10th April 2020
Written by Dr Jessica Taylor
The thing about lockdown is that it will be causing reflection and in some cases, forcing some very uncomfortable thinking to take place.
You might be missing loved ones, but you might also be starting to realise that you are in a relationship with a misogynist. This blog is to help women and girls think about whether they are in a relationship with a misogynist and consider the impact it may be having on you.
Before I give you the signs to look out for, let me explain what I mean by ‘misogynist’ or ‘misogyny’.
Misogyny is officially defined in dictionaries as:
‘The hatred of women including prejudice and contempt for women and girls. Misogyny can also include the belief that females are inferior humans to males.’
There has been a concerted effort to minimise and delegitimize the concept and language of ‘misogyny’.
When we discuss the reality and impact of misogyny, we are now met with accusations that misogyny is a myth dreamt up by feminist and ‘social justice warriors’.
The word ‘misogyny’ comes from two words. ‘Misos’ meaning hatred and ‘gune’ meaning woman. In the mid-17th century, it began to be used as ‘misogyny’ to mean the hatred of women. 400 years later, the definition has not changed, and we continue to discuss the global phenomenon linked to sexism – the hatred of females.
To people who have never considered this before, the concept of people hating 51% of the global population probably seems unlikely or farfetched. However, as my new book will and many other books about violence against women and girls already have shown, there are thousands of examples of the constant, enduring ways we hate, harm, control, abuse and kill women and girls all over the world and throughout history.
Misogyny is displayed in so many direct and indirect ways. Sometimes they are obvious, and sometimes they are hidden in seemingly benevolent messages and beliefs about women, men and social roles.
Misogyny has existed in several forms for thousands of years. Aristotle wrote that women were ‘inferior, incomplete, deformed versions of men’ (Freeland, 1994). Ancient Greek mythology contains many examples of misogyny, in which stories are told that the world was a peaceful and balanced place until Gods created women. However, later Greek literature generally considered misogyny to be a disease, as it contradicted all natural and social aims and norms to hate women and girls.
Second wave feminists tend to argue that misogyny is both the cause and the result of patriarchal control.
If you notice any of the following in your relationship or in the man you are with, you are living with a misogynist or someone who hold misogynistic views.
He tends to make comments about women being incapable, stupid or weak
He might make comments directly, indirectly or as ‘jokes’. He might like posts, watch shows or listen to speakers who consistently talk shit about women and girls. He might suggest that women are shit drivers, are too weak to perform certain tasks, are incapable of leadership etc.
He’s sees female equality as some tokenistic ‘woke’ bullshit
He makes comments about female world leaders, CEOs or female sports stars that suggest he believes they are only there because we have to play along with equality and pretend that women can do things as well as men.
He expresses a real distaste or anger towards female politicians and leaders
He might suggest they only got to where they are because they’ve slept with men or because of what they look like. He might talk about female leaders and politicians dress, body shape, face, appearance and behaviour in a way that is not relevant to him in male leaders and politicians
He doesn’t support or like you working or earning decent money
He is grumpy, annoyed, distant or offensive about your money. It might be that you’ve recently got a new job, had a pay rise or been promoted. It might be that you’ve gone back to work after having children and now have your own income source that he no longer controls. He has no interest in the things you are saving for and he doesn’t value anything you have paid for. In contrast, anything he is saving for or has paid for is the most amazing and kindest most generous thing ever to happen to anyone.
He uses phrases like ‘don’t be such a woman’ or ‘like a little bitch’ or ‘he’s a pussy’
The badge of the misogynist – his constant use of female as an insult. Every time he uses these phrases and phrases like it, what he’s really saying is that there is nothing more offensive than being female. Pussy is an insult because it’s female. Bitch is an insult because it’s female. ‘Don’t be a woman’ is an insult because he’s suggesting that being a woman is something to be ashamed of.
He expects you to be his mother and his housekeeper
Yeah. You’re supposed to look after him, mother him, cook for him, clean for him, do his laundry for him, keep his diary for him, remember his mother’s birthday for him, remind him of your own birthday, sort all the bills, write all the Christmas cards, advise him (though he rarely takes your advice), listen to him moan and so on and so forth. Your role is basically his constant servant, to fulfil his needs in every way possible at all times.
Sort of like a mother. Who he wants to shag.
Freud would have a field day. Wait? Didn’t Freud…?
He wants sex when he wants it, on his terms, how he wants it
Sex with him is sort of like an obligation, when you don’t want it, he gets angry with you. He has sex the way he wants, sex is not about your pleasure or about what you want. You rarely orgasm or you fake it so he feels fulfilled because he couldn’t handle knowing he’s so bad in bed. He sometimes withholds intimacy as a punishment. He wakes you up in the night wanting sex. He doesn’t take no for an answer. He might talk you into it when you don’t really want it. He might think he’s the most amazing guy in bed ever – and make sex all about his performance rather than your experience.
(NB – if any of these are true for you, this is sexual abuse and rape, and he’s not just a misogynist.)
If he does any ‘woman’s work’ he wants some sort of medal for it
He prides himself on hoovering once or cleaning the kitchen that weekend. But you didn’t hear the last of it for months.
He doesn’t really like or want to do any housework or childcare because he suggests to you that’s it’s your job, and he has important man things to do, like work and play on the Xbox. If he does help around the house and look after the kids, he wants constant praise and thanks for it. If you forget to thank him one hundred times a week, you are told you are ungrateful.
Alternatively, he does quite a lot of housework but reminds you of how good he is for doing stuff you ‘should’ be doing. He might do this in a subtle manner or literally tell you that he’s a good man because he does housework/childcare.
He puts you down
About anything. Your friends. Your hobbies. Your skills. Your interests. Your talents. Your appearance. Your family. Your accent. Your ideas. Your studies. Your opinions. Your dreams. Anything. He’s doing that because he’s weak as fuck and he wants you to feel as weak as him. He can’t stand that you are an independent human.
All his exes are ‘psychos’
Red flag alert. If all his exes are ‘psycho liars’ – you’re in danger. If every word he says about his exes is to convince you that they are all mad as shit and made his life hell, he’s trying to discredit them for some reason. He wants you to believe they are all crazy because he’s a misogynist who thinks angry, upset women are all psycho. He wants you to hate them, but why?
Think about it. Why would he want you to hate a stranger? And if his exes are angry and hurt by him, find out why. Not from him.
He’s like Jekyll and Hyde
One of the things you might notice is that he’s like two different people. He’s one person to you but a complete actor to everyone else. He speaks to you and treats you in ways he would never treat his friends. You might also notice he’s like this with his mother. He might be lovely to her face but absolutely vile behind her back. Or he might be absolutely vile to his mother whilst telling everyone what an amazing mother he has. Watch out for this one.
He literally believes he is a gift to women
The thing is with men who hate women, is that they also want to be desired by women. They think they are the best you will ever get, they might even tell you that. They might tell you they could leave you and get another woman very quickly whereas you would end up alone because no one will want you. He describes himself as the perfect partner and often lists all the amazing qualities about himself. He makes you feel like he is the only man who will ever look twice at you – but that women are crawling all over him and you’re lucky to have him.
He engages in benevolent sexism but dresses it up as respect for women
Red flag for a misogynist – they dress up their sexism by making it sound like concern or respect for women. Examples include ‘I’ll get that door for you’ or ‘women shouldn’t be carrying heavy items’ or ‘the army is no place for a lady’ or ‘women shouldn’t be exposed to lad culture’. He’s saying you’re not his equal. Women are less than him.
He doesn’t like you being praised or celebrated
Watch out for this one. Does he get moody or annoyed when people are happy for you or telling you how great you are? When someone thanks you or supports you, does he say they are ‘up your ass’ or ‘probably want something from you’? Does he get angry if others tell you you have talent or skill?
You might notice that he claims to be proud of you but it feels shallow or fake. That’s because it is.
He takes your ideas and passes them off as his own
Of course he does. He’s a misogynist. He can’t bear the idea of you thinking something before him or better than him.
He only helps with the kids in front of people
Ugh. This one is so disgusting. The way he leaves you to cope with the kids or baby for hours on your own until his parents show up and then he’s superdad. When they leave he’s back to ordering you around. He knows what he’s doing. He’s keeping up appearances. The way he calls it ‘helping with the kids’ like he’s doing you a favour.
He will get annoyed when you talk about misogyny and sexism because he doesn’t think it really exists anymore
No explanation needed here. He’s a misogynist.
He hates feminism and thinks women’s rights are a joke
Any man who hates feminism is a red flag for misogyny. What man who loves and respects other humans would not want equal rights for women and the end of oppression of women? If he doesn’t want that, there’s something wrong with him. He claims men are more oppressed than women and that feminism is man-hate. He thinks feminists are all disgusting, ugly, spinsters or lesbians. He’s a misogynist.
He may try to play you off against other women
He wants you to be insecure – he wants you in direct competition with other women or his exes. Worse, you might even feel that you’re in competition with his mother. It might be that he tells you other women are better than you. It might be more subtle than that. Maybe sometimes he brings up how amazing he thinks other women are whilst treating you like you’re stupid and worthless.
The last point is that he may actually learn over time not to show any of these behaviours or views. Despite this, he might still be violent and abusive towards you.
He might attack you, abuse you, force you to have sex or gaslight you but then go back to being ‘perfect’ for a while. Do not under any circumstances believe this bullshit persona. His violence is not accidental. The way he swiftly reverts to being ‘perfect’ and apologises profusely, is a tactic.
If after reading this, you think your boyfriend or husband is a misogynist, the best thing to do is to leave. I don’t say this lightly and I know how this will come across.
You can’t live with someone who hates you, puts you down and doesn’t believe you are his equal.
Don’t spend your life trying to prove yourself to a misogynist. You’ll never be good enough and he’ll make sure you know it. Don’t spend your life trying to raise children with a man like that either. The quicker (and safer) you and the children can get out, the better. Children, whether boys or girls, do not need a misogynist as a role model.
Finally, remember that his beliefs and values about women are not a reflection on you. You can’t change views like that and none of this is your fault.
But for your own sanity, talk to someone you trust and try to get out. If this article has raised an alarm for you, tell someone.
Written by Dr Jessica Taylor
My new book ‘Why Women are Blamed for Everything’ is out on 27th April 2020