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A Few of My Feminist Failures

In the style of The Guilty Feminist:

I am a feminist, but when I need extra umph in a yoga pose I envision my stomach with killer abs instead of focusing on the breath in my body.

I am a feminist, but I wear Glossier makeup in an attempt to fool other people and myself into thinking I have the naturally glowing cheeks of an angel and that I’m too chic for makeup.

I am a feminist, but there are certain aspects of the patriarchy that I am finding difficult to purge from my own thoughts and habits. In other words, I suffer from internalised misogyny.

Gone Girl Cool Girl quote

Internalised misogyny is one of the biggest challenges faced by modern feminists. It is the entire subtext of the Cool Girl as described in Gone Girl, and it’s why you nod your head in agreement when you read it.

As uncomfortable as it may be I freely admit that until I reached my latter 20s I bought into the Cool Girl trope and I was the coolest Cool Girl in any room. I lived my entire life through the male gaze. It was exhausting and futile.

Since I snapped out of the trope trance I do my best to question my beliefs about myself and the wider world of women. Despite my vigilance and hard work I do still battle problematic thoughts arising from the last vestiges of my internalised misogyny:

A Few More Feminist Failures:
  • Competing with other women.

The idea that women are always in competition with each other is a concept I loathe and it is also the hardest to dislodge from my own mind. It is this concept that makes me question all my life choices if I get sucked into an Instagram hole. Comparison just leads me to depression and this is ultimately a self-harming habit.

Why do women themselves buy into the idea that we need to compete with each other, rather than work together to ensure each other’s success?

  • Judging other women’s clothing.

Thankfully I have grown a lot from my early 20’s when I was at peak judgemental-fashion-know-it-all, but I still have one small bit of this nasty habit left. I am incredibly critical of other women’s footwear choices. My own feet are a tiny size UK 2 / EU 35 and stylish shoes in that size are hard to come by (especially secondhand) but I manage to have my feet appropriately and fashionably covered while being practical in terms of walking requirements and weather.

If another woman wants to expose her feet to all kinds of inclement weather and comfort conditions they’re free to do so and I should celebrate their independent decision-making skills.

  • Caring too much about what other people think about me.

As my Glossier confession suggests, how other people perceive my physical presence is way too important to me. This is a problem I work on every day, and I am improving. But I desperately long to come off as an impossibly cool woman with strong ideals and the style to match. And then in the middle of a cool cafe I spill something on me and fall over cleaning it up.

Fuck it.

Being a woman is hard and being a feminist is a continual exercise in willing yourself to unlearn thousands of years’ worth of the patriarchy telling you how to perceive yourself. I will not be deterred by the stealth assassin of internalised misogyny and I will forgive my feminist failures.