Gutted to discover that my BF is a misogynist.

(57 Posts)
YouAreMyRain Sun 08-Dec-13 21:44:07

He believes that women who do manual work should be paid less as they tend to be given the easier jobs which are less physically demanding.

He thinks that life/business/politics is now a completely level playing field for women. I pointed out the lack of female world leaders compared to men, his response is that it is due to less women aspiring to be prime minister etc.

I also pointed out that business done eg on the golf course excludes women. He thinks that women should take up golf.

I have accidentally had a baby with this man. I am beyond gutted, I am devastated. I'm not sure I can continue in this relationship now hmm

Vatta Sun 08-Dec-13 22:29:23

Well...that sounds ignorant, mainly wilfully naive, rather than downright nasty IYSWIM?

I'd be very upset/angry if my DH came out with any of that, but if you have a child with your boyfriend I suppose it's worth trying to salvage this.

Maybe you could give him some books/articles to read - tell him you disagree with him, are upset by his views, and he needs to learn a bit more about these issues then discuss it again?

TheDoctrineOfSanta Sun 08-Dec-13 23:02:47

Sometimes people can appreciate their own prejudice more when it's "converted" to racism - anything he's come out with where this might help?

whatdoesittake48 Mon 09-Dec-13 11:44:37

the problem is that men hate to feel guilt over these issues. they want to believe that they have achieved what they have through their own merits. To admit that women get a harder deal, it is to admit that he has had it easy.

I understand where you are coming from - but look at it this way. Your OH has never had first hand experience of these things. he has never had to fight for something just because of his gender. he is looking at things in a very sanitised way because that is his experience.

men tend to think that women should just adjust the way they work or do things to get ahead - because that it how it works for him. he wants a promotion - he asks for one. it just doesn't occur to him that there are so many barriers for women which prevent us even taking that initial step.

I have had the whole - should women tennis players get paid the same as men argument with my OH too. he just thinks it is fair to get more money for more work. there is no real malice involved in that opinion. he just sees it as being fair enough.

Men seem to think that physical work is harder - therefore men should be paid more. it is a ridiculous argument (it is effort which we should be judged on), but i doubt it is enough to break up over.
if he isn't willing to take the time to understand your point or to at least agree to differ - you have another issue on your hands.

Buy wife work and ask him to read it. Do you have examples in your own life you could point out to him.

My husband had much more sympathy for me when i started to tell him about the everyday sexism experiences I had. he became quite angry about one or two of these in fact.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Mon 09-Dec-13 14:45:32

That 'tennis player' argument is such rot. I point out in such circumstances that sports personalities are not paid by the hour.

If they were:

-women footballers would earn the same as male ones
-cricketers would earn fantastically more than footballers on a 'per match' basis;
-sprinters would earn far less than marathon runners. A tiny fraction in fact!

I also point out that, if a football match suddenly became 85 minutes instead of 90, it wouldn't radically change the workload of a footballer because time spent on the pitch in a match isn't what the workload revolves around.

snowshepherd Mon 09-Dec-13 14:57:07

I think that the women tennis player should play 5 set in the major tournaments. All players should be fined for grunting/screaming.
I think that pay should reflect the public demand/sponsorship. I think that if the men's and women's major tournaments were played separately then you could definitely see a case for paying the men more.
It should be 5 sets all round

scallopsrgreat Mon 09-Dec-13 14:58:23

Plus the workload of a sports person is mainly off pitch/court/arena etc. You may train in different ways to be a sprinter rather than a marathon runner but the effort put in is probably similar. Male footballers on the other hand...

scallopsrgreat Mon 09-Dec-13 14:59:38

That was supposed to follow on from Penguins post.

The women want 5 sets snowshepherd. It is the establishment that doesn't.

NigellasLeftNostril Mon 09-Dec-13 15:00:40

maybe he has a point that women tend to be less power crazed and therefore under-represented in politics?
try to discuss these things and educate him a bit rather than leaving him surely?
or are there other things about him that you don't like?
does he "help" in the house or do his fair share?

NigellasLeftNostril Mon 09-Dec-13 15:03:04

also, 'misogynist' means that he hates women btw.
from the Greek 'miso' = hate
gynai = woman
does he really though? how does he speak of his mother?

snowshepherd Mon 09-Dec-13 15:04:22

Yes, scallop, 5 set would be better to watch too. In the area of sport I don't mind differences in pay

scallopsrgreat Mon 09-Dec-13 15:06:40

I'm sure you don't snowshepherd.

snowshepherd Mon 09-Dec-13 15:11:36

It's an entertainment product.

slug Mon 09-Dec-13 15:41:23

I'd be tempted to start Beschdel testing everything he watches and making sure he knows the results. I got into the habit a while ago of counting the number of women in the sports pages and pointing it out every day. If all else fails, a daily reading of Everyday sexism complete with a running commentary should start to bring it home to him.

sashh Mon 09-Dec-13 15:55:27


I'm not a tennis fan but I seem to remember last year's men's final was only 3 sets. Does he think the payment should be less?


Ask you dp to buy you membership at Muirfield for Xmas. Or at the Royal & Ancient golf club or Royal St. Georges.

Then ask him if it would be OK for these clubs to exclude men who are black? After all golf is a mainly white man's choice of hobby it won't affect many non white men.

If that's not OK then why is it OK to ban someone because they have a vagina, that's not even on show.

LeBFG Mon 09-Dec-13 19:35:33

I almost don't believe the OP actually. The things she's said hardly make her partner a misogynist! Needs eyes opening a bit but not misogynistic.

The tennis comparison doesn't follow. People are paid to do manual labour based purely on outcome. If I want someone to barrow a load of stone I pay in relation to work done: that's why I would pay a 15 year old less than a fully grown man, it could take a 15yo twice as long to do!!! And so following this reasoning, I would pay men (as a class) less than women (as a class). If I were to pay a particularly strong woman to do it and she could shift the same per hour (and I have a female friend in mind who does a very physical job) she should be paid the same as the men. So this particular point for me rests with what exactly OP's partner said in relation to this. The tennis comparison does not work for me.

YouAreMyRain Mon 09-Dec-13 19:36:25

He is good hearted otherwise, I just feel so disappointed and let down and hurt that he can't see what the world is really like for women. (He already has a daughter!)

It's so long since I had to argue the basics with anyone hmm my fault for assuming that he would already be educated on the subject I suppose.

I will try and discuss this with him but I'm honestly not sure I could be in a relationship with him if he can't see my POV.

When it comes to tennis, I also think that women should play 5 sets, it's patronising and insulting to suggest they can only manage 3. I doubt it will change because it would lengthen the Wimbledon fortnight too much to have extra games.

YouAreMyRain Mon 09-Dec-13 19:42:47

I agree with the PP about the manual work aspect if it's a like for like role. Industry can't be expected to subsidise people who produce less/take longer on a production line for example. It's not economically viable.

He is talking about a situation where there are a variety of manual jobs, some more strenuous, some less so. Women typically do the less strenuous roles. My argument is that these roles need filling so they can either be done by a woman or by someone less physically able such as an older man.

Should the older man be paid less?

YouAreMyRain Mon 09-Dec-13 19:45:29

I use the word misogynist because I have always assumed that to not understand a woman's struggle means that the person has made no mental effort to understand, therefore does not think women worthy of consideration etc. in this case maybe I have used it wrongly.

BasilCranberrySauceEater Mon 09-Dec-13 20:58:36

"try to discuss these things and educate him a bit rather than leaving him surely?"


Seriously? That's a genuine question.

Why is it worse to leave someone than not to leave them? Why is the basic assumption that being in a relationship, is better than not being in one?

And why the assumption that it is up to the OP to educate him rather than him having take responsibility for his own education?

If he were racist and thought that the reason black men were less likely to be in directorial roles than white men, must be because of their lifestyle choices or because they weren't suited to business or something, should the OP stay and educate him? Or would we all assume he ought to have become a reasonable human being by the time he's an adult?

CailinDana Mon 09-Dec-13 22:37:20

I have had something of a similar problem with my dh down through the years. He's not a misogynist, he just lives in a world where his privilege is so automatic and accepted that he had to have it pointed out very clearly for him to see it. The important thing is, he has listened to me and he has accepted the fact that situations he has viewed as "normal" are actually subtly (or not so subtly) biased against women. Even my MIL who was brought up in an incredibly chauvinistic situation and who married and has been ground down by an out and out misogynist is starting to make feminist comments!

CailinDana Mon 09-Dec-13 22:45:42

Posted too soon. Said misogynist (my FIL ) now refuses to stayin my house. Thesupposed reason is that he doesn't sleep well. I think it's because both my Dh and MIL no longer pander to his misogyny when I'm around. Where once they might laugh uncomfortably at yet another sexist comment/joke they now just do as I do and pretend he hasn't spoken. FIL therefore just ends up looking like a twat.
My point is, it's possible to change ingrained attitudes provided that the person is willing to address those attitudes honestly.
Bcse - people generally prefer not to walk away from close relationships without exploring ways to improve the relationship.

AnythingNotEverything Mon 09-Dec-13 22:47:58

He sounds naive or ignorant to me. But then I had to explain recently to DH that doctors and nurses had different roles in a hospital, rather than doctors being male and women being nurses. He genuinely thought they did the same job. Bless.

BasilCranberrySauceEater Mon 09-Dec-13 22:55:34

Yes but the OP doesn't give the impression that it is a close relationship.

I don't know why I've got that impression, I guess because I'm assuming that this sort of low-level misogyny reveals itself quite early on in a relationship.

And she talks about "accidentally" having a baby with this man. Which implies to me that she realises the relationship is not as close or desirable as she may have thought it was.

CailinDana Mon 09-Dec-13 23:01:25

Well she calls him her boyfriend, which is a close relationship in my book.

However I do agree with you in principle. If my DH hadn't been willing to change his attitudes then our relationship wouldn't have survived.

BasilCranberrySauceEater Mon 09-Dec-13 23:05:32

Boyfriend covers a multitude of sins in my book.

It may be your partner of 30 years or your lover of 6 weeks or the man you lived with for 5 years before having a baby with him, who turns out to be a total stranger, someone you realise you didn't know at all and are not 100% sure you actually like.

TBH I would never assume any relationship is "close". Even parents. But perhaps I'm too cautious.

YouAreMyRain Mon 09-Dec-13 23:15:27

Accidentally had a baby because I believed myself to be infertile, and we have been together only 18 months!

YouAreMyRain Mon 09-Dec-13 23:16:34

I agree that I don't believe it is my role to educate him, I think he should (have) educate(d) himself.

BasilCranberrySauceEater Mon 09-Dec-13 23:19:52

18 months isn't long in my book. How old is your baby YAMR?

CailinDana Mon 09-Dec-13 23:20:19

In that case op it seems it's bin time for bf.

Misfitless Mon 09-Dec-13 23:30:41

Misogynist? hmm

IMO the OP's DP has not presented anything to suggest he is a low-level or up-levelled, or any other level of misogynist.

He's maybe a bit ignorant.

This feels a bit blown out of proportion to me.

Seriously, am I really the only one who has thought '...if an acute awareness of feminist issues is top of your list of characteristics in a potential partner and father of your child, that perhaps you've been a bit ignorant, too, OP?


BasilCranberrySauceEater Mon 09-Dec-13 23:37:00

You're probably not the only one who has thought that Misfitless, but you would be wrong to.

Would you think it was OTT to have a dislike of and awareness of racism as a dealbreaker?

You know, if you were going to live with a black person, wouldn't you think it was reasonable to have some kind of awareness of the racism that is still prevalent in society? If you're going to live with a woman, why is it unreasonable to expect the same respect?

YouAreMyRain Mon 09-Dec-13 23:41:09

Baby is 11 weeks old. Accidentally got pg less than a year into our relationship.

crunchypower Mon 09-Dec-13 23:51:33

He will be able to sort it out OP. It's only the pay comment that maybe sexist. Depending on whether he is focusing on energy expended during manual work or gender.

That's if you want to sort it out

Misfitless Tue 10-Dec-13 00:16:30

You have totally misunderstood my post, Basil.

My objection was to the OP's use of the word 'misogynist' to describe her BF.

Not everyone, regardless of their gender, has an in depth understanding and awareness of feminist issues.

The views the BF has expressed are ignorant and sexist.

Being sexist does not equate to being a misogynist.

I was not commenting on whether or not the OP's BF's views should be a deal breaker.

The racism argument is not relevant because I was not suggesting that the BF's expressed views are acceptable; therefore, I do not need you to try and educate me by giving me another example to help me understand.

People shouldn't throw the word 'misogynist' around without good cause, especially if you don't know what it means. It's extremely emotive.

scallopsrgreat Tue 10-Dec-13 09:56:08

Misogynist is a perfectly reasonable word to use. The problem with his views are that they are what keeps the inequality between the sexes going. It is low-level misogyny if you like. Pervasive and mainstream but shows a fundamental lack of respect for women. The belief that if women were just a bit more like men or should have to fit in a world designed for and by men then they'd be equal. Not that the world should accommodate women too.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines misogyny as: dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women. I think that covers what YouAreMyRain's BF is exhibiting.

The thing with misogyny is that because it is so pervasive most people will exhibit some level of misogyny. Doesn't mean to say that the situation is irretrievable or someone won't change their mindset when their conscious is raised. But I don't think that misogyny is all about extreme hatred of all women. And tbh I think it should be used more often. Name the problem.

JoTheHot Tue 10-Dec-13 18:35:58

Misogyny is not defined in terms of the consequences of a given view, but rather in terms of the psychology underlying said views. This is a distinction feminists who bandy the term around at every opportunity don't seem to get. Views are not misogynistic because they harm women, they are misogynistic because they are negative towards women. Believing the playing field is flat is not misogynistic, it's just ignorant. Believing the playing field shouldn't be flat is misogynistic. Do you now see the distinction scallop?

Believing that pay should reflect productivity, and that women and men are treated equally does NOT show a fundamental lack of respect for women. I suppose you could argue that the latter belief is sufficiently ignorant, that it could only be held by someone totally uninterested in the lot of women, and thus presumably lacking respect for women, but that's getting fairly tenuous.

ashesgirl Tue 10-Dec-13 20:02:00

Definitions of misogyny have broadened remarkably in recent years so not surprising there's some disagreement here on whether it is or isn't.

Misfitless Tue 10-Dec-13 20:10:59

Well said Jo.
I stand by my post. We'll just have to agree to disagree, Scallops.

scallopsrgreat Tue 10-Dec-13 20:27:25

Believing that pay should reflect productivity, and that women and men are treated equally Except he didn't say that.

Believing the playing field is flat Except he didn't just say that.

Do you now see the distinction JoTheHot?

BasilCranberrySauceEater Tue 10-Dec-13 20:50:14

The Oxford English Dictionary recently changed the definition of misogyny afair.

I wonder if the OP's primary concern is to nail down whether her boyf is misogynist, sexist or merely pig ignorant though.

scallopsrgreat Tue 10-Dec-13 21:09:20

That's very true Basil! I don't suppose the distinction much matters. His attitude is still there!

Misfitless Tue 10-Dec-13 21:14:27

Well that explains it then!

The one I referred to was the one I bought when I was doing my A-Levels in 1991 a few years back.blush.


Misfitless Tue 10-Dec-13 21:24:05

I think the distinction matters very much.

It can be the difference between being sexist/ignorant/misogynist.

Golddigger Tue 10-Dec-13 21:34:40

The trouble with not educating a partner is that then they remain ignorant. Which isnt often in the best interest of either party. Which can be quite a disaster as evidenced here.

YouAreMyRain Tue 10-Dec-13 21:41:43

I have come to the conclusion that he is ignorant with maybe a pinch of absorbed/unchallenged low level sexism. He does work in a very male dominated industry and has always worked in similar areas.

I am disappointed that he has not yet challenged these views but I don't believe him to be a lost cause. He has never expressed sexist views before and is positive about women being capable and successful, I have had my twat radar set to "super sensitive" and have been very alert to red flags and haven't spotted any. I think that's why I was so shocked and upset. I will talk to him and see how things go. Thank you for all your posts, they have helped me to clarify what's what.

Branleuse Tue 10-Dec-13 21:43:36

doesnt sound like youre that into him tbh.
Is this even a serious post?

Cant you have actual discussions with him and talk about his views and put yours forward?? Thats a fun thing to do in a relationship - yknow, talk about stuff, exchange views, debate.

Ive changed my dps views on loads of things over time, and he has changed my view on things too.

Nobodys perfect

YouAreMyRain Tue 10-Dec-13 21:59:18

I am very into him actually and I do love him and want to be with him. Trouble is that my past experiences make me very jumpy and ready to run at the first sign of twattishness. I didn't feel the need to get all gushy on here as I didn't see my feelings for him as part of the equation, if anything I was worried that they were clouding my judgement of the situation, hence my posting for more neutral responses.

My OP uses the term "gutted" not "miffed" or "slightly disappointed". I felt heartbroken at the thought of breaking up with him. I have spent two days sobbing. I know I am being over sensitive but I have had depression and anxiety in the past, I am aware that I am a high risk for PND and that my history makes me very cautious and emotionally defensive. That's why I value other peoples input.

Misfitless Wed 11-Dec-13 12:22:20

YouAre I had no idea of the strengths of your feelings.

I owe you an apology, I really didn't think you were in love with him, and think I've been a bit flippant, focusing totally on your wording in the title of your thread.

Hope you feel you can work it out if that's what you want.

NotCitrus Wed 11-Dec-13 12:51:26

I wouldn't write him off on the basis of the OP. Yes he's clearly ignorant, but thinking back to when I was say 19,.most men I knew would have said similar - as would half the women of the same age, and quite a few of our female teachers. We were entering a post-sexism world of uni and work, apparently...most are now pretty feminist.

How he reacts when faced with examples of sexism by others would be telling.

Branleuse Thu 12-Dec-13 22:00:08

it is ok to have different viewpoints, as long as hes not a tory (obv)

I dont think you need to panic and be gutted over this. An illusion has been broken, but this is really about communication between you two, and how well you talk and discuss things.

My dp had some dodgy views about some things in the beginning, but we pretty much see eye to eye on most things politically, with the odd heated argument. I didnt choose him as a comrade, I chose him as a partner

AskBasilAboutCranberrySauce Thu 12-Dec-13 22:53:42


I can't imagine ever being in a relationship again, where my partner isn't also my comrade.

There's something about being able to share something you deeply care about, with the person you love and cherish, which as I've got older, I've realised the value of.

I know you don't need it - your partner is your partner and you've got political allies and friends to share political things with - but I think nowadays, I might find that a bit of a gap emotionally. Dunno.

BuffytheElfSquisher Fri 13-Dec-13 14:19:24

I love the new nn Basil. Suits you grin

Loopytiles Fri 13-Dec-13 14:31:59

Does he do his fair share of domestic work and parenting OP? Are you working or planning to return, and if so does he support that?

Inclined to give benefit of doubt if his actions are good iyswim!

grimbletart Fri 13-Dec-13 14:43:17

it is ok to have different viewpoints, as long as hes not a tory (obi)

Like left-wing men don't have a history of being obnoxiously misogynistic. grin

whereisshe Fri 13-Dec-13 14:55:42

I see why you're upset OP. I'd be devastated if my husband genuinely believed that the under-representation of women in positions of power is due to less women aspiring to be prime minister etc. That's SO patronising (not to mention incorrect), and even if it were the case doesn't he think that's a problem? I can see a little light at the end of the tunnel if he's clumsily expressing a view that the world is designed by men for men (and the inherent set up therefore needs to change for greater equality between the sexes), but there's not enough info here to know if that's the case.

The manual labour thing is (to me) a different kind of worrying - is he actually saying that physical effort is the only thing that matters? Because I'd be bloody pissed off with (for example) a bricklayer if they got a wall up in 5 seconds flat but it was completely wonky and then fell down. I can't think of any physical pursuit where strength is the ONLY attribute that matters. If all he sees is the strength aspect, then he's overplaying the muscle side of things (which anyone with more testosterone is going to excel at) and ignoring the nuances - not overtly sexist in itself, but could indicate that he values typically male characteristics over other things (ie thinks being a bloke is great, and doesn't see why non-bloke attributes should be valued).

I hope you can have a sensible chat with him about this sad... Best case, he's just not thought it through and is parroting someone else's views.

Branleuse Fri 13-Dec-13 18:15:07

well i kind of like my dp to be my comrade too, but i dont see that what he says means he is unteachable., He might just have not thought about it much

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