Our status, politics, educational systems, and advertising are littered with the not so subtle remnants of misogyny. Though the new feminism has fought to correct these notions of prejudice and scorn, we must wonder if any progress has been made. A daily newspaper, a television show, or a pop recording will reveal the undercurrent of misogyny that flows beneath the sea of women's rights.
Religion and mythology have been the most ardent perpetrators of misogyny throughout history. In the biblical story of the Garden of Eden, Eve is blamed for Adams's downfall. According to Dr. Gary Macy, professor of theology at the University of San Diego, during the Middle Ages the Catholic Church used its power, ancient texts, and the rewriting of canon law to "make misogyny an official part of church doctrine" (Rigby). Women were not only barred from the priesthood, but Macy adds that canon law "expressly forbid any woman from serving as a ruler, politician, or judge because of the fact that women were too stupid to understand the law" (qtd. in Rigby). This attitude of misogyny has lasted through the centuries as we see the under-representation of women in positions of corporate, political, and public leadership.
The Catholic Church did not have a monopoly on misogyny in history. One of the most brutally misogynist religions has been Islam. Aristotle viewed women as defective, void of shame, false of speech, and inferior to the male. His writings influenced later Muslim theologians and Arab philosophers. According to Hashmi, the difference between pre-modern misogyny and modern Islam is difficult to discern and notes that, "There is hardly any difference between the misogynic expositions by Aristotle and a village mullah1 in Bangladesh". The Taliban in the Afghanistan region have exemplified this doctrine and the status of Islamic women in Saudi Arabia has also suffered under these beliefs.
The misogyny that infiltrates the world's religions has been a "Pandora's Box" for politics. The US democratic form of government has offered little protection. When first formed in the 18th century, women had no more rights outside the churches than within them. The witch trials had confirmed men's suspicions of a woman's power and were reluctant to share their God given domain of rule. Women could not vote, own property, or participate in the economy. They could not hold public office. To date there has not been a woman President or Vice-President. Nancy Pelosi became the first female to become Speaker of the House in spite of her gender. Women make up 50% of the voting public, yet they hold less than 10% of the Congressional seats and only 1% of the Senate ("Minorities and Women"). Once misogyny was released from the box, it became a difficult task to put it back in its place.
Centuries of legitimized misogyny have also infected the economic system. We hear of the 'glass ceiling' and the wage disparity between male and female workers performing the same duties. What is often overlooked are the subtler ways that the misogynist attitudes affect women. In our education system we have recently heard a Harvard University President propose that, "because Harvard draws only from the very top, it would be understandable that very few women would be found there" (Nelson). The misogyny in the Universities works its way into the boardrooms and decision-making processes of our economy. The public's lack of concern