Do you know the difference between misogyny and sexism? Probably not. A lot of the time people use these two words interchangeably. In the news and on social media we hear these words a lot without really being able to separate them in our minds. The thing is, they have two different and distinct meanings.
In class this week, there was a discussion on misogyny and sexism and what they really mean. It wasn’t planned, but this discussion was really interesting and got me thinking because I personally, did not know the difference. I knew they both had to do with the oppression of women but I couldn’t really give a definition. I decided I would put in a little research and what I found is pretty interesting.
Let’s talk about sexism first. This is probably the more common term overall. The definition of sexism is “prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex”. This clearly states that sexism is exclusively on the basis of sex. Not even necessarily against women. Because of the worlds current state, the vast majority of problematic sexism is going to be against women but I think this is something that’s looked over, especially when put in contrast with misogyny.
If we look at misogyny, we can see a few key differences. The definition for misogyny is “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.” first of all, we can see misogyny is exclusively aimed towards women. It is impossible to be misogynistic towards a man whereas it is possible to be sexist towards a man. If we take a closer look you will also be able to see the words “ingrained prejudice”. Ingrained meaning “firmly fixed or established; difficult to change”. This implies a deeper meaning. Misogyny is long standing and has been embedded in today’s society for generations before us. Because women have been, and still are fighting for equality, misogyny is likely a product of that gap in rights, showing how systematic misogyny really might be. Imagine you are brought up being told that apples are superior to bananas. The laws of the time even saying that apples have certain rights that bananas don’t have. You will probably begin to develop a world view that apples are simply better. When put in context to women, this is exactly where misogyny comes from. A systematically taught and ingrained belief that men are superior to women. If a women was to speak up and suggest that rights should be equal, you, as someone who had been taught that women are not equal, would most likely hold a dislike and contempt for that woman, creating misogyny.
Here is a link to a great article about misogyny: What Does Misogyny Look Like?
In conclusion, I think the differences between sexism and misogyny should now be clear. Sexism is a discrimination based on sex. A stereotyping or prejudice in general. Misogyny is a deeply rooted belief that women are unequivocally lesser and should be put back into their place if they do anything otherwise. I think this research shows that these two terms do mean extremely different things and need to be used correctly in the media, news and anywhere else they are frequently confused.Read more "Misogyny Vs Sexism"