Cross-posted with permission from Madama Ambi of PatriarchalDISORDER
You are growing up in a house with no mirrors. That’s right, no mirrors. But wait a sec, it’s not just your house! As you venture out into the world, you discover there are no mirrors anywhere. You can’t see what you look like and must rely on other people to tell you about yourself.
You are growing up in a family, a church, a school, a community that corrects you every time you speak for yourself, even if it’s only an idea in development or a dream or a wish. They know what’s best for you to undertake as well as what’s best for you to think.
You are confronted with this education and advice so pervasively that ultimately you don’t know what you think. You can’t tell what you really feel or what you really want and you have no authentic connection to a sense of self or agency. You might even be angry but you can’t be sure because you can’t feel your own feelings and, anyway, you’ve been taught that angry women are ugly and will end up as lonely spinsters.
You are growing up in a family where the policy for misbehaving is to whup all the children in the family no matter who may have misbehaved and no matter what the cause of the misbehavior. When something goes awry, all the children get a whupping right there, together. It’s a family ritual. It seems to really cut down on the hijinks of those kids, alright.
You are a member of a losing team and nobody on the team can figure out why they keep losing. How can this be? The team members practice, practice, practice. They are perfectionists, trying so hard to please their coach, their school, their parents! They scrutinize their performance and themselves so harshly that the sport is no longer fun. Feeling like losers has taken over their lives and they’re so desperate they’re ready to settle for one win! Just one! Is that so much to ask? But no, this is a jinxed team. This team never wins. As the losing seasons roll on, the teammates begin to silently and secretly hate themselves. They would never admit it, but they hate each other, too. Somebody on the team has to be the culprit, the one responsible for losing every game.
Do you have a metaphor for Internalized Misogyny? Share it here!