Why Sexism, Misogyny, And Patriarchy Are Not The Same

Believe it or not, the difference matters.

 
Why Sexism, Misogyny, And Patriarchy Are Not The Same
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Our minds have been projected to many new words in this modern era. These are the words that have always been relevant but it is only now that they have received the traction they deserved. And with the recent campaigns like the #MeToo movement, words like equality, women empowerment, Feminism, Queer, Patriarchy, Sexism etc have become household conversations around the world. But in our quest to understand and use these words in our daily speech, we often end up misusing it. Words “misogyny” and “sexism” are often used interchangeably by even the educated individuals. While the truth is, the two words have different meanings and it is important that we understand this difference.

Sexism And Misogyny Are Not The Same

In order to join the movement of dismantling patriarchy, you first need to understand every relevant terminology.
In order to join the movement of dismantling patriarchy, you first need to understand every relevant terminology.

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The two words have a lot in common like they both affect women in negative ways but still, they are different when you come to understand about it. It is important to understand the difference because you cannot fight against something you do not completely understand. Thus, it is very crucial that we understand these two terms as separate and distinct.

According to the Dictionary.com; in essence, the word sexism is defined as “discrimination based on sex or gender, or the belief that men are superior to women.” A person can be sexist either consciously or subconsciously, especially when it comes to the economic, political, or social discrimination of women.

On the other hand, according to Cornell philosophy professor Kate Manne, “Misogyny is defined as social systems or environments where women face hostility and hatred because they’re women in a man’s world”. It’s about controlling and punishing women who challenge male dominance. Misogyny rewards women who reinforce the status quo and punishes those who don’t.

In simple words, sexism is the ideology that promotes and justifies inequality against women, but misogyny enforces it whenever there’s a protest against it. Every misogynist is a sexist but a sexist may or may not be a misogynist.

What About Patriarchy?

A patriarchal society consists of a male-dominated power structure throughout organized society and in individual relationships.
A patriarchal society consists of a male-dominated power structure throughout organized society and in individual relationships.

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Patriarchy is the granddad of both sexism and misogyny. The terms like sexism and misogyny exist and are relevant because of the existence of a patriarchal society. According to the London Feminist Network, “Patriarchy is the term used to describe the society in which we live today, characterized by current and historic unequal power relations between women and men whereby women are systematically disadvantaged and oppressed”. So basically, a patriarchal society consists of a male-dominated power structure throughout organized society and in individual relationships. It is manifested in the values, attitudes, customs, expectations, and institutions of the society, and it is maintained through the process of socialization.

As more and more people continue to discuss and understand words like misogyny and sexism, patriarchy will continue to be questioned and analyzed. The very first step to unlearn and deconstruct the existence of these words is to truly understand the meaning and application of these words.