Mobilizing Misogyny

Publication Date: 
March 2017
The Public Eye, Winter 2017, Political Research Associates


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Unquestionably, President Donald Trump’s demonstrated enthusiasm for catering to the Christian Right on abortion—and obliterating their memory of his pro-choice past—spells trouble for reproductive rights. But that’s not the only threat to women under Trump’s new order. Trump’s campaign distinguished itself from those of other Republican candidates by its attacks on women: regularly insulting women’s appearances or behavior and defending physical and sexual harassment and violence against them. Sometimes, Trump’s threatening and offensive rhetoric directly targeted his Democratic opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first woman major party nominee for president, from calling her a “nasty woman” to suggesting there might be a Second Amendment “remedy” in case of her election.1

This rhetoric energized members of a secular misogynist Right—such as the men’s rights movement and, more recently, the “Alt Right”—that has flourished online since the 1990s. And it found no pushback from a brand of conservative, libertarian “feminism”—another ’90s development—that provides a dangerously legitimizing female face for misogynist ideology centered on overt hostility to women and the promulgation of rape culture.

Effectively fighting mobilizations like those emboldened by Trump’s election requires accurately understanding their composition—one in which misogyny thrives alongside, and intertwined with, racism.

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