Book Reviews Reviews

Misogynation: The True Scale of Sexism by Laura Bates

Misogynation: The True Scale of Sexism is a collection of essays by Laura Bates, founder of The Everyday Sexism Project, and author of Girl Up and Letters to the Future on Equality and Gender. 

I went in not knowing much about the book, or Bates’ other work, for that matter, and I am so glad I’ve been introduced. (Thank you @booksturnyouon!)

Even though these ideas are not new to me as someone who has studied feminism, they are to many, and I appreciate the straightforward and accessible way she writes about these issues.

Misogynation is a call to join the dots and recognize the connections between instances of harassment, violence, and sexual assault against women, and understand that these incidents are not isolated, nor do they exist in a vacuum. Specifically, that the more “benign” forms of street harassment (cat-calling, for example) and sexist “banter” that are tragically normalized, are not divorced from more severe acts of sexual violence, workplace inequities, and domestic abuse. Rather, they are products of the same deeply-rooted misogynistic system in place in our society, that is often rendered invisible simply by our subconscious acceptance that this is just the way things are.

Bates puts great emphasis on the role that the media (entertainment, social media, and, most insidiously, the press), consumer culture, and the gendered upbringing of our youth contribute to this system. This book is a call to action, to recognize the culpability of these institutions and hold them accountable, to make a change in the way news outlets slant or sensationalize stories, and the ways we educate our youth on issues of gender. 

Street harassment is not a compliment; women aren’t “asking for it” by the way they dress, act, or the way they move through the world; rape jokes are not funny; rape culture is real; and none of it is “not that bad.”

I appreciate the way she takes the time to define rape culture (a misunderstood and often mocked and vilified bit of terminology), and the care she takes to acknowledge and define intersectionality, and the absolute necessity of addressing it, to upend this system.

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