Recently I wrote a letter expressing my understanding of misogyny as a deeply rooted cultural belief that women are inferior to men. This belief has led men to feel free to dishonor and abuse women. The intent of my letter was to call attention to a practice of which most men and some women have not been aware. When we are uninformed (i.e. ignorant) we cannot take steps to correct this injustice.
This leads me to thank Rush Limbaugh who recently gave nationwide attention to the damage misogyny can do to its victims. It should not be a surprise that many women have taken his disrespect of an undeserving young woman as a personal injustice. Obviously, more education is badly needed to reduce the damage caused by our ignorance of rampant misogyny.
However, I have a grave concern about the way in which this education is offered. To be successful it must not be hateful. Hate is a virulent, contagious virus that is currently assaulting us with waves of hate speech on the media, in letters to editors, and from our legislators at both state and federal levels. Hate is not just a feeling, It is an overt act designed to harm others.
It is especially necessary for women not to become haters just because we are hated. To do so will simply make us victims beyond our ongoing mistreatment. I understand the temptation to respond in kind (I've been there) but it is self-defeating. A recent letter to the editor is a good example of an appropriate approach. Although the humor of the writer was edgy, the information she gave on the subject of the value of the birth control pill was excellent. There have been many other examples of using humor to help explain to misogynists what it feels like to suffer injustice just because of gender. Some female legislators have introduced bills designed to use similar tactics used against women to turn the tables on men.
As difficult as it is to do, to set the example for men, women must learn to resist with forceful understanding and forgiveness. LOVE is the antidote to hate. Revenge is not the answer. We cannot fight hate with hate without becoming just like those we wish to change. Women are smart enough to find appropriate ways to insist on justice without being destructive (hateful.)