What is misogyny? Wikipedia says, it is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls (yes I just searched it up...duh!). The term has gained a lot of popularity lately. The rise of third-wave feminism in the late 1990s not only popularised the term but polarized it as well and in a country like India, where political leaders stand on big platforms and support the sexual assault, the polarization was expected.
Ever since the world stopped blatantly dehumanizing women and (literally) stopped burning them on stake and gave them their voting and property rights, the world moved on and started acting like these things never happened or existed. Even if they acknowledged that these things happened in the past, they believe that the world has completely changed and they all live in an equal and just world...but, something continues to exist-misogyny. From villages to big metropolitan cities, from the household kitchen to the workplace, from schools to universities. As time passed by misogyny manifested itself in different forms.
The dehumanizing of women gradually turned into stamping women with stereotypes and using those stereotypes against them. Some people say that women have this common habit to dramatize everything. You cannot help but appreciate the irony of the situation. From the way we treat women in our day to day lives to the way Indian media portrays them, misogyny is still uite a big part of our lives. Look at the daily soap operas and how they always pit women characters against each other. The male protagonists, even after being the most toxic ever, keeps being portrayed in a positive light and there is always an evil woman (usually, the second wife of the male protagonist). Even though a lot of us know how problematic these shows are, some place deep inside us, we do enjoy seeing the downfall of this woman at the end of the show. Strange, isn’t it?
How do all of us (rational human beings) love to see the pain and misery of a woman, with her life crumbling and falling apart in front of us? Now, you might argue that it’s not that serious and it’s just bad television, but isn’t television the reflection of the society that we live in? This is misogyny. You may keep on denying it all our lives but we cannot help but notice the adverse effect that it has on our minds. From the way the world reacts to a woman breastfeeding in public to how uncomfortable we get when we see a couple of women rappers expressing their sexuality while we had no problems whatsoever when Eminem(a white straight man) says, “You don’t like it, then peel off, bitch!”
The brutality towards women is so common and comes so naturally to everyone that it gets really hard to notice and hence is denied. Then, comes male privilege. Accepting the presence of male privilege leads to the acceptance of the presence of misogyny, but accepting that privilege would prove the point that the society favors men over women in all spheres of life and that would put the men of the society in a very uncomfortable position. We cannot afford that as a society. So we keep denying its presence and thus denying the struggle and years and years of psychological trauma and emotional pain that women faced. The way we always exclude women from every conversation, the way women are still the butt of every other joke, the way every motivational speaker blames women for the lack of success of men, every action of ours is a direct or indirect result of misogyny. This is what Feminism stands against. It mainly strives towards acknowledging and, recognizing years of pain and suffering, making an attempt towards making an egalitarian society.