Sunday, August 14, 2016

Misogyny 101: All you need is hate

The writing magnified by last night's second (ahem!) glass of vodka and coke is from a book I won at the open mic night on Wednesday, a collection of short stories and opinion pieces by a popular New Zealand writer -- who shall remain nameless.

The writing is funny, when the author is making fun of himself and other males, but predictably, if mildly, misogynistic when his male characters encounter girls and women.

In this story, the adult male narrator gives a sly wink to a young boy who punches his sister because she says he is dumb and won't let him on the computer, at least that is his story. When the boy punches his sister (which he freely admits), she gets off the computer to run crying to her mother. Mission accomplished. The narrator, a casual observer, unrelated to the children, clearly thinks the sister got what she deserved, and happily shares his sympathies with the reader in this sly wink.

The writing is fairly current, published this century, but a few critical years before the latest wave of feminism has begun to expose and challenge these more subtle forms of sexism or 'mild' misogyny that left-wing, educated men, have specialised in perpetrating for many a long year and century -- well before computers, indeed, but not before boys punched girls to get what they wanted and were forgiven, if not congratulated.

But, as in response to each previous feminist wave, there is resistance to this latest one. And one of the most pernicious, because not that obvious, faces of resistance to the fourth wave of feminism is the systematic, and wildly popular sabotage of Hillary Clinton's run for first woman president of the United States by Bernie Sanders and his supporters, male and female. An attempt that almost succeeded, and may yet succeed in a fashion, by handing over the United States to one of the biggest fools, and there have been a fair few, to take the reigns of power with a penis.

One of Sanders supporters who now actively supports Hillary, has recently admitted that his readiness to believe the hate campaign against Hillary was due to his own knee-jerk misogyny that, until now, he had failed to acknowledge, much less to confront. Because he respected some women, as left-wing men invariably do, he figured he wasn't a misogynist and that his distrust of and even hatred of Hillary, was just about her. She wasn't to be trusted, nothing to do with other women. She was being a bully, she wouldn't let the good guy on the computer. So she could justifiably be punched and got rid of, a fight that had nothing to do with her being a girl.

Unfortunately there are still so many others, men and women, who don't get that their distrust of Hillary and shared sympathies with that little boy in the book, etc, is the face of modern misogyny and the ongoing, never changes much, resistance to feminism and gender justice. Indeed it is a type of resistance that is potentially much more harmful than the Trumpet misogyny and online death threats to women who speak out against misogyny that is the far easier to take down misogyny of the right-ring.

So thanks, Michael Hulshoff-Schmidt, for admitting you were wrong about Hillary, and about feminism, and about yourself. If there are more like you who come out of the woodwork now, and in the future, to put pen to paper to own up to misogyny and admit that it is much more pervasive and pernicious than we think, then I might not need that second (fifth) vodka in the future. Cheers! Let's hope, for my husband's sake, that there are.

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