Bukowski a misogynist? (1 Viewer)

I hear a lot of people throwing around labels for Buk like "Nazi" and "Misogynist".

The Nazi thing seems to have come up most recently over a real estate deal in California. It seems to me that one of the parties involved was trying to vilify him in order to sway public opinion. According to an article that I read he was said to have looked around a café or coffee shop that was occupied by several Jews at the time and say "Turn on the gas". This doesn't seem entirely out of character for Buk seeing as he had a somewhat dark and twisted sense of style and humor, but still I wholeheartedly believe it to have been a joke.

In response to the misogyny label he always said that people who said he hated women never knew the ones he was with. This misogyny thing seems to be growing legs. I'm not really sure how you define it. Is misogyny the hatred of women per se, or is it the act of womanizing, which we all know Buk engaged in with great vigor, or is it simply finding the views of the feminist movement to be a bit overstated and fanciful? As in the belief that a woman can do anything a man can do i.e. Police Officer, Firefighter or Soldier?

I wonder how Bukowski would come down on all this babbling going on? Possibly he would side with the likes of the much-maligned graphic novelists Dave Sim.

But that's a whole other can of worms.
Last edited by a moderator:
Maybe he was just a MAN Any one ever in a relationship or marriage knows that truth of not being able to stand the opposite, at least until one wants laid!!:pCRB
I think that you can hate what you fear.

He certainly did not get close to a woman as an equal until his last years, if he ever did. His last wife Linda finally got to him, I would say, from what I read.
Although Jane, was the first woman to show him love and passion .

It is not black and white.

I would say that he was not a misogynist, but rather a scared man .
A philanthrope, very possible but also scared.
Hate women? No. Or, rather, not JUST women...he hated men too: bartenders, bosses, & most every person he passed on the street. He hated a KIND of person, a kind of poetry & writer, & a kind of dull, brow-beaten life lived without gamble or spirit...

Just as he loved a handful of well-documented people in his life, who were good & kind to him, & whom he was open & very caring towards...

I certainly have people I like & don't like--as I'm sure you all do too. I don't see a difference...& "Nazi" and "Misogynist" seem like desperately inflammatory & irresponsible labels...

My $.02
Last edited by a moderator:
Amen; I've been reading this thread all day and trying to find the right words and Hosh (the fine poet) comes through.
Those lines are more than 2 cents. Priceless answer to a BS accusation.
Thank you to our dear Hosh.
Last edited by a moderator:
Since this was question about women, I don't think he hated them. In fact I am sure he loved them, but was bitter, that they didn't return the admiration/love he hoped for. Meaning, he just didn't have much luck with them. The women he wanted, in return wanted those "pretty and dull boys, and their sports cars..."

And when, and if, he would somehow end-up with one of those "cupcake" sort, the relationships wouldn't last because, they were with him, at the first place, out of curiosity, or to use him in some way, or he would be probably too overbearing.
I find good answers to the women question in Women. It's funny how I react depending on my state of mind. Most times I've read it I think it's hilarious etc. The last time though, after having boy troubles, it at times does disgust me. But that's not his fault - he's just writing about the way things are between all men and women and people.

Women is beautiful and tragic and hilarious. It has such beautiful examples of him being torn up and really caring for women. I just love the Thanksgiving story, oh Tammie, "This turkey needs more SPICES".
i was wondering... was bukowski faithful to his wife??

and also does he ever write about the working condition of his junk as he got older?

this was the most suitable place i could think for these questions...
About ? 1, I don't know. ?2- I know he wrote often about performance issues in regard to his alcohol intake. Even trying to slow down/quit so he could better sustain/satisfy. The attempt to quit at one point is what got him onto the horses,('addiction swaping'). Of course, ultimately he ended up combining the two. CRB:)
Eulogy To A Hell Of A Dame
Charles Bukowski

some dogs who sleep ay night
must dream of bones
and I remember your bones
in flesh
and best
in that dark green dress
and those high-heeled bright
black shoes,
you always cursed when you drank,
your hair coimng down you
wanted to explode out of
what was holding you:
rotten memories of a
past, and
you finally got
by dying,
leaving me with the
you've been dead
28 years
yet I remember you
better than any of
the rest;
you were the only one
who understood
the futility of the
arrangement of
all the others were only
displeased with
trivial segments,
nonsensically about
Jane, you were
killed by
knowing too much.
here's a drink
to your bones
this dog
dreams about.
does anyone know where i can find pictures of jane? google doesn't have shit.

edit: that poem was found here: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/7976/
h****d s****s' 'bukowski in pictures' has the only known photo of jane. highschool yearbook? I think? I'd have to look.
Uncle Howie does have the only unknown photo in his "book". Posting it here will only get him upset and in his threatening mode. Of course, if someone else located a copy of the yearbook, they could post it where ever they wanted as they would have just as much right to post it as he did to publish it. As much as he may think that he owns the copyright to the photo, he does not own the copyright to a photo from a yearbook from the 30's where he was not the photographer and did not get the photographers consent to reproduce it. It very well may be in public domain, but a photograph of the photograph from his "book" would be a violation of his copyright...

Not that it is not fun to watch him get angry...

That Unca Howie is incredible! Getting all worked up about some pics from his books being posted here when they're all over the internet anyway. After all the praise we've given his books here, he should've viewed it as great promotion instead. Oh, well...
Last edited by a moderator:

that guy should stick to writing his unrelated PhD. hopefully it'll have more to it than that dumb little piece...

he was more of a misanthrope than misogynist; he was an equal opportunity disliker of men and women.
the way he treats women often disturbs me.
Well, you're 23 years old, so I'll ask you if anything your great grandfather did shocked you.

Ah, trick question, you didn't know him, did you.

He and Bukowski would have been contemporaries. They grew up and spent their lives in a much different world than you live in. Now in the 60s and 70s people looked around and said, "It's pretty fucked up, the way this world works," and they set about to change, among other things, the way women are treated and regarded in society. And a lot has changed. A lot hasn't changed, that's for sure, but for the most part there has been progress. I mean, you're about to have a female president. Your great grandfather would have laughed and laughed if you told him that was ever going to happen. Let alone a nigger president.

What? Your great grandfather never said nigger? Wanna bet?

Holding people like your great grandfather and Bukowski - who were born when there were still people walking around who had been plantation slaves, before there were radio stations, commercial air travel or talking movies - to the same standards you hold yourself to is foolish. It doesn't take history into account.

It also doesn't take into account the way people act when they were physically abused as children, as Bukowski was (don't know about your great grandfather). Today there are a thousand ways to get your head straight if you were beaten as a child. A million people who want to help you. That was not the case in your great grandfather's generation.

So you can be shocked by some of the things Bukowski said or did, some of them are shocking. To us. But those things, as backward and wrongheaded as they seem now, were once very common. Try to keep that in mind.
this accusation against Bukowski is old, dating back to something like the late 1960s. So, I guess most of us are a little tired of replying again and again to it.

In short, dgray has it: the male protagonists in Bukowski's work don't look any better than the female and neither does he himself (at many times).
The whole state of mankind and how humans act was troubling him ("humanity, you never had it, from the beginning"). So, yes, he was a sort of (general) misantrope, but not a misogynist particularly.

That's also what he himself used to answer (in a nutshell), when confronted with this accusation.

Concerning this video-snipplet from 'The Bukowski-Tapes' you mention:
I don't want to excuse what he's doing in this sponaneous, emotional and drunk rage.
But what shocks ME way more, is the fact, that of all the beautiful, fantastic, enlightening, poetical moments in this 4-hour[!]-piece, it was only these 2 minutes that gained worldwide fame.
Last edited:
I'll ask you if anything your great grandfather did shocked you.
The kids these days are too self-righteous for that degree of historical sensitivity. Speaking of kids, I dug this up, the writer of the little blog piece referenced by our young friend.

Oh Matthew Tibble. How much your little piece on Bukowski must have endeared you to the fairer sex and higher-ups. How much it nevertheless is terribly ignorant.

Matthew Tibble.png
Thank you for pointing that out d gray! :)

As I'm sure you can all tell this is my first foray into the world of Bukowski and the piece I wrote was just a reflection of what struck me first when I read his works. A lot of these comments have been really helpful, particularly his about his general misanthropy. If someone could suggest some passages I might read where this applies I'd be greatly appreciative!

For mjp,
Well, you're 23 years old, so I'll ask you if anything your great grandfather did shocked you.
- True, I did not know him. I do know he wasn't alive in the 60s but your point still applies. I'm sure he did a few things back in the day that would have been shocking to us now. I'm also English so unfortunately I won't be having a female president, or one of any kind for that matter. The piece I wrote certainly held Bukowski up to modern standards, but I fear this is how many readers today, particularly young ones such as myself, will interpret him. I think that can be dangerous, and often lead to a misinterpretation of his beliefs. I don't believe it should stand in the way of enjoying the beautiful things he wrote, though.

Anyway guys - thanks for the comments (well, particularly the more constructive ones!). I'd love to hear anything more you have to say on the topic. I had another question, though I am unsure whether or not here is an appropriate place to ask it: I know Bukowski took influence from John Fante's 'Ask the Dust', but are there any other works by Fante that strike any of you as having a major influence on Bukowski? I'd be interested to read them!
He read all books by John Fante but always stated Ask the Dust as his main influence.

Personally I also think that Ask the Dust is Fantes strongest book.
Do we have a right to ignore that or overlook it when reading his works? There is video in this article which I'm sure a lot of people here have seen that still really shocks me...
It is horrible to watch that clip, I kept hoping she would clock him one between the eyes, she doesn't. Maybe because the cameras were rolling and she is less drunk than he.The point is from the many hours and hours of filming that was edited down and discarded? by Schroeder,that clip was kept in. It didn't have to be, but like his writing it is warts and all - a mixture of truth and performance.

His relationships with women were more troubled than the usual, I think his childhood of domestic vilolence that he both endured and witnessed coloured that, especially his relationship with his mother - which is still under examined.
We are far from the end point of evolution regarding domestic violence and too many women carry on being beaten and killed by their men. That you are shocked/ uncomfortable with the scene - is the right reaction..
...the piece I wrote...

oh you wrote that? i thought you were linking to someone else's piece.

sorry, i wouldn't have put it so roughly if i knew it was yours.

it's just a very uninformed opinion or impression of him. yes he could be extreme in the way he dealt with both men and women but i think that had at least a little to do with the types of men and women he met and had relationships with.

and as the others said, his horrible childhood did such damage that it affected the way he felt about and dealt with people his whole life.

stick around, you won't find a better place to learn anything and everything about him. good and bad...
i wouldn't have put it so roughly
That's alright d gray, I should have made it clear in my original post. Whilst I first approached the piece with the intention of looking only at his perception, treatment, and portrayal of women, as that garners a lot of attention from readers, I do understand that he treated both men and women harshly at times. This could have been made clearer in the piece. Are there any decent examples from his personal life where he treats men in a similar manner? I know that there are numerous male figures in his writing that he treats with disdain, though I wondered if that transferred at all to the people he met in real life.

That you are shocked/ uncomfortable with the scene - is the right reaction
Thank you skygazer, I know it is an uncomfortable topic - and especially so when entering a forum where everybody is enamoured with Bukowski. That's why I thought it might be worth discussing again as I know a lot of younger readers will come away with similar reactions to me, and disregard the rest of his oeuvre because of those types of clips. Modern readers are particularly sensitive to these issues, but I wanted to use that as a way to further explore his work, rather than just ignore it completely.

Also guys - thanks for refraining from the ad hominem bombardment included in the first round of comments.
Young lad. Read "Ham on Rye" and really try (try) to put yourself in his shoes. I for one was never hit by my father. My Mom was the enforcer. I got slapped when I did something wrong. I learned to avoid doing un-kind things. He got the crap beat out of him on a almost daily basis. We have to over look his short comings and be thankful and amazed as to what an amazing writer he became.

That's how I look at it.

Buk loved his women. I don't know how much he loved his male friends but he definitely loved his women.
You are talking about a 50 year old man in 1960-whatever. Compared to general society, Mr. Bukowski was at least informed enough to understand the there is no easy answer. He at least understood the question.
I love Bukowski, but the way he treats women often disturbs me. Do we have a right to ignore that or overlook it when reading his works? There is video in this article which I'm sure a lot of people here have seen that still really shocks me...


The shoes you wear, dope you smoke, coke you sniff,chocolate you eat, were probably provided from people who treat women a lot worse. And don;t get me started if you eat meat or like jokes about visible minorities (especially the funniest jokes). So why should your artists have a higher standard? I have friends who are comics trying to be the next Lenny Bruce and write non offensive material, I am sick of this sliding revisionist morality where that which doesn't directly affect or involve you is the most egregious.

The world is not a nice place. And while we are at it-who the fuck uses the word-whilst?? Buy a BBQ and grow a pair.

Users who are viewing this thread