Today is International Women’s Day – a day dedicated to spreading awareness around the challenges that we face as females. And while I 100% stand by the campaign to end gender bias and gender inequality, I think that we also need to remember that internalised sexism is a real thing. Yes, I said “internalised sexism”.
What does that look like, you ask?
Definition: “Internalised sexism is a form of sexist behaviors and attitudes enacted by women toward themselves or other women and girls.”
Girls not supporting girls.
For a long time we have been exposed to patriarchal messages that tell us that we are not as capable and strong as men. And with fewer seats at the table for women, we have had to fight each other to increase our standing among men. They’ve turned us against each other.
Unfortunately, this has translated into other areas of our lives.
I mean, school girls physically fight each other for male attention on the playground. Office politics are usually driven by gossip stories passed around from one female to another (usually about another female). And, if we are truly honest we will admit that most relationship breakdowns within a family are woman-to-woman.
As women, we are sometimes our own worst enemy. We degrade each other with misinformed gossip stories, form cliques to show each other that “you can’t sit with us” and we even find it easier to respect a hardworking man, than a hardworking woman.
We are quick to pass judgement but, at the same, we are SO good at masking it… so much so, that we leave each other confused about whether or not we are really and truly supported.
Internalised misogyny is hidden or camouflaged as “female drama” and we are yet again lead to falsely believe that sexism is the practices of men alone. They’ve turned us against each other and then accuse us of being emotional and “dramatic.”
So what do we do to change this?
Well, you can’t change what you won’t acknowledge. It is so important to be aware of your thoughts and behaviors towards other women AND ALSO TO YOURSELF.
We struggle to celebrate ourselves and others because we believe that there is not enough happy for all of us – and this is fed by the “no seat at the table for women” lie that we were told for a long time.
It ends with us.
If there is no seat at the table, bring your own chair. And one for a friend too. Amplify other women. Share skills/knowledge/info. Give credit where credit is due. Applaud successes wholeheartedly. Cut the gossip and backbiting. Stand up for your sister, in a testosterone filled boardroom. Don’t giggle at sexist jokes. Advocate. Mentor. Respect. Defend. Empowered women empower women!
We are allies… partners… sisters… friends. We are not enemies.