The Origins & Causes of Misogyny
By Charles Moffat - March 2007.
Its important that a man write this because if a woman wrote it people (both men and women) would wonder if she is just making stuff up, is just spouting theories and does not even have a real clue of what goes on in the male psyche.
But as a man I can write this and with the full weight of authority too, because I have studied the mindset of men and understand many of the feelings that revolve around and directly cause misogyny.
Children are born without a sense of gender. Gender is taught at an early age and children quickly learn that boys and girls are expected to behave differently. A girl is expected to "sugar and spice and everything nice" while "boys will be boys" when it comes to getting into trouble its simply what is expected of them.
As boys become men however a metamorphosis takes place in the young man's psyche and much of it revolves around sexuality, insecurity and rejection.
Men want Sex:
As boys grow older they quickly learn that seeing a naked woman can be an exciting experience (or outright dreadful depending on the circumstances). Sooner or later they catch a peak at some older boy's porn collection (or even the collection of a man's), or a peak of girls in the girl's gym locker room or some other commonplace event. Instinctively this is a flood of hormones in a young boy's body and hormones are intensely powerful drugs. Natural they may be, but hormonal shifts and social conditioning can dramatically change a boy's psyche (a bit like Pavlov's dog).
Lets say for example that a boy (we will call him William) at a young age sees a blonde buxomy woman on the front cover of a Playboy magazine in a pharmacy. William continues to see this and similar images on Flair, Cosmo, Penthouse, in advertisements, etc. As William grows older and quickly defines "blonde + big tits = beautiful". As that boy gets older William is immediately more attracted to blondes with large breasts.
Finding out about sex, either from word-of-mouth with other kids, or from family members who take the time to explain the "birds and the bees" or from sex education in school boys instinctively figure out that sex is fun, exciting and the thing adults do secretly.
The natural reaction is to be curious but at the same time insecure about asking such questions because there is so many confusing emotions involved and insecurity (see below).
At whatever age boys discover masturbation (and that you're not supposed to do it in public) this is quickly followed by the knowledge/curiousity about whether sex is better than masturbation. Because of the curiousity aspect its automatically considered better (and is, but thats a different matter).
So the boys now know they want sex. How do they get sex? Women.
[Or from other men, but boys don't usually know this at such an early age. I didn't know what "gay" even meant until I was 11 and had it explained in sex education class.]
Men are Insecure:
But how do men get women to have sex with them? This is the problem for young boys who due to peer pressure for years lie about having lost their virginity when in reality they haven't even made it to "first base".
Getting a young girl to like you can be a daunting task. As girls are taught to behave differently and tend to like different things its difficult for young boys and girls to interact and find common topics they share. Generally speaking the stereotype is boys like sports, toy guns and violence and girls tend towards playing with dolls, having tea parties and baking cookies with mom (see "Monstrous Domesticity" by Faith Wilding).
Even if young William does bake cookies with his mom he's not likely to share this information with any young girls he happens to know, and the fear of being called "gay" if he spoke aloud about playing with dolls (hence the term "action figures") or having tea parties with stuff animals.
Lets say however that William does finally meet a girl named Virginia (who is blonde and has the biggest breasts in his chemistry class), and they both like reading Harry Potter books, playing computer games and watching the Simpsons. Something in common at last, but this doesn't mean Virginia is going to give William his first kiss (or run around the bases for a home run).
[Note: Sports & War metaphors to explain sex is essentially a male tradition. Even the word "vagina" is derived from war, as it is the latin word for "sword sheath". The proper English word is 'cunt', but that word today has become quite offensive to many women.]
So Virginia and William talk about Harry Potter, computer games and the Simpsons together for 10 - 20 minutes during morning recess. Its a breakthrough for William who finally thinks he's found a girl who likes him. Virginia however may indeed be having similar feelings, or depending on how many boys she knows who like Harry Potter she might think nothing of this matter.
Later that day William sees Virginia after school with her friends and decides to wave at her. She doesn't wave back and appears not to care, but her friends giggle spontaneously.
William is immediately upset. He doesn't want to embarrass himself anymore, but he still wants to know why she didn't wave back. Does Virginia not like him? Is it because she was with friends? Thinking about this eventually makes William frustrated and angry.
Trying to patch things up William decides to try passing her a note. Because he doesn't want to embarrass himself he gets a neutral third party to deliver the note.
Virginia sends back the stereotypical reply: "Lets just be friends." She's not ready for a boyfriend, but thats not what William thinks is the real reason. He thinks Virginia simply hates him and has rejected him. He is embarrassed, humiliated and it makes him very insecure about even talking to girls for fear of rejection.
Virginia and William rarely speak afterwards. They are not friends at all.
Men hate Rejection:
After being rejected the first time men try to bounce back. They try again and again and due to whatever reasons they may keep on getting rejected repeatedly.
Depending on what the man's interests are there may be a shortage of women who are interested in such things (and many of them may already be involved with another man).
As William gets older he develops his likes and dislikes and determines that he likes football, wrestling, bowling, gambling with money and shooting small animals with a .22 rifle. Not many women are going to share even a portion of William's interests (let alone be blonde with large breasts). As a result William gets rejected regularly and constantly and becomes BITTER about it.
This bitterness is the real source of misogyny. Men come up with excuses to explain why they were rejected and rarely is it their own fault.
William meets a girl named Andrea in college in his psychology class. They share notes together and eventually start dating and William loses his virginity at last. William develops strong feelings for her and starts writing her love notes and leaving naughty messages on her voicemail and constantly calling her (because he wants more sex). Eventually Andrea dumps him because "things are going to fast and I wanna see other people." He has just been rejected by his "first love".
William meets another girl as a rebound relationship and they sleep together numerous times. A week later he finds out she was actually cheating on her boyfriend of three years. He demands that she picks one of them and she picks her long-term boyfriend. William is furious about another rejection and calls her boyfriend and leaves a nasty voicemail out of spite.
His bitterness and anger overflowing after being rejected at football after-game party William loudly complains that a particular girl is a lesbian and a dyke. Small surprise the girl's boyfriend is one of the football players and he is beaten up and tossed out of the party.
As the years go by William eventually finds a blonde named Betsy who likes him (and has low self-esteem) and he gets her pregnant and marries her soon afterwards. William doesn't actually love her, but he loves the sex and thats enough for now. He figures real love will come eventually.
William and Betsy's marriage is a trainwreck. They end up having very little in common, rushed into the marriage and after one year William has an affair with a co-worker and Betsy announces she wants a divorce.
The divorce is finalized and William end up paying child support and spousal support to Betsy (with extra because he committed adultery). The divorce is the ultimate in rejection. William is embarrassed in front of his family and friends who all know his marriage was a failure and that he's never really had a steady long-term girlfriend whom he has sincere feelings and respect for.
William (and many men like him with similar life stories) now hates all women. He still sees them as the source of sex and still wants sex, but he is now incapable of ever falling in love. He sees women as sex objects to be controlled, subdued and conquered and he starts preying upon weak-willed women with low self-esteems because he knows they are more likely to sleep with him (he sometimes even hires prostitutes because he is getting older and impatient with the whole dating process). He despises women for being the source of his sexual frustration and his many rejections.
Conclusions & Solutions:
Misogyny is the result of years of embarrassing rejections combined with sexual frustration.
Men and women don't cause misogyny on purpose. It just happens as the result of life being the way it is.
This doesn't mean we can't work to solve or prevent misogyny however. We need to be teaching young boys that being rejected by a girl is okay. Its not something to be embarrassed about because it happens to many people. Men need to learn that women must still be respected even if they reject the man in question. When a woman rejects a man she is really just rejecting his sexual advances. This doesn't mean she doesn't like him, simply that she's not interested in him as a sexual partner. Look elsewhere.
However at the same time women need to learn that men are not insensitive jerks. Rather, they are HIGHLY sensitive jerks and need to be treated more gently and fairly. It may take more time and effort on the part of women, but if more women took the time to reject men in such a way it doesn't feel like a rejection then we'd have a lot less bitter men walking around.
Note: There are other mitigating factors that effect misogyny. Some of these factors are: