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Misogynies

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  292 ratings  ·  35 reviews
In this collection of stinging essays Joan Smith explores the phenomenon of women-hating in politics, religion, history, literature, and popular culture on both sides of the Atlantic. A fascinating collection from the mind of a scholar, educator, and observer of our society, MISOGYNIES will make readers of both genders wonder more about the excuses for hatred of women we c ...more
Paperback, 209 pages
Published March 10th 1992 by Ballantine Books (first published April 30th 1990)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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Larry Bassett
Misogyny: A hatred of women.
This is a book about lies – the lies men tell about women.

This book is negative and difficult for a man to read. It rips apart some movies that I have seen and books that I have read. Joan Smith makes me doubt my own awareness and feminism and leaves me knowing I have a lot to learn. I have lived my entire life in a world that not only discriminates against women but actually denigrates them. Angry books like this can jar me out of my complacency.

This book was firs
...more
Zanna
Sep 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism
Written in 1989, this book was partly inspired, Smith says, by the Yorkshire Ripper case. Her report on and analysis of the story is the final essay in this collection, and draws together some of its general themes. In trying to explain why men hate, blame, assault, rape and murder women, Smith looks for misogyny in many places, including classical Athens, where women were not allowed out of the house, in the writers of classicists (the 'Women in Togas' essay deals amusingly with the invisibilit ...more
Erika
I read this book when it was first published in the late 1980s, and it completely changed my way of thinking as a feminist. What a relief! It wasn't all my fault: the creepy men in the streets, underground, verbal / physical abuse before there was such a things as discussions about sexual harassment. Excellent book: I have read, re-read, translated, given away copies, bought new ones... Certainly one of the most important reads of my life.
Octavia Cade
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism
Chilling collection of essays on the societal hatred of women, inspired by the author's journalistic experience on the Yorkshire Ripper case. Some of the examples in here are truly appalling, and while I like to think there's been improvement in some areas - surely judges could not get away with some of those rulings today! - in others it's the same old, same old.

Necessary reading, I think, but it does tend to chip away at one's faith in humanity. Not that I had so much of that to begin with, bu
...more
Elizabeth
Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Katie
I read both feminist books by Joan Smith in college (Mysogynies and Different for Girls). While not the best feminist books out there - they're easily accessible to the reader, and have important concepts in an easy-to-grasp format.
Lucynell
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
There's a quote at the beginning of this landmark collection of essays that is as shocking to me today as it was when I first read it years ago. It's from Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch (1970). "Women," Germaine Greer says "have very little idea of how much men hate them." I appreciate that the monolithic statement serves best the purpose of driving home an essential truth but I would change it around a bit to go something like this- It must be shocking for any woman to see, and most will, h ...more
Rebecca Woolston
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Although many of the essays in this book are powerful and demonstrate how ingrained hatred and fear of the feminine are in all areas of culture, I do believe Smith's approaches to feminism to be outdated and often present an ignorance present in a great deal of other third wave feminist writings. Smith's discussion of gender is incredibly binary and the experiences of non-binary and trans women are completely ignored. As well as this, despite protesting against misogyny, Smith exercises what I b ...more
Crystal
Go figure, the Yorkshire Ripper essay was the one just before the postscript.

Extremely dated. Some modern classics convincingly exposed as sexist. Extremely focused on the gender binary. I'd advise avoiding this unless you want to see her eviscerate Kundera, Styron, etc. or are interested in the Yorkshire Ripper.

CW: sexism, whorephobia, homophobia, slut shaming, etc., etc.
Ari
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very good, and very terrifying, i wish i could copy and paste the entire postscript (:Boys Will Be Boys) as a summary of the book, but I can't, but you can look it up, it's on google books.
Immaculate Misconceptions was my absolute favourite.
Deb
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in my early 20s and it was my first proper 'feminist' book. It's excellent in its analysis of the situations described. The chapter about the 'Yorkshire Ripper' in particular has stayed with me ever since. Brilliant writing.
James Selby
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Other than the essay on the air force pilots, I thought the analysis in this collection very perceptive and relevant. The last essay, on the topic of the Yorkshire Ripper, was fascinating and insightful especially.
Nettie Grey
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
It's definitely interesting. Some essays more so than others. Worth a look.
Aishath Nadha
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lot of food for thought here. Really enjoyed the in depth analysis of how misogyny is prevalent in literature.
Sharon
Sep 15, 2019 added it
Shelves: feminism, 1980-s
DNF some parts interesting and enlightening but definitely felt dated...may go back and read later
Peg Tittle
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely a must-read. Read it when it came out, read it again.
Nick Arnold
I found this a difficult read, maybe because some of the literary criticism stuff went over my head. Nonetheless the presence of an underweaving misogyny in our society is clear. I would like to think that things have improved in the 30 years since the book was fist written, but I'm not so sure
Brian Palmer
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, feminism
The author spends time developing and tracing misogynies (or, at the least, a misogynistic interpretation) in various narratives. By far the strongest chapters are the ones dealing with "real-world" events -- the Yorkshire murders, judges chastising women from the bench, and my favorite of the bunch, attacking historians' misleading presentations of Roman poets' lovers.

The author also develops interpretations of Sophie's Choice, Presumed Innocent, Fatal Attraction and other works, highlighting w
...more
Ang Quine
I bought this book to read about the feminist take on the Yorkshire Ripper case. That was just one short chapter. The book was otherwise made up of very selective examples of misogyny from throughout history. I didn't feel much of it was relevant to life now and much of the author's opinions left a nasty taste in my mouth. Some good ideas, but a lot of huge and irrelevant leaps to paint a picture of a world full to bursting with misogyny which just doesn't ring true. I would have preferred to re ...more
Joanna Darrell
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I downloaded this book for my kindle after listening to a recording of Joan for some research I was doing and I'm so pleased I did. Not only does it give an excellent appraisal of women's representation in a number of fields, including politics, arts and media but the questions it asks and answers or at least insight it provides make a fascinating read. If you care about women, their equality, justice and freedom of expression, this is a book to engage with and absorb. Best of all it does it in ...more
Gayle Noble
The author looks at various elements of western culture, from women wearing togas in Rome to 1980s films and books, and examines what they actually say about the view of women. The most interesting chapter was the one on the Yorkshire Ripper. I don't know much about the case but it was disconcerting to see how the assumptions by those investigating about the 'type' of woman targetted led to further victims. The chapter on the songs and stories written by men in the military were particularly wor ...more
Selim
Mar 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
What a horrible book. I'm all for feminism and women's empowerment, and I believe that misogyny has held many incredible women back - and still does in a way or another. This book, though, only selects convenient examples from history's long battle with misogyny, exaggerates, and reads too much into almost everything - turning the entire world into a dark, women-hating, hopeless place. Dropped it at page 60.
Laura Cooper
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is of it's time, as it begins and ends with the misogyny of the Yorkshire Ripper, which is less relevant to younger readers, but misogynistic murder sadly is not of it's time. But it is a series of good, sharp essays on the innumerable ways that misogyny has manifested in Western Society, from the Roman era to Catholicism to Hollywood. A good introduction to what feminism is countering.
Sarah Rogers
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I remember reading this collection of essays on publication as a young woman for whom the memories of an adolescence lived in the shadow of Peter Sutcliffe's attacks on women were still very real. Reading it again now as a prelude to my next read, it still feels relevant and depressingly as if we haven't moved on a huge amount, certainly not as much as could have been expected.
Anna Marie
May 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Really Really interesting. I skipped a couple essays but mostly they were eye-opening and awful, particularly as it was written in the 1980s/90s and many "misogynies" are still prevalent today.
But good. And good lucid writing.
Julie
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is really quite depressing how 25 years later this book is still relevant and vital reading. Some of the specifics may have changed but the misogyny is still there. My parenting is often hit and miss but I do so hope that I have not brought up two boy who hate women.
Karli Cude
Apr 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A book of essays, joan smith really sheds light on the realsim and history of crimes against women. It is not for the faint of heart, but any feminist will learn from it.
Umi
May 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
good view on every aspect of human, on how women is looking at
Rosie Powell
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I didn't agree with all of Smith's views, I found her essays very enlightening and grounding. An important book for anyone to read I think.
David
Blunt. Well written. And still relevant. An ambitious exploration in the patterns of violence against women.
Serena
Oct 22, 2017 added it
Shelves: 2017-reads
Dated in some places, but largely timeless and utterly essential in our times.
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Joan Alison Smith is an English novelist, journalist and human rights activist, who is a former chair of the Writers in Prison committee in the English section of International PEN. In 2003 she was offered the MBE for her services to PEN, but refused the award. Joan Smith is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society.

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