A classicist objects to the classics being used to justify misogynyHistorians in the News
tags: Alt Right, Donna Zuckerberg, Not All Dead White Men
An explosion of online discussion of classics might seem a good thing for those who value the study of ancient Greece and Rome. But a dominant theme in much of that discussion (by people who are not scholars) is misogyny.
Donna Zuckerberg, editor-in-chief of Eidolon, a classics magazine, explores this phenomenon in her new book, Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age(Harvard University Press). She responded via email to questions about the book.
Q: When did the current trend of using classics to promote misogyny start? What prompted this?
A: If we're talking about misogyny as Kate Mannedefines it -- as "the system that operates within a patriarchal social order to police and enforce women’s subordination and to uphold male dominance" -- then the use of classics to support misogyny is as old as classics itself. In far-right online spaces, classical content began to proliferate in late 2014 and 2015, but really picked up steam in 2016, in part because the Red Pill communityexpanded so much during the presidential election.
Q: What are some of the trends you see in how classical thought is being used in this way?
A: The trends I talk about in my book are the larger and subtler ones -- the Red Pill interest in Stoicism and how it's used to support a culture of white male self-improvement as the highest good, and how ancient ideas about women and sex are used in the manosphere more generally to provide an intellectual underpinning for ideas about consent and female autonomy. ...