Even though we associate misogyny with men, it is possible for women to be misogynistic.
Internalized misogyny is the act of elevating the status of men through demeaning the value of women in society. This includes the belief that women are inferior to men, the notion that women need to outcompete other women for attention, or the belief that other women need to fit some sort of ideal that is approved of for the male gaz.
It’s sad to say that the list goes on and on.
No one is born sexist, but the environment we grow up in can result in someone absorbing harmful, sexist messages which can result in ideas that follow into adulthood. This happens to almost everyone growing up in a patriarchal society.
When I was younger, one of the common trends I noticed within my female peers was the need to put one another down. Girls attacked other girls for things ranging from what clothes they wore, to their sexual activity, to whatever other idiosyncrasies these other girls may have had.
This can be deemed as a result of internalized misogyny.
Young women and girls act out toward one another because they are frequently told that women are, in fact, inferior to men. This internalized message plays out during their daily lives. Putting another woman down is something that happens because this is the role, the societal norm, that comes with being part of the female gender. This way of acting, this way of behaving, is one of the secret tools of patriarchy that allows it to persist.
Though I call myself a feminist, I still have a long way to go. I wasn’t born sexist, but I was born into a patriarchal society that bombards individuals with sexist messages. I still have some internalized misogyny. Sometimes I do judge girls for their behaviors instead of wanting to support their right to agency. Sometimes I do end up thinking that I really am “not like other girls” (a problematic saying, by the way, as it infers superiority). I still have a long way to go.
But I’m still working on it. And I really hope other self-identifying females do, too.