Newswise — ITHACA, N.Y. – Boys and men unfairly benefit from a system of gendered norms and expectations that are enforced by misogyny, according to misogyny expert Kate Manne.
Manne, who was dubbed “the philosopher of #MeToo” for her timely and widely read analysis of misogyny in 2017, tackles male entitlement in her second book, “Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women.”
An associate professor of philosophy at Cornell University, Manne defines misogyny as the hostility women and girls face – the “law enforcement” branch of patriarchy as she calls it – which serves to enforce gendered norms, even in supposedly post-patriarchal societies.
In “Entitled,” published Aug. 11, she addresses the gendered norms and expectations that misogyny polices and enforces: how the resulting social dynamics constrain possibilities for people, and how boys and men unfairly benefit from this system.
“While ‘Down Girl’ was a ‘crossover’ book, intended for both an academic and wider readership, ‘Entitled’ is squarely a trade book, aimed at a general readership,” Manne said. “I hope that people can get a basic grip on my views about misogyny and male entitlement by reading ‘Entitled’ as well as some of the thoughts I’ve had since ‘Down Girl’ was published.”
Under a framework of male entitlement, Manne argues in the book, women are expected to give feminine goods (sex, care, nurturing and reproductive labor) while not taking masculine goods (power, authority and claims to knowledge). Within this system, women are deprived of entitlement to both feminine-coded and masculine-coded goods.
“This results in inequalities that range from a woman not receiving adequate care for her pain, to her not being able to take up traditionally male positions of power, to her not being granted her rightful authority to speak about subjects in which she is an authority,” Manne said.
Manne elaborates on the many spheres in which male entitlement hurts women and girls. The entitlement to admiration that some men demand, for example, has led to the phenomenon of “involuntary celibates” (or “incels”) targeting women in violent acts. The entitlement to bodily control has led to cis-gendered men legislating, often ignorant of basic facts, the bodily functions of pregnant and transgender people.
Manne argues that male-centered medical systems hurt women – particularly racial minorities. She highlights double standards in domestic labor, as lockdown measures to control the pandemic multiply women’s already disproportionate workloads.
And she asks, as presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden decides on a running mate for the 2020 general election, whether a woman really is “unelectable” to the highest office in the United States.