Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Thoughts on Misogyny, Misandry & Sexism

Misogyny: The hatred of women. Misandry: The hatred of men. Sexism: The belief that one gender is superior to the other.

A few years ago, when Sedna and Eris arrived on the astrological scene, two recently discovered celestial bodies both given names of goddesses from mythology, some saw it as an indication that, at last, women or at least "the feminine" would come more to the fore in world events. Bearing in mind, though, that Eris was Greek goddess of strife and discord, Sedna goddess of the Inuit underworld and sea creatures, who went through all kinds of tribulations before being killed and sinking to the bottom of the sea, portents were not too good!

C.E.O. Carter in his Encyclopedia of Psychological Astrology has no entry for misogyny, misandry or sexism. I suspect because in the mid 1920s when the book was written these were not yet perceived as problems; or if so, in certain enlightened circles, an author - even an astrologer - might shy away from voicing an opinion on the matter, if selling books and maintaining a reputation was the aim. I've noticed quite a bit of sexism arising in casual turns of phrase in old astrology books I've picked up in antique/junk stores.

If a tendency to be misogynist/misandrist/sexist could be found in a natal chart (which I doubt) it'd stem from Mars and Moon (representing male and female respectively) and antagonistic aspects between them.

But there's this, too:

Allied with Venus in honourable positions Saturn makes his subjects haters of women, lovers of antiquity, solitary, unpleasant to meet, unambitious, hating the beautiful, ...
— Ptolemy, 'Of the Quality of the Soul', 2nd century

I wonder if there's a word for the hatred of those who embrace misogyny, misandry or sexism? If so - that's moi! If we simply have to hate something let's hate war, poverty, injustice, cruelty.....Alright - I know someone's already thinking that the greatest perpetrators of those ills have traditionally been males. But ALL males were not involved. Hatred, if at all, should be directed at the actual perpetrators not at a whole gender.

Misandry is not nearly as common a word as misogyny....in fact I'd wager many people don't even know what it means, but that doesn't mean hatred of men doesn't exist. Rabid feminists display what many see as hatred of men. That would be truly ironic if so!

True misogyny and misandry are, I guess, more rare than commonly thought. They are often, maybe always, the result of life experiences, "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" as The Bard called 'em. Some people can quickly get over unfortunate and uncomfortable experiences such as rejection, the cruelty of abuse, or something even worse. Some never do though, and that's completely understandable. Still, even in the worst possible case, spreading hatred to cover a whole gender isn't going to take away the pain; in fact I suspect it only serves to keep the pain alive.

Sexism, an overall -ism covering both misogyny and misandry, can and does operate in the absence of both. What often passes for misogyny/misandry could be more accurately described as sexism, which does not entail actual hatred. The prevention of women from voting didn't spring from hatred of women. It sprang from the idea that the genders are not equal. Tacky comedians' jokes at the expense of women (or men) could, in a few cases, spring from misogyny or misandry, but more often simply from sexism.
The little rift between the sexes is astonishingly widened by simply teaching one set of catchwords to the girls and another to the boys. ~Robert Louis Stevenson
All this pitting of sex against sex, of quality against quality; all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority, belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are 'sides,' and it is necessary for one side to beat another side, and of the utmost importance to walk up to a platform and receive from the hands of the Headmaster himself a highly ornamental pot.
— Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own)


Anonymous said...

GP: I must disagree (and protest), having Mars opposite Moon in my natal H. (not always an easy situation). I think that what you wanted to say T. is that gender conflict you describe is more attributable to stressed SUN/MOON and not Mars/Moon.

As a "usually well behaved European" I was once cursed by a woman in N.Y. as, when entering an elevator, I let her enter first.

As for Mars opposite one's natal Moon: in my case at least it greatly increases my interest in women. As a sideline (not necessarily a scientific interpretation): I was always attracted towards sportive, active women. My first wife e.g. was a pilot.

Twilight said...

Anonymous/Gian Paul ~~~ Hmmm, well GP I don't necessarily see oppositions as antagonistic. I think they're sometimes balancing factors. Squares are real challenges.

I really don't know what configuration might properly represent gender conflict. Mars is usually thought of as "the male" representative, and Venus "the female", but Moon is also female, and some say Sun is masculine, but I see Sun as genderless. Probably wrong in that!

Anyway, all that aside - I doubt that gender conflicts, such as those mentioned in the post, are identifiable in a natal chart. They are most likely the result of life experiences - 99% anyway.

anyjazz said...

Good thoughtful post. You know me. I don’t even say the word “hate” if I possibly avoid it. It’s just my way of setting a standard for my behavior. That end of the scale between love and hate is more or less off limits to me. It’s a waste of life. And life is too short as it is.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~~~ Yes, I know how you feel. You're right - life's too short.

Even so, I cannot ignore things that I see as being very, very wrong. I have to hate injustice, cruelty, greed, inequality - and I can't help it. I don't hate any person or any group of people, though....only the results of their actions or inactions.

Wizron said...

Here is my take on this topic. Saturn represents Christianity to a large extent, in that Christianity has strict rules which have to be adhered to (the ten commandments were chiseled onto stone - Saturn).

Early christianity also forbade women from speaking in church, and women had to wear head coverings over their heads while in church.

Saturn is the father figure, therefore paternal in nature. On the other hand, Lilith represents the Great Goddess, from the Matriarchical times, which came before the Patriarchical times of Christianity.

I believe that Lilith represents female sexuality, and is also strongly connected to the liberation of women (note women's liberation campaigner Germaine Greer, who has Lilith rising in the first house).

I have also noted that women with Saturn-Lilith conjunctions or oppositions often have difficulty bringing out their wild and raw female charisteristics due to fears of society's disapproval, or because of what other people think (Saturn).

Twilight said...

Wizron ~~ Hi! Thanks for your thoughts on this.

Hmmmm - Yes I understand what you're getting at, and I agree with your identification of male and female astro- representatives.

Re Saturn and Christianity thought- the 10 Commandments were not Christian - weren't they part of Jewish tradition - long before Christ entered the scene?
Certainly the 10 Commandments were Saturnian though!

The laws regarding women and how they should dress and act were purely man-made - male made I should say. All Saturnian, and greatly detrimental to women....aimed at keeping them in their supposed place....secondary citizens.

Lilith - well, yes, in mythology she represents a female archetype with erotic overtones. Black Moon Lilith placement (a calculated point on a natal chart) might have some significance relating to gender arguments. I haven't researched it enough to be sure, but wouldn't discount it.

I have written a couple of posts on
BML in the past - will have to look them up again, to refresh my memory.