Feminists Aren't Immune to Internalized Misogyny

I consider myself a proud feminist and a fierce advocate for womxn’s rights, so I was understandably surprised when I watched the “what’s something incredibly misogynistic that everyone does?” trend on TikTok and realized that I partook in a lot of the behaviors mentioned. In honor of Womxn’s History Month, it’s important to address the internalized misogyny we all possess and oftentimes brush off. Here are several things I’ve said or done that should no longer be normalized.

1. “Don’t be a pussy.”

Everyone knows that the phrases “man up” and “grow a pair” enforce toxic masculinity in men and imply that women cannot be emotionally and physically strong. However, I catch myself telling my friends to “stop being a pussy” sometimes without realizing the connotation behind it. Why should being weak, shy, and not courageous be associated with the female reproductive system?

2. Saying sorry for every little thing.

Sure, taking accountability for mistakes you make is really important. However, I find myself saying sorry for things I shouldn’t be apologetic about. When I’m walking past someone, speaking up in a conversation, or doing anything minor along those lines, I always preface my actions with “sorry.” It isn’t a crime to take up space. We need to stop treating ourselves as if our existence is a problem.

3. Hiding menstrual products while in public spaces. 

Periods are so stigmatized among the general public but are also hard topics to talk about among womxn as well. From the moment I started my period as a 14-year-old up until now, I feel embarrassed to announce to the world that I’m going through my time of the month. So I hide my pad up my sleeve or in the pocket of my pants when I go to the restroom. See, I just did it again by calling it my “time of the month” as a euphemism when in fact menstruation is completely normal. 

Menstrual pad for period Photo by @rochariosphotos

4. Not wanting to be too "basic." 

The American cultural obsession with individualism that encourages everyone to break out of a mold is only one aspect of the pressures that womxn in our country face. More specifically, there is an added pressure to not be categorized as “basic.” Whether it be clothes, hobbies, or music taste, whatever interests womxn is an open invitation to be scrutinized. When drinking pumpkin spice lattes and wearing Ugg boots embodied this term, womxn found themselves trying to find enjoyment in other things. But, in the process of trying to become unique, womxn were grouped again into “VSCO” or “alt” girls, just to name a few. Can we like ANYTHING without being assigned a label? 

Starbucks

I’m still in the process of unlearning a lot of sexist behaviors I was taught growing up. It’s hard to try and reverse something that’s ingrained into your identity, but for the sake of myself and other womxn around me, I believe it’s my responsibility to do the tough work. This Womxn’s History Month and every day after, let’s all try to be more aware of misogynistic things we say or do and realize they aren’t okay.