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Internalized Categorism

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"Who's more racist: black people or white people? Black people! You know why? Because black people hate black people, too! Everything white people don't like about black people, black people really don't like about black people."

Alice is a wizard, an Un-Sorcerer, a superhero mutant, a person without superpowers, a homosexual, a heterosexual, a sadomasochist, left-handed, or whatever. Whatever such category of people it is she belongs to, it makes her hate herself. And while the trait itself might not be destructive, her irrational self-hatred makes it destructive. It might even cause her to actually harm herself or others.

The trait is always something the character considers herself to be, not something she's considering herself to believe in: if it's her beliefs that get scorned but she keeps her faith in them, she will see the scorners as bad instead of seeing herself as bad. Let's say she eventually gets Driven to Suicide: if it is out of self-hatred then it is this trope, but if it is because she can't stand the ignorance and narrow-mindedness of other people then it is a variant of Too Good for This Sinful Earth.

"Categorism" is a catch-all word for racism, sexism, homophobia, and all such phenomena where individuals are grouped for some arbitrary reason or another — negative stereotypes, prejudice, strict norms, and/or entitlement for the normative group. As a trope, internalized categorism covers real social categories as well as fictional ones, such as mutants with superpowers.

The self-hatred of internalized categorism may cause the character to become a Boomerang Bigot. However, a boomerang bigot does not necessarily suffer from any such self-hatred: The character might be too shallow for such emotions or might side with the oppressors for any number of reasons that leave room for feeling good about oneself: Greed, Stockholm Syndrome, even delusions of grandeur. For example, let's say that a certain African-American man believes that black people are lazy criminals and rapists. If he doesn't live like that but attributes it to denying his "true nature", then he's a boomerang bigot. If he doesn't try to get a real job because he's "just a Negro" and/or commits criminal offenses, saying, "I'm a Negro, I can't help it", then he's a case of Internalized Racism (assuming he honestly believes that and it's not just an excuse).

Although this typically relates to a character's long-term personality development, a rapid-onset version may occur in response to a case of Tomato in the Mirror.

Of course, if a hero is plagued with this psychological problem, they may overcome it and learn some needed self-esteem.

Compare Category Traitor, Aggressive Categorism, I Just Want to Be Normal, Condescending Compassion and Then Let Me Be Evil. Contrast I Am What I Am.

An inversion of this trope is Trans Nature if the person is serious enough to wish to be different or 'normal' through any means.

For other tropes relating to categorism, see Stereotype Reaction Gag and Stop Being Stereotypical.

Specific kinds that have their own tropes:

  • Bastard Angst: Those born out of wedlock hate themselves for their illegitimacy.
  • Become a Real Boy: A nonhuman character wishes they were human, thinking that their nonhuman status doesn't make them "real".
  • Clone Angst: Clones feel that their lives mean less since they are copies of another person.
  • Cultural Cringe: Someone is embarrassed by their home nation or culture and sees it as inferior to others.
  • Half-Breed Angst: A character angsts over their mixed ancestry.
  • Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: Internalized fear of sexuality, preventing the character from acting out romantically and/or sexually.
  • Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: Internalized hatred of sexual desire, acting out in a self-destructive or abusive manner.
  • White Guilt: A member of a historically advantaged and/or oppressive group feels like they must apologize for it.

Specific kinds that are Internal Subtropes:

  • Internalized Homophobia: Gays who hate themselves and/or believe they have to do destructive things like having lots of unsafe sex with strangers because they have been taught that "that's how gay people are". For the non-internalized version, see Heteronormative Crusader. See also Armoured Closet Gay.
  • Internalized Sexism: Women or men hating themselves simply for being born into a certain gender, or deny themselves everything that doesn't fit into a very narrow gender role. (This hatred is about a belief that the gender is inferior or evil or "supposed to behave" in a very limited way, not about being Transgender and actually desiring to be another sex.) All Men Are Perverts or All Women Are Lustful might be used as excuses; the former may also overlap with I'm a Man; I Can't Help It. For the non-internalized version, see He-Man Woman Hater and Does Not Like Men. See also Female Misogynist.
  • Internalized Transphobia: Transgender individuals who hate themselves and/or believe they are inferior and broken because they are transgender. May also overlap with Internalized Sexism in the case of transgender women which is referred to as transmisogyny.
  • Internalized Racism: People hating themselves for their genetic ancestry or ethnicity, or reduce themselves to racial stereotypes. For the non-internalized version, see Racist Grandma.
  • Internalized Mutiephobia: Super-powered mutants who hate themselves... or go "Hey, society considers us evil. So I guess we are. Let's just accept our role as a bad race and call ourselves Brotherhood of Evil Mutants". (In the Silver Age comics, this group was evil, period. It was later retconned into having suffered from Internalized Categorism and/or having chosen their name ironically.) For the non-internalized version, see Fantastic Racism.
  • Internalized Paraphobia: Self-hating fetishists, sadomasochists et cetera. For the non-internalized version, see Heteronormative Crusader. With the social norms being arbitrary, paraphobia can apply to mainstream heterosexuality as well: Any mainstream relationship is "deviant" when the norm is Lie Back and Think of England. For the not-so-internalized version of this kind of paraphobia, see Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny.
  • Internalized Misanthropy: Basically, Misanthrope Supreme on cocaine. This character hates humanity so much that they hate themselves too for being part of that race. Of course, this only applies if the misanthrope in question is also human. Obviously a form of Boomerang Bigot. Of course, a non-human variation of this would be a monster that hates other monsters of its own kind or an alien that hates other aliens of its own race. Basically, anything that hates its own race so much that it hates itself too.
  • Normopathy: People who hate themselves for being different from others in any way, and thus hide any skills or talents that might make them stand out from the crowd. Psychologically and narratively, there's not much difference between Internalized Categorism and Normopathy, that's why it's an Internal Subtrope here. Philosophically, however, it's quite a big difference — Normopathy condemns talent and power and individuality as such rather than specific groups. For the non-internalized version of this, see Tall Poppy Syndrome.
  • Internalized Ableism: Someone may have a mental illness or disability and hate themselves for it. They may try to "cure" themselves or isolate themselves from other people out of fear of being cast aside by friends or of hurting them because of their illness. For some, the diagnosis has the opposite effect, encouraging them to continue their behavior because they can use the diagnosis as an excuse for it.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • This is a major part of the drama in Beastars. Carnivores like Legosi view themselves as barely-restrained killing machines and envy Herbivores for their gentleness and lack of predatory urges. Herbivores like Haru and Louis, meanwhile, view themselves as inherently weak and vulnerable and often envy Carnivores for their natural physical strength.
  • Bleach: Ryuuken Ishida is a Quincy who loathes Quincies to the point of ending up estranged from his Quincy-supporting father and son. As a Blue Blood teenager, he was under enormous pressure to marry another Blue Blood in an effort to save the nearly extinct Quincy future. Tragedy destroyed any chance of that future unfolding and, although the events were not his fault, he was left shattered by his inability to solve the problem. Another tragedy killed his wife and has left his son's life in danger ever since as the culprits (Quincies) are still at large. The only thing Ryuuken seems to hate more than Quincies is himself.
  • Mizuho from Dandelion Among Lilies has a lot of internalized homophobia, which eventually causes a rift in her relationship. Her girlfriend Ena has no similar issue with her sexuality and doesn't understand why Mizuho is so secretive about their relationship.
  • In Kotoura-san, by high school age, Haruka has heard enough "You Monster!" insults for being a telepath that she herself came to believe she is actually a monster.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, many of the girls who become Puella Magi stop considering themselves as human after learning that they have actually become a sentient Transformation Trinket controlling a lifeless body, becoming self-hating or suicidal. They're closer to ghosts possessing their own bodies but their Mission Control who is the only individual they seem to communicate with would prefer they simply despair.
  • In A Silent Voice, Shouko experiences internalized ableism, as she feels that her deafness has dragged down and hurt others and that everyone would be better off without her, eventually, causing her to be Driven to Suicide. She's interrupted, however. Her character arc has her learning to deal with this internalized ableism.
  • Tooru Mutsuki from Tokyo Ghoul is attracted to a male character but is uncomfortable with it, thinking that it makes him female. This internalized angst also has to do with his Ambiguous Gender Identity; he's introduced as a transgender male but his identity gets muddled up as the manga goes on and he loses his sense of self. He starts referring to himself with various different pronouns as his Mask of Sanity slips.
  • Tweeny Witches: Due to the traditionalism and eugenic racism of the witches, Lennon views his mixed heritage as what makes him worthless. He resents his mother for supposedly abandoning the family out of shame and believes that humans would reject him even though the only humans in his life (his father and half-sister) have treated him with nothing but love. His internalized racism contrasts him with the pride of the wizards in the magical tradition that the military dictatorship of the warlocks deems inferior.
  • Subverted in Yo-kai Watch. Gossip Evolution makes other yo-kai believe that Whisper hates yo-kai, despite being one himself.

    Comic Books 
  • American Born Chinese: One of the major themes of the story is internalized racism and self-acceptance. Near the end of the story, it is revealed that Danny is actually Gene Wang and that Chin-Kee is the Monkey King in a costume, and he is following "Danny" in order to remind him of his Chinese heritage. This symbolizes how no matter how hard Gene Wang tries to be "Danny" aka white, he will always have those stereotypes follow him.
  • In Bitchy Butch, the heroine learned in her teens that she's a horrible person, and took it to heart. As an adult, she doesn't believe in that stuff anymore, but it's obvious that she still has a lot of self-hatred inside her and that her aggressive attitude is partly an overcompensation for this.
  • In Cinderella's Sister, Cinderella is the antagonist — perfectly sweet and kind, but it's all passive-aggressive Sugary Malice — at least in the eyes of the angsty protagonist, the "evil" stepsister. Cinderella's most heinous weapon is her ability to teach her sister about not being docile enough, not feminine enough, et cetera, causing her to suffer a massive dose of internalized sexism.
  • Much of The Feeling Prince Charles Had is about women learning to hate themselves for being the gender that society considers less valuable.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • It is a social stigma to be a mutant. That includes anyone who develops superpowers naturally (rather than gaining them through an accident, experiment, etc.). One issue of New Mutants has a boy hanging himself in shame of being able to create beautiful sculptures of light.
    • The obscure Spider-Man villain Supercharger is a particularly anvilicious case: he gained his powers in an accident that killed his scientist father and subsequently concluded that all superhumans bring pain and destruction to normal people, becoming a murderous supervillain specifically to intensify existing anti-superhuman prejudice.
  • The Sandman (1989) has a particularly disturbing case of Normopathy, Rayne of the metamorphae; a woman who has several superpowers including immortality, invulnerability, and shapeshifting. She spends her days locked in her home, feeling sorry for herself for not being normal. As she claims that life is hell, Death tells her that she's actually making her own hell.

    Fan Works 
  • Bait and Switch (STO): Recurring character Rachel Connor is a Starfleet MACO who was raised on Earth to believe that genetic augments are dangerous, courtesy of the Eugenics Wars in Earth's pre-Federation past. In the present day, she was genetically augmented into a Super-Soldier by Section 31, and a significant component of her character arc deals with her efforts to overcome her self-hate for this.
  • In Bloom (Mogatrat), Max Caulfield is a trans girl who has a lot of insecurities, mainly around sex. At first she's convinced that no one would ever find her attractive and has given up on ever having a romantic relationship. Even after starting one, she starts worrying that her lesbian girlfriend will leave her as soon as she has a chance to be with a "real girl".
  • A Choker And A Scalpel expands upon the childhood self-hatred Black Canary is implied to have had in Young Justice (2010). Like in canon, she went several years in complete silence after she accidentally deafened her fellow classmates using her "Canary scream". At age nine Dinah also tried to make herself mute by cutting out her vocal cords. It didn't work and she would have likely died if her mother hadn't found her.
  • In Cold Nights, Yomi starts her relationship with Tomo having a lot of insecurities about her sexuality. She's afraid of being judged and teased for being lesbian.
  • In Craving the Sky, Weiss is deeply self-loathing due to being born a Faunus, but still being raised on a diet of her father's anti-Faunus prejudices. Not helped by the fact that since she's now a member of the group her father hates (and assumed to be a bastard), her father also heaps a great deal of emotional abuse on top of that.
  • In the Doctor in the Underworld series, the Doctor speculates that Viktor was subject to this, as a being of Viktor's prejudices wouldn't have liked to be reminded that he wasn't a pure-born vampire like Marcus even if he made every effort to hide this fact from the general populace.
  • In Future Shock, Susan Vasquez is absolutely scathing towards new hire Cameron Chase, who claims to hate people with powers while having telekinesis herself, asking if being a self-hating gay person was too trendy. Mildly subverted when Chase explains that she doesn't actually hate the powers themselves, but the way most people with them get involved in the superhero or supervillain scene with no thought given to the little people.
  • In Gold Eyes To Red, Alphonse is half-Ishvalan and feels discomfort about his Ishvalan traits, such as his red eyes.
  • Honoka's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Despite growing up in a relatively happy childhood, Hanayo Koizumi has internalized Bastard Angst, stemming not just from being the result of her parents' Teen Pregnancy but the fact that said pregnancy led to the end of her mother's school idol career.
    • Even with the support of her parents and Hanayo, Rin Hoshizora is plagued with internal Trans Tribulation, viewing herself as a "fake girl" despite evidence to the contrary. She worries that if her secret was exposed, µ's reputation as a growing idol unit will be irreversible damaged.
  • In The Long Road (2015), Hiccup is completely horrified when he understands he's crushing on his male friend Jack. Courtesy of being raised in the hypermasculine Norse culture, Hiccup's only context for a sexual relationship between two males is rape, and he feels ashamed and disgusted by himself for lusting after someone who doesn't deserve this kind of treatment.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, due to the Fantastic Racism present in the setting and his own massive Guilt Complex, Izuku is constantly thinking of himself as an "alien", "monster" and something that shouldn't be on Earth. This is in spite of the fact that he is, for all intents and purposes, not much different from 90 percent of people on the planet who also have superpowers, the only difference being that he's not from Earth.
    Izuku: I don't have a Quirk, I don't have the Metagene, I can't use magic, I didn't fall in a vat of toxic waste. My powers aren't anything that belong on Earth. I'm not anything that belongs on Earth.
  • RWBY: Scars:
    • Blake suffers from some internalized Fantastic Racism. Due to her violent criminal past as a White Fang member, she feels that she really is an "animal" like people say Faunus are.
    • Weiss' mother Willow blames herself for her daughter's mental illness, despite her therapist insisting it's more complicated than that. Willow is schizophrenic and her daughter Weiss has the similar schizoaffective disorder.
  • Sword Art Online Abridged has Suguha Kirigaya, who suffers from internalized sexism. In this treatment, she's a Tomboy with a Girly Streak who enjoys kendo and abusing her older brother Kazuto... but she secretly plays a VR game about fairies where she roleplays as a Deliberately Distressed Damsel, and is more concerned that her brother might learn about the time she made her not-boyfriend some cupcakes than about what they get up to in the school supply closet. After Yui interacts with her, she quickly pegs Suguha as someone who hates her own femininity as something shameful, and who blames Kazuto for why she feels that way. It's later revealed that when Kazuto dropped out of kendo back when they were children, Suguha took up the slack, enduring their sexist grandfather's efforts to make the training as difficult as possible because he only ever wanted to train Kazuto. This forced Suguha to "man up" in her own words, in hopes of luring Kazuto back to the sport, but instead he retreated into video games, making Suguha resent them and him.
  • Time to Disinfect: One of the fic's tags on AO3 is Internalized Ableism. Mari seems to harshly judge herself for being autistic, with a voice in the back of her head criticizing her whenever she fails to act "normal". This caused her to develop perfectionist tendencies, because she's convinced her disability makes her difficult to be around and she's terrified of being abandoned if she can't "do things right". It's strongly implied that she picked up these beliefs from her mother.
  • Jayfeather in Warriors: The Power of Three (Rewrite/AU) suffers from a lot of internalized ableism. He was born blind and he struggles with feelings of inadequacy. He frequently feels that he can't be a warrior because of his disability or that his peers pity him.
  • You Are Mine: Frollo tries to raise Agnes to hate "gypsies" because they're evil and sinful. Agnes herself is Romani, which Frollo uses against her. As proof of his beliefs, he told her that her mother abandoned her on the steps of Notre Dame (when in reality Frollo killed her mother after she tried to escape him).

    Films — Animated 
  • Balto has this as a central internal conflict for the title character who has internalized everyone's abuse of him being half-wolf. When he learns to embrace his wolf nature with a mighty howl, it is a glorious moment.
  • Elsa from Frozen (2013) believes she's cursed for having snow/ice powers and that must hide herself away from everyone lest she hurt them. This self-hatred was brought on by an accident her sister was involved in when they were playing as children.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney): Frollo raised Quasimodo to think that "gypsies" are inherently sinful, while Quasimodo himself is one.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Believer is a character study of the inner conflict a Jewish man feels when he decides to become a fanatical Neo-Nazi.
  • Blade Runner 2049: Blade Runner K firmly believes that his generation of replicants Nexus-9 are as totally obedient and loyal as the advertising says. It's only when he realizes that he's Deckard and Rachel's child that he begins disobeying orders. Except it turns out he wasn't their child, just another mass-produced replicant, showing that he always had the potential of free will all along.
  • In Django Unchained, Stephen turns black people against other blacks and kisses up to his white masters.
  • In Female Perversions, Eve struggles with this throughout the entire movie. As the work page quote indicates, the whole thing is about the devastating effects of having grown up as a girl/woman, being pushed into a destructive gender role. Not restricted to gender alone, it's also about trying to come to terms with one's power and sexuality.
  • In Human Nature, the protagonist has fur. She hates herself for it, shaving her entire body every morning (except her head, of course), and punishing herself by choosing a man who is utterly disgusted by female bodily hair.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Incredible Hulk (2008): Bruce Banner considers the Hulk to be a monster because he's, you know, a giant green rage monster that's killed a lot of people.
    • Loki was raised in an atmosphere of profound racism against Frost Giants, so finding out that he actually is one at an already incredibly stressful point in his life in Thor leads to him cracking up. In The Avengers (2012), Loki shows signs of projecting heavily onto Banner vis-a-vis the concept of embracing one's own monstrosity. Points for S.H.I.E.L.D. detaining him in their prefab Hulk cage.
  • In Nymphomaniac, Seligman suggests this as an explanation for why Joe's life has been so shitty — that she has internalized our culture's misogyny and hatred of sexuality.
  • Much of the drama in Secretary revolves around Edward's internal conflict. He's a sexual sadist who thinks that BDSM is dirty and immoral. This makes him very unfair to himself as well as to his submissive who he blames for tempting him. Lee eventually manage to snap him out of it.
  • In The SM Judge, Magda initially hated herself for being a masochist, ruining her own life as well as making her husband miserable. This turns around early in the movie, but the character had already wasted decades of her life when the story begins.
  • Jefferson from The Symbol of the Unconquered is a biracial man who hates black people, his own mother included. He's ashamed of his ethnicity and passes as white.
  • X-Men: The Last Stand starts with a little Angel who tries to cut off his own wings (and maybe he did that quite often) in his desperation to be normal. Later, his father tries to help him get "cured" of having white wings to fly with. Angel changes his mind at the last minute, however, and later uses his flight to save his father's life.

  • Chamille of Alderamin on the Sky is third princess of the Katvarna Empire. She was sent to a hostile nation as a political hostage for several years, where she was subjected to psychological abuse that has left her with severe issues, most notably her intense hatred of the imperial bloodline. This hatred extends to herself and she has at times tried to bleed out her "tainted blood".
  • The Black Magician Trilogy: After a disastrous first relationship in school, Dannyl internalized his home country's homophobia to such an extent that he subconsciously uses his magic to suppress his own sexuality. As an adult, he doesn't even realize that he's gay until he's in the company of his Closet Key while his Mana is completely depleted.
  • Boyfriend Material: In the second book, a topic of fights between Luc and Oliver ends up being about Oliver's discomfort with typical LGBT spaces and iconography, which to Luc is a safe haven. This culminates in Luc accusing Oliver of having some form of internalized homophobia. Oliver eventually concedes that he will never be able to fully determine why he doesn't feel totally comfortable with a kind of space meant to include him, and whether that comes from his personal tastes, his discomfort with the commercialization of said iconography, or being raised by homophobic parents who saw that as a negative thing, but that he will most likely just continue to dislike it, and Luc learns to be at peace with that and that is simply not Oliver's scene or aesthetic.
  • Seigi from The Case Files of Jeweler Richard hates himself because he believes as a male domestic abuse survivor, he is destined to become one himself. Richard calls him out on this belief and points out that he wouldn't say that about other abuse survivors.
  • Ender's Game: Ender deals with this after Battle School, hating himself for what he was — a child military genius who wiped out most of an alien race — and emphatically not wanting to continue being that person. As an adult, he becomes The Atoner, hiding his identity while traveling the galaxy and trying to create peace and understanding.
  • The titular superhumans in Exhuman are literally unstoppable for a short period after getting their powers. America's answer to this problem was a systematic indoctrination and brainwashing campaign, from school safety drills to nursery rhymes, with the aim to convince people that if they ever turn Exhuman, they should give themselves up. Those few that do become Exhuman but don't die have a lifetime of brainwashing to cope with.
  • One of Park Sheridan's defining character traits in Eleanor & Park is how he hates being Asian because he feels like it makes him emasculated and stand out from the majority white population in Omaha. He just casually accepts whenever his peers make racist comments towards him, and he is jealous of Josh, his younger brother, because he is white-passing. At one point, he has a conversation with Eleanor about how he doesn't believe there are any attractive Asian men. He never gets over his self-hatred even at the end of the novel, and the fact that his mother assimilated herself doesn't help at all either.
  • "Harrison Bergeron": Harrison's father is unwilling to cheat on his handicap bag (meant to hobble anyone stronger than average) because if he feels free cheating, everyone else might as well and then we're back in the Dark Ages with everyone competing.
  • The Harry Potter franchise features several examples of half-blood death eaters who are hell-bent on destroying muggles and muggleborns. Voldemort himself is the prime example, but also Snape, who took on the name "Half-Blood Prince" to emphasize his partial magical heritage. By Word of God, Umbridge also falls into this category — she is a half-blood of muggle heritage and is so ashamed of her muggle lineage that she devoted her career to destroying all hybrids.
  • The Idiot: Nastasya Fillipovna Barashkov was Afansy Ivanovich Totsky's mistress for a time and afterwards believed that her soul had been irrevocably corrupted by the experience. She threw herself into her role as a "bad girl" and Femme Fatale, and pursued a Masochism Tango relationship with the violent Parfyon Semyonovich Rogozhin because she believed he was the sort of man she deserved. Furthermore, when Prince Myshkin (the novel's incarnation of Incorruptible Pure Pureness) declared his love for Nastasya and his belief that she was actually innocent, Nastasya turned him down — partly in order to hurt him, and partly because she was afraid she would ultimately hurt him worse if they married.
  • Industrial Society and Its Future: Kaczynski claims that modern leftism is greatly motivated by deep feelings of inferiority in many people, which come out as (for instance) a tendency toward Everything Is Racist attitudes by minority rights activists. He claims that feminists at heart doubt women's worth themselves, and this motivates much defensive attitudes from them and activism.
  • The Infected has mutants, the titular Infected, and Muggles who, in the bigot code at least, are 'Clean'. Many Infected characters bitterly regret their status and the resulting discrimination, everyone who can pass as normal, does, and it is generally accepted to be better to be Clean than not, though there are hints this may change by the series end.
  • Iron Widow: As terrible a No Woman's Land as Huaxia is, Zetian muses that many of the women in her life upheld its sexist systems, including her mother, who primarily cares about selling her into marriage, and her grandmother, who bound her feet and crippled her for life. She also thinks about what it must have taken to crush those women's spirits so completely.
  • The Masked Empire: Michel de Chevin is a human who had an elven mother (in this setting, children of elven and non-elven parents always fully resemble their non-elven parent), but due to Enslaved Elves and the One-Drop Rule, he's deeply ashamed of his elven blood and tries to pass as fully human. To the point that he willingly joins a Chevalier "initiation ritual" of wandering into an elven Fantastic Ghetto at night to slaughter any elf they come across (to "test their blades") so his brothers in arms wouldn't suspect a thing, and the climax of the book involves Michel forfeiting a duel that could have ended a Civil War to prevent Briala (an elven servant who also went through internalized racism when she was little) from publicly revealing his true heritage.
  • In Masques, Aralorn has a pretty severe case of this. When she and her love interest get into a dangerous situation, she tells him that he needn't worry about her, because she is not one of those useless females who just get in the way. The author's intent seems to be to emphasize that Aralorn is a "strong female protagonist", or possibly Leaning on the Fourth Wall to tell the reader that she doesn't adhere to genre conventions, but in-universe, it comes off as internalized categorism..
  • In Monstrous Regiment, Polly notes at one point that, while Borogravian society and the Nugganite religion are both deeply sexist, nobody enforces this more strongly than the older women, who go so far as to make up restrictions that even Nuggan hasn't thought of.
  • Aysel from My Heart and Other Black Holes categorizes herself as a murderer-to-be simply because her dad killed someone.
  • Perhaps the most painful aspect of Never Let Me Go is that the characters never overcome their social conditioning. The government plans to harvest their internal organs, and they really don't want to die. They spend the story agonizing over their lives being cut short, grasping for straws as they try to find loopholes so that they'll be allowed to stay alive a little longer, and feeling guilty about taking out their angst on each other. However, none of them ever dare to admit to themselves that the system is unfair, that they actually deserve to be allowed to live. They have been given the identity of sacrificial victims, and while they hate their place in life, they fail to break free from this imposed image of who and what they are.
  • The Paper Menagerie: Jack, the main protagonist, begans to distance himself from his Chinese heritage as a result of racist encounters from his neighbors. He attempts to align himself with his white American father and neighbors, which really hurts his mother. He does not revisit his Chinese heritage until after his mother's passing.
  • "Profession": When the Inept Aptitude Test says that George cannot learn by computer, he's sent to "A Home for the Feeble-minded". George's struggle against this categorization drives the plot. Even after a year, he continues to rail against the idea that he can't learn. It turns out that the whole thing is part of a Secret Test to see if George has a creative drive or if he's just a good learner. The best method their society has for finding creative talents is to insult/patronize them until they throw off the categorization and declare that they are Creators.
  • The Regeneration Trilogy: There are several versions of this. On one hand are the soldiers at a psychiatric hospital who suffer from different forms of PTSD, and hate themselves for breaking down and being "in with the loonies." Then there are the gays, who have to keep their sexuality a secret because of the repressive atmosphere, all the time hearing that homosexuality is a sin and a threat to the nation.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Cersei suffers from some pretty severe internalized sexism. During her viewpoint chapters in A Feast for Crows, she often attributes Jaime's swordsmanship skill and Tywin's PR, political prowess, and military mind to their sex (instead of practice, intelligence, patience, and natural talent). Likewise, she blames the people's dislike on her own sex. Her logic basically amounts to "Everyone underestimates me because I'm a woman. And yes, women are generally inferior, but I'm WAY better than any of those other hussies because I'm a Lannister and the queen and could totally run rings around my father and brother if I just had a penis." Ironically, when she does get the chance to prove her mettle as acting head of House Lannister and ruling queen besides, she quickly becomes the series' only important Hysterical Woman. Among other things.
  • Ties That Bind: Guy Baldwin has helped people to understand that BDSM does not make someone a bad person.
  • In Victoria: A Novel of 4th Generation War, the characters from the Lady Land Azania are proud of their freedom from male domination and see their separatist republic as an example and hope for women everywhere. They are surprised to learn that in their main adversary state, the reactionary Northern Confederation, it is women's groups who agitate most tenaciously and effectively for war against Azania, viewing the very idea of an Amazonian nation as unnatural and ungodly.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: In one of the official collections of short stories, the hero goes through severe identity confusion and self-hatred as he discovers that he's actually a child of the evil werewolf clan, the Black Spiral Dancers. (He eventually snaps out of it and concludes that he doesn't have to be like his ancestors.)
  • In The Yellow Bag, Raquel's wishes of being an adult and being a boy stem from the fact that she feels like her family (and society as a whole) would treat her much better if things were different.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Tara turns out to have been abused by her relatives. Among other things, they have tricked her to believe that she's an evil demon when she's actually fully human. Believing herself to be a demon leads her to actions that almost get everyone killed, as she's desperately trying to hide her "true" nature from all her friends.
  • In the Criminal Minds episode "In Heat", the UnSub is a gay man motivated by the abuse his Heteronormative Crusader father subjected him to. He became convinced that he was "dirty", and began killing gay men and stealing their identities to escape his own.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The focus of "Lowdown" is on very closeted gay black men. It's discussed between Fin and the other detectives. He explains that African-American culture strongly rejects being gay, hence they get married and pretend to be straight like other men. Most refuse to admit they're gay (even when admitting they have sex with men), and thus display internalized homophobia to varying degrees (in most cases passive, with one being vehement, while voicing homophobic slurs).
  • Mohawk Girls: Iostha, one of the Mohawk women most opposed to mixing with white people, admits she has a white grandmother after Anna rejects this prejudice in the series finale. She realizes the error of her ways, stating that it's messed up denying her own grandmother.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: The culprit in "Future Imperfect" (the fiancé of a judge's daughter) believes wholeheartedly in eugenics and the eugenics movement. During the last interrogation, Murdoch confronts the man with the information on how his own family tree is full of criminal types, how the victim discovered this information, and how it might or might not have ended his engagement. The man says he isn't worthy of his fiancée, confesses his guilt, and wants to be hanged, saying, "Put an end to my mongrel blood."
  • The Orville: In "All the World is a Birthday Cake", one of the Regorians imprisoned for being born to an astrological sign with supposed criminal tendencies is insistent that their imprisonment was necessary, that people such as him really do have such bad traits.
  • In Smallville, Clark sometimes has a mild case of this, being an alien and with all the other Kryptonians he's met so far having turned out to be evil psychopaths. Chloe comforts him and says that he could be the only decent one out of his people.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Cardassians", the main characters, acting on Condescending Compassion, decide Rugal's identity for him against his will, and then insist that he's suffering from Internalized Categorism because the identity they have chosen for him and eventually condemned him to, by giving him away to the stranger Ben decided deserved him the most by virtue of being his biological father and the victim of a political conspiracy is one he hates.
    • The episode leaves it for the audience to decide whether or not Rugal was actually suffering from Internalized Categorism or not and whether or not what they did (forcing him to move to Cardassia) was the right choice. What you'd consider best for the child depends on whether you consider him to be a Bajoran (his identity and upbringing) or Cardassian (his biological ancestry, including his looks).
    • There's also the issue of whether Rugal hated the Cardassians as an empire or as a race. Hating the empire is not a problem for him, as long as he's allowed to stay away from it. (Entering the empire would be quite dangerous, however, since it's a military dictatorship likely to persecute him as a dissident.) Hating Cardassians as a race would be far more problematic. Since Rugal claims to have no guilt in the atrocities committed by the empire, it is likely that his hatred is of the first kind. But it never gets analyzed in any detail.
    • This is further complicated by how you feel about Rugal's adoptive parents. They raised him to consider himself a Bajoran and hate Cardassians, despite the fact that biologically Rugal is a Cardassian. The decision to give him to his biological father becomes even more complicated when you realize that his biological father didn't abandon him: Rugal was stolen from him and the kidnappers faked his death, leaving his biological father grieving for him for years until he learned his son was still alive.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • Spock has a major problem with his half-human ancestry, such that he feels ashamed of even experiencing feelings like friendship.
    • Internalized sexism, and a desire to escape it by any means, is at least part of Janice Lester's motive in "Turnabout Intruder". Even more so in hindsight: as female captains (and admirals!) now canonically existed prior to the time frame of the episode, one interpretation is that she self-sabotaged her career in the assumption she couldn't succeed.
  • The Star Trek: Voyager episodes "Faces", "Barge of the Dead" and "Lineage" imply that B'Elanna Torres loathes her Klingon side, blaming it for much that goes wrong in her life. She becomes more accepting by the end of "Prophecy" when she meets a Klingon who coaxes her into exploring her culture again. "Lineage" actually explains the root of this; B'Elanna's father abandoned her and her mother because he couldn't handle living with two Klingons. Though B'Elanna doesn't fully come to accept her heritage until "Prophecy", finding out that Tom doesn't see her Klingon side as a burden seems to be what lays the foundation. This is followed by a scene of B'Elanna once again looking at the image of her baby, finally seeming unbothered by the Klingon features she sees.
    B'Elanna: Think about how hard it is to live with one Klingon. Pretty soon it'll be two.
    Tom: And someday I hope it's three or four. I mean it. And I hope that every one of them is just like you.
  • Vida: Vidalia had kicked out Emma twice over her attraction to women. However, once it's been revealed that Vidalia herself liked women (even later marrying one) Emma angrily concludes this about her. The sisters are accused of being self-hating by other Latine people who dislike them changing the bar as well.
  • The Wilds: Toni confesses to Martha that (seemingly due to her parents abandoning her) she doesn't feel worthy of love. Martha, despite having her parents, replies she feels the same.

  • The song "Broken" by Bad Religion brings up the danger of putting people down, that they might start believing it themselves.
  • Radiohead's "Creep" is narrated by someone filled with self-loathing thanks to their perception of themselves as, well a creep and a weirdo, believing that they don't belong where they are. This is in turn contrasted with the verses, which show them drunkenly stalking a beautiful girl from afar.
  • Part of Hayley Kiyoko's "Gravel to Tempo" is about a young lesbian overcoming this, particularly the feeling of being "predatory" for developing crushes on other girls.

    Video Games 
  • In Coffee Talk Episode 2, Riona breaks down crying because she regrets following her dreams to become a soprano singer after hearing Lucas's and Rachel's stories on how they dealt with racism in the entertainment industry. She believes that she can only go with the "status quo" just because she's a banshee who can't establish good connections. Thankfully, the Barista cheers her up with a Berry-Blue Hibiscus "Pie", and she overcomes her self-loathing when Lucas offers her to be his co-host for his podcast, using the platform to advocate against racism.
  • Dragon Age:
    • In the Circle Tower in Dragon Age: Origins, there is a mage who is completely convinced that all mages are in fact horrible monsters that should never have been allowed to be left alive and prays to the Maker to free her from her cursed existence, as well as all the other mages who are in denial of their evil nature.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, companion Sera is biologically an elf, but was raised by humans and holds anything "elfy" in contempt, partly thanks to many elves playing Of the People dead straight and pulling No True Scotsman fallacies on any elves they deem "not elfy" enough. However, if an Elven Player Character tries to bond with her over being a fellow elf (though the Inquisitor is Dalish while Sera is a city elf), Sera harshly rejects them. If Sera's Relationship Values gets high enough, she also reveals that her internalized racism began when her human foster mother (unintentionally) made her feel inferior for being an elf.
      Sera: Lie to herself? Fair play. Only hurts her. But she made me think there was something wrong with me!
  • Fallout 4 has one stemming from a Tomato in the Mirror scenario. Paladin Danse, your potential companion from the Brotherhood of Steel, fully buys into his faction's Fantastic Racism against Ghouls, Super Mutants, and Synths. Unfortunately for him, it turns out that Danse himself is a Synth, who escaped the Institute, was mind-wiped, and later joined the Brotherhood. Danse can be Driven to Suicide from this revelation, but if you talk both him and his faction leader around, Danse can instead end up as The Exile. The whole experience changes how your actions affect his Relationship Value — after learning the truth about himself, he's much more conflicted regarding Synths, and likes it when you show generic support for them, while disliking any hardline stance on Synth personhood, positive or negative.
  • Xefros Tritoh of Hiveswap, despite ostensibly being part of an underground resistance movement, follows his Fantastic Caste System to the letter, constantly describing himself as "gutterblood/rustblood/etc. trash", and apologizing for any perceived offense. Even those that only he could possibly even come close to calling offenses, such as apologizing for assuming something while he is trapped in a pile of rubble from his destroyed house. This is probably no thanks to his friend Dammek, the leader of the rebellion, who despite being Xefros' mentor figure, constantly takes his stuff and is generally implied to treat Xefros like a slave.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: Hanharr has an extremely complicated relationship to being a Wookie, in order to serve as a foil to Zaalbar from the first game. As a Social Darwinist, he despises weakness, but his species, the Wookies, have been colonized and are mass-transported off their homeworld for use as slaves. Hanharr despises himself for belonging to a 'weak' species and engages in the same behaviours as the people who are abusing them, but he also isn't able to stop believing in a lot of things Wookies treat as sacred.
  • In Slave Maker, the state religion is homophobic and also holds similar prejudice against bondage. Characters who engage in lesbian sex or bondage will lose morality, thus becoming Depraved Homosexuals or proof that Bondage Is Bad. However, in the case of lesbianism, this effect is clearly caused by internalized homophobia, since only those who believe in the homophobic state religion are affected: Characters who follow "the old gods" or "no gods" do not lose morality over same-sex sex acts. However, both religions disapprove of bondage — making it less obvious that the morality loss from bondage is also caused by Internalized Categorism. Worth noting that bondage is heavily tied to being a Pony girl. This apparently is allowed, even in public, with no shame on either the slave or the slaver. But a Pony girl is socially considered an animal, with no right to speak, refuse sex (in a setting where slaves can say "No"), or wear anything but leather straps. Pony girls are used to pulling carts, and there are official riding races. So bondage is shunned on "normal" slaves but mostly allowed for slaves degraded to labor animals.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Sith Empire doesn't treat anybody particularly well but has a special scorn for people who are neither human nor Sith species. An alien Sith Inquisitor can comment in one conversation with their Togruta apprentice Ashara Zavros that an alien Sith has to work hard to overcome their "inherent disadvantage". This remark understandably infuriates Ashara.
  • Valkyria Chronicles: Alicia forms none of her own ideas about her newly awakened Valkyria powers or how to apply them. Instead, she becomes convinced that she's lost her humanity; not because anyone thinks she has, or is even necessarily afraid that she will, she just assumes that the one other person who has the same ability is evil and so she'll become evil too. This is very obviously not the case, but the assumption she makes drives the last act of the romance plot. In the end she decides to disown her powers to be normal.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Great Ace Attorney: Susato Mikotoba, of all the characters, has shades of this. She's depressed by the blatant sexism of her time, specially in Japanese society, while praising noticeable instances of progressive attitudes towards women in the west. This peaks during the events of the second game where she's forced to pretend to be a young man going by the name of "Ryutaro Naruhodo" in order to act as a defense attorney in the Japanese Supreme Court, which bars all women, she comments that she had never "felt worse about being born in [her] body". During the trial, Susato goes to make some remarkably misogynistic observations which she later attributes to getting "too into" her male persona.
  • Hate Plus: Oh Eun-a follows a Confucian creed that says women can only be truly happy when married to and bearing the children of a man, meaning she doesn't feel able to give a proper life to her lesbian lover Mi-seun. She becomes so obsessed with reforming society so it can protect instead that she neglects Mi-seun who eventually kills herself, believing their "less valuable" relationship to be a burden and potential embarrassment for Eun-a.
  • Erik from Missing Stars has to learn to deal with his internalized ableism when he's transferred to a school that specializes in youths with mental health problems. Erik admits that he thought the place would be a Bedlam House and that he's a bit wary of his fellow students, thinking they'll snap at any second. This extends to self-pity about his own trauma and mental illness.

    Web Originals 
  • Critical Role has Nott, a goblin girl who hates goblins and is seeking to be permanently transformed into anything but a goblin. This ends up being subverted in that the reason why she hates goblins is because she was originally a halfling woman named Veth Brenatto who was murdered by goblins and forcibly reincarnated into one herself.
  • Equius from Homestuck prescribes to his species' Fantastic Caste System vigorously, lording his position over the "lowbloods". However, he gets pretty angry at Gamzee, who is a highblood that refuses to act cruelly towards him, or anyone else. He's even a bit relieved when Gamzee goes Ax-Crazy and tries to kill everyone.
    Equius: Don't you understand that you're better than me?
    Equius: Can you please act like it?
    Equius: That's not a command, it's just a polite request I guess.
    Gamzee: OK, I can try, but man I don't know if I know how to be like a better motherfucker than any other motherfucker.
  • The Nostalgia Critic is Catholic, but Catholicism is one of the many religions that he's prejudiced against.
  • Takotsubo is about the Chinese-American Cord Cai, who's been trying to get away from the gang life since high school. But then his fiance gets murdered a year after graduating and the Police Are Useless, so Cord goes back to the streets because he thinks that's the only way to make things fair. He also says that he's "not good enough for anything else," since he doesn't fit the Asian and Nerdy stereotype. The author states that Cord is a superhero who thinks he's a villain because he's internalized a lot of racism.
  • Whateley Universe: Phase's family are the Fantastic Racism equivalent of the Westboro Church, and not only did his parents' reaction to his manifesting as a mutant cross the Moral Event Horizon, he himself hates that he is now a 'disgusting intersexed freak'. While he has learned to live with his fellow students at Whateley Academy, he still finds himself wallowing in self-loathing.
  • Zinnia Jones talks about internalized homophobia in several episodes, especially "Coming out", which is based on the concept that Heteronormative Crusader antics are designed to make gay people hate themselves.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Jeong Jeong may be a master of firebending, but he'd rather not be a firebender at all. He refers to his abilities as a "burning curse", and has this to say about firebenders in general:
    Jeong Jeong: brings only destruction and pain. It forces those of us burdened with its care to walk a razor's edge between humanity and savagery. Eventually, we are torn apart.
  • The Legend of Korra: According to his brother, Amon may have been this despite being one of the most powerful benders in the world. He went so far as to hide all his abilities from the public and use them in secret to remove everyone else's abilities because he considered bending itself evil.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Twilight Sparkle, who thinks that her friends will hate her for using her considerably large magic stockpile like they hate Trixie. This is especially noticeable in her determination not to use magic even when injured in a Serial Escalation fashion in "Winter Wrap Up" because it's expressly banned and she wants to be of some use.
  • This is one of Homeworld's favorite tricks in Steven Universe. You are your category: Quartz gems fight, Peridots are technicians, Pearls are personal servants. Even those gems who turn their back on Homeworld find it nearly impossible to shake off the idea; Ruby still downplays her own importance (as her Gem type is extremely common on Homeworld) almost six thousand years later, and Pearl frequently sunk into a self-sacrificial mindset in thinking of herself as "Rose's".
  • Blackarachnia from Transformers: Animated absolutely DESPISES being partially organic.

  • Rational Wiki describes this in its various manifestations under Uncle Tom.

Alternative Title(s): Internalized Sexism