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Internalised Misogyny: What is it and how to avoid it

Internalised Misogyny: What is it and how to avoid it

Alannah Murray

Has anyone heard the term ‘Internalised Misogyny’ thrown around recently and just simply not had a notion what it meant at all?

Well not to worry, Missy is here to clear it all up by explaining just exactly what internalised misogyny is and how you can make sure you don’t end up doing it.

What is internalised misogyny?

Internalised misogyny is buried somewhere deep within nearly every woman however it is no fault of the women themselves.

Even some of the strongest feminists and women’s right activists have Internalised misogyny and it is due to many external factors, as an indirect result of the patriarchy.

The basic definition of Internalised misogyny is when women un-subconsciously project sexist ideas onto other women and even onto themselves. It is a perpetuation of the oppression that has been imposed on women for years.

How does internalised misogyny happen?

Internalised misogyny comes from an array of external societal factors in our everyday lives. It is a by-product of a societal view where women are subject to shame and doubt.

We are so used to seeing women being degraded and criticised, particularly in the media, and as much as you like to think you are fully independent of such shaming, part of the degradation of women that you were brought up with has rooted itself deep within your subconscious. This means that un-subconsciously you can begin to internally shame other women or yourself in the same way.

The shaming you cast may be for women stepping out the of normal gender roles or for even to comfortably rooted within them. But whichever way that internalised misogyny manifests itself, it is insidious.

How do I notice when I am being internally misogynistic to another woman?

Internalised misogyny manifests itself in many different ways but one of the best ways to spot it, is when you find yourself silently (or even sometimes not silently) shaming another girl for no other factor other than she is a woman.

One of the worst things that we project on other women is our opinions on what others wear. “What is she wearing?” “That skirt is too short!” “She looks slutty!”

That is your internalised misogyny at play, because you have been brought up to believe that women should be constantly in competition with one another for looks, for boys etc. That there’s a way women should dress. That there’s a way women should act around men. Your subconscious played out your own internal shaming of women, for no other reason than that she is a woman.

How do I notice when I am being internally misogynistic shaming myself?

Internalised misogyny can also manifest itself feelings of shame, guilt, and inferiority that you can inflict on yourself. Such as when you tell yourself to speak less aggressively, but you were merely being assertive.

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Or for apologising for almost everything you do even though there is no need to apologise at all.

It can also manifest in slut-shaming. Ever find yourself telling yourself ‘My outfit is a little slutty’? That’s can be internalised misogyny, that you have been inflicting on yourself without meaning to.

How can I stop it?

Try to be aware when you think you are shaming yourself, feeling inferior to the other sex, or possibly shaming other women. Be conscious of the way you think about certain things. If you find yourself being hard on your feminine qualities or not allowing them full reign, question why you feel like that and try to change that mindset moving forward.

Try not to shame yourself for traits that are merely part of being a woman and also do not shame yourself for also not fitting into these traits well.

Remember that it is not your fault that you find yourself being internally misogynistic, but when you do, make sure to work at altering these ideas.

Remember, empowering women, includes empowering all women.

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