Okay blogollowers: WARNING- there cometh a rant from me.
And here it is…
What is it about women that makes it so hard for them to be supportive of one another? (Please bear in mind for this rant to be successful we will have to assume gross stereotypes peppered with a healthy dose of angst from a pissed off writer).
I have had the great fortune of meeting two women writers who are not only exceptional at the craft of writing, but also happen to be equal doses of supportive and innovative. I’m talking about the other two women of Three Women/Three Books – Nerys Parry and Sandra Nicholls. The three of us have begun what I am considering our world wide tour (though we have yet to leave Ottawa) in a quest to enlighten, entertain and empower others through our novels and our witty banter.
Just take a look at the video Nerys made of our visit on Friday to CKCU radio.
So why the rant?
Well, unfortunately it isn’t always the case that women support other women.
In fact, often, the opposite is true.
I have had a long history of working in women-centered businesses and have often been at the tail end of envy and the front end of blatant jealousy.
When I used to belly dance (yes, I happen to be an award winning dancer, don’t ya know?) I began what I hoped was a fun-filled experience, giggling with other women backstage, planning costume-making parties and sharing tips on how to shake your thang without having it fall out of it’s thang.
Those were good times.
They were sadly marred by the small group of women (to be fair, the majority were lovely) who made a point of singling me out and making me feel so uncomfortable that I eventually left the world of chiffon and coins.
Then I went to work for a largely female-based consultant company selling vibrators.
I suppose one could expect some nastiness but I naively did not. I honestly thought every woman would be my new best friend but from my first $1,000 party on, I no longer was the new girl who made a lot of money, I was the new girl who had to be taken down.
Again, to be fair, some of my dearest friends were made during the days I sold toys and the bond I have with them is something,well, let’s just say, you would have to sell anal toys and lube to understand.
In other words, it’s a bond that can’t be broken.
But why, I ask myself, do some women go out of their way to take down other women?
When there is so much else going against us like society’s ever-expanding definitions of womanhood, calories and cellulite, why would one woman try to sabotage another woman’s success? Or worse, why would they belittle her by implying that the only way she could succeed was due to some unsavory doings and not on merit alone?
When I used to belly dance one woman actually told me I was “cheating” because I am South Asian and that by nature of my birth, I should not be allowed to dance with the others because it gave me an unfair advantage.
When I sold vibrators I heard rumours that the only reason I sold vast quantities of toys was because I stripped at my parties to make sales.
Trust me, if you saw the shoes I used to wear, this would never cross your mind.
But somehow, I was targeted and somehow, even today, I am witnessing with my writing that there are some women who begrudge me success and it saddens me greatly.
One so-called woman friend told me that I would be “sorry” for chasing my dreams and hooking up with other women writers. She said “they will turn on you, because that is what women do.” Of course the irony is, that is what she was doing, but what writer doesn’t love irony?
The fact is, I still believe that women can support other women.
I will even go as far as to say that I think women can make a point of supporting other women in the truest sense of solidarity and empathy. And not at the expense of men or as a means to put men down like they are the enemy (which they are not), but as a way of saluting and applauding that which makes us unique and special as women and is therefore what we are best able to encourage and see blossom.
As for the women who have come and gone in my life, and who have alleged to love and care for me but quickly turned on me the moment I showed any sign of success, I owe them a debt of gratitude.
Were it not for them, I would not be able to really appreciate the fabulous women I am surrounded by today.