Have you ever heard of Internalized Misogyny?
Have you ever found posts like, “Me VS Other Girls” or “Normal Girls VS Me” on social media? Maybe experienced conversations like, “Women are supposed to be ladylike, how come you behave that way….,” in everyday life?
When some women around the world are fighting for their rights, campaigning for “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment”, it turns out that there are others who behave oppositely. Instead of supporting each other some women often humiliate, belittle, and bring each other down. They refuse to be considered the same as other women. How could that be?
What is Internalized Misogyny? Internalized means the process of putting in a certain value in a person that can form a new mindset. Misogyny itself refers specifically to a hatred of women. So Internalized Misogyny is basically a term to describe how women can be sexist against other women, too.
Internalized misogyny appears in many forms, including saying things that belittle other women or doubting your own abilities just because you are a woman.
What Causes It?
Phenomena such as internalized misogyny usually occur in societies with unhealthy patriarchal cultures. A culture that sees men to have a higher position than women indirectly provides stereotypes and abstract standards for women. Women often considered as weak, overly emotional, and unintelligent creatures. Their self-esteem ultimately depends on how society, especially men, evaluate them. As a result, they end up subconsciously projecting the stereotype onto other women, and even themselves.
This misogyny is unconsciously internalized into women and causes a feeling of inferiority and insecurity. This inferiority makes women attack and even put each other down to feel worthy.
Common Signs of Internalized Misogyny
Many women may unconsciously engage in Internalized Misogyny. Often from those who grew up in an environment with strong gender stereotypes. Within the family, community, institution, religion, popular media, or social media. It is important to be aware of the signs of Internalized Misogyny so you can avoid them. Here are forms of Internalized Misogyny that you may not be aware of:
- Making negative comments about the physical appearance of oneself and other women (Body Shaming).
- Using phrases like, “I’m not like other women,” or “I’d rather be friends with boys than girls,” which can support gender stereotypes.
- Seeing other women as competitors/enemies in social and professional situations to gain men attention and approval.
- Discouraging other women from realizing their dreams and fulfilling their higher potential.
- Creating a double standard that prioritizes men over women in the family or other social situations.
- Defending, justifying, and excusing acts of misogyny or abuse, both against yourself and other women. For example by saying, “She deserves to be harassed if she dresses like that.”
Women should realize that we are in the same problem here. Instead of insulting and belittling each other, we should respect each other’s individuality and uniqueness. Together we can support each other to achieve true gender equality.
KALMers, if your mental health condition is feeling unwell, don’t hesitate to do counseling with Kalmselor on KALM App! You can download it here! KALM always here, because #YouNeedToShare #KamuPerluCerita
Read Cinderella Complex… What is it? to know about another phenomenon that could happen to a woman.
Written by: Rachma Fitrianing Lestari
Translated by: Rachma Fitrianing Lestari
Edited by: Lukas Limanjaya
Dameron, E. (2021, April 16). Internalized misogyny: ‘pick-me girls’ and introspection. VOXATL. Retrieved from: https://voxatl.org/internalized-misogyny-pick-me-girls-and-introspection/
Ni, P. (2020, May 17). 10 signs of internalized sexism and gaslighting. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/communication-success/202005/10-signs-internalized-sexism-and-gaslighting