Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny
Misogyny is a hot topic, yet it's often misunderstood. What is misogyny, exactly? Who deserves to be called a misogynist? How does misogyny contrast with sexism, and why is it prone to persist --or increase-- even when sexist gender roles are waning? This book is an exploration of misogyny in public life and politics, by the moral philosopher and writer Kate Manne. It argues that misogyny should not be understood primarily in terms of the hatred or hostility some men feel toward all or most women. Rather, it's primarily about controlling, policing, punishing, and exiling the "bad" women who challenge male dominance. And it's compatible with rewarding "the good ones," and singling out other women to serve as warnings to those who are out of order. It's also common for women to serve as scapegoats, be burned as witches, and treated as pariahs.
Manne examines recent and current events such as the Isla Vista killings by Elliot Rodger, the case of the convicted serial rapist Daniel Holtzclaw, who preyed on African-American women as a police officer in Oklahoma City, Rush Limbaugh's diatribe against Sandra Fluke, and the "misogyny speech" of Julia Gillard, then Prime Minister of Australia, which went viral on YouTube. The book shows how these events, among others, set the stage for the 2016 US presidential election. Not only was the misogyny leveled against Hillary Clinton predictable in both quantity and quality, Manne argues it was predictable that many people would be prepared to forgive and forget regarding Donald Trump's history of sexual assault and harassment. For this, Manne argues, is misogyny's oft-overlooked and equally pernicious underbelly: exonerating or showing "himpathy" for the comparatively privileged men who dominate, threaten, and silence women.
Winner of Book of the Year 2017, pick by Cordelia Fine, The Big Issue Dozen Most Memorable Books of 2017, Book Party, The Washington Post Books of the Year 2017, chosen by Carrie Tirado Bramen, Times Higher Education 7 Bitch-Approved Must Reads for November , Bitch Magazine 10 Favorite Books of 2017, Chuck Mertz, This is Hell podcast Best Philosophy Books in 2017, honorable mention, Nigel Warburton, Five Books.
Kate Manne is an assistant professor of philosophy at Cornell University, having previously been a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows from 2011-2013. She works in moral, social, and feminist philosophy. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Huffington Post, and The New Philosopher, as well as academic journals. Her lead essay for a forum on misogyny in The Boston Review was one of their '25 most-loved essays' for 2016. She has also been a winner of the American Philosophical Association (APA)'s annual op-ed contest.