About This Blog

I was a teenage misogynist. I looked down on girls who wore short skirts and tank tops, because “Don’t they know they look like skanks?” I sneered at the ‘popular girls,’ and the cheerleaders always trying to get attention from the boys (and probably drinking and gasp, having sex). I nodded and agreed wholeheartedly when my friend mused about how stupid it was to have sex before marriage (“After all, he’ll probably just leave you”). I went with my church group to nail blue and pink crosses on the hillside, and thought about how sad it was that all these poor unborn babies had to die.

I was raised in a misogynistic culture, and I absorbed those values, as they were taught to me implicity and explicitly. This blog isn’t about great and enlightened I am now that I’m older– because God knows I’ve got a long way to go, and certainly in five or ten years I’ll look back on my 23-year-old self and cringe. But this blog is about how, even if one is raised with the outdated, sexist ideals that we all are, it’s still possible to grow beyond those and change your way of thinking. You just have to sit back and listen.

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I Was a Teenage Misogynist by Melissa S. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


3 responses »

  1. I stumbled upon your blog when I tried to search for “tomboy and misogyny”. I was looking for anything I could find to back up my assertion that the term “tomboy” is misogynistic. I recently spent time with a friend – another enlightened (or so I thought), feminist minded mom, and was surprised to hear how she has always identified herself as a tomboy. She went on to say that she had several brothers and always enjoyed the company of boys and men over the company of women. She thought women were petty and superficial. I thought about what she was saying, and I realized that rather than being a person who was comfortable in her own female skin, she is actually a person who would prefer to identify with “male things” than to proclaim that her claim to those things is just as legitimate as a female. This really bothers me!! I think it’s time for this word to go away!!!
    My daughter is 14. She’s a blonde, slender, beautiful ballerina who covets pink tutus, and dreams of being the Sugar Plum Fairy some day. She hopes her pale blonde hair will help her to resist pressure to ever shave her legs. She can wrangle sheep on grandpa’s farm like nobody’s business. She likes to climb trees and build things. She gets weak in the knees when she sees a baby, and she loves to braid little girls’ hair for them. Her ballet has made her stronger than most of the boys in her class, and she loves to beat them in team sports in gym class. She’s an algebra genius who likes to design and sew her own clothes. She composes music. She can out fart her brother any day. She sings like an angel. She collects compliments for the power of her sky high ballet leaps.
    I ask you – is she a tomboy? Well, if so – why? If not -why not?

    • I’m not sure I would say that tomboy is inherently misogynistic (although anyone is free to disagree with me on that), but it’s definitely problematic. By suggesting that things like sports and tree-climbing and sheep wrangling are “boy things,” and a girl who does them is therefore a “tomboy,” it only continues to reinforce rigid gender roles. On the other hand, I can see how someone like your friend would choose to identify as a tomboy– simply without thinking of the implications of the word, because she identifies with the way it’s (stereo)typically used. It’s human nature to want to put things in boxes (like ‘tomboy’ vs. ‘girly girl’) even if the majority of human experience is impossible to box up so neatly, so it’s tempting to just say “I’m a tomboy” instead of, for example “I like sports and outdoorsy things and don’t care much about fashion.”

      In any case, your daughter sounds like an amazing young woman! And I wouldn’t dream of trying to force her into a box that she didn’t choose for herself. Wishing the best to her, though, and to you as well :) Thanks for the thought-provoking commentary!

  2. I was a misogynist during my early teenage years. Looking back on my friends and I said in high school makes me cringe. Any teacher (or, rarely, student) who got pregnant was nick named “pregnant whore”, we used the word “rape” to describe anything mildy unpleasant and made fun of teachers we hated by constantly misgendering them. The worst was when who was fond of short skirts came to our school and I whispered “whore” at her whenever we passed in the halls.
    When I was sixteen I joined a pro choice Facebook group and from the links there I gradually got involved in feminist blogs. I’m twenty now and I’ve changed a lot. I make it a point not to do any of those things any more but I always wish there was some way I could go back and apologize to the girl I slut shamed.


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