7 Subtle Signs You're In Love With A Misogynistic Man

Make sure to spot this kind of attitude early.

Misogynistic Man belittleing woman MDV Edwards | Shutterstock

Misogynistic attitudes disregard women and can sometimes be tough to spot quickly. To the misogynist, women are not whole, soul-centered individuals; they are instead objectified as flesh with curves, objects to be used, and all too often by force. Not all men are misogynists. Most honor women and treat them with respect. However, there will always be men who harbor ill motives, and identifying them effectively is critical in dating. More to the point, we need to be cognizant of the fact that we can only change ourselves, not others.


Here are 7 subtle signs you're in love with a misogynistic man: 

1. He doesn't view you as a whole person

You should only spend time with men who view you as a whole person. This applies to in-person interactions as well as social media. Why go to a "meat market" party or a bar to meet someone, where you have to live up to a certain persona? Instead, attend events based on interest and/or among trusted friends, where the focus isn't only on hooking up. To be sure, some men fake interest in an event just to meet women, but you'll be much more able to weed out the imposters at a focused event rather than a party for party's sake environment.


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2. He comments on others' looks

Open comments about women's looks, shapes, and appeal can be indicators of misogynistic views. This is easy to spot when comments are framed in the negative, but more insidious are comments framed in the positive. Complements are judgments too, and such behavior is a signal of somebody likely judgmental. Likewise, commentary about other people is a signal that a person feels free to judge others and may harbor other less savory judgments.

3. He shares his opinion on how you look

Limit asking male opinions of your physical looks, and only solicit from those who value you. What girl hasn’t asked a male friend what he thinks of her looks? "Does this make me look fat" is a cliché. For adolescents and young adults especially, peer opinions define internal identities, making young women more vulnerable to misogyny as they naturally want to be seen as beautiful and desirable. Indeed girls often look to their male peers to define their beauty and may even seek out opinions from their more vocal and judgmental male peers, to get an "honest" opinion. This, of course, further emboldens guys to judge and articulate girls' physical attributes, reinforcing the dangerous value that a girl's worth is defined by her physical features. Seek to hear compliments that are well-rounded, rather than delineations of attractive body parts. Girls want to feel beautiful, not objectified.

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4. He uses alcohol or drugs

Early meetings in a relationship should be kept to sober encounters to reduce the chances of a bad encounter. Alcohol and drugs impair inhibitions and allow more impulsivity. If you are around alcohol and drugs, make sure it is with people you know well and value you as a whole person.

5. He tries to silence you when you speak up

Command respect by respecting yourself. Speak your mind, take a stand against misogyny, and be ready to stand down anyone who would objectify you. Don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable with people you cannot trust.

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6. He doesn't honor your feelings or anxiety

Honor your anxiety if you start to feel uncomfortable at any point during a date, and use this energy to fuel a safe exit. Ending a date early is always better than wishing you had. 

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7. He thinks you don't have the confidence to stand up for yourself

Train yourself in confidence and assertiveness so you can rely on it if needed. Research shows that people who are alert to their surroundings (i.e., not listening to music, talking on the phone, texting) and walk with an upright confident gait are less likely to be victimized. Effective ways to feel more confident are to take self-defense classes, carry mace, and overall "act as if." It's perfectly normal and acceptable to feel afraid, but showing it might make you more vulnerable to a perpetrator’s advance. Remember, perpetrators are fundamentally cowards and are looking for an easy target. They do not want a fight, they want submission and to instill fear. They will not generally pick on people they perceive as strong.

Thankfully, most men are good-hearted and respectful. That said, we must be smart about spotting and dealing with misogyny in dating when it surfaces. By being strong in ourselves, commanding respect from others, and surrounding ourselves with trustworthy people, we can generally avoid misogyny in dating and its manifestations. Ultimately, as we speak out against this abhorrent behavior, we build a collective intolerance for attitudes of hatred and subjugation and chip away at our passive acceptance that allows the cancer of misogyny to persist.

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Dr. Alicia Clark has been a practicing psychologist for over 25 years and has been named one of Washington’s Top Doctors by Washingtonian Magazine. She is the author of Hack Your Anxiety: How to Make Anxiety Work for You In Life, Love, and All That You Do.