Your Opinion: Misogyny remains deeply rooted
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Historically, degrading, dishonoring and abusing women (misogyny) has been a fact of life forever. Our society is no exception. Misogyny is still deeply rooted despite the efforts of many courageous women (such as the Suffragettes) who have fought to change our laws in an attempt to give women equal status.
Of course, while laws can call attention to misogyny, they cannot eradicate long held beliefs. It is particularly difficult because equality would mean a loss of power for men who have become accustomed to making the rules and telling themselves that women are inferior.
As a result it has become necessary to have laws against domestic violence and a need for rape and abuse centers among countless other “protections.” Not all men and women are misogynists, but because misogyny has been with us for such a long time and some religions teach it, most men (and many women) do not know they are misogynists and would vehemently deny they consider women to be inferior to men.
All of my life I have been aware that I was valued less then men. While I have never thought of myself as superior to anyone, neither have I ever believed that I was anyone’s inferior. I confess I have had to deal with my anger as a result of countless occasions when I have been disrespected for no other reason than that I was a woman. For example, just walking past a group of males often elicited insulting whistles and/or lewd remarks. (I empathize with people of color who daily experience such disrespect.)
Even our language reflects the way we think about women. For example, an assertive woman is sometimes said to be an “aggressive broad.” It is so pervasive that sometimes in order to insult a man it is necessary to insult his mother. (Think s.o.b.)
It saddens me when I hear of overt actions that demean females (of all ages,) especially when I hear the phrase “boys will be boys.” Because I refuse to allow others to control my emotions, over the years I have learned to replace anger with forgiveness. My message for all men and women (including those who have been persuaded that women really are inferior) is to show love and respect for everyone. I don’t expect I will live to see it, but maybe eventually we will get it right.