Woman-on-woman crime

That’s right ladies and gentleman, it’s on the rise and sweeping the nation as we speak. I don’t mean groups of women attacking old ladies in the street, and for the men out there who read the words ‘woman-on-woman’ and made the infallible leap to girl-on-girl, put your dick back in your pants and sit down, because I’m not talking about that either.

What I am talking about, is the age-old tendency for women to belittle, shame, embarrass and judge other women, in short, hate crime.

 It’s International Woman’s Day today, and no doubt we’ll be inundated with blogs and articles about the patriarchy and how terrible men are, and don’t get me wrong, for the most part they incite nascent violence I didn’t even know I possessed, however, let’s cut the guys some slack because some of the biggest culprits of sexism are women. We’re guilty of forcing women into certain roles and stereotypes more often than anyone else. We’re ultimately our own worst enemy. It’s long past time we call bullshit on the whole thing and address it. We absolutely cannot have another women’s month where we solely focus on men, how we get men on board, and how terrible men are.

What we should be concentrating on is women, and how great we are, and can be, to one another. I ultimately feel connected to every woman that’s come before me, and the ones that will come after me. In some cosmic way, we’re all connected in a thread of sisterhood that endures across centuries. Yet our insistence to chip away at each other is the thing that will keep us from realising our power and taking our rightful places.

I know that my sisters get enough shit from a world that would silence their voice, I know I’ve struggled to be heard in a patriarchal world that was not set out for me, so who am I to add to that insurmountable pressure by commenting on what another woman is wearing, doing, or how she’s behaving. I’ve learnt that it’s incredibly difficult to be a woman in this world we’ve created. It’s a lot like hell and we can barely stick our head above the parapet without being shot down for everything we do. It’s hard to feel good.  If a woman wears a tiny skirt, decides not to put makeup on, or teeters in heels she can’t really walk in, who the hell am I to make a bitchy comment that starts with the letters W or S. If that small act somehow, even just for a brief moment, helps her find her confidence, or her sexy, then all power to her. I know nothing of her story, therefore I don’t get a narrative regarding her choices.

Nowhere is woman-on-woman crime more prevalent than when one of your male friends introduces you to his new girlfriend. It makes me deeply uncomfortable to admit how many male friends I’ve lost to jealous girlfriends and possessive lovers. Sometimes I’ve lost them for a month or two, sometimes a year, sometimes permanently. Very rarely, and by very rarely I mean never, do these women welcome me with open arms into the sisterhood, and that makes me sad. Like bone weary kind of sad.

They tell me it’s because they’re intimidated by me. By my looks, my confidence or my easy manner with their partners. Apparently, you’re supposed to take this as some kind of grand compliment, because you know, if you weren’t beautiful she wouldn’t care, before quietly slipping into obscurity for the next few months, or however long this relationship lasts. Which potentially could be forever, and if it does, you better believe you won’t be invited to the wedding.

I’m sick of being told that female sexist behavior, and personal insecurities, are some kind of compliment. It’s a fucking insult and it’s definitely not okay. We’re supposed to support each other because we’re all we’ve got. We’re one another’s greatest allies and at some point we have to stop letting other people put cracks in our unity. We need to stop slicing each other out of the picture because we’ve been told for so many years that a beautiful woman is a threat. All the men suddenly declaring themselves radical feminists isn’t going to be the thing that changes gender inequality for us. It’s the things we do day in and day out to build a network of women that combines their power and greatness that will affect change. Between us all, we have an immense amount of power, yet we’re still choosing to throw it away in petty squabbles and juvenile jalousies.  

It will always be wonderful to have more men step up to gender equality, but unless we start cutting one another some slack, we’re not going anywhere. We’ve been taught to view each another as the competition for so long now, I’m not sure we know how to do it any other way, but it’s definitely long past time we started trying. So here are my arms, open wide for every one of my sisters in all their multifaceted glory. I don’t care how many people you slept with last Friday night, what you wore today or who your boyfriend is; what matters is that I accept our differences, give space for your choices and unquestionably believe in lifting one another up as high as we possibly can.

Oh the things we could do if we all did that.

Salma El-Wardany