Experiencing sexism or discrimination does not make you a perfect human. Women perpetuate sexist stereotypes, and are sometimes unwilling to change their sexist behavior. Women make up roughly half of the population, and therefore roughly half of the assholes. And, sometimes, it seems that the people who fight the hardest to uphold sexist, oppressive structures are the people who ultimately suffer the most because of them!
So what should we, as feminists, do to support women as a group? How can we be respectful, egalitarian members of our community while still criticizing the choices individual women make? Internalized sexism is a different animal than sexism coming from a place of privilege. It’s just as important to interrupt, but requires a different approach. I’m going to focus primarily on how to be mindful of the language we use, and how to address disrespectful and damaging language coming from other women. Language shapes culture, and it’s one of the best tools we have for making change on an individual level.