We live with unrelenting, terrible, normative misogyny. Indeed, the misogyny we inhabit is so pervasive and so unrelenting, that, as I remarked to a friend, Audre Lorde’s essays from the 70s and 80s feel much too present, much too relevant. It is not simply that we are dealing with an ugly remnant that every so often reminds us of an even uglier time. Rather, it is that the ugliness of then, cloaked in masculine benevolence, is too much with us. And we seem to have lost the ability to recognize it, to name it, to respond to it.
At least this is the way it feels.
I use “banal misogyny” because I want to register something about the moment we inhabit. Something about our ability and desire to see gender work, to see gender differentiation insist on diminishing, infantilizing, and degrading women. It has become too easy to be a…
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