Some Daily Manifestations of Misogyny

Before, I was very resistant to feminism because of not having enough knowledge on it and having a biased stereotype that feminists are extremists and are man-haters. But because of having a literary undergrad thesis about the folk songs of my mother’s hometown and applying a feminist perspective on their analyses (it was my choice), I had the chance to read lots of books regarding feminism. I would be glad to write about my personal journey to feminism but this time, I want to talk about the misogynists that I have known so far and my personal struggles in a society that is still not leaning towards gender equality. I have always been drawn to feminine and womanly stuff that it eventually led me to feminism. And while I was being resistant to that ideology, I didn’t know that I was sometimes practicing it, that I needed it in my life, and that it needs to be pushed through for the welfare of my sisters around the world.

Beauty as a Measure of a Woman’s Worth

I only have a sister. We are of the same age range so we basically grew up in the same environment, circumstances, and influences. All my life, I have been compared to my sister because she is so popular. They also compare our beauty. While I was undergoing adolescence, these comparisons with my sister really get on my nerves. Why? Because the things they look at are so superficial: beauty and popularity. People wouldn’t even look at the different skills and expertise that we have. Society has imposed the idea on women that if you are not beautiful or attractive, you are basically worthless. My self-esteem was so wounded by that kind of standards imposed on women that I strived to be prettier to be okay with myself. I am now satisfied with how I look (I didn’t get any surgery lol) and gained more confidence but…

…when I managed to look nicer when I reached college, the boyfriends that I had mostly only wanted me for how I looked. I noticed that they didn’t really care about how I love poetry and singing and acting; they were just focused on my physical appearance. Most of them would even dictate what clothes I should wear, how I should wear my hair, and how curvy or fatter my body should be (I have a skinny body type) that I drove me crazy. My looks (or how I should look) were most of the time the reason of my quarrels with some of my ex-boyfriends. I was treated like a shallow person that should only be prized for how she looks.

However, society thinks so lowly of women that while we may think that beauty is a blessing, it can also be a curse. When women walk down the street to buy food or whatever, they get catcalled by ignorant men. It’s insulting, degrading, humiliating. What have we done to men to deserve that treatment? I don’t think it’s because they admire those women. I really don’t. It’s because these men lack respect in women. They think women are so inferior to them that they can do all they want to them even if it makes women uncomfortable. Women are sex objects and nothing more. If a man has a belief like this, then he is ignorant, uneducated, and immoral. If this is being a little too hateful, I’m sorry. But no woman likes to be disrespected just because she is a woman. And women are already so tired of being catcalled every single day.

Limited to Being Sex Objects

I’m sure that there are lots of women out there who were also misled by men who only wanted sex from them. I personally get triggered when people are seen on a shallow basis (e.g. their appearance or sexuality) instead of for who they really are. People are more than just how they look. People are more than their gender. Suddenly I remembered the tale of Beauty and the Beast – Belle is more than her beauty and the beast is more than just his monstrous look. He is a prince beneath that, and I wish in real life there would be more people who could see through one’s outer shell. Women are not walking boobs and pussies. They are people with a heart and soul.

I remember having an ex-boyfriend who had a very patriarchal, misogynist father. My family doesn’t like his father, and we initially hoped that the son wasn’t infected by his father’s rotten behavior. When my ex-boyfriend had a family outing, he made me come with them. While we were eating together, his father made dirty, sexual remarks about us, and how much we must love having sex (we did not, fortunately), and that my ex-boyfriend was lucky enough to be intimate (eww) with a girl like me. During that whole time, I was feeling like shit. I felt degraded. It was obvious how he sees women as sexual objects. When I broke up with the guy a month later, his misogynistic attitude that he was suppressing finally came out. He said that his family thinks that I am too liberated because I wear shorts, I go out with him at night (even though he initiates it), and because my parents are not too strict with me even though I am a girl. (I am not a party girl, so he basically wants me to be the domestic, submissive, slave type of woman.) He even went as far as calling me a slut and other degrading names for women. He resented me for being too free, too strong, too smart for him, too whatever. He didn’t like being threatened by a woman who is just being herself. Luckily I got rid of that kind of man right away.

Sexual Politics in Relationships

Even with all those misogynistic manifestations of patriarchy in my personal life that I complain about, I still consider myself lucky because compared to other women, I am not as oppressed. I haven’t experienced rape, incest, molestation, extreme restrictions, etc. Therefore, the next thing that I am going to say may sound a bit superficial: there is sexual politics in romantic relationships especially when the man is insensitive or ignorant enough to still hold on to the belief that men are superior to women in any way. In my experience, if boyfriends or suitors suddenly feel like they are not good enough, it’s either they resent me, try to make me feel inferior, or compete with me. Most of them just wanted to get the upper hand always. (I am not the domineering type of girlfriend, I promise.) However, sometimes, when a man does this to me, I suddenly realize that we are not equals. If they are so threatened by a woman, then it probably means that they haven’t developed in themselves the qualities of confidence and responsibility in order to feel secure in being with the opposite sex. Some men are so insecure that they project their insecurities onto women and make them think that there is something wrong with the women instead. The moment I sense that in a man, I leave. Because I have definitely learned to value myself more instead of lower my standards or serve the man who doesn’t even feel like a man enough.

Therefore, if being a bitch means valuing oneself, then I’d rather be a bitch than a servant of some little boy who can’t even protect me from the cruel world. Whenever I encounter a misogynist nowadays, I realize that aside from being stupid enough to hold on to a traditional belief that women are subordinate to men, they are projecting their insecurities to women which results in women feeling bad about themselves. Feminism pushed me to value myself a little more, and not settle for less. We were never made to be inferior to men, despite the Genesis bullshit that people use in arguing why Eve should be subordinate to Adam. J


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