Social Justice Usage
Source: Manne, Kate. Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny. Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 19.
According to the positive proposal about misogyny I go on to develop in chapter 2, we should instead understand misogyny as primarily a property of social environments in which women are liable to encounter hostility due to the enforcement and policing of patriarchal norms and expectations—often, though not exclusively, insofar as they violate patriarchal law and order. Misogyny hence functions to enforce and police women’s subordination and to uphold male dominance, against the backdrop of other intersecting systems of oppression and vulnerability, dominance and disadvantage, as well as disparate material resources, enabling and constraining social structures, institutions, bureaucratic mechanisms, and so on.
Source: Manne, Kate. Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny. Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 20.
I propose taking sexism to be the branch of patriarchal ideology that justifies and rationalizes a patriarchal social order, and misogyny as the system that polices and enforces its governing norms and expectations. So sexism is scientific; misogyny is moralistic. And a patriarchal order has a hegemonic quality.
New Discourses Commentary
Misogyny can be understood as the undervaluation, dislike, or distrust of women specifically because they are women, and most sources broadly within the Social Justice literature generally seem to accept it as such. Misogyny has been profoundly theorized by feminism, which sees its expressions as pretty wide-ranging, though many of the concerns are symbolic in nature. While misogyny might be theorized as a feature of society because of domestic abuse statistics and other facts about violence against women, for example, it is also very frequently characterized in terms of pornography and what sexualization and sexual objectification do with regard to attitudes toward and about women, particularly from men (see also, rape culture, male gaze, and sexually objectifying environment).
Like most things in Social Justice, there is a point to be had here, though it is likely to be taken in directions that far exceed the applicable range of that point. This is because, like all things in Social Justice, misogyny needs to be understood within the context of how Theory (here, particularly, feminist theory) understands anything having to do with women “because they are women,” which is to say that they tend to see it in terms of systemic understandings of sexism, which are often labeled with the term “patriarchy” or “patriarchal order” (see also, patriarchal reward).
That is, in Social Justice, sexism and misogyny do not occur as isolated incidents by individual sexist or misogynistic agents (often, but not always men – see also, internalized misogyny, internalized sexism, false consciousness, and consciousness raising), or as isolated occurrences, but rather as incidents taking place within a broader, ordinary, and permanent whole that pervades all of society as dictated by the theorized power dynamics that must exist between men and women. This is the typical view developed and pushed within Theory.
The feminist analytic philosopher Kate Manne has taken the analysis of misogyny further than any other theorist, most notably in her highly acclaimed 2018 book Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, in which she characterizes misogyny primarily as a systemic feature that is the moralizing force that polices the alleged patriarchal order (which she merely assumes exists and characterizes contemporary advanced free and democratic societies). It is, to Manne, not only the enforcer of patriarchy in the sense of unjust hostilities faced by women seeking to operate as agents “in a man’s world,” but also the expectation that women are to be held to higher standards than men in many different domains and then punished for failing to live up to those higher standards. It is, further, the allegedly unreasonable expectation that women might be seen or treated as “givers” (see also, emotional labor).
To Manne, misogyny is the “property of social environments” that keeps women out of male-dominated society (see also, masculinism). Being that it is a property of social environments, not merely a disposition sometimes held by some people—Manne tendentiously defines the usual understanding of misogyny in such a way as to claim, mostly rightly, that it no longer exists in contemporary society outside of a fringe of aberrant examples that she then primarily draws upon to make her points—she points out that no one within a sexist system needs to have any negative dispositions toward women whatsoever for that system still to exhibit misogyny. That is, under the Social Justice conception of misogyny, an entire social system or society can be construed as misogynistic even if it contains no individual people who hold hostile attitudes toward women. This is typical in critical Social Justice, i.e. systemic, almost magical thinking about identity and social issues.
Of some importance, women can also exhibit misogyny (both in Manne’s conception and more generally), both overtly and in “internalized” fashion. In the former case, women would be speaking into the existing masculinist and/or patriarchal social order and working to maintain male dominance, which they may consider natural (see also, hegemony). This may be done (or accused of being done) in a cynical fashion in which the women seek to win male approval or other forms of patriarchal reward. In the latter case, women may be suffering under a state of false consciousness (thus in need of consciousness raising) and need to be liberated from it (see also, critical consciousness, feminist consciousness, and wokeness).
Ableism; Classism; Critical; Critical consciousness; Consciousness raising; Dominance; Emotional labor; False consciouness; Feminism; Feminist consciousness; Gender; Hate; Homophobia; Identity; Ideology; Internalized misogyny; Internalized sexism; Intersectionality; Justice; Male approval; Male gaze; Masculinist; Normativity; Objectification; Oppression; Patriarchal reward; Patriarchy; Racism (systemic); Rape culture; Sexism (systemic); Sexually objectifying environment; Shaming; Social Justice; System, the; Systemic power; Theory; Transmisogyny; Transphobia; Violence; Woke/Wokeness
Source: Sensoy, Ozlem, and Robin DiAngelo. Is Everyone Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education, first edition. Teacher’s College Press: New York, 2012, p. 90.
To some, it may seem an exaggeration to connect pornography to music videos and popular culture. However, consider that in 2006 the worldwide porn industry was worth 96 billion dollars. … In addition, consider that the largest consumers of online pornography are children between the ages of 12 and 17. In fact, many porn websites target children by using the names of popular characters from kid culture, such as Pokémon, on their websites. These techniques track children into early exposure.
Porn is ubiquitous in popular culture and an increasing presence in young people’s lives. In addition to the misogyny (hatred of women) in gonzo porn, the racist discourses are extreme and unparalleled in their degradation of people of Color. Yet pornography is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere, as few people talk openly about their porn consumption. For these reasons—among others—it is critical that we set aside whatever discomfort about or attachment to porn we may personally feel, and think deeply about the power of porn to shape our sexuality and normalize misogyny, racism, and classism.
The representation of men as dominant, aggressive, and in control of women’s bodies depends upon the representation of women as submissive, pleasing, and available for every aspect of men’s desire. If the narratives of pornography were to acknowledge women as human beings with thoughts, feelings, and desires of their own rather than as “suffering sluts” and “stupid whores,” the viewer could not tolerate the pain, physical damage, and humiliation inflicted upon women that are a basic feature of gonzo porn. Yet over time, even as we are looking directly at men brutalizing women, the ideology of sexism rationalizes it as a natural outcome of biological roles, personal choice, and mutual desire.
In many music videos, the characters and plots are predictable and include the obligatory cheerleaders, schoolgirls, strippers, and prostitutes. Peep shows, sex clubs, and sex parties are primary settings, and money is often being thrown on women’s seminude bodies (the epitome of this trope is Nelly’s “Tip Drill” video, showing him sliding a credit card between a woman’s buttocks). Women of Color fare especially poorly in music videos, as Black women are most likely to be portrayed as whores and reduced to their “booties” and Asian and Latina women are virtually absent.
Source: Manne, Kate. Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny. Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 21.[This analysis of misogyny] enables us to understand misogyny as a natural and central manifestation of patriarchal ideology, as opposed to being a relatively marginal, and not inherently political, phenomenon. … It enables us to understand misogyny as a systematic social phenomenon, by focusing on the hostile reactions women face in navigating the social world, rather than the ultimate psychological bases for these reactions. Such hostility need not have an immediate basis in individual agents’ psychologies whatsoever. Institutions and other social environments can also be differentially forbidding, “chilly,” or hostile toward women.
Source: Manne, Kate. Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny. Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 27.
I present misogyny as a system of hostile forces that by and large makes sense from the perspective of patriarchal ideology, inasmuch as it works to police and enforce patriarchal order.
Source: Manne, Kate. Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny. Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 33.
I believe that the naïve conception of misogyny is too narrow in some respects and not focused enough in others. Although I think it is right to keep the emphasis on attitudes in the family of hostility, I argue that the targets of this hostility should be allowed to encompass particular women and particular kinds of women. Otherwise, misogyny will be effectively defined so as to be rare in patriarchal settings—which I take to be its native habitat—given certain truisms about the moral psychology of hostility and hatred. The naïve conception also fails to home in on the subclass of these reactions that I think deserve to be our focus here: those that are an outgrowth of patriarchal ideology. For misogyny, though often personal in tone, is most productively understood as a political phenomenon. Specifically, I argue that misogyny ought to be understood as the system that operates within a patriarchal social order to police and enforce women’s subordination and to uphold male dominance. … According to the ameliorative feminist conception of misogyny that I motivate in this chapter, and develop properly in the next, misogyny is primarily a property of social systems or environments as a whole, in which women will tend to face hostility of various kinds because they are women in a man’s world (i.e., a patriarchy), who are held to be failing to live up to patriarchal standards (i.e., tenets of patriarchal ideology that have some purchase in this environment).
Source: Manne, Kate. Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny. Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 13.
What I’ve aimed to do in the first part of the book is to construct what you can envisage as a sort of conceptual skeleton: a general framework which understands misogyny in terms of what it does to women. Namely, I argue that we should think of misogyny as serving to uphold patriarchal order, understood as one strand among various similar systems of domination (including racisms, xenophobia, classism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and so on). Misogyny does this by visiting hostile or adverse social consequences on a certain (more or less circumscribed) class of girls or women to enforce and police social norms that are gendered either in theory (i.e., content) or in practice (i.e., norm enforcement mechanisms).
Source: Manne, Kate. Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny. Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 28.[M]isogyny frequently involves moralistic takedowns or the unforgiving shaming of women for their (real or supposed) moral errors. Misogyny also subjects women to what I have come to think of as a kind of tyranny of vulnerability—by pointing to any and every (supposedly) more vulnerable (supposed) person or creature in her vicinity to whom she might (again, supposedly) do better, and requiring her to care for them, or else risk being judged callous, even monstrous. Meanwhile, her male counterpart may proceed to pursue his own “personal projects,” as the English moral philosopher Bernard Williams called them (1981), with relative impunity. She is, in view of this, subject to undue moral burdens.
Revision date: 2/5/20