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United States of Misogyny?

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Are we numb to the barbaric treatment of women and girls? This NY Times op-ed columnist seems to think so.

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Vivian Manning-Schaffel: I just finished reading this op-ed column for the New York Times by Bob Herbert, and it's left me scratching my head, but not for the reasons you may think.

In the piece, Herbert recounts George Sodini's massacre of innocent women in a Pennsylvania gym last week, with a quote from Sodini's blog that states, "I actually look good. I dress good, am clean-shaven, bathe, touch of cologne -- yet 30 million women rejected me." Sodini killed three women, wounded nine others, and then killed himself.

Um, maybe they rejected him because his cologne couldn't disguise the scent of his insanity.

Herbert compares the tragedy to the Amish schoolhouse massacre, and makes this startling statement: "We have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that the barbaric treatment of women and girls has come to be more or less expected."

He then states, "The mainstream culture is filled with the most gruesome forms of misogyny, and pornography is now a multibillion-dollar industry -- much of it controlled by mainstream U.S. corporations. One of the striking things about mass killings in the U.S. is how consistently we find that the killers were riddled with shame and sexual humiliation, which they inevitably blamed on women and girls. The answer to their feelings of inadequacy was to get their hands on a gun (or guns) and begin blowing people away."

The guy's got a point. This sh*t is wrong, wrong, wrong. We are half the population, dammit. Why put up with this sh*t?

But what would level the playing field? More women like Simone Dadoun-Cohen, who rebrand the pairing of rich, powerful men with the young, beautiful women after them? More soft-core porn? The invention of a penis leash? A Lorena Bobbitt game for your Nintendo Wii? Player who can throw the penis farthest in the forest wins?

Is it any wonder more gals aren't out there trawling Facebook for secret vigilante groups that dismember penises for sport?

We certainly have a lot to be pissed about. So I'm asking you readers for your take: What, as women, could we realistically do to take a stand and put a stop to this?


next: Dad Offers $500 to Make His Kids Cry
9 comments so far | Post a comment now
michelle August 10, 2009, 4:48 PM

The common thread here is insanity, not necessarily misogyny. There are plenty of men who have misogynistic tendencies, and plenty who outright hate women, but only a few act on it. They do so because they are crazy, pure and simple. I think these men must have been mentally pretty “off” to begin with, so of course they were universally rejected by women, which led these men to focus their already irrational hatreds on women. And what’s the other common thread among these mass murders? That these crazy, homicidal men had ridiculously easy access to guns. You ask how we level the playing field? That’s the wrong question. The question is how can we make it harder for crazies to get guns.

DD August 10, 2009, 7:43 PM

Legalize prostitution.

Amber Johnson August 10, 2009, 8:45 PM

First off, I disagree with Michelle completely. Rape, sexual assault, violence against women and domestic violence are all to common! Far too many men are acting on their misogyny. Crazy? Yes, it seems so. But their actions, sadly, are in line with many of the dangerous yet rampant and unchallenged underpinnings of our culture (degradation of women, seeing women as objects, etc.) Guns are all to easy to access, yes, but guns are not the main problem when it comes to violence against women. No way.

What can we do? Call people out on behavior and comments that put women down. Express disapproval of media depictions of women that feed the misogynist frenzy. Teach our kids women’s incredible worth by showing them our example in healthy, loving, equal male-female relationships and question and discuss any images kids are exposed to that present women as “less than” or sexual objects. Join women’s groups working to prevent or address violence against women. And I’m sure there’s a TON of other things we can do!

ame i. August 10, 2009, 10:47 PM

We need to remember that in the 1950’s it was okay to make non-whites sit in the back of a bus and use seperate water fountains. We also forget the when it was against the law for a white person and a non-white person to marry.
My husband (47 years old) remembers seeing female co-workers fondled by male co-workers and not even thinking of saying anything about it. I (41) remember being touched, grabbed by male classmates & being too embarrassed to tell a teacher. In my late 20’s I did tell my (female) boss when a male co-worker petted my butt and he was fired.
I’m the mother of 2 daughters, 9 & 11. When they were younger we had the “good touch, bad touch” talk.
My 11 year old looks 15. It’s part of my “job” as a mother to let my girls know that it is NEVER okay for a person to touch them in a “personal” way or to say something “personal” to them.
It is sad, but we have to let girls know at a young age what is okay and what isn’t.

CK August 12, 2009, 4:30 PM

treating women as objects may be due to emotionally numbing upbringing of boys

Mark Reilly August 12, 2009, 8:10 PM

According to FBI reports, 79% of murder victims are male (2006).

Anonymous August 18, 2009, 6:58 AM

Yes but generally males are killing other males, while they are busy raping women, (90% of all rape victims are women).

Mickii November 11, 2009, 2:37 PM

While men’s violence against women has always been a part of every culture, these instances where it is specifically directed at women because they are women is a new phenomenon. I think it is because the way that women have risen to power makes men feel emasculated. There needs to be sensitivity training for men to accept that there is a new role for them to play. There cannot be one sex that is more powerful than another, and everyone has a different role to play that is not based on gender, but on ability.

Carole Letteney March 28, 2011, 6:24 PM

I have been reading out a few of your articles and i can state clever stuff. I will surely bookmark your website.


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