Here’s my simple recipe for increasing your effectiveness in fighting against misogyny. Replace “misogyny” with racism or any other form of bigotry (there are so many!) and it should still work.
1. Admit that misogynists exist. There are probably more than you think there are.
2. Observe these people who genuinely feel hostility or contempt towards women just because they are women. Pay attention to how they speak and act. If it helps, you can start with the more obvious examples.
3. Avoid speaking and acting similarly to how misogynists act. Even if it’s something that you don’t necessarily perceive as being connected to misogyny, by avoiding that behavior/joke/epithet, by avoiding it, you will decrease the amount of cover currently enjoyed by those who sincerely and actively hate women. And you will make it easier for women to tell you apart from them.
Pretty simple, yes? Except that unless you’ve been both subjected to misogyny yourself and also have deliberately tried to understand it, you’re likely to be inept at detecting it. That’s because sexism and misogyny are not always obvious, especially when they’re not aimed at you. If they were obvious, don’t you think we’d have solved the whole gender equality thing already? So, if you’re in doubt, take a cue from those who have, not by any choice of their own, but because of circumstances forced upon them by society, been able to collect data about how misogynists behave: women. And feminists–misogynists really hate feminists and often reserve the worst of their abuse for them. Please note: not all feminists are women, and not all misogynists are men.