In my last two posts on colourism and cancel culture, I use the term misogynoir a lot. The exposed tweets that came from black men were primarily based on misogynoir but misogynoir can be seen throughout society. So what does it actually mean and why does it seem that black women always the go-to targets?
Misogyny is defined by some as the hatred of women and the belief of men are superior. Some also define it as controlling and punishing those women who attempt to challenge male dominance. Misogynoir is defined as a specific form of misogyny directed towards black women and stems from race and gender both playing a part in bias, abuse and discrimination. The term was coined by Moya Bailey in 2010, coincidentally around the same time some of these tweets were made. Misogynoir relies on common stereotypes of black women to manifest itself, including the Angry Black Woman and the Hypersexual Jezebel. It means that black women are pretty much only seen as rude, having an attitude, being loud, overly sexual, unattractive and aggressive. It means that throughout black women’s lives it seems we are hated by most other demographic groups, like we are the go-to easy targets for jokes and abuse.
“Misogynoir is an attempt to force black women into boxes and make us more palatable. It’s the idea that we should never scream, never fight, never take ownership of ourselves, because the minute we do, we’ll be painted as “angry black women” and dismissed.” – Logan Anderson
A mainstream example of misogynoir is the sustained and continued negative treatment of Diane Abbott, Labour MP. A recent leak of private conversations of Labour party members show just how much Abbott seems to be hated for pretty much no reason. This is also reinforced by the continued abuse she receives from opposing parties, the media and the general public. We know that she regularly gets sent death threats to her office and abuse online. The fact that she is a black woman makes her hyper visible, she become an easy target for those who hold a certain feeling towards black women. She exposed to intense media scrutiny for things that other MPs regularly get away with.
Some of the tweets that were exposed are clear examples of misogynoir. Many men likened women to animals, called for/justified sexual violence to women and sent them abuse for simply not agreeing with what they said. These were some of the more overt examples but minor examples suggest that black women have the ability to devalue goods and do not deserve to be in loving relationships. These tweets were quite alarming so I don’t want to write out or share any of them but I just hope that those who tweeted them do not hold those same opinions today. It’s quite scary to think that just because I exist as a black woman, people don’t think I have value or a place in society.