We explain what misogyny is, how it differs from machismo and what its history is like. In addition, we tell you what are its causes.

Misogyny assigns women a passive, subordinate, secondary and subservient role.

What is misogyny?

misogyny It is the feeling of contempt, distrust or hatred towards women, which is manifested in very different behaviors, which can range from denigration and rejection, to sexual violence and gender violence. People who incur this feeling are called misogynist either misogynist.

The term “misogyny” comes from the Greek words misein (“hate”) and gyné (“woman”), and originated in Ancient Greece, around the 4th century BC. C. Misogyny in classical Antiquity was represented in comedy and tragedy, and was considered a disease in the V century AD. C., whose main symptom was the inability of a man to obtain sexual enjoyment with a woman.

can be considered misogynistic any attitude or reasoning that attributes traits of inferiority to women or that associates the feminine with a passive, subordinate, secondary role and submission to the masculine will. This applies both in work, academic and professional areas as well as interpersonal and sexual ones.

See also: Patriarchal society

history of misogyny

Although it is not easy to pinpoint a starting point for the history of misogyny, some scholars surmise its beginnings in remote prehistory, before the Neolithic Revolution, at some point when a primitive matriarchal order was overthrown by patriarchy and the law of men. However, there is little concrete evidence in this regard and the issue is subject to debate.

You may be interested:  Third Sector

In any casemisogynist attitudes were very common in ancient cultures, even in those of great cultural development, such as Ancient Greece. At the time women were not legal citizens, but second-class citizens, and were often distributed along with the spoils of war to serve as slaves or forced mistresses. In fact, according to many ancient philosophers, love was a feeling that reached its intensity only between men, and the role of the woman was merely to produce offspring.

In other cultures, prejudice against women was even worse, as in the Hebrew tradition, whose founding story, Genesis, attributes to the first woman the loss of the earthly paradise and the punishment of the human being with death.

In the religious scriptures of Judaism (and in its Christian heirs) reference is often made to the due obedience of the woman to her husband and other traits of marked female submission, also present in Islam. In this last religion the subjugation of women can still be verified, in fundamentalist nations that require women to cover their bodies or suffer penalties of physical punishment and social rejection.

The normalization of misogyny was harshly combated in the modern West by feminist movements, who vindicated the role of women in society and their right to have power over their bodies, their political opinions and to aspire to the same rewards as men. Thanks to these movements, great advances were made over time, such as the women’s vote between the 19th and 20th centuries, or the visibility of the so-called “glass ceiling” that prevents the promotion of women to managerial positions in companies in the contemporary world of work.

You may be interested:  What is the Civil Society

Causes of misogyny

Misogyny can have very different causes, since in some individual cases it can be due to the person’s inability to overcome a trauma or some experience that has left him with an open or hidden aversion towards women.

But, in general, misogyny It is the result of a long cultural tradition of macho domination, as many cultural scholars have pointed out. This cultural heritage can justify patriarchy through religious mandates, supposed evolutionary traits of the species, or any other discourse that allows female subalternity to be naturalized or normalized.

Examples of misogyny

Examples of misogyny or misogynistic attitudes are:

  • The idea that women are more fragile and emotional than men, and therefore cannot occupy roles that require a logical and rational mentality.
  • Discrimination against a woman for a job position to grant it to a man, either for ideological reasons or for economic convenience of the company (not wanting to cover costs during maternity leave).
  • The idea that reproductive responsibility corresponds exclusively to women and that the man should not take charge of the unwanted pregnancies that he causes.
  • The fictional and erotic representation (pornography) of the woman as a disposable sexual objectsubmitted to the satisfaction of male desire, and not as a partner in a sexual act that should be mutually satisfying.
  • The refusal to address issues of interest to women and the female world for considering it “banal” or “superficial”.
  • The obligation imposed on women from fundamentalist countries to cover their hair, face or entire body, under pain of punishment.
  • The removal in religious fundamentalist countries of voting rightsproperty ownership and the free circulation of women, to whom a “representative” is assigned (her husband, her father or her brother).
You may be interested:  Meaning of Constitution

Difference between machismo and misogyny

Although machismo and misogyny have many common ground, since they are attitudes and logic that privilege men over women, they are not necessarily the same. Machismo is the tendency to privilege men over women in different circumstances of life, while misogyny is a rejection and devaluation of women. for the simple fact of being a woman.

This difference can be summarized as follows:

  • Machismo is a fairly widespread cultural trend, while misogyny tends to be an individual matter.
  • Machismo can assume “kind” forms, which infantilize women by trying to protect or treat them in a special way. Misogyny, on the other hand, is a form of aversion, that is, hate, which rarely takes more discreet forms.
  • In general, machismo is considered a phenomenon of lesser degree or less intensity than misogyny.

More in: Machismo

internalized misogyny

There is talk of internalized misogyny to refer to the misogynistic attitudes and actions committed by women themselves, either against others or against themselves. Internalized misogyny is one that is not easily identifiable on the surface, but that deep inside, continues to act, sometimes at an unconscious level, and that can lead women to accept mistreatment or reproduce macho patterns, because despite their gender suffer from an ingrained and unconscious contempt for the feminine.

Continue with: Gender equality


  • “Misogyny” on Wikipedia.
  • “Etymology of Misogyny” in the Online Spanish Etymological Dictionary.
  • “Misogyny” in the Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Doubts of the Royal Spanish Academy.
  • “Misogyny” in the Glossary for equality of the Government of Mexico.
  • “What does misogyny look like?” by Nina Renata Aron in The New York Times in Spanish.