In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss misogyny – why do we hate women and why do we allow it to occur?
First a quick update:
**** Charlie Sheen – a misogynist? – Read the transcript of the interview that I gave to a reporter from the NY Daily Mail about Charlie Sheen who was hospitalized after allegedly being high on cocaine, hiring a prostitute and becoming enraged and trashing the suite at the Plaza hotel in New York.
Now, let’s talk about women haters, the origins of misogyny and why we give free passes to misogynists and men who commit acts of violence against women.
Charlie Sheen is a famous actor who has become equally famous for his behavior off-screen and on-screen. He has an extensive resume with drugs, prostitutes, violence against women and run-ins with the law. He pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife, Brooke Mueller last Christmas; Charlie Sheen sat on her, strangled her, and held a knife to her throat on Christmas day. Brooke Mueller, his third wife, told police he had pulled a knife on her and threatened to have her killed; Sheen pleaded guilty to misdemeanor third degree assault. When Charlie Sheen was called to testify in the trial of “Hollywood Madame” Heidi Fleiss, he admitted that he was a frequent customer of Fleiss’ call girl service, spending over 50,000 dollars on the services of prostitutes. And just yesterday, Charlie Sheen was released from hospital after allegedly being high on cocaine, hiring a prostitute and becoming enraged and trashing the suite at the Plaza hotel in New York. No charges were laid.
I told Bill Hutchinson from the NY Daily Mail that Charlie Sheen’s history of mistreating women and patronizing prostitutes are signs of misogyny. When you’re violent toward women that means you have deep-seated rage and anger at women. Further when a man is paying a prostitute, it implies and signifies that he doesn’t respect women; he is lured by his desire for control and power.
But this article is not about Charlie Sheen, it is though, about misogyny. And Charlie Sheen’s behavior is clearly misogynistic. The point is that he continues to get away with it; he was ordered into rehab for assaulting his wife, rather than being sent to jail; CBS renewed his contract for his TV show, “Two and a half men”, paying him 1.7 million dollars an episode.
Meanwhile, while Charlie Sheen continues to be welcomed as the bad boy in society and in Hollywood, Mel Gibson has been cut off – the cast and crew voted against allowing him to appear in film, The Hangover 2. Charlie Sheen was found guilty of assault but there have been no charges against Mel Gibson for allegedly hitting his girlfriend Oksana, and yet, Sheen hasn’t been cut off. Why? Mel Gibson was guilty of making racist remarks and racism is considered a much worse crime, a more evil deed than hitting a woman.
From where did we get our stamp of approval for misogyny? How did we make it okay to be abusive to women?
Pat Bond is a woman who was impregnated and abandoned by a Catholic priest but cannot get funding for her son’s brain cancer treatments. In fact, she and Father Willenborg lived in secrecy as lovers for five years. In public he was the parish priest but in private he and Pat Bond lived as husband and wife, and eventually they had a son together. When the church found out, they tried to hide what the priest did by agreeing to pay Ms. Bond child support, as long as she also signed a confidentiality agreement. But today, the response from the Franciscan order, who never asked the priest to leave the ministry, is that they have already given enough financial support – far beyond what the law would require.”
Some of the trail of misogyny can be traced back to mythology and religion, and our concept of God as being male.
In Greek mythology, the human race had already existed before the creation of women which was described as a peaceful, autonomous existence as a companion to the gods. Thus women were secondary, and when we believe that God is a man or male, and that it is woman who is responsible for original sin, then we also make women inferior.
From my book: “Finding God – Spiritual Strategies to Help YOU Find Happiness, Fulfillment and Inner Peace”:
“Either way, in my opinion it makes little sense to see God as a man or as a woman. The term male could only be given to God if another gender such as female existed with God. Many theologians condemned women as inferior and put them all in the same basket as Eve, yet the Devil or Satan is depicted as male. Yet again we are told that Satan was once an angel and angels do not have a gender. Surprisingly, the theologians Tertullian “father of the Western Church” (160-220 AD) and Augustine both castigated all women as evil temptresses, an eternal danger to mankind, and yet it was Satan who allegedly was the first to rebel against God.
The point here is that even 21st century society – both men and women – still view women as inferior, as scapegoats, and according to some religions women must be submissive to men. Meanwhile, women support and play into misogyny by expressing self-loathing for their own bodies as being imperfect, needing to stay young and be perfect, needing plastic surgery or continual work striving to seek cultural acceptance because her body is never good enough.
And unfortunately, women are also guilty of promoting misogyny. As I explained to Hollie McKay of FOXnews.com in reference to the recent controversial photo shoot for GQ magazine of Glee actresses dressed as sexually provocative school girls:
Young women posing suggestively as school girls impact all women by promoting the ideal that the younger the woman, the more appealing she is.
“Although the actresses [in the 'Glee' shoot] are adults, they are dressed as schoolgirls. This promotes and drives the male obsession and desire for younger and younger women,” explained relationship expert Patrick Wanis, PhD. “The GQ ‘Glee’ photo shoot also sends the message to women that if you want to be attractive and appealing to men, then you need to be really young – a teenager – and sexual.”
The third element to misogyny is our decision to reward bad boy behavior, and yes, this is done by men and women alike.
We show favoritism towards Charlie Sheen when we watch him weekly on his TV show “Two and half men” and for almost 7 years; we welcome his TV character and welcome him in life as a bad boy but we refuse to see him as a man who has abused a woman, a man who cannot control his behavior or drug habits, and, we refuse to see him as an irresponsible father. The reality of his abuse, of his violence against a woman, is ignored because people generally seem to like him, to find him affable, viewing him as basically just a boy who is slightly wild and has not yet grown up.
Oh, we say, “He’s just a bad boy. It’s not his fault. He’s that little rebel. He’s what we all wish we could still be, 17 years of age and breaking the rules.” But he’s not 17. He’s a married man who’s a father of children and unfortunately, we’re happy to keep watching him on TV as the person that he is outside of the TV. In other words, his TV character is just an imitation of his real life character. He’s a bad boy and the problem is that we keep rewarding his behavior.
As I wrote in my article, “Is racism more important than violence against women?”
The most significant and critical point is that the incidents of Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen have, instead of highlighting the issue of domestic violence, only served to diminish and undermine our attention to the gravity of domestic violence which affects not only women but also children. Each year, 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner and; half of those perpetrators abuse children in the household.
In conclusion, the answer to eradicating the hatred of women begins with individual choices and by example. What do you teach your sons about how to treat women and what do you teach your daughters about their significance and where their real value is to be found? What example do you show about the way you treat yourself, your body and your intrinsic value?
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist