With all due respect to the #metoo movement, I have to say that it’s not men who are oppressing women, it’s women themselves. In my experience I have never been so demeaned, criticized, ostracized and vilified by any man as much as I have been by women. The adage holds true: a woman’s worse enemy is still another woman.
Of course, I understand there is a certain amount of healthy rivalry needed to keep relationships on their toes. But the amount of scathing hatred disguised as superficial care that women posit towards other women makes every feminist bone in my body quake. I have seen women deliberately stand in the way of another woman’s success, never mind help them up the ranks. Back stabbing and worse of all the “frenemy” fronts that stand in the way of genuine communication. The jealousy and envy that women feel towards the other is on the same level as the disrespectful oppression men charter out.
This is not to say that meaningful relationships between women cannot be fostered. There are deep, lasting trusting relationship between childhood friends or work colleagues. But is it only me or do I sense that there is a lack of cohesion, a lack of organization that women from more traditional ethnic groups, including the Hellenic one? It boggles me to see other women who are so hell-bent on tearing each other apart when some like myself would like to see mutual support and empowerment. Why does this happen?
Is female-to-female aggression a sign of the internalized traumas of patriarchy? Is it a psychological manifestation of “divide and conquer”? Does it have to do with insecurity? Maybe. Someone who is grounded in her sense of worth does not see another, however more gifted, as a threat. Sometimes I despair that women of my ethnic group will ever attain to the type of female solidarity that can topple the power dynamics of corporations and send CEOS and other power mongers scrambling from their thrones. How can they? They are too busy pulling each other’s eyes out. Or rather giving them the silent treatment. I would love to find out from other professionals how to counteract this tendency. How to switch women from turning on each other to turning against their real oppressors?
Nah. It will be a far distant future before a #metoo happens for ethnic minorities: Latinas, Chinas, Hellinides.
Have you experienced something similar–women who are supposed to be supporting you wind up ostracizing, belittling or in any case making it harder to come together as a united front to fight gender inequality to benefit women as a class?