In 2015, Let’s Not Forget How Ugly Misogyny Is

A plaque dedicated to the victims of 1989’s Ecole Polytechnique massacre, Canada’s most violent act of misogyny. 25 years later, can we tell misogynists “enough?”

If the title didn’t tip you off, this piece is going to discuss misogyny and some of the generally awful things women have endured, particularly in the year gone by. This may be triggering for some readers. If you are among them, click here to watch a Powerpuff Girls cartoon instead. If you wish to read on, see you after the jump.

Misogyny in the news is sadly nothing new. From marital rape to “nice women don’t want the vote,” Joan of Arc to “Blurred Lines,” misogyny is probably the world’s oldest prejudice.

In 2014, however, we were forced to look misogyny in the face this year and, goodness, was that face ugly.

It was the face of Elliot Rodger, a young man who killed his roommates and shot up a sorority house because women wouldn’t give him the sex a “nice guy” like him was somehow entitled to. It was lucky he only killed six people.

It was the face of Jian Ghomeshi, charming but hollow, who, by his own best efforts, was outed as a sexist jerk who treated many of those around him (particularly women) as sub-human. Sexual assault allegations against him (four of which will be tested in criminal court this year) show a man who considered women’s bodies his playthings.

It was the face of the Nova Scotia Crown Attorney, not a single person but a whole office that didn’t see fit to charge Rehteah Parsons’s alleged rapists until after she killed herself, mainly because of her rape and its aftermath. Maintaining enforcement of a particularly pointless publication ban during and for a month after the trial didn’t help.

It was the (presumably Fawkes-mask clad) face of the trolls of Gamergate, who drowned whatever legitimate complaints the movement had (which were few if any) in a deluge of rape and death threats, doxxing, conspiracy theories, and more. This harassment seemed to be targeted overwhelmingly at the women, like Anita Sarkeesian and Felicia Day, who complained about sexism in gaming – nobody doxxed former NFL punter Chris Kluwe when he profanely called out the “movement.”

It was the face of Kluwe’s former opponent, Ray Rice, who beat his now-wife Janay unconscious in an elevator for no good reason. It was the face of a Baltimore Ravens organization who thought it was a good idea for Janay to apologize for her role in the incident at a press conference. It was the face of Roger Goddell, NFL commissioner and one of America’s most powerful men, who initially gave Rice a two game suspension, only raising it to a full season after TMZ released the elevator video from the night.

At year’s end, it was the surgical mask-clad face of Dalhousie University’s “Class of 2015 DDS Gentlemen,” bags of flesh who talked of their penises as tools to convert virgins and lesbians, who talked about which of their classmates they wanted to hate-fuck or sport-fuck, who as of this writing are still permitted to treat patients at the school’s dental clinic. It is also the face of Richard Florizone, Dalhousie president, whose response on behalf of the school seemed designed more to protect and comfort the university administration than the students, patients, and others discussed by the “gentlemen.”

There are sadly many more examples I could list here, from Boko Haram’s abduction of schoolgirls in Nigeria more casual, everyday sexism (like slut shaming), but I’ll leave it at this:

Our communities, our countries, our human race, cannot hope to reach its full potential if we allow most of our people be harassed out of their jobs or studies, assaulted in the most intimate way possible, or shamed or discarded because of what’s between their legs. That is a consequence of misogyny – it leaves us all poorer.

We may ignore it from time to time, either by not knowing better, an unwillingness to rock the boat, or some other reason. But as long as we can see it, as long as we can recognize it, we must fight it and we must defeat it.

Misogyny, hatred of women, is hatred of humanity. We need no haters here in 2015.

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