The Identification of Misogyny and How It Affects Young Girls’ Lives

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“You throw like a girl”. Every man, woman, boy or girl, has heard a term like this at some point in their life. Terms like these that are used daily, are not only damaging to the children hearing them but also introduce misogyny and internalized misogyny. Internalized misogyny, is defined as a hatred of women. Internalized misogyny is defined as a hatred of women practiced by women against other women or even against themselves. Internalized misogyny is extremely damaging to women, especially teenage girls. All women have use internalized misogyny either on themselves or others.

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It is nothing to be ashamed of, it's only something we can learn from and stop doing. For me and all women, internalized misogyny starts during childhood through our family, adult figures, and other outlets were exposed to. As children, we see and take in everything we hear. As children, we have not yet developed the thinking abilities we need to assess what we’re being taught. Girls and women who grew up in a family with double standards (for the boys and the girls in the same family), or who have experienced violence or abuse as a child or adolescent, are more vulnerable to developing internalized misogyny.

Mainly in elementary school, I would hear adults always scolding boys for showing emotion. Boys were not allowed to cry. When adults would scold boys for showing emotion, they made it clear that the boys were acting like girls. Because of these, I began to think that I should try not to show my emotions either. And I began to act this way. Internalized misogyny teaches girls to hold in their emotions, that there being dramatic by showing emotion. Recently I have started to re-accept these traits like being emotionally expressive. Internalized misogyny also damaged my self-worth and how I viewed my appearance.

Women and girls are taught that looking put-together means looking pretty. Girls like myself are taught that looking put together means looking attractive and when we don’t feel our best, we often feel unprepared to perform well at school. We are taught that appearance is a reflection of character. For girls, being in such a hard stage in their life this can be one of the hardest forms of internalized misogyny to stop using. When girls break out or have a bad hair day it can leave them feeling unprepared to perform well at school. When I began participating in clubs and teams at school and taking leadership roles in them, I realized I was uncomfortable being associated with being assertive. Especially with boys. Just like many women and girls I had been bossy, or unladylike in situations where I had to be assertive. Internalized misogyny makes women and girls feel that being assertive is not how we are expected to behave. Internalized misogyny makes us feel as if we are not allowed to have certain traits because there not commonly viewed as ladylike.

Another way I internalized misogyny was through my clothing again I struggle to not still do this today. With girls and women, there is so much “interpretation” about what we are conveying through what we wear. Women and girls always have to wonder, Will I be taken seriously? Will I send the wrong message? Will I be attractive? How will other women see me? Not only did I use internalized misogyny against myself I used to against other girls. Anytime I would see a girl who seemed more focused on her physical appearance than her personality, I’d say to my friends that she was attention-seeking or just trying to impress boys. Any time I would see a girl in a crop top, short skirts or generally more revealing clothes, I would think she was looking for attention or asking for something bad to happen. Even though I didn't know any of these girls. As I began learning more about internalized misogyny I realized these views were not mine but I had taken these views from adults around me who would make similar comments.

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