Women, Stop Hating Other Women

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The term “Uncle Tom” is an old term still used today to describe members of the Black community who disregard their own people and culture to conform to majority-white culture. In the spirit of equality, it seems that women have jumped on the band wagon of hating their own as well. Women have a tendency to be true “Uncle Thomasitas,” and while I realize the irony of the gender bender in that term, I also could not come up with anything better. There is a female population today filled with amazing, intelligent women who absolutely hate other women with an oddly vocal passion.

There is a female population today filled with amazing, intelligent women who absolutely hate other women with an oddly vocal passion.

How many times have you heard a woman say something along the lines of “I mean, most of my friends are guys ’cause, y’know, I don’t like most women I meet.” I’ve heard this before, hell, I’ve said this before. But let’s be honest here, do you really like most men you meet? I like maybe, and this is a big maybe, ten percent of the men I meet. The other ninety, I’d kick in the balls if given the chance– like the guy who always seems to be behind me in line at the bank or the post office, somewhere boring and slow, making crude small talk and touching my arm every time I look away. Sometimes he will even do something like adjust the strap of my tank top or put his hand on my shoulder or rub my back. I almost fantasize about him being so pig-headed that he makes a quick grab for my ass, just so I have a reason to whip around, kick him right in the junk and scream in all of my woman-of-the-21st-century-rape-classes-at-college-orientation glory, “no means NO dirt bag!”

Hmmm… okay, I got a little sidetracked. But the point, somewhere in all of that, is for some reason, we females cannot, will not, separate ourselves from the gender roles presented to us by mainstream society. If something is positive, it’s got to be male. If something is negative, it’s got to be female. We are unwilling to see past this idea that the rest of our kind are all bitchy, vain and generally horrible. We seem to be able to recognize that it’s possible, as an individual, not to fit within the prescribed social boundaries yet we can’t imagine that there might be other women like us. Even when meeting said other women, the assumption seems to be that while it’s possible for there to be two, that hardly makes up for the rest.

There are very few recognized, successful women in arts and literature that produce work that doesn’t revolve around the condition of being a woman. If a woman writes a novel with a female leading character, it is immediately written off as “for women.” It becomes “chick lit” since it will undoubtedly contain pages of internal monologues stressing the fact that the character is a woman. There will be explanation and questions revolving around the character’s gender, the character couldn’t just be. The story could not just go on without numerous reminders of the femininity the character possesses.

Of course, not everything presented as feminine in the media and the public and all that nonsense and noise we deal with daily is of the fashion-fabulous let’s-talk-about-her-behind-her-back variety. There are two schools of what could be seen as a bizarre sort-of feminist theory nowadays. There is the previously mentioned “be an atrocious human being that lives for men and wears cute shoes,” and then there is the “women’s studies, the struggle, story and perspective” type. While the latter has more noble intentions, both seem to bring the Uncle Thomasita-itis out in a lot of us.

It’s not that recognizing and understanding what shit women have had, and still continue, to put up with is detrimental, not in the least. What becomes a problem is that there are many people arguing that the differences between the sexes are becoming fewer and fewer and many women and have tried to prove this by demanding the same treatment as men, both the good and the bad. With equal pay comes the pressure and responsibility of deciding to be the breadwinner. Along with equality in the military comes the threat of draft, war and all those other dirty words Newt Gingrich said us pretty little things couldn’t handle.

Girls, women, females have proved over and over again that there are more of us than people think that are ready, willing and able to put up with absolutely anything to be viewed as equal in society. Yet we still see entertainment and pop culture crafted just for us; chick flicks and girly magazines and Amy Tan books, and we realize that we don’t like it. We don’t see ourselves in it; what we do see is “other women.” In that respect, it’s not hard to figure out how some of us have come to the conclusion that we don’t get along with our own gender. How is it though, we’ve never made that leap to recognizing what our real culture is and how it is that we still believe in these elusive “other women” that so many social commentaries, essays and manifestos want us to think is who we are?

The women’s movement has hit a brick solid wall and we’re ignoring it. Of course things are still out of balance, unequal and biased. Of course we’re still dealing with all that crap but now but we have become our own worst enemy. We have decided that we hate ourselves, we have decided that we get along better with men therefore men are easier, more superior creatures to get along with than ourselves. There is a real basis to this idea. A woman in a group of men will receive a specific attention that she wouldn’t get in a group of other women and therefore she may think that she gets along better with men, but that extra boost of attention she’s getting is based on the fact that she is perceived as different. Not that every man there would be trying to get in her pants though, let’s be realistic, that crowd of men will notice that she is not only female but she is spending time with them and they will end up distinguishing her as a “really cool girl, totally like a dude.” In a group of the breasted ilk, she might still be “cool” but, removing the thrill of a potential emotionally or sexually gratifying gain, it will probably be perceived as less impressive. Unless of course there’s a similar woman in attendance who would maybe think, “oh good, a quality girl. I don’t like most girls but she seems awesome.” Vicious cycle starts over again.

We have decided that we hate ourselves, we have decided that we get along better with men therefore men are easier, more superior creatures to get along with than ourselves.

For any woman who really thinks that she is the only one of her kind, I implore you to do even just a bit of searching (which I know you totally haven’t so don’t even pretend) to find another who is like you. We’re not looking for separated at birth connections here, just a resemblance. At our fingertips and computer screens, we have unlimited resources and options, we can find networks and opinions, we can type in words like female motorcycle groups, just an example that I never ever personally tried like six times or anything, and be slapped in the face with the bittersweet reality that we are women and we are not as alone as we thought.

Sometimes, it’s fun to think you’re truly so unique, that you’re still “a cool one, like a guy,” and you take that sort of thinking as a compliment, as we all have. The sad, wonderful truth is that you are not unique, you are not one of a kind. Look, wait, better phrasing: You are not weird. You are not abnormal. You are not a guy. You are a woman and you have the same interests as other women. The women we see on TV, reality shows and in glorified pulp novels made into grating cliché HBO series don’t have to be you, and certainly aren’t all the women besides you.

I understand it’s not easy to give up something you’ve held on to your entire life. It’s not easy to admit that in the end, you’re not as exceptional as you thought. I know, I know, I’m not saying it right but for most of my life, I did always kind of feel like that nuclear fallout survivor in so many sci-fi short stories and Twilight Zone episodes that climbs out of their panic room or bank vault and surveys the scene and can’t even bring themselves to cry because of how empty and lonely it feels, how barren the world looks devoid of life or intelligence. Hair and makeup ads were the bombed out buildings, romantic comedies starring Sandra Bullock were the ashes of what may have been people I knew. I stared at a landscape of the shallow and the overly sensitive and wondered if I was actually alone here, if maybe I was the last in the world, somehow surviving despite being completely on my own.

Hair and makeup ads were the bombed out buildings, romantic comedies starring Sandra Bullock were the ashes of what may have been people I knew. I stared at a landscape of the shallow and the overly sensitive and wondered if I was actually alone here, if maybe I was the last in the world, somehow surviving despite being completely on my own.

But then, when I realized how inaccurate and frankly, stupid that was, it was a wakeup call– like hearing whistling in the distance of a wasteland where I was getting tired of being so very one of a kind. When I realized there were women like me, who enjoyed all the things I had considered masculine, who hated what I thought every woman loved, it formed a new perspective for me. We sell each other out all the time, we agree when other people tell us that strong and interesting women are few and far between, even when each one of us can think of so many exceptions to that rule. No one should underestimate how difficult equality can get. We’re fighting ourselves and we all know that us bitches can put up a good fight. After we stop this self-hating fueled infighting, we can push harder for rights, pay and respect. However, we can’t expect any of that from society when we don’t give shit to each other. Wake up; the nuclear fallout is an illusion, your solitude is self-inflicted. There are noises in the distance and shadows of more survivors walking toward us on the horizon.