It is disgusting. We are told to love sex but never masturbate or fool around. To love our bodies but we have to be hairless, thin, have boobs, and to never wear make up to cover our flaws. We can like sports and watch them but we can’t play them unless they are toned down and pretty enough to be oggled at. We can be nerds but we can’t be TOO smart or we forget our place. We are told we need a prince charming and to seek him out by constantly changing ourselves and being perfect for him. We are given the message that outside beauty is what matters the most but if we have it and get successful it was because we have a pretty face. We are told we exaggerate and should just go with it when we complain of being objects and property. We are taught that being a woman is worthy of an insult… WE have to fear walking at night. WE have to go in a group if we need to use the bathroom in a strange place. WE have to be cautious of where we are and who we are with. That we are told to hush and get over it if we are assaulted because real life isn’t like the crime shows and it is harder to convict the assaulter. That female artists are degraded and yelled at in artist alleys. That you are judged just by how you wear a t-shirt.
The process begins with the individual woman’s acceptance that American women, without exception, are socialized to be racist, classist and sexist, in varying degrees, and that labeling ourselves feminists does not change the fact that we must consciously work to rid ourselves of the legacy of negative socialization.
bell hooks, Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism
And imperialist as well. Denying this reality doesn’t help make it go away, it just makes it more insidious and harder to combat.