The human race is divided. Although we are all very similar at our core, there is so much hate in the world. And I find myself to be a proponent of that hate.
Misogyny is a word that gets thrown around a lot. Google’s definition is as follows:
Misogyny: dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.
I think the key words for me are “ingrained prejudice”. I find myself thinking malicious thoughts about other women all the time, even though I am a woman myself. It’s as simple as seeing a picture on Facebook of a woman wearing a revealing outfit and thinking, “What a slut.” Or, “She’s just wearing that to get attention.” Or, “She must sleep around.”
Similarly, when I see a man walking down the street, especially if he is a man of color, my first response is fear. This fear is wrong and misplaced, because approximately half of rapists are white, and majority are non-strangers. These negative thoughts aren’t helped by the fact that the numbers of people of color in my neighborhood and university are underwhelming. Or the fact that media often portrays people of color as crime perpetrators more than victims.
This idea of “us versus them” is cultivated not only in gender and race, but also social class! I strengthen these barriers when I make excuses about shopping at the 99 cents store, because I’m “cheap” but not out of necessity. When I avoid telling my less fortunate friends about my family trips. When I think about what car to drive when I go to a certain neighborhood.
Ironically, this “us versus them” mentality does not apply to the people I know well. If it is a close friend wearing the tight skirt, I applaud this person on their confidence and tell them that they look sexy. Flaunt what your mama gave you! If I know the dark hooded man on the street, I welcome them with hugs and smiles. If I am shopping with a less fortunate friend, I do not shy at searching for bargains.
Why is it my brain can come up with two opposing views on the same situation?
Divisions are fortified by stereotypes and lack of knowledge. Love comes only from understanding and empathy. Doing my best to uproot these automatic negative thoughts.