The Origins of Misogyny

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Re: The Origins of Misogyny

#21  Postby Daan » Dec 14, 2010 6:28 pm

I think misogyny is related to violence. Men have better bodies for fighting wars, and for centuries the army was the most important institution of society.

Our most related fellow apes are the chimpansees and the bonobos. The chimps are warlike and the men are in charge, and the bonobos are peaceful and the women are in charge.
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Re: The Origins of Misogyny

#22  Postby wufwugy » Dec 31, 2010 1:01 am

Because men are more successfully aggressive and objectify women in a very simple way
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Re: The Origins of Misogyny

#23  Postby Animavore » Dec 31, 2010 1:19 am

I dunno. Where does - whatever the opposite of misogyny - come from?
Why do a lot of women hate and resent men?
I think it might be a competition thing. I wonder are people who are more likely to find it difficult to get along with the opposite sex more likely to blame them and resent them?
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Re: The Origins of Misogyny

#24  Postby james1v » Dec 31, 2010 1:28 am

Beatsong wrote:
Doubtdispelled wrote:
Steve wrote:
Because having babies is really scary. How does it work? Even today knowledge of womens health lags behind that of mens. My wife has been dealing with menopause for over a decade with hot flashes and she takes oestrogen and that whole reproductive biology is still not well understood. And women are vulnerable in that process and it hurts when babies are born and there is bodily fluids on a regular basis and a fair number of women would die in the childbirth process due to poor hygiene as much as anything and finally it means folks have to grow up and care for someone besides themselves.

It is sooo much simpler for guys.

And people always scapegoat what they don't understand.

I understand what you are saying, Steve, especially the scapegoat bit, but to me it still doesn't explain why women - and here I'm talking historically, because as Paul points out, it's all changing now thankfully - became negatively labelled, described, and villified. After all, they would not have understood men's biology either.


I'm glad you qualified your original post with the fact that you are speaking historically. I think there is a common problem in discussions of issues like this that some people cite events and issues from thousands of years ago as "evidence" for a particular state of affairs now. Most men I know my age or younger would be baffled by your OP.

Anyways, historically:

Sex is an incredibly powerful force affecting the deepest aspects of what it means to be alive and human. In conjunction with death, probably the most powerful force there is. It is after all our only comeback against death, being the means by which our genes survive our death. As such, it's been extremely important to people to control it. Men have attempted to control it largely by controlling women, and projecting everything that is dangerous about it onto women.

[One could also point out that women have, both historically and currently, developed extremely sophisticated ways of controlling men. But that's probably a topic for another thread.]

Furthermore, in order for sex to function for the perpetuation of a man's genes, he needs a woman to be faithful, so that he knows that the children he is putting resources into rearing are his own and not somebody else's. Thus the whole cult of virginity / woman as chattle passed from father to husband / control of woman's actions and sociability / distrust of woman's individuality and self-expression / hatred of woman when the whole business doesn't turn out as intended - which informs so much western history and culture, and can still be seen overtly in many non-western countries.



I agree.

Religion, was the enforcer, the distillation of male misogyny. :think:

Edit to add..Its no surprise that when religion and superstition recede in a society, women's rights, rise rapidly in those societies.
"When humans yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon". Thomas Paine.
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Re: The Origins of Misogyny

#25  Postby Bribase » Dec 31, 2010 1:41 am

Hmmn... This thread never really got off of the ground did it? It's something I've always found interesting.

The term I picked up somewhere or other to explain why misogyny is so prevalent in most societies is "Preserving sexual resources". Males throughout the animal kingdom have a strong evolutionary pressure for the offspring that they produce to be genuinely theirs, many human cultures have an almost pathological fear of this. All of the way up to the point of Christianity's obsession with chastity and virginity and Islam's compulsory vieling and myriad laws on who women are allowed to socialise with. The fact of the matter is that within human societies men can do all of the sparring and posturing they like to convince women of their sexual fitness but it is the women that choose who they copulate with. They have the genuine power here and the men that understand this are petrified of it.

Thats why I'm with Hitchens in thinking that the liberation of women is the key to Islamic reform. I'm sure you can understand now what the motivations for attrocities like this are:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7724505.stm

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 84028.html

Education leads to autonomy, autonomy leads to reproductive freedom, and religion's sole advantage is sheer weight of numbers.

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Re: The Origins of Misogyny

#26  Postby ChasM » Dec 31, 2010 3:23 am

Origin: Eve tempted Adam into eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And guys have never trusted wymyn since.

But seriously. To add to Beatsong's points, I'd add that there's a great deal of fear on the part of men of women's sexuality. Before we had psychology, the only explanation for the powerful psyche-changing attraction was magic (thus we get expressions such as "charming," "spellbinding," etc.). And that magic meant that the man wasn't in control anymore.

Many men (both ancient and modern, particularly those of an ascetic bent), see their quests for meaning (through religion, philosophizing, or other pursuits) as threatened by the charms of women - they are temptations away from what's truly meaningful to them. But procreation is necessary, so one has to control that powerful sexuality through religious doctrine and social mores.

EDIT - Just found this in the funny pix thread:
Image
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The most common of follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind. HL Mencken
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Re: The Origins of Misogyny

#27  Postby Daan » Dec 31, 2010 9:21 am

ChasM wrote:Many men (both ancient and modern, particularly those of an ascetic bent), see their quests for meaning (through religion, philosophizing, or other pursuits) as threatened by the charms of women - they are temptations away from what's truly meaningful to them.


It isn't the fault of female behaviour, but of female looks. I think only a small, but very influential, group of men fit in this category. Most misogeny seems to stem from an obsessive male need for sex and a strong need to possess and control. Men dominate the circles of power in politics and the economy. I like to look at pictures of prime ministers, and they are nearly always the same kind of type, the self-assured macho man.
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Re: The Origins of Misogyny

#28  Postby RobD » Dec 31, 2010 12:52 pm

Doubtdispelled wrote:Why are male humans considered to be the ultimate of all that is good, and females the opposite, i.e. all that is bad?

Your question is too wide for a simple answer, I think you should give some context or examples to frame it a little better. No that a simple answer is necessarily possible or even desirable, but the topic is huge and complex, and can touch on many taboo-like issues that rarely get a decent hearing, since they often demand that we look at ourselves in ways that tend to bring the emotions to the surface which leads to a conversation that's difficult to navigate. But not impossible, I don't think.
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Re: The Origins of Misogyny

#29  Postby Spearthrower » Jan 21, 2011 1:24 am

Doubtdispelled wrote:I had a similar thread on RDF enquiring into the origins of misogyny, which reached no satisfactory conclusions.

Why are male humans considered to be the ultimate of all that is good, and females the opposite, i.e. all that is bad?

I just want to know.


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Re: The Origins of Misogyny

#30  Postby dimples5 » Sep 23, 2011 9:01 pm

I believe that beatsong is right.

I mention this semi-seriously but I believe that in Freudian thought the mother (womankind?) comes to represent the infant's profound helplessness and dependence, its physical fallibility and ultimately, mortality. Men's sexual desire for women later in life continues this pattern. The power of female sexuality and femininity is at once revered (in benevolent sexism) and acknowledged as lowly and animal (in misogyny). Also, women are physically weaker. Also, existing power relations often incentivize their own perpetuation, especially when they are part of the culture.
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Re: The Origins of Misogyny

#31  Postby tolman » Oct 06, 2011 4:28 pm

Doubtdispelled wrote:Why are male humans considered to be the ultimate of all that is good, and females the opposite, i.e. all that is bad?

Considered by whom?
If you listened to a particular subset of men, you could find people whining on about the inferiority of women.
If you listened to a particular subset of women, you could find people whining on about the inferiority of men.

Though I'm not sure how many would talk about the superiority of their own group in *everything*, even if that might be partly down to wanting to portray the other group as being good at things which they don't want to do themselves, but which they still want to have done.
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Re: The Origins of Misogyny

#32  Postby Clive Durdle » Oct 06, 2011 4:37 pm

Just imagine the pmt in an islamic heaven! But back to the OP, I would argue for a slow drip drip of religion, division of labour, power and hierarchy. Probably related to the invention of kings and priests and empires and war.

And some powerful story telling to justify the status quo.
"We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"
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Re: The Origins of Misogyny

#33  Postby horacerumpole » Oct 06, 2011 6:24 pm

Doubtdispelled wrote:I had a similar thread on RDF enquiring into the origins of misogyny, which reached no satisfactory conclusions.

Why are male humans considered to be the ultimate of all that is good, and females the opposite, i.e. all that is bad?

I just want to know.


I'll object to that question, based on its lack of foundation.

Are male humans considered to be the ultimate of all that is good? One wouldn't know it by modern culture. Male humans are portrayed as less mature, less hygienic, more childish, less intelligent, lacking in empathy, non-contributory to the home, and Neanderthal-like in demeanor and thought process. That doesn't at all sound particularly close to "good" let alone "the ultimate." Moreover - misogyny is the "hatred" of women, and therefore even if some people did believe that men were the ultimate of good, it would not necessarily follow that such people also "hate" women.
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