MISOGYNY – Is it a result of patriarchy? By Nouf Ajaji

Misogyny is the oldest prejudice in the world, it’s not just feelings of hate or superiority over women, but it’s also the disdain or disrespect of women.

We face it throughout our lives sometimes by family members, friends, colleagues, society or even women. Misogyny is present in everyday life; in healthcare, advertising, politics, music, entertainment and the wage gap. Where does this all stem from? A few studies that I have read suggests that It’s all derived from the patriarchal social system that we and our ancestors lived in.

Patriarchy can be defined as “any kind of group organization in which the male gender holds dominant power and determine what part females shall and shall not play.” The patriarchal formation was spread through religion, war, written history, and economics. Each subsequent sociological and economic development further divided the sexes and subjugated the female. Today every avenue of power is almost entirely controlled by men. Does that sound familiar?

Most misogynistic behavior is about hostility towards women who violate the patriarchal norms and expectations, who aren’t serving male interests in the ways they’re expected to. So, there’s this sense that women are doing something wrong: that they’re morally objectionable or have a bad attitude or they’re abrasive or shrill or too pushy. But women only appear that way because we are expected to be otherwise, we are expected to be passive.

This reminded me of my friend’s story who had to move her life to the USA to support her husband in pursuing his dream and career for 6 years, moving her whole life away from her family, her friends and from what she was familiar with to the unknown. She was always passionate about art and acting but she had to put that on pause for her husband and son and until she returned to her home. When she got back she decided to apply to an institute where she had to spend just a few months away.

With all her excitement, she told her family expecting them to be happy and supportive. Instead, she was judged and faced with so much negativity from them, telling her that she is being selfish for leaving her family for a few months. She was telling me all of this while being devastated and broken. Hence, it made me wonder, why is it when women want to pursue their career and achieve their dreams they are being put down with all this negative talk. Why is my friend considered less of a woman for doing so? Why is it when men want to pursue their careers however long that takes, women must be supportive. Why aren’t they considered bad fathers or husbands when they do so?

Her family then answered all her questions by the infamous line that we hear all our lives “He is a man and he can do what he wants, it is not his role to take care of the family its yours.”

Yes, at this day and age we still have people that think this way. People that think men are supposed to be the breadwinners and women are primarily the caregivers.

As women, I wonder why do we allow this to happen and why don’t we stand up for our right to be treated equally and be seen as equals. But then the answer hit me hard – It’s because we were raised and conditioned to believe that there is a difference between men and women, in some cases we were made to feel that they are better and far more superior.

To all women out there and to my strong friend who endured hardship to support her family, I tell them:

It’s time for us to show them what we are made of, how strong and resilient we are. You all have struggled in your lives with judgements and misogyny that only proves that women have an amazing inner strength.

Use adversity to your advantage. At the end of a struggle, you’re a better, more valuable person. Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.

Dare to struggle today so you can win tomorrow and never ever give up!

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