I usually hate running into comments that threaten to ruin my mood — and ruin it for the rest of the day! However, this is the kind of comment that I feel inspires some worthwhile introspection. Please be advised: This young woman is in a very sad place mentally and emotionally. Worst of all, she doesn’t even know it.
My initial instinct was to label this person a woman-hating male troll and call it a day. Unfortunately, I couldn’t.
The sad fact is that this is a comment I’ve seen over and over from actual women — both offline and all over the Internet. So many young women and teens going on about how they have NO women friends “because girls suck!” And always, always, ALWAYS it’s for a barrage of stereotypical reasons.
Apparently other women and girls:
- Don’t have a mind for anything but “makeup and fashion”
- Are shallow gossiping hens
- Can’t be REAL friends
- Only care about what guys think (Hypocritical much?)
- Are “thirsty” for male attention and only see other women as competition
And on and on and on it goes.
“Hi! My Name Is ‘Internalized Misogyny.’ Please Allow Me To Make You Hate Yourself While Simultaneously Making You Feel Special!”
These type of opinions are a CLASSIC case of internalized misogyny. The simplest way I can think to explain internalized misogyny is when women take in so much negative garbage about womanhood from all sides that it starts coming back out in various ways.
I’m not going to sit here and lie and say that I don’t experience feelings of internalized misogyny. We ALL do it, even if we’re not conscious of it.
As long as you’re a woman on this planet (until such time as sexism ceases to exist), you will have to find ways to consciously battle against thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that cause you to instinctively take other women (or yourself as a woman) down a peg.
— Mean Fat🌈Girl💖💜💙 (@Artists_Ali) February 11, 2015
What’s particularly unfortunate is that these type of thoughts are very common in young teens and women. Some say that this is a phase that women go through and then grow out of. But that’s not good enough to me. This is truly toxic thinking, and it needs to be obliterated from EVERY age group!
Is as simple as this: You can’t go around thinking this and truly love yourself at the same time!
An emotionally healthy person doesn’t go through life spreading negativity about other people. They’re not fixated on all the little ways they’re so “not like that group over there.”
So how do we love ourselves as women while appreciating other women as individuals outside the scope of anti-woman thinking?
Step 1: Accept that there’s nothing wrong with being a woman — no matter what ANYONE says.
It’s not going to be easy, but you’re going to have to abandon every preconceived notion about what it means to be a woman. Just throw it RIGHT out the window. It’s a waste to impose limits on other women and what they’re capable of. It’s a disgrace to assume that other women are not worthy of respect because they are women.
You wouldn’t want someone who didn’t know you, your life experiences, hopes, dreams, and contributions to the world to crudely write you off because of something about yourself you can’t change. Don’t do it to others. The mentality is beneath anyone who aspires to be something other than a blight on humanity.
Step 2: Understand that liking or disliking someone often has nothing to do with gender.
As such, there are all sorts of hobbies, personality traits, and quirks that make us compatible. Or incompatible. You may like or dislike someone for a variety of reasons. If you REALLY allow your mind to do its job (think), you’ll find that to like or dislike someone is about who (s)he is as a person, not their gender!
Mentally lazy people will look at someone and decide to dislike someone because of something as stupid as gender or race. We don’t want to be intellectually lazy. We want to be mental athletes! That’s why we must work hard to see other as unique individuals.
Step 3: Get on the Internet and meet other women who share your interests! Then have meetups!
Speaking from personal experience, I went through a period when I didn’t have any real female friends. Then I hopped on the Internet. Guess what happened? I found ALL SORTS of women to bond with over all sorts of things. Practically every interest or belief I had, the Internet helped me find like-minded women and make all kinds of new friends.
If you were to hop on Google and type in “women” and whatever your hobbies are, I’m sure that at least one search result will pop up. If not…talk to me about it in the comments. I’m sure if I can’t nerd out with you, I can find other women who will nerd out with you.
Once you get your group together, you should totally arrange to have meetups! Maybe meet once a year or a few times a year. Take lots of pictures. Trust and believe that as you get to know other women who share your interests, no matter where you all come from, it will help erase all those negative beliefs you held onto for dear life.
Step 4: Write down your misogynistic thoughts, and then go over why they’re wrong.
Getting rid of misogynistic thoughts about yourself as a woman or other women can sometimes require you to directly confront your thinking. One of the best ways to do this, in my entirely biased opinion, is through writing. Keep a diary with you and whenever you find yourself thinking negatively about other women, write that thought down. Ask a few questions:
- Where did this thought come from?
- Have I had this thought before?
- Why do I feel the need to think/say this about other women?
- How would I feel if people thought this about me?
- If I had a daughter, would I feel comfortable saying that to her?
- How would I feel if my mother constantly said this about me?
Be brutally honest with yourself — no hiding. Walk yourself mentally through these negative thoughts and take responsibility for them. Once you’ve done that, begin the process of mentally catching yourself and cutting off those internalized toxic beliefs.
Step 5: Stay away from negative sources that make you dislike women (and yourself)
Anyone that makes you feel less than as a woman is not your friend. PERIOD. I don’t care what their gender is. How smart they allegedly are. Their age or occupation. None of it matters. Get the hell away from them as soon as possible.
If it’s unavoidable, make a serious effort to limit your time around that person or group. Try to substitute as much time as you can with confidence-building and emotionally supportive sources. There’s nothing healthy about people — even other women — who go on and on about “why all women everywhere suck!” I want you to be healthy. Seek friendship elsewhere ASAP. (Hint: Step 3)
Step 6: Consider therapy and/or join a support group
If you find that your thoughts are particularly degrading and you don’t know how to make them stop, it may be time to reach out for help. If you’re still in school, maybe talk to a school counselor about your feelings. Don’t feel like this is no big deal or an overreaction. If these thoughts are particularly negative, I genuinely do believe that therapy should be on the table.
Step 7: Repeat these steps as often as it takes!
As I said earlier, internalized misogyny is something that all women will have to deal with. It’s not easy. However, taking steps to cope with it and change your thinking will ALWAYS be worth it. I am so grateful I had my own “wake-up” moment and began actively seeking the friendship of other women.
I’ve met so many awesome, supportive, intelligent, funny, wise, compassionate women of all walks of life. I don’t know what kind of woman I’d be today if I shut out the possibility of ever emotionally or mentally connecting with another woman.
For the sake of your sanity, please RESIST this absurd way of thinking. RESIST putting other women in boxes. RESIST ideas of what makes a woman worthy or unworthy. RESIST telling yourself that you’re better (or worse!) than Woman A or B because “men think X, Y, and Z about ‘those’ women.”
Please. Just stop it. Stop doing it to other women. Stop doing it to yourself. Nothing good will ever come of this type of thinking. Find better ways to occupy your brain and more enlightening ways to view your fellow women.
What are some stereotypes that you’re tired of everyone applying to women? What are some negative thoughts you often catch yourself feeling about other women?
Please comment below!