The misogyny we breathe

contains language and discussion of rape and abuse

This (misogyny) is something that stood out to me again as I watched and read some things that made me realize how much disrespect and hatred is still directed towards women often in subtle ways. This is done by men and women and can sometimes come from people you would least expect to see or hear it from. (Also just to be clear I am fully aware that men are abused and victimized but that is not the point of this particular post.)

First example: I started watching the Netflix series that was popular a few months back called The Crown. It is about Queen Elizabeth II and the time in her life when she was about to marry and became queen of England. Towards the beginning of the first episode we see her father, who struggles with a stutter, saying a rhyme which includes the word cunt. It is supposed to be a joke but seems unfortunate considering the rest of the time we are to believe that he loves his wife and daughters dearly. Not that men can’t say hurtful things and not still love women but it just struck me that making even that small joke shows how disrespectful even the “good” men can be without even realizing what they are doing.

Second example: This story about a teacher being raped while overseas is prefaced by her stating there were conversations leading up to the assault that indicated one of the men who raped her had little to no respect for women. She states she considered herself a feminist who understood men are solely responsible if they make the choice to abuse a woman. But even the red flags in these seemingly harmless conversations and attitudes were shrugged off by this woman because… well men objectify and look down on women so often its barely worth registering most the time never mind making any kind of deal out of it.

Third example: Another show I started watching goes over the cold case murder of a nun in Maryland back in 1969. Shortly after this woman went missing so did another (not a nun). And people started worrying about who was killing women in the town. And the sad fact is women disappearing and getting murdered these days is yet another part of life in US culture that this barely even phases people anymore.

Many books have been written covering the specific abuse and mistreatment women face simply for being women. Just a couple examples include Half the Sky and Scars Across Humanity. These and many other books I’ve read show the uniquely evil way women are hurt (usually by men) in ways and numbers that aren’t even comparable to men. Some of the many ways women are abused and objectified in generally greater numbers than men include: rape (including pedophilia and used as a tool for war), domestic violence, female genital mutilation, honor killings/rape, death in childbirth, infanticide and gender selective abortions, child marriage, sex trafficking, pornography, stripping, ect. This doesn’t include the “lesser” problems like street harassment or policing what women wear from a hijab to yoga pants and so many other debates that are made around what women can and cannot do simple because they are female. Added to all this are the various ways women are objectified in the media and talked about in ways that are far more superficial than the way men are generally discussed or presented. Also on my way to writing this I came across this article outlining things women in the US couldn’t do as recently as the 1950’s and 60’s. These include things like opening a bank account by themselves and running in the Boston Marathon.

Obviously a single blog post isn’t going to summarize all that is wrong in this world when it comes to the mistreatment of women but I’m spending time writing some of these things all down for the simple reason that some people want to believe that sexism and misogyny are a thing of the past or not as big a deal as they once were. This of course is usually said by men or women who haven’t been hurt by the things I listed above or been significantly confronted with it in their life experiences.

Years of working as a crime victims advocate, teaching girls (taken out of abusive homes and who were at risk of being trafficked by their own families) at a shelter as well as my own personal education about the many issues surrounding gender based violence has made me very angry yet also very tired of people that just don’t seem to care or think misogyny is something worth eradicating or addressing in their own lives.

All this to say that while we can see some progress is being made in better treatment of women there is still so much that goes by unnoticed in the world simply because we don’t even realize its there.

 

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