Internalized misogyny is all around us. It is in a potentially athletically talented young girl being deprived of her opportunity to play for her schools’ co-ed soccer team because “she is a girl”. It is in a group of teenage girls standing in their school hallways, exchanging condescending remarks and snickering about how another girl in their grade is a “slut”. It is in a girl failing to see the true worth in herself as a result of constantly being degraded for her gender. It is everywhere.
With that in mind, it raises the questions “is this mindset a creation of our childhood experiences?” and “what can we do to stop the spreading of these ideals?”.
The installation of the values that go behind this state of mind go back to childhood, maybe even infancy. Many psychologists and philosophers have agreed on the idea that our first few years of life and our experiences throughout them tend to play out a significantly large role in how we develop, along with our subconscious desires and attitudes. This is specifically supported by Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. Freud’s theory is primarily based on the concept that our experiences as children tend to influence our decisions and our mental processes in later years. That being said, if as children we are taught that girls are supposed to behave in a certain manner, while boys are supposed to behave in another, then it is inevitable for a division to be made in our minds. The same can be said for children who grow up with a sibling of the opposite gender in their household. If their parents or legal guardians raise them differently as a result of their gender difference, then they will eventually convince themselves that there are more things dividing them than body parts and hormones.
However, if we, as a society, plan to put a stop to this cycle of stereotypical ideals passed down from generation to generation, then we need to push our own internalized misogyny aside and attempt to raise our children the same, regardless of gender. Of course they will not be exempt from outside influences and hatred, but it is definitely possible for them to stand unwavering if raised with a generous amount of love and acceptance. If a child is taught to be confident regardless of who they are, then they can easily grow up to become unstoppable.