“The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
When you met Mansoor, he told you “you’re not like other girls”. You asked him what made you different and he couldn’t point at it. Despite this, you felt special, extraordinary and content with being “the chosen one”.
He felt overly impressed by your mediocre achievements as if he hadn’t imagined that you would be able to fix a light bulb, lift weights or win a video game. He zeroed in on you, putting on his best behaviour, mesmerizing you with his charismatic appearance, and drawing you in with his exaggerated sense of accomplishment until you felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
Draw out a seat and read on. That prince charming of yours could just be a toad putting up an appearance. But how would you know?
According to Berit Brogaard. author of “On Romantic Love”, misogynists are hard to spot and can even come across as pro-women. It is an unconscious trait formed from early life and planted deep in their brain. But their actions always reveal it.
Coined from the Greek words “miso”, to hate and “gyne” woman, a misogynist is simple and straightforward a “woman hater”. Even in today’s world of equal rights and shifting gender roles, misogynists are everywhere.
You may wonder how a misogynist can show you so much love and care, bringing you flowers or whisking you away on a romantic vacation. But their fundamental feelings of superiority over women, insecurity over women’s successes and derision for all things feminine would soon show up as permanent barriers to genuine intimacy and commitment.
Here’s how to know if a man is a misogynist:
1. Virgin/Whore Complex
He is quick to categorize women into saints or sinners based on his own superficially preconceived ideals. He believes his judgment to be true and treats women accordingly. He doesn’t believe in treating “others” as he would love to be treated. And that is why he shows no sympathy for rape victims; after all, they only reaped the reward of what they put forward.
2. Control Freak
He believes he has the right to control the thoughts and actions of women. From what to wear to what to eat and even where to go on vacation, he singularly makes all the decisions. In order to sustain his ‘superior‘ status and the general feeling of being in charge of any situation and in control of the woman herself, he expresses anger when a woman says “no” and ensures that he gets what he wants, sometimes teasing his way and sometimes being overly aggressive about it.
He is also overly possessive; withholding money or affection as punishment for “offending” him. He makes you give up your own true personality for his pleasure. Each time you give something up, he makes you give up another until you become a stranger to yourself. This toxic pattern worsens over time, leaving irreparable scars in you.
3. The Blame Game
He makes you feel sorry for everything you didn’t do wrong. He blames you for his mistakes and misfortunes. He didn’t pass the interview because you kept him awake in the night. He fell sick because you weren’t hygienic enough. He cheated because you lost your feminine charm. Every time you try to please him, you end up getting blamed until you lose your self-worth.
Because of his feeling of superiority, being competitive in a professional or social setting is not far-fetched. How can a woman surpass him in any field? He wants you to tone down your intelligence so that you won’t come off as smarter than him. He wants you to be quiet while he is talking. He wants you to quit your job because you earn higher than him. He downplays your successes and exaggerates his accomplishments. He will only support you in a role that is very inferior to his.
There is not a chance in the world that this man will stick with you. Sadly, he sees women as “disposable” property and favours polygamy especially because his religion supports it. He is selfish and doesn’t think about the future implications of his actions on your relationship. Loyalty is not a character trait you would find in misogynistic men.
6. False Promises
Because misogynistic men don’t value women, they only make fake promises to keep the woman around longer. They know right away that there’s no weight to their words because you’re not worthy of such commitment.
7. Sexually Selfish
Misogynistic men only think about themselves during sex. They don’t care about female pleasure because they see women as sexual objects for their own pleasure and nothing more. This is also a mechanism through which they show that they’re both physically and mentally in control
In a religious setting, A misogynist believes he has the “God-given” right to control the thoughts and actions of a woman, to demand total obedience and punish her when she resists. He uses religious texts to justify his actions and obsesses over the “duties” of the wife.
If you’re in a relationship with a man who has some of these character traits, seek help immediately and know that nothing good comes out of such a relationship.
Wardah Abbas is the Founding Editor of The Muslim Women Times. She is a Lawyer, Writer and Social Justice activist.