I am guilty. I am a misogynist.

Misogyny, if you remember from my last post, literally translated means ‘hatred of women‘.  Yes, I am a woman and I am guilty of participating in misogyny.   You might want to read that last part again.

There are various forms of misogyny and this post will show you how I have participated in it.

Firstly, some background.  Both my grandmothers were strong women who survived World War II without their husbands giving them the support they needed to bring up a family.  One grandfather was away at war, and the other was too sick to even go to war.  My grandmothers had to learn how to be both mother and father to their children.  It was a case of needing to.  Yet this meant that they became strong, independent women, who literally ruled the roost.  When their husbands ‘returned’ my grandmothers were reluctant, or maybe unable, to relinquish roles that they had inevitably taken on.  These women dominated family life and the men in the family were either passive as a result, or found it difficult to be men.  Their children, my parents, were influenced as a result.

My father, and his brothers, were seriously mothered.  My own mother followed her mother into work and had to nurse her own father during long periods of illness.  She didn’t really have a childhood.

Then there was me.  As you can see, I come from a long line of very strong women and without realising it, I reacted against them.  I was initially attracted to this strength but then, unconsciously, turned against it.  I remember as a child that people would often make reference to me as “being so like your mother”, “you sound so much like your mother”, “that’s what your mother does”.  I was a young woman who wanted to make her own mark and these comments went deep in me and I fought against them.  I loved my mother but heard myself saying “I want to be like my father”.  For me, the feminine aspects of life were not always a positive experience.

  • I began to take an interest in, and loved, my father’s hobbies; photography and aeroplanes.
  • I saw my brother being allowed freedoms that were not being given to me and I began to resent being a woman.
  • I didn’t choose the ‘family’ line of work – nursing.  Instead I went for a more masculine job – the Police Force.
  •  I preferred being called Kate instead of Catherine, a shorter and perhaps more masculine name. (My paternal grandmother was insistent that I should be called by my birth name and would make a real song and dance about it if she heard me being called anything different)
  • I became a strong woman – HOW IRONIC!!!!! And ended up marrying a ‘passive’ husband which meant that I could do more male things because my husband couldn’t.
  • To achieve in the workplace I would ‘compete’ with the men in order to get their recognition and vie for attention.  I didn’t really do this with my female colleagues as I thought they weren’t worth the effort.
  • My choice of clothes became more masculine; shirt, jacket and trousers – both in and out of work.

I turned my back on the feminine within me preferring to do ‘manly’ things.  I aligned myself to the masculine and succumbed to misogyny.  I actually became just like my grandmothers, exactly what I didn’t want to become.

Now you may think that this is all innocuous stuff, that these aren’t really worth worrying about and they don’t really constitute me ‘hating’ women.  No, I wasn’t guilty of full-blown hatred of women and all that comes to mind when we think that way:

  • seeing women as slaves,
  • as second-class citizens,
  • as property,
  • only being good enough for bringing up the children, and doing caring work such as nursing
  • of calling women derogatory names such as “the trout”, “the other half”, “the woman indoors”.
  • a punch bag
  • You can add your own other points here…….

However, my actions were dishonouring to women in many ways and that, too, is misogyny.  Everytime I devalued the strengths of being a woman, of being feminine, then I dishonoured women.   Everytime I allowed men to call their wives derogatory names, and laughed with them, I was being misogynistic.  In wanting to be more masculine, I was turning my back on the feminine and being misogynistic.

In the last seven years I have changed and I am loving the feminine again.  I wear more feminine clothes although I realise that being feminine is not all about what you wear.  I am  allowing people to call me by my birth name, Catherine.  That takes some getting used to.   I am able to challenge close male friends when they dishonour their wives with their words.  These are all small changes in me but they are having a ripple effect in my life and how I treat women. As for my husband, he’s changed too.  He is more assertive and is taking leadership in areas that he would have easily left to me.

I now accept my masculine attributes in me, but I no longer let them dominate like they used to.

So where have you allowed yourself to fall into misogyny?

What parts of my story do you see in your life?

What acts do recognise in yourself that are misogynistic?

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About katehobbs

Mother to two who are now independant and living away from home. Wife to Steve, for the last 26yrs and looking forward to many more years. I have enjoyed 18 months in the Okanagan, something that I have longed to have the opportunity to do for a while. Living a dream, you could say. Now, I am interning with Living Waters Canada based in Vancouver until end of April 2013. I love to grow my own food - it tastes so much better. I also build up, train and encourage others to achieve more than they thought possible.
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23 Responses to I am guilty. I am a misogynist.

  1. Strong post, KateCatherine! 🙂

  2. Sonel says:

    Interesting post and well written Kate and well, as usual I started writing and it ended up in a book (which I deleted), so all I am going to tell you is that I am a Taurean and what my starsign says about me is true.
    http://www.iloveindia.com/astrology/sun-signs/taurus/woman.html
    So, I have no idea how you would classify that. LOL! And as usual your posts tend to awaken thoughts and feelings and before I can help myself I started writing another book again! Not fair! hehehehe. I am leaving now. 🙂
    *hugs*

    • katehobbs says:

      Hi Sonel
      Whatever this post kicked off in you I hope you are able to healthily process it. I really appreciate your comments and your online friendship.
      Kate

      • Sonel says:

        Oh sweetie, life is a process on its own and I am always having so much fun on your blog, reading your posts, relating to you in most and funny you should call it a “healthy process” because as I read your posts and some memories comes flooding through, especially the bad ones, I realise it doesn’t really matter anymore and that I can even laugh or smile about it. Sometimes we think too much and we take ourselves too seriously. I can see that writing about your thoughts and feelings are indeed a healthy process for you and it’s great. Thanks for sharing. 🙂 *hugs*

  3. well that caused me to think…I don’t know if it counts, but I have always seen myself as a “tomboy” i didn’t like barbies like other girls, i would rather be climbing a tree or playing a rough house game of sorts, i preffered to hang out with males, still lean that way in all these areas, i don’t wear realy “girly” clothes, although i like jewlery and a little bling…dresses, skirts, heels, make ick! does that describe it? i don’t know

    • katehobbs says:

      As I have been reading your blog (and conversations) I can understand why you might lean towards male company perhaps because of your mother issues, and because female might mean weakness to you. It’s only a thought. I’m also sure that there is a hatred of men there too and I will be covering that in a blog or two.
      Know that you are on the healing path and that you have come a long way.
      Kate.

  4. MindMindful says:

    When I was a youngster, I too recognized that the men in the family were “better” — they had more freedom, didn’t have to work around the house AND full time, didn’t have to mess with the kids very much, got to go off to play sports or hunt, PLUS got to be the Decision Maker. And, I wanted to be a man! Which I thought meant I had to reject all things female, & I did, for a long time. But — in my ancient divine female wisdom, I came to my senses & don’t “Hate” us anymore:)

    • katehobbs says:

      Sometimes it takes us a long time to get to that point of acceptance. I still struggle sometimes with accepting myself, but I am so much better than I was.
      Thank you for commenting here.
      Kate.

  5. Freedomborn says:

    Hi Kate what a beautiful honest woman you are and I Love you in the Lord and yes I also was a strong woman in the flesh, I felt I had to be but it also caused problems for many years but my Strengh is in the Lord now as yours is.

    I will leave a link for you to thank you for being the Godly, Loving, kind, gentle, woman you are.

    Blog post – http://alifeofhopeandjoy.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/beautiful-woman-of-strength/

    Christian Love Anne

    • katehobbs says:

      Thank you Anne. This is part of the journey that I have been on of late, and there is still a way to go. I love that I can now embrace the masculine and feminine in me. Well, I am made in His image – both male and female.
      Kate.

      • Freedomborn says:

        Hi Kate as you say we are Learning and as we Trust our only Teacher Jesus Christ having asked for God’s wisdom, He will lead us into all Truth through the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

        As woman we are indeed the weaker vessel having been made from man and so it is why Men are to be in Authority, this is for our protection, it is not a put down, our feminie qualities are very much needed, just as much as man’s Masculine strengths are and we do have these too as they do but they are expressed in differant ways, when they are crossed over confusion and sin enter in .

        God does have the qualities of both but He is in Authority as Father not a Mother and as The Godhead Jesus and The Holy Spirit are also male but God has the nurturing and companionship qualities that are a strength in woman, His creation has His blueprint, but woman are not to be in a position of Authority over men and men are not to place themselves in this position but woman can share God’s Truth, correct error and rebuke and warn within their God given role and it is within this role that they will find true peace and fulfilment. the same as men in their God given role of Leadership.

        Christian Love Anne.

  6. fiztrainer says:

    First of all, I want to thank you for sharing such poignant and personal truths. It is so courageous to share our personal journeys through different difficult struggles. For that, I applaud you. I don’t think I have ever personally struggled with this, but I would (if you would allow) like to comment. My husband and I pastored a church for 10 years and one of the most common things people came for counseling for was in this area although I never would have labeled it as this until I read this post … dominant, strong women “haters” paired up with passive, uninvolved husbands. From looking at the background of most of these younger women of today, they had no father figures. Their moms ran the house, raised the children, worked full-time jobs … well, they filled both male/female roles. Somewhere an anger enters in I suppose. Although this is a little different than the scenario you describe, there was something so resoundingly similar. I think you hit the answer on the head. Accepting who we are as women doesn’t mean we’re not strong and capable. We can embrace that side of ourselves without flushing out our femininity. Once those women we would counsel could grasp this, most were able to give their husbands the ability to be strong men which took the pressure off them to be the “men”. This didn’t mean they all the sudden became weak, but they began to embrace their femininity which made them more vulnerable which made their husbands more protective and loving, etc., etc. A huge domino effect would take place. This was such an interesting post. I have to really ponder this more. Thank you so much for sharing this. 😀

    • katehobbs says:

      Like you, Steve and I have been working with people who have participated in, and been victims of, mysogyny. We use a programme called “Living Waters”, and have participated in programmes in the UK and Canada. It comes from “Desert Streams” in the USA.
      I agree that with so many broken families now, children are being brought up fatherless. As much as mothers try to hold things together, it is incredibly difficult to be both mother and father. One role is bad enough.
      I am so glad you have had the joy of watching relationships change. It is so exciting to watch this kind of restoration.
      Thank you for your input.

      • fiztrainer says:

        LIVING WATERS?? I’m very familiar with Living Waters. I know many people who have taken part in the programs in Canada and in the Deserts Streams here in the US … and all of them can’t say enough about it. WOW. That’s so awesome. 😀

      • katehobbs says:

        We are hoping to go on a LW course this July in Calgary and then do an internship from Sept onwards in Vancouver. I will be outside my comfort zone in doing this.
        Kate

      • fiztrainer says:

        You will be WONDERFUL … and I’m really not just saying that. You are so obviously well prepared for this and I know that from reading what you write and from the fact that you are so wonderfully transparent and down to earth. I will be praying for you. 😀

  7. jakesprinter says:

    Great work you have here Kate 🙂

  8. Madhu says:

    Thought provoking Kate!

  9. Pingback: Processing – Family – Parents | katehobbs

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