Internalized misogyny is a huge problem in our society, yet it is one that we do not often talk about. We all know that men play a very important part in the oppression and sexism that women of all races and sexualities go through everyday. But what happens when it’s women that are being sexist towards each other ?
And unfortunately, it happens way more often than you might think. Actually, most women make sexist comments once in a while – even if they do not realise it. But it is not necessarily our fault : the idea of sexism and pitting women against each other is so heavy in our society, it’s almost impossible not to do it ourselves from time to time. The important thing is to realise that we sometimes make sexist comments, and to try and free ourselves from this toxic internalized misogyny. So, here are four very simple ways to do it !
- Don’t judge another woman’s appearance.
This might seem very basic, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard other girls and women tear down a woman’s appearance, either because said woman was wearing a lot of makeup, or because she had a cleavage or a short skirt. This is toxic, because it contributes to the idea that women wear clothes because they want to be sexualised or because they want men to look at them, and furthermore, to the idea that rape victims were “asking for it” because of what they were wearing at the time of their assault. This might seem a little deep, but it’s very important that we, as women, do not contribute to this idea that clothes equal sexual promiscuity. Most of the time, women wear clothes or makeup because they make them feel good about themselves, and it’s important that other women respect their choices. But this idea goes both ways. It is important that we respect and protect women who decide to wear short skirts and high heels, but also, for example, Muslim women who wish to cover up, and wear modest clothes and hijabs. All women are valid and their choices should all be respected.
- Don’t judge another woman’s lifestyle choices.
Again, this might seem simple, but it’s very important. I’ve seen so many women judge and criticise a woman because of her sexual life or lifestyle, and it is so problematic. The number of sexual partners a woman has is none of your business, and whether or not a woman decides to have sex should not concern you either. This is also important because sex workers are still constantly judged because of the lifestyle they have, and as women, we should try our best to protect and defend them. So it is important that you educate yourself on these matters, and refrain yourself from judging other women’s sexual choices. It is also important not to judge women who have another sexual orientation than you. Whether they are straight, gay, asexual, transgender, polyamorous, bisexual, pansexual or part of the BDSM community, women all have a different approach to their sexual life, and all of them should be respected.
- Call out other women on their sexist comments.
Now that you are trying to rid yourself or internalized misogyny, it is crucial that you help fellow women do the same thing. You don’t need to lecture others on why their behavior is problematic, but for example, let your friends know when they make a sexist comment, and correct them. Quickly explaining why a comment about another woman’s appearance is toxic may help other women correct their behavior, and try to be less sexist.
- Celebrate other women’s success.
Pitting women against each other is so common in our society, we do not even realise that we do it anymore. There is this idea that in order for a woman to be successful, we need to pit her against another one, because apparently, two women cannot be praised at the same time. This idea is so stupid and dangerous, because all women are incredible and deserve to be celebrated ! We need to understand that another woman’s success does not diminish our own, but makes it even greater. So, go ahead and celebrate. Celebrate black women, Latina women, Asian women, Arab women, queer women, transgender women, disabled women, and women in general. We are all magical, successful and beautiful, and it’s time we start to praise each other.