Hating women vs. just thinking women aren't good as men
Living in Texas, I am most acquainted with sexists and misogynists and I can tell the difference. Most sexists and haters are varying degrees of rednecks. Rednecks, in all their simplicity, make it easy to illustrate the difference. Redneckis sexistimas (I'm really bad at Latin jokes so correct me or bite me, whatever) is the most common breed and they are they are the easiest to deal with. Your average sexist redneck likes women, but they don't get women because their sexism blocks their thinking. Think Hank Hill. He likes his wife and respects her, but at a certain level he just wants her to capitulate to him. The best episode of "King of the Hill" that illustrated this is when Peggy and Hank got a Harley to ride cross-country. Hank wouldn't give the driver's seat to Peggy and it pissed her off eventually. And then he broke his glasses and she had to drive back and he had a great time.
My dad is the Hank Hill kind of sexist. His identity as a male is sewn up in symbolic gestures of inequality in women, but his love and admiration of women overwhelms such weak gestures at times. My father has undertaken feminist causes without knowing it, since he supposedly dislikes feminists. (Except his beloved daughter, of course.) But he will come out batting for a woman he likes or loves if he thinks she's being mistreated in a moment.
The story I like to tell is this: My father played basketball in high school. Many of his teammates played on UTEP's team in the 60's. (First intergrated basketball team. Kicked ass. They are making a movie.) He takes basketball very seriously. So when women's ball became big in college and professionally, he was all for it. (A small part of me remembers what he and his black fellows went through in the 60's and I wonder if he sees ball as a great way to enter into larger society.) And it got personal. Even more personal.
A couple he and his wife were close to have a daughter who towered at six foot and was a hell of a ball player. My father doted on her, since his own daughters didn't give two shits about basketball. He went to every game and rooted for the not-daughter daughter and got increasingly frustrated with the ref who would call foul on the girl when she was fouled by girls smaller than herself, choosing to punish the larger girl for being larger. One night, my dad blew it and rushed down onto the court and chewed the ref out, saying that the girl only had a chance and college and the pros if she got fair calls on her high school court.
My dad is sexist. He thinks men should excel and women should stay home, in theory. But a woman he loves will be supported as if she were a man.
A misogynist is a different thing. After my mom divorced my dad she married Redneckis Misogyniam. And that's a different breed entirely and uttery unshakable.
I learned a lot about misogyny from my stepdad. He loved my mother, my sister, and me. But he screwed himself with is misogyny. I still pity him for that.
To the proper misogynist, all thing female are suspect. And all things that women do are done for men. Every behavior that he didn't like, he would ask me if I wanted future boyfriends to see that and if they did, they woulnd't want me. My mother says I threatened him. He wanted to know a lot about music, a topic I could hold forth on for hours. He would swear I was making shit up. I would get confused....
He loved me, and he told me that I wasn't thin enough. (By today's standards I wore a size 4.) He meant well. He wanted a man who was worth something to want me so I could lounge around reading and writing. He liked that I read and I wrote. He wanted to send me to college but it seemed clear to him that my love of reading and writing would work out best if I married a man who wanted those things in a wife. He was afraid that if I wasn't a waif, no man worth having would have me.
I was smart-mouthed and pissed him off. After my mom left him, she said that I threatened him, that he couldn't take a woman smarter than him, much less a much younger woman smarter than him. I learned a lesson then and there--some men don't like smart women and you shouldn't make excuses for those men.
But he loved me. When I graduated college, he sent presents. My mother was bent out of shape, worried that he was still out for her. He might have been, in part. But there they were, presents. And a note saying he was proud. He is a misogynist, angry at me for having a mouth on me and angry at my mother for putting her foot down on the cheating. But he loves us, too.
I saw misogyny ruin a man's life. I see sexism playing with men's abilities to be happy. I tell men in my life not to be sexist and I sound like a scold. But I want them to be happy...