‘Girls are so bitchy!’
‘I hang out with guys because they’re less drama’
As a woman, if you hear other women repeating statements similar to this, or you say this yourself, it is important to consider why. Why you believe it, and why you feel the need to be exempt from that category. If you have no credible answer, (which is most probable) then I’m afraid you have encountered the clutches of internalised misogyny.
What is internalised misogyny?
Internalised misogyny is the hatred of women by women themselves. It stems from the issue of sexism being nullified into satire and therefore loses its seriousness in young women, resulting in the statements as seen above. It is strongly linked with slut shaming.
One of the most obvious examples of this would be to claim ‘I am not like other girls’. Other girls as in those who like pink, young adult novels, fashion, or other stereotypical “feminine” interests. As a culture, most things perceived as ‘feminine’ are mocked, the whole conception of fan girls, screaming and crying after their idols is an obvious example. Is this not the same in football? Are there not men screaming and crying over their football teams? Why is one more acceptable than the other? Fan girls are grouped together and stereotyped as unstable, and frenzied – thus making their opinions/voices insignificant. It is ironic that celebrities will fear the ‘fan girl’ without recognising the power they hold. They make celebrities who they are, the power they hold should not be underestimated.
Let me stress the fact that it is almost completely unavoidable. Sexism is ingrained in our culture to the point that it is almost inevitable for everyone to hold sexist views. Part of being young is that you want to feel accepted and attractive. However to achieve this by disassociating yourself form your own gender is harmful. It is not only hurtful to all the women in your life but it isolates you because it forces you to assume a certain role in life – a limited one.
Internalised misogyny is widespread but rarely discussed or addressed. Women have to stop hating, judging and competing with each other. I should not feel challenged when meeting a beautiful woman, I should not consider the beauty of the women I encounter as a threat to me, or an attack on my person hood, their beauty does not detract from mine. Yet I struggle with this frequently - we need to love and encourage each other, not envy and demean.