Throughout life, misogyny is enforced not just by men, but also by women who have internalized the systematic patriarchy. And though we may like to believe ourselves to be more “woke” than the rest, our own instances of internalized misogyny comes out in the way we treat our mothers.
As women, we are subject to various misogynistic practices throughout our lives- slut-shaming, body-shaming, stereotyping, etc. To think that these practices are enforced just by men would be wrong- we see women bringing down other women much too often. It is the misogyny that has been internalized through generations of sexism done subconsciously. Every time women say, “I’m not like other girls”, or judge the way other women dress or act, it is the exhibition of this internalized misogyny. And it is exhibited most vividly in the way we treat our mothers.
There is special misogyny reserved for mothers. Though we might like to believe that we are more aware and tolerant, our own internalized misogyny comes out in microaggressions in the way in which we treat our mothers.
Have you ever scoffed at your mom for asking you to teach her something technological for the hundredth time? Many women our mothers’ age didn’t get the opportunity to have grown with the best of technology made available to her. We refuse to teach our mothers to cope with the “naya zamaana” (new generation), and then turn back and criticize her for being too “old-fashioned”. It is in the way we believe that our mothers are obligated to cook for us, and that too perfectly and professionally, no matter what her profession. It is in the way in which we compare her to other mothers constantly, expecting her to adhere to gender roles to suit our convenience or stay silent when we ever hear our dad talk down to her. Or used the phrase, “just a housewife” ever and in any way to disregard the work she does. But most importantly, it is in the way many of us refuse to explain the nuances of patriarchy to her, and instead get mad at her for adhering to and wanting us to adhere too to preset gender roles, forgetting that it is what she grew up with. It is what she grew up with and was forced to internalize, and instead of helping her understand otherwise, many of us blame her for being just another victim of the patriarchy that she grew up around.
And most importantly, it is in the way we so often forget that she is more than just our mother, but a person with hobbies, passions, interests and aspirations that don’t revolve around just her family. So let’s not forget the woman at home and the microaggressions presented to her by the people who claim to know better. Be understanding and patient. Unlearn your internalized misogyny that is reserved especially for your mom. Walk the path of empowerment not despite her, but along with her.
Featured Image Credits: “Claire De Lune” by Audrey Kawasaki