Misogyny is deeply rooted in our society. This little thought exercise shows how amazingly widespread it is and how it affects girls.
Imagine you're a young girl.
- Girls can't be athletic. In fact, it's an insult to tell a boy that he "throws like a girl."
- Girls cry, and that's a bad thing. Because if a boy cries, he's crying "like a little girl" and he'd better stop right now.
- It's a bad thing to wear anything like girls' clothing. If a male wears something that's the wrong color, or that has a flowery pattern, someone will tell him that his clothing is "girly." And that's a bad thing.
- Men are braver and stronger than women. Anyone who seems weak is told to man up. You have to take it like a man.
As you enter high school, you learn more:
- Just the possession of male genitalia makes someone stronger, so even grown women can be told to grow a pair or be taunted, "You don't have the balls."
- It's even worse to have female genitalia. There's not much worse than being called a cunt or a pussy.
- There are even special derogatory words that are used to describe women.
- You learn that you must be trim and beautiful. But if you take pains to dress well, wear makeup, do your hair,maybe even wear high heels, you will be subject to catcalls and inappropriate remarks from strangers. You may even be called a slut.
- You learn that your body is just something to be ogled. On their web pages, local radio stations feature the scantily-clad "babe of the day." But there's no nearly-naked "hunk of the day" on those web pages. When you watch TV, you'll see that women are expected to bare their bodies, while men stay fully clothed. You'll see professional women portrayed as hot babes flashing their cleavage at work.
So what are you to think? You think that you are not as good as a boy.
No, you know you are not as good as a boy.
Nobody has told you this. In fact, some may have explicitly told you that you are just as good as any boy. But deep down, you have learned that boys are better.
You carry that knowledge into adulthood, where you encounter new insults:
- You learn that your body is not something to be respected. You learn that you have to take precautions and learn how to be safe, while boys/men do not have to learn that they're not supposed to attack you. And that, if you defend yourself from inappropriate touching, you may even be punished. If you are raped, your allegations may be doubted, as politicians prattle on about "legitimate rape."
- You learn that you'd better not sleep with many men, because that will make you a slut. Whereas men can sleep with as many women as they want, and they are just sowing their wild oats. But if one of these men sows his wild oats in you, you become pregnant, and you aren't sure which oat-sower is the father, you will be criticized for not keeping your legs together, and you will be berated for being "promiscuous" or "not even knowing" who the father is.
- You learn that you and your doctor can't be trusted to decide how to treat your body. Anti-choice people want to decide what you do with something that is growing in your body. They provide "pregnancy counseling" services that mislead and misinform you.
- You learn that you won't make as much as a man. You learn that you will be passed over in favor of a man for promotions to jobs for which you are equally qualified.
- You are not supposed to show your age. You are accosted by hundreds of commercials that promise you can stay young by using the advertised products. You are expected to be slim, in shape, and fashionable. But men can be paunchy, wrinkled, balding, and baggy and nobody seems to care.
- You learn that you will be judged as being bitchy or aggressive for the same behavior that is considered strong or assertive in a man. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a former professor of law at Harvard, is called "angry" and "violent" because of her straightforward comments. Even Hillary Rodham Clinton, after serving as a US Senator and Secretary of State, is still called a bitch. You'd better be careful.
- You understand that, no matter your professional bona fides, you must field questions about your clothing that would never be asked of a man. Even the Chancellor of
, Angela Merkel, is criticized because she looks frumpy. Germany
- Even in a commercial for a diabetes medicine, the guys are workers but the women are walking on the beach. Couldn't they think of a different setting to put the women in? Oh, wait, they did. They also showed women in the kitchen.
Now, do you feel good about being a woman?
No wonder so many women struggle with self-esteem issues. Nobody has to tell a girl or woman that being female is bad; she just absorbs that knowledge from birth, because misogyny is embedded in our culture.