It's a male thing, misogyny. No matter where you look, then or now, here, there and everywhere, up ethnographic hill, down historical dale, men disparage women. In his trawl of anthropological data, historical records, literature and letters, art and music, David Gilmore finds that men have always and everywhere expressed fear, disgust and hatred of women. From the peaceful and gentle !Kung San Bushmen to the urbane and civilised Montaigne, from folk legend to Freudian complex, from Medusa to the Blue Angel, men blame women for their discomforts and disappointments. Yet while Gilmore's round-up suggests to him that anti-female feeling is universal among men, he believes its obverse is so rare that no term for it trips comfortably off the tongue. He half-heartedly suggests 'misandry' or 'viriphobia' as names that might be applied to the female version of misogyny, but since the only practitioner he can come up with is Andrea Dworkin, it's hardly worth the coinage. In the 1950s and 1960s there used to be a term for it, though lately it has fallen into disuse. In those days it cropped up regularly in conversations that went roughly like this:
Man: Do you want to come to bed with me?
Man: What are you, a man-hater?
Woman (making her getaway): It's less general than that.
LRB 6 September 2001 | PDF Download