(All quotes are from Jack Holland’s A Brief History of Misogyny)
“It was a battle for the ultimate mechanism of control within a woman’s body—her reproductive cycle. For a woman, this right is the most crucial of all, and the key to achieving real autonomy. Misogyn denies her autonomy; her subordination depends on the lack of it.” (p237) Well-put.
“Before, men had women more or less at their mercy in deciding whether or not to employ condoms, the most common contraceptive device. In theory, of course, a woman could refuse to have intercourse with a man unless he wore one, but in practice men bullied, coerced, bllackmailed or otherwise pressurized women into taking risks for the sake of the man’s pleasure.” (p238) Which is why men should never be trusted with any sort of competing goods decision: they think that their ten seconds of pleasure (or, as is often the case, relief) outweighs a woman’s nine months of pregnancy, seven-plus hours of labour (with various physical injuries, temporary and permanent, up to and including death) (as well as the emotional pain due to forced motherhood), five years of round-the-clock vigilance and nurturing, and another ten years of care.
“When I told people I was writing a history of misogyny, I got two distinct responses and they were divided along gender lines. From women came an expression of eager curiosity about what I had found. But from those men who knew what the word ‘misogyny’ meant—” (p268) Stop right there. Because that pretty much says it all.
“What history teaches us about misogyny can be summed up in four words: pervasive, persistent, pernicious, and protean.” (p270) Again, well-put.
“Had the victims of [Gary Ridgeway’s] murderous rampage been Jews or African Americans, there would have been a national alarm sounded, and acres of print covered with soul-searching questions about the state of race relations in the United States as we enter a new millennium. But the actions of a Ridgeway, or a Jack the Ripper, are usually left to a psychiatrist to explain. Their urge to kill women is seen as an aberration when in truth it is simply an intensification of a commonplace prejudice.” (p271)