Is Internalized Sexism Holding You Back?

It may be popular to think that the feminist revolution ended when women got the right to vote. (Along with a host of other legal wins.)

I am not so sure.

It seems to me that women still hold themselves back, in ways both subtle and explicit. I want to talk about the subtle ones, because often it is what we do not say that holds the most power over our actions.

1. Believing that everybody else comes first.

Where did we get this idea that women don't count? That it is our job in life to throw ourselves onto the train tracks so that everybody else can survive? It's not an either-or; in fact it's just the opposite. Half-starved humans make terrible caregivers, because they're always thinking about what they personally lack: food.

2. Believing that femininity revolves around being weak.

Those Hollywood depictions of innocent, ignorant, and not by-the-way half-starved young girls as desirable has directly contributed to this belief. The truth is, femininity is whatever you want it to be. But it's a lot easier to make personal choices when you have the physical, emotional, spiritual and financial strength to stand up for them. And did you know a lot of men depend on strong women to keep the family fed, clothed, educated and raised?

3. Believing that G-d made women essentially inferior to men, cursed, etc.

I don't care what passage of Scripture some wiseguy going by the name of holy person pulls out of their hat. This one is a big lie - a whopper. A truly religious person, of any faith, will tell you so.

4. Believing that men are "natural" leaders, "naturally" better at "important things" like military matters and finance, etc.

You may say you don't believe this but in practice do you speak up? Or defer?

Do you believe that "female chatter" is meaningless, annoying and mostly a waste of time?*

5. Believing that education and career are optional for women but mandatory for men.

Again, do your actions match your (surely very loud) protests that I have raised an irrelevant and outmoded point?

*Guess what: We're talking about you, and 99% of the time, we've got your number precisely.

All opinions are my own and do not represent those of my agency or the federal government as a whole.


Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, and, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.