An Overview Of Misogyny

By Joanna Smykowski

Updated October 21, 2019

Reviewer Patricia Corlew , LMFT, LPC,

Misogyny is defined as the "dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women." According to an article in The Economist, misogyny is becoming increasingly more prevalent in society, and often presents itself in the forms of marginalizing femininity, degrading women, objecting women, subjecting women to violence, and other heinous treatments. There are many thoughts, beliefs, and studies conducted into misogyny.

For decades, different cultures have attempted to understand the roots of misogyny. And before we can have an epiphany on how to combat this dangerous mindset, we need to understand where it originated.


A Thorough Review Of Misogyny

While the overall definition of misogyny is standard, there are varied opinions on the intentions of misogynists. An article from Psychology Today purports that misogynists aim to control women, suppress their opportunities, brainwash them, and inform them as to what behaviors are acceptable or not. Many misogynistic individuals have no qualms about resorting to threats or violence as a means of achieving the objectives above.

Do Misogynists Hate All Women Or Certain Women?

Despite the definition of misogyny, there are ongoing debates regarding whether misogynists genuinely hate all women or merely detest women who do not conform to specific standards and behave as they (misogynists) believe women should. Further reports from Psychology Today cite that a true misogynist has disdain for women who defy their "rules."


Most misogynists believe that women have a specific "place" in the society and the world. The "place" entails working in the home as a housewife, having babies, cooking, cleaning and sticking to their "role." In most cases, a misogynist will not express anger or hostility towards women who fall into the categories above since they are behaving as the misogynist believes they should.

The disposition of a misogynistic individual is guaranteed to change towards women who defy their expectations and choose not to conform to their vision of who a "woman" is. For instance, misogynists are most likely to openly express their hatred of women who are outspoken, career-oriented, or averse to having children. There are exceptions, but in virtually every case, misogynists follow specific patterns, behaviors, and ways of thinking, especially regarding women.

Signs of a Misogynistic Individual

Upon reading the above information about misogyny, one might believe that spotting a misogynistic individual is easy. However, Romper states that detecting misogyny is not always as easy as one might think, especially in the beginning. Thankfully, there are some telltale signs that each person can remain on the outlook for.

Notable Charm…At First

Contrary to popular belief, a misogynistic man will often exude charm during initial interactions. In most cases, they are counting on a woman to lower her guard down. To facilitate this, a misogynist may flirt, offer compliments, and look charismatic. However, eventually, a misogynist will reveal his true colors. Flirtation turns to aloofness, compliments morph into insults, and charisma turns into disdain. Not all charming males are misogynists. However, many misogynistic men are charismatic throughout initial interactions.

Declarations of Love/Support for Women in General

Like narcissistic people, misogynists often attempt to hide their true nature, at least in the beginning. Sometimes this takes place in the form of charm or charisma, other times it could manifest as false vocalizations in support of women. A misogynist may claim to be a feminist, frequently discuss how powerful he thinks women are, or even go as far as saying that women are innately better than men.

In these cases, the misogynist is making the classic mistake of overcompensating for their shortcomings. Granted, many men do indeed love and respect women; however, over the top, 'pro-woman' declarations can be indicative of more sinister beliefs lurking beneath the surface.

Mood Swings

A misogynistic person is not likely to reveal his true colors in the beginning. So, while charm and seeming adoration of women may seem apparent, eventually the facades will fade. One of the first signs of a misogynist's true colors coming to the surface is mood swings.

A misogynist may be sensitive and caring in one moment, only to turn cold and indifferent in the next moment. There can be other reasons for mood swings, such as mental illness. However, rapid and drastic signs of behavior and emotions towards women is a dead ringer for misogyny rearing its ugly head.


Extreme Views And Gender Expectations

Most misogynists have stubborn views on gender and how women should behave and conduct themselves. These ideas include women in subservient positions. Most misogynists believe that men should be aggressive and dominant, while women ought to be weak, meek, and submissive.

Misogynists become angry when women defy their expectations or conduct themselves in ways, which clash with their antiquated notions regarding gender. Individuals with misogynistic views may even go so far as to act out violently towards women who fail to behave as misogynists desire.

Disregard for the Time and Value of Women

At their core, misogynists view men as superior to women. This, therefore, leads to the belief that the time of women is not as important, critical, or valuable as the time of men. Therefore, a misogynist may frequently fail to exhibit punctuality or timeliness for meetings or gatherings with women. Conversely, said misogynist will always appear on time to meetings with men.

Moreover, when confronted by women about their lack of timeliness, misogynists may either brush it off, feign regret, or even lash out. Virtually everyone is late on occasion; however, if an individual frequently lacks punctuality when women are involved, it may be indicative of misogyny. The likelihood of such increases even more if other signs of misogyny are apparent as well.

Extreme Competitiveness and Preferential Treatment Towards Men

Misogynists are inherently egotistical individuals. Due to their disdain for women, they may be extremely competitive and show men certain levels of respect which misogynists will not extend to women. For instance, misogynistic individuals will despise being bested, outsmarted, or otherwise outperformed by any woman at any time. While they may like to win, their antagonism towards women who best them will become far more significant than towards men who commit the same "offense."

Due to a misogynist's lack of respect and care for women, they are very likely to treat women differently from the way they treat men. If a misogynist is in a position of professional power, this can get even worse. A misogynistic boss may give their male employees promotions for specific accomplishments while declining to even acknowledge women for an identical, similar, or even better achievement. A misogynistic employer may also let certain grievance slide with male workers, but reprimand or terminate female workers who commit the same grievance.


Can Women Be Misogynists?

Although most all misogynists are male, there are some cases and instances of female misogynists. A woman who hates other women displays "internalized misogyny." According to sociologist Michael Flood, internalized misogyny is the existence of misogyny in women. Misogynistic women mistreat other women, distrust them, and favor men over women.

Women who suffer from internalized misogyny tend to have ailments such as eating disorders, depression, low self-esteem, and social isolation.

A Final Word

Misogyny is a dark and insidious force; Someone who outwardly hates women is a disturbed individual. There are theories regarding what causes misogyny. Some researchers have cited experience with abusive or neglectful female figures, while others believe that exposure to situations where women face mistreatment can breed misogynistic leanings. Despite the origins of misogyny, women who come in to contact with misogynists are unlikely to have pleasant experiences, especially if the communication is ongoing.

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