Archive for Misogyny

Political party using antiquity to “Make Spain Great Again”

VOX is an anti-immigrant, Islamaphobic, homophobic, and misogynist political party in Spain that in 2019 won enough votes to elect twenty-four legislators to Spain’s Congress of Deputies. In a body of 350 seats this is not enough to enact a legislative agenda but they now have a voice and legitimacy that they had previously lacked. Like many far-right parties VOX’s rhetoric depends on a nostalgia for a supposedly more peaceful, more prosperous (and actually less equitable) past. Although VOX finds its inspiration primarily in Spain’s more recent, fascist, past, it also invokes the Greco-Roman world to legitimize its politics.

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Cato the Elder Endorsing Misogyny in Online Forums

Cato the Elder was a Roman senator who is usually remembered as the preeminent advocate for traditional values in ancient Rome. He is best known for ending many of his speeches in the senate by saying “Furthermore, Carthage must be destroyed,” even if he had been speaking on a different topic, as a way of pressing for further military action against Carthage following that city’s defeat in the Second Punic War. Several other sayings attributed to Cato have survived, two of which are favorites in online misogynist communities such as those that Donna Zuckerberg has described in her book Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age. One quoted in Plutarch’s Life of Cato criticizes Romans for their supposed subservience to women: “All mankind rules its women, and we rule all mankind, but our women rule us.” In another, quoted from Livy’s history of Rome, Cato calls woman “a violent and uncontrolled animal.”

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Classical Shirts Mask Hate with Humor

“Culture Wars” is a store on the custom apparel website TeePublic.com that advertises itself as “designs in support of European culture and civilization.” Like another online apparel store that Pharos has documented, “Culture Wars” offers many shirts with classical images and themes that promote both coded and explicit racism, homophobia, and misogyny. But whereas the previously documented site promoted a violent and hyper-masculine vision of the classical past, “Culture Wars” takes the approach of attempting to mask much of its hatred with humor.

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Degrading Murals “Civilize” Native Americans with Latin Textbook

In the fall of 2018 Dartmouth College decided to remove from campus a set of murals depicting Eleazer Wheelock meeting the Native Americans living in New Hampshire, where he founded the college in 1769. The murals have drawn protests since the 1970s for their racist depiction of Native Americans and the room in which they were displayed — a dining room for faculty — was closed in 1979. Since then the murals have been accessible only by special arrangement but were still located in a central location on campus that implicitly endorsed their representation of Native Americans as unsophisticated people who need to be “civilized.” The murals explicitly make Classical education part of this “civilizing” project.

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“Warrior” apparel invokes antiquity for violent White Nationalism

Warrior XII” sells t-shirts and other apparel that “embrac[e] the warrior mindset and the essence of what it means to stand on the thin blue line, serve in our military, or simply be a patriotic American.” The “12” of “Warrior XII” is a slang term for police. Their designs include slogans such as “I’ll control my guns, you control your kids”; “If you can’t be safe, be deadly”; and “Die a Hero, or live long enough to become the villain.” Warrior XII also sells several shirts that invoke classical antiquity, including designs such as “Spartan Helmet,”  “American Spartan,” and “SPQR.” As Pharos has documented, both the Spartans and SPQR are favorite sources of inspiration for white nationalists, and on closer inspection what might at first seem to be nothing more than a line of shirts for gun enthusiasts turns out to be a platform for xenophobia and coded white supremacy.

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Ancient fables said to prove that all women are “inveterate liars and deceivers”

One of the foundations of misogyny is a set of generalizations about women that justify their oppression. Authors in the misogynist and increasingly violent “Men’s Rights Movement” like to prop up their hateful view of women by pointing to ancient evidence as “proof” that these generalizations are true. In an article entitled “No Fable,” the misogynist Douglas Galbi, whose personal webpage and contributions to A Voice for Men have been documented on Pharos, cites the example of the ancient Greek woman Thais to argue that all women are deceptive and value material wealth over everything else. Like the rest of Galbi’s work, this article is meant to support one of the fundamental (and fundamentally wrong) claims of contemporary misogynists, that it is men, not women, who are oppressed in what Galbi calls today’s “gynocentric” culture, and that this oppression has very old, even ancient, roots.

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Mark Antony and Cicero, “great men undone by weakness”

Michael Sebastian is a misogyinst blogger whose site, Honor and Daring, features articles such as “How to turn your wife from a feminist into a traditional woman.”  He has also contributed articles to the misogynist site Return of Kings, such as “Why are so many women sluts?” in which he complains about contraception and Hollywood’s “Pro-Slut Agenda.” Another of his pieces on this site, “Powerful men who were undone by weakness”, presents “the lives of great, or nearly great, men who failed so that we can avoid making the same mistakes.” His examples include the ancient Roman statesmen Cicero and Mark Antony, for whom “failure” turns out to mean sharing power with a woman. It reads like little more than a clichéd interpretation of history until it turns to white supremacy and neo-Fascism.

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“Gladiator” calls for New Roman Legion to save “the West”

A Dream that was Rome is a site containing “writings on man, masculinity, and the emerging patriarchal renaissance” composed by someone who calls himself “Maximus” in imitation of the fictional character in the film Gladiator. Like other sites Pharos has documented, A Dream that was Rome begins with the assumption that the modern “West” is in decline, and prescribes that women and men should “come together as partners, not equals” in order to “heal the damage done by feminism to heterosexual relations between men and women.” But rather than invoke antiquity itself in support of its misogyinst politics, A Dream that was Rome looks no further back in history than the release of Ridley Scott’s film.

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Misogynists want to emulate Ares, not Hephaestus

Return of Kings is a misogynistic site that Pharos has previously documented. Before it announced it would no longer publish new content due to falling site revenue, it published an article entitled “Alpha Fux Beta Bux Even Held True in the Times of Ancient Greece” arguing that the story from Greek mythology of Aphrodite’s affair with Ares is an “allegory for red pill concepts” that sites like Return of Kings claim reveal the (always misogynist) “truths” about women. Identifying such allegories in ancient material is worthwhile, according to the post, because they provide one of the “best guards” against the modern “assault on manhood perpetuated by feminized elites.”

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Blog uses Roman “Virility” to Advocate Sexual Assault. Was it Satire? Does it Matter?

Mitchell Langbert is a professor of business at Brooklyn College who maintains a personal blog focused primarily on conservative and libertarian politics. A week before Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court amid accusations of attempted rape and sexual assault, Langbert published a post arguing that “if someone did not commit sexual assault in high school, then he is not a member of the male sex” and that “having committed sexual assault in high school ought to be a prerequisite for all appointments, judicial and political.” Langbert went on to invoke classical antiquity as proof that sexual violence against women should be acceptable: Kavanaugh’s critics, he said, lack the “virility, a sense of decency, or the masculine judgment that has characterized the greatest civilizations,” among which Langbert listed “classical Athens” and “republican Rome.” Langbert’s post has been denounced by the Provost of Brooklyn College and by the faculty of the Brooklyn College Department of Classics. Read More→

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