Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Redefining Misogyny: A Lesson in Smearing and Why it Hurts

One of the real bones of contention in recent times has been the extension in definition of the term misogyny. What I hope to achieve here is to try and outline the position of both sides.

-Perhaps a good place to start will be to look at the traditional definition of the word and then look at how the definition has been broadened, so as to apply to a substantially larger number of individuals, their actions and (perceived) motives.
-Subsequently I will attempt, to the best of my abilities, to refine and lay out the defence for this, on the basis of the arguments that I have heard.
-Finally, I aim to give my own thoughts on why I hold that such redefining of terms amounts to political smearing. No more, no less.

The Definition
So right off the bat let us examine the dictionary definition of the word. Here are a selection of dictionary definitions quickly found online:

Dictionary.com - hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women
Merriam-Webster.com - a hatred of women
Thefreedictionary.com - a hatred of women
                                    an extreme dislike of females, frequently based upon unhappy experience or upbringing

It must also be pointed out that after the Australian Prime Minister had labelled her opposite number a misogynist back in October the Australian Macquarie dictionary said that it was expanding its definition to include "entrenched prejudice against women" as misogyny had taken on wider meaning, particularly in feminist discourse and that with changed usage should come a changed definition.
This is only to be expected. Dictionaries have, in modern times, become entirely descriptive and so are compelled to mirror (and inevitably lag behind) changes in usage across society.

The Expanded Definition: The Issue

However, the discourse that has taken place online, in recent times (especially amongst a number of blogs and their commenters at Freethought Blogs and Skepchick), seem to have taken a definition of misogyny that is far more free ranging and liberally applied than even the expanded entry in the Australian dictionary.
 Whilst it is difficult to exactly state the scope of how it is being applied, here are some examples of things which could potentially earn you the label:
1) Equity Feminism - for some this simply does not go far enough and is misogynistic because it doesn't take accounts of womens special requirements.
2) Positive discrimination/ Affirmative action - an opposition to measures that fall into these categories such as quotas or all-women shortlists, seemingly on whatever grounds, are signs of misogynistic thinking for some.
3) Evolutionary Psychology - with evo psych comes the possibility that not all (statistical) behavioural or preference differences between males and females are entirely cultural in origin which leads to the truly terrifying and misogynistic idea that men and women might actually have some tiny residual statistical differences, cognitively speaking, aside from the influence of culture.
4) Patriarchy theory/ Rape culture - question any aspect of either of these two mantras and, in the eyes of some, your status as a dyed-in-the-wool misogynist is set.
5) Disagreements/ Attacks on female bloggers - Seemingly, taking issue with female bloggers can be construed as misogynistic even if you have demonstrably been at least as tough with their male counterparts either at the time or in the past.
6) Equality of opportunity - A subset of thinkers seemingly exist who assume equality of outcome as a given, thus any outcome other than an outcome that exactly matches demographics is necessarily a result of discrimination, in some form. Therefore, advocates of equality of opportunity are assumed to be misogynistic (I can only assume myself) because if they were not up to some mischief they would obviously be advocating equality of outcome instead.
7) Being male - Whilst not a sufficient condition in itself it is largely a necessary one. Even those who throw around the misogyny label most liberally clearly realise how magnificently wrong-headed it sounds to apply the label to women. Consequently, many things that attract the misogyny accusation only do so when perpetrated or espoused by men.
8) Sexism - As often as not it seems misogyny is simply being used as a synonym for sexism.

The Expanded Definition: The Defence

Before considering exactly why this expanded definition is so problematic it may be worth first outlining the line of defence of those who are using these expanded definitions of misogyny.
The first thing they point out, absolutely correctly, is that definitions change. This is a doubly reasonable point, on its face, because allied to it is this idea that dictionaries reflect usage and so simply retorting what the precise dictionary definition is, at any given moment in time, ignores the descriptive nature of modern dictionaries and the inevitable lag, with respect to rapidly changing definitions, mentioned earlier in this blog entry.
The second point they make is that we (and I say we having been labelled a misogynist, in the last six months, on more occasions than I care to remember - that after 40 years of never having attracted the label) are making much too much of a fuss over the term. Their point is that what counts is what THEY mean by the word, not what WE understand by it. Thus, as their usage of the term is of something substantially less than a blanket hatred or dislike of womankind generally, we ought not get too het up or worried by its usage and application.

There are some real problems with this and I suspect that they are all too aware of them. What is happening is what you could call smearing via equivocation by proxy.

Where The Problem Lies

So whilst it is true that definitions change, the majority of the time this is not as the result of a determined effort but simply societal creep in usage patterns. Some of that may be at work here but there seems a more determined effort to apply this term as far and wide as possible.
So one question that must be asked is that if the definition is being expanded in a conscious way - that is, if the definition of a really nasty derogatory label that no reasonable minded person would wish to have associated with them is being expanded to include as many people as possible - what reasons could lie behind this?*

I freely admit, as it stands, I fail to envisage any reasons that are not wholly objectionable and/or mean-spirited.

To explain why this is all just such an issue let us consider the second point of defence, that we really do not need to show quite such consternation.
Recall: the line is that the definition of misogyny that counts is their definitions, as they are the ones applying the label, and NOT dictionary definitions of hatred or dislike of women. But here is the issue. It is all well and good to redefine words and phrases to meet new sets of circumstances but you have to tread very carefully when you are talking about terms which are actually slurs, or the equivalent of slurs, when applied to individuals.

Imagine, by way of example, I asked you if you loved children.
You tell me that you do and, in fact, have had several children of your own which you truly cherish.
What would you feel like if I then announced you were a paedophile?
I suggest you would not be best pleased....... to put it mildly!
But then I tell you that my usage of the term merely refers to affection for children generally, nothing whatsoever to imply anything sexual or improper: so there, you have nothing whatsoever to worry about!

Can you see the issue here? Whilst strictly within my definition there is no issue to warrant your concern, what we both know is that the rest of the world operates to another definition. Further, when I boldly announce that you are a paedophile, to all who will listen, the specifics of my redefinition will be stripped away: all the world will see, as a result of this equivocation of the term by proxy, is a smearing accusation that you are sexually attracted to children! Do we have an issue now? You bet we fucking do!

So this seems a pretty shit trick to play. When we throw around smears like misogynist, regardless of what we would like the word to mean, what really counts, in terms of the smearing potential of the word, is what the wider world understands the term to mean. Many of the individuals who are using this word so much more loosely and then proclaiming - innocent and doe-eyed to the last - that words change meanings and not to worry, know full well what they are doing here.
It also makes misogynist a much meaner and two-faced slur than words like feminazi that get thrown back in their direction. Whilst feminazi is a word I neither use nor approve of, it is at least an up-front slur. Any third party overhearing an accusation that someone is a feminazi is not likely to suspect anything much different to what is being claimed. Consequently, their feelings towards the accused party will likely depend more on their feelings towards outspoken feminists generally, whether positive or negative, than anything above and beyond that.

So anyone over at Freethought Blogs tells you that they are the side playing by the rules, that it is all the other side, that is not quite the true picture. What IS the picture is that they are the side boxing clever here, using tried and tested underhand political techniques to forward an agenda that appears to involve more than is claimed. I give them credit for that, it impresses me, but I am also not fooled by it for one moment.
-No mistake: smearing in this way is a shit political trick.
-Attempting to conflate atheism itself with their own personal socio-political ideology with the ambiguously and misleadingly titled atheism+ (which sounds for all the world to any third party, again not in the know, as some kind of new term for strident atheists or strong atheism) is a shit political trick.
-Legitimately campaigning for an harassment policy but then telling others who campaign against one (not me in this case, on balance my view was to have such a policy and be done with it) to 'run their own conventions if they don't like the rules' is a really really shit and entitled trick.
-Spinning the amount of incidents and danger at conventions until any sound-minded person would sooner take a job as a pork-chop salesman in Kabul marketplace when the mosques kick out rather than attend - yes madam, we have another shit trick!

It is to the eternal discredit of some, ashamedly largely from the side I represent, that some really nasty missives have been sent across the divide. Whether fuelled by anger or genuine prejudice it is ugly and unacceptable and benefits noone. But be in no doubt: both sides have their little games. Here I have presented a sly little game, the misogyny game: smearing via equivocation by proxy.

Thank you for reading, bye for now.
Jim (np99)

* An aside: I think this is a question we should ask generally whenever such redefinitions come up. 
For example, in the last six months I have learnt that the feminist definition of sexism is prejudice plus power. The end result is that, under this redefinition, any conversation that takes place is immediately shaped in advance. So they have made it impossible here, by dint of definition, for half the population to ever be recognised as victims of sexism no matter what treatment they encounter (especially coupled with the simultaneous failure to recognise that societies are a complex patchwork and 'male power' really only represents a summation of the peaks and troughs throughout society). Indeed, we end up with the grotesque asymmetry of a man and woman both pronouncing that the other sex are all universally a bunch of assholes but only one of them would be branded a sexist as a result. 
So when we see a redefinition such as this, I think it behooves us to consider the motives of those who are championing the redefinition. Just as one would if I announced that, from now on, high intelligence was to be redefined as high levels of mental acuity in a man, thus precluding any woman, by definition, from claiming to be intelligent! I suggest that most people would have some concern over my motives were I to attempt such a stunt and that we should likewise be sceptical of peoples motives when they engage in such conversationally manipulative jiggery-pokery!


  1. Well done! I think you've hit it. Whenever a term is bandied about too often, it becomes diluted and loses it's effectiveness. Sometimes a cunt is a cunt!

  2. Exactly right. It shames me a bit to see so many people falling for these games. I knew not to expect any higher a level than normal of honesty or independent thought from atheists/skeptics/secularists, but I admit I had hopes anyway. Funny that so much of what some activists do in the name of equality and rationality is so deeply based in grasping, self-serving, and tribalistic behavior, especially when it is done by people who are already, on the whole, incredibly privileged.

  3. The OED (Oxford English Dictionary) were the first to expand the meaning of the word back in 2002. Feminists have (intentionally) mis-used this word for the past 50 years as a cheap way to stifle debate and to instantly demonise their critics. When you mis-use a word for so long soon it becomes an accepted meaning...this is how the English Language works. Now feminists can throw their critics into the same basket as the most vicious serial killer of woman. But two can play at that game. Any woman who expects e to open the car door for her is now a misandrist in my eyes. The thing is I don't mind opening doors for misandrists or non misandrists.

  4. This acknowledging gender difference stuff - most people do. But the only ones that imply that such differentiation implies gender inferiority are people like the twits at FTB and Skepchick. Yes chicks are different to me. That =/= lesser beings. Probably the root of the gender feminist nonsense.

  5. tinyurl.com/by2l2fn 13 minutes 10-30 seconds
    Tony Abbott starts the whole Misogyny definition by referring to the speaker as a sexist and a misogynist.

    "This is a government that is only too ready to detect sexism, to detect misogyny no less, until, umtil madam deputy speaker they find it in one of their own supporters. Until madam deputy speaker they find it in someone upon whom this prime minister relies to survive in her job." - Tony Abbott 9/10/2012 in a motion to remove Peter Slipper as Speaker of the house.

    The media focused on the Prime Ministers reply and left out the context in which it was used, namely in response to Tony Abbotts use of the word and applying it to distasteful text messages made by the Speaker Peter Slipper.

  6. It doesn't matter who started it both sides of the house mis-used the word. "A pox on both their houses".

  7. This tactic of throwing truly horrible labels like misogyny around very cheaply is that in the long run, it will be very damaging to the cause of equality.

    Eventually the general public is going to catch on to this redefinition scam, and then the power of the word will be completely lost. When that happens, you've lost the ability to call out real misogyny when you see it.

    You'll be standing there, like the boy who cried wolf, crying "MISOGYNIST!!!" while the public will just be laughing at you. After all, a misogynist is just someone who disagree with any radfem dogma or use the word "cunt", not a despicable creep who actually hates women.

    Of course, for political creatures and demagogues who care more about dishonestly smearing any dissenters than any actual equality, this objection will fall to deaf ears, since their goal from the start isn't equality. Which is IMO why the most efficient "counter-move" is to call them on their own sexism and racism, because really, in the whole A/S-community, I've seen few people who are so sexist and racist as the Social Justice Warriors themselves.

  8. "1. Equity Feminism ..."

    "special requirements"... Not by my understanding, what I have read I understand to mean that since women are systematically discriminated against just having equal legal opportunity will not magically lead to equality of opportunity however much you pray for it. There is no magic misogyny fairy listening to those prayers any more than racism can be removed by not actively fighting it. I agree with this premise, hence I agree with so called "gender/radical" feminism more than the "equity" feminism of Hoff Summers. Not heard anyone call "equity" feminism itself misogynistic, but when the opportunistic assholes adopt it to push a bullies charter while opining that all feminism is evil then you'll certainly find people who identify as "equity" feminists being called misogynists.

    "4) Patriarchy theory/ Rape culture..."

    In my experience there are not any valid arguments against these concepts as a whole - i.e. Arguments that they do not exist. So arguing around the irrelevant edges of an emotive subject... Well you will get some emoting sent your way. You know "equity" feminism accepts that power structures exist that oppress women, otherwise known as the patriarchy ;-)

    "5) Disagreements/ Attacks on female bloggers ..."

    Examples of "Just Disagreement" needed - and not from the same people who indulge in the activity I link to below from Zvans article, as anyone who assassinates you in their clubhouse then disingenuously slimes over to your blog to "just disagree" ... Well in the FtB'ers posistion I'd probably tell them to fuck off as well. You also find nothing inherently misogynistic about the mode of attack? You can attack, ridicule and lampoon without being a bigot, whether you think I'm successful in my piss-taking of the Slymepit or not you cannot say I use bigoted tactics to do that. Its maybe a little harder to acheive real biting satire (I don't manage it) than childish playground sniggering and smears.

    "6) Equality of opportunity ..."

    So these mythical people you speak of would consider the A+ forum misogynistic then... I've seen multiple advocates for equality of opportunity while making it clear equality of outcome is not possible. Specifically in response to some Z-list trolling from "Skeptical" Jay.

    "7) Being male ..."

    It maybe sounds wrong headed to call women misogynistic, but it is no more wrong than pointing out racism from PoC or homophobia from gays. It exists, why wouldn't it exist? Plenty of women in beards cheering on stoning metaphorical "whores" in real life as well as Brians (See TERFs below). As for your specific claim that there are things men do that attract misogyny accusations not applied to women doing the same thing needs some examples as its not something I've ever seen as a pattern. I'm also not saying there are not individuals for which this is maybe true, some of the radfem lot that the A+ forum hate as much as any MRA would likely oblige... But what have you proven when even the shits over at the A+ forum hate them! Like me for example -> Julie Birchall (the trans exclusionary radfem or TERF) can go fuck herself after her bigoted article in the Guardian.

  9. Smears and Misogynist --> An accusation will require an example of behaviour before anyone takes it seriously. What did NoelPlum do on Pharyngula that was that bad? What did he say? People will make up their mind on how reprehensible you are from that not some random labelling. The label is the pointer to find out more, when I heard Michael Richards had been labelled racist for a stand up performance I was amazed. So I looked it up, and saw him being racist... Fortunately he apologised, but the label was the beginning not the end.
    I particularly find this smear and labelling argument to be risible when used by Slymepitters who opine about lost job opportunities (fantasies so far) but participate in a forum where pretty horrible things are posted with no one criticising or calling it out. http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/02/02/what-is-more-important-than-peace-nsfw/
    Frankly as a person who hires ppl in the IT industry, seeing that would have far more impact on a hiring decision than a few accusations since they actively participate in it themselves -- no one is accusing them. What a surprise most of them are anonymous cowards!

    One final thing, how about an example of a real life misogynist who would fit the "traditional" defintion of hates all women? Even hates a large proportion of women... The pope doesn't fit that and he as an individual presides over an arganisation that has done more to fuck women that almost any other, so who does!?

  10. "Smears and Misogynist --> An accusation will require an example of behaviour before anyone takes it seriously."
    I think that is utter horseshit. It may be how you operate but a lot of people simply take things at face value. In fact, if people really did think things through in the way you suggest then I put it to you that the issues you see with gendered slurs would disappear because everybody would be endlessly assessing the relevancy of each and every descriptor.

    Just a few additional comments, a bit late to write more:
    With regard to patriarchy theory and rape culture you wrote:
    "In my experience there are not any valid arguments against these concepts as a whole - i.e. Arguments that they do not exist"
    I put it to you that if rape culture exists then literally *everything* culture exists. The arguments that are made for rape culture, in western societies involve the most gratuitous cherry picking I think i have ever observed outside of biblical literalism. So if you are happy to say we also live in a murder culture, a violence culture, a fraud culture and a kidnap culture then i grant you your rape culture - but then all you are describing is a general feature of human existence. As it stands such things as the acceptability of violence (particularly against men) and of killing other human beings are, in almost all sources of media and areas of society hugely more acceptable than sexual assault and violence. It really staggered me recently when I heard the case made recently that evidence of rape culture can be found in video games! yes vifdeo games, that sphere whereby not only CAN you kill and maim thousands upon thousands but that is, as often as not, the explicit aim of the game! Yet sexualised violence generally, and rape explicitly, are notable when they occur for being so rare. If something so taboo and underrepresented can be seen as 'evidence for rape culture' then we have descended to new levels of self-deception.
    Ok, it is 3am, better hit the sack. thanks for your response btw

    1. Seems rather useless to say that violence and fraud etc are encouraged and supported by our culture just because they exist in our culture. Therefore everything is an X culture... I assume you know what feminism defines as rape culture and things like blaming the victim are part of that? This clearly happens on a regular basis for rape and acts to deter reporting and sentencing. I'd say it exists far more than for fraud, kidnap etc which you use as examples - but even if it didn't it is useful to label those poor behaviours that act to excuse rapists and deter victims from reporting? Is it not?

      The social sciences define those behaviours and attitudes in a culture as rape culture. This is a hard-hitting term but very useful for getting the point across and mobilising people to minimise its effect. You may disagree about some things coming under that umbrella. Many use some of the most ridiculous arguments I've seen such as saying "Country X is a *real* rape culture" therefore no rape culture (wot?)... Or you picking on some random claim about video games being rape culture which you have an issue with... All these have no bearing on rape cultures existence, but are picking around the edges or in the case of the first one a total non sequitur.

      A case could be made for "science denialism" here given the rather large body of work in social science and psychology journals over decades. Why do I never see anyone saying these things are a fiction tackle the literature? They happily rely on "I can't see this to be true therefore..." .... skeptics my arse. I'll start you off given you clearly have the burden of proof given the literature here ->

  11. RE: oolon and his defense of "special requirements"

    "having equal legal opportunity will not magically lead to equality of opportunity however much you pray for it."

    I assume you meant "outcome" rather than "opportunity" that second time. Taking that on board, then the only reason you might view equity feminism as misogynistic is by assuming that an outcome must be engineered, rather than proffered. This is clearly ridiculous. For example, offering women equal opportunity in trying out for, say, Special Forces is guaranteed not to result in 50/50 gender split. That's not because the Army is out to bilk women; the requirements and training is tuned higher than most women, and most men frankly, can achieve. Further, it's quite clear that fewer women than men are even interested in those roles, even if they could meet the requirements. A million years or so of sexual dimorphism doesn't vanish with the invention of the toaster.

    That's one extreme example, but the point remains. So what do we do, here? Equity feminists would say open the roles, let them try, but don't be surprised if there's few or no women in those roles. Tough shit. You, on the other hand, would appeal to special requirements and equality of outcome, and the project of diluting our elite fighting units with unqualified (other than having the right genitalia) individuals would commence.

    The claim is that "diversity is strength", and this is utterly bogus. This is a conflation of correlation and causation; I have yet to see any causal link demonstrated between focusing on diversity, as opposed to quality or other markers, and increased performance. If a company hires a woman because she is the best suited to the task, most qualified, etc., that's not focusing on diversity, and possessing a vagina won't improve her performance one iota.

    Forcing diversity, where it doesn't arise organically from the qualities of the individuals themselves, entails choosing individuals based on performance-neutral qualities, based on the bogus assumption that someone's skin color or genitalia will "magically" make them, or everyone else, more productive.

    1. Nope try again, I'm not that clear usually but your premise is off. I clearly said I agree with the A+ stance on this ->
      "I've seen multiple advocates for equality of opportunity while making it clear equality of outcome is not possible"
      I'll repeat:
      -> equality of outcome is not possible
      -> equality of opportunity is what we want

      Your "diversity" shit is amusing, I worked for IBM for over 10 years and they have and had lots of positive action to get women and minorities into leadership roles. They are really doing badly as a result... Maybe its because I left... The reason positive action is needed is because the evidence clearly shows women and minorities will not get there (This century anyway) from *just* legal equality of opportunity (If you assume that exists even) - as I was trying to say above and you seem to have misunderstood.

      "Forcing diversity, where it doesn't arise organically from the qualities of the individuals themselves, entails choosing individuals based on performance-neutral qualities, based on the bogus assumption that someone's skin color or genitalia will "magically" make them, or everyone else, more productive."

      --> The corollary of that is forced non-diversity, which is far better evidenced to be happening and to have negative effects than your imagined "Political correctness diversity policing gone mad!1!!" stance.

  12. "5) Disagreements/ Attacks on female bloggers - Seemingly, taking issue with female bloggers can be construed as misogynistic even if you have demonstrably been at least as tough with their male counterparts either at the time or in the past."

    Also, any disagreement, however slight, about Rebecca Watson/PZ Meyers, even though you have a proven, consistent track record of not only being equally honest/tough with others, but of consistently supporting equal rights for women, and supporting feminist causes.

    Nowadays, the term 'MRA' is as ubiquitous as misogynist.
    I'd like to point out that women get called misogynist all the time. It seems that you are either almost 100% in agreement with the rad feminists at FTb, or you are a possible rapist/misogynist/MRA. The behavior is tremendously antisocial. I mean, it is egregious and pathetic, I find, on more than a few comment threads, and at least one blog article attempted to ridicule me and a couple of others by issuing a sarcastic non-apology full of outright falsehoods describing our actions.

    This type of shite is completely unacceptable, and strikes me as an outright attempt to bully others into compliance. The dearth of skeptical thinking and logic is disturbing, to say the least. A+ is not a cause, nor a protest. It is a mob.

  13. Very clear description of the problem. I made a video about this same subject 6 months ago.

    Oolon's claim that they are labeling people with hateful labels merely so that people can go and take a look, is yet another mind-blowing immorality that one sees daily from the FTB crowd.

  14. Completely agree. You can see the same tactic at work when a moderate like Obama gets accused of being a socialist, or when some right-wing fox news pundit gets called a fascist. It's using the original emotional punch of the word, and combining it with the uncertainty a section of the public might have about the target's political views and values. And when people use smears like this, it's not because they've schemed together and decided on this particular tactic, they do it because it works. Criticize Israeli government policy? Anti-semite. Now you'll have to spend time proving you're not, and in some people's minds you always will be.

    And yes 'feminazi' is different. It's a vague reference to intolerance and censorship, not to national socialism. No-one hearing that will imagine a beswastikad brown-shirt, whereas someone hearing 'misogynist' is likely to imagine a woman hater.

    By the way, I've just been browsing over a comments section on FTB and I have to say that that place is chockablock full of gargantuan egos. Most of the conflicts there seem to be caused by perceived slights to each others deeply felt sense of intellectual and moral superiority. And all the while swearing at each other and trying to make each other feel bad. Ironic really.

    1. You noticed that too? It is so rare that I have great respect for the one person that ever fell back from their attitude of belligerence after I pointed out that they were not addressing my points. They actually read and listened to what I was trying to say, and the peer pressure at Pharyngula makes that a difficult proposition indeed.

      It's funny you mention the egos. There was a discussion there a few months ago where a bunch of people decided that they were proud of being arrogant! LOL

    2. Really?! See that's a problem, because arrogance leads to bad thinking habits. For example, ignoring evidence that contradicts your position and only searching for evidence that supports it (think that's called confirmation bias). Or continuing to argue a lost point just because you don't want to be wrong, and that would be unbearable. Then there's the whole massive time waste of debates turning into personal squabbles. If every second spent thinking of an appropriately snarky remark was spent refining arguments and challenging our own beliefs think of how much more fruitful internet debates could be.

    3. Yup, that's what goes on quite a bit, around some topics. I've never learned so much, so fast, as I have by discussing things on the 'net. If someone says something naive, or outdated - whatever - a little nudge to go read this or that is fantastic. Instead, you get a lot of the 'what's your problem, eff off ya wanker' stuff.

      As to confirmation bias, it is also true that the more adamant a person is that they are right, and therefore closed minded, the more likely they are to be wrong.

      Even if I was arrogant, and I am when I'm i8n the right mood, I still wouldn't admit it. Like you point out with the bias, admitting arrogance is tantamo8unt to admitting facts don't matter.

      LOL, I just found this: How to Deal With Impossible People

      This is what I was looking for:
      The overconfidence effect is a well-established bias in which someone's subjective confidence in their judgments is reliably greater than their objective accuracy, especially when confidence is relatively high.[1] For example, in some quizzes, people rate their answers as "99% certain" but are wrong 40% of the time. It has been proposed that a metacognitive trait mediates the accuracy of confidence judgments,[2] but this trait's relationship to variations in cognitive ability and personality remains uncertain.[1] Overconfidence is one example of a miscalibration of subjective probabilities.

  15. Obviously the terms misandry & misogynist has to correlate to each other. If the definition of one broadens, so must the other. This obviously presents certain people who use the term misogynist as a misandrist. I also notice that misandrist is not in existence in a basic spell checker. That, in & of itself is interesting.

    On the note of the Australian Prime Minister Gillard, Watching parliament question time coupled with the supported stance of Abbott, it really is hard to imagine their attitude, as a whole, has an underlying theme which while I can't is mysoginist, it certainly walks & quacks like the expected behaviour is this was present as an underlying aspect. I don't think it was her place to suggest this as a leader of a country but more for other people to observe, given her authority.

    (I notice the problems you cite are the same problems I find with the broadened definition of another term, not fitting to be discussed here, just an observation.)

    1. note to self - must use preview >.<

      *while I can't SAY* - the word 'while' should not be there & was a remnant of a former deleted sentence.

    2. Yes, quite a lot of terns are broadened in the same way and as part of the same political trick. Both left and right wings play the same game.

  16. Can you give a reference for what you said in your footnote about the feminist redefinition of sexism? I'd be interested to know how established that idea is in gender studies.

    1. Frustratingly, though i have heard this used in a good dozen or more conversations now, i havent managed to ascertain an original or authoratative source. The link i have seen given most often is http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/sexism-definition/ though this link makes claims that it provides no references for. It may be worth your while speaking to a few people who have recently completed degree courses in gender studies and asking what is being taught in them. Id be interested to know myselftbh.

  17. There's something else you didn't mention:

    Their claim that the 'misogyny' they throw around is their definition rather than a dictionary definition, directly and unequivocally contradicts the claim that there exists such a thing as a 'gender slur' (that is a word which is a slur directed towards women as a totality (oops! Sorry! I mean either gender, no idea why I got the idea it was only women...) regardless of what the person saying it intends it to mean).

    You can have one or the other, but not both. Which, of course, wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that so many of them do.

  18. I tend to place more reliance and authority in the Dictionary Definition of a word. It's one thing to see how a words meaning and usage can shift, but you need to temper this. The Dictionaries of the world need to be a common source of definitions, or Babylon ensues. Like Pedophile (American spelling) now means "sexual interest in children" when Pedosexual existed. It also means "love of children"... Santa Clause story, anyone? Several other words have also been slaughtered this way... Zoophile used to mean "Lover of Zoos" and now has taken over the same meaning as "Zoosexual". It seems we Yanks are too prudish using the word "sex" or "sexual" or some such rot.

  19. You give several examples of attitudes which convey a hatred of women and then say it's unfair to call them misogynistic.

    - Imagine someone says that there should be no attempt to actively include women in professions where long-standing discrimination has previously kept them excluded. What reason could they have for their position other than a hatred, dislike or mistrust of women, in this case exemplified by their view that women should not have the same opportunities as men?

    - Imagine someone uses a dodgy cherry-picking attitude in their approach to scientific evidence in order to suggest that, say, that male sexual harassment of women does not exist because men have a tendency to harass and intimidate people of both genders. (Yes, I have seriously heard someone try to use evolutionary psychology to argue this.) Might we not argue that their decision to insist on this conclusion in spite of the overwhelming evidence against it is because of their hatred, dislike or mistrust of women?

    - I'm not sure why someone would question the existence of patriarchy. It is a commonly understood concept within the field of history and there are mountains of evidence for it. If someone wished to suggest that women have always, and still do, receive entirely equal treatment in society, might this strange conclusion not be linked with a reluctance to enable equality for women in society? And might that not suggest... *everybody now* ... hatred, dislike or mistrust of women?

    If you want to insist that the concepts you mention are unrelated to the basic definition of misogyny, perhaps you should show that you understand those concepts first. Right now, I remain unconvinced that you even know what "hatred, dislike or mistrust of women" even means in context.

    1. 1st - convey a hatred of women
      then - hatred, dislike or mistrust of women
      Notice the bait and switch. Either you say misogyny means hatred:
      "You give several examples of attitudes which convey a hatred of women and then say it's unfair to call them misogynistic."
      Then, two sentences later:
      "What reason could they have for their position other than a hatred, dislike or mistrust of women, in this case exemplified by their view that women should not have the same opportunities as men?"

      hatred ≠ hatred, dislike or mistrust. I'll tell you why. Because hatred ≠ mistrust. Hatred ≠ dislike.
      IMO, that type of changing a definition midstream to make it more general, is underhanded and sleazy.
      - - -
      "Imagine someone says that there should be no attempt to actively include women in professions where long-standing discrimination has previously kept them excluded."
      Okay, I'm imagining it.
      "What reason could they have for their position other than a hatred, dislike or mistrust of women, in this case exemplified by their view that women should not have the same opportunities as men?"
      Number one, that's a false choices fallacy.
      Number two, two of those choices are ≠ hatred. ∴ you don't make sense.
      Even given that I do understand you invalid point, you would have to ask the perpetrator of such a statement what THEIR REASON is. Are we supposed to guess what their motivations are? There are certainly conceivable reasons other than 'hatred, dislike or mistrust.'
      - - -
      "Imagine someone uses a dodgy cherry-picking attitude in their approach to scientific evidence in order to suggest that, say, that male sexual harassment of women does not exist because men have a tendency to harass and intimidate people of both genders"
      Why? You have a problem with being direct, or what is it? CITATION NEEDED. Another sleazy tactic. This one is called poisoning the well.

      "(Yes, I have seriously heard someone try to use evolutionary psychology to argue this.)"
      So? What exactly are you saying here? So you DO say there is an actual occurrence of the imaginary scenario you propose. You already have decided that it is invalid because they used evo-devo, so where does that leave us?
      Again with the bait and switch. You saw someone use cherry picking to argue from an evo-devo framework, SFW? Are you trying to say that you saw some unbelievably stunned argument take place once?
      Because, that's what it means, that you saw this once. So?

      "Might we not argue that their decision to insist on this conclusion in spite of the overwhelming evidence against it is because of their hatred, dislike or mistrust of women?"
      False choices, question asked and answered. Go ahead, argue away. You already are arguing it. Let's see you argument then. Why do you want anyone else to do your work for you? Eh?
      This is so far out there that I'm not sure you have a firm grasp of the english language, at the moment.
      Not only that, WTF is your idea of overwhelming evidence? I can guess, and I doubt that you are objective enough to understand what is, and what isn't, evidence, let alone what overwhelming amounts of it are.
      - - -
      If you want to answer these points I've made directly, then let's go. There is more than enough here to get started with.
      If you do answer me, I'm almost certain that you will use ad hominums and/or defamation as if to prove I'm out of line. We all recognize by now that using these is merely a evasive manoeuvre to avoid having to answer for yourself.

      Imagine that.

    2. Fatpie wrote:"- Imagine someone says that there should be no attempt to actively include women in professions where long-standing discrimination has previously kept them excluded. What reason could they have for their position other than a hatred, dislike or mistrust of women, in this case exemplified by their view that women should not have the same opportunities as men?"Interestingly, i work in a job (firefighting) where women have historically been underrepresented and great efforts have been made to encourage women to join. An occupation that is very close in terms of pay, social standing etc is nursing. Here men have been grossly underrepresented (in the 50s 1% of nurses were male) and this is a huge issue compared to firefighting inasmuch as there are ten times the number of nurses than firefighters. However, and your guess is as good as mine on this, no effort whatsoever has been nade to redress this imbalance.But here is the thing: so what? I do believe the royal college of nursing should make it known to men that their applications are welcomed but other than that I dont think anything ought to be done, no outcome ought to be engineered. So my question for you is what could be driving my position other than an outright hatred for men and all that is male?

    3. Fatpie.
      One more thing. I distrust people generally. I have a mistrust of people. Get 20 random people in a room in the one thing i can guarantee is that somewhere amongst their number will be some totalshit who, given half a chance, will fuck things up for everyone else.Therefore, some of my outcomes may betray a mistrust of women BUT not because they are women but simply because they are situations that involve people in number. In this we immediately have something that you would false identify as misogyny.
      I think you ended up mixing evo devo with evo psych!

    4. Mikmik wrote:
      "hatred ≠ hatred, dislike or mistrust."

      Indeed. As you've spotted, I previously would have said that all of those examples revealed all out "hatred" of women. That is my own personal view. However, I later changed it to "hatred, dislike or mistrust" in each case for two important reasons:
      1) It comes across as less controversial.
      2) Those are the three elements contained in the definition of misogyny quoted in Noelplum99's OP.

      If those examples I gave show "dislike" or "mistrust" of women then they fit the dictionary definition of misogyny cited in the opening post.

    5. Interesting example of nursing, but of course that is a very low-paid profession. The profession of nursing has historically been a lot more accessible for women than the higher-paid profession of doctor within which there have historically been far less women than men. This is thankfully changing, but the lack of men in nursing is because the attitude in society was that men were meant for "greater things" (or at least, different sorts of roles) rather than because they were being actively excluded from applying for the role. Even if the social stigma against male nurses lessens, the low pay for nurses regardless of gender may still put many off the position. That the number of male nurses are increasing in spite of this is just one sign that things probably aren't really that bad for men in the nursing profession.

      And let's not forget about the issue of the "glass ceiling". Just because women are found within a profession does not mean that they are able to reach the higher positions. Once again, this is something that is changing, but it is a tough battle. It's not even just a matter of hiring policies either. Larger numbers of businesses making use of creches is another way that women are being enabled to proceed unhindered in their careers, though this is, once again, an ongoing process.

      Equality for women is getting there and that's good, but we haven't reached it just yet.

    6. Pay in nursing and firefighting are very similar (once you take account of shift bonuses for nurses which are part of a firefighters basic pay).
      What you say about nursing is true but this is why it is analogous to firefighting. So i still think my question remains. Am I, by your definition, a misandrist for not promoting an engineered solution to male underrepresentation in nursing?

  20. I sure did mix them up. There's one in every crowd, lol ;)

  21. @fatpie42'
    Thanks for your reply explaining why you used those terms together.

    One thing I was thinking of is that there are more women doctors graduating now, than men.

    "Women earned majority of doctoral degrees in 2011 for 3rd straight year, and outnumber men in grad school 141 to 100" http://www.aei-ideas.org/2012/09/women-earned-majority-of-doctoral-degrees-in-2011-for-3rd-straight-year-and-outnumber-men-in-grad-school-142-to-100/