When I was a kid, I was a major tomboy. Over-sized t-shirts, baggy jeans, sneakers, boyish haircut- I was THAT tomboy. And I loved being a tomboy. I was proud of being a tomboy because back then, it meant you were different from “other girls”. And I liked being different. I would always dress up in tees and shorts, and I would cry if I was forced into a dress. Skirts were my enemy, the colour pink was disgusting, and I hated having to wear a hairband with frills. I was very vocal and loud of my love for all things black, cool, skulls, dragons, boy-like. I laughed and made fun of all things “girly”.
Now, in my twenties donning pretty dresses and my face covered in the glossiest of lipsticks, when I look back at my past tomboy-self, I realized two things: 1) I liked being a tomboy because it was a simple matter of personal taste, and 2) as much as I hate to admit it now, part of it, at least 50% of it, was because I thought boys would find me cool. *BIG GULP*. I wanted to be included, I wanted to be cool, like “one of the boys”. Everyone knew boys were fun and cool. I didn’t want them to make fun of me for “being girly”. I wanted to be the one to make all the girly jokes and laugh out loud with the boys.
And that’s where internalized misogyny takes root people.
Internalized misogyny takes different shapes and forms as you grow up, and you will start to notice it only when you reeeeeaaaaaaaalllllly look.
Internalized misogyny is not sexist slurs, phrases objectifying women’s bodies, when your boyfriend or guy-friend says “you’re not like other girls”. No.
Internalized misogyny is when a woman is supposed to feel validated when a man tells them that they’re not like other girls. Internalized misogyny is when a woman tells you to “take it as a compliment” when your male friends pass comments about your body and that it’s okay for them to say such things because “they’re your friends after all”. Internalized misogyny is when women slam women for the way they dress, act, talk by saying “it’s no wonder she doesn’t have a boyfriend”, “do you think men like that?”, etc. Internalized misogyny is sending hundreds of “funny” WhatsApp forwards on how marriage traps men and tortures them, with the sender being one of your aunties.
Internalized misogyny is a plethora of jokes on how women love to spend their husband’s/boyfriend’s money, again with the sender being a woman just so the men in the group chat can all have a laugh. Internalized misogyny is trying to disassociate yourself from all things pink because it’s too “girly”. Internalized misogyny is thinking the term “girly” to be an insult. Internalized misogyny is when you dislike something and call it a “chick-flick” or “lesbian-music”. Internalized misogyny is using female gendered terms as an insult, like “p***y”, “motherfu***r”, etc.
Internalized misogyny is when womxn (‘x’: cis, trans, femme) are brainwashed by the patriarchy into thinking they’re special by dissociating themselves from the “average women”. Internalized misogyny is preaching about “ideal women”.
Do you see how TOXIC all of this is? Do you see how DISGUSTING this is?
How do you get rid of this? For starters, educate people. I know, easier said than done, right? But in all seriousness, let people know that it’s not okay, that it is neither good nor funny when they take part in this affair. Secondly, don’t be afraid to CALL PEOPLE OUT. Be it your loved ones, friends, family, teacher, boss, manager, whoever it is: CALL THEM OUT and let them know how ignorant they sound.
If we ever want womxn to progress, for society to progress, we must do our part in weeding out the filthy perpetrators and illusions that hold us back by poisoning our minds.
Think about it,