What exactly is internalized misogyny? Why would you want to release it?
Let’s start with defining misogyny. According to dictionary.com misogyny is the hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women, or prejudice against women. This is the attitude toward women that is included in our patriarchal culture. Women are looked down upon. We are considered less valuable than men (25% less valuable if we are white women, even more if you are a woman of color). We are also considered to be liars, untrustworthy, conniving, manipulative.
There’s more of course. The facts that:
• Over 1 in 3 women experience at least one instance of sexual assault in their lifetime
• 1 in 4 women have experienced extreme physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner
• Each day, on average, three women are murdered by their boyfriends or husbands
all point to the reality that women are not respected or even considered to be humans, their own persons. If our culture didn’t hate women, all of those numbers above would be zero.
So then, what is internalized misogyny?
This is what happens to women when we grow up in a culture that hates us. We learn to hate other women, to not trust them, to judge them. We learn to listen to those in “authority”, to quiet our own voices, to disregard the wisdom of our own body. We internalize and learn to believe the messages we are given about women in our culture, about ourselves and other women.
I believe that what we learn, we can unlearn. Even if we have been in this training for thirty, forty, fifty years, we can undo it and learn to connect to our Self, our embodied wisdom and to other women in true friendship and sisterhood.
It isn’t easy. It takes time and energy and a willingness to see our own mistakes and ways we have put and held down other women.
It requires an openness to seeing all the ways we were lied to, to admitting how we were duped.
It’s messy work. It is a lot of looking within and looking outside and trying to figure if you can reconcile the two.
It’s uncomfortable work. There is grief and rage. There are tears and the need to scream (I encourage you do so).
It is intense work. Shame will show it’s ugly head. You will want to stop. You will wish you had never opened this particular Pandora’s box, or bitten of Eve’s apple. (Note how women gaining knowledge, about themselves or otherwise is bad, evil, to be avoided.)
And it is beautiful work. It is the work of coming home. To your body. To your soul. To your Self.
It is the work of finally feeling comfortable in your own skin.
It is the work of having no fucks to give any more.
It is the work of being at peace with who you are. Forgiving yourself for what you didn’t know before. Embracing your own new ways of being and doing in the world.
Our internalized misogyny runs deep. It has been trained and bred into us for millennium. It was taught to us by our mothers, who were taught by their mothers, and they by theirs. This is the mother wound that has been passed down through the generations.
It will continue to be passed down until we stop it. Until we each become aware of our internalized misogyny. Until we each admit to to the ways we have been complicit and passed it down to our daughters and nieces. Until we make amends where we can and moving forward do different.
As we heal ourselves, we heal the world. I believe this with every fiber of my being.
I talk more about internalized misogyny in this video below. It’s just over 20 minutes long, so go ahead and make yourself a cup of tea or pour a glass of wine and settle in.
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This blog post and video are part of a series to introduce my 12-month circle Wild Woman Within :: (Re)Connecting to our forgotten knowing. You can learn more about the circle and request an application right here.
Want to see the other posts in this series? Here’s a list:
Releasing internalized misogyny (this post)