I can instantly hate another woman on the basis of something very trivial. The stereotype I perceive from her hair colour, the floral print summer dress she is perhaps wearing or her articulate discussion on how the latest tax reforms will affect her.
This hatred stems from three simple reasons:
1) A lifetime suffer of 'bitter brunette' syndrome. (Look, I can totally be fun and bubbly, I'm just having some down time alright!?).
2) A complete failure to pull off florals without looking like I've fallen out of an Enid Blyton novel. (Mutton dressed as lamb is one thing, lamb dressed as foetus is another).
3) An inability to both spell budget and count above seven makes tax rates (and indeed economics in general) extremely difficult.
You will notice that every single one of these reasons is on account of a failure on my behalf. The poor, lovely, intelligent blonde lady in her summer dress has done absolutely nothing to deserve my ire and yet I irrationally hate her because she reminds of what I wish I could be. This, I understand, is wrong and makes me the world's worst woman. But, I believe this wariness of other women is inherent in most of my gender and, to make it little topical, is what a good part of Samantha Brick's notorious article alluded to.
I am of course employing a little artistic licence to illustrate my point, obviously I don't walk down the street spitting at other women and setting fire to their hair. But I do believe that women are far more inclined to judge other women harshly and negatively than they are men. Although Brick's soliloquy about how disabling being attractive is was hardly sympathy garnering, the sulphuric reaction she has received from it goes some way to prove my point. Her evidence propagated the bizarre belief that attractive women, intelligent women, confident women have the power to enter your, in contrast, miserable, insecure, Cadbury fuelled life and feed it to her head of snakes.
As if somehow the people that have loved and respected you for years, despite your tendency to laugh like a howler monkey with asthma and ability to sporadically wobble when standing on a flat surface, are going to be so blinded by the sight of what appears to be Karen Brady, but upon closer inspection is actually just a woman who can count to 8, that they abandon you to be tied up by your own insecurity and run over by The Self Esteem Train. This, I assure you, is not going to happen.
In a society that has created this uptopian existence where women can 'have it all', brains, looks, a career, a man and children there is unavoidably going to be competition and a degree of jealousy towards women who are seemingly swimming a little better against the tide of obstacles that stop women from achieving this existence. We see other women not only as a threat to the harmony of our own lives but, as mentioned earlier, as a reminder of skills and talents that we do not possess ourselves. I just wish that we would remember we're all swimming in the same ocean. If this fear of other women exists inherently inside all other women then you can probably bet that the lovely lady in the summer dress is looking at you and wondering how on earth you managed to get your teeth so white and if you're going to sink them into her husband/ partner/ cat/ slice of chocolate cake. Prejudice should draw women together not push them apart.
I don't want to over simplify the issue by wishing that everyone would just be nice to each and share each other's lego, but that's essentially what I'm getting at. This is an issue where I believe kindness and compassion will save the day. I believe that women fundamentally have a responsibility of care towards other women and this means that when one of us says that she finds it difficult being beautiful we don't barrage her with death threats. We merely laugh, lament how we all struggle being charismatic, hard-working, caring and intelligent 21st century women and get on with our lives.
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