You might have heard of Misogyny, but have you heard of Internalized Misogyny? It is okay if you don’t understand this term; I, myself, came across this term a few days ago, and even though I didn’t know what it meant, I have experienced it, as you might have, because it is a common occurrence in our surroundings. Internalized Misogyny is an experience where a woman is pitted against another woman or minimises a women’s worth and mistrusts her.
We see women being disgraced every day from advertisements to our daily lives; the internalized Misogyny is subconscious. It is assuming that we are not like other girls or jealous of some other girl’s success.
A study revealed that while women at higher positions still practice internalized Misogyny by not helping other women succeed; thinking they should be the only women on top – we can all win together.
Although the expression “Not like other girls” is used so early in a child’s life, the idea that girl/women must exhibit the same characteristics as other women is absurd. A woman can prefer cars while still being a girl.
Sometimes internalized Misogyny catches up with us; even if we aren’t intentionally misogynistic towards others, we spread it by apologizing on our own for making our point. We treat assertiveness as aggressive rather than respectful conduct. We criticize and see our behavior as a flaw that is considered a positive trait when done by a male figure.
It is important to unlearn the conditioning society has taught us over the years. It can be a lengthy process but being aware and unlearning the thoughts and conditioning is an important part of growing and inspiring others to succeed.
Here are a few examples of Internalized Misogyny that we need to recognize in our daily lives and how we can try to overcome this together:
- Songs/ Movies where the female leads are trying to get a male’s attention by pulling each other down or competing against each other is really toxic. It makes a girl believe that competing against other women and pulling other women down for a male’s attention is normal. We need to stop glorifying such case scenarios.
- Many women refused to learn to cook, growing up to show that they would rebel or stand up against the patriarchy. I didn’t know how to cook until recently. It made me believe that if I cook, I would be submitting to the patriarchy, but lately, I realized just not doing something basic everyone should know is not standing up against patriarchy instead; it is a part of internalized Misogyny.
- Internalized Misogyny has penetrated the feminism movement because women and many other people believe that feminism is about hating men, and they instead have “Equal Rights” than being a Feminist.
- I have seen quite a few women eve-teasing men or even harassing men, thinking that it will make them equal to men because men do it all the time, and then calling them feminists. The wrong idea of feminism has ruined its meaning; it has promoted internalized Misogyny by making us believe that we need to act like men to be treated equally. They are not caring about what is decent and what is not decent.
- The idea of heterosexual relationship is set as the standard relationship. The idea of compulsory heterosexuality ties to Misogyny, as a woman’s existence in a relationship, is tied to the male. It makes the same-sex couple. Usually femsame-sexales think that maybe the connection isn’t real because they are conditioned to reject the pairing. Most of the females come out as bisexual before they can identify themselves as lesbians.
- If a man wears pastel colors or pink, his sexuality is assumed immediately. This gender binary is just really hurtful to all groups of people. Many girls would think that pink is too girly and stop wearing it altogether and go for darker colors because it is more rad; it is a fuel to internalized Misogyny and is the same as “not like other girls.”
We need to do a lot of unlearning and identifying the internalized Misogyny in our daily lives. Breaking the society’s conditioning can take time, but if we all put in equal efforts, we can break the chain together.