Misogyny is the hatred of women, or the belief that women are inferior to men. It manifests itself in a variety of ways, including social discrimination, physical abuse, legal discrimination, and generalized objectification of women. A few countries, notably some Islamic states, have encoded misogyny into their laws. Some of these states give husbands and fathers full legal rights over their wives and daughters; prevent women from accessing public services without permission of their husbands or fathers; and legally limit the ability of women to participate in society by preventing them from holding jobs, driving, or accessing the press. These legal moves are often combined with a social blindness (including on the part of the police) towards violence against women, up to and including the crimes of rape and murder.
Blatant and subtle institutionalized and social misogyny is still encountered everywhere in the world. This can manifest itself in laws regulating reproduction (specifically birth control and abortion) which prevent a woman from fully controlling her life, social barriers to accessing political and economic power, rape culture and acceptance of domestic abuse.
Written history is largely misogynist; it has only been in the last 200 years in any country that women have truly begun to find any measure of equality.
 Misogyny and religion
Many of the world's religions have their beginnings in strongly patriarchal cultures, and as such may still have misogynistic elements; at the same time, a smart reading of religious texts and the early histories of these religions reveals that painting them in broad strokes as misogynist is inaccurate .
All three Abrahamic religions have historically devalued women; in fact, the fall of man is placed right at the feet of Eve, a perfect indication of the role women will play in the religions. In the Torah, women were designated as outright property of their fathers, with their husbands taking ownership after marriage.
In ancient Judea, women were property of men, they had no choice in their husbands, and (though Jewish Talmud suggests otherwise) men could easily divorce women but women could not leave their husbands for any reason - even abuse. The title men carried in their own home was "Ba'al" or lord (2 Kings 5:13).
Women are traditionally prohibited from being priests or rabbis, which continues today in Orthodox Judaism and, to a lesser extent, in Conservative Judaism. The menstrual blood is considered to be a defilement; a menstruating woman was "put apart for her uncleanness," and a man was not allowed to approach the altar if he had touched menstrual blood without ritual washing.
Following in Judaism's footsteps, Christians did not allow their women to be priests; in fact the Bible explicitly states that no woman shall teach any man (1 Timothy 2:12).
However, many of the Bible verses cited today to promote misogynistic attitudes were not the words of Jesus, but of Paul of Tarsus (or rather, later edits to his writings). It has been argued that Jesus was not as misogynistic as the religion which was to take his name, as the Gospel of Mary and Gospel of Thomas suggest that Mary Magdalene was not a "hanger on," but rather was a full disciple in her own right. There are also suggestions that the very early church had conflicting views on women, as catacombs with painting of women in roles of authority have been found dating to the first and second century CE.
In the Qur'an, sura 4, Woman, outlines the acceptance of man as the head of the household, and that a man is allowed to have up to four wives if he supports them all equally and if he only marries his second/third/fourth wives for the purpose of supporting them economically. Wives are expected to be obedient, and husbands are allowed to beat them among other problems.
Despite the fact that the religion codifies a lesser role for women, and that modern Islam has plenty of followers who prefer to hide their women, Mohammad was far less misogynistic than others of his time. He vastly improved women's lives and codified greater rights. In his own family, both Khadija and Aisha were teachers of Islam, and held title in their own right to the budding religion. Yet today, few Muslims accept women as imams, and a handful of Muslims (including, it would appear, the entire governments of Iran and Saudi Arabia) believe the Qu'ran teaches that women should not even be educated in anything besides how to be a good little skivvy.
 Notable misogynists
Misogynists have left their mark on the world, causing much grief for women everywhere:
- John Knox, the Calvinist preacher, wrote a misogynist tract entitled The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, which made Biblical arguments as to the inferiority of women. This was a veiled political attack against the Catholic queens of his day, which backfired spectacularly on him when the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I came to power in England. His weaseling "apology" only served to tick her off more.
- The Nazis were quite a misogynist bunch, due to their obsession with physical strength, martial matters, etc. Consequently, they aimed to limit the role of women in society, strongly promoting the traditional gender roles with the slogan "Kinder, Küche, Kirche."
- Phyllis Schlafly thinks that women are only good for being mothers, the dickens with any other abilities they might have, such as being lawyers and public speakers. Troublingly, she also believes that men have the right to rape their wives and her belief in female inferiority is shared by her son Andrew Schlafly who worships her as a goddess.
- Friedrich Nietzsche who believes that only men had the ability to transcend society and become the Ubermensch.
 Historic Misogyny?
There are examples of misogyny in historic persons, but talking about them needs to be approached carefully. Many people think that because a person said something that modern people would consider sexist, they are sexist. Because women historically occupied a lower position it was pretty common for people in days gone by to casually say things we would consider sexist. An example of this is Muhammad, who argued that women were inferior to men. In Book 6 of the Sahih al-Bukhari, when explaining to women of the Musalla why they were 'deficient' he said "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man? This is the deficiency in her intelligence". Yet, he emphasized the role of women at teachers in his religion, his wives being important religious aspects in his band. Out of context "a man may beat his wife 4 times" sounds horrific and misogynist, but when it's understood that this was the first legal limitation on exactly how much a man could beat (even to the point of killing) his wife, then it's understood as a proto-feminist position.
The moral of the story is to be careful in evaluating whether or not a historic character was a misogynist, and "context is everything".
 See also
- ↑ Roland Guérin, Ancient Isreal, Social Institutions
- ↑ Johannes PedersenIsrael: Its life and Culture
- ↑ http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/hadith/bukhari/006-sbt.php#001.006.301 Translation of Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 6, 1:6:301