Kindness to one another is an important aspect of humanity, especially when it comes to women. Lack of female solidarity is a pertinent issue as far too often women turn against each other to conform to society.
Within Tamil society, if a woman is to “step out of line” whether it is having sex before marriage, dressing "inappropriately" or even participating in leisurely activities such as drinking, far too often other women are quickest to judge.
However, it is not just in Tamil society where female rivalry can be seen. Within Western culture, it is clear from films such as Mean Girls that girl versus girl attitude is present in our society, from petty arguments to shaming and backstabbing. Why have women grown to dislike each other rather than embrace each others differences and choices?
We have been taught to accept compliments from a man but to never give it to a woman. Feminism has taught us to not accept abuse from a man, but why should we accept it when another woman shames us?
A woman building up another woman is the most empowering thing we can do. It is the only way we can break the highest and toughest glass ceiling that every woman faces when it comes to opportunities.
If it is not your vagina, it is not your business.
One of the most prominent topics women often judge other women on is their sex life. If a woman is to sleep with however many people she wants, it is no one’s business to question her choices. She should not have to live in fear of another woman judging her for her decisions. It does not lessen her worth, respect or morality. It definitely does not make her “easy”. Since when did two people participating in something they enjoy only allow one half to be scorned?
Respect comes foremost from oneself rather than others' validation. However, I have noticed that some of this judgment can arise from women hiding their own mistakes by blaming one another because they themselves live in fear of judgment.
Don’t put down another girl’s decisions to give you more confidence in your own. It creates an unhealthy cycle whereby women shame and judge each other. This cycle has led men to also slut shame women which should never be approved of. If we won't accept a man “slut shaming” us we must stop judging each other and accept each other.
Blame the cheater, not the girl
Upon watching The Other Woman starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Upton and Leslie Mann, I witnessed something that I rarely see in society. Both actresses were caught in a love triangle in which one man manipulates multiple women for his sexual desires. However, what surprised me is that even though Leslie Mann was the wife of this man, she did not blame Cameron Diaz or Kate Upton for his cheating.
As a society, we have grown to blame the “other woman” for a man’s cheating. I understand that a woman may have a relationship with a cheating man knowingly which is not acceptable as we should never go after another woman’s significant other. However, if a man vowed to love you, commit to you and cherish you but cheats on you with another woman (who had no idea of his relationship status), why would you blame the woman for it?
The man would often paint a picture of the “other woman” in a horrendous light, making her out to be a temptress he couldn’t resist. I understand that you may feel the other woman took away your man, but seriously - why would he cheat on someone he claims to love? We need to stop taking revenge and competing with the other woman and address the man for his cheating ways instead of glorifying him to be this cool "player".
Is competition only for a man's love?
Competition between women happens not just in the bedroom. After the recent American election, 53% of white women voted for a sexist and misogynistic man instead of Hillary Clinton. It was clear that she had far more political experience than Donald Trump, so why didn’t women vote for her? Since the suffragette movement, women have fought for their right to be represented in government. However, when the opportunity arose for a female presidential candidate to make her mark in history, female solidarity was lost.
I understand Hillary Clinton has been dishonest which had created vulnerability within the government. However, Trump is no better. I believe that Hillary’s dishonesty comes from a place where she chose to guard her reputation (which is typical of a politician) rather than out of maliciousness.
Trump is a sexist man who has assaulted women and campaigned to build a wall and cut international trade. So is Hillary’s dishonesty really going to make the government vulnerable? Women have voted for Trump for political reasons whilst ignoring his misogyny and racism which played a major role in his campaign. If this occurs in just a presidential election, it is obvious it can happen in the workplace.
Women are able to be tomorrow’s leaders. We have yet to progress, and this is only possible with the support of other women. We need to start empowering each other so that we can aim for the highest opportunity.
Female Rivalry doesn't stop there.
Female rivalry does not only occur on a national level but also in small social circles. When a woman shares something confidential there is no reason for another woman to go around telling everyone her secret. Show respect for one another and guard her secret - she obviously trusts you enough to tell you. So why carry on spreading rumours?
Even giving backhanded compliments such as: “OMG! You look so good! It would be even better if your hair wasn’t frizzy.” I mean, thanks but no. This is just as demeaning as insulting a person directly. All comments do effect us so it would be really appreciative if women don’t hear insults directly. We should start complimenting each other on our eyebrows, makeup, bodies, hair, attitude and even our dress sense. Put a smile on each others faces.
We should learn to love ourselves as well as other women because we are the role models of girls everywhere. A union of women is definitely a union not to be messed with. As Beyonce would say:
“WHO RUN THE WORLD? GIRLS”