“She’s dressed like a wh*re, look at that skirt!”
Yeah, you’ve probably heard that one. Especially from women to women. Now, you’re probably familiar with this common practice of women shaming women. “What’s this called? What is this?” You may ask. Simple answer: It’s internalized misogyny.
“What is internalized sexism, anyway?”
It’s quite simple. It’s the act of women being sexist to other women as a result of stereotypes created by developing culture as well as men being pushed onto them. Women are invalidated, not taken seriously, and denied as many opportunities and pay due to their gender. Thus, to feel validated they agree with and laugh at some men’s sexist dishwasher jokes, make those jokes themselves or put down other women for the sake of feeling validated by men, and to fit into society’s patriarchal expectations.
Internalized sexism is far too common in the world, it’s when people (mostly men) say things like women belong in the kitchen and women are dishwashers. It is disappointing to see that men make “jokes” about this when it’s just oppressing women. Now, this isn’t the internalized sexism we’re talking about, but it feeds into it and provokes it.
Society teaches women what to feel, what to do, and how to act. These cultural conceptions of womanhood are wrong as women should decide how they act not society. Society shouldn’t control women as they have their rights. All of this causes women to have Internalized Misogyny.
“How do I get over my internalized misogyny?”
To your luck, here’s a whole guide to help you!
STEP ONE: Recognize it
The first step for a woman to overcome her internalized sexism is to be aware of the issue, and recognize its practice in our daily lives. So next time you hear your mother or relative slut-shaming or body-shaming a random woman, realize that that is an act of internalized sexism. The most important first step to stopping the problem is recognizing its existence and practice.
STEP TWO: Hold Yourself Accountable
Whenever you go to shame a woman’s appearance, outfit, partner, job, etc. think, ‘aren’t I practicing internalized misogyny right now?’. Think of how you practice sexism towards other women, including yourself. Ask yourself questions such as:
- Have I put down another woman to other women or men?
- Do I ever try to silence other women?
- Do I ever hide my opinion and or passion when in conversation with men?
- When I dress, how much do I seek men’s approval for what Iʼm wearing?
- Do I give more credibility to menʼs respect, approval, praise, or criticism than womenʼs?
- Have I ever blamed a woman for the actions of a man?
- Have I ever declared “Iʼm not a feminist.”?
- Do I let men interrupt me? Do I let women interrupt me? (Keyes, 2020)
All of these are great questions for yourself to realize if you practice internalized misogyny or not. For more of these questions click this link to the original source: https://soundgirls.org/challenging-internalized-sexism/ It’s simple like playing a game of never have I ever, and you can do this with friends, family, etc. And you can conclude whether you are an internalized misogynist or not which will lead us to the next step.
STEP THREE: Practice Neglecting Your Sexism
Whenever you feel like you’re about to express your judgment of a woman for whatever reason, hold it in. Neglect these thoughts and over time they will diminish. As a practitioner of this method, I can say that it has definitely worked for me, and my sexist thoughts went down after I stopped feeding into them. So whenever you feel like you want to point out a woman’s appearance, just silence yourself before you can say it. What is the benefit of being an internalized misogynist? How does a woman’s body, body count, outfit, success, etc. affect your life in any way? Wouldn’t it be more yourself for us women to mind our business? There is no benefit of being sexist besides receiving validation from some of our oppressors, men. Practice this mindset and actively be aware of diminishing your sexist thoughts!
STEP FOUR: Replace Your Sexism With Empowerment
Now, we just talked about neglecting your sexism. However, it is a hard and long process. Thus, neglect the sexist statements you want to say and instead say something kind to a woman! Want to say that a woman looks ‘fat’ in that outfit? No, instead say: Wow, she looks great in that outfit! Want to say that this woman is not suitable for a job for ‘men’? No, instead say: Wow, she’s so successful and doing well! Want to say that a woman is dressing up for male attention? No, instead say: She looks so gorgeous for herself! Flip the sexism over and say the opposite of the mean words, something kind. This will help your mindset develop and gradually get used to being kind to women rather than being mean.
STEP FIVE: Develop Your Voice & Use It
Women are often silenced, and women often silence other women. Do not listen to your oppressors, do not stay silent. Use your voice for good. If you want your voice to be heard you can post on social media and create a movement it can be using Instagram or Twitter by using hashtags. Nothing is too small as everything helps as it could inspire others, you could also start petitions and peacefully protest in real life. Educate other women on this issue, share this article, and others to inform them of their unconscious practice of internalized sexism/misogyny and help them overcome it!