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   Welcome to the particular mental hell that many women inhabit.  In an insightful article on Tom’s Dispatch by Mattea Kramer we see how the negativity toward women in society internalizes itself and become women’s own inner self-critical voice.

 

“Girls observe and absorb such double standards, as well as the criticism they receive for speaking up. Then they police themselves. As adults in professional settings, women talk a lot less than men when they’re outnumbered by the opposite sex — 75% less, according to a team of researchers from Princeton and Brigham Young universities. And if they do dare say something, they tend to hear an inner voice telling them that they sound dumb.

“God, I just said such a stupid thing,” a campaign director at a national advocacy organization thought to herself. “You don’t want to come off as an angry black woman, do you?” said the inner critic to an executive recruiter. To a nationally recognized artist: “You sound like a dumb girl.” To a Ph.D. with a successful career in higher education, “I shouldn’t have talked so much.” And to a thirty-something paralegal: “Your boss thinks you’re an idiot, and it’s because you are one.” You can imagine how much she speaks up.

In an attempt to outrun such criticism and those voices echoing in their heads, many women wear themselves out striving for perfection. As one researcher summarized the situation, ambitious women “exist by putting out maximum energy at all times, trying to do everything and do it well. It is not enough that they attempt to be outstanding in their work; their perfection complex also causes them to strive for a Jane Fonda body, a house that could be on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, and perfect children.” They think they’re only okay if they’re flawless — and in the end often come to believe that they’re unlovable. (Depression, as it happens, is more common among women.)

“If other people really knew you, they wouldn’t love you,” said the inner critic to a newly married woman. “You should just accept that you’re going to be alone for the rest of your life,” it said to an Asian-American woman in her thirties. To a writer and teacher who volunteers her time helping the mentally distressed, the critic, speaking of her friends, said, “Why would they love you?”

Living in patriarchy is grand eh? ” :(

 

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