#WomenSupportingWomen: is it an unachievable, utopian dream?

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My whole life I’ve been surrounded by women hating women. Not because I have lived a particularly awful life but because I have grown up and lived in a society that fostered and cultured that hatred. From bullying each other school- “you’re too fat”, “you’re too skinny”, “your parents are too old”. Anything that deemed you as being slightly different and it was seen as a weakness to exploit. All the way through to my career in midwifery and my life as a mother.

This hatred is sometimes openly spoken about between friends, sometimes it’s released in the anonymity of the online world. Sometimes it is behind someone’s back, sometimes it’s right in their face. It doesn’t matter what form it takes, it is as lethal and dangerous in any of its forms. 

A while back I wrote a blog post on the media headlines around a letter written by Keira Knightley. The headlines claimed that she was slamming Kate Middleton for posing on the steps of the Lindo Wing, so soon after giving birth. The truth was far from it and, in fact, I would argue that she was showing sympathy for Kate, having to be exposed at such a vulnerable time in one’s life. 

Why then, did the headlines focus on the negative? 

Because breeding hate between women stifles progress. It keeps us where we are. If we are too busy fighting amongst ourselves, then we won’t have the time and energy to go out into the world and make a change. We won’t have a voice left to speak up and out. And that’s exactly where ‘they’ want us to be. 

It’s clever when you think about. The key to our cage is right there but we are too blinded by our anger at each other that we can’t see it. 

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been eaten up inside by a horrible feeling. You see, I left my dream career of midwifery a couple of months ago. I left it for many reasons but mainly because of the way that the system within which I worked was forcing me and my colleagues to disempower women, to snipe at each other and to ultimately be minions of the patriarchy. I could stand it no longer. But a harsh reality has hit me since leaving. That is that it’s not only the world of midwifery that has these problems. It’s the whole freaking world. Everywhere I look, there are angry women getting angrier and angrier at each other. 

It got me so stressed I ended up physically ill and suffering. My body literally didn’t know what to do with all of this negative energy and I wound up floored by a UTI and an eye infection- both things I suffer with when I’m stressed. 

So, after musing and reflecting on this whole situation, I’ve come to a conclusion.  

Women supporting women is not a utopian dream. I actually believe it is what we are *biologically* meant to do but years of being subjected to ‘witch hunts’, being silenced and told that we don’t matter… it’s worn us down. 

Let’s not be the generation that wears each other down and right into the ground. Let’s be the generation that brings the change. 

Let’s have the difficult conversations. Let’s really open up and talk about why black women are 5 times more likely to die than white women in childbirth. Let’s talk about gender issues- what does it mean when trans people ask for the rights of a gender that their body did not gift them with? Let’s talk about positive representation of minorities in the workplace and why it matters. None of these conversations are possible when met with hate on both sides. 

Let’s start from a place of love and the next time you find yourself wasting any energy on hate, ask yourself ‘Is this really where I want to be channeling my energy?’  

Because I for sure, don’t want it to be.

So, I implore you- if you ever have the pleasure of spending time with me and our conversation goes anywhere towards breeding hate (to anyone) please call it out. Stop it and change the energy to love. In fact, why not do it with all of your conversations? Hate breeds hate… and trust me we don’t need a drop more of it on this planet. 

Women supporting women. It’s real, it’s possible, let’s just stand up and bloody well do it. 

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