Misogyny is part of the system of sexism, wherein women, femme-presenting people, and gender-nonconforming people are viewed as inferior and are treated as such interpersonally, structurally, and societally. While historically discussed as an ideology that targets just women and girls, misogyny affects people of all genders who challenge patriarchal structures.
The term describes a range of beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes, including discrimination and gender-based violence. A person who engages in misogyny may be called a misogynist, though generally it’s more precise to use the adjective form, “misogynistic,” to describe someone’s actions (e.g., “ X made misogynistic comments,” instead of “X is a misogynist”).
Misandry in its literal form is a term that describes a hatred of or prejudice against men. Some would describe it as a parallel term to “misogyny,” though it is not as widely understood and may need definition on first reference. The key difference between misogyny and misandry is the structural power dynamic that privileges cisgender men over genders that are typically more marginalized.
Some ironically claim to be “proud” misandrists and to “hate all men,” or want to “silence all men,” as an opposition to patriarchal power and the role that men play in perpetuating that power structure. If discussing misandry or “a misandrist,” it’s important for clarity to refer to the reasoning of that person, as it can vary widely. Generally, supporting misandry is rooted in gender critique. “Proud” misandry is more a disdain for the patriarchy, its supporters, and its oppressive consequences than it is a direct hatred of men.
Misogynoir is a term that represents the intersections of racism and sexism, and describes Black women’s unique experiences with both anti-Blackness and misogyny. Coined by queer Black feminist Moya Bailey in 2008, misogynoir includes the erasure of Black women in media (e.g., limited coverage of police brutality against Black women, murders of Black trans women, or kidnappings of Black women/girls), hypervisibility of Black women in some media spaces (e.g., obsession with and hypersexualization of Black women’s bodies in mediated imagery, overrepresentation of Black women on reality TV shows), masculinization of Black women (e.g., implications that Black female athletes are “manly”), and hypercriticism of Black women, among myriad other tendencies and behaviors.
This term when referring to anti-Black misogyny is usually a more accurate description of the issues. Defining the term on first reference is helpful, since it’s not as widely understood as the term “misogyny.”
Transmisogyny refers to the specific discrimination and risk of violence experienced by trans women and girls and transfemme people at the intersection of transphobia and misogyny. As Julia Serano, activist and author of Whipping Girl, explained, “Trans-misogyny is steeped in the assumption that femaleness and femininity are inferior to, and exist primarily for the benefit of, maleness and masculinity.”
- Misogynoir: The Unique Discrimination That Black Women Face (Forbes)
- Misogyny Is Oppression, Misandry the Response (Medium)
Misogyny is a contempt for or ingrained prejudice against women and girls. Generally the adjective form, “misogynistic,” is more accurate to describe someone’s actions (e.g., “made misogynistic comments” instead of “is a misogynist”). It may be helpful to specify and define the particular type of misogyny being discussed (for instance, misogynoir is directed specifically toward Black women and girls, and transmisogyny is directed specifically at trans women and girls).