Internalised misogyny means the preconceived notions and prejudices that women have about other women and themselves. I’m sure that every girl reading this has probably heard or even used phrases such as ‘I’m not like other girls’ or ‘I’m only friends with boys because girls are dramatic’. We grew up watching the ‘different’ female that didn’t like pink and talked boisterously, and for us, that was what a cool woman was.
Who are these ‘other’ girls? Why are we so against them? Most importantly, what is the problem with the colour pink!?
Be it Kareena Kapoor’s carefree character in Jab We Met, Anushka Sharma’s character in Band Baja Baraat that ‘didn’t want to end up married like other girls’ or the endless fun at the expense of girly characters that wear pink and only live in a 2D world with no character depth at all. Bollywood is full of toxic female characters in the name of empowerment. The basics of this cliché trope are anti-feminine values or anything girly. Portraying feminine characters as shallow, boring creatures and not worth anything but comedy reflects poorly on them. From years of watching this unfair portrayal of females in the industry, it is only natural for our generation to feel that if you wear jeans, listen to indie rock, don’t do makeup, you are smart, and your opinion is worth listening to.
Misogyny is hard to realise. Growing up in a patriarchal society, we’re taught the very ideas meant to oppress our class. As a society, we love to hate femininity. We believe that only masculine traits are cool and trendy, and for a girl, it isn’t very pleasant to act literally like a girl. What internalised misogyny too away from us the most is the unity for women. It pits females against one another; instead of supporting each other against the already oppressive male gaze, we create prejudices amongst ourselves.
Here are a few other negative effects of internalised misogyny:
• Cooking is feminine
We’ve all grown up witnessing females of our houses working hard all day in the kitchens to such an extent that this idea was drilled in our minds that in the name of feminism, women began looking down upon the basic life skill or preparing a meal for yourself.
Clothing has always been a way for people to express themselves. Everybody has their unique style and comfort zones, and all these styles should be validated. Yet we continue to shame certain women for their fashion choices, how easily we judge a woman’s character just by the seem and hem of her shirt.
Instead of creating these divides, women need to be allies. Femininity isn’t wrong neither is being a woman black or white. Instead of believing girls cause drama, we need to learn ‘girls are powerful, intelligent and unique.