For the sake of gender "equality," English law enforcement authorities are being asked to handle men's treatment of women differently than women's treatment of men by considering "behavior targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman" as "hate crimes."
The behavior that could be deemed "hate crimes" would include "harassment in the street, verbal abuse, unwanted physical approaches, taking photographs without consent or sending unwanted text messages," the Daily Mail reports. "Harassment in the street" could be something as common as a "wolf-whistle," as one complaint filed against a group of builders in April suggests.
Should authorities agree to include women in its list of specially-protected groups in society, any of the above actions directed at women could have more severe consequences than the same behavior directed at men by women.
This systemic inequality, some feminist activist groups maintain, is necessary to promote true equality.
Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality, said: "Misogyny is so widespread it has become normalized in our society. As a result, women are routinely objectified and harassed. Unless we challenge it, this won't change. We have to start calling misogyny out for what it is: a hate crime."
"We believe misogyny is the soil in which violence against women and girls grows," said Helen Voce, from Nottingham Women's Centre. "The same attitudes at the root of sexism and harassment are the same attitudes that drive more serious domestic and sexual violence. Classifying misogyny as a hate crime enables the police to deal robustly with the root causes of violence against women."
The Daily Mail notes that a number of police forces have already been "trialling" misogyny as a hate crime, including Nottinghamshire Police as far back as July 2016. According to the National Police Chiefs' Council, a formal request for including misogyny in the hate crime categories is expected soon.