The Misogyny Factor

June 16, 2013

A few weeks ago, my mum and I went to the Sydney Writers’ Festival to watch Anne Summers speak about her new book, The Misogyny Factor. Anne has worked as a senior bureaucrat and political adviser, and is the former editor-in-chief of the landmark feminist New York based Ms. magazine.


She was wonderful.

Articulately pointing out logical and factual anomalies in the fabric of our unbalanced existence, in the never-ending search for equality.

Some facts:

  • By simply being female, a woman will earn 1 million dollars less than a male, in her lifetime – 1 million – or the fact that an HSC male (high school graduate) will earn more than a university post-grad female.
  • That the control of a woman’s 1. Financial Independence and 2. Fertility plus the ever-growing 3. Violence against Women, have us in a grand old pickle.

Anne mentioned three words:

Inclusion – Equality – Respect.

These are the words we must ALL aim for – for a better world…for ALL.
We must strive for governments and policies that go about securing us inclusion, equality and respect.

Following are a few of Anne’s perceptions that she wrote in the introduction to her book.
They just resonated with me (well, it all did, really):

  • ‘I nominate the misogyny factor is the obstacle.’ 
  • ‘If misogyny is the theory of women’s inferiority and unworthiness and, therefore, unsuitability to be equal players in our society, sexism is the everyday expression of it.’ 
  • ‘These people believe that, once they are mothers, women just do not belong in the world outside the home. They also tend to have the conviction that all women ought to be mothers and, therefore, confined to the domestic sphere. Such views can be, and are, held by women as well as men.’ 
  • ‘My starting point is the absurdity of a society predicated on a double standard: men can be fulfilled as fathers and as workers, yet we still argue the toss about whether women can ‘have it all’.’

The last point is the crux.
Question #167: Why does this double standard truly exist?

My delay in writing about seeing Anne and listening to her fantastic-ness, was due to the fact that within those two weeks, the news was choc-full of misogyny galore!
And these are just the ones that made the news. The cold and sad reality for many women suffering similar actions go generally ignored or ‘unseen’.

We must start to see…


We had Collective Shout and many women – from all around the globe – speaking out against rapper Tyler the Creator coming to Australia to perform his sexist, racist, homophobic, hate – with lyrics containing violence against women, such as:

“Rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome,”
“Keep that bitch locked up in my storage, rape her and record it.”

New Zealand didn’t permit him entry into their country, but not only did Australia grant him a Visa, he performed all around Australia in places like the Enmore Theatre in Sydney to all-ages audiences.


{A future post will look at how the objection to have Tyler come out here, meant the predominant women who spoke up, received a barrage of threats of rape and violence against themselves and their families, by Tyler’s fans online.}

We had a Liberal Party fundraiser menu – click here – which featured our Prime Minister as a dish, demeaning her down to the features of her body, including her pubic hair.
Our Prime Minister.

PM Julia Gillard was again insulted a few days later when radio ‘journalist’, Howard Sattler, decided to ask personal questions about her partner’s sexuality and pushing for an answer.
He was sacked.
I wrote on the radio station’s FB page:

‘She is our Prime Minister and this dismissal was a good call. 
Like Ms Gillard or not, the job commands our respect.
There would have been justifiable outrage if John Howard were asked about ANYTHING sexual about him or his wife. 
This radio station demonstrated respect for our Prime Minister. Well done.’

Australia’s Army Chief gives a stern warning telling sexist soldiers to get out of the army after:

“Following revelations of further “demeaning, explicit and profane” behaviour by his army members.”

In a moment of go-knows-what, the Socceroos coach, Holger Osieck, whilst being directed to his seat for a press conference, is heard saying:

“You push me around like my wife.”

He then said something in Latin, which he then translated to:

“Women should shut-up in public.” 

These examples all occurred within a two week period – the last four within just one week – two of which were against our female Prime Minister.

Inclusion – Equality – Respect.

I leave you with a question Anne Summers wrote within her introduction:

Question #168: What exactly do we need to do to ensure our society promotes equality and makes it possible for women, as well as men, to live they want?

Deep Breath


8 Responses to “The Misogyny Factor”

  1. Anita A said

    Don’t forget the scandal unfolding in the army which has also come to light in these last two weeks. Not a proud time for Australia.

    • questionsforwomen said

      OF COURSE…you’re right! I put it on my Q4W FB page but forgot to put it in here. Will do now!
      Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

      • HarlsHarls said

        The army scandal was your point # 4 Paula… what do you mean you forgot to put it in here?
        Moving on… How about Piers Ackerman grabbing Howard Sattler’s shovel off him in order to continue digging? The nation seems to be exploding in a misogynistic orgy of bile. This week has been a cringeworthy time to be a decent Australian man. I have no words or comment by way of explanation, these appalling troglodytes are as different from me (and all decent men) as they are from the females they seek to vilify.

        Ok, so as the courts have recently validated the existence of a third (non) gender, maybe it’s time they made room for a fourth. This fourth gender could be characterised by having the physical attributes of men, but differentiated by the fact that they hate women and in turn are hated by real men. Maybe we can call them woe-men!

      • questionsforwomen said

        I put it in there after she wrote the comment. It went AWOL from my brain when I was writing the post – as I was surrounded by children at each other’s throats all day!
        I like it…woe-man. Although, you’ll probably have women call it out as being another negative expression, too close to the word ‘woman’, though! 😀

  2. Cheryl Baume said

    I like the I ER idea. I suggest we alter the order and IRE is what we should express when misogyny rears its ugly head.

  3. jnnpppnk said

    The ‘problem’ with misogyny is that we woman ourselves engage in it, stand by when it happens, and approve or promote it. The issue boils down to radicalizing the education system and resocialization in general – of everyone. But with the focus on women and girls to change themselves. Exhale.

    Another far-flung fantasy for which I won’t hold my breath. In fact, I feel we might as well just forget it all and…


    • Far out, Your sentiments resonate with me. I get to these moments too. This blog was originally called Questions for Women for the exact reason that you stated – how we participate. I also end most posts with Deep Breath.
      I’ll keep calling things out – but I’ve started a business to turn my attention to school kids (doing workshops on things like media literacy – they’re the future. The ‘adults’ driving the bus at the moment – are screwed.
      Thanks for your words. x

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