It has only been a week since I started #BeingBravelyWoman. Only one week since that excitement of choosing which colours to fit the brand, which social media platforms to use, what type of content to create.. etc
But today – a week later, it feels like that was a lifetime away.
Every now and then, I get attacked by men – accusing me of advocating for something that does not exists because all creations are equal. I don’t know what you think of the word feminism – because it is loaded and perhaps even, tainted – so let’s not use that word .
But the struggle of women is real. This struggle is not a zero sum game. It does not mean men are not suffering. But depending on the context we talk about, a lot of the times, the ones suffering to a large extent are – women.
But the worst part about this work is not the attack by men. It is having to sit down and realise just how many women, are trying to diminish the struggles of other women. It is having to face the reality, that some of us have been hurt by far more women than men in our lives.
Of course it isn’t fair to assume that all women should like one another and be willing to braid each other’s hair while we sing to Spice Girls – ‘Wannabe.’
The hurt and betrayal I am referring to here is something far more sophisticated -calculated almost.
It is the conscious effort to put down a fellow sister – just because. The meticulous planning to get her into situations she will struggle to get out from. It is the sadistic happiness of seeing her downfall. The joy when she cries or is in pain. The silent smile when she falls.
Women are the first to judge another woman. Don’t believe me? Ask any woman who has been through motherhood. Ask her about the time she got pregnant. Ask her about how her decisions for her unborn baby was judged. Ask her how many women questioned her when she chose to /or did not choose to breastfeed. Ask a new mother how other mothers judge her for the way she is trying to raise her child.
Go on, I’ll wait.
Pregnancy and motherhood is very much a woman’s world. Not as many men in that field. But it is possibly the most judgemental environment and phase of a women’s life.
Girls and women like this exist everywhere. In our schools. I was bullied more by the girls in my school than the guys. Girls who made me feel I was ugly. Some of the worst bullying cases against females can be found in all girls schools. The harassment and emotional abuse is enough to make a young girl take her life. Or at least attempt to.
You find these women amongst colleagues at work too. The backstabbing, The bitching. The manipulation. The lies. The pretence. The fake smiles and concern.
And why are mother-in laws and daughter-in laws always at war? Of course there are exceptions. But think about this. Yes I am sure there are cases of father-in laws and son-in laws not getting along. But the former takes the cake. Why has this vicious age old cycle not ended? What have the daughter-in laws who suffered in the hands of their MILs not end the cycle?
As a woman – no forget that, as a human, it is so important to have a supportive female environment. It’s been two months since I’ve moved to Oman with my husband. I have zero community here except for my husband. And don’t get me wrong, he is great company – in fact, the best. I love doing everything and anything with him. Yet, it felt like something was empty. It was only after sitting in a company of women who were expats like me – talking about everything from religion to sports to female biology, community expectations, current affairs, history, politics etc – and came out from that feeling refreshed and glowing with new energy – that I realised what was missing all along.
There is nothing in the world that can replace the powerful, positive energy of a sisterhood. Even if it is just one woman in your circle.
Toxic female energy exists. They bring other women down. Don’t be one of them.