All over the world, men enjoy power and privilege relative to women. It’s always been that way, and probably always will be. But one could also have more hope, given that in some countries women have made a lot of progress.
What Is It
With the recent #MeToo viral campaign, along with the wave of prominent male figures toppled for being serial sexual harassers or worse, the topic of misogyny has come into sharp focus. But what exactly is misogyny? And how does it differ from sexism? What set of beliefs or attitudes makes someone a misogynist? And why does misogyny persist despite the fact that traditional gender roles are being abandoned more and more? Ken and Debra explore the trials of the second sex with Kate Manne from Cornell University, author of Down, Girl: The Logic of Misogyny.
With the continuation of the #MeToo movement, many question what the natures of misogyny and sexism are. Is misogyny simply hatred of all women? Ken and Debra explore this issue and discuss the effects of the patriarchy on men and women alike. Ken points out that men, as the oppressors in patriarchy, are its agents and winners, while Debra argues that this view overestimates the individual agency that men have.
The hosts welcome Kate Manne, professor of philosophy at Cornell University and author of Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, to the show. Kate explains the difference between misogyny and sexism: sexism is the ideology that women are naturally inferior to men, whereas misogyny is the enforcement of this ideology. She explains that someone can be a misogynist, yet not believe in sexism, if he or she desires for women to be inferior and to “stay in their place.” Ken wonders if Kate isn’t simply putting a negative spin on feminine virtues; after all, women are still placed on pedestals even if these pedestals differ from those that men are placed on. Kate responds by elaborating on misogyny, which tends to put “good” women on pedestals for conforming to sexist norms as a way to separate them from “bad” women who deviate from these norms.
In the final segment, a listener asks Kate about how focusing on the struggles of racism can overlook the sometimes more appalling conditions of women of the world. Kate is cautious about drawing a parallel between gender and race because they intersect: being a black woman is a distinctive experience from being a white woman or a black man. The hosts and Kate then discuss the election, in which Clinton did beat two men in the primary, but ultimately lost to Trump. Debra contends that while misogyny was part of the election, many people voted out of anger of being left out. Yet Kate isn’t so sure that voters were actually left out -- she suspects that there was a lot of “himpathy” among and for men who no longer felt like the moral center of attention.
- Roving Philosophical Report (Seek to 6:46): Holly McDede chats with literary historian Stephen Greenblatt about misogyny in the story of Adam and Eve, and how that misogyny has persisted today in Super Bowl halftime shows and presidential elections.
- 60-Second Philosopher (Seek to 46:53): Ian Shoales discusses how misogyny relates to various insults derived from the word “cuck.”