Misogyny [mi-soj-uh-nee] – hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women, or prejudice against women.
Our current newsfeed brims over with stories of powerful men abusing women. This comes off as shocking to some, but not to others (especially women). Many women among us can relate to these accusations. We are at a threshold where so much of our dirty laundry is made public, but this can be a teachable moment. Like all good lessons, however, it will require a paradigm shift in how our society views women. A paradigm is a way of viewing the world. We too often thoughtlessly accept a paradigm socially mediated to us, devoid of reflection on our part.
Misogyny, the hatred of women, is an age-old paradigm rooted in ancient Greece. The Greeks believed that women should have no role in public life. In many ways, the spread of Greek culture (called Hellenization) brought great things to civilization. However, misogyny is not one of them.
Misogyny is at the root of so many barriers women face today.. I find it odd for someone to deny someone power because of their gender/sex. For over a decade, my immediate supervisors at my place of work have been women and they have been wonderful leaders. Strong, compassionate, organized, fair, and responsible. It is sad and strange that such positions of power have only recently been accessible for women. We would be better off if more women had access to power. The blunt truth is that sexual assault and other forms of predatory behavior, along with coercion of women, are normalized most in situations where power is hierarchically controlled by men.
The saddest part about all of this is that women learn something akin to an inferiority complex that becomes a cultural heritage passed on from one generation to the next. Contrary to the misogynistic mores passed along to us, I want each of my three daughters, like my son, to be free to choose (“choose” is the operative word here) whatever path they want in life (i.e., business, politics, pastoral) – and to be free from the fear of men. If more women have access to power, we will have better women and better men. In fact, our entire society will be better off when we include all of us instead of just half of us.