mi·sog·y·ny – noun \mə-ˈsä-jə-nē\
Definition of MISOGYNY : a hatred of women (including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women)
The year is 2012 and we find ourselves collectively scratching our heads as evidence of misogyny continues to percolate up to the surface in all facets of our life. We find our state’s lawmakers crafting legislature which penalizes women on their personal choices. We have the media seizing on how one body type is better or more desirable than another body type, that any body fat apparently is too much body fat – as they speculate and denigrate via their judgments cast from their throne high above the rest of us mere mortals. And then the arrival of the frightening application “Girls Around Me” designed to highlight the specific location and photo of women in proximity to the device running the application.
I was most pleased when I read Ashley Judd’s piece in the Daily Beast, “Ashley Judd slaps media in the face for speculation over her ‘Puffy’ appearance.” She hit the nail on the head in her writings. And if you haven’t read the entire piece you absolutely owe it to yourself to do so. Then go down and read through the comments. Throughout the comments you’ll note some supporting, many detracting and others making her point – misogyny exists. Here are a few excerpts:
“Consequently, I choose to address it because the conversation was pointedly nasty, gendered, and misogynistic and embodies what all girls and women in our culture, to a greater or lesser degree, endure every day, in ways both outrageous and subtle. The assault on our body image, the hypersexualization of girls and women and subsequent degradation of our sexuality as we walk through the decades, and the general incessant objectification is what this conversation allegedly about my face is really about.”That women are joining in the ongoing disassembling of my appearance is salient.
Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women.
I then recalled a quote from J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series dated 2006 which appeared in the UK newspaper “The Telegraph” on this same topic:
“I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be Stupid Girls.”
Legislation which imposes medical procedures upon women, are simply wrong. I agree with the ACLU when they commented in opposition to Illinois HB 4085: “HB4085 substitutes politics and ideology for the judgment of medical professionals and patients. It is time for politicians to stay out of women’s health care.” Sadly, Illinois is not alone – other states are mandating ultrasound exams be performed on a female seeking a medical procedure which would abort their unborn fetus (and for those who didn’t know, I count myself in that grouping), if the woman is at 8 weeks or less, that ultrasound will be transvaginal. (NB: Illinois, Kentucky, Texas, Idaho, North Carolina and Pennsylvania all have legislature being discussed which include mandatory female medical procedures). Really, do we need this. I think not.
In yesterday’s Huffington Post (disclosure: I have a blog on Huffington Post), Larry Magid wrote about the “Girls Around Me” application. Words such as creepy, scary and frightful come to mind. The object of the app? All the individual running the application on their device to locate women (without their knowledge or consent).
“The app mashed together information people posted about themselves publicly on Foursquare and Facebook and created a map showing the location and photographs of nearby women. On its website, the company brags that the app can be used to “Browse photos of lovely local ladies and tap their thumbnail to find out more about them.” It’s offered for those “In the mood for love, or just after a one-night stand.” An image that resembles a radar screen with a silhouette of an apparently naked woman adorns the home page. “
Isn’t it time we say enough is enough?
Isn’t it time we realize that males and females will jointly share, that we each bring strengths as individuals to every engagement regardless of our gender?
Isn’t it time that we realize that without our mothers there are no sons?
I welcome your thoughts.