Germaine Greer once said at a feminist conference, that what worried her about the future of women’s equality and feminism was women’s own misogyny. One recent study by Joey Florez found that women are more likely than men to be misogynists on social media. I agree with this, as a little over half of the criticism of my body and open sexuality tends to come from women rather than men.
Florez’sstudy analysed nearly nineteen million public tweets written in the English language and found that fifty-two percent of misogynistic hate speech tweets which contained the word ‘whore’ or ‘slut’ came from women, versus forty-eight percent from men. Women were more likely to use derogatory terms such as ‘bitch’ and ‘cow’ than men. Over the last sixty years, with the consistent growth in feminism, it seems as though women found their voice to complain about their treatment primarily at the hands of men over the years, but then when some of them started rebelling even further and offered different representations of themselves, it appears that women themselves had a problem with that too.
According to Dr. Gerald Bergman, associate professor at Medical University of Ohio, women have been brow-beaten and repressed for so long, that, ‘their inferiority to men becomes a conscious belief’. He believes that women, ‘may be afraid of themselves’, and fear venturing into the unknown: better the devil you know and all that. Although women want to break free from the restraints, we are scared to do so because it has been in our nature for so long: suggesting almost an integral Stockholm syndrome en masse.
I would argue that this hypothesis is also backed up by what is known as the Unity of Opposition, studied by philosophers since the fifth century BC and taken on by famous German philosopher Hegel, which states that the existence or identity of a thing depends on the co-existence of two conditions which are opposites, yet dependent on each other, plus presupposing each other, within a field of tension. Think of how you would describe the meaning of a word to somebody, and it is often by its opposite: cheap = inexpensive; cold = not very hot; naïve = inexperienced.
Think of how many words start with in-, un- or dis-. Women have come to define themselves as the opposite to men, and likewise men define themselves as the opposite to women, so when that dichotomy is blurred – when women start acting ‘more like a man’ or, ‘less like a woman’, this causes issues for the psyche, and a consequent confusion and disdain. It seems that women are more judgemental of other women who choose to have more sexual partners. Men take less issue because they can simply continue to ‘be men’, to act how they always have; whereas women are left in limbo as Bergman also suggests.
I am aware however, that my background in academia does influence my depth of reasoning at times, and maybe there are more simple explanations to a seemingly complex question. One common answer when asking why women have an issue with confident, sexually-open women is, you guessed it, jealousy. Such a trait can be broken down to the fact that we are, at base level, animals. What is our purpose in life, biologically? To procreate.
Envy is a reaction that makes us try harder to try to gain the attention of a potential sexual partner – to buck up our ideas. And if you’re up against a female who is literally waving her knickers in the air, whereas you’re more akin to a cheeky wink on the side, you’re going to feel angry at the one who is giving it up easier, right? But jealousy can’t always be the reason that we disagree with somebody’s actions. I asked my peers who had issues with sexually promiscuous women, and a common reason given by those who did was that such females misrepresented women as a collective. We shouldn’t fear to be true to ourselves because of the uncontrollable judgements made by other people; such assumptions are merely another unfortunate byproduct of prejudice.
Religion is also a factor to be considered, with immorality a fashionable reason that women cite as their main reason for their disdain for promiscuity. This is contradictory when you consider that approximately only nine percent of women in the UK are virgins on their wedding day, according to a 2018 study. It appears that some women pick and choose the biblical beliefs by which they wish to abide and reinforce.
The most read book in the world – the Bible – sadly is full of sexist beliefs. Lots of men are not monogamous, such as Cain’s son Lamech, Moses, and King Solomon to name a few. Woman’s purpose is to reproduce: ‘be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’ (Genesis 1:28). And men’s genitalia are a token of worth: ‘he that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord’ (Deuteronomy 23:1).
Even today, women are restricted in the church, with Catholicism disallowing women to be priests entirely to this day. The Vatican sees it as a serious crime in canon law that is punishable by excommunication. So why women would cite religious beliefs to offer an accurate representation of any part of themselves is beyond me. Links have unsurprisingly been made between Stockholm Syndrome and battered women; I am also brave enough to suggest a link between Stockholm syndrome in women in general, where they have developed a false reliance of definition on the very stereotypes that bind them.
Natalia 's Bio
Natalia is a published author with a Master of Research in Literature, Culture & Philosophy, and currently runs a multi-million pound construction company. Her latest collection of books is the erotic, non-fiction trilogy, The Vagina Travelogues. You can connect with her here
- Bergman, Gerald. “The History of the Human Female Inferiority Ideas in Evolutionary Biology.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12680306/#affiliation-1
- Demarest, Rebecca A. "The Relationship Between Stockholm Syndrome and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Battered Women". Inquiries Journal. 1 (11). (2009) - Florez, Joey. “Women Are More Misogynistic Than Men On Twitter, Study Found.” https://www.mentaldaily.com/article/2016/10/women-are-more-misogynistic-than-menon-twitter
- Greer, Germaine. The Female Eunuch. MacGibbon & Kee (1970). - Irwin, Nancy. “The Princess Syndrome.” https://drnancyirwin.com/the-princess-syndrome/