Misogynoir: How To Spot That Ish and How To Address It (Gym Edition)

Let's get right into it.

Let's Define It

Misogyny- hatred of women/femmes.

Ex: Mansplaining, sl*t shaming, tone-policing.

Misogynoir-hatred towards black women/femmes.

Ex: tone-policing, not respecting space (touching hair or "curves"), shaming them for being "ghetto" or "bald", referring to dark skinned women as "cockroaches", sapphire complex, belittling a black woman/femme by comparing her to a white woman. 

In other words, misogynoir is where racism and sexism meet. 

Both are often hard to spot because they are so inherent in our cultures. These practices often seep into the consciousness of women and we are often guilty of internal misogyny and misogynoir.

Let's talk about it in context of the gym. Let me tell you my experience.

So let's talk about the first time I entered the gym. My sister and I walked in and the desk attendant ( a white man) looked confused as if wondering why we were there. He hesitated and then asked how he could help and of course we explained why. 

When we did meet the guy who was supposed to help us get registered. He hit us with the code switch of life, throwing in " y'alls" and "homeboy/girl" a little too often. Quite frequently he would explain things to us that he assumed we didn't know. He made assumptions that I am positive he would not have made towards a white woman or man. Of course the notion is that we must not know anything or have been educated enough to understand basic concepts of a gym.

Oh I forgot to mention, one of the first questions he asked us was "what do you do for a living? I just want to know, you know just to make sure that you would be able to pay for your membership."  Things get even better guys, he looked at us (well mostly me) suggestively and literally says "Or will someone else be paying your membership fee?" (the sapphire complex)

Let's talk about black men who purposely ignore or are rude to me but once they see a white woman they often warm up and smile. Or about the fact that black men PURPOSELY move closer to a white woman on a machine or in the weight room the moment they see me or another black woman and often give *the look* (y'all know what I'm talking about).

Now, I'm sure you're thinking "sis, this is not misogyny. You are overreacting". Well that's understandable, but stay with me here:

How To Spot It:

If you're on social media at all, you have probably seen any or all of the above examples. It's as simple as this: if you have to wonder "would he/she have said that to a man or a white woman?" Then that act is most likely misogynoir. 

How To Address It:

 I'm not for shaming people (victims) who don't "act", but I do think, if possible, you should say something.

You guys already know that I'm not here to tell you what you need to do, but here are a few suggestions:

To be completely honest with you, just the simple fact of recognizing it and taking note of it is enough. 

Now if you're a bold one like me, you could  very simply  ask "would you have asked that if I were a ____ woman or  a ______man? Watch them squirm and get defensive. They might go home and go on a Facebook rant and get reinforcement from their cousins who think BET is racist, buuuut, I guarantee they will be more careful next time. Although them being "careful" should not be the ultimate outcome, it's definitely a start. The goal by all means is to  get these people to recognize how they are contributing to the cycle of damage and stopping it.

Thanks for reading.



I can't end this post however without addressing what has happened this past week. Since we are talking about misogynoir, I would like to put a spotlight on Korryn Gaines, a Baltimore native who was killed when her house was being raided by  the S.W.A.T team. It's actually amazing (for lack of a better word) just how different the public, reacts when a black woman is killed by  law enforcement....






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