Kierkegaard: Misogynist

Last month was Kierkegaard’s 200th birthday.

If you’re a fan of something it’s always tempting to explain away the negative aspects. Often we become twice as defensive in order to compensate for the worry this causes us. Listen to compassionate liberals defending the drug war or the drone policy; or compassionate conservatives working themselves into a fervor over the gays. I think it’s important to face up to the bad qualities of our heroes or ideologies.

With that in mind, Kierkegaard was a pretty bad misogynist. See this. He wasn’t as bad as Schopenhauer – seriously, who was? – but he wrote some terrible things about the role and capabilities of women. Yes, I know, he was a creature of his time; yes, I know, the oppressed nature of an oppressed group makes that group seem deserving of oppression to the very superficial glance; yes, I know, he wrote “The Woman Who Was a Sinner”. He still should have been better on this one.

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