7 Ways Internalized Sexism Manifests For Female Practitioners
70% of the US healthcare industry are women. And I'm about to break down the biggest under tow of why practice growth is limited for female owners: Internalized sexism.
As a woman, there's layers and interwoven complexities to digesting our feminism. At first, it starts as an outward practice of seeing how men's privilege works. Then, it grows into seeing other systemic power privileges of white people in general, and lastly, you'll eventually start seeing how much of your social programming is internalized.
Unpacking all of that is no small feat.
Social Programming = The Gender Differences Growing Up:
- As little girls, our environments, churches and communities are inherently teaching us we have a secondary value, voice, and expectation to be a prop for boys proving themselves.
- We are taught to be submissive as a survival tactic.
- We are taught that our ideas, needs and communication is not as important as boys.
- Little boys are permitted to be loud, take up space, speak their minds and be as gross as they like while still being hyper sexualized before a mature age of being emotionally and physically capable of good sex.
- Little girls are taught body shaming, self objectification, unrealistic beauty standards and marriage and reproduction are over romanticized above the practicality of owning rights to passive streams of income.
As adults, when a woman of expertise is speaking, any male listener, has his filter of internalized sexism to listen through, which reduces his listening to a spectrum of anywhere from 20-80%. This claim is based upon correlative data from gender pay gap statistics, in addition to personal experience.
Bottom line: Women are systemically undervalued, misunderstood, and scapegoated for misunderstandings that originate with poor male listening.
The bulk of unpaid emotional labor that exhausts women, is the ongoing attempt to bridge the 'sexist listening' gap. It doesn't matter that the male in question is a son, brother, father or a partner, the socialized listening gap is problematic.
For both men and women, a life time of social programming is largely UNQUESTIONED. Poor listening from men, is based in poor valuing, and repeatedly leads to interrupting, stealing ideas, regurgitating female ideas poorly and claiming a woman's ideas as their own. Which further compounds and perpetuates the abuse cycle of reduced respect for women in general.
Women's value in our modern society is largely drowned out by the 'coming-of-age' narratives of men. 95% of these male-concentric narratives show women as props in the process of men proving themselves. A woman's 'coming-of-age' narrative doesn't exist. Women are not supported in claiming our full potential the way men are.
How Internalized Sexism Manifests In Real Time For Female Practitioners:
- A personal struggle to develop laser-direct communication with full confidence.
- A power struggle to prove health issue severity to male patients without substantial on-paper graph proof from lab tests.
- A struggle to own the role of being a business owner, a boss and an intentional leader.
- A struggle to make peace with being profitable and ethical at the same time.
- A struggle to find male partners that 100% support the process of becoming a doctor and starting a functional medicine practice.
- Accidental pregnancies, lack of male parenting support, forcing more domestic labor to take a precedence over business development.
- An ethical struggle with feeling 'salesy' when offering health screenings, demos, or talks that include introductory offers in the community.
Alternatives Worth Considering:
- Reject your gendered social programming. Start taking up the same amount of space, idea sharing and own your full potential.
- Maintain boundaries ahead of time that male patients deal with their internalized sexism or work with a male doctor they will 100% listen to.
- Stop wasting time on men who struggle to value you as much as themselves.
- Require your partner(s) to handle their own internalized sexism without forcing you to do additional emotional or domestic unpaid labor. 50/50 or nothing.
- Play big in your career. The same way men have mastered delegation through privilege, let people who share your vision help.
- Be realistic about producing children, because they cost just as much as a PhD or your first home.
If you're a practitioner who needs a functional medicine, growth minded community based around proven high return marketing methods, I'm running a Facebook group called Mindful Marketing For Healers. Join us!