Is it me? Or does it seem like when women are in a position of power they seem to be a lot more brutal to other women? Do we judge other women more harshly? Critiquing each other about the choices and stands we take concerning our careers, relationships, religion, etc.
I have been reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and story behind this book has triggered me to take a critical look at how we as women treat each other. I will not put out any spoilers for those who have not read the book or seen the series but the privileged women and women of power in the story are the most horrible group I have read about. They allowed society to force a group of women into a certain servitude; they cared not about the emotional or mental well being of these women, to them these women were merely things to be played with, and why? Because they felt they were special. A few people may be surprised why I am so riled up about a fictional story but these sorts of things also happen in real life.
Many women will tell you that they have endured or encountered a mean girl in their past. Take me for example; I was always the recipient of malice, in secondary school for no reason whatsoever the girls I hung out with would decide not to talk to me for days, I would spend a lot of my time begging and apologising for what I don’t know. It may have been a remark I made or a boy I spoke to, the list is endless.
Then there were the senior girls (I was in boarding school) who enjoyed putting us through the worst forms of punishment, it was as if they went on research to find the worst and latest ways in inflicting pain and cruelty on us the junior girls. Their excuse, it’s the circle of life in boarding school, they were punished by their seniors and now that they were, they had to punish us, when we became seniors, we had to do the same thing. According to them, it was nothing personal. Oh! But it did get personal sometimes. Take for example, Annette, a senior girl who has a boyfriend called Fred; Fred casually mentions to Annette (as boys usually do) that Cynthia (a junior girl) looks set/sexy/fine/all that/etc. Annette laughs it off coolly, feigns aloofness and tells Fred he’s an idiot as she kisses him on the cheeks but immediately she gets to the hostel, she matches straight to Cynthia’s room, with a group of her cronies who descend on poor Cynthia, who obviously is oblivious to what’s going on. They come at her with kicks, punches and words.
Is this the way of the world? Isn’t it strange that when a woman catches a cheating partner, she usually tends to attack the other woman and not the man? There is always this understanding that it’s the other woman’s fault, she somehow seduced the man to get his pants down and her legs wrapped around his.
Even Disney cartoons pit women against each other, basing their villain characters around women, the wicked stepmother, the evil witch or the jealous sister. If there is evil lurking, there is always a woman behind it, like really? Are we that bad or have we been conditioned to rival each other at every whim?
When I was younger I would always tell anybody who would listen how I preferred being friends with guys than babes. I would be quick to add that being in guy groups eliminated drama from my life. “Guys are less vicious and jealous than women” I would say and too be honest I was not far wrong, apart from the usual I love you, we cannot just be friends awkward drama that would spring up now and then, my guy friends were less dramatic. Did I miss that comradeship that came with having a girlfriend who understood that there are days you are not just you and you’re not just being cranky because you want to? Yes I did but the fear of drama kept me away.
So why is there a belief that women give each other grief? According to Seth Meyers Psy.D., one of the reasons why women tend to be mean to each other is the influence a mother has on her daughter, if she is mean to her, there is a great possibility that the daughter in turn will exert this sort of behaviour to other women. Is this why a mother-in-law finds it so easy to condemn the works of her daughter-in-law? Is it because she also passed through the same thing? Is that why a stepmother is cruel to her stepdaughter? What about the women how have housemaids and somehow blame, beat or berate these girls for every wrong thing that happens to them?
Most women would say that the older woman is jealous of youth and its recklessness, the opportunities it brings and the reminder of past failures. That as women, the younger, slimmer and prettier woman threatens us. We view her as the enemy, one that needs to be subdued, cowed and oppressed.
There have been many situations where younger women in the workplace have voiced that they preferred having male bosses to female ones. They criticise these bosses for being more supportive and understanding to male employees.
I myself know of female bosses who were cruel, who took pride in being called the punisher, the destroyer, etc. They were never willing to give advice on how to be successful in your career but would rather criticize you on how dumb you were or unwilling to learn.
Some people attribute this to the female bosses trying to impress their male counterparts but I don’t think this is the case, I believe that this behaviour has more to do with not being seen as weak or too sensitive, thereby forcing female bosses to come down on their employees rather harshly, especially towards their own gender. A few good women have taken the time to explain to me the hardships they faced while climbing the career ladder and how this can affect character and trust in humanity. Some female bosses will also mention that they have a few employees who do not respect their authority the same way they do their male counterparts. Female employees would rather seek audience, mentorship or advice with male bosses.
So how do we break this vicious cycle? How do we rise up and support each other? How do we stop the discrimination?
I know society, media, and Disney pit women against women but we must educate ourselves so that we can get rid of this sort of reasoning which pushes us to believe that our fellow woman is the enemy. We can accomplish a lot if we agree to support each and stand together in sisterhood.
I believe that amidst all these misled animosity; there are still genuine, amazing, generous and beautiful women.
So beautiful women, let us stand together, please leave your comments below on what you thin about this topic.
My Romper is from Primark.
Thank you for always stopping by. xxx