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Internalized Misogyny - Slighty OT


EllieCee
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I don't know whether or not we had a discussion thread about this.

 

I don't know if it's just where I live, but lately, it's been "cool" in my school for girls to say they hate girls. I often hear them saying "Girls suck, they're sluts" or "Girls make shitty friends, I'd rather hang with guys." Even outside school and around my neighborhood, girls as young as 12-13 have been saying things like this. Granted, I know a number of girls who like to gossip and cause drama, but that is no excuse to blame the thing on the entire women population.

 

Another thing that comes to mind is the Non-Thinking Housewife.

 

I was also thinking, that maybe we're in a culture that teaches us to dislike girls and being a girl. For one, being girly and feminine (not counting fundie culture) is usually connected to being vapid and dumb. Then, there's slut-shaming. There's also the whole "boys are easier to raise than girls" thing. Smart, headstrong girls are usually called bitches, while their male counterparts are respected.

 

So, do you guys have anything to say about the issue?

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I do agree that my girl is MUCH harder to raise than the boys.(so far). My 15 year old is so easy going and he never gets mad. The girl flies off the handle and screams for the slightest thing.

The boys only wear skinny jeans and t-shirts., it takes them 2 seconds to get ready. She takes forever and if you mention 1 thing(for example: Its going to be hot, you may want a shortsleeve shirt" you will get a stomping off to the bed room and another 10 minutes because the whole outfit has to be changed now.

I know its hormones(she is 12),but she is very hard to take a lot of the time.(she is exactly like me, I get that, having 2 of me in the house is not easy.) She likes playing with girls and she actually likes her hockey team this year because its her first year playing on the girls team.(her 4th year at hockey,always all boy teams)

The girl is VERY driven to be the best at everything she does. She is very smart and very intense. I LOVE this about her ,but she is NOT easy.

She and her friends like being girls. They take a few special "girls in science and engineering "classes and a few other cool things to empower girls.

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I was also thinking, that maybe we're in a culture that teaches us to dislike girls and being a girl. For one, being girly and feminine (not counting fundie culture) is usually connected to being vapid and dumb. Then, there's slut-shaming. There's also the whole "boys are easier to raise than girls" thing. Smart, headstrong girls are usually called bitches, while their male counterparts are respected.

You are completely ignoring the mean girl phenomenon, though. I teach middle school and one of the biggest things that causes fights and problems is girl-on-girl crime (TM Tina Fey). These girls, both "popular" and "unpopular", can be very, very mean for no apparent reason (it's usually rooted in insecurity). I can see why kids would say they don't like girls, even if that's not exactly what they mean.

To combat this, every other year we have a "Girl's Night Out" where we invite 6th and 7th grade girls to join us from 4-6 for various workshops. We talk about various things; I'm normally in charge of the craft. Two years ago there was a "Things To Do for Free" seminar, a workshop run by the high school Cosmetology program about caring for yourself from the inside out, a discussion group about peer pressure, a trust activity, and a t-shirt decorating activity. We see a huge improvement immediately after the event. For about 2-3 months, things stay pretty calm. From spring break on, issues start popping up, but the guidance counselors can remind the girls about what they learned back in the fall. They can usually do this at the beginning of the next year, as well. By the end of the second year, we can all see the need for another event. If we could get the funds together, we'd have it every year, but for now at least we're doing something.

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I don't think this is anything new as I can remember girls saying that 30 years ago when I was 11. This is something that the girls have picked up on from society probably from the dawn of time. I hope we can see the fall of that train of thought in our life time.

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Girls do frequently piss me off. During my first year of college (which ended in May), I experience some of the most intense drama ever. There was a lot of "If you want to be friends with me, you can't hang out with her" type of stuff going on, as well as fighting over boys, etc. I won't go into details unless someone wants to hear it, but I find that most of the time, in my personal experience, this drama is associated with girls. Then there's the usual cattiness as well, which I can't stand. Just making unnecessary snide remarks when someone walks past, that kind of thing. I do think that's something most women grow out of though, so I try to not blame the female population as a whole. However, when you're at that age when the drama starts, I can definitely see where it's easy to say "I hate girls". I don't think it's necessarily internalized misogyny as much as "I hate drama. Girls are causing drama, therefore I hate girls". At least for me. I'm acquainted with a group of boys that has ridiculous drama too, and I wouldn't want to hang out with them regularly either.

That being said, although I had drama in high school (nowhere near the level at college, go figure), I also had wonderful female friends that kept me sane. We're still close today and I wouldn't trade them for the best male friends in the world.

As far as raising children, I've always heard that girls are easier. My grandma had two boys and she also practically raised me and my sister. She said we were much easier than the two boys. I've had teachers who say girls are easier too. So maybe that's not normal for most people, but I always thought I'd rather raise a girl.

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Hmmmm, I've had friends/roommates who were of the "I hate girls, I get along better with guys, I hate girl drama" types, but I will say that in my experience, they were usually A. The ones who started the drama in the first place (often over boys) or B. Really just wanted a particular guy and so thought that acting like a guy would get her "in"--but when said guy went out with another girl (as they always did) the drama would begin.

That said, I haven't experienced that much girl cattiness (except in college). Maybe it's something you do eventually grow out of?

But I do agree that there is an undercurrent of society that *doesn't* take you seriously as an intellectual/academic/credible person/woman if you are *too* put together in appearance. I've read several academic fashion blogs where bloggers and commenters agonize over wearing nail polish or wedding/engagement rings to job interviews for fear that some old dude won't think they can handle their stuff. That kind of worry drives me INSANE. On the other hand, people will make fun of or be cruel to women who don't do *enough* to their personal appearance.

I think that navigating being a woman in our modern culture is really really tricky, and I know I have some internalized self-hatred (well, that might be a strong term) about how I'm not good enough--which can make me mentally bitchy to women who seem to have it all together, which makes me dislike myself more. Until I realize what I'm doing and stop.

I think the way that women are talked about sets us up against one another--sluts v. virgins, mothers v. working women, perfect housekeepers v. slobs, fat v. skinny--and on and on and on. It sets us up to fail somewhere, and I don't see that in men. It could be there, but I don't see it.

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So, do you guys have anything to say about the issue?

SO FUCKING MUCH, but I promise you, none of my insights are unique. So for today I will only say: Hrrrrblrrrgrrr!

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I, sadly, have to completely agree with the OP's observations. In fact, I recently had a discussion with my manager (I'm a nurse) about issues on the unit (backstabbing, MAJOR gossiping, etc), and we actually both agreed that they had a lot to do with the fact that we're mostly all women working on the unit, and well...that's just the way we women are towards each other. Mean!

At the same time, women seem to be able to form stronger bonds with each other (and my father pointed this out), possibly b/c there isn't the inherent fear of questioning our sexuality if we share heartfelt details, hugs, etc.

I think the problem has less to do w/ women's "inherent qualities" and more to do with what we're taught by society. We are taught to sweep our problems under the rug, in order to maintain the peace. And to keep sweet (yeah, it's not just fundies who do it). This pretty much forces women and girls to find an indirect outlet to share their frustrations, and maintain some form of power.

It might also have to do with the idea (and this is especially true in religious circles) that women can't be trusted (a la Eve), so we tend not to trust each other.

Hope that made sense. This issue really drives me nuts. I consider myself a huge feminist, but this is something I must admit is true about girls/women, but it can be changed, if women are treated as equals, and are not seen as being untrust-worthy.

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I'm sure when I was younger I said at times that it's easier to be friends with boys than girls. In junior high kids in general did their share of crappy things (and I did as well), but the girls had these shifting loyalties and friendship dramas that I - as a sightly awkward, intensely loyal, INTJ-personality-type - was just not equipped to handle. But while I'm sort of a guy's girl -- I've always had a lot of male friends -- I love and appreciate the close female friends I have. Men are easier for me to be friends with in some ways, but that doesn't make them better friends, if that makes sense. They just make more sense to me, usually; I understand the politics in a group of men better than a group of women.

Anyway, I don't put that on all women, so much as my own issue.

But I do think there's a trend of favoring traditional masculinity over femininity, instead of assigning equal value to both.

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Okay, I lied.

I think there is a difference between saying 'Women can be really catty' and 'Oh, women suck, I hate all of them, they are so catty'.

When women are catty because they're catty, that's annoying because it's a bad trait. When women are catty and talk about how other women suck and suck up to men as a calculated choice to make men respect them, that's annoying as balls. 'Teehee, yes, I am part of the inferior caste, but don't worry, I'm like the higher people! I, too, support the fucked-up power hierarchies that continue in our society, and I feel contempt and loathing for the inferior caste! See, so I'm just like you. You can trust me.' *more inarticulate garbling*

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My profession is predominantly female.

In my early years in this profession, all it took for someone to get promoted was to be the lone male in the group- no matter how incompetent.

I have heard fundyfunland's beginning statement several times in the workplace. IMNSVHO it is just an excuse. Every workplace has problems; women vs. women makes easy blame without searching for the real problems.

Personally- The very worst managers I have had in my work life have been men. And the best managers (including a stellar manager that I consider to be my major mentor, and who, unfortunately, now works for a different employer) I have had have all been women.

My adult daughters have worked in totally different types of employment, with a 50/50ish mix of men and women, and both have had to deal with issues that I have never had in my own workplaces.

And that's what I have to say about that.

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I'm trained and have worked in a male-dominated STEM field (science, tech, engineering, management) and being well-groomed and put together is seen as a sign of being feminine. As everyone knows feminine people (re: girls) aren't good at STEM, pretty much all women in these fields make a point of being as unfeminine as possible.

I'm hard pressed to come up with a single example of a woman who wore makeup regularly, or heels at all. ... even dresses are unusual, come to think of it.

The result? We were respected (for a given value of respect) in the STEM field, but it was commonly assumed that men just did not date or become attracted to a STEM woman. The same is true in other male-dominated areas like military academies.

You can be competent, but you can't be attractive.

I'm hypothesizing that maybe the women as well as the men were behaving with internalized misogyny, denying things that were feminine because girly=bad.

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I call bullshit on the idea that women are "cattier" or more dramatic than men. I work in a predominantly male environment, and the men I know are every bit as gossipy, moody, and prone to engaging in subtle put-downs and holding grudges as the women. I think we are just less inclined to identify these behaviors as such when men engage in them.

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I think we expect more of girls than of guys. We expect girls to be pretty, but not too much, to choose the right guy to go out with (or none) so that she won't be the slut of the neighborhood, the she performs well in school, that she is intelligent, not too noisy, etc, etc... While guys have much less expectations in terms of studies (after all *everyone* knows girls are usually better, boys will naturaly like sports better, and you have less worries about a guy's sexual life or hanging out with tons of girls. I think most of that is unsaid of course. I also think it depends on the places, some HS have different dynamics.

I don't remember being more bullied by girls than by boys, since usually we were most of the time hanging out with peopl from the same gender, when I got to hang out with boys they would be as bitchy, hurtful than the girls.

and clibby, don't you think that your girl is tougher coz she's an old soul ;) your boys don'T have all those pastlives expectations on them... just sayin'

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Maybe I live in a bubble, but I can't say I've encountered this too much. In school my friends were pretty even-tempered. We had fights, but I think those were just over issues that could crop up in any relationship. None of us were interested in the drama.

At my job, the majority of the executives (including the president and VP) are female. At other jobs, it's been mostly male, but 50/50 at some levels. I can't say I've noticed any particular trends amongst the women and men as far as cattiness goes. Some people just like to be shit-stirrers, but the majority don't seem to be. As far as dress and personal grooming, it just depends on personality. I've seen both long and short hair, dresses or skirts, or suits and pants, heavier make-up to no make-up at all.

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I think we expect more of girls than of guys. We expect girls to be pretty, but not too much, to choose the right guy to go out with (or none) so that she won't be the slut of the neighborhood, the she performs well in school, that she is intelligent, not too noisy, etc, etc... While guys have much less expectations in terms of studies (after all *everyone* knows girls are usually better, boys will naturaly like sports better, and you have less worries about a guy's sexual life or hanging out with tons of girls. I think most of that is unsaid of course. I also think it depends on the places, some HS have different dynamics.

I think we put boys under just as much pressure as girls, for just the reasons you highlighted: boys are expected to be athletic and tough, not overly bookish or artistic or gentle. They are also somewhat expected to be more active sexually, be the ones to pursue the girls, and not be allowed to cry or show their feelings. It's more socially acceptable for girls to be interested in things that are traditionally female interests (crafts, sewing, arts, shopping, dressing well) as well as male activities (sports) but it's definitely not the same for boys.

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I spent most of school being bullied by other girls. I took the "I hate girls" attitude as a defense. After so many years of "Popular girls" bullying you...I am 25 and when I see a "popular girl" type at church etc. I cringe out of habit and assume they won't want to talk to me or think they are better than me.

Sad but true. If you spend 8 years of your life being bullied by pretty girls with expensive purses and designer clothes...it becomes a habit.

As I have grown older I see that while I hated aspects of girl culture I learned to embrace my femininity and love being female.

*edited to correct spelling...It's early...give me a break ;-)

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I think we put boys under just as much pressure as girls, for just the reasons you highlighted: boys are expected to be athletic and tough, not overly bookish or artistic or gentle. They are also somewhat expected to be more active sexually, be the ones to pursue the girls, and not be allowed to cry or show their feelings. It's more socially acceptable for girls to be interested in things that are traditionally female interests (crafts, sewing, arts, shopping, dressing well) as well as male activities (sports) but it's definitely not the same for boys.

yeah but at the same time I feel like if a boy does not comply with this as a teen there is less fear for his future - after all if he's really bright he'll get a great job, if he's not bright he'll get a maybe less good job but have a family and all vs the female marrying the loser. The bad boy image vs the bad girl, you know how terribly wronger it is for girls to be in gangs and all the slutiness that goes with it, etc. I did not want to say that boy have an easy time, just that parental pressures are a little less intense...

So yeah it's intense but I feel like the long time consequences are always less dire for guys. Maybe I'm just totally wrong though.

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not be allowed to cry or show their feelings.

Both men and women face pressure to not express certain emotions. Young boys are discouraged from crying and sentimentality, young girls are discouraged from showing anger/encouraged generally to be more docile. I think this is the source of a lot of girl-on-girl hate. Not allowed to express your anger, your displeasure, expected to do the 'feminine' thing and smooth over disagreements and that doesn't actually stop women from being angry, but I think it manifests in that anger coming out in really weird and sometimes cruel ways. And at the same time, your gender is constructed socially as the weak one and shitty and deceptive and frivolous, etc. I think it's like this: you're encouraged to be feminine and embrace conventional feminine trappings and ~love it~ and excel at it while being taught on a much deeper, more subtle level to hate girls and women.

Anyway, this is not my personal experience, actually. I've always had a mixed-gender group of friends with my closest friends being generally other women, and I am still in regular contact with my close girlfriends from junior high. Great people, great friends that I am lucky to have. So women being particularly catty is not actually something I've experienced (although I've been around plenty of catty bullshit people in general).

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There is some joke along the lines of "Don't be friends with a girl who say's she hates women, she'll screw your man".

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I call bullshit on the idea that women are "cattier" or more dramatic than men. I work in a predominantly male environment, and the men I know are every bit as gossipy, moody, and prone to engaging in subtle put-downs and holding grudges as the women. I think we are just less inclined to identify these behaviors as such when men engage in them.

This. I worked in a department where there were about 10 men and 2 women including myself, and guys can and do stir shit just as much as women.

As for when I was in school, the kids whose families had money picked on the kids whose families didn't - boys and girls, across the board. By far the most out of line hurtful things that were said to me were said by boys in high school. I also went to school in an athletics centered school in the Bible Belt, where an athlete whose family had money could basically do anything they wanted to whomever they wanted with no consequences so I imagine that affected the dynamic.

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Okay, I lied.

I think there is a difference between saying 'Women can be really catty' and 'Oh, women suck, I hate all of them, they are so catty'.

When women are catty because they're catty, that's annoying because it's a bad trait. When women are catty and talk about how other women suck and suck up to men as a calculated choice to make men respect them, that's annoying as balls. 'Teehee, yes, I am part of the inferior caste, but don't worry, I'm like the higher people! I, too, support the fucked-up power hierarchies that continue in our society, and I feel contempt and loathing for the inferior caste! See, so I'm just like you. You can trust me.' *more inarticulate garbling*

This. Also what Lissar said.

I remember on the other board there was some kind of flame thread and a commenter said "See, this is why women shouldn't be allowed to vote" or some shit like that. As if men never get in flame wars on the internetz!

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We are also a culture that encourages girls to see boys and stupid, lazy and gross so it isn't one sided gender loathing.

Only having a boy I find myself more sensitive to what gets said about boys too. I think that is damaging to girls as well, encouraging them to settle and not have high standards in relationships.

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But it wasn't all that long ago that it was trendy to feel sorry for boys, to say that our culture didn't value boys, that boys had a harder time growing up, etc., etc. I don't know that our culture encourages an anti-girl or an anti-boy bias. I am just cynical enough to think it's whatever pop-psychologist is trying to sell books at any given moment. Everyone's mileage is going to vary.

For example, clibbyjo (and maybe others above) have said their girls have been much easier to raise. I have only one of each, but my daughter (12 and pubescent) is definitely more compliant, more open and less moody than her almost-15-year-old brother. And it's been that way since they could talk, so it's not just that he's having a hard adolescence; and it's the same with both DH and me, so it's not like one parent gets a different response than the other. So I think it's hard to be general. Now DD does have a lot of girl drama, but DS has his share of guy drama too--mostly over girls, but not always.

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