Word Of The Month: Misogyny (Part 2)

This month ASAP will be writing about misogyny and violence against women. Do make sure you’ve read part one of this article. Misogyny is often confused with Sexism. In part two of this article, ASAP’s Coordinator Dr. Suchitra Dalvie explains the difference. She also talks about the connection between misogyny and rape.

So what is the difference between sexism and misogyny ?

According to Naomi Wolf: Misogyny” often surfaces in political struggles over women’s role, and you can tell because the control of women becomes personalised, intrusive and often sexualised.” Misogyny involves contempt and violence in it. A public figure who tolerates the systemic under-prosecuting of rape is guilty of serious and unforgivable sexism; making rape jokes or explaining away the damage of rape in public,, or legislating, as over a dozen US states are now doing, transvaginal probes that are medically unnecessary, simply to sexually punish women for choosing abortion – well, that is misogyny.”

Girls and women exposed to an unending stream of images and opinions and stories in the media can also internalize the misogyny.

sexism and misogyny

These ads from the 1960s in the U.S., show how women were patronized and abused in ads. These were then considered funny! But there is nothing funny about beating your wife, or patronizing her. Dr. David Grimes who spoke at IWAC 2013, used the image on the right to show how we grow inured to abuse.

Is there a relationship between rape and misogyny ?

Research into the factors which motivate perpetrators of rape  against women frequently reveals patterns of hatred of women and pleasure in inflicting psychological and/or physical trauma, rather than sexual interest.

There is an accepted opinion that rape is not the result of pathological individuals, but rather systems of male dominance, cultural practices and beliefs that objectify and degrade women.

Gang Rape Fantasies are NOT FUNNY!

Gang Rape Fantasies are NOT FUNNY!

Odem also states that these rape myths propagate sexist attitudes about men by perpetuating the thought that men cannot control their sexuality, and those of women. The media plays up these notions by glorifying male dominance in advertisements and movies. Inga La Gringa, feminist and anti-racists advocate, and author of the popular feminist book, Cunt, appeals to her readers not to watch movies with aesthetically shot rape scenes. She writes, “No amount of delicious vengeance can justify depicting a rape scene,” in her blog.

We will explore this theme  of misogyny and violence a little more in the coming weeks. Misogyny is rooted deep in our traditions and cultures. Several women have become inured to misogyny that is not uncommon to see women legitimizing this mistreatment in their attempts to fit into society. But why do we care about it? Because as advocates for abortion we run into misogyny everyday – law makers, politicians and religious leaders struggle to come to terms with this idea that women are not a lower life form, and that they are capable of independent, responsible thinking without the aid of men.


About Suchitra Dalvie

Suchitra Dalvie is the Coordinator for the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership and a Steering Committee Member for CommonHealth. She is a strong believer in women's rights to safe abortion and has worked in promoting the cause for over 10 years. She is also a practicing Gynecologist.
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