Check your Ego: Toxic Femininity and Chronic Insecurity
If there is one thing I can’t stand, it’s false modesty. Not genuine humbleness or bashful dismissal, but outright lying to your face over their ability, appearance or achievements.
I hate this for two reasons:
- You are just looking for extra brownie points for being amazing AND unaware of it
- It constructs a culture where a woman has to immediately dismiss praise and deny herself any esteem.
It doesn’t achieve anything other than keeping you in your place. Keeping you questioning your ability, your independence, your worth and your value until you get crushed back into quotidian middle management ‘girl' roles.
And the worst thing is that women enforce this on each other. You can’t say ‘thank you' when someone compliments you, you have to insist they are somehow delusional for thinking you can act or have very nice teeth. You can’t be happy when you get a scholarship or promotion, you have to tell everyone you didn’t really deserve it and hide it like a leprosy wound, marking you out as aspirational.
You have to be non threatening. That’s the goal. Be unambitious, meek, happy for others to take your place and far too nice and humble to accept that yes, you did do all the work on that project.
And eventually, after endless putting yourself down, you begin to believe it. People expect you to put yourself down to the point that they are offended when you don’t. Its as if feeling desperately insecure or in doubt of your own ability is a mark of your goddess status.
I willfully ignore these rules because I’m already insecure enough without insisting that I’m Quasimodo to the woman on the bus.
If you say you like my shoes, I won’t say I prefer yours unless I mean it. If I agree that I did well in an audition, I’m not going to insist it went badly. If I look fantastic, I’m not going to vocally dwell on the size of my calves in relation to yours. Because my ability or appearance shouldn’t be a competition or an opportunity to score social points. If you aren’t genuinely happy for me when I get a role or interview, don’t say anything. And I promise not to lie to your face about how sad I was that you didn’t get it when you sooooo deserved it more omg.
I refuse to feel small or pretend to feel inadequate because society says an ambitious woman is bad. I’m a good writer, I’m funny and I scrub up well. If that makes me arrogant then maybe you need to look at what you really think about yourself. Unless you project your seething self loathing onto other women, chances are you have good traits too.
Someone asked me if I had ever been told to keep my ‘ego in check' today.
Let me translate what you meant for you, sis:
I’m threatened by your confidence and feel the need to belittle you