American Misogynistic Culture: See it?

It is often hard for most people to really understand that we live in a masculine centered, misogynistic culture. I think one of the simplest ways to clarify this reality is by looking at the conflicting values that we ascribe to women: we tell them that they should shave their legs and their armpits, wear make-up, work out a lot and eat right and have a tight body, that they should have big boobs in order to get noticed—and all of this simply to please men, to be desirable. And then yet, if a woman takes pleasure in her own sexuality, if she empowers herself to enjoy her body, then she is a whore. So we tell women both that they should be sex symbols—objects of desire—and yet that they can’t take undue pleasure in their own sexuality.

Men, on the other hand, are given increased status for their sexual prowess and conquests. Every boy secretly wishes to be a pimp, like Snoop Dogg (before he got rich and discovered the small joys of parenthood and home life). To use em and leave em, like all women were just tools designed by god to get men off. And all of our culture reinforces this notion of women as commodified objects, including many women themselves, who are trained as youngsters to compete to be the most successful objects of desire possible. Sure, women are lawyers, politicians, army officers, etc. But all you have to do is turn on the TV to see just how far they’ve still got to go.

Women should be revered for their beauty and sexuality, there’s nothing wrong with that. What’s wrong is when their beauty and sexuality is used to sell products to children. What’s wrong is when goddesses are rendered so confused and insecure by all the conflicting values thrown at them that they don’t even know how to see their own beauty. What’s wrong is when men are given all the power, and as in any situation where there are those who have power over those who have relinquished their power, women are mentally, spiritually, or physically abused.

The deleterious effects of masculine values—such as of aggression, territoriality, and short peak climaxes—can be seen the world over. Aggressive corporate shortsightedness, little or no political diplomacy, global warming, global sex and drug trading, you name it. Of course feminine powers are everpresent and quietly intertwined, working always to balance. But until the feminine values of intuition, empathy, flowing continuous risings, and flexibility are given greater prominence and cultural enforcement, the misogyny will continue. Our children will continue to be sexualized in order to sell them products, our women will continue to relinquish their own power to be successful, and our men will continue to think that treating women like sperm receptacles is the right thing to do.

Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

19 thoughts on “American Misogynistic Culture: See it?”

  1. Suppose we flipped it round so that the world we now live in is run, and has always been run, by a culture of misandry. Would the world really be and better?

    1. What does that have to do with anything? No one said the opposite of misogyny is what is needed, but a balance of power. IE a lack of misogyny or misandry.

  2. You are, as usual, correct. There desperately needs to be a balance. I think that neither misogyny, misandry (or any kind of misanthropy, now that we’re getting into “mis” words) is off-message. It is, ultimately, all about balance. But the way things are right now, we could definitely use a bit of misandry to keep all of the misogyny in check. We could probably go on about this forever…but there would be too much to say. As Kit Ramsey once said in Bowfinger: “The sickness is deep!”

  3. I agree. I personally do think a little misandry would be good. But of course I wasn’t talking about misandry, “saywhatyoufeel.” I was talking about achieving balance and harmony.

  4. I understand that, but I don’t see where the balance can come from. Was merely trying to stimulate a bit more debate.

  5. Nothing wrong with stimulating debate.
    I see balance coming from men getting more in tune with feminine values, and females getting more in tune with themselves, and both sexes disallowing corporate consumerism dominating and profiting off their sexuality.

  6. It would be nice wouldn’t it? I’m afraid I’m not so optimistic though.

    What really gets to me is that so many women and young girls go out every week and buy trashy magazines obsessed with celebrities, their bodies, their lives, sex and “modern ideals”. They wonder why so many young girls nowadays have serious eating disorders to live up to the images they see in such magazines, in TV and in adverts everywhere. I myself know several who have been for therapy for such disorders…one has even developed a gym obsession whereby she gets almost hysterical with worry when she doesn’t work out at the gym for an hour or two every day.

    Now I’m sure there are various factors to blame in such a scenario, maybe some personalities are more at risk than others. When I see the things they read though, I can’t help but feel that they’re doing themselves no favours in reading such garbage….sorry…..rant over!

  7. As long as women allow the focus to be kept on their appearance and not on, say, their mental capacity or their achievements, so too will the rest of the world. I am not saying that it’s all women’s fault that they’re being objectified, but we are partly to blame for how we are treated and seen. At the same time, men pay the price, especially American men: they feel the pressure to be “manly”, obsessed with sports, afraid of emotions (except for anger, or maybe joy that their football team won something), constantly having to prove their “hetero”-ness, etc. It’s almost like they have to put down their more “feminine” (or feminine-associated) side in order to be masculine; as a result, they ignore an entire side of themselves–which makes them less of a whole person.

    Now that I think about it, actually, it’s the same for both men and women. Because of the decreed emphasis on being “feminine” and “masculine”, we end up being incomplete people. This might explain why the female athlete feels the need to be extra “girly”, wearing makeup and sporting frilly clothing, while the male artist (or scientist…or intellectual…or anything other than, say, a redneck) is often teased for being “wimpy”, when, really, oftentimes they’re more complete beings than most other people who prefer to conform to society’s skewed standards.

    I’m rambling. I don’t know how to explain myself clearly. But I hope that makes sense somewhat.

  8. Yeah, I definitely think more men should embrace things that aren’t wholly “macho”. Both men and women ought to be more accepting of their feminine and masculine sides and traits.

  9. Both of youse bring up some good points. I want to re-bring up that women are only responding to their upbringing and environment. When you are surrounded by a culture that tells you you should be trim, desirable, and airbrushed perfect, then you will inevitably only be insecure and have eating (and other) disorders. And the point made about men feeling this same unrealistic burden is definitely true. It goes both ways. Men are supposed to be ripped, fashionably attuned, and rich. If we display overt sensitivity and try to understand ourselves deeper, as children we are scorned.
    Maybe this is pointing to something deeper, beyond simple misogynism. Perhaps it points to the capitalist obsession with assigning monetary value to anything, including sexuality and self-worth. Ideas?

  10. I think that’s right. In today’s society everything has a monetary value, whatever it may be – even death has its price; death duties and inheritance tax etc. This points to capitalism’s need to squeeze as much money from the population to fund unjust wars and new nuclear weapons systems…but that’s a whole other story.

    It seems to me that we need to be aware that some things, such as sexuality and self-worth, are so innately personal and intertwined with the self that they are “priceless”. The world around us won’t change any time soon but we can all be more conscious of the pressures put on us by society, and from that make more informed decisions about our lives and wellbeing.

  11. Egads, I think Bubbler has stumbled upon a Truth (spelled with a capital “T”). I say this because if you take a close look at countries that aren’t as saturated in capitalist ethos, their populace–both men and women–are less entrenched in the gender divide. Of course, they (a.k.a. “foreign countries”) have their own gender issues, but none that are as twisted as the ones here. Here, people feel that they have to be “extra” masculine or “extra” feminine to the point of disrespecting each other and themselves. Overseas, there is an acceptance of differences but also the existence of profound respect for each others’ abilities. It’s a very nuanced difference, but a noticeable one.

    1. Yes, let’s consider Cuba as an example. Despite relative poverty, partly due to the American blockade and the fall of the Soviet Union, ie the withdrawal of aid, partly because socialism eschews competition and commodification even of dead females for the pleasure of nechrophiliac dickshits in order to sell more copies, eg. The Sun, 15.02. with its front page spread of Reeva Steencamp in a bikini and its dramatic headlines: Three shots. Silence. Three more shots. How “sexy”, a death of a young woman is! Her name was omitted, because she is beeing used as an aid to masturbation. One woman called it “lechery over a corpse”.
      For most (NOT ALL) online male commenters and the consumers of The Sun and hardcore pornography, this is not a problem – for them – therefore there is no problem, they think. It doesn’t exist.
      Back to Cuba: the people are much, much happier than in any capitalist “democracy”: Cuba has the best and the most advanced health care system in the world, highly educated population, low crime rate, 44% of women in the national assembly, rare incidence of rape and since the revolution had not engaged in any wars.
      Sexism exists, sadly, but in comparison with their economically giant neighbours, it’s tolerable.
      Capitalism makes people sick. Individualism has been replaced by narcissism. Emphasis on individualism is a powerful form of political control of the population, because prioritising external appearance, over internal, moral and intellectual strength, especially in females, is a diversionary tactic and a thief of female time which could be used for reading, studying and organising demonstrations, whilst it’s good for cosmetic and farmaceutical business. Besides, we are encouraged to compete – amongst ourselves, mind you, for “precious” resources, ie men. The question is: why should we need approval from men at all? Do they seek it from us?

      Slavoj Žižek said that in today’s pornography everything is allowed, except love. That is the last taboo. I would call it intentional and strategic weapon: erotising violence is good for multi-billion dollar business: larger than the combined profits of ….. Ebay, Google and Amazon! The most visited sites on the internet are porno sites and those about money. Very homo sapiens.
      In addition, it works as a barrier to loving relationships between women and men. Love is the biggest threat to capitalism, because happy people are not easily manipulated. Nor do they depend on retail “therapy”. Creators of religions knew that very well.
      Note to self: watch for men’s hostile responses to my post and look forward to having a good laugh.
      P.S. During the war in former Yugoslavia, Žižek went to Belgrade. There, he met a group of soldiers. He had a chat with them, man to man. Several of them complained bitterly about Tito’s regime because ……. “We were not allowed to rape women and girls, nor EVEN our wives, we had no access to pornography, except “Čik”, (underground samizdat version of Viz) (in English spelling: chick, you know small, fluffy, little, pea-brained creature who is nevertheless sexually arousing, but no threat to big, burly Balkan
      brutes and their misogynist brothers all over the world. Žižek didn’t mention whether he had empathised with them or not. (Croatian TV programme, on Youtube). Men in capitalism do not fear punishment for sexual crimes from the legal systems, because even when the evidence is incontrovertible, an unscrupulous lawyer will help them walk free. In most cases. Men literally get away with murder. Recently, one lawyer said on tv: “Even when I know that my client is a scumbag and a child is giving evidence via a video link, I’ll do everything to demolish the evidence”. Nice. It makes you proud to be a member of the human species and particularly of the “justice” system.
      Oscar Pestorious will plead “Not guilty!” Like OJ Simpson, he too, will walk free.
      “A woman’s guess is more accurate than a man’s certainty”. R. Kipling
      Nevertheless, I hope I am wrong about Pestorius.

  12. I would describe myself as a feminist and i definitely love a bit of misandry between friends lol but i have to contribute this:
    (Btw I currently work in the fashion industry..) & what I have learned is that one in three women have the potential to be in a lesbian relationship. The remaining 2 (feminine or not) enjoy looking at other women in magazines/ campaigns because in nature women compete by analysing each other. So you could say that 3/3 women enjoy looking at other women and seeing women used in advertising etc. This may be why women obsessively look through fashion blogs/shows memorising unrealistically beautiful girls and also why teenagers put posters/tear outs on their walls featuring beautiful women NOT beautiful men. 9/10 teenagers say they would like to become a fashion model NOT an actress (actresses are cast based on their commercial appeal meaning; average looking features which MEN find appealing NOT women!) The teenage girls who would like breast implants, acrylic nails, hair extensions, commercial features etc are girls with very low self esteem who make up the remaining 1/9 who do NOT want to look like a fashion model lol. My parent’s ran a successful advertising agency in the 90’s and often received bad press about sexualised images they used in various campaigns; showing girl’s skirts flying up etc. Behind each one of these billboards was a team of 30 or so women and gay men who loved the campaigns! Behind every beauty campaign or new doll released in the market for children there is probably a team of women and gay men thinking how can we make this more shocking? More modern etc. I’m not saying it is right, I hate being objectified by men when I walk down the street and I also hate lifting up a bratts doll’s skirt to find a v-string underneath, but I highly doubt there was a straight misogynistic man behind these products! I retouch photography for a lot of the major campaigns in america and europe and i very rarely have to work with straight men, in most of the images I am asked to reduce the breasts and make the body more angular so that women appear less vulgar! NOT more sexualised). It may sound controversial; but a lot of women do in fact need to slim down because in nature we would only be eating nuts, berries, seeds and fish occasionally. We would be walking everywhere and would never be exposed to trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup and wouldn’t suffer salt addictions from consuming dairy products, people in general would be slimmer and leaner looking. Men are not trying to make women slimmer, women and gay men in the fashion industry simply want us to look more sleek and lean but also more masculine; long bodies with small thighs/bum are associated with drag queens and very masculine girls, it is an unattainable look for most women (which is why the fashion industry keeps flaunting it! and why women keep buying magazines and going on diets which fail!) You can’t blame men for sexualising women and giving them high standards of beauty to live up to. It is women who are selective about the kind of man they date and it is women who care about becoming increasingly beautiful with age, it is men who will date anyone, any shape, any size, any face and any age. People need to stop bashing men in the media, women are not as forgiving when it comes to accepting flaws and imperfections in beauty! I know because I am one of the culprits behind the overly perfected and sexualised images you see in the media and I am a woman.. Any product which uses women in its advertising (targeting a male audience) will feature very average girls of any age, the girl next door, someone they picked up off the street or from some cheap talent agency. Where as products targeting women, featuring women MUST use highly paid exclusive fashion models who have had nose jobs, chin reductions, fat injections, liposuction etc and who are no older than 22 and scouted from remote villages in eastern europe. You might say oh but in campaigns for men they also feature incredibly beautiful male models, but here is a fact for you, men do not buy fragrance/cosmetics/styling products featuring famous male models! Once again, it is women who buy these products for men and so the advertising is targeted at women and gay men NOT straight misogynistic men!!! Straight men are very uninvolved in these matters, they really don’t care about how perfect someone’s chiseled nose or skin is they just don’t care! You can be the ugliest most annoying woman in the world BUT if you know how listen to man when he needs someone to talk to and you show him a level of emotional intimacy that he is craving, he will date you regardless of what you look like or what his friends think of you. I can not say the same thing for women unfortunately! :)

    1. Fascinating. Thanks for providing your insight. Why do you think that women compete by analyzing each other (based on their own concepts of beauty)? Is this a natural state of being? Is this because of misogynistic values of society (whether or not perceptions are actually reinforced by men as consumers)? Or is it due to the commodification of women as objects and/or property?

  13. Also the low self-esteem/suicide/self-harm epidemic among my generation and younger generations exists because of seriously flawed parenting and abuse in homes. Remember that one out of every four children is molested/raped or similar and out of the remaining children; most experience a sexual trauma by puberty. All children experience bullying at school (by other children who have been bullied/abused at home), most adult women have experienced sexual harassment of some kind in the workplace. Children who grew up in homes where they only received love, affection and praise do not feel the need to have plastic surgery, go on diets, try drugs or abuse their credit cards on clothes and beauty products. People need to stop blaming the media which is only catering to supply and demand. The problems start in the home and they will end as soon as there are limitations on who can and cannot reproduce (never going to happen so we might as well get used to it lol!) Another problem is that women are only being attracted to one kind of man, where as men are attracted to all kinds of women. So there are more and more women focusing on their careers and perfecting their appearance while they ‘wait’ for the perfect guy. A huge number of men are not being emotionally or sexually gratified, they are made to feel inadequate by most women who are too demanding and successful to date them which might explain the child sex industry and the obsession with porn (now the most googled word in the world). Basically more and more educated people aren’t getting married and having children, the people who are getting married are doing so for the wrong reasons ie; emotional/financial security or religious/family/social pressure. The children who grow up in these unhappy homes do not develop normal levels of self-esteem (ie daddy doesn’t love mummy anymore, daddy doesn’t love me anymore, I need to make myself more beautiful so that men will love me and find me desirable) and the cycle continues. Studies have shown that the best parents who produce the most well adjusted children are lesbian couples, and yet there is still discrimination against gays in modern society. Gays along with empathetic men and women should be working with children in schools and in caring/help industry roles like psychotherapy, counseling etc to undo the damage that is taking place in most homes. Unfortunately a lot of teachers in schools and carers working in this industry are also damaged and abusive, so the people they are ‘helping’ feel just as rejected as they did at home, that is where suicide/self-harm comes into the picture. For eg; “I’ve tried everything, going to my parents, going to my teachers at school, seeing a therapist, the problem must be me not them, I know the solution, I will kill myself”. This is the society we live in and there is not a whole lot you can do to change it.

    1. While I agree that there is seriously flawed parenting occurring, and that many people just simply should not be procreating because they are not prepared economically, emotionally, or otherwise to nurture a child, I think we have to ask ourselves why so many problems are occurring at home, given that these families are formed under the umbrella of societal norms and values. What is the context within this society that fosters such parental deficiencies?
      I don’t know that media should be let off the hook so easily. Yes, the media is based on market supply and demand, however, that does not obviate its responsibility to society. Corporations and businesses are increasingly being held to higher standards according to their greater responsibility to the communities they exist within.

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