Bob Herbert: Politics and Mysogyny

Gender issues are suddenly in the news, and Bob Herbert is wondering where we’ve all been.  As in, could people in the US possibly just be beginning to think about these issues?  If so, what’s the big deal?

If there was ever a story that deserved more coverage by the news media, it’s the dark persistence of misogyny in America. Sexism in its myriad destructive forms permeates nearly every aspect of American life. For many men, it’s the true national pastime, much bigger than baseball or football.

The pervasive violence against women is not even reported as revealing the mysogyny:

The cable news channels revel in stories about women (almost always young and attractive) who come to a gruesome end at the hands of violent men. The stories seldom, if ever, raise the issue of misogyny, which permeates not just the crimes themselves, but the coverage as well.

The media is perfectly aware that there are hate crimes that occur against racial and sexual minorities, even if its record of accurate reporting leaves much to be desired. But crimes against women don’t seem to count as hate crimes, Herbert is telling us.

We’ve become so used to the disrespectful, degrading, contemptuous and even violent treatment of women that we hardly notice it. Staggering amounts of violence are unleashed against women and girls every day. Fashionable ads in mainstream publications play off of that violence, exploiting themes of death and dismemberment, female submissiveness and child pornography.

If we’ve opened the door to the issue of sexism in the presidential campaign, then let’s have at it. It’s a big and important issue that deserves much more than lip service.

Given the mysogyny that so many women face every day, let’s forget about who’s playing the gender card. What is much more important is that a wise parent may well feel that girls need to be brought up to be wary and fearful.

Sex and Gender Conference: Lancaster

Thinking About the Sex/Gender Distinction

A one-day conference hosted by Lancaster University Philosophy DepartmentWith support from the Royal Institute of Philosophy

Friday 8th February 2008

Venue: Lancaster University, Institute for Advanced Studies MR 2/3


  • 10.00 welcome and introductory remarks
  • 10.10-11.20 Jennifer Saul (Sheffield): ‘Woman’ as a contextually varying term
  • 11.20-12.30 Kathleen Lennon (Hull): Judith Butler on sex/gender and the morphological imaginary
  • 12.30-1.30 lunch (own arrangements)
  • 1.30-2.40 Stella Sandford (Middlesex: Sex and genos in Plato’s Republic
  • 2.40-3.50 Mari Mikkola (Stirling): Do women really exist?
  • 3.50-4.15 tea break (own arrangements)
  • 4.15-5.00 roundtable discussion on the sex/gender distinction and related matters: participants include Gill Howie, Celia Roberts and others
  • 5.45- drinks and dinner

    Attendance at this workshop is free. If you intend to attend and have not already contacted theorganiser, Alison Stone, to say so then please let her know (a.stone AT