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Dear society, please stop internalizing misogyny. We do not deserve the hatred you shower upon us! Don't make us regret being a woman.
We live in a world where misogynists view women as those who deserve to be oppressed and exploited. Sexism and misogyny are both subordinate to women compared to men. But misogyny is more impactful and truly hurtful because there is an element of hatred in it. Misogynists would like to hurt and spread hatred against women by carrying out labelling (widow status, trash, prostitutes, and other slut shaming against women), demeaning women’s abilities for being a housewife, body shaming, supporting gender based-violence such as sexual harassment through physical abuse to verbal abuse like catcalling, even attacking appearances that are often used as an excuse to limit women’s activities like how to dress, do makeup, and so on. Internalizing Misogyny unconsciously becomes a habit that can be categorized as “toxic” within oneself because this behaviour has a bad impact on themselves and others.
The rape culture that has long been entrenched in society is not more than the inhumane culture in which acts of sexual violence are normalized and the victim is blamed for the violence she experiences, especially if the victim is a woman and the perpetrator is a man. Women will be more humiliated simply because of their genders. Meanwhile, men will be justified and get few accusations of what disgrace they’ve made. In the end, the victims will get hurt physically and mentally every single day. They will be judged by society and even by so-called law enforcement agencies who attack them when they report the abuse they have experienced (this still happened somehow in my country, Indonesia). “What kind of clothes do you wear?”, “Why do you walk alone at the night?”, “Why were you still hanging around in the middle of the night?”, “You must’ve been in a relationship with him and asked for it, so why does this matter to us?”, and many judgemental statements against the rape victims.
The argument that “boys will be boys” justifies the misogynistic belief which concludes that all men have been customized from the start of their creation to act childishly. So, it seems natural for men to act naughty or appear irresponsible for their behaviour and choices because according to misogynists, therein lies the charisma of men. Finally, a feeling of pride arises after justifying the behaviour of men who commit violence. In my country, Indonesia, there’s a popular heretical term, like “No Sugar, No Ants”, analogizing women as sugar which is always hunted and beaten up by men as the ants. The other misguided and hurtful rape joke in my country is: “It’s impossible for a crocodile to refuse if given a duck”, said by men who identify themselves as animals that do not have the sense to act properly and responsibly.
Have you ever been judged by your appearances in a public place? Someone who dressed up like crazy rich will be served politely with the brightest smile by the waiters in a restaurant or the sales promotion in the mall. But what about someone who looks like an ordinary person that only wears t-shirts and cheap slippers? They will give you the intimidating look and often follow your every move because they suspect that you intend to steal their products. As women in society, we’re required to have flawless skin without body hair because if we let our body hair not be shaved, people will see how dirty and nasty we’re but not with men who have full freedoms to have and show their body hair. Other examples of double standards that lead to misogyny: when a man is married, it is considered that he does not need to spend a long time in the kitchen or help his wife take care of children, on the grounds of pursuing his career and will hinder his “discipline” at work. Meanwhile, women who are married and have careers are even demanded not to be more successful than their husbands and are urged to stay at home and only focus on serving the needs of their husbands and children. So, it becomes a heavy burden for a career woman because she has to bear the double work; in her office and at home. In another case, when a group of boys is having an intense conversation, people tend to think they are talking about politics, or discussing theoretical topics. Meanwhile, when women gather, people immediately assume they are gossiping or talking about things that are limited to make-up and beauty.
Could these double standards become more hurtful? When it is a woman herself who internalizes misogyny, trust me that’s another level of pain. The “Pick Me” phenomenon that is getting more massive in today’s society often demeans the tastes of other women who are considered mainstream, indirectly degrading other girls and women. “I’m not like other girls”, “Girls are drama, much more fun making friends with boys”, “Is it only me who still looks natural and doesn’t do makeup?”, “Romantic movies are just too dramatic and don’t match my vibe at all, I prefer watching horror or action movie”, “I hate wearing pink, too girly for me”. These make no sense and why is everyone making a fuss about “taste”? Especially, when we’re women who are still vulnerable to discrimination and other gender-based violence wherever we are. It is sorrowful how our fellows, dislike and underestimate our taste, our appearances, and our personalities.
As women, until now we are still very vulnerable to all those things, all the inequalities, violence, and harassment as the results of internalizing misogyny which interferes with our rights as human beings. So, you can imagine how truly hurtful it is to figure out that many people still think that “feminist movements” are not more than bullshits because they think that “we’ve been equal” or “women have rights already”. Misogynists may laugh and mock harder cause they think that feminism is not more than a ridiculous and miserable movement. They think these are all our faults. For the misogynist, there’s nothing to call those abusive actions “gender based-violence” because these are purely our faults as women who don’t dress up, according to “societal norms”. To fulfil society’s expectations which rule what women should or shouldn’t wear, we almost lose our authority over our bodies. They yell, “For your good!” “Don’t show your breast, so you’ll be fine!” But, really? Do you really think that dressing up to cover our whole bodies can guarantee ourselves from abusive acts? So, how do we explain the tragic incidents that took the life of the poor girl, Sarah Everard? She just wanted to go home, dear society. Did she deserve it? What did she wear? A bikini at the night? Then could you explain the increasing sexual harassment years by years in India, Indonesia, and any Asian countries which mostly still uphold the patriarchal system? Open your eyes, misogynist! This world is too small for your extreme hatred of us. How dare you pretend to regulate and prohibit for our good because the fact is you have contributed to supporting the normalization of gender-based violence!
Every single day, I feel so exhausted to figure out there are more and more girls and women in my country who must feel the pain and bitterness of the impact of the violence and abuse they have experienced. The year 2021 was a year of sorrow for women in Indonesia when we had to witness the news of victims who were powerless to defend their dignity. Some let themselves be raped, another young beautiful girl couldn’t stand the situation that seemed to hit her toughness and had to drink poison in her father’s vortex. In my daily life, at least once a week every time I go out and walk to buy food, I frequently get catcalled by foreign men, even by the pharmacist man near my house. Does my safety as “someone” not matter? Is it such a disgrace for me, because I was born as a girl? Are these already my fate as a woman who is vulnerable to being harassed, humiliated, hated, and stereotyped by the society where I stand? Sorry not sorry to say that I can’t stand there anymore. Those hates are way too much for me. No more, misogynists. NO MORE.
For girls, you’re not prohibited to show your true colours to maintain what we call “self-love”. It’s okay if we feel unique because we are supposed to know our worth but that’s not an excuse for us to degrade and drag our fellow girls down. Doing make-up or not, using skincare or not, making friends with many men or not, these all are our free and conscious choices as long as we feel comfortable with all of that. We still deserve to feel worthy without demeaning and hating other women. Let’s support and empower each other! Women’s rights are Human Rights.
“We cannot all succeed when half of us is held back.” – Malala Yousafzai
For god’s sake, please stop internalizing misogyny, dear society. Don’t make us regret being born into this world as a “woman” because we’re just too tired of the unceasing hatred we don’t deserve.
Image Credit: Women’s Rights News on Facebook
Naomi Niken is an ordinary woman who loves to radiate the happiness and strength around her. She’ s the second year student in college, majoring international relations specialized in low politic issues, who feel interested read more...
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