Sexism Versus Misogyny
Eliane Mitchell

20 February 2018

The words "misogyny" and "sexism" are often used interchangeably. But do they really mean the same thing?

In an interview with Vox, Cornell philosophy professor Kate Manne draws a distinction between the two words. She argues that sexism is "a body of ideas that exists to justify social relations," whereas misogyny enforces patriarchal social relations when they come under threat. In this way, misogyny exists as the "moral manifestation" of sexism, for it punishes women who subvert male expectations and do not "serv[e] male interests in the ways they're expected to."

Read the interview here:

And tune into the show this Sunday for our show on Misogyny with guest Kate Manne.

Comments (1)

Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Thursday, February 22, 2018 -- 11:31 AM

It's funny, now that I really

It's funny, now that I really think about it, and after having lived long enough to form some of my own ideas. When I was younger, I was informed that misogynist was a term describing men who hated women. No further explanation was offered; no psychological profiling; no armchair psychoanalysis---nothing. As a young and impressionable(?) man, alone and defenseless in the world, I was content to let things stand at that. I mean, it seemed facially straight-forward; no facades, scams or mumbo-jumbo. Years later, when I was introduced to the word sexism, I began to finally wonder about misogyny and what that really meant. Now, after all these years, I offer this much, in response to Manne's distinction:

As a practical matter, sexism and misogyny are brother and sister (to use a metaphorical artifact), just as 'social relations' and 'patriarchal social relations' are slightly different phrases for the same set of traditional ways of regarding and treating women. These have been handed down through 'scriptural' writings and religious dogma for, oh, a few thousand years. Maybe these are, in fact, 'moral manifestations'? Or are they, more likely,(and simply) expressions of male-dominated societies, regardless of morality, or the dearth thereof? You may wrap this up in any sort of package that suits your disciplinary position(s). But, it all boils down to men being men, damn the torpedoes, and full speed ahead! ...seems to me.