We often hear in the media of women who have risen to certain statuses being compared to each other or fighting against each other.
We often hear that ‘women cannot work together’ because they hate each other. We often see women living up to this stereotype that they cannot coexist and work and grow together.
I am tempted to cite certain US celebrities—Nicki Minaj and Cardi B—both of whom have attracted global attention with their art.
Apparently, the two women are ‘beefing’ and cannot coexist. They even had a fight once. On Twitter, there are many posts of fans comparing the two and insulting each other.
I know male celebrities are compared too: Messi vs Ronaldo, Peter Tosh vs Bob Marley.
But we often see people appreciating them both while choosing their favourite.
I could bring out a lot of scenarios where women fail to coexist. Some women say they prefer working with men.
Having such a preference is not inherently wrong, but the events I see reinforce my observation that patriarchy tricks women into failing to coexist.
When a woman is good at what she does, she is socialised to think that to really shine, she has to be the only one in that spotlight.
Many career women today would rather compete and lose to men than a fellow woman because patriarchy has, for years, socialised women to see each other as competitors, not partners on the rise.
We see women competing in issues of beauty, physical appearance, the affection of men and many other things that they should not compete over.
When it comes to careers, where we need to see each other as inspirations and start positive contests so that more of us can get to the top, we tend to build walls instead of bridges.
It is uncommon to see women who are both doing well in the same field to see each other as peers.
Instead, we are programmed to be uncomfortable when other women match up to us to the extent of even pulling each other down.
Many women are brainwashed to forget that there is room for every woman to do good and shine. Clearly, patriarchy likes to have one or a few women in positions of privilege and revere them so much with the labels of ‘a powerful woman’, ‘woman of influence’, ‘a woman like no other’ and many other labels that puff women up to a certain level of selfishness.
This suggests that a lot of women cannot shine at the same time.
That she has to be the only one there or her recognition will be worthless.
We constantly see that women are only praised in the lines of being the only female in a certain field or powerful position and being the only women doing certain things.
We, as women, have moved with this mentality for so long. This selfishness pushes us to pull other women down so that we do not share the glory. It is heartbreaking.
What if we, as women, stopped perpetuating this stereotype that we cannot work together?
What if we realised that in these situations, we are subconsciously being used by patriarchy as tools to keep the numbers of women at the top low.
I hope we can see that while we are out hating each other and pulling each other down, the masculine community is gathering more strength for itself.
I am tired of hearing that women hate each other. We can do better for our community.
Let us build a sisterhood that uplifts and supports each other as we move up to create a more equitable world.