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Emancipate Your Mind: 087: Internalized Misogyny and the “Ideal Woman”

There is a prevalent myth, particularly in high demand religion, that there exists such a thing as an “ideal woman”. In Christianity, she is described in Proverbs 31. But this idea that there is a feminine “ideal” that women should strive for exists in religion from Islam to Hinduism. You’ve likely encountered this idea out in the secular world too.

This ideal says that there’s a certain acceptable way to be a woman and that there are unacceptable ways to be a woman. This creates problems because we as women aren’t a monolith. We are highly individualized, complex, and even paradoxical beings. Each of us is incredibly unique.

In order to give ourselves permission to whatever kind of unique expression of womanhood that we are, we must understand the subconscious programming inside of ourselves that tells us what is ok to express and what is not.

Becoming fully comfortable with both our feminine and masculine traits (because YES, all humans have both) means allowing ourselves to become aware of our programming, challenge it, and begin to rewrite it.



Ana Psychology. “Why Some Women Hate Other Women”. 2020. YouTube.

Atwood, Margaret. “The Robber Bride”. 1998.

Dehlin, Audrianna. “Young Women’s Sexist Beliefs and Internalized Misogyny: Links with Psychosocial and Relational Functioning and Sociopolitical Behavior”. 2018. Utah State University.

Fatima, Sabina. “Why Women Perpetuate Patriarchy”. 2020.

Ferguson, Sian. “4 Common Phrases that Demonstrate Internalized Misogyny”. 2016. Everyday Feminism.

Gaylor, A.L. “Why Women Need Freedom From Religion”. 1993. Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Hibben, Aya. “Recognize Your Own Internalized Misogyny”. 2022. The Daily Utah Chronicle.

Kapoor, Anita. “Female Misogyny”. 2013. TedX Singapore Women. YouTube.

Kumar, Riya. “Breaking the Cycle: My Journey with Internalized Misogyny”. 2021. TedX Youth. YouTube.

Mary. “12 Characteristics of a Godly Woman (How to Become a True Woman of God)”. 2017. Healthy Christian Home.

Mehendiratta, Ashmeeta. “This Women’s Day, Let’s Kill the Good Girl Stereotype”. 2017. Youth Ki Awaaz.

Mulia, Musdah. “The Characteristics of the Ideal Woman in the Quran”. 2021. Translated and adapted from a 2014 article from the Jakarta: Megawati Institute.

Nadauld, Margaret D. “The Joy of Womanhood”. October, 2020. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints General Conference.

Planned Parenthood. “What are Gender Roles and Stereotypes? “.

Tinsley, Catherine and Ely, Robin. “What Most People Get Wrong About Men and Women: Research Shows the Sexes Aren’t So Different”. June 2018, Harvard Business Review.

United Nations. “Gender Stereotyping: OHCHR and Women’s Human Rights and Gender Equality”.

Young Mormon Feminists. “The Church vs. The World: Internalized Misogyny”. 2013.


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3 thoughts on “Emancipate Your Mind: 087: Internalized Misogyny and the “Ideal Woman””

  1. I think you could have established the historical precedent that resulted in the reality of our patriarchal society with a lot less ranting…… whistling to your in-group.

    As a white male, I’m trying to be conscious of my privilege. I’m working to be less needful of getting in the first and last word during conversations. I’m always practicing to be more present and handle conflicts more skillfully.

    But I’m going to have to challenge your ultra-narrow definition of sexism as “unequal treatment of women in our patriarchal society”. That’s a theoretical human construct. A definition accepted by a particular segment that you seem to belong to. You are narrowing your potential effectiveness by stating such things as established fact.

    I’m not denying systemic sexism in our society. But there is such a thing as sexism (unequal treatment and opportunity) against men in our society. Just take a look at family law/child custody/child support laws. Many women have exercised tyranny over their ex-husbands and children. This tyranny is propped up by the court system. It’s an immoral travesty. Horrible for parents, kids, and society as a whole. It’s slowly changing, thankfully. There are other examples as well.

    And yes, I’m sure I’ll be “proving your point” to your in-crowd with my post. But I’m also willing to consider why this particular episode made me uncomfortable.

    1. Timmy, I just checked and approved the comments here. I only check comments here a couple of times a month as social media keeps me pretty busy with conversations on a daily basis. I appreciate the informative part of your message that included your personal experience with the family law/ child custody system and the time it took to write it. I will think about what you’ve said and question the research I read on the topic and my own personal experience to create space for growth.

      However, I don’t appreciate the tone, word choices that paint me as “ranting” and “dog whistling”, or the lack of any kind of space for me to be an actual human who has feelings. I’m also triggered by the sense of entitlement I feel in your comment 4 days later declaring “disappointment” that I hadn’t already approved your comment and answered. I have several things I’d like to say, but all of them would be coming from my own triggered status at this moment. I’m going to take some time for personal emotional care and I’ll decide at that point if I want to answer you or not.

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