The Misogynist Boyfriend: Can He Be Saved?

We all know the guy. Not awful enough fit the definition of a fuckboy but not woke enough to be lifetime partner material. He says random uneducated remarks that make you want to pull your hair out but you’re not quite sure how and when to correct him. Can he be saved? Here are some tips to educate your man (or any man in your life) and when to call it quits.

First let’s define misogyny. Oxford defines it as “the dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.” See that part about ingrained? That’s your boyfriend. That’s all of our boyfriends, husbands, brothers and fathers. Since the history of forever men have been raised to purposely step on or over women in pursuit of position in the patriarchy. Men are taught they are supposed to lead, provide and rule. This unapologetic quest for power spills over generations and leaves no room for anything but misogyny. In order to sustain power over women they must find ways to undermine, belittle and beat them down. Now let’s talk about your man before we talk about his behavior.

Does your man RESPECT you? Does he VALUE you as a person and as a woman? Is he WILLING to listen to you and really hear what you’re saying? Is he OPEN-MINDED enough to admit that he could be wrong? These are all qualities of a good understanding man worth putting the extra effort into. Remember, this is all going against everything he’s ever been taught and he may need correcting more than once to get it. (I feel like I’m talking about training a dog here but hey if the collar fits.)

Next it’s time to address his words and actions. We’re talking about tiny displays of misogyny here not slapping a woman’s ass in front of you or openly calling women sluts and hoes in conversation in which case dump that motherfucker NOW.

One slightly more irritating but less intrusive display of misogyny is calling women “females.” This is problematic. This dehumanizes women in saying that we are only female, like any other species in the animal kingdom opposite of male who’s sole purpose is to procreate. This takes away our womanhood and personhood and reduces us to just “female.” You don’t see men going around called each other males do you? When you hear your man saying female just tell him that female is offensive and you’d like him to use woman instead. Simple. If he doesn’t stop using female that’s strike one.

Another problematic point I hear from men is the tight/loose pussy argument. Some men believe the more sex a woman has had or the more partners she’s had the looser her vagina is. Some men even say they’ve heard other women say this so it MUST be true. The problem with this that it discredits women in relation to how many other men she’s “given” herself to. See that’s the thing about men, they don’t want other men to have power over their women or god forbid their women to have their own power over themselves. (Research the origins of chivalry.) But if by chance you got one of the good ones with whom you aren’t in a power struggle, explain to him that this just isn’t the case. Anatomically the vagina is a muscle that expands and contracts during sex. It can expand enough to allow the birth of a baby and contract back to its original size. (Yes, really!) There is no mathematical algorithm to determine how many penises will cause a womans vagina to become loose, but things that CAN cause a difference in tightness is age, childbirth, and arousal. The vagina actually becomes larger when it is aroused so it can accommodate a penis. If you’ve lost him by this point during anatomy class all is not lost. Atleast explain to him that because a woman said it is so, doesn’t make it true. Educate him on internalized misogyny and how women can begin to hate themselves and other women after being exposed to such trope for so long. Specify if the woman he spoke to said “a smaller penis feels different after a larger penis” or “my pussy is looser after so.” Because the first can be true. You can FEEL a difference but it doesn’t make any lasting changes  (thank god.) If he still refuses to believe this can’t possibly be true, tell him your number isn’t really 5 it’s 500, remind him he’s still cumming, and kick him in the dick. Strike two.

The last common form of misogyny I’m going to address is the policing of womens bodies. Wether they make remarks about how gross it is that women let their armpit hair grow or make jokes of “you’re not wearing that out” let them know this is not ok. You can go my route of saying “women don’t perform for you and don’t owe you shit” or you can explain to him that he shouldn’t be focusing on things that he thinks are gross/ make him uncomfortable much less voicing his opinion about it. Tell him there’s more to a person or woman than their outward appearance and there’s a reason behind every choice she has made with it. Maybe she wants to fight consumerism and only wears second hand clothing. Maybe she doesn’t want to be subjected to the toxicity of aluminum and phalates so she chooses not to wear deodorant. It doesn’t matter. Women are allowed to do whatever they want to do whenever they want to do it and don’t need men’s approval. Ask him why women daring to step outside of the box makes him uncomfortable. Challenge him to question himself and his gut reaction to things. If he continues to voice his opinion on womens bodies that’s strike three. He’s out.

There are thousands of ways misogyny presents itself in every day life and it may not always occur to you when it’s happening. An indicator may just be an icky feeling after he says something in particular. Don’t be afraid to say that his statement made you uncomfortable or isn’t true. If your man is really as great as you say he is he will listen and try to fix his behavior. Remember, teaching men about misogyny is like teaching white people about racism; it doesn’t affect them and they benefit from it, so changing has to be an active mindful affair. It will take time for him to grasp the concept and until he fully understands the impact his words have on hurting the women in his life, he won’t change. If at first you don’t succeed, try try try again, and if he refuses to retire his misogynistic ways, you can always try a tighter static correction collar or #dumphim.

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