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How I'm Helping My Mother Overcome Internalised Misogyny

It can take years to unlearn the toxic teachings pushed onto young women. It begins as early as your childhood years, when you’re told to constantly cross your legs, or to not wear shorts when your male family members are around.

It then progresses into your teenage years, when sex education comes into play and you’re told not to ‘give yourself away’. Then finally, when you do become sexually active, you’re told to be cautious of how many men you let sleep with you. Note, sex is always described as an action that is done to you, rather than one you’re an active participant in.

When these ideas are frequently drilled into the minds of young women, it’s understandable how internalised misogyny forms and manifests. Personally, my university journey helped me to unlearn these teachings, discover and embrace my sexuality and ultimately free myself from this mentality. 

Not everyone is fortunate enough to go through this stage of enlightenment. Particularly, my 60-year old mother, who is naturally very vocal when we watch TV together.

The most problematic things she would say were when we watched one of our favourite soaps. She would constantly state that the female characters had ‘been around the block’ because they had slept with a couple of men on the street. Yet, her energy for the men who were ‘sleeping around’ in the show just wasn’t the same.