Misogyny is, in its simplest form, hatred of or prejudice against girls and women. It can appear in a variety of ways, many of which often go unnoticed by society. Sexual discrimination against women, such as refusing to hire someone because of their gender, is a form of misogyny; reinforcing the idea that boys are good at math and science and girls are good at music and language arts is a more subtle version of social exclusion, also a form of misogyny.
Other forms of misogyny are more subtle and are often overlooked. Jokes about women, stereotypes perpetuated by the media, or comments about a woman’s appearance that would not equally be made to a man are all examples of misogynistic behavior. When women are cat-called, when women are upheld to the double standard of being simultaneously sexual and chaste, when women are asked what they were wearing or how much they had to drink after being sexually assaulted, society is permitting misogynistic behaviors.
It certainly does not help matters that women themselves engage in misogynistic behaviors. When women judge one another, commenting on things like hair and makeup, they are perpetuating the idea that all women are expected to conform to a socially constructed definition of beauty. When women are ashamed of their bodies for not fitting into this mold – even if their body was formed by the very processes that define their womanhood, such as giving birth to a child – they are reinforcing the misogyny that dominates patriarchal societies and allows the subjugation of women to continue.