Now Reading
Toxic Filipino Traits: Internalized Misogyny Is Destroying Femininity

Toxic Filipino Traits: Internalized Misogyny Is Destroying Femininity

The topic of toxic Filipino culture is not new to us. Usually, generations —Millenials and Gen Z— bring this up. Earlier generations normalized these certain traits that we consider “toxic and harmful.” As if what’s been happening since the beginning of time doesn’t sound so bad.

I’ve always felt passionate about this topic. Some practices done by the people around in this country should finally be stopped and given proper attention to. I often hear phrases and statements that just make me sigh whenever I ride public transportation vehicles, shop in the mall, or attend family gatherings.

Oftentimes, people who tend to speak like this are adults. I assume it is because that’s just how they were raised by their parents or since their generation hasn’t really given a thought about these.

I have been talking against this for a long time. What I usually do when I hear them is just shut up—stay silent—as if I don’t hear anything. But I also often post or tweet about my thoughts. Just to keep people in check and make them realize things. I believe that we should put an end to this.

Thus, I decided to create this series wherein I’ll be talking about Toxic Filipino Traits. Each article will revolve around a toxic trait and I will discuss my thoughts about it.

I would just like to clarify that this is not to attack anyone. This discussion is meant to educate. If somehow, you had moments like these, you can reflect on them and change them. We can all do better—even myself. I still learn every day and commit a lot of mistakes. But I move forward and learn from them.

#1 “Hindi ako katulad ng ibang babae” — Internalized misogyny

Internalized misogyny
Photo Credits: Feminism in India

This is the first topic that I will be writing about. I have always admired women. How they fought for their rights for so many years remains revolutionary. However, there are a few women who don’t like feminism despite not knowing its true essence and meaning. Usually and subconsciously, this sets to please men. It has been embedded in our minds, either explicitly or impliedly, that women remain lesser than men. This resulted in an internalized misogyny—hatred of women without knowing it.

Oftentimes, men commit this and it remains prevalent. However, girls and women themselves are not safe from being called out as well. This has become a problem since the dawn of time.

Here in the Philippines, we often have the perception that women are weak and fragile. That’s why they are often looked down upon. Ladies who have a “girly” personality are considered annoying and “maarte”. When a girl shows their soft side, people get irritated with them. On the other hand, “boyish” girls are glorified. They are considered cool and admirable.

Admit it or not,  it’s because men are considered superior to women. If a woman resembles a man, it is empowering. But a man embodying the characteristics of a woman is humiliating. That idea is rooted in our subconscious.

And no, girls, don’t use your supposed “liking gays” as a defense. Yes, you like feminine gays, but it is usually coupled with, “kasi nakakatawa sila,” (because they are funny) “kasi masaya sila kasama,” (because I enjoy their company), and etcetera. No, that’s not called being an ally. Gay people are not entertainment objects. But that’s a topic for another article.

As defined by the article of Feminism in India,

Internalised misogyny is the prejudiced behaviour women project upon themselves and other women. This manifests in statements that claim, “I am not like other girls” due to the need to cater to the male gaze. Projecting these misogynistic claims is a result of a gnawing fear of being perceived as weak or incapable due to one’s association with femininity.

Women put down other women to please men or society in general. They get irritated when other girls show their soft side. In real life and on social media, girls are shamed for being “girly” when in fact, it is just their personality. Imagine being shamed for being who you are.

Oftentimes when I scroll on Facebook or Twitter, I see girls bashed for speaking in a certain way, usually called “maarte”. But what’s odd is that I don’t find anything wrong with it. I just see… a girl… with that kind of personality.

Do you know the worst thing about that? It is that some of those who shame those girls are girls themselves. This is when internalized misogyny comes into play. It is deeply embedded within our minds that it becomes normal and acceptable. Because we have in our subconscious the hatred for women-like acts and things. We couldn’t help but project it in everything.

I even see some of my friends on Facebook share posts about certain kinds of girls. They are girls themselves, saying, “Hindi naman ako ganito. Nakakairita talaga yung mga ganitong babae,” (I’m not even like this. I really hate girls who are like this) pertaining to those girls who are soft and emotional. When in reality, it’s just their internal misogyny speaking.

They shame other girls just to please society, they want men and other girls who think alike to like them. They feel superior to those girls who have the confidence to be themselves. I’m not saying that girls who are boyish and who are not girly are pretentious—no. That’s far from my point. What I’m saying is that it is as valid as the “girly” girls.

Usually, girls are shamed for wearing too much makeup, liking the color pink, strutting in revealing clothes. It is often seen as calling the attention of guys or they are “maarte”. First of all, to the guys, not everything is about you. They do it to be confident to feel good about themselves, it is an expression of their identity. Second of all, it is not being “maarte”. It is who they are. There is no such thing as that trait. It is a term made to belittle women who are comfortable with themselves.

“You’re not like other girls,” became a compliment. It makes a girl feel that she is accepted because girls who act a certain way are not valid. Resembling “the common kind of girl” became an insult. When in fact, it is just being like “a girl”.

Women are expected to look feminine but to act masculine. You should look like a certain kind of way, but act in a specific way as well. There is no winning. That’s how internalized misogyny works. It is an endless cycle of trying to fit in and putting down other women.

The main takeaway here is… every girl is valid. You don’t gain points by bringing down other women, just for you to be accepted. Wearing makeup, strutting in revealing clothes, liking the color pink, being emotional, acting vulnerable, and surrounding yourself with other strong and empowered girls are not insults nor flaws.

Boyish, girly, or in between—you are all valid. You are not a certain kind of girl, you just are… a girl. There’s no superior or inferior. We should love all kinds of women because they are beautiful and gorgeous in their own special kind of way. The world is already so full of hate. Don’t add to it by bringing other women for just being women.

End Toxic Filipino Trait—squash internalized misogyny, bury it and grow.

Scroll To Top