Misogyny is sometimes confused with the similar looking word—misogamy (μισογαμία)—which means "hatred of marriage", hence the following error.
An example of correct use, from the same period is:
A clearer example of the sense, also from the same era but using the related word misogynist, is provided by Thackeray.
Occasionally writers play on the similarity of sound between misogyny and miscegeny (mixed-race marriage).
Misogyny comes into English from the ancient Greek word, misogunia (μισογυνία), which survives in two passages. The earlier, longer and more complete passage comes from a stoic philosopher called Antipater of Tarsus in a moral tract known as On Marriage (c. 150 BC). Antipater argues that marriage is the foundation of the state, and considers it to be based on divine (polytheistic) decree. Antipater uses misogunia to describe Euripides' usual writing—tēn en to graphein misogunian (τὴν μισογυνίαν ἐν τῷ γράφειν "the misogyny in the writing"). However, he mentions this by way of contrast. He goes on to quote Euripides at some length, writing in praise of wives. Antipater doesn't tell us what it is about Euripides' writing that he believes is misogynistic, he simply expresses his belief that even a man thought to hate women (namely Euripides) praises wives, so concluding his argument for the importance of marriage. He says, "This thing is truly heroic."
Euripides' reputation as a misogynist is known from another source. Athenaeus, in Deipnosophistae or Banquet of the Learned, has one of the diners quoting Hieronymus of Cardia who confirms the view was widespread, while offering Sophocles' comment on the matter.
Euripides the poet, also, was much addicted to women: at all events Hieronymus in his Historical Commentaries speaks as follows,—"When some one told Sophocles that Euripides was a woman-hater, 'He may be,' said he, 'in his tragedies, but in his bed he is very fond of women.' " — Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, 2nd/3rd century.
The other surviving use of the original Greek word is by Chrysippus, in a fragment from On affections, quoted by Galen in Hippocrates on Affections. Here, misogyny is the first in a short list of three "disaffections"—women (misogunian), wine (misoinian, μισοινίαν) and humanity (misanthrōpian, μισανθρωπίαν). Chrysippus' point is more abstract than Antipater's, and Galen quotes the passage as an example of an opinion contrary to his own. What is clear, however, is that he groups hatred of women with hatred of humanity generally, and even hatred of wine. "It was the prevailing medical opinion of his day that wine strengthens body and soul alike." So, as with his fellow stoic, Antipater, misogyny is viewed negatively, a disease, a dislike of something that is good. It is this issue of conflicted or alternating emotions that was philosophically contentious to the ancient writers. Ricardo Salles suggests the general stoic view was that, "A man may not only alternate between philogyny and misogyny, philanthropy and misanthropy, but be prompted to each by the other.
Misogynist is also found in the Greek—misogunēs (μισογύνης)—in Deipnosophistae (above) and in Plutarch's Parallel Lives, where it is used as the title of Heracles in the history of Phocion. It was also the title of a play by Menander, which we know of from book seven (concerning Alexandria) of Strabo's 17 volume Geography, and quotations of Menander by Clement of Alexandria and Stobaeus that relate to marriage. Menander also wrote a play called Misoumenos (Μισούμενος) or The Man (She) Hated. Another Greek play with a similar name, Misogunos (Μισόγυνος) or Woman-hater, is reported by Cicero (in Latin) and attributed to Atilius. The context is worth quoting in full, because it deals directly with matters already discussed in this article.
It is the same with other diseases; as the desire of glory, a passion for women, to which the Greeks give the name of philogyneia: and thus all other diseases and sicknesses are generated. But those feelings which are the contrary of these are supposed to have fear for their foundation, as a hatred of women, such as is displayed in the Woman-hater of Atilius; or the hatred of the whole human species, as Timon is reported to have done, whom they call the Misanthrope. Of the same kind is inhospitality. And all these diseases proceed from a certain dread of such things as they hate and avoid. — Cicero, Tusculanae Quaestiones, 1st century BC.The more common form of this general word for woman hating is misogunaios (μισογύναιος).
The word is also found in Vettius Valens' Anthology and Damascius' Principles. In summary, Greek literature considered misogyny to be a disease, an anti-social condition, in that it ran contrary to their perceptions of the value of women as wives, and of the family as the foundation of society. These points are widely noted in the secondary literature.
Frequently, the term misogynist is used in a looser sense as a term of derision to describe anyone who holds an unpopular or distasteful view about women as a group. A man who considers himself "a great lover of women," therefore, might somewhat paradoxically be termed a misogynist by those who consider his treatment of women sexist, such as sex-negative feminists. Archetypes of this type of man might be Giacomo Casanova and Don Juan, who were both reputed for their many libertine affairs with women.
Misogyny is a negative attitude towards women as a group, and so need not fully determine a misogynist's attitude towards each individual woman. The fact that someone holds misogynist views may not prevent him or her from having positive relationships with some women. Conversely, simply having negative relationships with some women does not necessarily mean someone holds misogynistic views. The term, like most negative descriptions of attitudes, is used as an epithet and applied to a wide variety of behaviors and attitudes. As with other terms, the more antipathetic one's position is in regards to misogyny, the larger the number of misogynists and the greater variety of attitudes and behaviors who fall into one's perception of "misogynist". This is, of course, the subject of much controversy and debate with opinions ranging widely as to the extent and breadth of misogyny in society.
Feminist theorist Marilyn Frye argues that misogyny is phallocentric and homoerotic at its root. In Politics of Reality, Fyre analyzes the alleged misogyny characteristic of the fiction and Christian apologetics of C.S. Lewis. Frye argues that such misogyny privileges the masculine as a subject of erotic attention. She compares the misogyny characteristic of Lewis' ideal of gender relations to underground male prostitution rings, which share the same quality of men seeking to dominate subjects seen as less likely to take on submissive roles by a patriarchal society, but in both cases doing so as a theatrical mockery of women.
J Holland sees evidence of misogyny in the mythology of the ancient world. In Greek mythology, the human race had already existed before the creation of women — a peaceful, autonomous existence as a companion to the gods. When Prometheus decides to steal the secret of fire from the gods, Zeus becomes infuriated and decides to punish humankind with an "evil thing for their delight" — Pandora, the first woman, who carried a jar (usually described — incorrectly — as a box) she was told to never open. Epimetheus (the brother of Prometheus) is overwhelmed by her beauty, disregards Prometheus' warnings about her, and marries her. Pandora cannot resist peeking into the jar, and by opening it unveils all evil into the world — labour, sickness, old age, and death.
J Holland also sees evidence of misogyny in the Christian view on the Fall of Man based on the Book Genesis, which according to Christian interpretation brought tragedy and death into the world by a woman. (See also Original Sin.)
Katherine M. Rogers in The Troublesome Helpmate argues that the Pauline epistles in the New Testament contain texts that have historically been used by some Christian misogynists.
Taj Hashmi discusses misogyny in relation to Muslim culture, and Bangladesh specifically, in Popular Islam and Misogyny: A Case Study of Bangladesh.
Nietzsche is known for arguing that every higher form of civilization implied stricter controls on women (Beyond Good and Evil, 7:238); he frequently insulted women, but is best known for phrases such as "Women are less than shallow," and "Are you going to women? Do not forget the whip! Nietzsche's reputation as a misogynist is disputed by some, pointing out that he also made unflattering statements about men. Nietzsche can easily be interpreted as anti-feminist, believing that women were primarily mothers and opposing the modern notion of women's liberation on the grounds that he considered it a form of slave morality. Whether or not this amounts to misogyny, whether his polemic statements against women are meant to be taken literally, and the exact nature of his opinions of women, are more controversial.
The philosopher Otto Weininger has been accused of misogyny for his 1903 book Sex and Character, in which he characterizes the "woman" part of each individual as being essentially "nothing," and having no real existence, having no effective consciousness or rationality. Weininger says, "No men who really think deeply about women retain a high opinion of them; men either despise women or they have never thought seriously about them." The author August Strindberg praised Weininger for probably having solved the hardest of all problems, the "woman problem."