BY Julianne Minervini
The “Hating Women – It’s Been Around a Long Time” presentation took place on Nov. 6 in the Martire Theater. The event was presented by The Office of Mission and Catholic Identity, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Human Journey Colloquia Series. The featured speakers were Professor June-Ann Greeley from the Languages and Literatures department and Professor Christina Taylor from the Psychology department.
“All women should be equal, and your physicality should not determine anything about you,” said Greeley. “I think that the entire ‘Heart vs. Hate’ project has been essential for our SHU community to address the rampant rise of hate speech, hate groups, divisive and prejudicial behaviors in our contemporary society. As a university founded on the principles of Catholic social justice teachings, we are obliged to offer opportunities for reasoned and compassionate dialogue and discussion about the many topics and values that seem to be dividing and dissociating us.”
Taylor spoke to the audience about the idea of misogyny. She explained that misogyny is hatred towards women.
“Our colloquium on misogyny is a starting place that will hopefully spur students to explore their own attitudes about gender with the goal of supporting gender equality and ending degrading attitudes toward women,” said Taylor. “I hope that SHU students will gain understanding of how ancient, pervasive and entrenched prejudice against women is. In all of human history – all societies that we know about – women have occupied a subordinated status. The lower status of women and their exclusion from power is shown today throughout the world. We see its continuing influence in our own politics.”
Taylor gave some examples of what misogynist people do—including the many levels in this such as extermination, physical, verbal, psychological attacks, discrimination, avoidance and anti-locution.
Taylor said, “We are bringing this topic to campus because it is fundamentally a social justice issue for both women and men. The issues of gender inequality that influence us all and which serve to reinforce and maintain women’s subordinated status, include the inequities in pay that are even worse for minority women and the sexual objectification of women in the media in which women are portrayed in unrealistic and distorted ways. The significant drop in self-esteem that girls experience around the time of puberty and which is not seen in boys is related to the influence of these sexualized images.”
Taylor spoke about avoidance and how it connected to segregation of women during menstruation. She also mentioned Pence Rule avoidance, which is when male administrators avoid female colleagues in the workplace.
Taylor said, “Hatred of women has also come to be recognized as an important factor in the mass shootings that are occurring with greater regularity in the USA. Male-perpetrated mass murders, from the very first instance of the tower massacres in Texas through those this year, have been linked to domestic violence and hatred of women. Statistics in a 2018 report from the United Nations show that the murder of women worldwide, called ‘femicide,’ is done at the hands of someone they know – intimate partners or other family members. It is clearly an extreme example of misogynistic violence against women.”
Junior Madison Hernandez said, “I thought this presentation was very insightful and gave me a new outlook on feminism.”
Taylor said, “The sexual objectification of women in the media, in which women are portrayed in unrealistic and distorted ways, have been shown to negatively affect how girls and women look at themselves. The significant drop in self-esteem that girls experience around the time of puberty (which is not seen in boys) is related to the influence of these sexualized images.”
Taylor discussed physical, verbal, and psychological attacks on women and said that around 35 percent of women around the world have experienced some sort of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
Professor Kelly Marino said, “I really enjoyed the guest speakers and felt it was very valuable. The discussion was extremely thoughtful and interesting.”
Greeley mentioned that she believes that if we want to see change it is going to have to come from the young people.
“I wanted to address misogyny specifically for several reasons,” said Greeley, “not the least of which is the rampant sexism that is still prevalent in our society and the need to address the misogyny that underscores the sexist behaviors, language, imagery and attitudes. If it is not discussed and examined seriously and authentically, then it persists, like any other hatred or form of discrimination. Ceasing to be angry or biased against another, eradicating feelings of hatred or loathing of another, all must be an individual act, a personal awakening and decision.”