Misognyny has no scientific basis of any kind:

the evidence is of of philogyny — and misandry

 Moxon SP (2018) New Male Studies 7(2), 26-42.

https://newmalestudies.com/OJS/index.php/nms/article/view/282/345

  [This text (below) is in two versions: the first is the full (longer) version of the paper, followed by the version in the journal, which is a precis as a result of a production issue.]

stevemoxon3(at)talktalk.net

Abstract

No published science paper demonstrates misogyny exists. Data on both implicit and explicit gender attitudes shows males substantially favouring females – philogyny – or, at worst, gender neutrality. This is hidden by elision with the wider notion of sexism; but there’s no evidence for hostile sexism, and hypothesised benevolent sexism is fatally flawed in operational definition. The mode whereby sexism supposedly causes harm — stereotyping (stereotype threat) — has been debunked; likewise inter-sexual dominance, removing any theoretical basis. Possible male harm by control is belied in women being found the controlling party. Misogyny / sexism in being defined circularly is unfalsifiable, therefore non-scientific conceptualisation: ideology itself actually hostile sexism (misandry, which is shown to be real but unseen).

Exhaustive literature search produces no science paper (journal-published or otherwise) on the topic of misogyny demonstrating its existence. No science paper shows, however differently labelled, generic profound antipathy or hatred towards women by men; as misogyny nowadays generally is understood (both in popular currency and as explanation in social psychology and other academic literature). This is a relatively new, ideological conceptualisation. Formerly, the common understanding, still current, was/is that some individuals — of both sexes – may hold in contempt the opposite sex in general; typically through such as a series of failed romances. An ancient Greek term, misogyny was coined, along with misanthropy, to denote an unusual anti-social attitude. Tellingly, there was not even mention of misandry, let alone noting it as either unusual or that it was considered anti-social. The ancient Greeks had no such word: according to the Oxford Dictionary there is no record of its usage until the late nineteenth century. The presumption, without if not contrary to evidence, that the ancient Greeks were misogynistic, likely stems from the current understanding that historically women were held to be inferior in some respect. Latterly, the dissemination of feminist thinking has led to this being considered a form of misogyny, but it seems not to be the case, as is outlined here, in introduction to the topic, before beginning an examination of the scientific literature.

Historical supposed misogyny is misinterpretation

The historical notion of female inferiority appears to be misinterpreted through a failure to appreciate that whereas men in the most important respects cannot be compared to women, women can be compared to men. Key female functions –  conception, gestation, giving birth, lactating and maternal complete bonding with offspring (and even what was formerly communal childcare) – are impossible for a male to perform. By contrast, barring insemination male roles, at least in principle and to some if not full extent, can be performed by both sexes. Given no basis at all for comparing men to women – comparing male to female core functions — then men are seen as different from women rather than inferior to them. By contrast, given that there is a basis of comparing women to men, by reason that they can be judged both in female and in male terms, then vis-a-vis males they can be found wanting – even though much less so than correspondingly men would be found wanting judged in opposite-sex terms. Difference here can be seen as quantitative rather than qualitative: by degree. Hence the notion of female inferiority, notwithstanding that in female terms women are supreme beyond any comparison to men, and always are thus regarded because of the fundamental principle of the female being the limiting factor in reproduction. Women can never be considered inferior per se; quite the contrary. So it is that despite women invariably having been held in high regard, at the very same time they could be regarded as inferior.

This paradox is more apparent – and perhaps only then becomes clear – the greater is social scale and complexity, as this facilitates further natural separation between the respective socialities of the sexes: polarisation to the domestic and the civic spheres. As the latter developed into a progressively rarefied locus of male intra-sexual competition, it became ever less hospitable even for the great majority of men, let alone to women. If comparison is to a narrower and narrower top flight of men instead of with men as a whole (in general), then the extent to which women might then appear to fall short in male terms can become still more pronounced. This is intensified by males in comparison to females being intrinsically competitive (Moxon, 2015): men fiercely vie with each other when they feel they can play to their strengths, whilst dropping out of arenas where they realise they may be weak. As has often been pointed out, this leads to a surprising proportion of men who are either very high or very low performers: lots of both geniuses and dunces, as it were. This can be visualised in the distinctly contrasting shapes of normal distribution curves according to sex, almost irrespective of the sort of performance or ability being measured. The male curve shows fat tails both at the top and the bottom of the distribution, with a depressed median. Women show a near inverse form of variation, bunching around the median whereas the tails quickly go to asymptote. Note that this is the pattern even in those cases where the sexes don’t differ in performance / ability on average. That socially there is a distorted comparison between male high-flyers and females in general stems from the social invisibility of low mate-value individuals: men who are low in status as a result of poor performance / low ability in this way are akin to low-fertility women, only much more so — through the afore-mentioned foundational principle of the female being the limiting factor in reproduction, rendering the female being viewed as more valuable than the male. This basis of women being afforded extra consideration explains how it is that despite neither sex being intrinsically motivated to cross over to the other’s form of sociality to engage in non-sex-typical activity, it is felt that justification is required for the non-participation of women in men’s affairs, yet none is ever sought for the converse. Whereas it was never assumed that men are excluded from domesticity, or, at least, that there was no need to account for it even if they were; it would seem that even the potential for women to be excluded from civic life did require explanation.

The historical supposition that women were inferior surely was a highly qualified one. But the qualifications naturally would tend to have been lost in simplification to become, crudely, that women were inferior per se; despite this being the very sense in which women certainly were not inferior. In this shorn guise, the notion of female inferiority was a forced cod explanation rather than a pejorative view of women. The conceptualisation and its over-simplification may have been driven by the perennial general appreciation that the sexes are not motivated to engage in the usual behaviour of the opposite sex – by reason of its compromising display of (in the case of women) their femininity (female mate value). Thus is still further driven the contrast in attitude towards being competitive according to sex, whereby competitiveness per se seems almost inimical to females. The plain fact that men are physically prevented from being able to perform key female roles precludes motivation being an issue for them here in any case. It is generally the case that female relatively depressed performance in comparison to male is more through lack of motivation than as a result of sex differences or dichotomies with respect to abilities.[For the wider context explaining this, see Moxon, 2016.] A lack not so much (or at all) in female ability but merely in desire understandably might well have been seen as especial weakness. The portrayal of women as inferior thereby would be sustained even though it was not actually a disdainful view. Not inaccurately ascribing to women a comparative lack of drive to carry out a certain range of eminently performable albeit alien-seeming roles is not expressing negativity towards women.

Gender attitudes research shows no misogyny, and actually philogyny

Misogyny formally defined is a putative male-to-female hostile or highly negative attitude; gender attitude, as it were. Gender attitudes, both male-to-female and female-to-male, most recently have been reviewed and freshly examined by Dunham, Baron & Banaji (2016), in a culmination of their own earlier work in various collaborations. Looking at not just explicit but, more unusually, also implicit measures, and – for the first time in the literature – across all age groups, Dunham et al found for boys/men “no negative association with female whatsoever” (p5). [Implicit contrast with explicit responses in being default, automatic, tapped by taking only immediate response and to what is only indirectly evoked, so as to avoid either prompting or providing sufficient time to recruit other cognitive processes to modify or filter it. The usual methodology is to measure response latency to presenting a target together with another stimulus; the association between which dictating the reaction time. The closer seems the association, the faster will be the subject’s response.] Furthermore, with age, the same-sex positivity shown by boys, on implicit measures decreases so much that, from adolescence onwards, males show by comparison such a strong shift to a more positive attitude towards females that, overall, their respective consideration for the sexes completely reverses. The authors consider this change dramatic, which indeed it is, albeit that the male same-sex positivity was only modest at the outset. With explicit gender attitudes, there is also a shift, though here towards neutrality. The contrast with girls/women in all respects is striking. All age groups are “robustly pro-female” — strongly positive towards females and strongly negative towards males – and all the more so with age. Furthermore, the authors’ finding that there is no correlation between implicit and explicit measures reveals (as they themselves point out) that they tap into different and independent psychological constructs, as might be expected given the contrasting cognitive facilities available for implicit versus explicit responses. Whether in respect of responses that are automatic/default or considered, the findings here indicate misogyny is a fiction, with misandry, on the other hand, real.

Congruent earlier work

These findings are in respect of individuals (that is, where subjects were given an individual male and/or female as the target). This builds on much earlier research with groups (where subjects were given all-male and/or all-female groups as the target) likewise showing that, on explicit measures, by adulthood males as well as females have more positive attitudes towards females than towards males (Eagly & Mladinic, 1989; Eagly, Mladinic & Otto, 1991). Eagly’s work was prompted by studies hitherto using only indirect measures of gender attitudes: evaluations of what were thought to be either male or female stereotypes, which then were merely assumed to entirely govern impressions of others according to sex, in any and every interaction. By reason of the numerous major conceptual and methodological flaws evident with this approach, Eagly et al instead used direct measures – a number of kinds, and where there is a common metric across the sexes. Their conclusions were that (regarding same-sex target groups) both sexes were more positive towards women than towards men; in particular in attitude, but also in terms of how responses were manifestations of beliefs (or stereotypes) about the sexes, and even in their emotional content (albeit a difference in this case that was not statistically significant). Notably, despite looking especially for covert negative sentiments towards women, none were found. Furthermore, in analysis designed to uncover hidden ambivalence, this too was not apparent to any marked extent in either cognitive or affective (emotional) reactions.

Further replication of findings

Subsequent to Eagly et al, their findings and conclusions have been replicated and confirmed; first by Haddock & Zanna (1994), then by Aidman & Carroll (2003), who uncovered a strong automatic preference for female attributes in female undergraduates, and no significant gender bias in males. Similar results were obtained in work on target groups by Skowronski & Lawrence (2001), and (this time using implicit measures) by Carpenter (2001), albeit that the favourability towards women was much stronger in the case of women. When Skowronski & Lawrence also additionally turned from explicit to implicit measures, their data showed non-significantly pro-female or at worst neutral attitude in the latency responses. No pro-male attitude was uncovered until the authors switched to a different implicit measure, of error responses, and then only a slightly pro-male attitude was found. [Error response as an alternative to latency is based on the reasoning that the greater the association between the target and the associated stimulus, then the easier and, therefore, likely less error-prone is the response.] Mixed results – pro-male as well as pro-female – were not obtained without adding the extreme condition whereby the male and female targets were turned into soldiers, thereby introducing an obvious very strong demand characteristic that could not do other than confound results. Note, here, that notwithstanding in some respects anomalous results, still there was no basis of interpreting in terms of any negative attitude to females.

Female (but no male) homophily

Work squarely on what is conceived of as automatic in-group bias (homophily: the implicit preference for others of the same category to be considered fellow group members), as indicated in immediate-response experiments, revealed that this was strong for women, whereas men had no preference at all for their own over the opposite sex (Nosek & Banaji, 2002; Richeson & Ambady, 2001). This was quantified by Rudman & Goodwin (2004) as a fivefold sex differential (a factor of 4.5) in same-sex preference; interestingly by a purer measure of implicit attitude, in that the measure they employed entailed methods eliminating any confound with gender stereotypes. They further found a similar sex differential in respect of explicit measures. In explanation of their results, Rudmin & Goodwin conclude of women that “they alone possess a cognitive mechanism that promotes own group preference” (p506). So men have no cognitive mechanism to preferentially consider other males as co-members of their group. Most importantly, the neutral data means, conversely, that men have no cognitive mechanism to exclude or, to that end, in whatever way, to diminish females in considering them as fellow group members. On the contrary, a man – unlike a woman – sees everyone, men and women alike, as being fellow members of any symbolic grouping (such as the whole workplace or company, university year-group or department) to which he himself belongs (Maddux & Brewer, 2005). Similar was found by David-Barrett at al (2015), in their paper entitled ‘Women Favour Dyadic Relationships, but Men Prefer Clubs’. Maddux & Brewer also find that by contrast a woman has her own idiosyncratic individual grouping pattern cutting across symbolic organisational boundaries. This is well-known from decades of studies of social structure and dynamics: a personal network built on an exclusionary principle; a small number of close bonds, more or less to the exclusion of everyone else. The typical pattern is a core twosome or threesome from which one or more chains of association extend out to individuals at some remove from the symbolic groupings with which males so readily identify. This profound sex dichotomy has been found more recently (Szell & Thurner, 2013; Lindenlaub & Prummer, 2013). That key is an exclusionary attitude by females has been confirmed by Benenson et al (2013) — Social Exclusion: More Important to Human Females Than Males – and Goodwin (2002): Exclusion in girls’ peer groups: ethnographic analysis of language practices on the playground. [Note, the general understanding that men form all-male clubs stems not from male psychology of in-grouping but from that of dominance (or prestige) hierarchy, which is all-male (Van den Berg, Lamballais & Kushner, 2015). The research outlined here on in-grouping shows that males must readily either extend their within-hierarchy homophily to change it to an all-inclusive attitude when a wider grouping becomes salient, or that different psychology pertains in parallel with respect, on the one hand, to hierarchy, and, on the other, to grouping.].

Trying and failing to find misogyny in special conditions

With the failure to demonstrate misogyny and the literature clearly indicating at worst neutral and usually very positive attitude of males to females, there have been attempts to find or manufacture special conditions that prompt it. Having replicated Rudman & Goodwin’s findings in a Japanese sample (2009), Ishii & Numazakihad (2015) investigated males under threat (to their sense of self worth) when gender was made salient, on their hypothesis that this would produce a negative association with women. However, they found no evidence at all for this; only of an absence of positive association. Posing a similar but more specific scenario, Kasumovic & Kuznekoff (2015) claimed that women entering the workplace hierarchy pose a threat to males not generically but to those of lower status. However, critics (Brown & Cotton, 2015) point out that the authors used an inappropriate statistical analysis, without which their data does not reach significance. In any case, the authors proffer an evolutionary explanation which actually is itself a false understanding of hierarchy (see the section below on supposed inter-sexual dominance), ignoring more obvious evolutionary explanation not entailing male hostility.

Sexism in its supposedly hostile form

With the consistent failure to find any evidence of misogyny in terms of a profoundly hostile male attitude towards females, or even of a pro-male rather than a pro-female attitude, then research to try to establish the existence of misogyny appears to have been distanced from this conceptualisation and gender attitudes studies. This has been by employing a wider concept that can be conflated with and thereby (mis-)represented as misogyny, notwithstanding that any supposed manifestation under study would not thus be labelled if its appropriateness were to be directly considered rather than via the wider concept. Discussion has come to be in terms of the more loosely if not ill-defined notion of sexism. [The concept of sexism had begun as being defined simply as a negative attitude towards women (Allport, 1954), just as in gender attitudes research. But it was later diluted to (any sort of) prejudice or discrimination (Cameron, 1977), and, latterly, an (that is, any) attitude by virtue of the target’s biological sex (Lameiras and Rodriguez, 2003) – rendering the notion meaningless.] As sexism can be inadvertent, non-malicious and even benign, then its conflation with misogyny allows an unacknowledged broadening of definition thereby to misrepresent as misogyny a range of other phenomena. In turn, sexism can be qualified as negative (rather than neutral or positive) to assume the mantle of misogyny by the back door, as it were; in effect side-stepping the literature on gender attitudes. In essence, gender attitudes have come to be seen as superficial, underlying which is sexism. This would ignore that the very question of what is covert rather than overt has been substantially addressed in the research on implicit (as opposed to explicit) gender attitudes.

The major problem with the notion of negative – dubbed hostile (Glicke & Fiske, 1996) – sexism is the deeply flawed operational definitions employed in studies. The most recent sexism inventory, by Tougas et al (2015), is criticised by Tostain (2016), citing three examples (the first two supposedly denoting the hostile form):

* It is difficult for a woman to work as a boss.

* Men are incomplete without women.

* Women, compared with men, tend to display a greater moral sense.

 The first, Tostain points out, is most likely to be actually an expression of support for women in terms of siding with them against what a woman might face in the workplace; the second, an acknowledgement of the importance of partnership between the sexes (an objective fact), and the gratitude towards if not aggrandisement of women as partners. It also acknowledges difference between the sexes (also an objective fact), that Tostain picks up on with respect to the third example, which he sees as being included simply because it is considered as essentialising women – in other words, acknowledging the reality of sex difference. The third example is overtly pro-female and anti-male real sexism – as also could be interpreted the second item, yet the second item, along with the first, nonetheless is deemed hostile sexism. The third is still classed by Tougas et al as sexism, but benevolent (see below).

 The standard measure of sexism, an explicit one, is that by Glick & Fiste (1996). Here is the full list of their items indicating hostile sexism:

[Note that some are reverse-worded and would be scored accordingly, and to avoid confusion they are here worded correctly, as it were.]

* Women exaggerate problems at work.

* Women are too easily offended.

* Most women interpret innocent remarks as sexist.

* When women lose fairly, they claim discrimination.

* Women seek special favours under the guise of equality.

* Feminists are making unreasonable demands.

* Feminists are seeking more power than men.

* Women seek power by gaining control over men.

* Many women tease men sexually.

* Once a man commits, she puts him on a tight leash.

* Women fail to appreciate all men do for them.

This is self-evidently anything but a list of attitudes that clearly denote hostility, even inadvertently. All of the items are open to various interpretation. Given the current hegemonic identity politics, incorporating extreme feminism, then most, if not all, are not (or not necessarily) inaccurate generalisations. Being based on common personal experience routinely shared with others, that would not be unreasonable opinion; as near objective as opinion gets; if not tantamount to fact. And these may be views that a majority of people of both sexes would share. Some of the statements are simple legitimate and deserved criticism of ideological feminism, which many or most would agree with for reasons of being supportive of women generically rather than through expressing any antipathy. Not endorsing extreme feminism or those articulating the ideology is not negativity towards women.

Sexism dubbed benevolent but not thus considered

The notion of ‘benevolent sexism’ was hypothesised by Glick & Fiske (1996, 1997), and the same criticism as of their hostile sexism items applies here but magnified and self-evident. Here are the items on their scale:

[Note, as with their hostile sexism items, that some are reverse-worded and would be scored accordingly, and to avoid confusion they are here worded correctly, as it were.]

* A good woman should be set on a pedestal.

* Women should be cherished and protected by men.

* Men should sacrifice to provide for women.

* In a disaster, women should be rescued first.

* Women have a superior moral sensibility.

* Women have a quality of purity few men possess.

* Women have a more refined sense of culture, taste.

* Every man ought to have a woman he adores.

* Men are incomplete without women.

* Despite accomplishment, men are incomplete without women.

* People usually are not happy without heterosexual romance.

Benevolent sexism is envisaged by Glick & Fiske (1997) as being alongside hostile sexism within a general category, ambivalent sexism.

The empty concept of stereotype threat

The conduit by which ambivalent sexism supposedly harms women is the evocation of a sex stereotype, that is assumed to be interpreted by women as being what is or what is not expected of them. Self-inhibition then ensues, through feeling unable to carry out what otherwise would be a chosen role beyond a traditional one, so as to avoid any anticipated punishment. Akin to the concept of internalised misogyny (a non-parsimonious, implausible, non-evidenced construct based in turn on a contra-evidenced construct), this supposed mechanism of harm is encapsulated in the term, stereotype threat. Coined over 20 years ago by Steele & Aronson (1995), initially regarding race issues concerning African Americans; in respect of sex, very serious problems with this construct are apparent, not least when explicit measures are used. Not merely is there no negative impact of presenting a stereotype, but a positive outcome is produced (Kray, Thompson & Galinsky, 2001). Findings likewise entirely contrary to prediction have also been found by Fryer, Levitt & List (2008) and Geraldes, Riedl & Strobel (2011). All of the literature on this topic was reviewed by Stoet & Geary (2012), who find that there is no evidence at all for the phenomenon, not least through the multiple major methodological flaws in common to experimentation across the field. Most importantly, this is the absence of a control group and inappropriate data adjustments – in almost all of the supposedly successful replications of an effect in regard of women and maths; which in any case were only half of the 20 attempts in total. Jussim et al (2016) took further issue with data adjustment, and concluded that even if stereotype threat were a factor, it’s so tiny as to be an irrelevant one. [Note that though there is one prior review (Kit, Tuokko & Mateer, 2008), this was not an objective examination of the phenomenon. It was a look at how research within the field was progressing, on the unquestioned assumption that stereotype threat is a real phenomenon.] In the wake of Stoet & Geary’s review, further attempts at replication using large samples have all failed: Wei (2012), Ganley et al (2013), Stafford (2016) and Finnigan & Corker (2016). Many such failed attempts over the past 20 years have remained unpublished through publication bias (Flore & Witcherts, 2015) – non-replication being far less interesting to journals.

A more recent (2016) review by Tostain is comprehensively damning. His conclusion is that contrary to interpretation proffered in social psychology studies, the impact of presenting stereotypes is one among multiple factors, and anyway in itself very small:

“stereotypes do not necessarily have the power that is often attributed to them. Firstly, the perception and the judgements of individuals are not necessarily altered by gender stereotypes. And in addition, measures of gender stereotyping are not necessarily neutral, and can direct one towards a vision that artificially accentuates the presence and weight of stereotypes. Finally, the predictive value (in terms of links with discriminatory behaviours) of tests for the evaluation of stereotypes, particularly gender stereotypes, remains subject to debate” (no page number available).

Tostain outlines what he sees as the fundamental problem of “misunderstanding the fact that individuals can make reference to stereotypes according to different levels of judgement and different perspectives”, when everything is geared “implicitly to adopt a univocal causal schema … born of a vision of masculine domination”; the upshot being that “individuals are constantly faced with heterogeneous dynamics, some of which can be opposed to these stereotypes”. So not only is a negative impact of stereotype threat in serious doubt, but stereotypes would appear in any case to have positive impact in the very same terms. This is the crux problem Stoet & Geary uncovered: the absence of control groups prevents even the possibility of discovering any positive impact, thereby rendering the research worthless. The suspicion must be that this systematic failure to adhere to the most basic scientific procedure was necessary to be able to build any literature on stereotype threat.

The reviews and the slew of failed replications together demonstrate that stereotyping overall has no negative impact, leaving the notion of stereotype threat an imagined phenomenon; not a real one. As with misogyny, this is not a case of the phenomenon under investigation, in not being observed, requiring an explanation. Instead, it’s a case of what is believed requiring the invention of a phenomenon (through a tendentious interpretation of what is observed in staged scenarios very far from real life) so as to retrospectively justify the belief.

Circular reasoning

Even more fundamental problems are evident in considering definitions. Whereas the hostile form is defined by Glick & Fiske (1997) as “dominative paternalism, derogatory beliefs, and heterosexual hostility” (abstract), the ’benevolent’ variant is “protective paternalism, idealization of women, and desire for intimate relations” (abstract).

Given this definition of the benevolent form, it would appear that all inter-sexual interaction is here deemed sexist: an entirely circular reasoning. Sexism in this new ambivalent wider conceptualisation is deemed the cause of patriarchy and traditional gender roles; but anything and everything about these roles and patriarchy is deemed to constitute sexism. The claim, then, in effect, is that they are one and the same, and that sexism is its own aetiology: a non-explanation that cannot be a scientific hypothesis. The perfect circularity of argument leaves no hypothesis to test.

The whole sexism project has become an exercise in unfalsifiability: the cardinal sin in science. Given, then, that it cannot, even in principle, be disproven, it is by definition not scientific. The notion in academia of sexism has replaced, or rather, has been elided with the notion of misogyny to mean the same thing: ubiquitous male hostility to females. Whereas the supposed phenomenon of misogyny can be shown to be entirely lacking in evidence and, therefore, categorically false, sexism has been developed as a construct always to escape this eventually through becoming stretched to encompass any data, instead of data being used to test an hypothesis. Sexism thereby has been rendered nothing more than an ideological or quasi-religious belief.

Misogyny is not through control: the male is not the controlling partner

Moving beyond notions of sexism, control (controlling behaviour) is a further possible form of harm done to women by men that conceivably might be considered an expression of misogyny, but again research reveals the inverse of expectation. The context in which controlling behaviour is most evident is couples (sexual partners), but it is not men who typically try to prevent their partner from straying. It is women. Vogel et al (2007) find overall that the woman partner has complete charge of the relationship, both taking responsibility in representing it to the world outside and acting within it: “wives behaviorally exhibited more domineering attempts and were more dominant (ie, more likely to have their partner give in) than husbands during discussions of either spouse’s topic” (p173). Fully in line with this, Coleman & Straus (1986) long ago found that the woman is the controlling partner in 90% of couples. According to Graham-Kevan & Archer (2009), women even utilise male modes of control at least as much as do men. This would be expected to produce a very large asymmetry in favour of female perpetration, in that women will hugely if not exclusively predominate in female modes (because males adopting such modes would lose the very asset, status, they are keenest to hold on to). Most recently, Bates, Graham-Kevan & Archer (2014) tested the standard assumption of male control and found that “women were more likely than men to be categorized as showing high control” (p10). This picture, entirely contrary to the contemporary portrayal in media and by academia, is no surprise. It is the former popular understanding within living memory. The female ruling the roost, as it were, was the one theme rivalling sex in comic English seaside postcards. This picture fits with recent theoretical understanding of the basis of the evolution of human pair bonding being in the female interest rather than that of the male (Moxon, 2013).

Misandry: the real sexism is unseen

Whatever term may be used to denote it, and however it is elided with and diluted by other notions, misogyny is a figment of ideological imagination. As such, it is not misogyny but a charge of misogyny that becomes itself the very contempt for or hatred towards the other sex it purports to call out. In other words, accusation of misogyny actually is itself a manifestation of hostile sexism in the form of misandry, making this the real phenomenon now in need of study. The question is whether this is the extent of and the origin of misandry, or if misandry already existed, with ideological misandry being merely a further expression of something with much deeper roots. That it is the latter is suggested by the data generated in the failed quest to establish the existence of misogyny – notably what has been revealed (as above-discussed) about the stark sex dichotomy in human in-grouping, whereby women but not men group according to an exclusionary principle, and that this is far more towards the opposite sex.

That this actual sexism is not seen for what it is, shows up in research into bias in respect of sexism. Evidently, sexism of any form by females is unseen: not just women’s anti-male sexism (Rudman & Fetteroff, 2014; Goh, Rad & Hall, 2017), but also their anti-female sexism (Baron, Burgess & Kao, 1991); this being the perception of both males and other females. Hence the great surprise that greeted the Demos findings in 2016 that the bulk of on-line misogynistic abuse, on Twitter, was by not men but by women. Goh, Rad & Hall replicated in inter-personal dyadic behaviour what Rudman and Fetterolf had found regarding groups: women being biased to (mis-)perceive hostile sexism from men when it isn’t there; conversely not seeing men’s benevolent sexism when it is (albeit regarding this last, Goh, Rad & Hall’s findings were not statistically significant). By contrast, men actually under-estimated women’s hostile sexism as well as over-estimating women’s benevolent sexism.

Notwithstanding these biases as well as hegemonic anti-male ideology, research reveals not only female hostile sexism, but that this is at the same level as that attributed to men (Cárdenas et al, 2010; León-Ramírez & Ferrando Piera, 2013); the only sex difference being in respect of benevolent sexism, which was more evident in men, according to León-Ramírez & Ferrando (though at the same level, according to Cárdenas et al). In other words, women, unlike men, tended to exhibit their sexism in a hostile rather than a benevolent manner.

Misandry is acknowledged in a large multi-national study by a team led by the afore-cited principal contemporary researcher of sexism, Peter Glick (Glick et al, 2004): that there are “hostile as well as benevolent attitudes toward men“ (abstract). Yet Glick dismisses this as somehow in effect not actually being hostile towards men, in that it works together with the benevolent form to “reflect and support gender inequality by characterizing men as being designed for dominance” (abstract).

The misconceived notion of male inter-sexual dominance

This is the notion (or is predicated on the notion) that sexism is male inter-sexual dominance. But it is now clear that dominance in all species is always a male intra-sexual phenomenon. [For reviews, see Moxon (2016, 2009).] Not only do males not incorporate females into their dominance hierarchy, but females across species do not have the neural circuitry to process the winner and/or loser effects necessary to form actual dominance hierarchy even among themselves (Van den Berg, Lamballais & Kushner, 2015). Females no more have the facility to be sub-dominant (subordinate) to males than males would attempt to be dominant over them. Much evidence from biology shows that gender inequality is a chimera through profound failure to comprehend the basis of sociality: that males and females always have separate and very different sociality [For a very recent review, see Moxon (2016)], and that the ways in which they do interact are highly complementary. This means that in the workplace or other civic spaces that in a traditional society would be the arena of male intra-sexual competition, a hierarchy will not be psychologically salient to girls/women. Instead, they will attempt to fit in in other ways, facilitated by the complete absence of the above-discussed same-sex preference in male in-grouping. Nevertheless, women are bound to experience difficulty in mapping female sociality onto the social structure of the workplace. Albeit amorphous, in not being specifically male, necessarily the work organisation is modelled on male sociality through business competition and efficiency imperatives. It is these kinds of difficulties, in not being understood, that are mistakenly attributed to obstacles placed by males through some putative male-to-female hostility: misogyny.

Harassment is not a residual category of misogyny

The above findings of female mis-perception heavily undermine studies of sexual / gender harassment: another category of behaviour that might be thought to embody misogyny. With women liable to both invent male hostility and to be blind to male benevolence, then studies of harassment would have to control for these confounds. No such studies have come to light, and with no reason to suppose other than that these confounds apply in all male-female interaction, it is hard to envisage a viable experimental design. This compounds what anyway are multiple problems with already acknowledged eye-of-the-beholder effects: the perception of who is and who isn’t an harasser, and what is and what is not harassment, in respect of female and male attractiveness (youth/beauty and status) of putative victims and perpetrators. It is not merely that, for reasons of basic evolutionary / biological logic, both sexes are highly likely to over-perceive each other’s sexual interest: males, so as not to miss a reproductive opportunity; females, so as to avoid less than perfect reproductive opportunities. And note that here females may at the same time give out implicit proceptive signals in a courtship dialogue to assess the male before, in the end, rejecting him. The topic is similar to that of rape in being subject to ideologically-driven denial that motivation is sexual, in favour of unfounded assertions that it is instead ‘power’. This brings discussion back to the argument made above that dominance is not inter-sexual. It is also a related failure to comprehend the nature of courtship: males displaying their mate value in terms of their intra-sexual dominance in a call-and-response dialogue with a female, so that the female can better examine the male’s potential as a suitable mate. The male display here is an advertisement of dominance vis-a-vis his fellow males, not with respect to the female being courted. Overdone, non-reciprocated wooing naturally is likely to be viewed as harassment from the female perspective, but it is sexual interest in the female: a positive, hardly a negative attitude. To portray this as negative is unwarranted denigration of male sexuality. The notion that a high-status male is expressing ‘power’ in making sexual overtures also ignores that such males can realistically anticipate a favourable response to sexual entreaty, for the obvious reason that they are likely to be particularly attractive to women. That a male may use his work-place position as a basis of making sexual advances is often misrepresented as the use of sexuality to impose ‘power’, when it is very much the other way round. The mistake here is imputing to the male a motivation based on the female target feeling that her ability to make a mate choice is being constrained, as in the case of the male being merely such as a very junior manager. If instead the male is high status, then the female target’s attitude is liable to completely change (Colarelli &  Haaland, 2002; O’Connell, 2009). It is easy to see how status and ‘power’ can be confused, setting up evolutionary explanation as a straw man, then to assert socio-cultural explanation. A comprehensive rebuttal of the notion that sexual harassment is about ‘power’ rather than sex is provided by Browne (2002), who goes beyond usual discussion of harassment to include a good outline of the mis-perception as harassment of women being hazed in what formerly would have been all-male or predominantly male work-places. As an informal means of establishing membership of the work-group, hazing (initiation rites; ragging) is male intra-sexual behaviour not understood by women, who feel unduly threatened by it, even when males are extending hazing to encompass women for the very reason of trying to be especially inclusive.

For a variety of inter-related reasons, then, it is only to be expected that the literature on harassment is very confused. Browne’s is the most wide-ranging, comprehensive, non-ideological overview available. Mostly, though, there persists an overwhelmingly feminist, social constructivist and advocacy stance inimical to science, failing to tease out or identify confounds, if not adding to them. The problems, even from a sympathetic view of sociological perspective, are laid bare in the overview by Pina, Gannon & Saunders (2009), who consider the profusion of poorly evidenced theory and modelling (socio-cultural, organizational, sex-role spillover, socio-cognitive, and four-factor, in addition to biological) so perplexing as to be of great concern. Complex difficulties are also outlined by Vanselow (2009). There would be little to gain here in a review, short of an entire paper, updating Browne’s.

The coup de grace against the concept of harassment is that what constitutes harassment has become whatever it may be deemed to be by anyone claiming to be in receipt of it – or, indeed, by any third party observer (in which category would be an experimenter in a harassment study). [For the UK, this has come about in the wake of the Macpherson Report similarly redefining racism.] Harassment thereby is now every bit as perfectly circular in definition as is sexism. In any case, the notion of sexual / gender harassment as instead somehow embodying or being underpinned by hatred, contempt, or any negativity towards females, is so lacking in a scientific theoretical basis that it would require very substantial evidence with strong external validity for it to be taken as less pejorative and ideological than substantive. Inasmuch, then, as harassment could be considered a residual category of behaviour that in the male-to-female direction might be the last refuge of a basis of misogyny: any attempt along these lines to try to establish misogyny as a real phenomenon surely would be no more successful than the others.

Denial of the existence of the sexes

The predominant if not hegemonic current academic line apparently is that as long as men and women see each other in biological terms, then there will always be gender inequality. This is captured in the afore-mentioned definition of sexism by Lameiras and Rodriguez (2003), deeming it simply an attitude towards others by virtue of their biological sex; and in the above-cited conceptualisation by Glick et al (2004) that sexist “attitudes toward men reflect and support gender inequality by characterizing men as being designed for dominance”. In other words, sexism towards men is nothing more than recognising men as behaving like men are meant to behave through their biological motivation – that is, what is commonly envisaged as their biological motivation, but which new thinking deems false understanding. The ideological line is that simply asserting a new cultural view will supersede biology, as if it were some mere historical aberration. This is philosophical illiteracy: culture is part of biology. [The facility to engage in cultural activity evolved to function to feed back to fine-tune and reinforce the very biology that gave rise to it. Consequently, there can never arise a cultural development that goes off at some novel tangent: if it ever began to do so, it would be co-opted by its own biological base so as to better express it (Moxon, 2010).] It is a pejorative, political, anti-scientific stance to insist that the male/female distinction is not biological but socially constructed, and as such is malleable, and not essential (inherent); so is replaceable, supposedly, by a new human reality. Ultimately, this is a residue of the Christian notion of ‘the promised land’ in the guise of a political religion (Gray, 2007).

Sexism is rendered anything and everything concerning male-female interaction. Again, this is a complete circularity, in gender inequality being synonymous with all interaction between men and women, which, simply by unsupported assertion, is here regarded as inherently and, therefore, irredeemably inequitable. The only solution, in this view, is the elimination of the sexes. The idea appears to be nothing more sophisticated than self-fulfilling prophecy: that by persistently asserting that there should be an end to there being sexes, eventually it will be brought about. As if simply talking up inter-sexual conflict would make the sexes disappear, this is closely akin to its being thought that enforcing speech codes will bring about the end of racism. But it’s not the sexes (that is, both of them) that are the real target. It’s the male sex that is for elimination in this line of ideological thinking. With no male sex, there would remain no sex to distinguish as female, so in place of men and women there would then be simply people. This astonishing flight of fancy is in the service of salving a cognitive dissonance in the Marxist mindset. Marxist intellectuals almost a century ago dismissed and turned on Western workers after no revolution in the West ensued in the wake of that in Russia. With males being those who would have taken up arms and for whom work is their raison d’etre and how they are judged, then, naturally, Western workers were envisaged as all-male. From then on regarded as turncoats (blacklegs in terms of failing to do the work of fomenting a revolution), they were deemed to be in need of replacement as the supposed vanguard of social change; by women (Moxon, 2014-2016). This is the tap root of the insistence on maintaining the contemporary notion of misogyny, notwithstanding that it’s a non-existent phenomenon.

Conclusion

Not only is there zero evidence for misogyny in any gender attitudes study and across all of them, but there is clear evidence against, and in support of both philogyny and misandry: the very antithesis of misogyny. Even attempts to water down and obfuscate in a retreat behind first the notion of sexism and then modifications of this, has failed to save the concept. Furthermore, the supposed mode of harm of diluted notions of misogyny in stereotype threat prove to be a chimera. Worse still, all conceptualisation ends in being entirely circular in definition, eliminating any vestige of a phenomenon to investigate in the first place. This is no surprise, as there is no theoretical basis of misogyny other than extreme ideology, which itself is non-, indeed anti-scientific. There is, on the contrary, fairly obvious theoretical basis for philogyny and misandry, which easily can be formalised in cogent evolutionary terms. Most damning of all is the clear political history that explains the need to conceive of misogyny irrespective of whether it has any reality, or, indeed, even in full knowledge that it is a chimera. It is inescapable that the construct of misogyny is naked anti-male ideology supported by natural anti-male prejudice (misandry), having no place in science.

The issue then is to explain misandry, but this is no mystery, and never has been. That females foundationally in effect are celebrities in collectively being the limiting factor in reproduction, is bound to elicit both deep suspicion towards males generically (prompting the policing of males, especially in regard to sex, but in any and every respect) and very special consideration towards females generically (prompting the protection of females, especially from sexual access by males, but in any and every respect). This is just as is found in the failed attempts to find misogyny; only philogyny being evident. Philogyny drives anticipation of potential harm that may befall women and girls, even when it’s unlikely or simply not present; perhaps even unlikely or absent in principle. And just as this harm to women is a figment, so too is a putative agent capable of causing the requisite harm. The class of humans considered agentic corresponds exactly to what is left after subtracting all females from humanity: males. In identifying males as the supposed agents capable of causing harm to females, it is by natural extension that intent to cause harm is mistakenly imputed to men. Consequently, sex-typically male activity that may in any way be conceived of as potentially causing harm to females is presumed indeed to do so. Hence misandry can be misrepresented as its obverse: misogyny. The notion of misogyny surely is the deepest and most tenacious false myth in all human imagination.

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PRECIS VERSION

Exhaustive literature search produces no science paper demonstrating the existence of misogyny (however labelled). A generic profound antipathy or hatred towards women by men, as misogyny nowadays is understood (both in popular currency and in academia), is a recent ideological conceptualisation. The former (and still current) common understanding was that some individuals — of both sexes – hold in contempt the opposite sex in general because of serial romantic failure.

GENDER ATTITUDES RESEARCH SHOWS NOT MISOGYNY BUT PHILOGYNY

Misogyny formally defined is a (putative) male-to-female hostile or highly negative attitude. ‘Gender attitudes’, both male-to-female and female-to-male, most recently have been reviewed and freshly examined by Dunham, Baron & Banaji (2016), in a culmination of their own work in various collaborations. Looking at not just explicit but, more unusually, also implicit (automatic) measures (response latency), and – for the first time in the literature – across all age groups, Dunham et al found for boys/men “no negative association with female whatsoever” (p5). Furthermore, from adolescence onwards, the same-sex positivity shown by boys on implicit measures decreases so much that males by comparison shift so strongly to a more positive attitude towards females that, overall, their respective consideration for the sexes completely reverses. The authors consider this change dramatic, albeit that the male same-sex positivity was only modest at the outset. With explicit gender attitudes, there is also a shift: towards neutrality. The contrast with girls/women in all respects is striking: “robustly pro-female” — strongly positive towards females and strongly negative towards males – and all the more so with age. Furthermore, the zero correlation between implicit and explicit measures reveals that they tap into different and independent psychological constructs, as might be expected given the contrasting cognitive facilities available for implicit versus explicit responses. So in respect of responses whether automatic/ default or considered, the findings indicate misogyny is a fiction, whereas misandry is real.

CONGRUENT EARLIER WORK

These findings are in respect of individuals (subjects given an individual male and/or female as the target). This builds on earlier research with groups (subjects given all-male and/or all-female groups as the target) likewise showing that, on explicit measures, by adulthood males as well as females have more positive attitudes towards females than towards males (Eagly & Mladinic, 1989; Eagly, Mladinic & Otto, 1991). Eagly’s work was prompted by studies hitherto using only indirect measures of gender attitudes: evaluations of what were thought to be either male or female stereotypes, which then were merely assumed to entirely govern impressions of others according to sex. The conceptual and methodological flaws evident in this approach led Eagly instead to use direct measures – a number of kinds, with a common metric across the sexes. Their conclusions were that (regarding same-sex target groups) both sexes were more positive towards women than towards men; in particular in attitude, but also in how responses were manifestations of beliefs (or stereotypes) about the sexes, and even in their emotional content (albeit here not a statistically significant difference). Notably, despite looking especially for covert negative sentiments towards women, none were found. Furthermore, in analysis to uncover hidden ambivalence, this too was not marked in either cognitive or affective (emotional) reactions.

FURTHER REPLICATION OF FINDINGS

Subsequent to Eagly et al, their findings and conclusions have been confirmed by Haddock & Zanna (1994) and then by Aidman & Carroll (2003), who uncovered a strong automatic preference for female attributes in female undergraduates, and no significant bias in males. Similar results were obtained in work on target groups by Skowronski & Lawrence (2001), and (this time using implicit measures) by Carpenter (2001), albeit that the favourability towards women was much stronger in the case of women. When Skowronski & Lawrence also turned from explicit to implicit measures, their data showed non-significantly pro-female or at worst neutral attitude in the latency responses. No pro-male attitude was uncovered until the authors switched to a different implicit measure, of error responses, and then only a slightly pro-male attitude was found. Mixed results – pro-male as well as pro-female – were not obtained without adding the extreme condition of turning the male and female targets into soldiers, thereby introducing a strong demand characteristic confounding results. Note there was no basis to interpret in terms of a negative attitude to females.

FEMALE (BUT NO MALE) HOMOPHILY

Work squarely on what is conceived of as automatic in-group bias (homophily), as indicated in immediate-response experiments, revealed that this was strong for women, whereas men had no preference at all for their own over the opposite sex (Nosek & Banaji, 2002; Richeson & Ambady, 2001). The female same-sex preference was quantified by Rudman & Goodwin (2004) as fivefold; interestingly by a purer measure of implicit attitude, in that the measure they employed entailed methods eliminating any confound with gender stereotypes. They further found a similar sex differential in respect of explicit measures. In explanation of their results, Rudman & Goodwin conclude of women that “they alone possess a cognitive mechanism that promotes own group preference” (p506). So men have no cognitive mechanism to preferentially consider other males as co-members of their group. Most importantly, the neutral data means, conversely, that men have no cognitive mechanism to exclude or to diminish females in considering them as fellow group members. On the contrary, a man – unlike a woman – sees everyone, men and women alike, as being fellow members of any symbolic grouping (such as the whole workplace or company, university year-group or department) to which he himself belongs (Maddux & Brewer, 2005). Similar was found by David-Barrett at al (2015), in their paper entitled ‘Women Favour Dyadic Relationships, but Men Prefer Clubs’. Maddux & Brewer also find that by contrast a woman has her own idiosyncratic individual grouping pattern cutting across symbolic organisational boundaries. This is well-known from decades of studies of social structure and dynamics: a personal network built on an exclusionary principle; a small number of close bonds, to the exclusion of everyone else. Typically there is a core twosome or threesome from which one or more chains of association extend out to individuals at some remove from the symbolic groupings with which males so readily identify. This profound sex dichotomy is also found by Szell & Thurner ( 2013) and Lindenlaub & Prummer (2013). That key is an exclusionary attitude by females (but not by males) has been confirmed by Benenson et al (2013) and Goodwin (2002). [Note, the general understanding that men form all-male clubs stems not from male psychology of in-grouping but from that of dominance (or prestige) hierarchy, which is all-male (Van den Berg, Lamballais & Kushner, 2015). The research outlined here on in-grouping shows that males must readily either extend their within-hierarchy homophily to change it to an all-inclusive attitude when a wider grouping becomes salient, or that different psychology pertains in parallel with respect, on the one hand, to hierarchy, and, on the other, to grouping.].

TRYING AND FAILING TO FIND MISOGYNY IN SPECIAL CONDITIONS

With the failure to demonstrate misogyny and the literature clearly indicating at worst neutral and usually very positive attitude of males to females, there have been attempts to find or manufacture special conditions prompting it. Having replicated Rudman & Goodwin’s findings in a Japanese sample (2009), Ishii & Numazakihad (2015) investigated males under supposed threat (to their sense of self worth) when gender was made salient, on their hypothesis that this would produce a negative association with women. However, they found no evidence for this; only an absence of positive association. More specifically, Kasumovic & Kuznekoff (2015) posit women entering the workplace hierarchy are a threat to lower status men. However, Brown & Cotton (2015) show that the authors used inappropriate statistical analysis, without which their data does not reach significance. The authors also falsely assume dominance is inter-sexual (see below), ignoring explanation other than male hostility.

SEXISM IN ITS SUPPOSEDLY HOSTILE FORM

With the consistent failure to find any evidence of misogyny in terms of a profoundly hostile attitude, or even of a pro-male rather than a pro-female attitude, research has shifted to employing a wider concept conflatable with and thereby (mis-)represented as misogyny: sexism. [Originally defined as a negative attitude towards women (Allport, 1954), just as in gender attitudes research, the concept was later diluted to (any sort of) prejudice or discrimination (Cameron, 1977), and, latterly, any attitude by virtue of the target’s biological sex (Lameiras and Rodriguez, 2003), rendering the notion meaningless.] As sexism can be inadvertent, non-malicious and even benign, then its conflation with misogyny allows an unacknowledged broadening of definition thereby to misrepresent as misogyny other phenomena. In turn, sexism can be qualified as negative (rather than neutral or positive) to assume the mantle of misogyny by the back door, as it were; in effect side-stepping the literature on gender attitudes. In essence, gender attitudes have come to be seen as superficial, underlying which is sexism; ignoring that the question of what is covert rather than overt was addressed in the research on implicit gender attitudes.

The major problem with the notion of negative – dubbed hostile (Glicke & Fiske, 1996) – sexism is the deeply flawed operational definitions employed in studies. The most recent sexism inventory, by Tougas et al (2015), is criticised by Tostain (2016), citing three examples: *It is difficult for a woman to work as a boss. *Men are incomplete without women. *Women, compared with men, tend to display a greater moral sense. The first, Tostain points out, is an expression of support for women, against what they might face in the workplace; the second, an acknowledgement of the importance of partnership between the sexes (an objective fact), and the gratitude towards if not aggrandisement of women as partners. It also acknowledges difference between the sexes (also an objective fact). Tostain picks up on this also with respect to the third example, which is an item simply because it’s considered as essentialising women. It’s overtly pro-female, anti-male real sexism – as is also the second item, yet this, along with the first, nonetheless is deemed hostile sexism (towards women). The third, Tougas sees as sexism but the benevolent form (see below).

The standard measure of sexism, an explicit one, is that by Glick & Fiste (1996). Here are their items indicating hostile sexism (note that some are reverse-worded and would be scored accordingly, so to avoid confusion they are here worded correctly, as it were):  *Women exaggerate problems at work. *Women are too easily offended. *Most women interpret innocent remarks as sexist. *When women lose fairly, they claim discrimination. *Women seek special favours under the guise of equality. *Feminists are making unreasonable demands. *Feminists are seeking more power than men. *Women seek power by gaining control over men. *Many women tease men sexually. *Once a man commits, she puts him on a tight leash. *Women fail to appreciate all men do for them. This is self-evidently anything but a list of attitudes clearly denoting hostility, even inadvertently. All the items are open to various interpretation. Given the hegemony of feminism even in extreme form, then most, if not all, are not inaccurate generalisations; reasonable opinion based on common experience, that a majority of people of both sexes would share. Some of the statements are legitimate criticism of ideological feminism, with which most would agree, and for reasons of being supportive of women, not through any antipathy. Not endorsing extreme feminism or those articulating the ideology is not negativity towards women.

SEXISM DUBBED BENEVOLENT BUT NOT THUS CONSIDERED

The notion of ‘benevolent sexism’ was hypothesised by Glick & Fiske (1996, 1997), and the same criticism as of their hostile sexism items applies here but magnified and self-evident. Here are the scale items (again removing ‘reverse-wording’): *A good woman should be set on a pedestal. *Women should be cherished and protected by men. *Men should sacrifice to provide for women. *In a disaster, women should be rescued first. *Women have a superior moral sensibility. *Women have a quality of purity few men possess. *Women have a more refined sense of culture, taste. *Every man ought to have a woman he adores. *Men are incomplete without women. *Despite accomplishment, men are incomplete without women. *People usually are not happy without heterosexual romance. Glick & Fiske (1997) see benevolent alongside hostile sexism in a general category of ambivalent sexism.

THE EMPTY CONCEPT OF STEREOTYPE THREAT

Ambivalent sexism supposedly harms women by evoking a sex stereotype, assumed to be taken by women to be what is or what is not expected of them; causing self-inhibition from behaving according to a non-traditional role, avoiding anticipated punishment. Akin to the concept of internalised misogyny (a non-parsimonious, implausible, non-evidenced notion), this supposed mechanism of harm is dubbed stereotype threat. Coined by Steele & Aronson (1995), initially regarding African-American race issues; in respect of sex, very serious problems with this construct are apparent, not least when explicit measures are used. Not merely is there no negative impact of presenting a stereotype, but a positive outcome is produced (Kray, Thompson & Galinsky, 2001). Findings likewise entirely contrary to prediction have also been found by Fryer, Levitt & List (2008) and Geraldes, Riedl & Strobel (2011). All literature on this topic was reviewed by Stoet & Geary (2012), who find no evidence for the phenomenon, not least through multiple major methodological flaws — notably the absence of a control group and inappropriate data adjustments. This applies to almost all of the supposedly successful replications of an effect in regard of women and maths; which in any case were only half of the 20 attempts in total. Jussim et al (2016) took further issue with data adjustment, concluding that even if stereotype threat were a factor, it’s so tiny as to be irrelevant. [Note that the prior review by Kit, Tuokko & Mateer (2008) was not an objective examination but a look at how research was progressing, on the unquestioned assumption that stereotype threat is a real phenomenon.] In the wake of Stoet & Geary’s review, further attempts at replication using large samples all failed: Wei (2012), Ganley et al (2013), Stafford (2016) and Finnigan & Corker (2016). Many such failed attempts over the past 20 years have remained unpublished through publication bias (Flore & Witcherts, 2015) – non-replication being far less interesting to journals. A more recent (2016) review by Tostain is comprehensively damning. His conclusion is that the impact of stereotyping is one among multiple factors, and anyway in itself very small: “stereotypes do not necessarily have the power that is often attributed to them. Firstly, the perception and the judgements of individuals are not necessarily altered by gender stereotypes. And in addition, measures of gender stereotyping are not necessarily neutral, and can direct one towards a vision that artificially accentuates the presence and weight of stereotypes. Finally, the predictive value (in terms of links with discriminatory behaviours) of tests for the evaluation of stereotypes, particularly gender stereotypes, remains subject to debate”. Tostain outlines the fundamental problem of “misunderstanding the fact that individuals can make reference to stereotypes according to different levels of judgement and different perspectives”, when everything is geared “implicitly to adopt a univocal causal schema … born of a vision of masculine domination”; the upshot being that “individuals are constantly faced with heterogeneous dynamics, some of which can be opposed to these stereotypes”. It’s not merely that a negative impact of stereotype threat is in doubt, but stereotypes have positive impact in the very same terms. Yet, as Stoet & Geary warn, the absence of control groups prevents even the possibility of detecting any positive impact. The notion of stereotype threat is imaginary. As with misogyny, belief in a non-real phenomenon requires its invention (through a tendentious interpretation of scenarios far from real life) to retrospectively justify the belief.

CIRCULAR REASONING

Fundamental problems are evident in definitions. Whereas hostile sexism is defined by Glick & Fiske (1997) as “dominative paternalism, derogatory beliefs, and heterosexual hostility”, the ’benevolent’ variant is “protective paternalism, idealization of women, and desire for intimate relations”. Given this definition of the benevolent form, all inter-sexual interaction is deemed sexist: an entirely circular reasoning. Sexism in this new ambivalent wider conceptualisation is deemed the cause of patriarchy and traditional gender roles; but anything and everything about these roles and patriarchy is deemed sexism. With sexism and its impact claimed to be one and the same, then sexism is its own aetiology: a non-explanation that cannot be a scientific hypothesis. The perfect circularity leaves nothing to test. It’s an exercise in unfalsifiability, and what cannot, even in principle, be disproven, is by definition not scientific. The notion in academia of sexism has replaced or been elided with that of misogyny to mean the same thing: ubiquitous male hostility to females. Whereas the supposed phenomenon of misogyny can be shown to be entirely lacking in evidence and, therefore, categorically false; sexism has been developed as a construct always to escape this eventuality through becoming stretched to encompass any data, instead of data being used to test an hypothesis. Sexism thereby has been rendered an ideological or quasi-religious belief.

MISOGYNY IS NOT CONTROL: THE FEMALE IS THE CONTROLLING PARTNER

A further possible form of harm done to women by men that conceivably might be considered misogyny, is controlling behaviour in couples, but again research reveals the inverse of expectation. It is not men but women who typically try to prevent their partner from straying. Vogel et al (2007) find that the woman partner has complete charge of the relationship, and that “wives behaviorally exhibited more domineering attempts and were more dominant (ie, more likely to have their partner give in) than husbands during discussions of either spouse’s topic” (p173). In line with this, Coleman & Straus (1986) long ago found that the woman is the controlling partner in 90% of couples. According to Graham-Kevan & Archer (2009), women utilise male modes of control as much as or more than do men. This surely produces a large asymmetry in favour of female perpetration, in that women greatly predominate in female modes (males shunning such modes to avoid loss of status). Bates, Graham-Kevan & Archer (2014) found that “women were more likely than men to be categorized as showing high control” (p10). This is the former popular understanding. The one theme rivalling sex in old English comic seaside postcards. It fits new understanding that human pair bonding evolved in the female interest (Moxon, 2013).

MISANDRY: THE REAL SEXISM IS UNSEEN

With misogyny a figment of ideological imagination, it is charging misogyny that is itself the hatred towards the other sex it purports to call out. Hostile sexism manifest as misandry is the real phenomenon in need of study. That it has always existed is indicated by the data generated in the failed quest to establish the reality of misogyny – notably what has been revealed about the stark sex dichotomy in human in-grouping (see above), whereby women group according to an exclusionary principle, and much more so against men. That this actual sexism is not seen for what it is, shows up in research into bias in respect of sexism. Evidently, sexism by females is unseen: and not just anti-male (Rudman & Fetteroff, 2014; Goh, Rad & Hall, 2017), but also anti-female (Baron, Burgess & Kao, 1991); this being the perception of both males and other females. Hence the surprise at the Demos findings in 2016 that the bulk of on-line misogynistic abuse, on Twitter, was not by men but women. Goh et al replicated in dyadic behaviour what Rudman and Fetterolf had found regarding groups: women being biased to (mis-)perceive hostile sexism from men when it isn’t there; conversely, not seeing men’s benevolent sexism when it is (albeit regarding this last, Goh et al’s findings were not statistically significant). By contrast, men under-estimated women’s hostile sexism and over-estimated their benevolent sexism. Nevertheless, female hostile sexism is found to be at the same level as that attributed to men (Cárdenas et al, 2010; León-Ramírez & Ferrando Piera, 2013); the latter finding female benevolent sexism to be far less (though the same level, according to Cárdenas et al). Women’s sexism, unlike men’s, tended to be hostile rather than benevolent. Misandry is acknowledged in a large study by principal researcher Peter Glick (et al, 2004) as “hostile as well as benevolent attitudes toward men“.

THE MISCONCEIVED NOTION OF INTER-SEXUAL DOMINANCE

The notion of sexism is predicated on the concept of inter-sexual dominance, but in all species dominance is a male intra-sexual phenomenon. [For reviews, see Moxon (2016, 2009).] Not only do males not incorporate females into their dominance hierarchy, but females do not have the neural circuitry to process the winner and/or loser effects necessary to form actual dominance hierarchy even among themselves (Van den Berg, Lamballais & Kushner, 2015). Females no more have the facility to be sub-dominant (subordinate) to males than males would attempt to be dominant over them. Much evidence from biology shows that gender inequality is a chimera through profound failure to comprehend the basis of sociality: that males and females always have separate and very different sociality — for a very recent review, see Moxon (2016) — and that the ways in which they do interact are highly complementary. In the workplace or civic spaces that in a traditional society would be the arena of male intra-sexual competition, a hierarchy will not be psychologically salient to girls/women. Attempting to fit in in other ways, facilitated by the absence of same-sex preference in male in-grouping, still women are bound to experience difficulty in mapping female sociality onto the social structure of the workplace. Albeit amorphous, necessarily the work organisation is modelled on male sociality through business competition and efficiency imperatives. These difficulties, in not being understood, are mistakenly attributed to obstacles placed by males through some putative male-to-female hostility.

HARASSMENT IS NOT A RESIDUAL CATEGORY OF MISOGYNY

The above findings of female mis-perception heavily undermine studies of sexual / gender harassment: another category of behaviour that might be thought to embody misogyny. With women liable to both invent male hostility and to be blind to male benevolence, then studies of harassment would have to control for these confounds. They don’t, and with no reason to suppose other than that these confounds apply in all male-female interaction, it is hard to envisage a viable experimental design. This compounds problems with already acknowledged eye-of-the-beholder effects: the perception of who is and who isn’t an harasser, and what is and what is not harassment, when varying female and male attractiveness (youth/beauty and status) of putative victims and perpetrators. It is not merely that, for reasons of basic evolutionary biology logic, both sexes are highly likely to over-perceive each other’s sexual interest: males, so as not to miss a reproductive opportunity; females, so as to avoid less than perfect reproductive opportunities. Females may also give out implicit proceptive signals in a courtship dialogue to assess the male before, in the end, rejecting him. The topic is similar to that of rape in being subject to ideologically-driven denial that motivation is sexual, in favour of unfounded assertions that instead it concerns ‘power’ (in ignorance that dominance is not inter-sexual). There is a failure here to comprehend the nature of courtship: males displaying mate value in terms of their intra-sexual dominance in a call-and-response dialogue with a female, who then can better examine the male’s potential as a suitable mate. The male display here is an advertisement of dominance vis-a-vis his fellow males, not with respect to the courted female. Non-reciprocated wooing can be seen as harassment, but to portray it as other than positive sexual interest is unwarranted denigration of male sexuality. The notion that a high-status male expresses ‘power’ in his sexual overtures ignores that such a male realistically anticipates a favourable response to sexual entreaty. Using work-place position as a basis of making sexual advances is often misrepresented as the use of sexuality to impose ‘power’, when it is the other way round. It is mistaken to impute male motivation based on the female target feeling that her ability to make a mate choice is being constrained, as in the case of the male being merely such as a very junior manager. For a high status male, the female target’s attitude is liable to completely change (Colarelli & Haaland, 2002; O’Connell, 2009). It is easy to see how status and ‘power’ can be confused, to then assert socio-cultural explanation. A comprehensive rebuttal of the notion that sexual harassment is about ‘power’ rather than sex is provided by Browne (2002), who also outlines the mis-perception as harassment of women being hazed in hitherto all-male or predominantly male work-places. An informal means of establishing membership of the work-group, hazing (initiation rites; ragging) is male intra-sexual behaviour not understood by women, who feel threatened by it, even when males are extending hazing to encompass women for the very reason of trying to be especially inclusive.

For a variety of inter-related reasons, the harassment literature is very confused. Browne’s is the most wide-ranging, comprehensive, non-ideological overview available. Mostly there is an overwhelmingly feminist, social constructivist, advocacy stance inimical to science, failing to identify and adding to confounds. The problems are laid bare even in sympathetic overview by Pina, Gannon & Saunders (2009); that the profusion of poorly evidenced modelling (socio-cultural, organizational, sex-role spillover, socio-cognitive, and four-factor) is concerningly perplexing. Complex difficulties are also outlined by Vanselow (2009). Little would be gained here by review. The coup de grace is that what constitutes harassment is now whatever it is deemed to be — even by a third-party — making it as perfectly circular in definition as is sexism. In any case, the notion of harassment as embodying or being underpinned by negativity towards females is so lacking in theoretical basis that evidence with strong external validity would be needed for it to be taken as other than ideology. Any attempt to establish harassment as a category of behaviour that might be the last refuge of a basis of misogyny is very unlikely to be successful.

DENIAL OF THE EXISTENCE OF THE SEXES

An influential academic line is that men and women seeing each other in biological terms is what perpetuates gender inequality. This is captured in the afore-mentioned definition of sexism by Lameiras and Rodriguez (2003) as an attitude towards others by virtue of their biological sex; and in the conceptualisation by Glick et al (2004) that sexist “attitudes toward men reflect and support gender inequality by characterizing men as being designed for dominance”. It is held that the only sexism towards men is seeing their behaviour as biologically motivated — this now being deemed false understanding; and just asserting a new cultural view will supersede biology, as if it were mere historical aberration — that male-female is socially constructed, and as such replaceable by a new reality. And just as sexism is circularly rendered anything and everything concerning male-female interaction, gender inequality, taken to be synonymous with all interaction between men and women, is by this unsupported assertion regarded as irredeemable. The solution, on this view, is to persistently assert the non-existence of the sexes, thereby to bring this about by self-fulfilling prophecy (from the bogus notion that changing language changes reality). In eliminating the male, there would remain no sex to distinguish as female, leaving simply people. There is a deep political basis of this flight of fancy, concerning salving cognitive dissonance in the Marxist mindset, re which I have published. It is the tap root of the insistence on current notions of misogyny, but contemporary mythology is beyond the scope of the present text.

CONCLUSION

Not only is there low evidence for misogyny in gender attitudes research, but there is clear evidence against, in support of its antithesis (philogyny and misandry). Attempts to water down and obfuscate in notions of sexism have failed to save the concept, and the supposed harm in stereotype threat proves to be a chimera. All conceptualisation ends in circular definition, leaving no phenomenon to investigate. This is no surprise, given no theoretical basis of misogyny other than non-/anti-scientific ideology. The need to conceive of misogyny has been political. The construct is itself anti-male ideology supported by natural anti-male prejudice (misandry), for which, by contrast, there is theoretical basis.

Misandry is no mystery. That females are the limiting factor in reproduction would be expected to elicit deep suspicion towards males (prompting the policing of males, especially in regard to sex) and very special consideration towards females (prompting the protection of females, especially from sexual access by males). This fits with what is found in the failed attempts to find misogyny; only philogyny being evident. This prompts anticipating potential harm to females, even when it’s highly unlikely. Just as this harm to women is a figment, so too is a putative agent capable of causing it. With males considered the agentic sex, they are supposed agents of harm to females, and by natural extension intent to cause harm is mistakenly imputed to men. Any sex-typically male activity conceived of as potentially harmful is thus presumed. Hence misandry is misrepresented as its obverse: misogyny. The notion of misogyny likely is the most tenacious (false) myth in the human imagination.

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