• Down Girl

  • The Logic of Misogyny
  • By: Kate Manne
  • Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang
  • Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (341 ratings)

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Down Girl  By  cover art

Down Girl

By: Kate Manne
Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang
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Publisher's Summary

Misogyny is a hot topic, yet it's often misunderstood. What is misogyny, exactly? Who deserves to be called a misogynist? How does misogyny contrast with sexism, and why is it prone to persist - or increase - even when sexist gender roles are waning? This book is an exploration of misogyny in public life and politics by the moral philosopher and writer Kate Manne. It argues that misogyny should not be understood primarily in terms of the hatred or hostility some men feel toward all or most women. Rather, it's primarily about controlling, policing, punishing, and exiling the "bad" women who challenge male dominance. And it's compatible with rewarding "the good ones," and singling out other women to serve as warnings to those who are out of order. It's also common for women to serve as scapegoats, be burned as witches, and treated as pariahs. 

Manne examines recent and current events such as the Isla Vista killings by Elliot Rodger, the case of the convicted serial rapist Daniel Holtzclaw, who preyed on African-American women as a police officer in Oklahoma City, Rush Limbaugh's diatribe against Sandra Fluke, and the "misogyny speech" of Julia Gillard, then Prime Minister of Australia, which went viral on YouTube. The book shows how these events, among others, set the stage for the 2016 US presidential election. Not only was the misogyny leveled against Hillary Clinton predictable in both quantity and quality, Manne argues it was predictable that many people would be prepared to forgive and forget regarding Donald Trump's history of sexual assault and harassment. For this, Manne argues, is misogyny's oft-overlooked and equally pernicious underbelly: exonerating or showing "himpathy" for the comparatively privileged men who dominate, threaten, and silence women.

©2018 Oxford University Press (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Down Girl

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Five Star Book w/bad Narration

This book is important enough that it should be re-read by someone else. I’m staying with it because I have the book and based on the density of the topic and my learning style I realized i needed to have it read to me. I use the book to follow along.

Bad narration. I’m a power user on Audible. This is bad.

Proud to say though that my daughter was the one who gave me this book—it’s being used as a textbook at her college for a Women and Gender Studies class. She read it in 2017 and gave it to me.

This book and Manne are finally getting recognition, and I highly recommend this book as vital, necessary reading for everyone. Everyone.

It deserves a re-reading in the Audible format however.

13 people found this helpful

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Misogyny or Misandry? Kate Manne's Patriarchy

Cornell Assistant philosophy professor and feminist author Kate Manne has produced a jargon laden polemic arguing that misogyny has been institutionalized in Western society as an enforcer of social norms that oppress women in a systematic way. The result, according to Manne, is that women are kept down, systematically discriminated against, objectified and oppressed by men for the purpose of extracting "feminine coded goods and services" such as sex and care giving from women without appropriate consent or compensation. When women seek their own autonomy, power and status in society misogynist tactics are used to suppress, slap down and literally or metaphorically strangle them.

Manne leaves women in this state of righteous victimhood concluding that she is pessimistic that the patriarchial establishment of Western cultures can be changed. She identifies the victims (women and girls) and the oppressor (male misogyny) but identifies neither any cause nor any solution. The book is simply a list of ways in which Manne's "patriarchy" victimizes females and rewards males.

Manne never asks how this may have come about or even clearly defines what the "Patriarchy" is, simply accepting the blurry concept thrown around in feminist writing generally. The word "Patriarchy" serves the same function here as the word "Establishment" in the 1960s and 1970s and the phrase "Military Industrial complex" in the 1950s and 1960s. Although never described, it is made to seem as though it has a set of social rules and dogmas very much analogous to a kind of "Protocols of the Privileged Elders of the Male Sex". For Manne male oppression is a useful straw man, but she offers no vision of how to change the social order to eliminate female oppression and create an equal society where women are empowered rather than suppressed.

This brings us to the central weakness of Manne's argument. She does not address where the cultures she complains of came from. How her culture of misogyny evolved, does not even seem to be of interest to her. Manne dismisses the existence of meaningful biological sex differences, by saying that there is no control group of women and men brought up in an equal society for scientists to do experiments on to reveal such differences. She therefore throws out in one sentence all of the well and long established scientific findings of anthropology, evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology and behavioral genetics regarding biological sex differences.

This is a key flaw, because Manne does not recognize the fact that culture co-evolves with biology. The fact that all cultures have some differential treatment of males and females does not mean much to Manne. And these cultural differential treatments of men and women are of course all different interpretations of biological differences.

Men and women have always cooperated and traded with each other for the things they cannot provide for themselves, including sex, resources, shelter and security. And many traditionally focused women are still very comfortable trading "feminine coded goods" for financial security. But worse still, Manne argues that she does not even want to know about biological sex differences because, even if true, they could be weaponized to the disadvantage of women. She concludes by writing that biological sex differences should be disregarded and men and women should be treated identically because even if that is unjustified it would help right the wrongs the "patriarchy" has inflicted on women for thousands of years. Until Manne comes to grips with the findings of evolutionary biology, she will never find the roots of either her "patriarchy" or of the better social norms needed to replace it.

The effect of all this is to demonize males and make women into helpless victims. What she leaves us with is more misandry than misogyny. We can do better than that. And women deserve more credit. They are not just disempowered victims. Western cultures have evolved enormously toward a balance of male/female equality of opportunity. There is a long way yet to go and one thing we can do to start is by passing the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution.

10 people found this helpful

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A brilliant philosophical overview of Misogyny,

this book is a brilliant overview and analysis of mysogyny and all the myriad manifestations of it in US society. Most poignantly, the author address the relationship between mysogynism and racism. Also very apparent is how a level of narcessism is required for it to be prevalent. As a person that has been actively researching sexism and racism the past few years, this is a book that is a must read and one that I highly recommend.

7 people found this helpful

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crucial

so sharp, so important. a crucial book. deeply clarifying. not a happy book...but often witty.

7 people found this helpful

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Narrator reads way too fast

Unfortunately I had to give up and return this audiobook. The narrator reads way too quickly for me to process the content. And the audible app only offers speed variants in 25% increments, which is too big a jump. Listening at 75% speed is ok, but a little too slow, and the voice sounds robotic and distracting when slowed down. Audible needs to offer 10 or 15% increments. And nonfiction books shouldn't be speed-read by narrators.

5 people found this helpful

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Timely and Thoughtful

Well thought out and argued. Incredibly important must read for feminists of any generation. Highly recommend also for any woman contemplating a run for political office.

4 people found this helpful

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Too many 50 cent words for me

Such a vital subject, yet the author alienates with overuse of large and difficult to define vocabulary. I had problems just trying to stay focused and ended up feeling frustrated and could not finish.

3 people found this helpful

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I've been wondering

This is a very thorough and well thought-out case for fighting the patriarchy. I've been wondering what the underlying causes for some of the recent hatred is and this book does a good job of breaking it down. Now we just need a solid plan for solving the problem.

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A much needed book.

This is a wonderful analysis of what Misogyny is and why the dictionary definition is not only inadequate but the antithesis of helpful. Kate Manne does a good job of citing scientific studies in addition to giving historical, literary or contemporary examples to support her positions. This is an important read for all in this age. Part of the solution is learning why we have this problem in the first place.

3 people found this helpful

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Kate Manne Nails It

I'll be honest, this is a very frustrating book to listen to if only because Kate Manne is so accurate, precise and detailed in the misogyny that women face on a daily basis. There are a lot of very hard truths to swallow and accept. She couldn't be more accurate in my opinion and I am glad to have read the book, even if the conclusions were ultimately sad to hear.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ragne
  • 04-29-21

Academic text

I liked the book. There's much to think about here, and some uncomfortable truths to face.
Many more should read it. However, I think the way it's written is a bit excluding. This is written as an academic text, with vocabulary and semantics, and build up to fit. I don't think I've ever heard the word "hence" used so often. And Latin frases like "qui bono" and "post hoc" is widely used which can be daunting for many. It expects the reader to have much knowledge of the theme, and other works about it. So just be aware that this can be a heavy read if you're not used to academic texts.
At times it felt like too much time was spent on caveats. It got a bit tiresome to hear that she doesn't mean to exclude LGBTQ, black, disabled etc. I mean, it's good that caveats are made, but page upon page upon page makes it feel... inefficient.

At some points, she seems to take men's words at the worst meaning, but find apologies for women's. Not often, as most of it is justified and clearly right (there is no excuse for "grab 'em by the pussy"), but when compared to how she talks about M, who has some clearly racist views, it makes me wrinkle my brow a bit.

Anyway, as I said, I did like it. And I do recommend it. Other reviews has talked about all that's good about it, so I just wanted to talk about some things which can be problematic.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Forester
  • 12-19-20

Great read and a new perspective

As a philosophy student, I've encountered a lot of different angles on feminism and argued through many issues. This was a genuinely new perspective and I found it very thought provoking on issues of misogeny. I'll be chewing over this book for a long time and may have to buy a text copy for quick references because it's so useful. The only downer was the frequent mispronunciations by the narrator who did the author some disservices by mispronouncing or misreading some key terms, sometimes making nonsense of carefully argued sentences. That's audio for you, I suppose.

I finished this recently, but as a genuine philospohical exercise, it's a dense read. I need to go through it again at least once. The notion of women as givers has face validity in that it explains why so much is expected of women and girls while their own needs for interpersonal validation and nurture are not easily met. I was reading work by bell hooks (she doesn't use upper case: her choice) on men and love at the same time. She argues that boys are forced to 'man up' by suppressing their emotionally softer sides and that they suffer in consequence. It's an interesting contrast in some ways, but at the core for me is that no one half of the human race should be oppressed or damaged fot the good of others. I could go on, but the ideas need to mull a bit!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Paula Williams
  • 04-25-19

Fantastic 👍🏽

People tell you 'Women have equal rights'
So why does life as a girl or woman feel so unequal and unfair? ... and why do I in fact feel so guilty sometimes in saying so? This book brilliantly explains both ..
It did have me running to the dictionary a number many times, (the writer Kate has an astounding vocabulary) But I just stuck with it as the insight, facts and explanations are mind blowing. You go girl, you are a genius at making complete and utter sence of this world for Women 😀

4 people found this helpful

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  • Monika Hartmann
  • 02-11-19

The best book I read in all year

An essential reading to every girl, woman, boy and man out there. This should be taught in schools. Gives answers to so many unnerving questions about the state of the world these days. Absolutely loved it!

4 people found this helpful

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  • R. Arbon
  • 09-22-19

Essential reading

This is a enlightening book and it's content if it were known and understood by a greater number of people would do much to make the world a better place for everyone, especially women. It's not got 5 stars because the language can be quite academic and hard to understand and therefor not as suitable for audio.

2 people found this helpful

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  • CP
  • 11-06-21

academic but powerful

not a light read but a thorough examination of a complex topic that I found extremely illuminating.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • KaYEL
  • 09-24-21

Made it half way through and gave up

Far too wordy, if I had to drink a shot for every time the word "ameliorative" was used I would be dead on the floor in an hour. If you had high hopes from the title like I did, then I would suggest reading anything by Laura Bates who is incredible.

1 person found this helpful

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  • PPG
  • 03-05-22

Useless rant with no actions

Author Gave up on her own hypotheses with no call ti action or solutions. So frustrating

No point in listening to this book.

It’s just a rant and apparently nothing can be done to help Women’s position in the USA or Australia

There is too much focus on nasty politicians.
Would have been much better to focus on a few positives, surely there are some?
Me Too, Harvey Weinstein, the fact that Hilary Clinton got farther than any other USA female candidate

Don’t give up USA feminists!

Recommend the author reads Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Florence Given, Simone De Beauvoir, Caroline Criado, Sandi Toksvig, Mary Woolstonecraft or Virginia Woolf for some inspo

She is falling into the “victim trap” that she believes the patriarchy are policing

Quite a good description at the beginning about what misogyny actually is but mainly just a vanity book for her in my opinion.

Fem up Kate!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-12-21

I need to read this again

This book is incredible in its insight. However, it was very academic and philosophical. I need to reread at some point

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  • RUBY LANGTON-BATTY
  • 12-24-19

Interesting, but too American

Certainly an interesting read, and a great insight into what misogyny is and how it manifests.
However, it is mostly centres on American culture - would have benefited from a more global perspective and more stats and data

1 person found this helpful