Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Women: We are our own worst enemy
There is a joke that goes something like this: A woman went for a girl’s night out and had such a crazy time she did not get back home until the next morning. Her husband was furious and asked where she had been. She told him to call her girlfriends who could verify that they had all been together, innocently having fun and had simply lost track of time. Half of the friends the husband called denied ever having been with her and the other half didn't even answer the husband's calls. In another household, a similar situation was unfolding. However, this time the husband was the one in the hot seat. The wife angrily called his friends demanding to know where her husband had spent the night. Two vouched for him saying he was the only sober one and had to drive everyone else home hence his getting home late. Another one said his wife had suddenly gone into labour and the husband in question, being such a good friend of course, had taken them to the hospital and was now on his way home. Three of the husbands friends said indeed they had been out together but the husband was so tired that he couldn't drive home and was at that very moment asleep in their spare bedroom!
Now of course I am not condoning deception in households but this joke does reflect the differences in how men and women stand up for each other. As women, we are always complaining and moaning about how men oppress us and how they don't treat us as equals. While it is true that there is a good number of males (I won't say men) out there that indeed look down upon and oppress women, can we really place the blame squarely on their shoulders? What about us women? How do we really treat each other? Are we always genuinely happy for one another’s success?
I think all ladies will agree with me that the best place to hear the craziest stories is the hair salon! (And please ladies, it's called the hair salOn not salOOn. A saloon is a type of bar particular to the Old West or a large room or hall for receptions. Two completely different words!). Anyway, I digress. The hair salon. You get to hear all sorts of stories at hair salons. Three quarters of the time it is female customers talking to each other about other female customers or the hair dressers talking to whoever cares to listen about other female hair dressers or about other female clients. Ninety nine percent of the time it is nothing positive. “Did you hear so and so is getting divorced?” or “Eish, have you seen so and so lately? She is sick I tell you. She doesn’t have any hair left” or “Tjo! Guess what? The other day I saw so and so’s husband with some girl in a dark corner at XYZ restaurant!” On and on we go, gossiping, laughing, pulling each other down. Not once have I heard, “So and so’s business is doing really well these days” or “Wow, did you see the car so and so is driving now? She is lucky to have such a good man who takes care of her” or “Ladies, so and so is going through a hard time. Let us go and support her”. In the same salon though, listen to the conversation going on in the barber’s corner. The guys are more likely than not to be talking about some sport or the other. Next possible topic is politics. You may also even hear them talking about some guy who’s business is doing well and how they also want in on whatever he is doing. You hardly hear them talking about each other’s personal lives or laughing at each other or gleefully cackling at each other’s misfortunes.
Women like to pull each other down even in the most unnecessary of situations. Picture this. You are driving home during peak hour and the traffic is moving at 2cm per hour. You are trying to get into a main road from a side road and you need someone to give you way. Now ladies. How many times has a fellow woman given you way? Funny isn’t it? If the two cars in front of you are being driven by men, she will stop and happily give way. As soon as she realizes you are a woman, she will step on that accelerator like her life depends on it and block your car even if she is not actually going to go anywhere due to the traffic jam!
Then there is the office. The scene of many a back stabbing and pulling down! Notice how men can work on project effectively and well together. No glitches whatsoever. Have a team of ladies and most of the time that is recipe for disaster. Nails come out and eyes are scratched. All for no reason other than one woman may not like the fact that the other woman drives a better car than hers. Or her husband has a better job. Or she lives in a better part of town. Or she has better clothes. Or even that she is prettier! Therefore the best way to get back at her is to pull her down as much as you can and make her look like she is incompetent to the boss. More rumors than there are airplanes at Heathrow airport will fly around the corridors all in an effort to tarnish another woman’s image.
Then there are mothers. Yes, mothers. How do mothers treat their sons and daughters? Do they really treat them equally? Do they encourage them equally and let them know they have equal opportunities? Or are girls usually prepped to become future mothers and home-makers and the boys successful leaders and business men? Even in the homes, domestication is mainly thrust upon girls and boys are taught that as the future head of the house, they can lounge around and get served hand and foot by their female siblings. I completely understand that men and women are indeed genetically different. I am not saying we want to create a genderless society where we can’t tell if one is male or female. What I am saying is mothers are the ones that spend the most time with their children especially when they are at impressionable ages. As mothers, let us teach our children that both girls and boys are equally important and capable of achieving the same things. Let us not teach them that one gender is seemingly more important than the other. All these men that are labeled chauvinists did not just wake up one day and think that they are superior to women. They learnt it from somewhere.
What are you doing to support other women? Support doesn’t have to be financial. Are you encouraging other women? Are you supporting other women’s dreams? Are you mentoring other women? Sharing resources and ideas? Ladies, if we do not stand up for each other, let us not blame the men. They will only treat us how we allow them to treat us and how they see us treating each other. If men see that we do not think much of each other then why should they think much of us?
Let us also avoid the green eyed monster which is the main source of all ladies’ issues with each other. If some has something better than you, be happy for them. It won’t kill you. That way, you can even approach them and get advice on how you can also do the same and raise yourself to their level. Isn’t that much better than spending all your energy on trying to pull them down to your level?
At the end of the day, I think we oppress each other more than the men do. Let us learn to genuinely be there for each other, support each other and help each other. Women can achieve many more things in all aspects of society if only we become each other’s cornerstones and not our own worst enemies.