In her recent book, Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny (Oxford University Press: 2017), Kate Manne characterizes misogyny as the “law enforcement” branch of patriarchy, which serves to police, enforce, or restore patriarchal social order—often by visiting hostility on girls and women for perceived violations of gendered norms and expectations. As well as complementary ideologies (most notably, sexism), there is also the flipside of misogyny, Manne argues further. And this flipside needs to be examined: the exonerating narratives and disproportionate sympathy of which comparatively privileged men tend to be the beneficiaries. Manne calls the latter ‘himpathy.’
In the May edition of Philosophy in the Library, Manne departs from the main example of himpathy which she discusses in her book—that of Brock Turner, the convicted sexual assailant and then student at Stanford University. Turner’s trial became notorious when he received disproportionate and inappropriate sympathy over his female victim from multiple sources, including the judge who found him guilty.
As Manne will discuss, this turns out to be only one variety of himpathy among many.