two responses to female oppression

5913f35c-31cd-11e8-9cf6-8fd69d6da6df4Afua Hirsch at the TLS:

The tendency of society to crush the power and potential of its women and girls, wrote Betty Friedan, unforgettably, in The Feminine Mystique(1963), is “the problem that has no name”. Finding a name, and then a language with which to discuss this problem, a history in which to ground it, and an army with which to defeat it, has been the work of the half-century since. There is still much work to be done, and some of the sharpest female minds are turning their intellectual attention to the task. In Women and Power: A manifesto, Mary Beard reveals the ancient roots of misogyny with new and characteristic clarity. Meanwhile, Kate Manne makes the logic of misogyny her subject in Down Girl.

Although Beard’s subject matter comes first, chronologically speaking – concerned, as her book is, with narratives established millennia ago that set the tone for Western civilization – it’s Down Girl that needs to be read first, since it unpicks not just the content of misogyny as a social reality, but the theory of misogyny as a concept. Manne’s book is a forensic and clever analysis which provides the cogs and wheels of how the system of patriarchal policing works, in our minds, as well as in our world. Remarkably, there has never been a book-length treatment on the logic of misogyny until now.