There’s been something of a brouhaha in Australia concerning a speech in parliament in which the Prime Minister accused the opposition leader of sexism and misogyny.
Some commentators thought the “sexism” charge was probably fair but that “misogyny” was way over top. The normal definition for misogyny is, basically, a hatred of women.
The Macquarie Dictionary is revising its definition of misogyny.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s speech in Parliament on misogyny has prompted the Macquarie Dictionary to broaden its definition of the word.
Ms Gillard made headlines around the world last week after she used a 15-minute speech in Parliament to accuse Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of being a misogynist.
The current edition of the dictionary defines misogyny as “hatred of women”.
But the dictionary’s editor, Sue Butler, says the definition will now be broadened to include “entrenched prejudice against women”.
She says the usage of the word has evolved over the past few decades.
Do you agree that the meaning of misogyny has changed? See what our audience had to say.
“You’re not really saying they [misogynists] have a pathological sickness, that they should be on a psychiatrist’s couch discussing their early relations with their mother or anything like that,” she said.
“They don’t have this hatred that extends to all women.
“They merely have what we think of as sexism, an entrenched prejudice against women.”
Ms Butler says Ms Gillard’s use of the word prompted the rethink.
“The debate certainly brought it to our attention,” she said.
“I always think of myself as the person with the mop and the broom and the bucket who’s cleaning up the language after the party’s over.