THE other day I learned what the word misogyny meant. Embarrassing I know, because as a wordsmith by trade I should know what big words like that mean. But if you don’t know either misogyny means hatred of women. The reason it was being pandied about was because Alan Jones decided to refer to all the women, i.e. Julia Gillard, as “ruining the joint”.
It has felt to me lately that misogyny has become rife in society. Apparently it’s okay to refer to women as anything and everything from “the ball and chain” to “gashes”. Women are becoming increasingly objectified both at their own hand and the hand of men. Women are getting breast implants, dying their hair blonde, getting spray tans and acting dumb, or being dumb, all in the name of getting ahead. And succeeding. Reality TV is case in point. Some are just realists and accept the superficial nature of society and do what they have to survive. Others don’t seem to know better or just want male attention. This objectification seems to lead popular culture down an alley where it is increasingly accepted to make fun of women.
But where I start to get confused is show’s like Mrs Brown’s Boys. Why do men find it so funny to dress up like women? Think The Footy Show, sketch comedy in general and Priscilla. You hardly ever see women dressing up as men, unless pant suits count. Is it a case of imitation is the highest form of flattery? In that case does that mean men like us or want to be us? Or are they just trying to show us our foibles through satire.
I know women can make fun of men too. We joke about man-flu and we all love the MereMale-type stories that form the fodder of conversations over coffee. But , from my perspective at least, it is all light-hearted. But I don’t know, from men, the rhetoric seems so vitriolic. It makes me wonder what did we do to make them hate us so much. Do they resent the sexual power we have over them? In the modern era they have to get permission to have sex with us and maybe it’s all too much hard work. Do they resent our place in the workplace? We seized the opportunity history has afforded us and men, who take their place for granted and achieve mere mediocrity, feel emasculated in comparison to our own success. Maybe being a nice guy in modern Australian is just considered “gay”, to put it in their words.
I was recently given some relationship advice from a friend. She said “never be too competent”. What she meant was don’t be too on top of everything in a relationship. Leave some things for the man to do so he feels needed and useful.
Why should I be punished with the loss of a partner because I am competent and organised. And seriously, what do the logistics of life in a relationship matter. So I can cook and clean and still hold down a job, and ring a plumber to fix the toilet if needed.(For the record I have never been particularly at any of those things). What has that got to do with the actual relationship? People say you should ask yourself what you bring to a relationship and what you get out of it. It shouldn’t matter whether you are capable of hanging a picture frame or not. What should matter are shared interests, mutual respect, the same values and supporting each other through life.
Which brings me back to misogyny. What hope does any relationship in this country have when we continue to engage in a dialogue that breeds mutual disrespect, even hatred, for the people in our lives we are supposed to love the most.