When terms like misogyny and sexism are thrown around we usually assume it’s discrimination or hatred from men towards women. One thing that’s overlooked a lot is the internalised misogyny that women express towards other women.
It’s funny how it’s glossed over since it’s such a big part of our day to day lives, whether you’re younger or older, it’s prevalent in everyday life. It’s not usually about women actively hating other women though despite the title of this article. It’s more about how our societal view of women puts us at the bottom of the totem pole through actions like shaming others, judging them harshly and generally undervaluing their gender.
Even the most socially conscious and feminine women out there are also guilty of doing things, and personally, I have worked on dealing with this a lot in the past 5 years. As the behaviours are taught at such a young age that it becomes ingrained in yourself and you have to actually unlearn the behaviours.
Here are some ways in which women reveal with internalised misogyny in their everyday lives.
This is a big one because slut-shaming, in general, is horrific, but personally, I find that when girls do it, it adds a whole different level of shame. By shaming a woman for the number of sexual partners they’re insinuating that they are less than other women or tainted. Which is fucked up when you take into account that men are not judged for the same actions.
When women slut-shame other women it also reinforces the idea that a woman’s ‘purity’ is an important factor for her to be respected.
Looking down on other women
Some women look down on other women, and it’s not in the kind of way that has anything to do with their personality. Some just look down on them because they’re women, and nothing else. By looking down on a whole gender you’re putting them below men and viewing them as ‘less than’ as opposed to equal which is something that is ingrained into us from a very young age.
It can manifest in many different ways but the most common is when women claim that having more male friends is an achievement. By slating other women, and saying you get on with men more because ‘they’re less emotional’ or ‘have less drama’ you’re essentially looking down on women as a whole and reducing them to a cheap stereotype.
This also shows every time a girl proudly proclaims that she’s ‘not like other girls’. As if being different somehow makes her special and better than the other women out there. Not only is this insulting women as a collective, but it’s also placing someone on a pedestal for being different, which then puts women down as a whole.
Judging women on how they’re dressed/how much makeup they were
This is a big one, and it happens all the time. It’s little things like judging a woman for wearing ‘too much makeup’ or being over the top. This usually leads to them assuming the woman is superficial and trying to get the attention of men. This is best shown in professional settings and the scrutiny honestly is so normalised it’s quite scary.
Assuming women have ‘slept their way to the top’
This ties in with the point earlier about slut-shaming and it’s a manifestation of it. This usually happens when a woman is in a high position of power, everyone including other women tends to assume that the person got there by ‘sleeping their way to the top’. Which is damaging because it assumes she can only get high in life through sex, but also reduces her value to her body and not her actual talents.
At the end of the day, I’m not saying that everyone has to love everyone and live in some weird cult-like harmony. But it’s important to not degrade a whole gender in your statements – now before the ‘WHAT ABOUT MEN’ trolls start posting, this blog post is specifically about internalised misogyny, so stop.
Images are from unsplash.