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Signs You're Dealing with Internalized Misogyny

Dealing with internalized misogyny is harmful to you and to every woman around you.


Women all over the world are dealing with internalized misogyny that puts them in opposition with other women and themselves. Some of them think less of women as a whole and place their faith in the opinions of men. Others have been raised to believe that men are superior and women are inferior. Women receive misogynistic messages from all fronts, so battling against it is constant. The fight never ends. You can excise your misogyny, but first, you have to admit that you have it so that you can pinpoint the toxic behaviors and belief systems that created it in the first place.

Engaging in Misogynistic Dialogues

Remember when everybody suddenly hated Anne Hathaway? The phenomenon was primarily driven by women who gave the most absurd reasons for their hatred of an actress they'd never met. No matter the reason, it all came down to the same thing: They didn't like her attitude, her demeanor, or her face. At the time, she was having a moment. She saturated pop culture, but she was succeeding big time. Instead of building her up and celebrating the success of another woman, however, those dealing with internalized misogyny decided that they needed to take her down a peg or two. You see the same thing happening with Taylor Swift and countless other celebrities, as well as everyday women.

Shaming Other Women

Slut shaming, fat shaming, sex shaming, makeup shaming—women chastise and judge other women in countless ways. Misogynists accuse successful women of sleeping their way to the top. They tell women who enjoy sex that they're slutty and ought to be ashamed of themselves. They talk smack about fat women, skinny women, women with big breasts and flat chests, smart women, assertive women, angry women, sad women, and every other type of woman. Female misogynists can always find a flaw, and they're gleeful when they get to judge another woman.

Feeling Embarrassed by Body Hair

Shaving only became the norm for women relatively recently, and rather than being a beauty standard, it was initially designed to sell more razors. Companies realized they were only reaching half the population. The notion is now so deeply ingrained that the current trend of going natural is often met by unbelievably abusive, insulting language. Just read the comments on any article or blog post about a woman who stopped shaving her armpits or her legs. You'll immediately make out the women who are dealing with internalized misogyny. Their comments are the most vitriolic.

Setting Yourself Apart from Other Women

"I'm not like other girls."
"I hate hanging out with girls—they're so dramatic!"
"I'd much rather hang out with men."
"I'm more like a dude than a girl."
"I'm just like one of the guys!"

These are all comments that women say to—well, anyone who will listen, really. Their internalized misogyny tells them to step away from the whole idea of being a woman. They'll let you know that they don't believe in feminism, they hate catty bitches, and they believe in “traditional female values.” They think that throwing their entire sex under the bus will make them more appealing to men.

Bullying Other Women About Their Choices

Women who are dealing with internalized misogyny feel threatened by anything that's different. They're not above lashing out and bullying other women who don't agree with them. If you can't resist telling another woman your unsolicited opinion on her body hair, hair color, makeup, breast size, abilities, or political stances, then you're the one with the problem. You've been trained to think that way by centuries of patriarchal propaganda.

Obsessing About Your Weight

Health is more important than the numbers on the scale, yet women have been taught that they're worthless and disgusting if they don't fit within an acceptable weight range decided by society. That's why the diet industry is a multi-million dollar moneymaker even though few plans ever work. The idea that you have to be ashamed because of your weight, that you have to apologize for being fat, is ludicrous. Just look at the sheer number of people who use “fat” as an insult against women, though. Shaming other women over their weight is awful. There are a number of stories of internalized sexism across nearly every social media platform, and shaming yourself over your weight is a prime example of it.

Feeling Ashamed of Your Period and Its Accouterments

Have you ever snuck a tampon out of your purse and up your sleeve before scurrying to the bathroom? Have you ever dealt with some dude asking you why you're taking your bag to the powder room? Fear of a leak, cramps, PMS, and mood swings is proof positive that you're dealing with internalized misogyny. Menstruation is natural. It's a natural bodily function. Women will go through hell to avoid referencing their periods at all. They apologize if they have to bring it up, especially in front of a man, and they put up with countless jokes. They go through workdays and classes in agony because they don't want to be seen as whiny. Your period is the most natural thing in the world. Never be afraid to talk about it.

Thinking There Are Things Women Can't or Shouldn't Do

The only thing worse than dealing with internalized misogyny is contending with internalized oppression on top of that. There are women out there who believe that we can't accomplish certain things, or that we shouldn't even if we can. Some women legitimately believe that a woman shouldn't become the President of the United States, for example. Others sneer when they see a woman receive a raise or a promotion, and gossip about how she must have gotten the position on her back. Women can do anything. They can serve their country, head up corporations, earn millions of dollars, stay at home with their children, choose to be child-free, wear what they like, and triumph over industries that are typically male dominated. We live in a time that women can think for themselves, and there are no limits, only limited thinking.

Putting Anyone Else's Comfort Before Your Own

Have you ever gone along with something so that you didn't cause a scene? Women accept invitations to dates with men they don't like because they don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. They allow men to kiss them, touch them, or guilt them into doing more than they want to do. Dealing with internalized misogyny of this type is heartbreaking because these women aren't malicious toward other women. They're hurting themselves because they don't feel they have a right to their own opinions, desire, or bodily autonomy.

Blaming Victims of Sexual Crimes

"She was asking for it."
"Look at what she was wearing."
"She shouldn't have been there/done that/trusted him/acted like a slut/had a drink/gone to a party."

Female misogynists turn the blame onto women who have been sexually harassed, sexually assaulted, and raped. They always doubt the victim and sympathize with the perpetrator. The recent Supreme Court debacle is proof of that. Women choose to question other women because, on some level, they still believe that men are entitled to our bodies and our attention. Really, the rape apologists list needs to be heard more and considered thoroughly. That's why they tell us that cat-callers and street harassers are simply paying us compliments.

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