The cost of misogyny

May 28, 2014, 10:20 PM |

Misogyny - n. 1. hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women, 1650, from Modern Latin misogynia, from Greek misogynia, from misogynes "woman-hater," from miso- "hater" + gyne "woman"

This past week, in Santa Barbara, California (not too far away from me), an angry, probably mentally ill young man drove through the streets near the University and randomly tried to kill people, succeeding six times.

I should not say "randomly," because his YouTube videos and "Manifesto" clearly indicate his hatred of women.  Though some of his victims were male (including his college roommates), his primary targets were the young women who apparently made him murderously miserable by ignoring him.  The creep's name was Elliot Roger.

Don't blame the guns. They were just the tools he used.

Don't blame the victims.  Most of them had never encountered him before.

Where does the blame lay?  Mostly with Elliot.  Those around him tried to get him help, but he lied and schemed.  He is responsible for his actions, and it is a very sad thing his last shot was not his first shot. 

And some of the blame must lie with a society the tolerates, and even encourages, men who hate, harass, and abuse women.  You may not think that is true, but from my perspective of over 50 years - through a period when women broke through glass ceilings and attempted to claim their equal and mutual standing with men - women are still treated as second-class citizens.  And the misogynistic undertones are ugly.

Civil rights laws enacted in the 1960s did not really turn racists away from racism, rather it marginalized and stigmatized them.  And it allowed for new generations to be raised in an environment when one would "not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

I don't want to be judged by the secondary sex characteristics of my body.  I am more than my genitals, organs, and hormones.  It was Rene Decartes who wrote, "Cogito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am).  I am a rational being.  I don't deserve abuse for my sex, gender, or presentation.  Neither does any other woman.  Or any other man, for that matter!

We tolerate misogyny here.  It may not be obvious, but it is there. It adversely affects people who might otherwise contribute.  Because of that, we all lose. And it is disheartening, because this community should be focused on the art form that brings us together.

Maybe in another generation.