Misogyny is a Myth

Because men need it to be.

It wasn't all that long ago that evangelicals were fearing for the safety of their wives and daughters. On April 19, 2016, Target made a statement declaring that transgender team members and guests were welcome to use the bathroom that corresponded with their gender identity.

The American Family Association responded by creating a boycott Target petition claiming that the "dangerous new policy poses a danger to wives and daughters."

Less than six months later, it's discovered that Donald Trump, known for making despicable and disparaging remarks about women, once bragged about his penchant for sexual assault: "Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."

Rather than recant their endorsement of the presidential candidate, the evangelical community doubled-down on their support. According to the Washington Post, a number of leaders have dismissed the remarks as "[ranking] pretty low on their hierarchy of concerns", that "the most important issue of this election is the Supreme Court", and that Trump is "still the best candidate".

The disparate reactions of evangelicals to Target and Donald Trump suggest that they're more afraid of the mythology of disoriented perverts than the documented misogyny of an actual pervert. Or simply, they're more afraid of make-believe transgender bigfoots raping their women than a very real, small-handed bigot who's proud of his sexual conquests.

Stigmas aside, the fear of transgender people in this case is a strawman of epic proportions. For evangelicals, it's easier to create an inflated stereotype than address male privilege. Indeed, they prefer the misdirection of a fabled foe than the truth about masculinity.

Limiting evil to the realm of monsters is an age-old tactic more sinister than cowardly. And it's convenient for evangelicals because it relegates the mistreatment of women to the outcasts of society, making misogyny literally an old wives tale.

To say that men have been gaslighting women for centuries would be the understatement of eternity. At least since the time of ancient Egypt, men have been using the notion of hysteria (a debunked medical disorder) as a catchall diagnosis for any non-submissive tendencies. It's nothing less than systemic oppression not unlike white privilege and racism which are equally avoided and discredited.

Oppression doesn't have to be organized to be systemic; it need only be pervasive and coherent. Like biology.

One of the greatest lies that men have convinced women to believe is that because they can bear children they have to. The science is irrefutable but the logic is not. It's like telling a duck to find its food in the air, not the pond, simply because it has wings. In truth, God created a number of winged birds that cannot fly yet can do marvelous, non-flight-related things (I love penguins).

Unfortunately, accepting the first lie leads to the second: because women can bear children they not only have to have them, they have to raise them. Though nature itself teaches that our lives are not dictated by our bodies, men have succeeded in domesticating women for thousands of years by arguing from creation.

It also allowed male privilege to perpetuate itself for generations without thinking. No one told me to see women as inferior, yet my childhood daydreams always included coming home to a house I had not cleaned, and a meal I had not made, and to children I had not raised. It was assumed because I didn't have uterus.

Keeping women at home, submissive and uneducated, provided more than just forced labor. It allowed men to indulge their appetites without consequence. Whether it's "uncle so-and-so got drunk again" or "she was asking for it by how she dressed" or even harmless "locker room talk", assault, rape, and incest are routinely dismissed as the whines of desperate, attention-seeking housewives.

But evangelicals don't want to talk about that. They'd rather talk about the monsters no one can find than point out the ones hiding in plain sight. Honestly, to condemn Target and not Trump makes me wonder if they're only trying to protect women for their own depraved uses (looking at you, Bill Gothard).

Donald Trump puts a face to male privilege and reminds us that misogyny is not a myth. And the stubbornness of his evangelical backers confirms that their concern for family only goes as far as women and children are useful in procuring political power. If that's what traditional family values look like, be sure to vote for something else in November.

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photo credit: mopaw Pakistan's Punjab must enforce new law on violence against women: rights group via photopin (license)