May 10, 2015

Misogyny misogyny everywhere, so what's a girl to think?

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.

Ever since you were old enough to understand, here's what you've learned:

  • 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.

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.
  • 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.

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 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 Germany, Angela Merkel, is criticized because she looks frumpy.   
  • 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.

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