Misogynoir refers to the dislike of, contempt for, or hatred against black women, typically exhibited by both non-black and black men.
What is misogynoir?
Misogynoir originates from the term misogyny which refers to a deep-rooted prejudice and hatred towards women. However, misogynoir takes this concept further by specifically addressing the experiences of black women within the framework of racism and sexism. The term was coined in 2010 by black feminist Moya Bailey.
Misogynoir represents the intersection of racism and sexism, addressing anti-Black discrimination that targets both cisgender black women and transgender women.
As a concept, it is still its infancy but shows how different social identities intersect within systems that are marginalizing and oppressive. Some of these identities include race, gender and sexual orientation.
Misogynoir – misogyny, racism and sexism
Misogynoir is a subtype of misogyny that deals specifically with racial and gender prejudice towards black women. It is fueled by toxic stereotypes that generally perceive black women as angry and strong or hypersexual.
Misogynistic attitudes towards black women are common in both non-black and black patriarchies. However, it is most commonly used to describe the misogyny that black women experience from within the black community, particularly from black men.
As with misogyny in general, this is a form of sexism used to keep black women at an inferior social status in order to preserve the traditional roles of patriarchy. Sometimes it can manifest in obvious ways through aggression and violence. Other times, it is more subtle, in the form of microaggressions, dismissive attitudes or objectification.
Types of misogynoir
Misogynoir can take shape in many different forms. Here are some examples:
- Gender discrimination
- Sexual harassment
- Male privilege
- Violence against girls and women
- Transmisogyny (misogyny and hate towards black LGBTQ people)
Examples of misogynoir
Misogynistic attitudes towards black women are often expressed through obvious derogatory comments, sexist humor or jokes, but they can also be quite insidious and subtle. Some examples of misogynoir include:
- Sexist comments about physical appearance
- Sexist body language
- Sexual harassment
- Social exclusion
- Expressed hatred towards black women
- Strong belief in maintaining traditional gender roles
- Male privilege
- Ignoring or silencing women
- Undervaluing or dismissing women’s time and effort
- Misogynist violence and terror
Misogyny against black women in the workplace
The intersectionality of sexism and racism in the workplace has not been fully recognized in policies that address inclusivity. The fact that a black woman can face a specific type of misogyny due to her race, gender and sexuality is a fairly new concept but has been a problem for a very long time.
Recognizing the issue and committing to a program that addresses this problem specifically is a key step towards eliminating misogynoir in the workplace.
Here are some tips:
- Identifying stereotypes associated with black women. Organizations should also educate employees on the importance of using inclusive language and provide training that raises awareness about these stereotypes.
- Acknowledging these stereotypes exist by asking black women to share their experiences in a safe and supportive space. This act of active listening fosters empathy and empowers black women to reclaim their narratives.
- Mitigating issues of misogynoir in the hiring process. This requires inclusion initiatives that ensure the equitable representation of black women and transgender women within the organization.
- Using the right data-driven approach that may help identify effective and impactful solutions (Gender/ Pay Gap Reporting) focused on creating opportunities for the advancement of Black women and transgender women.
- Including black female employees in the conversation. Knowledge alone is not enough; it is equally important to incorporate the appropriate language in discussions and decision-making processes.
- Creating an environment where black women are heard and respected. This includes actively seeking their input and incorporating it into policies and programs. It shows a clear commitment to inclusion where employees can share their perspectives and concerns without fear of judgment or dismissal.