In deciding what to write for my first blog post, in the hopes that someone, somewhere, might read it, in light of recent events in my life, it was not too difficult to figure out what to write.
Recently, over the course of a few days, a friend said a couple of things to me that I found hurtful. I let her know this, she apologized, I accepted and put it out of my head. I know it was out of my head because I can’t even remember all of them. In friendship, forgiveness should be a given. I, in turn, had said something to her that hurt her feelings. I apologized, several times as it turned out, and my feeling is that the apology was eventually accepted.
I’m sure that neither one of us meant to hurt the other. I know I did not. What I said was an opinion, a judgement, if you will. This got me to thinking of how much and how often we judge others; those we know, and more often, those we do not know. This is especially prevalent in women; women judging ourselves and women cruelly judging other women. We do it; we ALL do it, even those who believe we are “enlightened” and feminist in our thinking, whether we wish to admit it to ourselves or not.
I am of the opinion that this is the way that this patriarchal culture; this male-dominated society has trained us to be so. I am not going to go into the many wrongs done to women and to people of color by a white-male privileged society, not here anyway and not yet (fair warning). This is more to the way women are trained from birth to judge and to distrust other women. It would appear that the most important thing a female can do in this culture is to find a man, keep him, marry him and raise a family. We are told this, we see it daily in movies, on TV, in books (for those fortunate enough to love to read). This is the life we are trained for. Little girls get toy vacuums, little plastic kitchens, tea sets; we are the ones who are taught to set the table, clean the house, do the chores, and maybe get taught how to cook, at least the basics. As we grow older, we shave the unwanted hair on our bodies, make ourselves up like kewpie dolls, all in the name of “getting a man”. As we look around at the men available to us, the women who should be our friends, our allies, somehow become our enemies, our rivals, in the getting of a man.
So, we look at them. What do they have that I don’t have? What color is their hair? Are they fat? Are they thin? Who looks at them and who looks at me? We slowly begin to judge ourselves – how do we stack up compared to them. Media and culture being what it is, we NEVER come out on top. There is something wrong with us, because we are TOLD something is wrong with us. We being to judge the other women. If we are not perfect, then neither are they. This does not make us sympathetic to them because we can relate; this makes us judge them even more harshly. It becomes “she’s ugly”, she’s so fat”, she’s easy, whatever the hell that might be. The names being “fatso”, “slut”, “whore”, bitch”. How often do the “mean girls” stop and think about how they may feel if these words were hurled at them in hatred? Unfortunately, words like this are said by even those who are not considered the mean girls and it continues into adulthood.
This, I believe, is one of the biggest problems faced by Feminism. How do you get a gender raised to believe they are second-best, inferior, not-good-enough to get rid of the judging, get rid of the distrust and band together, stand together to fight the status quo?
I don’t pretend to have the answer, any answer, but I believe it starts by teaching little girls they are valuable, they are worthy, they are important. We teach them that the Divine once was, and still is, a woman. We continue this dialogue that has already begun, with each and every woman we meet in real life and online. We create sacred circles of women to stand together and be strong and TEACH each younger generations of women what is right and what has been wrong for so, so long in the treatment of women and it has to change and it has to begin, and continue, with women.