Updated: Nov 6, 2021
By Tara Kurup
Image via Feminism India
Have you ever heard someone say “Can you act more ladylike?” or “Are you PMSing?” These are microaggressions. Microaggressions are slight verbal phrases that are used to be hostile towards a group. Microaggressions are used against many minority groups because the person has a negative view of them. Unfortunately, microaggressions against women are so normalized, they often go unnoticed. Let’s talk about how microaggressions are harmful and how they add to hate.
Periods are often used against women from men to degrade how they act. When a woman talks over a man, many reciprocate with “She must be on her period.” Premenstrual syndrome is a condition that affects a woman's emotional behavior during her period. When a woman is going through PMS and has an attitude change, many use her PMS as a way to downgrade her, disregarding her condition. This is not only damaging to the idea of the menstrual cycle but is downright rude and disrespectful to bring up.
Mansplaining is the act of a man explaining an issue to a woman by speaking over her in a condescending tone. Mansplaining doesn’t allow women to share their viewpoint on issues that mainly regard them such as abortions and periods. It lets men talk over women trying to fight for equality. An example of mansplaining is justifying their actions when they are clearly in the wrong or trying to prove why their viewpoint is more important than a woman’s. They often speak over women because they think they know more about certain topics than women do. It is disgusting and doesn’t allow women to educate men on certain topics that pertain to them.
Dark humor is a comedy style making light of subjects that are considered taboo. On the internet especially, dark humor is very popular, mainly towards minority groups. Opening up TikTok, some of the first few videos you see are “Leave some dark humor jokes in the comments.” The jokes are disgusting and contribute more towards the oppression of these groups. They normalize racism, sexism, and homophobia because they use their excuse of “it’s just a joke” to justify it. When it comes to female-targeted dark humor, popular examples include “Go make me a sandwich,” or “r*pe all women.” These jokes have normalized sexism towards women and it’s only getting worse.
“Act like a woman”
The idea of acting like a woman is flawed. There is no true way to act like a woman. Usually, when someone uses this phrase, they want you to sit properly, have etiquette, have class, and be modest. Although none of these are particularly bad, why isn’t this included when it comes to acting like a man? According to Google, acting like a man is described as being tough, and taking initiative. Not only is this aggression sexist towards women by pushing a stereotype on how we should act, but it contributes to toxic masculinity, where men are supposed to act in a masculine manner according to society.
These microaggressions need to stop. They promote sexism and overall make women feel uncomfortable. They’re so normalized to the point where people think they can just say microaggressions in front of women’s faces. It’s 2021. We have no place for these sayings to degrade women and talk over them.
Written by writer Tara Kurup