13 July 2017

Sexism and Ingrained Misogyny

It’s interesting the way MEN who’ve never had to face the immersive totality of sexism and culturally ingrained misogyny feel so confident condemning the very idea of such ingrained gender discrimination. Look… I get it. No guy thinks he is a misogynist. No guy who considers himself an honorable person wants to accept such a glaring defect in his social intellect. That’s why misogyny still exists. And yes, women can be culturally ingrained anti-feminist misogynists too. People with the social intellect to recognize the problem and brave enough to call it out are attacked by those who are too squeamish to acknowledge their own ingrained, casual misogyny.

Sure… you guys don’t beat your wife or kids. You don’t make your women wear burkas. You don’t have a problem with women working. You don’t sell your daughters in marriage. Heck… you’re probably even all for lesbian intimacy for entertainment. 

Truthfully, we are all – every single human being – guilty of prejudices both gender and ethnic based. We’ve been taught those prejudices from the cradle. Factually, most of us recognize the wrong of those prejudices and try to overcome them. Ingrained prejudices – whether sexism or ethnic are casual because they are UNINTENDED. No one is accusing people who express ingrained prejudices of trying to oppress anyone. 

For the gentlemen reading this… Benefit of the doubt: You are evolved men who would never think of oppressing women.

That’s NOT The Same Thing As Ingrained Misogyny. 
It’s something even more deeply insidious. Most likely, it’s something you do or say completely unwares. It’s probably something akin to what I personally experienced with my own father. My father loves me and has always been proud of me and my talents. He took me to what I think was an art museum (or some kind of picture exhibit) when I was a child and I looked up at a painting in which the eyes seemed to follow you about the room. I said to him that I was going to learn to paint like that (FYI, I did achieve that goal). However, at the time he responded with what I’m certain he believed to be a kindly response and that he was advising me with what he accepted was a necessary truth. He replied, “But, sweetheart, there are no women artists.”

I believe that most people try to understand and make an effort to think and act fairly. But, see, most folks don’t realize the way culturally ingrained misogyny comes out. You, as men, cannot have the experience of the way that misogyny cuts deep into the psyches of women and girls. You cannot experience the burning injustices of it all. It is not possible for you to understand how the cultural misogyny becomes ingrained even in women and girls. Our societies have been ingrained to live and breathe the misogyny as “just the way things are.”

Yet, consider this… Think of the recent kerfuffle over Andy Murray correcting the ingrained, casual misogyny of the reporter who asked him about “the first US player” (not just the first US man – but, the first US person) to have made it to a major semi-final since 2009 – completely ignoring the FOUR American women who’d done so well before this interview with Andy Murray.

Permit me a pause to extend MUCH kudos to Mr. Murray for his enlightened social intellect.

To continue… Put yourselves into those women’s positions… Those four American women in the world of tennis… The reporter accorded the first man to finally achieve what they had long ago achieved the accolade of being first, of being the best, being prime. Those women and their achievements did not exist for that reporter in that moment. Those amazing women athletes were relegated to LESS than the man who finally caught up with them and made the grade. 

That is sexism and ingrained misogyny.

Here is the video of the referenced interview, 
with Andy Murray’s enlightened social intellect on display…