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Misogyny Isn't Caused by Male Horniness

Kilgore Trout

Misanthropic Humanist
I've known several gay men that were among the most misogynystic people I've ever known, so on that alone, I find Wong's idea faulty. Speaking more broadly on the point, misogyny always seemed to me to fall into a class of attitude and behaviors characterized by a desire to control and/or frustration at not being able to exert that control. And, I find that a desire to control generally stems from a deeper fear or insecurity.

I don't think misogyny is about sex at all, and only incidentally about gender. In other words, I find misogyny to generally be one symptom of a larger and broader psychological pathology. People who are highly misogynystic also seem to tend to have negative and condescending views about just about every other identifiable group as well. At the root, I'd say such behavior patterns are generally the result of intense insecurity combined with significant narcissism.
 

Quintessence

Consults with Trees
Staff member
Premium Member
You know, I have to say, that if I were to come up with a list of causes for misogyny, "male horniness" wouldn't have even made my list. That doesn't make any sense to me from the gate, so I'm a little confused about the logic behind such an assertion. Reading through the quotes supplied from the chap who made this argument just makes me more confused and I'm still not seeing how that was a sensible idea in the first place.

Hatred of various groups is, and probably always will be, about self-preservation (or the preservation of your "in-group") and, it manifests as a desire to control. We hate the things that are a threat to our survival or our way of life and strive to keep them in check so they can't do harm to us (or inconvenience us as the case may be). Hate may be too strong of a word in some cases; sometimes it's just a staring down one's nose at the "other."

But horniness? Really? That's just silly.
 

Sunstone

De Diablo Del Fora
Premium Member
I'm under the impression that, at its core, misogyny is usually about controlling women's reproductive choices.
 

Quintessence

Consults with Trees
Staff member
Premium Member
I don't know about that. I'd say it's about controlling choices in general, whether it's lifestyle, career, or children. I think that today, though, in my country, the facet of preoccupation is typically reproductive liberties because control of other facets of a woman's life is no longer allowed and few would argue for a return to the days of restricting a woman's lifestyle or career choices.
 

technomage

Finding my own way
I'm under the impression that, at its core, misogyny is usually about controlling women's reproductive choices.
I would call that a symptom, not a cause.

As Kilgore notes, mysogyny is just one category of "Why won't they obey be?" It's a reaction to not being able to have power-over the intended target.
 

Sunstone

De Diablo Del Fora
Premium Member
I would call that a symptom, not a cause.

As Kilgore notes, mysogyny is just one category of "Why won't they obey be?" It's a reaction to not being able to have power-over the intended target.

Well, I think your and Kilgore's position is brilliantly insightful, but I also think that the deepest root of all is the desire to control reproductive choice. That is, I differ from your analysis in thinking that the effort to control women is usually -- albeit not always -- rooted in a desire to control reproductive choice, and that desire manifests itself in various ways.
 

technomage

Finding my own way
Well, I think your and Kilgore's position is brilliantly insightful, but I also think that the deepest root of all is the desire to control reproductive choice.
I can neither agree nor disagree with your position ... precisely because there is no evidence even possible for the assertion. "Deepest root" is, unfortunately, semantically null. It doesn't mean anything beyond your views of how important you consider it. We have no method of quantifying motive. We have no measuring stick, nor any unit of measurement, to even begin to make such an assessment. We cannot say "This motive for misogyny is 3 widgets deep, and that motive is four widgets deep, therefore that motive is a 'deeper root.'"

However, there are problems with your view. Misogyny extends into areas beyond reproductive choice, and affects those who cannot reproduce. The elderly--those past child-bearing age--experience mysogyny, as do children who are too young to bear children.

Don't get me wrong. I agree that controlling (or attempting to control) reproductive choice is intermixed with misogyny ... but considering the whole picture, I think it may be possible you're looking at one particular symptom and considering it to be the root cause.
 

Sunstone

De Diablo Del Fora
Premium Member
Don't get me wrong. I agree that controlling (or attempting to control) reproductive choice is intermixed with misogyny ... but considering the whole picture, I think it may be possible you're looking at one particular symptom and considering it to be the root cause.

Perhaps, but I stand by my impression that it is indeed the root cause. I reason that the more you can make women in every way dependent on men, you can more easily control their reproductive choices. Thus, if controlling their reproductive choices is your goal, you will seek to make women dependent on men even in ways that are not necessarily obviously linked to controlling their reproductive choices, among other things. But of course, I could be wrong.

By the way, it is laughable to criticize my use of the phrase "root cause" on the irrelevant grounds that I haven't quantified the "depth" of the cause. I hope you can see that upon further reflection.
 
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Saint Frankenstein

Here for the ride
Premium Member
That Wong guy just sounds like he's desperately trying to rationalize his and some other guy's own douchebaggery by trying to claim that it's inherent part of being a male. That trope that civilization only exists because hetero men want to impress women infuriates me.
 

technomage

Finding my own way
Perhaps, but I stand by my impression that it is indeed the root cause.

That sounds like an intuition-based insight, and while my intuition is usually pretty weak, I've learned not to argue with those with a strong intuition.

By the way, it is laughable to criticize my use of the phrase "root cause" on the irrelevant grounds that I haven't quantified the "depth" of the cause. I hope you can see that upon further reflection.
I didn't--my argument was against the word "deepest." :)
 

Sunstone

De Diablo Del Fora
Premium Member
That sounds like an intuition-based insight, and while my intuition is usually pretty weak, I've learned not to argue with those with a strong intuition.

I edited my comment to explain a bit of my reasoning, although not all of it.


I didn't--my argument was against the word "deepest." :)
I see. My apologies if I have misunderstood you. However, all I was trying to convey was that the most frequent cause of misogyny seems to me to be a desire to control women's reproductive choices. I admit that there might be other causes too, but I don't think they are nearly so frequent.
 

Kilgore Trout

Misanthropic Humanist
Well, I think your and Kilgore's position is brilliantly insightful, but I also think that the deepest root of all is the desire to control reproductive choice. That is, I differ from your analysis in thinking that the effort to control women is usually -- albeit not always -- rooted in a desire to control reproductive choice, and that desire manifests itself in various ways.

I'm wondering whether you're referring to misogyny as an individual attitude, or a social attitude. I can see the argument that misogyny, in a broad social sense, can be based on controlling female reproduction. However, I have a hard time wrapping my head around this being a "root cause" for an individual person.

If I think about the psychological attributes and environmental dynamics which result in a man developing misogynystic attitudes and behaviors, it doesn't strike me that the primary thoughts of this man would be specifically "I want to control her reproductive choices." It may be rooted in the unrealistic desire to be able to have sex with whomever he chooses, and reacting against that not happening (which leads to hurt, blame, resentment, and antagonism). But, that's more a matter of wanting to control a woman as a sexual resource, rather than broadly controlling their reproductive choices. I don't think the conscious thought of controlling a woman's reproductive choices correlates with a strongly emotionally reactive attitude such as misogyny.

Now, I also may be unclear on what you mean by "controlling reproductive choices."
 

Sunstone

De Diablo Del Fora
Premium Member
I'm wondering whether you're referring to misogyny as an individual attitude, or a social attitude. I can see the argument that misogyny, in a broad social sense, can be based on controlling female reproduction. However, I have a hard time wrapping my head around this being a "root cause" for an individual person.

If I think about the psychological attributes and environmental dynamics which result in a man developing misogynystic attitudes and behaviors, it doesn't strike me that the primary thoughts of this man would be specifically "I want to control her reproductive choices." It may be rooted in the unrealistic desire to be able to have sex with whomever he chooses, and reacting against that not happening (which leads to hurt, blame, resentment, and antagonism). But, that's more a matter of wanting to control a woman as a sexual resource, rather than broadly controlling their reproductive choices. I don't think the conscious thought of controlling a woman's reproductive choices correlates with a strongly emotionally reactive attitude such as misogyny.

Now, I also may be unclear on what you mean by "controlling reproductive choices."

That's a good point. Actually, I'm kind of fuzzy on that issue. I have a tentatively-held idea that a desire to control women might have origins in evolution. Those individuals who sought and achieved more control over their social environment -- including the women in them -- reproduced at a more successful rate than those who both didn't and lacked other traits that allowed them to compensate for not controlling their social environment. I only tentatively hold to that view, though. It's quite speculative.

At any rate, I don't see a desire to control women's reproductive choices as a necessarily conscious decision. I see it as more of an instinctual thing. And maybe my position would be better expressed as "a desire to control women's sexuality". For I don't mean by "reproductive choices" just the narrow sense of who a woman choose to mate with. I mean it much more broadly. To me, controlling a woman's reproductive choices can involve anything from controlling who she is allowed to see or meet, to whether she has freedom of movement. After all, a woman who is only allowed to meet men deemed suitable for her is having her own choices controlled for her. And a woman whose movements are constrained has limited opportunity to meet men not pre-selected for her.

I hope that helps, but -- as I said -- I haven't entirely clarified my thinking on this issue. For instance, I haven't got a clear answer to your point about the difference between looking at this issue in social or individual terms.
 

technomage

Finding my own way
I have a tentatively-held idea that a desire to control women might have origins in evolution. Those individuals who sought and achieved more control over their social environment -- including the women in them -- reproduced at a more successful rate than those who both didn't and lacked other traits that allowed them to compensate for not controlling their social environment.

Hmmm ... I can see that, but I also see some problems with it--first and foremost being misogyny _seems_ to be learned, not instinctive. However, I have to use anecdotal evidence for that "_seems_ to be learned," as I don't think I've ever seen a study on it.
 

Kilgore Trout

Misanthropic Humanist
That's a good point. Actually, I'm kind of fuzzy on that issue. I have a tentatively-held idea that a desire to control women might have origins in evolution. Those individuals who sought and achieved more control over their social environment -- including the women in them -- reproduced at a more successful rate than those who both didn't and lacked other traits that allowed them to compensate for not controlling their social environment. I only tentatively hold to that view, though. It's quite speculative.

At any rate, I don't see a desire to control women's reproductive choices as a necessarily conscious decision. I see it as more of an instinctual thing. And maybe my position would be better expressed as "a desire to control women's sexuality". For I don't mean by "reproductive choices" just the narrow sense of who a woman choose to mate with. I mean it much more broadly. To me, controlling a woman's reproductive choices can involve anything from controlling who she is allowed to see or meet, to whether she has freedom of movement. After all, a woman who is only allowed to meet men deemed suitable for her is having her own choices controlled for her. And a woman whose movements are constrained has limited opportunity to meet men not pre-selected for her.

I hope that helps, but -- as I said -- I haven't entirely clarified my thinking on this issue. For instance, I haven't got a clear answer to your point about the difference between looking at this issue in social or individual terms.

That absolutely helps to clarify it. By restating it as a more broad, and arguably instinctual, drive to control women's sexuality, I can understand and agree and much more now than how it was previously framed.

I think this is an excellent point, and it's hard to say whether it is mostly or always the root cause. However, I think it's safe to say that it is probably nearly always an element present in misogynystic attitudes and behaviors, and certainly seems to be among the most transparent attitudes when it comes to those who are misogynystic.

I also think there may be an argument to be made that misogynystic attitudes may tend to start off in those who are younger that are primarily rooted in controlling sexuality, but other factors and attitudes may become more prominent as one ages, and the immediacy, impact, and importance of sexulity diminishes.

Also, a lifetime of confirmation bias in terms of anti-women observations, could lead to a much more complex and broad misogynystic profile of women. So, although the misogyny of a man in his 20's might be almost completely rooted in controlling women's sexuality, the misogyny of a man in his 80's might be a broader compendium of anti-women elements that he has created and reinforced over a lifetime, and controlling women's sexuality might no longer be a particularly relevant piece of that picture.
 

Quintessence

Consults with Trees
Staff member
Premium Member
At any rate, I don't see a desire to control women's reproductive choices as a necessarily conscious decision. I see it as more of an instinctual thing. And maybe my position would be better expressed as "a desire to control women's sexuality". For I don't mean by "reproductive choices" just the narrow sense of who a woman choose to mate with. I mean it much more broadly. To me, controlling a woman's reproductive choices can involve anything from controlling who she is allowed to see or meet, to whether she has freedom of movement. After all, a woman who is only allowed to meet men deemed suitable for her is having her own choices controlled for her. And a woman whose movements are constrained has limited opportunity to meet men not pre-selected for her.

Ah, that clarifies a few things.

I still disagree with a vision that supposes everything is about reproduction, though. I do not believe that cultures hinge the worth of an entire human being (male or female) on fertility, and making this the central axis around which all misogyny is judged puts far too much emphasis on a single possible contribution a human can make to a society. I won't deny that fertility has historically been (and still is in many parts of the world) one of the important ways in which humans assess the value of other humans, but making everything about reproduction doesn't strike me as correct.
 

Sunstone

De Diablo Del Fora
Premium Member
Hmmm ... I can see that, but I also see some problems with it--first and foremost being misogyny _seems_ to be learned, not instinctive. However, I have to use anecdotal evidence for that "_seems_ to be learned," as I don't think I've ever seen a study on it.

Certainly, quite a bit of it seems to be learned. But perhaps not all of it is learned. It would be interesting to know if there was a kind of core misogyny that crossed societal and cultural boundaries.
 

Sunstone

De Diablo Del Fora
Premium Member
Ah, that clarifies a few things.

I still disagree with a vision that supposes everything is about reproduction, though. I do not believe that cultures hinge the worth of an entire human being (male or female) on fertility, and making this the central axis around which all misogyny is judged puts far too much emphasis on a single possible contribution a human can make to a society. I won't deny that fertility has historically been (and still is in many parts of the world) one of the important ways in which humans assess the value of other humans, but making everything about reproduction doesn't strike me as correct.

I'm merely contending that it's usually, at root, about limiting reproductive choices. But "usually" does not, in my understanding of the word, mean "always".
 

Sunstone

De Diablo Del Fora
Premium Member
I also think there may be an argument to be made that misogynystic attitudes may tend to start off in those who are younger that are primarily rooted in controlling sexuality, but other factors and attitudes may become more prominent as one ages, and the immediacy, impact, and importance of sexulity diminishes.

Also, a lifetime of confirmation bias in terms of anti-women observations, could lead to a much more complex and broad misogynystic profile of women. So, although the misogyny of a man in his 20's might be almost completely rooted in controlling women's sexuality, the misogyny of a man in his 80's might be a broader compendium of anti-women elements that he has created and reinforced over a lifetime, and controlling women's sexuality might no longer be a particularly relevant piece of that picture.

That strikes me as a valuable insight. I can easily see how it could work out that way. In fact, if a twenty-something continued to be a misogynist through out his life, I would be surprised if confirmation bias and perhaps other factors didn't lead him to broaden out his grievances.
 
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