Misogyny: Unmasking the Patriarchal Power Structure

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Misogyny is a serious issue that should not be confused with mere sexism.

While sexism may involve the unbalanced treatment of genders and gender-related stereotypes, misogyny takes it further and involves substantial disregard or hatred for women. This hatred can manifest in several forms, ranging from verbal abuse to extreme violence against women.

It is an insult to all women that severely undermines their safety and self-worth and goes against the notion of equality which heavily favors men’s rights over women’s. Misogyny should never be tolerated by anyone and should be condemned as one of today’s most pervasive and despicable societal issues.

In 2012, Julia Gillard, the then-Prime Minister of Australia, publicly called out the Leader of the Opposition for his “misogynistic” behavior. This significant event brought into focus growing issues around entrenched prejudice against women in the country. Consequently, Macquarie Dictionary expanded its definition of misogyny to reflect this type of prejudice appropriately.

To further understand this issue and its ramifications, a 2015 study revealed that accusations of misogyny were disfavored and downplayed in Australian print media sources. This speaks volumes about how much work needs to be done in terms of making progress toward gender equality in Australia.

The Different Forms of Misogyny

Misogyny can manifest itself in different ways, both overt and covert. Below, let’s explore what misogyny looks like today and how it manifests itself in our society.

Overt Forms of Misogyny

Overt forms of misogyny are easy to identify because they are expressed directly and openly. Some common forms of overt misogyny include expressing hatred for women, catcalling, blaming women for conflict, and blatant favoritism toward men at the expense of women.

Other telltale signs of overt misogyny include strong beliefs in traditional gender roles, such as “women should stay at home” or “men should make all the money.” Overt misogynists might also interrupt women when they are speaking or dismissing their opinions without consideration.

Covert Forms of Misogyny

Covert forms of misogyny are not as easily recognizable but tend to be more pervasive than overt forms because they appear so commonly in everyday interactions that they often go unrecognized by those participating in them.

For example, casually making jokes about gender stereotypes is an example of covert misogyny since it perpetuates the idea that men and women have predetermined roles that cannot be reversed or changed regardless of individual circumstances or preferences.

Additionally, failing to recognize the efforts and accomplishments made by women or regularly disregarding their time commitments can also constitute covert forms of sexism since these behaviors suggest that you do not view them as your equals despite your best intentions.

Internalized Misogyny

Another form of misogyny worth noting is internalized misogyny which occurs when someone absorbs sexist messages from a misogynist person within a society to such an extent that they display similar behavior towards other women and themselves.

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Internalized sexism often leads people to compare themselves to others based on superficial criteria rather than individual qualities and talents; it also makes them more likely to put down their peers who don’t fit into specific societal beauty standards (e.g., having light skin).

It’s important to note that internalized sexism can come from both men and women and can take many forms, from body shaming to gossiping about female friends behind their backs—all actions which ultimately lead us further away from achieving gender equality.

Examining Misogyny in a Patriarchal Society

patriarchal society

Kate Manne’s book, Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, examines how misogyny operates to reinforce male dominance in society. Misogyny is an oppressive attitude and behavior that devalues women and feminism.

To further explore this topic, we will look at two examples of misogynistic actions: the 20-year sentencing of Purvi Patel for feticide in Indiana and Elliot Rodger’s case in California in May 2014.

The Case of Elliot Rodger

In 2014, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured fourteen others near the University of California Santa Barbara. Social media posts from Rodger’s profile revealed his contempt for women, as he blamed them for his lack of success with romantic relationships.

His misogynistic beliefs were further reflected by his desire to punish all women as retribution for his perceived rejection. This example highlights how misogyny is often used to reinforce gender hierarchies through violence against those who do not conform to societal gender norms. 

The Case of Purvi Patel

In 2015, Purvi Patel was sentenced to 20 years in jail after being convicted of feticide and child neglect due to her self-induced abortion. The state argued that Patel’s decision was an affront to patriarchal values, resulting in her facing more severe consequences than if she had given birth or sought medical help.

This case demonstrates how folx who do not adhere to traditional gender roles are often targeted with particular harm from misogynistic attitudes and actions. 

Internalization of Misogyny

Women often confront these oppressive attitudes and actions from men daily, leading them to internalize misogynistic beliefs about themselves and other women.

Thus, men are not the only ones who perpetuate these beliefs – even those who challenge the status quo can reinforce it when faced with oppressive forces from within their communities or families.

Women who help maintain the patriarchal hierarchy are commonly rewarded, while those who question it are met with hostility or punishment.

The Causes of Misogyny in Society

Misogyny is a phenomenon that has been present for centuries, and it continues to be an issue even today. From religious beliefs to cultural attitudes, many factors contribute to misogynistic attitudes. But what causes these attitudes in the first place?

Observing Misogynistic Behavior as a Child

One of the most significant contributors to misogyny is observing such behavior at an early age. If a child grows up around people who believe that women are inferior or should not have certain rights, they may start to internalize those beliefs and accept them as truth.

Similarly, if a child is exposed to role models who display misogynistic behaviors or hold beliefs that align with such behaviors, it can influence their views about women and gender roles.

Upbringing in Misogynistic Households

Upbringing plays a vital role in determining one’s views on various topics, including gender dynamics. If a child grows up in a household where misogyny is practiced, it can be difficult to form different opinions later in life.

This is especially true if they were exposed to such beliefs from a young age and never had the opportunity to form their own opinions independently. 

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Cultural Attitudes About Women

Misogyny has often been linked to traditional cultural attitudes about women – perspectives suggesting women are subordinate or sinful and deserve less respect than men. These attitudes can be found across various cultures and religions worldwide and contribute to contemptuous treatment towards women by both men and other women.

Additionally, traditional gender roles often associated with certain cultures may also play into misogynistic views, as these roles imply certain expectations for women that can lead to feelings of inferiority or lack of autonomy.

The Mental Health Impact of Misogyny

mental health impact of misogyny

Sex discrimination is an issue that adversely affects women in many different ways. Recent studies have shown that women who experience sex discrimination are at an increased risk for developing clinical depression and psychological distress.

In addition, these women are more likely to suffer from several mental health conditions than men, such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and eating disorders. It’s essential to understand the causes of these mental health disparities between men and women, so we can take steps to address them.

Biological Factors

Biological differences between men and women may contribute to disparate mental health outcomes.

For example, women tend to be more emotionally reactive than men due to hormone fluctuations during their menstrual cycle. This heightened emotional reactivity could make them more vulnerable to the effects of stress and trauma caused by sexism or misogyny.

Additionally, some medications used to treat certain mental health conditions be more effective in women than in men due to biological differences in how they process certain medicines in their bodies.

Effects of Chronic Stress and Trauma

Chronic stress from exposure to sexism or misogyny has been linked with poor mental health outcomes among women. Studies have found that experiencing multiple forms of discrimination can lead to higher levels of psychological distress and more incredible difficulty managing difficult emotions.

This can also lead to feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and self-blame, further exacerbating depression or anxiety. 

Exposure to traumatic events such as sexual assault or harassment has been linked with an increased risk of developing PTSD symptoms among both men and women; however, research has found that the prevalence rate is higher among female victims than male victims.

Additionally, exposure to traumatic events has been linked with an increased risk of developing eating disorders among female victims compared with male victims.

Misogynoir and Transmisogyny: Understanding Their Impact on Black Women and Transgender Women

It’s no secret that the experiences of black women and transgender women have been drastically different than those of white women. This is because of specific misogyny targeting these two groups: misogynoir for black women and transmisogyny for transgender women.

Let’s take a closer look at what these terms mean, how they are expressed in society, and why they damage both communities. 

What is Misogynoir?

Misogynoir is a term coined by Moya Bailey to describe the intersectional prejudices against black women – prejudice based upon racism, sexism, and homophobia all at once. Unfortunately, this discrimination has existed since colonialism began in Africa centuries ago.

In recent years, it has taken on many forms, including:

  1. slut-shaming,
  2. colorism within their race,
  3. hypersexualization in media representation,
  4. objectification when it comes to beauty standards,
  5. inadequate health care access due to lack of insurance coverage or financial resources,
  6. as well as disproportionate incarceration rates, among other things.

What is Transmisogyny?

Transmisogyny refers to the intersectional oppression experienced by transgender women and transfeminine people based on their gender identity/expression and race (if applicable).

It often manifests itself through:

  1. transphobia (fear/hatred towards transgender people),
  2. sexism (stereotyping/discrimination against people because of their gender),
  3. homophobia (fear/hatred towards gay individuals),
  4. and racism (prejudice towards someone because of their perceived race).
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Unfortunately, this type of discrimination often leads to violence against individuals who identify under this umbrella term; according to a report from Human Rights Campaign Foundation, there have been at least 44 reported homicides involving transgender victims in 2020 alone.

Taking a Stand Against Misogyny 

stand against misogyny

As a society, we have come a long way in terms of gender equality, but there is still much work to be done. The fight for gender equality will not be won overnight and will require us to take a stand against misogyny when we see it.

Here you will learn how to take action when confronted with misogynistic behavior and the steps that can be taken to create safe spaces for women.

Don’t Ignore It: Call Out Misogynistic Behavior When You See It

When you witness someone exhibiting misogynistic behavior, call them out on it—letting people know that this unacceptable behavior sends a powerful message that you are committed to creating an equitable environment for everyone.

Additionally, speaking up shows support for those affected by misogyny and helps create an atmosphere of inclusion and respect, which can help empower victims of this type of discrimination. 

Report It: In Work Settings, Talk To Your Manager Or Human Resources Department

If you experience or witness misogynistic behavior in the workplace, talk to your manager or the human resources department about it. Many workplaces have policies regarding inappropriate behavior, and reporting this can help ensure responsible people are held accountable and appropriate action is taken.

Additionally, reporting these types of incidents can help protect other employees from experiencing similar issues in the future. 

Leave The Situation: Setting Boundaries Can Be Helpful

In some cases, leaving the situation might be the best option. Setting boundaries around your interactions with someone exhibiting misogynistic behavior can be helpful; however, leaving is often the safest option if it becomes too uncomfortable or dangerous to stay in the situation.

This can also show those involved that their behavior is unacceptable and send a strong message about what kind of conduct is expected from everyone in the group or organization.

Create Safe Spaces: Support And Uplift All Women

Creating safe spaces for women helps foster an environment where they can feel supported and empowered without fear of being judged or harassed based on gender identity or expression.

There are many ways to do this, such as providing mentorship opportunities for young women or actively working against internalized misogyny by challenging our unconscious biases towards women’s societal roles.

By creating these types of spaces, we can work together towards making sure that all women feel equal and respected no matter what situation they find themselves in.

Care For Yourself: Practice Self-Care And Relaxation Strategies To Deal With Stress

Taking a stand against misogyny can be difficult and draining; therefore, it’s important to practice self-care strategies such as relaxation techniques or reaching out for support from friends or family members when needed.

Additionally, seeking professional help, if necessary, can also be beneficial as this may provide further guidance on coping with difficult situations involving misogyny so that you don’t become overwhelmed by them over time.

By taking care of yourself first, you will be better equipped to tackle any challenges related to gender inequality head-on without compromising your mental health!


It is understandable why folx may be hesitant to confront misogyny directly, as the repercussions from openly expressing opposition can be intense. When faced with misogyny, it is helpful to take a critical look within, reflect on one’s unique needs, capabilities, and resources, and understand potential risks and rewards.

Those who have boldly spoken out against misogynistic oppression have experienced immense backlash, an obstacle for others to note when considering their involvement. Nevertheless, avoiding addressing misogyny only perpetuates the oppressive power structure, which harms marginalized groups like black and trans women.

Taking a stand against such discrimination is a significant step in creating a safe and more equitable society.

About Norman Anthony Balberan

I am a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy graduate turned full-time web developer and designer. Although my professional background is in pharmacy and tech, I have a passion for writing and am excited to share my insights and thoughts through my blog. I write about various topics that I am knowledgeable and passionate about, and I hope to engage and connect with my readers through my writing.

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