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Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  2,330 ratings  ·  369 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 338 pages
Published November 8th 2017 by Oxford University Press (first published October 9th 2017)
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Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to think for himself or herself, particularly women and feminists and evolved men.
This is a brilliant academic treatise on man's inhumanity to woman. It should be required reading for every feminist. After a thorough treatment of academic and historical instances of misogyny, the author somewhat despairs of its ever being replaced by egalitarian discourse, much less behavior. I remember reading once that men are afraid that women will laugh at them, whereas women are afraid that men will kill them. Manne reviews several instances where husbands killed their wives basically ou ...more
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, feminism
Essential reading.
Kate Manne’s Down Girl (The Logic of Misogyny) is a brilliant philosophical treatise on misogyny and the systemic ways a patriarchal hegemony policies, punishes and effectively controls women. This is an academic work and can be quite dense, but Manne has a gift of exploring a whole array of complex ideas in conjunction with each other in a way that is precise, informative and enlightening. This is an essential work in feminist studies, particularly with the efficiency she exam
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
At first, I resisted her idea that misogyny had nothing to do with seeing women as wholly human, but she convinced me. I also resisted himpathy as an explanation to domestic violence, but she convinced me on this too and on and on. This is an excellent contemplation of misogyny and Manne is a rigorous thinker. I have thought about this book so many times since I read it. It also made me want to rage and scream at the end as Manne sees no hope for recovery. I’m sort of with her. There’s another g ...more
If you are human, you should read this book. Manne's book is academic treatise on Misogyny, and is anything but dry. While I'm not convinced she had to include the look at literature (such as her analysis of Mockingbird), but her look at court cases (her reading of the Brock Turner case is brilliant) and politics is well worth the price.

Seriously, read this book.
Ross Blocher
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny is a challenging read, but one worth the invested effort. Kate Manne offers what she describes as the "first full length work from the viewpoint of analytic feminist philosophy", which might be the first clue that this is written in Academese (more on that later), requiring intense focus. Manne distinguishes sexism (defined here as a branch of patriarchal ideology that justifies and rationalizes patriarchal social order) from misogyny (the system that polices and ...more
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome read. Points out a bunch of weird confusing contradictions in gender politics, then explains them. Argues that misogyny isn't about hating women - it's about punishing "bad" women. "good" women like subservient housewives, the "cool girlfriend", etc, don't experience misogyny. Women who go against patriarchal norms (e.g. activists, women working in masculine fields, women who don't give men enough attention/emotional labor/sex/etc) experience the kind of "down, girl!" responses that puni ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
All my feminist peeps: You're going to want to read this book. Manne does a fantastic job laying out the (il)logic of misogyny in ways you've definitely experienced and might have reflected on, but haven't seen put together in this way. All my non-feminist peeps: You especially should read this, but you won't. ...more
Tonstant Weader
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Update: The author contacted me and told me that the galley I read and reviewed was changed significantly before publication and that many of my criticisms were addressed before publication. I will be reading the published copy soon and may revise my review. 

Down Girl is a measured consideration of misogyny, not as the simplistic hatred of women, but the structural, systemic structures and beliefs that serve to keep women down, in their place. It is an academic book, despite its title that sugge
Mark Lewis
Feb 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
I hit the wall on this book at about page 50. Perhaps I'm just a philistine, ill-equipped to handle the academic tone, the esoteric allusions, and the deft opaqueness the author seems to prize. I was met by this couplet just before I drove over the cliff.

"I take it that a social milieu counts as patriarchal insofar as certain kinds of institutions or social structures both proliferate and enjoy widespread support within it--from, for example, the state,as well as material resources, communal val
Emma Sea
Nov 15, 2017 marked it as to-read
there's an interesting adapted excerpt from this here, highlighting the link between insecure bodily boundaries and misogyny ...more
Jules Findlay
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an example of exceptional and accessible analytical philosophy. The subject matter is so much needed for these times, and so much appreciated. The method is antithetical to current popular thinkers (Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris, Steven Pinker et al), who are often mistaken as paradigmatic philosophy by, for the most part, men. Manne takes the actual tools of the philosophical discipline, distilling from descriptive and conceptual inquiry a well argued, timely, and hugely useful normative ...more
Rachel S
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, brilliant book. Highly sophisticated writing that, while somewhat academic in style, is very readable.

The most illuminating part for me is, in Chapter 4, with how she clearly break down the underlying dynamics between men and women in contemporary patriarchal society, and how many (men and women) have been conditioned to expect women to give “feminine-coded goods” to men while men are taught to be entitled to “masculine-coded goods”; women who infringe on this (knowingly or unknowingl
reading is my hustle
This is an academic (though not dry) book about misogyny in public life & politics. Manne distinguishes between sexism (ideology) vs. misogyny (system that polices) of women. She is at her best when writing about current events (having read Know My Name: A Memoir I was interested in her thoughts on the Brock Turner case). She does an outstanding job relaying the contradictions of gender politics & my own internal dialogue surprised me at different times while reading this information. Two stando ...more
Lisa Marflak
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, not only in framing the current state of misogyny and lack of progress in this area, but also opened my eyes to my own limitations and misogyny. Required reading for every feminist.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: purchased-gifted
Read. This. Book.
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. It was not an easy or a quick read, but it relied on such interesting narratives and made so many surprising, provocative points that I often stayed up reading well past my bedtime because I truly found it hard to put down.

Much of the book was validating and affirming rather than challenging; I've spent a lot of years now attempting to explain misogyny to people who aren't really sure it A) exists or B) harms women all that much if it does exist, so especially in the first thi
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism, favorites
Seeing all the reviews that criticize the book for being too difficult or too academic, I should say that I’m not in the field of academic feminism, or whatever it is this may be called, and I can in no way state that I understand complex or academic language better than the general reader either, as English is not even my main language. Yet I had no trouble understanding the book as a whole, and I found the academic jargon which most people described as making the book “unreadable” to be educat ...more
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Originally published on my book blog,

Kate Manne is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Cornell University. Why am I leading with that in this review? Because knowing that informs everything about her book Down Girl: The Logic Of Misogyny. She’s a brilliant academic thinker and researcher. First and foremost, this is a scholarly book. More importantly, it’s utterly brilliant.

Manne upends the typical thinking on misogyny. If asked to define it, most of us would say it means me
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is an excellent visitation on how to define misogyny. I found it useful for crystallizing my own thoughts, discussing with other people, and picking apart misogyny so that I could address it even in discussion with the relatively closed-minded. Sometimes the philosophy writing style shone thru (no other discipline uses the word 'contra'!!!!) but I found the level of rigor to be pleasant and enlightening. Recommended reading for those of us who loooooove talking/learning about misogyny, ...more
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: girl-power
While this book is on a really important topic that more people need to understand, unfortunately it is unreadable. There are many better written and edited books on the general topic of women's place and treatment in the world. Not recommended.

I was going to pick out some quotes to illustrate the unreadability, but too hard to choose from the many examples.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In her conclusion, Manne discusses the need first to identify misogyny as a *moral* problem and second to convince people that it is a *serious* moral problem, one that has a bodycount. She acknowledges feeling discouraged that progress on either score has been slow and meager: the people eager to discuss misogyny as a serious moral problem are likely to believe people--largely women--who did not need to be convinced in the first place.

Manne's book obviously does not stand alone, but it provide
Paul Crider
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's par for the course to talk about sexist and patriarchal "norms" and "values," but it's much less common in my experience to really dig into what this means. If patriarchy is really normative then we'd expect to see moral reactions to transgressions against these norms. This is the central argument of Kate Manne's Down Girl: the Logic of Misogyny, a book that clarifies how there can be so much misogyny in a world that by many measures has made significant strides toward women's equality. Ind ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
God. Damn. As a person who studied philosophy at a quasi-monastic Catholic liberal arts school where the curriculum gave us a thorough exposure to the grand old male authors of yore dunking on women casually and as a matter of course, while featuring exactly zero feminist texts---or any texts for that matter---that even ADDRESSED misogyny, this book has been like another liberal education in itself.
David Bjelland
A work of philosophy that, unlike so many, wants passionately to convince and be understood, and to speak to pressing problems that everyone has some experience of (whether they choose to see the problem as such or wish it away with post hoc rationalizations).

Crisp, thorough, intellectually honest, persuasive, and even musical at times, though never to the detriment of the central thesis.

This is some of the most powerful feminist writing I've read; can't recommend enough.
Morgan Schulman
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm giving it four stars because it's very well researched and well written, and organizes things that I have already well learned for sure in my 40.99 years as a woman on earth. However if you are not the type to think about these issues on a regular basis, it should be pretty eye-opening. ...more
Nov 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: awards, non-fiction
Manne is a moral and analytic philosopher, and offers an examination of misogyny through that lens. She differentiates between sexism and misogyny (though acknowledges that they are often intertwined), suggesting that sexism is the belief that women are innately inferior to men in certain ways (less able leaders, less capable of intellectual rigor, more emotional, naturally more nurturing, etc), and suggests that misogyny is not the hatred of women qua women, but a tool of the patriarchy to poli ...more
Joshua Stein
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As is often the case, a little disclaimer is warranted. I've had some social interaction with Kate Manne, including some discussion of the content of the book and the authorial choices while I was reading.

Manne's Down Girl is an instructive and accessible piece of writing on a problematic and potent topic. There are a few technical areas where I think philosophers and other academics (myself included) would do well to follow Manne's model. The most obvious to me (because it is something I strugg
Rachel Croce
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I want to say so much about this book. But you will just have to read it to know.

It took a while to digest and I’m still doing so. But I love books like this because I think it is so very important to be thinking of, talking about, and increasing awareness to how underlying core attitudes play out in our every social/relational interactions. Misogyny is described by Manne as “the system that operates within a patriarchal social order to police and enforce women’s subordination and to uphold male
A challenging read at times, with both deep analytical analysis and a tough subject matter, dissecting what is going on behind the scenes in our society and identifying the core of “toxic masculinity”. A Must Read!
Amy Johns
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Five+ stars for this fabulous text.
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Kate Manne is an associate 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 venues including The New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, The Huffington Post, New York Magazine/The Cut, The Washington Post, Politico, as well as a ...more

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