As modern women, we’re used to battling misogyny, whether it’s at the office, the club, or the mysterious crypt underneath our great aunt’s mansion. Still, even the most ardent feminist sometimes struggles with internalized misogyny, and even the most careful crypt-explorer sometimes bumps her head and spills a drop of blood onto an ancient stone diva cup, causing her internalized misogyny to manifest physically in the form of a cackling green imp.
Here’s how to deal with that.
Don’t blame yourself.
The patriarchy is rooted deep within the media we consume, bombarding us with the message that women are weak, over-sensitive, and stupid. Don’t listen to it! You’re tough, brave, and smart—and if you don’t feel that way right now, it’s probably because the gremlin is using its magic powers to drain your spirit. Fight back by repeating daily affirmations—“I am good enough”—or by taking off a shoe and whipping it at the gremlin’s head.
Women are always being told to shut up, both in subtle ways (like men talking over us in meetings) and more overt (like the horrible little gremlin leaping onto your shoulders and wrapping its spindly green arms around your throat). There’s nothing wrong with speaking up for yourself, or throwing the gremlin to the ground and hitting it repeatedly with your other shoe.
Stop worrying about beauty standards.
You’ve made a great start by ditching both your shoes (seriously, whose idea was it to normalize wearing heels to work?) but there are still tons of insidious beauty standards to grapple with. Experiment with the way you present yourself—whether that’s breaking off your nails clawing desperately at the chamber door, or covering yourself in mud to throw off the gremlin’s senses.
Don’t be “the cool girl.”
If you’ve ever seen Gone Girl, you know about the pressure to be “the cool girl”—an ideal girlfriend who is beautiful without trying, never angry, and always there to support her man. You also know that sometimes the only way out of a difficult situation is cold-blooded murder. Grab that gremlin and slam its head against the wall until it stops moving.
Try not to judge other women.
So the wall crumbled away, revealing your great aunt in a mysterious chamber, surrounded by women in dark robes. Try not to judge her! Society tells us that we can only thrive by tearing down other women, when really, we should work to empower each other. And looking at the glowing energy coming from your great aunt’s hands, that’s exactly what she’s doing right now!
Just be yourself.
At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong way to be a woman. Whether or not you conform to a traditional view of femininity—and whether or not you choose to join your great aunt’s coven and wage war against the patriarchy—the important thing is that you accept yourself as perfectly imperfect, just like that horrible little gremlin who is now lying dead at your feet.