This meme was created for YA Midnight Reads as a discussion post of all things bookish.
Today we’re going I’m going to attempt to discuss an difficult and ever so present in our modern day society issue: internalized misogyny. I consider this concept to be defined as misogynistic beliefs held by females to other females. It’s based on negative stereotypes and sexism rampant and perpetuated in society. Basically it’s misogynistic behavior done by women themselves. It’s pure girl hate and is very toxic in nature. Slut shaming also tends to follow in its path. Internalized misogyny innately tells girls that as long as they don’t act/dress/look a certain way (frankly determined through misogyny and sexism) they are doing well in the eyes of society, the media and most importantly: men. Which is of course what we all fucking want.
There’s a variety of definitions out there though and mine isn’t all encompassing, so I’m going to try to explain it to you in a way I think we’ll all understand- through YA books.
When I think of internalized misogyny I think of a specific female character which is becoming ever so present in YA fiction. The “she was special and unique because unlike other girls she read a book and drank a tea and didn’t talk about clothes or anything else superficial. She also didn’t wear make-up, her skin was flawless naturally. She didn’t like to talk to other girls as they liked the aforementioned frivolous stuff” trope of character.
It’s good this character is so confident with herself, I’m not upset about this. I’m also not upset she likes tea and books, both of which are things I enjoy.
What I don’t enjoy is the internalized misogyny that this character embodies. It’s the “unlike other girls” part of her personality that rubs me the wrong way. It’s clear to me that she’s discounting and even discouraging other girls in order to make herself feel better or “above” them.
By having this character existing in YA, it’s perpetuating that those who don’t fit into her incredibly small worldview (which is of course based through societal pressures, misogyny and sexism in the media) are those we can judge from afar while we remain comfy on an elitist pedestal.I personally love me some red lipstick, fashion, chick flicks, heels and some other “frivolous” stuff. By this character’s standards I’m sure I’d be a totally sad embodiment of what is wrong with the girls of this world. Haha, let’s think about it though- what is considered “frivolous”? There’s no ‘right’ way to be a girl nor should females feel like they have to adhere to these misogynistic standards in order to be accepted.
Guess what? By saying things like “I’m not like THOSE girls I READ BOOKS”, “I’m only friends with guys because girls are all drama” and “I don’t wear makeup because I’m natural and not FAKE like those girls”, you’re not better than them in any way, shape or form. Nope, sorry to burst your elitist bubble. All you’re doing is furthering the sexism and misogyny that continues to plague women.
I think that today this internalized misogyny has become so commonplace in our society that it’s inevitable that it’s slipped into some young adult novels. Whether it’s through the “unlike other girls” character or the “mean popular girl” (who of course is only characterized by her innate bitchiness and style choices), there’s no denying it exists. I think as consumers of YA we need to recognize this internalized misogyny, and not condone it. And yes, by not saying anything you are condoning it. We need to be vocal about such subjects as misogyny, sexism and internalized misogyny because they are such toxic aspects of society.
Do you agree or disagree with me? Have you found the issue of internalized misogyny in YA or even your own life?
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