+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: The origins of misogyny

  1. #1
    The Queen Zuul's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    9,884

    Default The origins of misogyny

    A journalist I follow on Facebook recently posted a video from National Geographic showing a ritual that the men of a certain tribe in Papua New Guinea perform. The ritual is meant to drive out the corruption of women and purify the men.

    Most of the comments were about how cool it was that National Geographic had been able to get footage of the ritual, but a few were from people offended by the description of the corrupting influence of women. They said it was offensive, misogynistic, and that the video was an example of why all these native cultures and religions needed to be replaced with civilized belief systems.

    Having read a bit about various tribes of Papua New Guinea, I was aware of the rationale behind the ritual. Because women raise the children, the difference between a man and a boy is how influenced he is by a woman. A boy is someone who is still under the control of the women in the tribe, while a man has been freed of this influence. If there's something misogynistic about the ritual, it can't be separated from the most basic foundations of their culture.

    This got me thinking about other cultures and sexism in general. Does everything that we'd label misogyny ultimately come down to this division of labor? If women are the primary caregivers of children, must a negative viewpoint of women and their place in society result? Can you have societies with a gendered division of labor without misogyny (or perhaps misandry)?
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

  2. #2
    Elephant Myglaren's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Washington, UK.
    Posts
    943

    Default

    Is there any or has there been society that isn't misogynistic?
    I fail to see the rationale - maybe there just isn't one, as with racism.
    Let us just hope that we are approaching enlightenment, though I fear that we have a long hard road ahead of us.
    Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill

  3. #3
    Prehistoric Bitchslapper Sarahfeena's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    5,889

    Default

    It's an interesting question. I do think that humans have an inherent need of some kind for placing people into social classes, and it makes sense that it would be based on their role in society. Why raising children must necessarily be considered lower-value than other jobs I don't know, but it does seem to almost universally be so.

  4. #4
    The Queen Zuul's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    9,884

    Default

    Quote Originally posted by Myglaren View post
    Is there any or has there been society that isn't misogynistic?
    I'm not sure and I suppose it would depend on where you draw the lines of misogyny.

    When you have a division of labor based on sex, that is by definition sexist. But if a society is sexist can it also be benevolent toward both sexes? I guess that's the basic question I'm pondering here.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

  5. #5
    A Groupie Marsilia's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    1,988

    Default

    Quote Originally posted by Zuul View post
    But if a society is sexist can it also be benevolent toward both sexes? I guess that's the basic question I'm pondering here.
    I think it's possible, though I can't really think of any examples off the top of my head. To me, it's really amazing how much of a stink people can make about such arbitrary things.
    So, I'll whisper in the dark, hoping you'll hear me.

  6. #6
    A Dude Peeta Mellark's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Posts
    1,028

    Default

    Quote Originally posted by Sarahfeena View post
    Why raising children must necessarily be considered lower-value than other jobs I don't know, but it does seem to almost universally be so.
    Yeah, I've wondered about that before. Some of the most ragingly misogynistic guys I know are the ones raised by single mothers. You'd think that their deadbeat fathers would make them more sensitive to the difficulties of being a woman and more concerned about following in their fathers' footsteps, but that isn't the case. In fact, they usually seem to get a bit of Madonna-whore complex going on. They might revere their mothers and women who come to symbolize them, but the "dirty" hoes they actually get it on with are worthless as far as they're concerned. Pointing out that their sexism is being directed towards the same gender their beloved mothers belong to doesn't seem to do any good, because their mothers are in a separate class entirely. This mentality practically oozes off of a lot of hip-hop, FWIW.

    I suppose part of why child-rearing is denigrated is that it associates that person with children and immaturity, while also making it difficult for her to engage in the public sphere. In a society where women handle all of the child-rearing, women are expected to stay in the domestic sphere. Like the OP implies, when a man comes of age part of his declaration of his manhood is casting off the influence of his mother. His mother comes to symbolize his childhood and a lack of power. To emphasize his own power and maturity, he must show how detached he is from this domestic sphere. This also has the added effect of putting women in a sort of permanent social childhood, because they don't have this same detachment at adulthood. They go from their mother's nursery to their own.

  7. #7
    Prehistoric Bitchslapper Sarahfeena's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    5,889

    Default

    Peeta, I've noticed the same phenomenon that you talk about in your first paragraph, and I don't get it. Although you are probably in the ballpark with your madonna-whore theory.

    I wonder if the denigration of "women's work" is as simple as the hunting of meat being a "showier" accomplishment than the day-to-day activities of women gathering and such. Meat is highly prized, and more dangerous and difficult to come by than roots and berries. Therefore, men are lauded for bring it home, and women are shrugged at.

  8. #8
    The Queen Zuul's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    9,884

    Default

    Quote Originally posted by Sarahfeena View post
    I wonder if the denigration of "women's work" is as simple as the hunting of meat being a "showier" accomplishment than the day-to-day activities of women gathering and such. Meat is highly prized, and more dangerous and difficult to come by than roots and berries. Therefore, men are lauded for bring it home, and women are shrugged at.
    Is it necessarily like that in every culture with a split between "men's work" and "women's work"? I know in several Native American tribes they do have traditional gender divides like that where a woman's primary role is being a mother and keeping house, but they were also traditionally honored in that role and able to hold positions of power, such as being medicine women and chiefs. So maybe there's something else that holds the key.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

  9. #9
    A Dude Peeta Mellark's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Posts
    1,028

    Default

    Well then, what about sex?

    Maybe having a lot of restrictions on sexual behavior can lead into misogyny. Certainly the two seem to go hand in hand, at the very least. Our attitudes about sexuality seem to automaticaly be projected onto women's bodies. I don't know if the tribe mentioned in the OP is one of the Papua New Guinea tribes that engages in ritualized homosexual acts, but it wouldn't surprise me. IIRC from anthro 101, the tribes that do that believe that semen is a rare and sacred substance and the only way to become a man is to ingest it, while women will take all of a man's semen, giving nothing back, and weaken him.

  10. #10
    Registered user
    Registered
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Okay, this thread was started a while ago, but here goes. It's very simple. Life comes through women, not men. Yes, it takes both sexes to create, but in primitive and ancient cultures this isn't clearly understood. So for many thousands of years women were regarded with wonder and awe. God was actually female first... creator god, nurturing god... later came male gods of war and destruction. The problem is one of fear and jealousy. All this nonsense about social roles.... comes much later. The root of the problem is that life doesn't "appear" to come through the male. Take Christianity for example... Jesus was born through Mary... he obviously needed a female body to take shape in this world. And that great doorway to the the divine must be belittled and misrepresented. It's very sad that women are not respected for all they do in the world... and that women continue to help support their own marginalization. Oh, well... no one listens anyway. So good luck ladies... until we decide things are different we are forced to accept the roles men assign us.

  11. #11
    Prehistoric Bitchslapper Sarahfeena's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    5,889

    Default

    Welcome to the board, FinalArbiter! Nice to have you. Do you really think women in Western society are forced to accept the roles men assign for us? I know plenty of families, for instance, where the woman is the breadwinner and the man stays at home with the children. This is mostly possible due to women fighting for the chance, so at least in this time and place, women seem to be much more in control of their own destinies.
    Last edited by Sarahfeena; 24 Aug 2011 at 11:09 AM.

  12. #12
    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Coulsdon Cat Basket
    Posts
    10,340

    Default

    No, we're listening here. The wider world still has a way to catch up though. I would have thought that male deities would also include gods of protection as well, though.

    Somehow, I don't think men are jealous of a woman's ability to give birth. Indeed, as the saying goes, if men had to put up with it then it would be a lot more painless and simple than it is now. Contraception would probably be a damn sight more equal as well.

    Would it be more likely that as civilisation developed through the ages, the man's role became more important and has only recently become more equalised?
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

  13. #13
    Prehistoric Bitchslapper Sarahfeena's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    5,889

    Default

    I think male jealousy over women having babies is on par with female jealousy over not having a penis...mostly invented by psychologists and philosophers.

  14. #14
    Member Elendil's Heir's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 2009
    Location
    The North Coast
    Posts
    15,733

    Default

    I tend to agree, Sarahfeena.

    So many different cultures feature misogyny it really depresses me. I just want to smack 'em all and say, "Hey! Losers! You wouldn't even be here on God's good Earth if it hadn't been for a woman!"

  15. #15
    Prehistoric Bitchslapper Sarahfeena's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    5,889

    Default

    Quote Originally posted by Elendil's Heir View post
    I tend to agree, Sarahfeena.

    So many different cultures feature misogyny it really depresses me. I just want to smack 'em all and say, "Hey! Losers! You wouldn't even be here on God's good Earth if it hadn't been for a woman!"
    Amen to that.

  16. #16
    Caged User
    Registered
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Like the OP implies, when a man comes of age part of his declaration of his manhood is casting off the influence of his mother. His mother comes to symbolize his childhood and a lack of power.
    veronica hearst

+ Reply to thread

Posting rules

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts