What is political misogyny?

Dr. Suzanne Dovi

Given the number of women newly elected to the U.S. Congress in 2018, and given the number of women on the current Democratic list of contenders for 2020, the subject to be discussed at the July 20 meeting of the Democratic Club of Quail Creek is most fitting, political misogyny. What is it, and can it affect our elections?

Our speaker, Dr. Suzanne Dovi, is an associate professor of the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona. She earned her Ph.D. from Princeton University, a Master of Arts from Georgetown University and a Master of Literature from Trinity College, Dublin. Dr. Dovi’s research interests include democratic theory, representation (especially of historically disadvantaged groups), feminist theory and human rights.

Suzanne Dovi writes, “Within political science there has been a recent push to study the growing violence targeting women in politics. Mona Krook and Juliana Restropin Sanin have attributed this rise in violence to the backlash against women’s political progress. In other words, they interpret the violence against women in politics as misogynist.”

In addition, she asks, what is misogyny? “Misogyny is often mistaken for a psychological condition, specifically, as the ‘undifferentiated hatred towards all women.’ Rejecting this definition, Kate Manne (2017) has recently argued that misogyny is ‘the law enforcement branch of a patriarchal order.’ In other words, misogyny is better understood as a system of constraints that sanction non-compliant women.”

Suzanne Dovi concludes, “While the literature on misogyny holds many important lessons, it fails to address the contradictory ways that it functions in politics as well as how it produces uncivil behavior and attitudes against women in politics.” In this talk, Suzanne Dovi offers a different understanding of political misogyny and, drawing on recent research, discusses what citizens can do about fighting misogyny.

DCQC invites you to hear Suzanne Dovi speak on this fascinating topic on July 20 at 3:00 p.m. in the Silver Room, Madera Clubhouse.