Tuesdays with Ana: On misogyny

Women and girls face unique challenges based on sexism, patriarchy, and flat-out misogyny. Long-time readers may remember that I began writing F/F for feminist and not sexuality-based reasons.

I try not to get too political because, honestly, I’m here to write/sell books and create a community of those who read my books. But every once in a while, the thoughtless sexist comments get to be too much and I climb onto my soapbox. This post received such a strong response yesterday on my Facebook that I am reposting it here. 

By the way, being a woman does not mean we are free from misogyny. Some of the worst insults and demeaning comments are issued from one woman to another. I hope you’ll consider how we talk and think about women, and commit to treating women with dignity. A woman should be more than her physical un/attractiveness or reproductive parts.

Women are physically attractive. Or not. Everyone has a different opinion.

Do we ask if a woman is intelligent?
Or do we call her uppity?

Do we ask if a woman has good leadership skills?
Or do we call her bossy?
Do we praise a woman for having the courage to make hard decisions for the sake of a group?
Or do we call her aggressive?

Do we ask if a woman is competent and good at her job?
Or do we call her pushy?

Do we ask if a woman has received mentorship and networking?
Or do we ask whether she is less committed to her job because she might marry and/or become pregnant?

Do we expect a woman to be capable?
Or do we hover, waiting for her to prove doubts correct?

Do we ask whether a woman advocates for reform, ethics, and changing the world?
Or do we complain that she isn’t “nice”?

Simply put, do we value women as complete human beings contributing to society in their own right?
Or do we reduce them, again and again, to merely a physical appearance and outward characteristics?

Fat.
Slut.
B*tch.
Ugly.
Lazy.
Old maid.
And all of the words for female reproductive parts that have been turned into insults.

A man is not an object of scorn, but his mother is.
What do we call a bad man? A son of a what? Right. Who is at fault? The woman who conceived and birthed him.

Bastard.
Same thing.

Comments that shame and demean women will not be tolerated in Ana’s world. Comments that reduce women to objects of straight and/or male sexual desire are also unwelcome.

Respect women in Ana’s World, or find another sandbox to play in.

Thank you.

(This post is in honor of every quilting granny, mentor, teacher, and woman who brought me to this place in my life. I love you and thank you.)

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21 thoughts on “Tuesdays with Ana: On misogyny

  1. ____ says:

    Is there really that much difference between when men are calling women these days and what men in Washington are calling each other? Is the root of the problem sexism or rudeness?

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Oh, sure. Rudeness, lack of civility, quickness to throw labels rather than stop and think. Of course that is an issue. That’s an entire blog post (or book!) in its own right. When did we lose the art of civil disagreements?

      However, here I am specifically addressing misogyny. 🙂

      Like

  2. renee200 says:

    Ana, you may not realize this but I am not supposed to be able to do the job I do because of my gender. In many places in the south (think Bible belt) women are not allowed to be leaders, especially over men. I heard it preached for years but just thought it was words until I started this job. Some men will not talk to me at all or they will email hubby (who is on the board but not hands on involved). I have as much if not more education than most of them (including hubby) but my gender disqualifies me to lead. Last year we had a male teacher and I got a lot of comments because of it. Not from the teacher but from other “adults” in the community. It can be very frustrating. I think I will stay in Ana’s world it’s nicer than the real world. It is a place of healing and love. Thank you for creating it. Blessings. R

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      At a certain point, women were not supposed to be able to do *any* job, so unfortunately it does not surprise me. I have heard of women not being allowed to *volunteer* in leadership positions!

      It is frustrating. Most of the time it’s better (for me) not to think about it because it causes so much disappointment, but once in a while it’s nice to acknowledge the struggles we face.

      It takes a lot to keep going! I am glad that you are. ❤

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      • awesomesub says:

        Hi Renee, hi Ana, maybe this leads slightly away from the main point, but Ana, since you wrote that women were not supposed to be able to do *any* job I couldn’t stop myself.
        This is one of the phrases that gets me started because it is just as unfair as what Renee experienced.
        Unless women of past times were married to rich men, women a l w a y s had to work hard and it seems this is somehow not acknowledged by many. I found this not acknowledging frustrating for the vast majority of women who heard this in their lives, as if working on the fields, caring for the children doing housework and then maybe also selling goods on the local market was no work. Today you need a formal job training for much of what women did throughout history. I do admit these are not like a CEO job, but definitely extremely hard work.

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  3. Lynn says:

    Misogyny is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

    We’ve come a long way from the Victorians thinking that women were inherently incapable of obtaining a degree. I have just finished an autobiography from one of the female pilots who flew for the ATA during WWII. Not only did she meet scepticism during the war but afterwards she had great difficulty getting a commercial flying job as she as told the public wouldn’t stand for a female pilot. It did make me laugh that on the one hand she was ignoring the sexism and flying anyway but on the other hand she was asking her husband’s permission to take the jobs.

    So we’ve moved on from then but for the last couple of decades we have seemed to be going backwards.

    I did my A-levels (age 17-18) in a boys’ school and went on to study engineering at uni so I was subject to far too many sexist/misogynist comments to count, but nothing like the hate and even sexual assault that young women in STEM seem to report now.

    The genderization of products such as kids toys and clothes seems to become more extreme each year. Pink nerf guns! Urgh seriously?

    I once had a ‘friend’ demand to know why on earth I had bought my 3yr old daughter a lego train set.
    ‘Why not?’ I said. ‘It’s great!’
    ‘Trains are for boys!’ she proclaimed.

    Like

    • bskies423 says:

      My 3yr old wants the “boys” toys. Who am I to deny her what makes her happy. She got a play bbq grill and a tea set for Christmas and was ecstatic. Now she wants ninja turtles and my little pony.

      Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      The thing about sexism is that the more a woman talks about it, the less she is taken seriously. That’s why I don’t try to bring it up too often. I want my words to be respected, not dismissed.

      At the same time, we do have women using some inappropriate comments such as, “I never got an A in college because I was a woman!” when we know full well the real reason is that she never did the work. We have to be careful when and how we speak.

      I miss the days Legos came as children’s toys, not pink for girls and fun stuff for boys.

      Like

      • Lynn says:

        Of course, but nobody is perfect. We all make thoughtless comments and everyone is unconsciously influenced by societal values, whether we want to be or not.

        I’m always thrown when people say Legos. In Europe Lego is plural.

        My teen and I had a discussion about pink the other day.

        It makes me laugh that people suggest girls are naturally drawn to pink as it is a ‘feminine’ colour. It is a mixture of red and white, and being red, the Victorians considered it too strong a colour for women and it was worn by men.

        We did wonder if it was just called pale red and didn’t have a special name, if it would be considered any differently?

        Like

  4. bskies423 says:

    I’m in a similar situation with work, we don’t have many women in leadership and those that are don’t get the respect they deserve by the men that have been there longer. So I agree with R, Ana’s world is a lot nicer then the real world. I love reading about it. Thank you for creating it.

    Like

  5. minellesbreath says:

    I agree that some words used can be very sexist. In the past woman’s omportant rolls were dismissed. Even now a woman who chooses to stay at home taking care of children and home with her partner may be dismissed.
    At the risk of offending…..
    However I see a great deal of reverse sexism in the media now a days. Often men and boys are portrayed as silly juvenile and stupid. We should stop belittling one another, embrace our differences and build one another up.

    Like

  6. catrouble says:

    Love this post Ana! Oh I could get on my soapbox and tell you lots of issues I’ve had to deal with as a woman but I will behave myself.

    My ex had a bad habit of calling me a bitch when he was angry at me. The first Christmas after the divorce, I opened a gift from my mother and peed my pants I was laughing so hard…the cookbook was titled “Any Bitch Can Cook” and Bitch stood for Babe In Total Control of Herself! So then whenever he called me that, I thanked him. *snicker*

    Oh and I still say “son of a biscuit eater” is so much better than “son of a bitch” which as you can now see…is actually a compliment! 😀

    Hugs and blessings…
    Cat

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Chickie says:

    Thus was great Ana! I think we’ve all dealt with this stuff and it’s not right!

    One of my businesses is a strongly make dominated field. We have customer/employees that demand to deal directly with the man in charge because I’m not capable of making correct decisions despite being an owner. A big part of our problem is that many of the people we work with are from areas of the world where their culture requires women to be subservient. They seem incapable of accepting I’m not just component but pretty darned good at what I do.

    What makes me laugh, after enough years of hearing this nonsense that I do find it funny now. If i have a strong opinion, it’s attributed to me being hormonal. It’s that time of the month. Clearly I’m pregnant. Must be hot flashes. Not getting any or not getting enough. Husband later says EXACTLY the same thing and it all suddenly makes sense. Thank goodness they have him and he’s smart enough to run the place!

    Like

  8. awesomesub says:

    Hi Ana, all the questions on how behaviour is judged differently in men and women show that too often women are not taken seriously. This is so frustrating and it can surely have serious drawbacks, e.g. in a professional environment when she doesn’t get the job although she is better qualified.
    Since I grew up with two sisters and parents who always taught tolerance and respect, these issues were not really what we felt within the family. I think our parents tried to teach us to be ourselves more than anything else. It has definitely worked. My younger sister works in a traditionally male dominated sort of job and is pretty successful because she simply loves what she does. 🙂

    Haha, the lego train made me laugh. We had that too, I got it for Christmas and we all loved it for years. There was nobody at home who would stop us from doing anything because it was ‘what only boys did’, or ‘girls cannot do that’. I think family is one of the primary places where prejudices and stereotypical thinking are reproduced and passed on from one generation to the next and sure we have our own peculiarities, but I am glad we were not taught that girls shouldn’t do this, or only boys do that.

    We were warned by our parents that these things would happen to us, sooner or later. Of course it did and still does, sometimes in the most unexpected moments. Sometimes from people you’d never expect it from, and sometimes from other women as well, which I do not really understand.

    So, I’d rather be in Ana’s world, where it is nice and where respect is mandatory… and where the wooden spoon deals with infractions. 😀

    hugs

    Nina

    Like

  9. Irishey says:

    Goodness! I come to visit and land right up my own alley!

    I agree with you, Ana. I also agree with Minelle. This is going both ways, and it is getting more and more vicious in the attacks and much more limiting to both sexes.

    I think groups of advocates for one “side” or the other have become so narrowly focused and radical. We should be able to advocate for ourselves and advance our qualifications and rights on any issue without lashing out at the “opposing” group.

    I’m going back into my hole now. I have far too much to do to allow myself to get up on my soapbox – I may never climb down!

    Hugs! It was great to stop in to visit you and everybody else.

    Like

    • catrouble says:

      Irishey!!!!! Where have you been woman?!? Been way too long since you stopped by to visit anyone. Feel free to climb on your soapbox over at my place if ya want. Hope everything is good with you and yours. Hugs and blessings…Cat

      Like

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