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How Women’s Confidence is Affected by a Patriarchal Society

by Ana Hernandez

In this world today, Women are inflicted with self-doubt due to social constructs that arise from a patriarchal society. This ongoing insecurity stems from many different factors. Such as sexism, seeing other women as competition, constant rivalry in a capitalist society, and more. We as women are taught to doubt themselves due to their gender. Often due to misogyny inflicted by men or even by internalisation.

I was inspired to write this piece due to the TikTok algorithm that was plagued with misogynistic comments about specific preferences that women should exude such as, their weight, race, and even their confidence. However, many men have stated that confidence in women is attractive. Men also view confident women as “cocky” or ‘self-absorbed”. The reason for this is that women have been taught that objectification from men should be their only source of self-worth. Since living in a capitalist world, even the most confident and successful women are often met with what is categorized as “imposter syndrome”. Even though many men are met with insecurity about their capabilities. Women are more likely to become a casualty within this term. A Hewlett Packard internal report found that men apply for a job or a promotion when they only meet 60% of the qualifications, while women apply only if they meet 100% of them.

Women are also taught to see other women as rivals. Underlying factors may include receiving a job or a promotion, or even in their romantic lives. Somya Shankar, a counselor, stated, "The same is true in our romantic lives. Girls learn that being attractive to men is the epitome of achievement and identity by the time they reach a marriable age, thereby making other women their competitors in the game of love.” I, personally, have also experienced this. Even at the ripe age of thirteen when I thought I was the ugliest girl in my friend group. But as I’ve grown, I’ve realized that there is no need to compare myself to others. Because there are traits in identity that no matter the recipe, distinguish us from others. A literature study from Tracy Vaillancourt in 2013 supports that analogy. The abstract states that “Research has shown that females typically direct their indirect aggression towards other females.” And that it usually has to do with competing for men.


Women are also criticized for wearing too much makeup. When I started to get into makeup, I was approached by many people asking why I wear too much of it. I was continuously told that I was trying too hard to be “conventionally attractive” and that I was probably ugly underneath. I was also told that I was wearing it to appease men, which couldn't be further from the truth. Women are usually told that their desire to look good was to impress others. Which, by others, primarily meant men. In a new york times article written by Emily V Gordon she explains that she also encountered internalized misogyny. Her article states “ In high school, I decided that all my female friends were stupid and traded them for guy friends. I loved horror movies and heavy metal and used these interests to become a “guys’ girl”. I thought that by segregating myself I would save myself from the awareness that I wasn’t ever going to be pretty/perfect cool enough.” Many women suffer from that internalized struggle which stems from internalized misogyny which I, also, can relate to. This is why its important to discover self-confidence in what some call a “man’s world”. To be able to break the barrier which holds women back from their true capabilities and what makes them different instead of similar.


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