By: Larissa | January 9, 2015 | (65) Comments

discussing through midnight

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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Larissa was born and still is living in the land of ice, snow and maple syrup. She's 18 years old and really has no idea what to do with her life lately. Larissa's plans are constantly changing--though there’s one thing has remained constant throughout her seventeen years, and that’s reading. It takes her to another world and puts her into impossible situations and that’s why she loves it so much.

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65 Responses to Discussing Through Midnight (49): Internalized Misogyny

  1. Faye M. says:

    I totally agree with you, Larissa! I hate it when that happens, seriously. Of course, I want my heroes and heroines to have their own personalities that set them apart from others, to be distinct and interesting and unique, but not at the expense of bringing others down just to make them look “good”. I remember reading books (and many of them in fact) where all the girls EXCEPT the heroine are described constantly as “trashy” and “slutty” and given personalities that were absolutely vile just to make the MC look like a saint and it’s just SO annoying. It’s so limiting and narrow-minded and does not set a good example at all to the thousands of teens who are reading these books.
    Faye M. recently posted…Series Talk: The Addicted TrilogyMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, seeing it in YA (something I love and admire so much) just makes it even more discouraging. I agree, I do like seeing ‘different’ heroines but to same extent you mention. Bring others down to just appear better is something that I just can’t get on board with.

      UGH YES. Alike you I’ve read a lot of stories where none of the female characters (other than the MC) were presented in a positive way. It really doesn’t set a good example in the least, especially to those easily influenced.


    “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.”
    THIS. THIS IS WHAT MAKES ME FLIP TABLES. The inherent assumption that there’s a certain level that girls must meet, that they must be pure and pure simple doesn’t equate to makeup. WHICH SHITS ME THE WRONG WAY TBH. Because we’re told that protagonists such as this should be what we aspire to be, or I personally feel like it’s being assumed that THIS is the type of person we are, just because we’re reading. And it’s meant to be relatable or something. WHICH MAKES ME LAUGH BECAUSE WTF WTF WTF HELL TO THE NO. If anything, it makes me lose empathy. I get it. I respect girls who look beautiful without makeup (don’t get me started on the “oh you wear makeup because you want to impress so and so” BECAUSE DAMN THEM TO HELL OMFG WHY DO PEOPLE DO THAT), who love reading, who love their flats, they’re tea etc etc But when an author tries to portray that as THE woman we should aspire to be, as though they’re the symbol of purity and whatnot and the rest of us have sold our souls to devilish things or something I GET SO ANGRY. I have no empathy left. Are they trying to tell me that I’m not good enough???? Because I’d rather go out with a friend then read a book?? Because I’d rather spend an extra half an hour doing my makeup rather than sleeping?? Because I love to shop??? WELL HELL NO. It’s not on. And the sad thing is, this internalised misogyny is just a something that is part of our culture now and it’ll take hell to squash it.

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    • Larissa says:


      Oh god, don’t get me fucking started on that purity myth. Like no, the amount of people I sleep with or whether I’m an “obedient” girl doesn’t mean jack. It’s not relatable in the least to have these predetermined qualities in YA. Alike you, I get turned off by it actually. By focusing on one ‘type’ of girls they undoubtedly demean the other through internalized misogyny. Which isn’t good. At all.

      AND AHH GIRL RIGHT?! I WEAR MAKE-UP FOR ME BECAUSE I FEEL GREAT IN IT AND LOVE IT.I don’t wear make-up for you to judge or to impress you. I agree that internalized misogyny is everywhere now and will be just as difficult as misogyny and sexism to remove. And considering both of the aforementioned are still alive and well…it’s not looking good. On a individual level though, I hope more and more people become aware of the issue and go against it instead of buying into an internalized misogyny based mentality.

      I feel you, whenever this is a “pure” main character in YA, it’s like all of the other female characters in the novel get turned into caricatures made for the sole purpose to make the MC look better >.< It's ridiculous and just promotes girl hate and toxic behavior.


  3. Hmmm…I haven’t read many YA contemporary books dealing with this issue, but that’s just because I haven’t really read much contemporary, although I could see how a lot of books would touch on this. I’ve seen this a ton of times in the real world though. What bothers me are some of the stereotypes associated with bookish people. I enjoy myself a nice skirt and boots and other “girly” clothes like that, but that doesn’t mean I’m not smart or I can’t like books, although people might think that at first glance.
    Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination recently posted…Beautiful People: In Which You Get to Hear All About My Writerly HabitsMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah I think it’s mainly in contemporary where the issue arises. However, it’s definitely an issue in society and there’s no denying it. And yes, UGH. Stereotypes are just the worst. We’re not walking labels who can fit into small categories who perfectly embody said label.

  4. Anah says:

    Are you my brain twin? o.O I seriously have been brooding over this for the longest time. I’ve started to hate the “Unlike all the other girls” character. Seriously, it’s so insulting and disrespectful to your fellow women. So what if they’re into fashion and like to take the time to make sure they look good, WHY DOES IT BOTHER YOU SO MUCH? There’s no such thing as the “perfect woman” and if you think you’re the ideal because you rock sneakers instead of heels PLEASE STOP.

    The other thing I hate is that in YA, characters are so clear-cut. Females either have to be a tomboy or a vapid bitch. I don’t wear makeup (I actually look better without it), heels, drink pumpkin spice lattes, use bath bombs, or date boys. Huzzah! I should go straight into the awesome tomboy side-but wait, I also love wearing dresses and skirts, I like teddy bears, pink things, and I fangirl incessantly over male celebs. Am I a vapid bitch now? Well, WHAT IS IT YA GODS?

    Also, what the heck is up with all the books where the only “good” female character is the mc, and the rest of the characters are evil skanks? Wait, I’m sorry, the skany characters are all young, but if you’re a female character over the age of thirty, you’re pure again and wise because everyone knows older females are harmless and non-sexual. I’m looking at you, The Mortal Instruments. .___.

    Grr, author’s need to realize that their “different” female characters are not different but insulting. I don’t care if they write characters who don’t like girly things, but when they use that character to bash a significant portion of the female population, I’m gonna have a problem. I think part of the problem is that a lot of these authors are VERY out-of-touch on what it means to be a modern teen. Maybe when they were young these stereotypes held a certain amount of validity (which was most likely forced by society), but teens today are different. We can like more than one thing. We can play video games and like fashion. We can read books and do makeup. It’s not a one or the other situation.
    Anah recently posted…Beautiful People #5-Author EditionMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Haha I believe we are Anah. And I’m glad because you have a lot of ideas and insights that I find particularly accurate.

      You’re right, the “unlike other girls” is just thinly veiled internalized misogyny is pure girl hate at the core. We get enough sexism from men as it is that having females joining in just makes things even more toxic and strengthens misogynistic arguments /: AND YES OMFG, YOU ARE COMPLETELY RIGHT. The fact I like to wear heels shouldn’t bother you in the least and nobody should be judging each other for such arbitrary reasons.

      Ugh yes, there’s definitely no grey area. It’s either you’re “better than the other girls” or a vapid bitch like you mentioned. There’s nothing in the middle so I suppose you and I just don’t exist as we don’t fit into those little boxes [;

      YES OMFG, DRIVES ME UP THE WALL. Of course the MC is the idealization of purity and perfection, and to prove this all of the other female’s in the story are turned into caricatures based off of sexism and misogyny. Greeaaaat. Lol love that subtle shade you’re throwing there [;

      YES, the internalized misogyny and hatred of all other girls makes these character not okay in the least. It makes them harmful and further perpetuates sexism and misogyny. I feel like the bashing is where the issue lies. Congrats, you’re different. But when you start being elitist and batter other girls down? Stop. I agree that society is definitely something we need to blame for these characters, as a lot of them are based in these expectations fostered over years.

  5. I have to admit, I’m pretty fed up of this too. Say, what happened to a woman who just chills out and knows how to relax, but still doesn’t mind getting dolled up and having fun, wearing a nice dress and lapping some make-up on. There’s a lot of sexism, a lot of unnecessary drama in books these days, relating around women and it’s just – urgh. Jealousy over past partners, annoyance over wearing a skirt or pants, get a grip people! I will make comments about women sometimes, like ‘oh, she’s forgotten her skirt!’ but it’s made in jest and isn’t me attempting to consider myself above her, and I admit, I don’t enjoy the frivolity as much as other women, but it doesn’t make me any better, and it doesn’t give me the right to think that way either, so you make a good point Larissa. Fantastic post! 🙂
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, I really am angry at this issue if you couldn’t tell LOL. And wow Amanda, are you saying there’s a grey area and that women don’t fit into two little societal misogynistic boxes? 😮 What a fucking concept.

      There really is a lot of sexism and misogyny in books, which unfortunately just reflects the world we live in. I’m glad that you realize the not so difficult concept of not being elitist and thinking yourself better with internalized misogyny ideals.

      Thanks girl <33

  6. My experience with YA is mostly of a paranormal nature, and luckily this isn’t something that I have encountered overly much so far. However, I completely agree with all of the above, and hate it when a story even hints at it, especially when it is originating from a female author to boot.
    Carmel @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Audiobook Review: Dead of Winter by Kresley ColeMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah I think contemporary is the biggest offender when it comes to internalized misogyny. Guess they took the whole pretend real world concept too far /: Ugh yeah, the fact it comes from a female author just makes it sting even more

  7. Hannah says:

    Oh, yes, this. A hundred times.

    I’m tired of the special snowflake girl who isn’t like the others, and the so-described trashy, slutty other girls who are presented as the competition. What really gets to me is when every other girl apart from the MC has sex and is described in less than flattering terms, but when our MC does it she’s still classy and presented as holier than thou. (Usually because it’s with her boyfriend and it’s ~true love~.)

    Argh, I could type out an entire essay on this. but thank you for addressing this issue. internalised misogyny is just as damaging as sexism perpetrated by men.
    Hannah recently posted…Review: The Cure for Dreaming – Cat WintersMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      ugh special snowflake characters are literally the worst offenders of internalized misogyny, just because they consider themselves so unlike the rest of us girls >.< And yep, the rest of us girls in turn get turned into "slutty" caricatures. AND YES OMFG, IT'S SO HYPOCRITICAL THAT THE MC GETS TO BE CONSIDERED PURE. And everybody else? Haha, yeah right.

      Do it!!! It's important to talk about these issues and I'd love to read it.

      The last sentence of your comment speaks to me on every level. It's so true, and I know a lot of people don't consider internalized misogyny to be an issue or that it even exists. It does, and it's so toxic.

  8. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes to all of this! I hate it when girls in books talk like they are ‘better’ than other girls, because they do a certain thing. It happened with me in Vampire Academy, where Rose talked how she was much prettier than other girls because she did have boobs. It may look easy to compare yourself and make yourself elevated, but it’s so pathetic. Perhaps the fact that you read and someone else doesn’t make you stand out; but it doesn’t make you better.

    And the slut-shaming, ughhh. ‘She kisses with another guy every night, the whore.’ WHO THE FUCK CARES. You might have other principles, but if someone is happy that way and feels good about themselves, just let them be. Get of your high horse, before I push you from it.

    I wish books would stop doing this. It’s worse enough that some males look down on us, at least let us stick together.
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    • Larissa says:

      Yup, the false sense of superiority (aka internalized misogyny) some characters take from belittling others drives me insane. I actually haven’t read Vampire Academy since I was like in grade seven but omfg, that would certainly annoy me so much right now. I find those characters who elevate themselves not admirable, but rather elitist and completely unlikable.

      Slut shaming is the absolute worst. LITERALLY WHAT YOU DO IN YOUR LIFE SEXUALLY ISN’T MY CONCERN WHATSOEVER. It’s somebody else’s life, not mine. Please do push them Mel [;

      And you’re exactly right, girl hate is such an issue and only makes male dominated sexism even worse.


    I mean, you just said it all right here. All the yes. We need to stop living in a world where “different from other girls” is a compliment and “like a girl” is an insult. Women internalize so much of the crap that surrounds them, and it comes across in how they relate with each other. How many times have I heard a girl say “I don’t have any female friends, because girls are just petty and dramatic and overemotional”? It’s just wrong. And I think that if we want to see any change, our media (books included) has to stop perpetuating and supporting these ideals, and should start challenging them instead.

    But yeah, you said it, girl.

    • Larissa says:


      You're absolutely correct too. Preach it! Us girls already deal with misogyny from men that adding to it ourselves with other woman is just awful. We need to take a stance and recognized that being "different from other girls" is just internalized misogyny and very toxic.

      We should challenge it, and it starts with an individual. Myself included, need to be more conscious and aware of internalized misogyny and call it out when it happens.

  10. Larissa, the first person who popped into my mind when you defined the steretypical YA female lead was Clary from the Mortal Instruments. Though I love the series, everything you said in your post is true! It DOES perpetuate sexism and misogyny, whether the author is doing it unconsciously or not. “Different from other girls” DOES NOT MEAN YOU’RE BETTER – exactly! I’m so glad you wrote this post, Larissa. People need to listen up. You. Are. My. Hero.
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    • Larissa says:

      LOL. I wasn’t even thinking of her when I made the post but yeah. She fits perfectly oooops. People really do need to recognize be conscious of internalized misogyny in YA and society as a whole. It’s an issue and something that needs to dealt with, just like any other sort of misogyny/sexism.People do need to listen up!

      But awww, you’re making me blush. Thank you Madiha <33

  11. Very intersting topic. I hadn’t thought about it much but you make some valid points. I need to ponder on it some more. Thanks for sharing and writing up such a brilliant post. You are awesome.
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    • Larissa says:

      It certainly is a topic that brings up a lot discussion. I’m glad I could put the issue of internalized misogyny on your radar, I think recognizing it is an important step.

      Thank you for the super sweet comments <33 you're a star

  12. I completely agree with the girls who are portrayed as unlike any other girl because they read books. I like characters that read books because I love books but that doesn’t make you better than anyone! If a girl likes clothes and fashion or anything else it doesn’t make them a bad person. There is a lot of girl hate in the world. We should be empowering others girls not bringing them down. I’ve never liked that in our society it is alright to do that in books and real life. Loved this post!
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    • Larissa says:

      I get why the characters exist on the surface level, relatable protagonists can be cool. HOWEVER, what is not cool is having these characters have internalized misogyny and have them have an elitist standpoint on other women. Girl hate is unfortunately such an issue right now. I agree that it’s certainly the opposite of what we should be doing.

      Glad you liked this post Adriana.

  13. I think the problem comes in when things are taken too far to try to make a point… so far that the opposite point is actually made. Let’s say you’re an author and you want to create a strong female character. So you have her avoid makeup and clothes and look down on anyone who might take an interest in those things. My first question would be: does she eschew the traditional “girly” things because that’s really how she feels, or is it because she thinks that’s what she’s supposed to do? The latter could make a really interesting plot point for a novel, but what we usually see (unfortunately) is the former situation, where that’s just how the author decided the character should be. The message that sends to anyone who might feel differently is that you’re wrong, and if you do happen to like getting dressed up… well, tough. You shouldn’t. If you do, you’re just pandering to sexist expectations and giving men the message that you’re a sex object because you like to wear mascara.

    Wasn’t the whole point of fighting for equal rights so that we could do what we wanted? If everybody has to walk around in old sweatpants with no makeup, then we’ve kind of missed the point. We should be free to choose how to dress, whether or not we want to wear makeup, and what we do with our free time. If you feel great in that new dress you bought, you’re not a slut. If you like trying out new shades of lipstick because it’s fun, you’re not conforming to society’s misogynistic expectations. If you don’t want to read a book, you’re not a vapid bitch.
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    • Larissa says:

      You’re right. I know that strong female characters are a good idea in theory, however the execution does tend to fail like you explained. It does fall prey to stereotypes and internalized misogyny. It certainly doesn’t send a positive message to young girls reading young adult novels right now.

      Yup. There’s all of these standards that even today we have to live up to. And guess what? They’re from men. Ughhhh mjdslkfjdklfjdslkj. It angers me so much I can’t.

      Everything in this comment truly is so on point

  14. YES. The “unlike other girls” or “just one of the guys” trope is something I despise in most books. “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.” — yes. There’s also no right way to be a guy. Gender norms are so well-defined that in YA books where the main character has a lot of brothers and enjoys football, she’s a tomboy. Why do those labels even need to exist?? By saying that a girl is different than other girls just further polarizes people with certain preferences and ways of living. Saying the girl who likes books or likes football is different than other girls just makes the girls reading the books think THEY are different and that’s not how it should be.
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    • Larissa says:

      It’s horrible really, perpetuates internalized misogyny and sexism already inherent in society >.< I agree that there is no right way to be a guy either, you don't have to adhere to the super macho aggressive stereotypes. It truly is placing humans into tiny confining boxes.

  15. This is a great post, and I definitely agree. I don’t feel like I’ve read a ton of YA books where this happens but I read a lot of book reviews where it’s mentioned and it definitely turns me off of a book. Girls need to be nicer to each other and learn to stick up for each other, despite their differences. And just because someone likes makeup and dressing up nice doesn’t mean they are mean or superficial. They can just as easily be the smartest girl in class or love to read or do well in math. Whatever!

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    • Larissa says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I think the most of this internalized misogyny happens in YA contemporary books. We really do need to just be nicer to each other, ENOUGH with the girl hate already.

  16. I agree with you and I feel that those that are on the anti-“shallow” side end up being just as shallow in their comments. Are they that concerned with shaming that they don’t see it themselves? Instead of shaming why not elevate qualities that make a woman/girl a well rounded and fully human? We all have our shallow aspect that we enjoy. It only becomes a problem when those aspects rule ourselves in our thinking and actions. Balance in all things.

    This is why I don’t enjoy labeling. Once we do that, we neglect the person in front of us in favor of that label.

    That all being said, I still would like to see more YA characters (female) become more confident and intelligent. Too many ONLY flounder and bumble onto a solution rather than really think it through. I really love it when it does happen in a book or series. Those usually end up being my favorites.
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    • Larissa says:

      Yup, kinda ironic how that happens isn’t it? I really do believe instead of shaming/judging others we should really focus on just being nicer and empowering women.

      Yeah, stereotyping and labeling is another issue in society. We’re so multifaceted as humans that to think we can all be summed up in a quick label really is ludicrous.

      I agree!

  17. UGH. YES. It’s everywhere. I read so many books with this and it just makes me cry….I also actually see this a lot on the internet, just even people reviewing books. Like, not sure if you read it, but Fire and Flood had a really bubbly MC who was like doing a jungle survival thing, but also cared about her hair. And EVERYONE it seemed who reviewed it absolutely hated on her for being so shallow.
    Liking your hair isn’t shallow. 0.0
    I absolutely loathe it when people think they’re better than other people just because of what they value. It’s really sad. I wish books didn’t condone it as okay. Like the “girl who gets the guy” is never “shallow” or self-involved. HA. WHATEVER. 🙁
    Loved this discussion! You summed up my feelings so well, too!
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    • Larissa says:

      Yep! It’s everywhere: society, the media and of course online. Oooooo girl! I remember that, made me create that “strong” female discussion post. But yeah, honestly with Fire & Flood??? Classic sign of internalized misogyny. Clearly that girl is so shallow to be thinking of that and ha mother fucking ha, we’re so much smarter than her.

      Thank you chika <33 love youuuuuuuuuuu

  18. Valerie says:


    I feel kind of bad for saying this, but sometimes I catch myself looking down at people that aren’t like me (in this case other girls). BUT NO I AM WORKING ON IT. I think it’s just subconscious thinking blah. I haven’t encountered it in my reading so far, but that’s probably a lie. I probably don’t catch the characterizations until someone mentions it in a review or something.

    Awesome post Larissa! again haha. Things like this really does need to stop. Slut shaming sucks 🙁
    Valerie recently posted…Review: Blue Lily, Lily BlueMy Profile

    • Larissa says:


      Ugh yeah, don’t feel bad. Just recognize it as bad and try to improve, I think these judgements are inherent in society but is important is how we deal with them. Yeah, I think most of the internalized misogyny is more common in contemporary.

      Thank you Val <33 ~~~~~ And yes! People really do need to take a stand against it.

  19. Melanie says:

    OMFG YESSSSSSS LARISSA YESSSSS. You deserve a badge or something for best feminist post ever. For reals.

    This actually reminds me a lot of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks. It’s supposedly a feminist novel but it actually left like the total opposite for this exact reason. I never knew what to call it but it was exactly something like internalised misogyny.

    I absolutely hate it when I see something like this in a book and kudos to you for writing it down so coherently. Also, WHEN YOU HAVE THE MC AND SHE’S LIKE SO PURE AND A VIRGIN AND ALL HER FRIENDS ARE SLUTS AND WEAR HEAVY MAKEUP *rage* What’s wrong with makeup anyways? I mean, I don’t really like when people put crap loads on so they literally have a cake face, to be completely honest because is that necessary? But make up in general is fine. We wear it because we can, and isn’t that what feminism is about in the first place? RAAAAAGE. I think this is why I adored Lainey from The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes so much. Anyway, I just wish that there was less of this female YA stereotype which is to be above and unlike all the other girls.

    Fantastic post, hun! <33

    • Larissa says:

      Haha! I believe that should be my identifier on this blog, “girl who writes all the feministic discussions.” Not a shabby title at all [;

      After reading your comment I took a little peek at your review and wow. Yeah, that novel really does sound like it has some internalized misogyny in it. Kudos for you on being able to recognize and decide that it wasn’t okay without even really have an concise idea on what to call it.

      YEAH THE PURITY MYTH HAS REACHED YA AND OH MY FUCKING GOD. It needs to stop. The idea of having this “saint” like MC who is contrasted by these ‘sluts’ is honestly so damaging. There’s nothing wrong with make-up at all. It’s somebody’s own choice to wear it and to what extreme. And guess what? It literally has nothing to do with yourself, so the fact people are bothered so much is beyond me. Still haven’t read The Art of Lainey yet, really do need to get on that!

      Thanks sweetie <33

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  21. HAHA I understand where you’re coming from. This is a really heavy article HAHA I love it I have noticed that some books tend to have superiority complex, most books actually, but I guess the authors are driven to writing something that’ll help the MC standout more than the rest of the characters.
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah it’s quite a heavy topic so I suppose it’s inevitable that this discussion became this way too hah. Yeah, superiority complex is good way to sum up those characters who find themselves above everybody. And ugh, why does the MC have to stand out more though >.< isn't it enough they narrate the story? How much more of a "special snowflake" do they need to be???

  22. Wow, really beautiful article Larissa, I can tell you are very passionate about this issue. It’s so true that many girls in society and in YA believe they are better than others because *insert some sort of reason*. I’m sick of girls comparing themselves to each other all the time for their self worth, I mean can’t you just be happy with who you are?
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    • Larissa says:

      Thank you Jeann, I obviously have a lot of feelings on the issue so I’m glad it was showcased haha. I agree that the issue of judgement and comparing each other is so prevalent with girls today due to the media and those negative societal expectations. It leads to internalized misogyny which really is such an issue.

  23. Goodness, YES to absolutely everything you’ve said. Sadly, I KNOW I have thought like this in real life. Especially as a teenager, I am pretty sure I was the worst at this. I used to fight with a friend because she had sex, and another friend because she drank occasionally. I was so disappointed in them, so ridiculously holier-than-thou, and WHY? I didn’t think I was inherently “better” than them, but it sure came off that way! I think we are so pushed into these societal roles that we don’t even recognize that they are NOT okay, especially when we are younger.

    And sure, it makes sense WHY these things migrate into YA books, but that doesn’t make it a GOOD thing. It is something that I think authors MUST be more conscious of, especially YA authors, considering that the reader they are marketing to is a likely a young woman trying to navigate her way through all the nonsense out there. There are so, so many outlets trying to make women young and old feel “less than”, that it is of utmost importance to try to put forth as many positive views on women as possible.

    AMAZING post, Larissa. You’ve done womankind proud 🙂
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, I’m not gonna lie and say I’ve never thought negative thoughts about girls either. However, I think what needs to be done is recognition of these thoughts and an attempt to cut them right out. Like with you, yes you definitely had that holier-than-thou vibes going on haha. I’m glad that you recognize that you were even unaware of what you were doing at the time and now how harmful it was. Societal roles and norms are definitely an issue when it comes to this internalized misogyny, often girls feel like they should act this way as society perpetuates it.

      Yes, it does make sense unfortunately /: Like you though, I don’t see it has a positive. I agree completely with you that the easily influenced teen girls are the primary market for YA, so by showcasing this internalized misogyny that it can be quite detrimental.

      Awwww thank you! That is truly high praise Shannon.

  24. Brilliant post, Larissa. You get this often on Tumblr too. It’s like there’s a type of feminism that’s going all the wrong way – really it shouldn’t be labelled as feminism at all. I hate that make-up and caring about your appearance now is like the anti-feminist stereotype – I love make-up! And we need to stop pitting girls against girls – I see this all too often in YA as well, which is why I LOVE the books that flip that trope and have the MC becoming besties with the Mean Girl (ahem Princess Diaries).

    This definitely needed to be said. Great post <3 <3
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    • Larissa says:

      Thank you! And as a user of tumblr I’ve definitely seen it there too. I agree that this internalized misogyny definitely ISN’T feminism. The fact that some people label it such is furthering misconceptions (as if feminism doesn’t have enough of this already) about what feminism is & represents. Girl on girl hate is certainly another issue that springs from this internalized misogyny, and definitely is not okay. Princess diaries is also an amazing movie okay.

      Thank you Emily <33

  25. Pili says:

    Fantastic post, Larissa!
    The whole “unlike other girls” might have started as something to help those that felt like they didn’t comform to the popular trends and felt different, for reading, for not partying, for not being up to date with fashion or make up… but unfortunately seems to have turned into another trope used to judge women and find us lacking…

    If we care about popularity and beauty and fashion, we are called vapid and superficial and even slutty; if we care about books and videogames, we are geeky, nerdy and a lot of times fake, because those are boys things; seems like no matter what we like or what we do, we are always in the wrong!
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    • Larissa says:

      Thank you Pili!

      Yeah I honestly think it sprung from that urge to differentiate themselves and be unique. However it was executed poorly and now has lead to this issue of internalized misogyny and “holier than thou” attitudes.

      Yup, there really is no winning solution. We all get stereotyped one way or another and put into boxes to then be judged. Ugh >.< And of course this could be all solved with acceptance.

  26. Amazing post!! This ANNOYS ME SO MUCH. I HATE slut shaming and all the bites and stings from other women. We complain of misogyny at the hands of men, but really it comes from within too. Girls can be VERY mean and much worse than guys. It kills me that some girls degrade and verbally abuse other girls. It’s just not right. AND I HATE how they always manage to place it in books and make it sound okay. No, just no. Thanks for a wonderful post!
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    • Larissa says:

      Thank you! AND I DEFINITELY AGREE, IT’S ALL TRULY INFURIATING. Slut shaming really is such an issue right now. I’m not saying there’s no misogyny from men, but there’s no denying some of it comes from us “fellow” women. In YA it can definitely damaging for an younger audience to read as they may think it’s acceptable and normal behavior.

  27. Maddy E says:

    This. This is the truth. Thank you.

    What really bothers me about this is that I can see it in MYSELF. I might see a girl wearing a shirt that is a bit sheer, and think to myself “she’s a bit of a slut.” Then I check myself because that girl can wear whatever she damn well wants to, and it’s not my place to judge her for it. It makes me so angry that misogyny is so present in our society and media that my first instinct is to judge a girl for the way she dresses. I never do that to guys. I might look at a guy and think “oh, he’s in my math class” instead of judging what he’s wearing. We just aren’t conditioned to see men the same way we see women. I want to be able to look at a girl and for the first thought that goes through my mind to be “oh my god, she’s wearing a harry potter t-shirt” not “oh my god her shirt is so tight.”
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    • Larissa says:

      I’m glad you agree and see what I’m saying.

      Yeah, I’m not going to lie. I’ve certainly participated in girl hate before just because it is so presented in society as the norm. However, I think it’s important for women to recognize this as bad behavior and learn and move on from it. It seems like you have done so Maddy (: It certainly isn’t our place to judge others for what THEY do or wear. It truly doesn’t relate to us in the least. I definitely agree that society has conditioned us in a way to judge men and women differently.

  28. Amber Elise says:

    Great at well-articulated post Larissa! Disclaimers of “I’m not your AVERAGE girl” put me on edge. One should NEVER put him/herself up by putting others down. Like you said, it defeats the purprose of feminism.

    This isn’t book related, but there was a picture circulating around facebook along the lines of “Your Girl” *insert image of blonde with vodka in her hands partying it up at a club* and “My Girl” *insert picture of girl wearing glasses sitting at home while reading a book*

    My husband laughed at it but I just kind of blinked because even though I was more like the girl reading on a Saturday night, I was offended for the girl who was being put down; no one should be judged for their interests or personality.

    Once again, I love that you brought this up!
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    • Larissa says:

      Thank you Amber! Ugh yes, when I read those “not like your average girl” taglines I just stop. I can’t handle the superiority complex and internalized misogyny that is sure to follow.

      Ugh yeah, there’s so much of that annoying and frankly elitist shit on facebook. It’s not funny. Girls who don’t fit your ideals and morals aren’t there for you to judge and laugh at.

  29. Lyn Kaye says:

    The entire “I’m not like OTHER girls” and “I only hang out with guys because I don’t like drama” makes me want to rip out my hair and set it on fire. How does it make you feel any better about yourself when you announce to the world that you’re bashing other girls? One of my long time friends, who happens to be a woman in her 50s, posted that comment, and it really just struck me in the heart. She hangs out with her daughter all the time. Is she saying that her own daughter is dramatic? Does she want all the females on her page to just drop her? Doesn’t she realize that all humans are capable of causing drama, and that it is not a strictly “female” thing? I’m just so disappointed when other ladies wish to look like a better woman when they kick down others.
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    • Larissa says:

      YES SAME HERE HONESTLY, IT ENRAGES ME TO SUCH HIGH DEGREES. It’s honestly pure girl hate, and those who can toss it off as mere judgments have got to be kidding themselves. Awww, that really must have been disheartening to read that comment from somebody you consider to somebody your close to. You make some good points regarding it, about her daughter especially which brings out a double standard sort of deal too. LOL she certainly hasn’t met some of the guys I’ve dated, many of them who happen to be some of the dramatic people I know.

  30. Jo says:

    I get that this misogyny thing happens. I use your word, because that’s what it is when girls judge other girls. Personally, I have never noticed this in books. In real life? Yeah. Quite honestly, I talk bad about certain girls, too. I will admit it. I judge. But why is judgment bad? We literally have people whose JOB is to JUDGE. Guilty or not guilty. This is your punishment. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong, but that’s what they do.
    I am not a judge in that sense. I don’t have any right to judge because it’s not my job and the world really isn’t black and white. (Let’s forget about my right to say and believe what I want as long as it doesn’t hurt others. And I know you think this hurts others, but I think it hurts people more if we let things like this go un-judged. How many more teens are having sex because they can just have an abortion if they get pregnant? Is that really a good thing?)
    So why do I do it? Because clearly I’m misogynistic and I hate females (read: not true). And I don’t see that what I’m doing is wrong. I do not judge the girls themselves, but what they do because actions speak louder than words. I am not better because I talk about what they do being wrong. I just don’t do it. Nobody is perfect, least of all me. But I will not condone behavior that I see as detrimental to society, or even just one girl or guy. It’s more than make-up and clothes. It’s this whole attitude that there are no consequences. I know I’m shouting into the dark, but maybe there’s something here that makes sense.

    There is no right way to be a girl? I agree that there are many ways to be a girl. But not every way is necessarily a good way. And pretending every single way is okay only hurts people.

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  33. Larissa says:

    Just want to make it clear that I totally get people have different views on things, and I respect that. My response is just a counterargument to yours and me defending my opinion and this post (:

    I’m not going to lie, I’ve made negative judgments about girls too. It’s something inherent in society that has translated to some skewed norm. However I think I’ve grown to recognize internalized misogyny and have become aware that it’s not okay to treat other girls with an elitist perspective.

    I think what you’re bringing up with judges and it “being their whole job to judge” is completely different from what I’m discussing in this post. I’m discussing the toxic judgments from girls to their fellow females, these judgments rooted in internalized misogyny and sexism. The very definition of a judge and their duties are to “sit near the top of the Canadian criminal justice system and preside over federal, provincial and lower law courts. They ensure trials follow rules and laws, instruct juries on how to consider cases and deliver verdicts in non-jury trials.” I think you can clearly see how the inherent judgments we make as humans differ from that of an actual judge and the legal decisions they make. Judges administer justice afterall, in occurrence to laws. Are you saying that you do “justice” for females by judging them on what they do/act like?

    And you’re bringing up another controversial issue altogether with abortion. Again this doesn’t directly relate to my discussion. However I will address it. You ask how many more teenage girls are having sex now that they can get abortions and not be pregnant and whether this a positive or negative. As long as the sex is consensual and safe, I don’t see a problem. It’s THEIR choice to have sex and honestly? Does it have ANY effect on you???? If it leads to the point of abortion and they truly believe that it’s the best choice, I again direct you to the aforementioned sentence. I think it’s neither a bad or good thing because I’m not in any place to judge people for their sexual activities. Sex has become so taboo in society, when honestly we are in no place to judge.

    Also, if you saying that abortion encourages teen sex, then I would once again disagree. Teen sex has complex societal causes, including sexually-oriented TV, movies, and ads, which of course has roots in the media and the stigmatization done by society. Studies have shown (there are many stats online for this) that where birth control, abortion, and comprehensive sex education are readily available (such as in the Netherlands), teenagers have less sex, not more. Reality dictates that birth control and abortion be available to those who desire it.

    Okay, you also mention you don’t judge girls but you instead judge their actions. It’s implicit though, that by judging what a girl is doing you are essentially judging her as a human and on a whole. What you need to understand is that yeah, there’s no right way to be a woman out there. Everybody has different morals, beliefs and values. I think we need to respect them and try not debase others if they don’t fit in with what we may believe. According to some you may be judged for one thing and to others you can be praised for it. We’re all different.

    You mention that is no right way to be a girl, something I agree with. However you take it a step further and say not every way is a good way. Again, I’d like to say that you should take a step back. Because now we have to consider what in a “good” way means. Of course this is based solely on opinion (as everybody will have different definitions) again and will lead to judgments and yes- internalized misogyny and elitist behaviors. “Good” also inflicts a bias, towards one viewpoint over another. It implies a standard, one of which that shouldn’t exist in society. What WE do shouldn’t be of concern to anybody else as long as it doesn’t effect anybody else.

    • Jo says:

      I continue only because my own views need some solidifying. Obviously (:
      And I am sorry that I totally took this post to places that it did not intend to go. I’ve just been looking into a lot of different issues lately and they’re all a bit mixed up in my head. Hence the wacky-ness.

      Since you mentioned Canada and Netherlands, I guess I should mention that I am from the US. That may or may not be relevant, but it is what it is.

      I do realize the difference between me judging, and a judge. Obviously judges have written laws to abide and enforce and these laws are generally accepted in whatever country it may be. I guess my analogy is that I have my own set of rules that pertain to me and that is what I use as my basis to judge others – again, not because I am perfect but because I do have a set of morals that I think work. I don’t mean to say that I bully people or encourage hatred (which is more what you’re talking about), but I do judge.

      Since I made the dumbass decision of including yet another controversial topic (go me, aha), I will continue to address it. As far as sex and all that goes, you are right. It makes absolutely no difference to me what others do. But since I am actually against it (personal belief, I know), I feel like there must be a way to stop it. I am not against sex in and of itself. It’s the way people decide to do have sex and then decide they don’t want to deal with the consequences. Specifically, I don’t want this child so let me just get rid of it. Which is why I made the rather non-linear comparison of abortions leading to more sex. Because the more they’re accepted, the more people will use that as an option if need be. And in cases where that could have been avoided altogether, I don’t see the point. Not my life, I know. But it still concerns me nonetheless. Besides even the “what defines life” issue, there are plenty of people who would want a newborn and who would readily take care of the child and compensate for everything. I know it’s not really a desirable option, but it is there.

      I get that, too. I realize that my beliefs are not everyone’s. I will judge, but try not to disrespect, as you said. That just goes with being decent. And again, and individual does really does not affect me. And as long as it doesn’t affect me, that’s fine with me. But if enough people do what ordinarily didn’t affect me, it will affect me. If not me, my children or grandchildren and I think that’s just as bad. And again, that may or may not be bad.

      You are right about the standard thing and I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. I do not think standards in and of themselves are bad. In the long run, I feel like that’s the only way to keep any society together. As you can see, when too many people have too many conflicting ideals, it’s hard to stay quiet or really agree on much except that you agree to disagree. And that’ll only work so long.

      Again, I must say that I do see what you are trying to do with this post, and I agree. Sorry again for making every possible connection I could in my head aha.

  34. Deep topic. I’m personally not much of a girly girl, so I might relate better to the odd ball, but as long as I like the main character and she’s a nice person, I’m good. I agree, it isn’t nice when the outsider character puts down those who are more girly. That makes them just as bad as the pretty nasty girl.
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  35. OMG GIRL LET ME KISS YOU. I totally get a girl who wants to stray from the typical things but I don’t think they should be making ‘typical’ girls seem like they are lower than girls who don’t follow. I understand the stigma against some stereotypes but most stereotypes exist for a reason. It’s because most people that that are being put under the stereotype actually fit it.

    This is getting a tad or topic but just while I’m here, I’ll just keep going. I feel like people get really offended when they’re put into a stereotype. Like “JUST BECAUSE I LOOK BASIC IT DOESN’T MEAN I LIKE STARBUCKS” or stuff along those lines. But after all, people are only assuming because most of the time, they’re assumption would be right. I guess it depends on the way people generalise other and whether they intend to be spiteful.

    I don’t really know what I’m trying to say to be honest. There’s just so much misogyny and stereotyping and generalising in the world that I really don’t know how I feel about it. It all depends so much on the situation and the basis of the particular judgement. 😛
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  36. sue says:

    Its so good to hear u girls talking about misogyny….and related subjects!……And there was I thinking that feminism was dead and buried in 2015!…….Im a little bit older…than u girls….but its so refreshing to hear…….I would like to know and hear your opinions on womens roles in the film industry?….Hollywood and how they portray women generally….Wether theres enough character roles for women?…..Or do u see mostly decorative roles within the industry?…Wats the industry’s attitude to women in films etc?……Would love to hear your thoughts and opinions?…..

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