Three emotions, all infused by fear, play a role in today’s misogyny. The most obvious is anger — at women making demands, speaking up, in general standing in the way of unearned male privilege. Women were once good mothers and good wives, props and supports for male ambition, the idea goes –but here they are asserting themselves in the workplace. Here they are daring to speak about their histories of sexual abuse at the hands of powerful men. It’s okay for women to charge strangers with rape, especially if the rapist is of inferior social status. But to dare to accuse the powerful is to assail a bastion of privilege to which men still cling.
Coupled with anger is envy. All over the world, women are seeing unprecedented success in higher education, holding a majority of university seats. In our nation many universities quietly practice affirmative action for males with inferior scores, to achieve a “gender balance” that is sometimes dictated by commitment to male sports teams, given Title IX’s mandate of proportional funding.
But men still feel that women are taking “their” places in college classes, in professional schools. A few years ago, top law schools endured an ugly envy wave, when a site that purported to give advice on law school admissions quickly became a porn site in which named female law students were woven into fictional and grossly false pornographic narratives by anonymous males, suggesting their utter unsuitability for the practice of law (despite their fine scores and grades).