Is Misogyny a Myth?

Mis-anthropy, mis-andry, and miso-gyny are three terms that respectively mean hatred toward all humans, toward all men, and toward all women. Although composed of Greek words, making them seem very academic, these are not professional terms of any field. Rather, they are expressions from popular culture. In fact, the very first use of the word Misogyny in English, in the 17th century, was as a derogatory condemnation. The term “misogynist” is not a diagnosis or a trait. A systematic search for research on the existence of misogyny as an internal psychological phenomenon – a psychological trait or a mental disorder – found that no such research has ever been published. Simply put, it is a slur.

Feminists define any criticism on feminism as misogyny, and publish dozens of articles in academic journals with alarming titles describing a surge in misogyny; however, such papers are based on reading online debates in which women and men alike, may be rather blunt and rude, and counting male comments as evidence for the prevalence of an internal psychological condition of misogyny. Of course, men may write crude statements to women, as women are able to write to men, and as both may direct at individuals of their own sex; but it is impossible to deduce based on rude comments on social media without direct assessment of a person, that the person has an internal psychological state of hatred toward all women, just as it is impossible to know this about a woman from rude comments she makes about men. In the psychological sense this is not evidence of misogyny as an internal mental state. Yet, this is how these so-called analyses of a presumable misogyny are conducted. When one examines the content of the texts that bear unnerving titles on misogyny, one finds the same level of argumentation and style found in the forums from which the evidence were taken, that is, the papers seem more than anything as “comeback” comments to posts, published as research articles, as if such feminist authors are using the platform called the scientific journal to retaliate within those social media debates, and present their comment in the format of an academic work.

The term “misogyny” thus became in fields such as Sociology and Anthropology a sort of concrete mental and social phenomenon, while all along it functions in publications reporting it as a slur

Hardly anyone in the research community inspects the methodology behind the titles or is aware that they are based on reading discussions and counting any comment that the author finds upsetting as misogyny, with no effort to distinguish between the author’s personal attitude (i.e., the author’s bias), and the commentator’s measured intentions while ignoring comments as rude or ruder that the author sympathizes with as they are written by other feminists; nor that this measuring is routinely done without ever inspecting directly the persons involved, say, with surveys or interviews as customary in psychology when investigating internal mental states. It seems that the writers of such publications are addressing primarily those very commentators whose comments they have counted, answering the comments rather than analyzing them, and in fact continue above the pages of the research journal the same debate they claim to be investigating.

In as much as they are aware that a journal paper addresses a research community and not social media participants, it seems that the authors think of a paper as “telling on them” (“them” being men who participate in social media discussions); although it is sometimes unclear whether the writers are at all addressing the academic community in the text. In the meanwhile, entire academic communities have become accustomed to regarding these reports as vetted data reflecting some kind of startling reality. The term “misogyny” thus became in fields such as sociology and anthropology a sort of concrete mental and social phenomenon, while all along it functions in publications reporting it as a slur and as mentioned, there is no research that showed with psychological scales that a mental state of hatred in men toward all women exists.

Of course, there are people who are motivated by hatred, and certain individuals undoubtedly develop socially-induced hatred because of political incitement against people with a common innate trait (this is racism), and the innate trait may well be sex. But the idea that there is an internal existential state of total hatred toward the entire humankind or toward half of it, is more of a myth than a psychological reality. Men, simply don’t hate women, and this includes chauvinist men and also ideologically patriarchal men as in Saudi Arabia. Even if the latter discriminate against women and have to be made to stop doing so, they love women more than anything in the world. The actions of chauvinist men contradict such feelings, but human beings are full of emotional contradictions – the contradiction in chauvinist men of both loving and discriminating women is solved by making them stop discriminating, not by believing that, contrary to reality, they hate women.

In the religion that gradually formed out of feminism, the protection of dogmas is achieved by labeling independent thinking as a heresy-type offense, which is assigned a derogatory tag with a frightening aura – “misogynist.” More than a simple slur, the word means in practical terms, Heretic.

That said, the labeling of any criticism about feminism (for example, about feminist calls to annihilate 90% of men, or on the slogan “kill all men”) as misogyny, stems from deeper reasons than an urge to hurt with a slur. In many ways, feminists’ adherence to assumptions in the face of more and more refuting information makes feminism increasingly similar to a religion. Religions are dogmatic, a dogma being a claim that was declared true without examination. Since dogmas are not based on information, religions have no way of protecting them against free thinking, and thus intimidation is used. This is achieved by defining independent thinking about dogmas as an offense, called heresy, and assigning an offensive label to the heretic to deter believers from thinking. In Christianity, the heretic is called the Antichrist, and in Judaism Epicurus (a Greek figure who was denounced and considered throughout the millennia and today a fearful derogatory label). The derogatory tag for skepticism is crafted as a frightening halo, a crown of thorns, and this intimidation protects the dogma against questions and reasoning. And, in the religion that gradually formed out of feminism, the protection of dogmas is similarly achieved by labeling independent thinking as a heresy-type offense, which is assigned as in other religions a derogatory tag that carries a frightening aura – “misogynist.” More than a simple slur, the word means in practical terms, Heretic.

The validity of responding to criticism and free thinking with an accusation of heresy, is the same as in other religions. It is as relevant to facts and reasoning as were the words of the chief inquisitor, Father Vincenzo Maculano da Firenzuola, who wrote on June 22, 1633 in the verdict of Galileo Galilei (when the latter stood trial for stating that the earth revolves around the sun), “We pronounce, judge, and declare, that you, the said Galileo . . . have rendered yourself vehemently suspected by this Holy Office, of heresy.” An accusation of heresy is not a means of establishing a claim as true or false. When feminists assign the label Misogyny to any disagreement with their statements and beliefs, what is being called into question is those very beliefs.

Misogyny is more of a myth than a reality, but one that should raise concerns among humanists, because feminism’s use of the term successfully creates a public belief in the existence of misogyny as a psychological and then social state. This public belief is then used by feminism to mobilize society into silencing men who speak about human rights of men (for example, about males who face laws that have sex explicitly written into them and apply differently according to sex, such as laws defining non-consensual sexual acts as assaults if committed by males to females but not if committed by females to males thus violating the most fundamental meaning of equality – equality under the law, or about boys or men who were sexually or physically abused by women who were then exempted from legal action solely for being female, or about systematic discrimination against men and boys showing in hundreds of research reports in education and in various other fields), the silencing being exerted through calls to ban advocacy groups, a ban in the media on covering such issues, a ban in academy on discussing them, all under the pretext that such discussions are misogynistic. Prohibiting discriminated individuals from ever speaking about their condition, is the very essence of oppression, and ultimately, this – that is, enforcing oppression – has become the primary use today of the term Misogyny.

There is no pandemic of misogyny. Men love women. The term has become popularized out of various motivations expounded on above, as a slur, as a new religion’s label for the heresy of thinking, and finally as a measure for enforcing silencing, and not because there really is some growing social phenomenon of “men hating women”. Men do not hate women. Both sexes, do not hate each other. Extremists in both sexes attempt to propagate political incitement against the other sex as a “group”, but only very few individuals internalize this political incitement, and in all probability suffer from internalizing it, as both sexes, I believe, will not be able to reach a generalized hatred toward the other sex without causing tremendous pain to themselves; because love is not a social construct, it is innate in us, and attempting to deny our love for the other sex would require us to kill something within ourselves. It is extremely dangerous that men and women start believing that the other sex hates them, as this would be a case of a fear becoming a reality solely because of the fear itself – women may become so deeply convinced that men hate them that they would start fearing and hating men, men will respond to that by developing fear and hatred, and both will be causing themselves unimaginable pain, when attempting to kill their love for the other sex. We must start talking, in order to discover, that no, we don’t hate each other. We love each other. We only need to talk to see this.

Top image: Galileo Galilei at his trial at the Inquisition; photo by Wellcome Images, a website operated by Wellcome Trust.

Continue reading in Lovism: A Humanist Alternative to Feminism, available on amazon.

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