiones, Book 3, Chapter 11. [LSJ typo has Book 4] In the late 20th century, feminist theorists proposed misogyny as both a cause and result of patriarchal social structures.

Usage

Misogyny is sometimes confused with the similar looking word—misogamy (μισογαμία)—which means "hatred of marriage", hence the following error.

An example of correct use, from the same period is:

A clearer example of the sense, also from the same era but using the related word misogynist, is provided by Thackeray.

Occasionally writers play on the similarity between misogyny and miscegeny (mixed-race marriage).

Greek literature



Misogyny comes into English from the ancient Greek word, misogunia ( ), which survives in two passages.

The earlier, longer and more complete passage comes from a stoic philosopher called Antipater of Tarsus in a moral tract known as On Marriage (c. 150 BC).

Antipater argues that marriage is the foundation of the state, and considers it to be based on divine (polytheistic) decree.

Antipater uses misogunia to describe Euripides' usual writing—tēn en tō graphein misogunian (τὴν μισογυνίαν ἐν τῷ γράφειν "the misogyny in the writing").

However, he mentions this by way of contrast. He goes on to quote Euripides at some length, writing in praise of wives. Antipater doesn't tell us what it is about Euripides' writing that he believes is misogynistic,he simply expresses his belief that even a man thought to hate women (namely Euripides) praises wives, so concluding his argument for the importance of marriage. He says, "This thing is truly heroic."

Euripides' reputation as a misogynist is known from another source. Athenaeus, in Deipnosophistae or Banquet of the Learned, has one of the diners quoting Hieronymus of Cardia who confirms the view was widespread, while offering Sophocles' comment on the matter.

Despite Euripides' reputation, Antipater is not the only writer to see appreciation of women in his writing. Katherine Henderson and Barbara McManus consider he "showed more empathy for women than any other ancient writer", citing "relatively modern critics" to support their claim.

The other surviving use of the original Greek word is by Chrysippus, in a fragment from On affections, quoted by Galen in Hippocrates on Affections. Here, misogyny is the first in a short list of three "disaffections"—women (misogunian), wine (misoinian, μισοινίαν) and humanity (misanthrōpian, μισανθρωπίαν).

Chrysippus' point is more abstract than Antipater's, and Galen quotes the passage as an example of an opinion contrary to his own. What is clear, however, is that he groups hatred of women with hatred of humanity generally, and even hatred of wine. "It was the prevailing medical opinion of his day that wine strengthens body and soul alike."

So, as with his fellow stoic, Antipater, misogyny is viewed negatively, a disease, a dislike of something that is good. It is this issue of conflicted or alternating emotions that was philosophically contentious to the ancient writers. Ricardo Salles suggests the general stoic view was that, "A man may not only alternate between philogyny and misogyny, philanthropy and misanthropy, but be prompted to each by the other."



Misogynist is also found in the Greek—misogunēs ( )—in Deipnosophistae (above) and in Plutarch's Parallel Lives, where it is used as the title of Heracles in the history of Phocion.

It was also the title of a play by Menander, which we know of from book seven (concerning Alexandriamarker) of Strabo's 17 volume Geography, and quotations of Menander by Clement of Alexandria and Stobaeus that relate to marriage.

Menander also wrote a play called Misoumenos (Μισούμενος) or The Man (She) Hated. Another Greek play with a similar name, Misogunos (Μισόγυνος) or Woman-hater, is reported by Cicero (in Latin) and attributed to Atilius.

The context is worth quoting in full, because it deals directly with matters already discussed in this article.

The more common form of this general word for woman hating is misogunaios ( ).
  • There are also some persons easily sated with their connection with the same woman, being at once both mad for women and women haters. — Philo, Of Special Laws, 1st Century.
  • Allied with Venus in honourable positions Saturn makes his subjects haters of women, lovers of antiquity, solitary, unpleasant to meet, unambitious, hating the beautiful, ... — Ptolomy, 'Of the Quality of the Soul', 2nd century.
  • I will prove to you that this wonderful teacher, this woman-hater, is not satisfied with ordinary enjoyments during the night. — Alciphron, 'Thais to Euthyedmus', 2nd century.


The word is also found in Vettius Valens' Anthology and Damascius' Principles.

In summary, Greek literature considered misogyny to be a disease, an anti-social condition, in that it ran contrary to their perceptions of the value of women as wives, and of the family as the foundation of society. These points are widely noted in the secondary literature.

Feminist theory

Traditional feminist theorists propose many different forms of misogyny. In its most overt expression, a misogynist will openly hate all women simply because they are female.

Other forms of misogyny may be less overt. Some misogynists may simply be prejudiced against all women, or may hate women who do not fall into one or more acceptable categories. Subscribers to one model, the mother/whore dichotomy, hold that women can only be "mothers" or "whores." Another variant is the virgin/whore dichotomy, in which women who do not adhere to a saintly standard of moral purity (Abrahamic) are considered "whores".

Frequently, the term misogynist is used in a looser sense as a term of derision to describe anyone who holds an unpopular or distasteful view about women as a group. A man who considers himself "a great lover of women," therefore, might somewhat paradoxically be termed a misogynist by those who consider this treatment of women to be sexist. Archetypes of this type of man might be Giacomo Casanova and Don Juan, who were both reputed for their many libertine affairs with women.

Misogyny is a negative attitude towards women as a group, and so need not fully determine a misogynist's attitude towards each individual woman. The fact that someone holds misogynist views may not prevent him or her from having positive relationships with some women.

Conversely, simply having negative relationships with some women does not necessarily mean someone holds misogynistic views. The term, like most negative descriptions of attitudes, is used as an epithet and applied to a wide variety of behaviors and attitudes.

As with other terms, the more antipathetic one's position is in regards to misogyny, the larger the number of misogynists and the greater variety of attitudes and behaviors who fall into one's perception of "misogynist". This is, of course, the subject of much controversy and debate with opinions ranging widely as to the extent and breadth of misogyny in society.

Feminist theorist Marilyn Frye argues that misogyny is phallogocentric and homoerotic at its root. In Politics of Reality, Frye analyzes the alleged misogyny characteristic of the fiction and Christian apologetics of C.S. Lewis. Frye argues that such misogyny privileges the masculine as a subject of erotic attention. She compares the misogyny characteristic of Lewis' ideal of gender relations to underground male prostitution rings, which share the same quality of men seeking to dominate subjects seen as less likely to take on submissive roles by a patriarchal society, but in both cases doing so as a theatrical mockery of women.

Mythology

J Holland sees evidence of misogyny in the mythology of the ancient world. In Greek mythology, the human race had already existed before the creation of women — a peaceful, autonomous existence as a companion to the gods.

When Prometheus decides to steal the secret of fire from the gods, Zeus becomes infuriated and decides to punish humankind with an "evil thing for their delight" — Pandora, the first woman, who carried a jar (usually described — incorrectly — as a box) she was told to never open.

Epimetheus (the brother of Prometheus) is overwhelmed by her beauty, disregards Prometheus' warnings about her, and marries her. Pandora cannot resist peeking into the jar, and by opening it all evil is unleashed into the world — labour, sickness, old age, and death.

J Holland also sees evidence of misogyny in the Christian view on the Fall of Man based on the Book Genesis, which according to Christian interpretation brought tragedy and death into the world by a woman. (See also Original Sin.)

Religion



Christianity

Katherine M. Rogers in The Troublesome Helpmate alleges Christianity to be misogynistic, listing specific examples from the New Testament letters of the Christian apostle Paul of Tarsus.

Islam

The fourth chapter (or sura) of the Qur'an is called Women (An-Nisa). The 34th verse is a key verse in feminist criticism of Islam.The first half of the verse reads: "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means."

Taj Hashmi discusses misogyny in relation to Muslim culture, and Bangladesh specifically, in the rather biased Popular Islam and Misogyny: A Case Study of Bangladesh.

However, in the Arabic Quranic scripture, qawwamun, which is typically translated as "manage" or "take responsibility for", also means that it is the man's responsibility to take care of the woman, feeding and clothing her and her children, and providing them with a place to live.

In contrast to this somewhat polar view there are instances within the Qu'ran that, for its time of revelation, put it far ahead of many other religions and societies of the same era and for some time after. The Qu'ran explicitly institutes the protection of a woman's inheritance, allows them the right to divorce and fair provision of assets upon divorce in Surat At-Talaq. Also within the Qu'ran the figure of Eve is relieved of the blame for Man's downfall, unlike Christianity, as both Eve and Adam are stated as equally responsible for succumbing to the Devil's influence.

Philosophy

Schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer has been accused of misogyny for his essay "On Women" (Über die Weiber), in which he expressed his opposition to what he called "Teutonico-Christian stupidity" on female affairs. He claimed that "woman is by nature meant to obey."

The essay does give two compliments however: that "women are decidedly more sober in their judgment than men are" and are more sympathetic to the suffering of others. However, the latter was discounted as weakness rather than humanitarian virtue.

Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche is known for arguing that every higher form of civilization implied stricter controls on women (Beyond Good and Evil, 7:238); he frequently insulted women, but is best known for phrases such as "Women are less than shallow," and "Are you going to women? Do not forget the whip!"

Nietzsche's reputation as a misogynist is disputed by some, pointing out that he also made unflattering statements about men. Nietzsche can easily be interpreted as anti-feminist, believing that women were primarily mothers and opposing the modern notion of women's liberation on the grounds that he considered it a form of slave morality.

Whether or not this amounts to misogyny, whether his polemic statements against women are meant to be taken literally, and the exact nature of his opinions of women, are more controversial. Nietzsche had advised his readers to 'read him well' (i.e. not necessarily at face value) as to not misunderstand his statements and see the reality and fact of his words.

Weininger

The philosopher Otto Weininger has been accused of misogyny for his 1903 book Sex and Character, in which he characterizes the "woman" part of each individual as being essentially "nothing," and having no real existence, having no effective consciousness or rationality.

Weininger says, "No men who really think deeply about women retain a high opinion of them; men either despise women or they have never thought seriously about them." The author August Strindberg praised Weininger for probably having solved the hardest of all problems, the "woman problem."

See also



Notes and references

  1. Kate Millet's Sexual Politics, adapted from her doctoral dissertation is normally cited as the originator; though Katharine M Rogers had also published substantially, regarding her reading of misogyny in literature prior to this.
  2. Listed under both misogyny and misogamy by OED1, but cited in full only in the latter.
  3. Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon (LSJ), revised and augmented by Henry Stuart Jones and Roderick McKenzie, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1940). ISBN 0198642261
  4. The editio princeps is on page 255 of volume three of Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta (SVF, Old Stoic Fragments), see External links.
  5. A recent critical text with translation is in Appendix A to Will Deming, Paul on Marriage and Celibacy: The Hellenistic Background of 1 Corinthians 7, pp. 221–226. Misogunia appears in the accusative case on page 224 of Deming, as the fifth word in line 33 of his Greek text. It is split over lines 25–26 in von Arnim.
  6. "Although Euripides showed more empathy for women than any other ancient writer, many of his lines out of context sound misogynistic; only relatively modern critics have been able to rescue him from his centuries-old reputation as a woman-hater." Katherine Usher Henderson and Barbara F. McManus, Half Humankind: Contexts and Texts of the Controversy about Women in England, 1540-1640, (University of Illinois Press, 1985), p. 6. ISBN 9780252011740
  7. SVF 3:103. Mysogyny is the first word on the page.
  8. Teun L. Tieleman, Chrysippus' on Affections: Reconstruction and Interpretations, (Leiden: Brill, 2003), p. 162. ISBN 9004129987
  9. Ricardo Salles, Metaphysics, Soul, and Ethics in Ancient Thought: Themes from the Work of Richard Sorabji, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005), 485.
  10. Strabo,Geography, Book 7 [Alexandria] Chapter 3.
  11. Menander, The Plays and Fragments, translated by Maurice Balme, contributor Peter Brown, Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 0192839837
  12. He is supported (or followed) by Theognostus the Grammarian's 9th century Canones, edited by John Antony Cramer, Anecdota Graeca e codd. manuscriptis bibliothecarum Oxoniensium, vol. 2, (Oxford University Press, 1835), p. 88.
  13. . Editio critica: Philo, De Specialibus Legibus, edited by Leopold Cohn, Johann Theodor Wendland and S. Reiter, Philonis Alexandrini opera quæ supersunt, 6 vols, (Berlin, 1896–1915): (vol. 5) book 3, chapter 14 § 79. [Misprint in LSJ has 2:312]. Translated by Charles Duke Yonge (London, 1854–1855).
  14. Ptolomy, 'Of the Quality of the Soul', in Four Books, edited by Joachim Camerarius (Nuremberg, 1535), Latin translation by Philipp Melanchthon, reprinted (Basel, 1553): p. 159. Book 3 § 13. English translation.
  15. Alciphron, 'Thais to Euthyedmus', in Letters, edited by MA Schepers, (Leipzig, 1905): as book 4, letter 7, page 115, line 15. ISBN 3598710232. Translated by the Athenian Society (1896): as book 1, letter 34.
  16. Vettius Valens, Anthology, edited by Wilhelm Kroll (1908): p. 17, line 11.
  17. Damascius, Principles, edited by CA Ruelle (Paris, 1889): p. 388.
  18. Frye, Marilyn. The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing, 1983.
  19. Holland, J: "Misogyny: The World's Oldest Prejudice," pp. 12-13. Avalon Publishing Group, 2006.
  20. "Verse 34 of Chapter 4 is an oft-cited Verse in the Qur’an used to demonstrate that Islam is structurally patriarchal, and thus Islam internalizes male dominance." Dahlia Eissa, " Constructing the Notion of Male Superiority over Women in Islam: The influence of sex and gender stereotyping in the interpretation of the Qur’an and the implications for a modernist exegesis of rights", Occasional Paper 11 in Occasional Papers (Empowerment International, 1999).
  21. Marmaduke Pickthall et al.
  22. Robert C. Holub, Nietzsche and The Women's Question. Coursework for Berkley University


Bibliography

Dictionary of sociology articles



Core references



Katharine M Rogers

  • Rogers, Katharine M. The Troublesome Helpmate: A History of Misogyny in Literature. 1966.


Other literature

  • Boteach, Shmuley. Hating Women: America's Hostile Campaign Against the Fairer Sex. 2005.
  • Clack, Beverley. Misogyny in the Western Philosophical Tradition.
  • Ellmann, Mary. Thinking About Women. 1968.
  • Ferguson, Frances and R. Howard Bloch. Misogyny, Misandry, and Misanthropy. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989. ISBN 9780520065444
  • Forward, Susan, and Joan Torres. Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them: When Loving Hurts and You Don't Know Why. Bantam Books, 1986. ISBN 0-553-28037-6
  • Gilmore, David D. Misogyny: the Male Malady. 2001.
  • Haskell, Molly. From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies. 1974. University of Chicago Press, 1987.
  • Holland, Jack. Misogyny: The World's Oldest Prejudice. 2006.
  • Kipnis, Laura. The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability. 2006. ISBN 0-375-42417-2
  • Morgan, Fidelis. A Misogynist's Source Book.
  • Patai, Daphne, and Noretta Koertge. Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales from the Strange World of Women's Studies. 1995. ISBN 0-465-09827-4
  • Penelope, Julia. Speaking Freely: Unlearning the Lies of our Fathers' Tongues. Toronto: Pergamon Press Canada, 1990.
  • Smith, Joan. Misogynies. 1989. Revised 1993.
  • World Health Organization Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against Women* 2005.


External links

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