Today's blog topic is a little different than my usual posts but I was inspired to write it after a conversation I had with my best friend last week involving a recent Malteaser's advert. I can't actually find the advert on Youtube to show you, but you may have seen it on TV. It was an advert made for Comic Relief titled 'Bake Yourself Silly' and while it was made to be comical, some of the things said in the advert sparked a discussion between me & my best friend about the problems with women judging other women.
On the advert, two women are discussing a casting/interview that one of them attended and how it was a 'waste of time' because another women who went to the same interview was 'absolutely gorgeous'. The same woman then comments 'I think they were looking for someone a bit more glamorous' and her friend later says 'Well, he probably fancied her, didn't he?' referring to the casting director. Finally the friend, who has been baking/decorating cupcakes, ends the advert by holding two of the cupcakes up to her chest and saying 'bet she was all, ''Oh look at me!''. This advert highlights something that I've seen happen so many times, which is women saying things similar to this, belittling other women because they are not happy about something. I mean, maybe the other woman will get the part because she is more talented, more suited to the role, has better stage presence, etc. Even though you may be annoyed, for example that you didn't get the job, you still shouldn't put another person down to make yourself feel better.
Sorry if this post ends up being a little ranty, I will try not to go off on a tangent! haha :) After chatting about the wording of this advert, we got into the problems of internalised misogyny. Internalised misogyny (interalised sexism) is defined as 'the involuntary beliefs by girls, that the lies, stereotypes and myths about girls that are delivered to everyone in a sexist society are true'. The sexist comments that many of us grow up hearing from society can influence the way we think and unfortunately can mean that many women hold misogynistic ideas and opinions that will lead to them judging other women. There are many examples of this that I have experienced throughout my life and I'm sure you can all think of lots more, but I'm going to focus on a few that I hear quite frequently.
Girls belittling or judging other girls for their choices
This is been something that I have constantly been surrounded by all my life, women judging each other for making choices that they wouldn't personally do themselves. I've heard people belittling girls who have plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons. I've never been able to see why people had such a problem with this! It's their body, not yours, they can do whatever they want and it's not something that has any effect on you so why do people feel the need to complain about this? It's making someone else feel good about themselves, what's wrong with that? Another example that I've heard a lot of gossip and nasty comments about when I was growing up was shaving VS not shaving. If a girl didn't shave her body hair, it was always made a big deal out of. They were called gross by boys, but also by other girls. So what if they don't shave! Again, it's not your body and if they prefer to not shave then it's up to them. There's a massive amount of further examples I could give, but this post would be never-ending! If another person's choices are not causing harm to anyone else, then you shouldn't judge them no matter if you would make that choice yourself or not. If it makes them feel happy or confident, then I'm all for that :) Do what makes you happy unapologetically!
'I'm not like other girls'
It may not seem like it but this statement is very problematic and can be categorised as internalised misogyny. By saying it, girls are separating themselves from the characteristics that society has associated with women and therefore they are reinforcing them to be true. In a sexist society, the stereotypical women is portrayed as bitchy, dramatic and very concerned about her looks. They don't like sports, are not intellectual and are overtly feminine. In order to let the people around them know that they do not fit this mould of the 'typical woman', many woman will proclaim 'I'm not like other girls' and by doing so they are allowing the qualities of women to be stigmatised as inferior. They are supporting the ideas of gender roles that say sports or STEM subjects or lots of other things are not typically enjoyed by most girls. Of course, we all know this is not the case and there are so many girls who enjoy these things! Also, there is nothing wrong with girls who do not or those who are very feminine, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to look nice and feel good about ourselves. In most cases, the view that women are 'dramatic' comes from beliefs that women should not be open about their opinions and has roots in the traditional gender roles of the past. If a girl speaks her mind and voices her opinion, it is considered bitchy and over-sensitive, which is ridiculous. If you are annoyed about something, don't be afraid to say it! Never let society impose its sexist views on the way you live your life, you can do whatever you want to do. You are like other girls, be proud about it!
This example is one that makes me really angry, like what makes anyone think they have the right to tell women what they can and can't do with their bodies and how they should be having or not having sex!? The definition of slut-shaming is, 'the act of criticising a woman for her real or presumed sexual activity, or for behaving in ways that someone thinks are associated with her real or presumed sexual activity'. It is so contradictory that in a society where women have always been oversexualised, women are judged so harshly for embracing and taking full control of their own sexuality. When it comes to sex, men have generally always been praised for their sexual activity, how many people they have had sex with, etc. whereas women are policied about what is acceptable or not, and labelled based on their sex lives. Being raised in a society that preaches about what girls should and should not be doing can contribute to internalised misogyny, as girls will judge other girls for their sexual activity. It really bothers me when I hear girls name-calling other girls for having sex with multiple people, for having one-night stands, or for dressing a certain way. There is nothing wrong with expressing your sexuality, and as long as you are being safe, you can explore your sexuality however you like.
It's so important that we eliminate girl-on-girl hate and support one another ♥ We need to spread the love and empower other girls. There are several ways to achieve this, here are some of my suggestions:
1. Don't stand for internalised misogyny. If you hear your friends or family members saying something that's stigmatising to other women, call them up on it.
2. Make sure you don't judge other girls. What you might think is good for you, won't always be the best for someone else - Kaylani Fuller
3. Join your local girl gang or an online girl gang (see the super awesome lipstick button in the right margin? It will link you to Dorkface, a blog run by Jemma, who's set up a wonderful girl gang, for bloggers & non-bloggers to join! Go check it out).
4. Be kind, spread joy and take time to say something nice to another girl, whether this is in person, on social media or via a blog comment. You might make her day and that would be awesome! :)
5. Support ALL girls, of all colours, body types, sexualities and religions!
Thankyou for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post :)
What are some examples of internalised misogyny that you've experienced or heard?
What are some ways in which you support other girls?